Difference Between Jointer, Joiner and Planer: And, Which To Buy?

If you are a beginner, and or new to woodworking, you’ve probably thought: “What is the difference between a jointer, joiner and planer?”

You might want to know what each tool does, or even which to buy if you can only buy one.

In this article we will attempt to answer:

What is the main difference between a jointer, joiner and planer

What does each tool do specifically

The types of each tool

Why you might buy each tool


(Note that this is a general information guide only. Carry out your own research before purchasing to determine which tool is best for you and your needs)

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What’s The Difference Between A Jointer, Joiner and Planer: And, Which Should You Buy?

The major similarity between all these tools is that they are all used for woodworking.

But, what sets them apart? Well …


1) Jointers

Jointers and planers are most similar to each other in that they are both surface cutting tools.

A wood jointer uses a cutterhead that cuts from below a board that is pushed through the tool.

A jointer will ‘joint’ the surface or edge of a length of wood – which means it will flatten, smooth and square a twisted/warped piece of wood with irregularities on the surface.

This creates an excellent point from which a planer can thickness from.

The two main types of jointers are benchtop jointers, and stationary type jointers.

Jointers are mainly used by people who need flat and square piece of wood to work with – like furniture makers for example.


Should You Get A Jointer?

If you produce high quality wood finishes, you will likely need a jointer.

However, it is possible to buy pre-milled pieces of timber, which eliminates the necessity for a jointer.

If you buy regular pieces of timber you need to get flat and square, a jointer will be beneficial for you.


Are You Looking At Buying?

If you are looking to get a jointer, you can read more in:

Best Benchtop Jointer & Wood Jointer: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews


Examples Of Benchtop Jointers

A few examples of some of the more popular bench top jointers on the market right now might be:

WEN 6559 6-Inch 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer with Filter Bag and Depth Scale (on Amazon)

RIKON Power Tools 20-600H 6″ Benchtop Jointer with Helical Cutter head (on Amazon)

Grizzly Industrial G0858-8″ x 76″ Parallelogram Jointer with Helical Cutterhead & Mobile Base (on Amazon)

*Note – bench top jointers should be researched thoroughly before buying. Make sure you understand your tool/machine requirements, and the features and capabilities of these machines before you buy.


2) Planers

A planer cuts from above the wood board and can be a portable tool OR the benchtop/stationary tool like a jointer.

A hand planer will smooth, shape and straighten wood.

They are used by homeowners, and professionals like timber framers, carpenters, log home manufacturers, boat fabricators and more.

They can be used for cutting, shaping and levelling the surfaces of doors, frames, furniture, cabinets and more.

A variation of the standard straight based hand planer is the curved base hand planer.

Curved base hand planers are designed for creating arches and arcs in timbers and working on scarfs in logs – Timber Framers and Log Home builders can use them.

A benchtop or stationary planer will ‘thickness’ a piece of wood – which means it will make the board an even thickness from one end to the other, as long as it has a flat surface to initially work from.

There are around 5 different types of planers –

Manual Hand Planers (Smooth, Jack and Box Hand Planes)

Power Hand Planers

Benchtop Planers

Stationary Planers

2 in 1 Planer Tools


You can read about the different planing tools in 5 Different Types of Wood Planes/Planers – And Which To Get?


Should You Get A Planer?

Planers are the most versatile and probably the most popular tool on this list.

Most woodworkers at least like to have a power hand planer in their tool setup.

A planer over a jointer might be more useful if you can only choose one – because of the option of pre-milled timber, and the ability of hand planers to be portable whilst also cutting, shaping, levelling and smoothing.


Are You Looking At Buying?

If you are looking to buy a planing tool, you can read more in:

Best Benchtop Planer Thicknesser & Stationary Planer: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Best Power Hand Planer & Portable Planer: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Best Wood Thickness Planer: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews


Examples Of Benchtop Thickness Planers, & Hand Planers

A few examples of some of the more popular bench top thickness planers, and hand planers on the market right now might be:

– Thickness Planers

DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X) (on Amazon)

WEN PL1252 15-Amp 12.5-Inch Two-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer (on Amazon)


– Hand Planers

WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch (on Amazon)

Makita XPK01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-1/4-Inch Planer (on Amazon)


3) Joiners

Joiners are much different to jointers and planers which are cutting tools.

Joiners are designed to create a joint between two pieces of wood – usually a concealed biscuit, or tenon/mortice joint.

A joiner will cut a slot or bird’s mouth in both edges of flat or mitred wood, and a biscuit or tenon/mortice piece with adhesive is inserted into the slot and the pieces of wood are joined together.

Tenon/mortice joints are usually stronger and more structural for large pieces of furniture for example.

Joiners are usually called Biscuit Joiners, Plate Joiners or Tenon/Mortice Joiners.


Should You Get A Joiner?

Joiners do one thing, and do that one thing well. So, they are not as flexible as a planer in range of uses.

But, if you need to create concealed joints, and join wood, a joiner tool would benefit you.


Are You Looking At Buying?

If you are looking to buy a biscuit joiner/plate joiner/mortice joiner tool, you can read more in:

Best Biscuit Joiner & Plate Joiner: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews


Examples Of Biscuit Joiners

A few examples of some of the more popular biscuit joiners on the market right now might be:

6.5 Amp DEWALT Biscuit Joiner Kit (on Amazon)

7 Amp PORTER-CABLE Plate Joiner Kit (on Amazon)



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