Jointer vs Planer: What is the Difference and Which One to Use?

Many woodworkers acknowledge the fact that you need both a jointer and a planer to get the most out of rough lumber. The jointer will be used to flatten one face and square up to one edge.

The planer on the other hand will be used to flatten the second face making it parallel to the first. However, there are distinct differences in functions that you should be aware of when choosing one over the other.

When choosing a planer, first and foremost look at how much clearance you have on your table, bench, or work surface.

Planers strongly favor rough materials so if there are rough spots or dents at your workbench the planer will not be able to properly flatten them out.

Here’s a comparison of jointers vs planers to help you choose which machines are better for your woodworking requirements.

Each machine has its own perks, but if you’re not sure which one is best for your project, read on to find out more information about them so you can decide which one is best for you.

What Are The Main Differences Between Jointers And Planers?

  • Jointers can remove cupping and warping whereas planers can be a little bit expensive.
  • Jointers come with knives mounted on the table in a way that they can cut wood from below. Planers on the other hand cut wood from above.
  • Planers can make sure that boards have the same thickness throughout while jointers can finish boards to approximately the same thickness.
  • Planers are mainly used to create parallel thickness and ensure consistent thickness. Jointers on the other hand are used to perfectly square a single edge and flatten a single face.

Why Do I Need a Jointer?

A jointer is a versatile tool that offers much more than an electric replacement for a hand plane. This machine can handle approximately four tasks and execute them perfectly.

Here are the things you can do with a jointer:

Trimming Doors to Size

A jointer is a tool that is very important when one is fitting doors for furniture or cabinets. In case you need to remove a bit of length or width from the door, you can easily do it on the jointer.

What you need to do is make sure you have put a backer block behind the door when jointing the end grain to prevent a tear-out from occurring.

Making Tapered Legs

You can make tapered legs for desks and tables using a jointer. You can taper the entire length of a leg or else leave a straight section at the point where the apron connects to it.

Therefore, if you want a five inches straight section, all you need to do is draw a line around that part at that distance from the top edge. After doing that, turn on the jointer.

Then carefully place the corner top part on the outfeed table and then lower it until the edge touches the in-feed table. What you should do next is feed the board through the jointer with push blocks.

You have to repeat this process until you get the kind of tamper you were looking for. You can go ahead and machine all four faces using this method.

Squaring One of a Board to One Face

After leveling up one face, you can use a jointer to get it square and straight. Be keen and ensure that the smoothened face is directed towards the fence.

The ideal method of flattening a board is to joint one edge, one face, and then place the other face and edge. This is similar to surfacing stock using a hand plane but in a more efficient method.

Flattening One of a Board

One thing is certain that a jointer will not allow you to make two parallel faces. However, you can get one flat and straight surface on the jointer before feeding the board through your planer.

You should be aware that boards come out of a planer a little bit thinner but in the same shape, as they have to go in. In case you have a twisted board, put it through a planer and it will still come out with twists afterward.

Therefore, you need to remove the twist from one face on the jointer and then feed the board with face down through the planer. You will have two parallel and flat faces.

Why You Need a Wood Planer?

A benchtop wood planner is made of boards that have an even thickness and are flat on both sides. The unique thing about a planer is that it can take a rough piece of wood and make the parallel faces flat while at the same time producing a thickness of your preference.

It provides a highly accurate thickness of the completed and finished board for the next woodworking project you are intending to undertake. This is how important a benchtop planer is.

You can also use a planer to reclaim wood from barns, furniture, and homes. When reclaiming the wood, ensure that you have removed any kind of metallic materials on it.

The planer can be used to eradicate any kind of stains from the wood and make it a perfect fit for the next woodworking project.

What is a Jointer?

A jointer is a woodworking tool that is used to create a flat surface on a piece of wood. Most woodworking tools will leave a rough edge.

A jointer is specifically designed to create a straight, smooth surface on lumber for laying out or adding borders, or paneling.

A jointer is a perfect tool used to make straight, seamless, and smooth surfaces on wood for painting, laying out, making picture frames, trimming, or adding borders.

It’s an essential tool for any serious carpenter, crafter, or hobbyist.


Top 3 Best Jointers Reviews

1. Craftsman Benchtop Jointer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 32.1 x 12.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Weight: 39.8 pounds
  • Motor: 10 amp
  • Speed: 6,000 to 11,000 RPM

The Craftsman Benchtop Jointer features a variable speed range of six to eleven thousand RPM as well as a cutter speed of twelve thousand to twenty-two thousand cuts per minute.

The machine enables you to choose the right speed according to the size and hardness of the material being worked on.

It also features a two-knife cutter head, a built-in cutter headlock, and a jackscrew knife leveling arrangement. The jointer is ideal for face jointing, flattening, and edging.

It is easy to replace the knives since they are jackscrew fitted and well arranged. It features a center-mounted fence that gives it the required support all the way in the cut.

This enhances the accuracy of edge jointing. It features a heavy-duty 10 amp motor that provides sufficient power to work on either soft or hardwoods.

Pros
  • Has a strong motor that enables it to work on both hard and soft wood
  • Has a variable speed range
  • Easy to operate
Cons
  • Sometimes the outfeed table may not be flat

2. Wahuda Tools Jointer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 34 x 14 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 56.2 pounds
  • Motor: 10 amp
  • Speed: 12,000 RPM

The Wahuda Tools Jointer allows you to create a perfectly flat surface. It is easy to set up as the hedges are hassle-free. It will enable you to make smooth cuts even on tough disfigured wood.

It features a spiral cutter head that has four-sided carbide inserts that ensure one enjoys a quitter and sharper cutting precision. The standard blade size of this gadget allows for easy replacements.

This machine is capable of producing high performance. It features a 120V motor that has a fixed twelve thousand RPM. The machine is capable of flattening, jointing, edging, or tapering regardless of how the surface is. It is built expertly for the user’s convenience.

It features an expandable and adjustable cast iron table that enhances stability even when with larger, longer pieces. The fence can tilt up to a 135-degree angle making this machine versatile.

This machine is ideal for all kinds of jobs is in large workshops or small shops. It features six, eight, and ten-inch jointers that will ensure you get your job done in the right way.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Capable of producing at high performance


  • Ideal for all kind of jobs
Cons
  • The adjustment knobs may break easily

3. PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 32.1 x 12.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Motor: 10 amp
  • Speed: 6,000 to 11,000 RPM

The PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer operates at a speed ranging from six thousand to eleven thousand RPM speed. This allows the user to operate it at their desired speed according to the hardness and size of the material being cut.

It features a two knife cutter head with a jackscrew knife arrangement that makes sure one can easily adjust and replace them with ease. It features built-in cutter head lock facilities, adjustment, and knife replacement.

It comes with an extra-large table that provides sufficient support that can surface wood measuring six inches wide.

It features a center-mounted fence that gives the required support throughout the cutting process enabling accurate edge jointing.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Has variable speeds that the user can choose from
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • If you change the fence setting, you may mess it up

What is a Planer?

A planer is also referred to as a thickness planer. A thickness planer is a power tool that is used to reduce the thickness of wood in a precise manner.

This machine makes use of the blades to scrape some parts of the wood surface leaving an even surface.

The object of using a thickness planer is to smoothen out rough surfaces and make them smooth. They are usually employed on surfaces that have incomplete edges, sunken surfaces, or even surfaces with indentations.

A planer machine is a woodworking machine, which includes blades or cutter heads that rotate. The blade produces and passes on a lot of wood shavings.


Top 3 Best Planers Reviews

1. DEWALT DW735 Two Speed Thickness Planer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 24 x 22x 30 inches
  • Weight: 59 pounds
  • Motor: 15 amp
  • Speed: 20,000 RPM

The DEWALT DW735 Two Speed Thickness Planer has a motor that runs at 15-AMP and twenty thousand RPM. That is why it is capable of cutting in wider materials with a lot of ease.

It features three-knife cutter-heads. This ensures that it can deliver a thirty percent lifespan while also making changes easier and quicker.

It features two-speed gearboxes that allow the user to conveniently alter the speed and ensure the cuts are perfect just like you wanted.

It is a versatile machine that will undertake the role it is intended to with absolute perfection. It is a durable machine that has the capacity of handling even heavy loads. You can also store the stand and planer easily.

Pros
  • Durable and can handle heavy loads
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to store the stand and the planer
Cons
  • The adjustment knob isn’t that strong

2. Craftsman Benchtop Planer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 17.5 x 15.4 inches
  • Weight: 61.2 pounds
  • Motor: 15 amp
  • Speed: 8,000 RPM

The Craftsman Benchtop Planer can handle either soft or hardwood. It comes with a powerful fifteen-amperes motor. The planer features a PV cutter head that is driven for maximum removal of the stock.

The wood planer features a solid steel cutter head mounted on ball bearings, a quick change, and two knives that ensure an extended life as well as a smooth operation.

Its knives are double-edged and made of steel ensuring a long cutting life. It also comes with a vacuum port to collect the dust generated in the process.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Has a vacuum port to collect the dust generated through the cutting process
  • Has a powerful motor making it effective in operation
Cons
  • The blades can cut deeper than intended

3. DEWALT Thickness Planer

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 24 x 22 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 90 pounds
  • Motor: 15 amp
  • Speed: 20,000 RPM

The DEWALT Thickness Planer comes with a powerful motor of fifteen AMP and a twenty thousand RPM. It is therefore able to handle larger cuts in wider materials with lots of ease.

It features a three-knife cutter-head that can deliver a thirty percent longer knife life while also making the process of changing the knives quite easy.

It also features a two-speed gearbox that you to change the feed speed. This will depend on the kind of work you are doing.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Can adjust the operating speed
Cons
  • The exhaust gets clogged easily

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Jointer on Both Sides?

No. The reason for this is because the cutters on each side have to be at a different angle so they end up trimming the opposite side of the board.

The tool must have different angles so that each side can trim and make the opposite side square.

If you tried to joint both sides it would make the board square, but would not ensure that one face was parallel with the other.

Conclusion

Woodworking is a serious business. It involves a lot of tools for carpentry, wood joints and wood finishing. Wood jointers and planers are two most important types of equipment for any serious woodworking enthusiast.

They play very different roles in wood shaping with both have their own unique application area.

In this article, we have highlighted key differences between these two machines to help you in your decision-making process. If you are looking for a planer or a joint, you can go for any of the products reviewed above.

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