What You Will Get Here
- Why you should trust us
- What are biscuit joiners?
- Why use biscuit joiners for woodworking
- How to use a biscuit joiner?
- Things to consider when buying
- How did we pick these products?
- Our top 10 product list
- Top Choice: DEWALT DW682K 6.5 Amp
- The Budget King: VonHaus 8.5 Amp
- Most Versatile Joiner: PORTER-CABLE 557
- Great for Comfort: Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner
- High-End Choice: Festool 574432 Domino
- A list of 5 other products we reviewed
- A list of other tested products
- Safety tips
- Care & maintenance
Why you should trust us
The Drillly team comprises a group of professionals from metal and woodworking industries. We have experts in machine tool fabrication who underwent scores of utility and construction projects. Our decade long experience with industrial-grade metal and woodworking tools gave us the confidence to conduct product reviews on the top trending machines and tools on the market.
Our review process includes research-based data analysis and field testings to maximize the objectivity of our findings. In addition, community-based user experiences enrich our database while at the same time help us maintain focus on the pragmatic aspects of each product we review.
We are also connected with a network of industry experts and certified quality checkers who always guide us in the right direction. Our aim is to present our readers with enough information so they know what choices to make in a particular category. Hopefully, this buying guide will help you win the bargain.
What are biscuit joiners?
A biscuit joiner is a tool used to make clear, seamless joints without using any bolts, nails or screws. It creates a small piece of wood which is known as “biscuit”. This is how this tool got its popular name.
The tool itself was invented more than 60 years ago by a Swiss cabinetmaker whose invention soon became inevitable in furniture making, door panels, fence and trim work, as well as many other types of woodworks.
How does the biscuit system work? Internal plunges are made by cutting micro slots in the wood. Mostly, it is done on a board edge. Then, a tiny piece of wood that we call a biscuit is put into the slot. Before that, you put some glue onto it. This actually hides all signs of joints. At the same time, it secures the material in place.
I highly recommend you to learn more about how these tools work so that you can choose the right one for your individual needs.
Why use biscuit joiners for woodworking
There are many benefits that professional woodworkers and hobbyists can get from a good biscuit joiner. Those benefits include:
- The ability to work with very hard types of wood
- The ability to work with beechwood for making the biscuits
- Creating perfect joints for tabletops
- Remarkable results when it comes to corner joints
- Providing extra-stable joints for drawers
- Saving effort
- Saving time
- Biscuit joiners are compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use tools that fit anywhere
- These tools allow you to pick the depth you want, with full precision
How to use a biscuit joiner?
Now when you got excited after seeing all these amazing biscuit joiners, we must tell you to slow down a little bit if you are not a professional. Beginners and hobbyists must know that even the top-ranking biscuit joiners in the market cannot work its magic if you don’t have some basic skills.
This is why we will now talk about the key steps of using a biscuit joiner properly. This is just the beginning. You can check some instruction videos available on the official manufacturers’ channels to deepen your knowledge and improve your skills.
- Make sure you are working on a suitable worktable well equipped with a jig
- Always make sure that the boards you want to join are properly aligned on the table top
- Mark the positions where the biscuits should fit
- Position the guide fence over the board surface
- Line the guide with a pencil (avoid marking several boards at the same time, as this increases your chances of making a mistake)
- Start the machine
- Penetrate the board with the saw blade until the stop line
- After you had cut all the necessary parts, add glue to the board slot
- Insert the biscuits into the slots
- Use clamps to reinforce and secure the joints
- Don’t squeeze out the glue by tightening the clamps too much
- Keep the clamps on until the glue is completely dry
Things to consider when buying
Here are some of the most important factors you must consider when buying your new biscuit joiner. At the same time, these are the factors we took into account when evaluating different models available in the market for the purpose of making this review. Let’s take a look at the key features of this product.
1. Power & motor
Power is perhaps the most important feature you must evaluate when it comes to choosing a good biscuit joiner. Remember, how you work with the machine and get results depends much on motor power.
There are two things to check: the amp draw and the RPM. The higher the amp draw, the more the power. In addition, high RMP speed will allow you to complete your work much faster. This is especially important if you are taking large orders and working on tight deadlines.
Woodworking tools must pass the durability test. These are not cheap machines. In addition, you will definitely be using them often. Furthermore, the environment and tasks they are supposed to complete in an impeccable manner are often harsh and demanding.
This is why you must be sure that the machine you are choosing is durable and sturdy. It must be made from the heavy duty materials for this type of woodworking tools. Polymer plastics are a good choice. Last but not least, make sure that the material is corrosion-resistant.
3. Depth settings
The depth settings of the grooves are very important for the versatility and performance of your tool. Different groove depths will ensure flexibility. You will be able to produce different types of cuts, i.e. different products with such a tool.
4. Biscuit sizes
When it comes to the biscuit sizes, the rule is rather simple. The larger the biscuit groove size, the larger wood pieces you can join. Consequently, if you are buying a biscuit joiner for furniture, definitely opt for a tool that will allow you to cut large biscuit sizes. Similarly, choose a machine that is versatile when it comes to this criterion.
5. Blade versatility
Setting up your biscuit joiner requires some knowledge of the blade size. Let’s introduce you to the basics of joiner blades.
The standard measure for a typical joiner is a 4-inch blade. This blade is a very good choice for different biscuits, including #0, #10 and #20.
However, if you are doing woodwork as a professional, be sure that this blade will not be enough. Analyze the biscuit sizes you use and choose the blades accordingly.
6. Handle style
You can choose between two types of handle styles. We will explain to you the difference between the D-Handle and the barrel grip.
The D-style handle is actually an added piece to your machine. It is an integrated handle that makes holding and maneuvering of the tool much easier. Its ergonomic style is appreciated by professionals. It allows the effortless use of the tool for many hours. In cases of routers, creating the bits is simpler.
On the other hand, a barrel grip allows you to wrap the grip around your hand. In this way, you can hold the tool safely and avoid some accidents.
7. Plate joiner plunge action
First, let’s clarify what a “plunge” is. It is the initial cut you make in the material. Consequently, you really need a smooth cut and high-performance plate joiner plunge action.
Uneven and poor plunges lead to poor joints. For the reason that you want to avoid unstable joints, you must pick a smooth plunge action.
8. Fence settings
Except for the fence type and structure, fence settings; i.e., tilting is very important for a biscuit joiner. As a result, you are able to work with miter joints. If the fence is not tillable, you won’t be able to work under angles.
Usually, most of the commercial models today offer fence tilt from 0 to 90 degrees. However, advanced models offer an angle of up to 135 degrees! This is what allows you to make perfect miter joints. Therefore, this is exactly what you should look for when it comes to fence settings. If the fence system has a lock-in-place feature, it's an added feature that will help you use the miter joint feature repetitively.
9. Dust collection system
The dust collection system is important because of several reasons. It affects your joint making precision. If there are wood particles all around, the chances that you will make a mistake are much higher.
In addition, a dust collection system enables a clean field of view. Similarly, clean holes and joints help the glue adhesion process. You will have stronger and durable joints if the wood particles and dust were not standing in your way.
Last but not least, a good dust collection system will help you keep your working space clean and neat.
We want to emphasize that accuracy is most probably the key feature you are looking for. It drastically affects the quality of your end product.
Good plunge action, quality blade, precision adjustments, safe and comfortable grip, as well as good fence system and powerful motor heavily affect the tool accuracy.
The warranty for this type of tool heavily depends on the manufacturer. You can find warranties from 1 year, to VIP 2-year offers, or limited lifetime warranties. A 1-year warranty is considered a poor option for this type of tool. Look for at least a 2-year warranty option or more.
12. Biscuit joiners vs. dowel rods
Most experts say that both biscuit joiners and dowel rods have their pros and cons. Long story short, both biscuit joiners and dowel rods can do similar things, but the question is, what do you want? Do you want to save time?
Biscuit joiners are amazingly effective to make different joints quickly. You can keep the parts, even the tiny ones, in alignment, effortlessly, and get excellent results. They are especially good for miter joints.
On the other hand, experts say that dowel rods provide somewhat stronger connections. This is especially true when we talk about shear strength.
However, today’s glue production technology is advanced and you can find extra-strong glues. Therefore, the versatility of areas of application of a biscuit joiner is getting wider and richer. At the same time, alignment, especially when we talk about tiny or angled parts, is still a problem that only this machine can solve.
The practical differences between a biscuit joiner and dowel rods include seamless joints, perfect and easy alignment, and quick operation.
Finally, we can’t say that one or the other is the winner. Simply, if you are a professional, owning both tools are highly recommended, as there are cases when you will want to use the biscuit joiner and other cases when you will definitely opt for a dowel rod.
13. Ease of use
Comfortable use depends on tool design and engineering. If you opt for an ergonomic design with a non-slip, safe grip and a good handle, you will be able to use your biscuit joiner for hours before getting tired.
In addition, compact size and form are very important. They heavily affect your maneuvering skills and the end result. Last but not least, automatized systems, ease of adjustability, and functional settings will help you use your tool effortlessly.
14. Price-to-quality ratio
The comparison between the money you pay and the quality you get is important for any product, especially when it comes to technology and tools. If we are talking about woodworking tools, such as biscuit joiners, the price to quality ratio becomes even more important.
Both hobby and professional users know that the biscuit joiner is irreplaceable in today’s furniture production and other wood-processing works. This tool will be used 24/7 if you have a large order you have to deliver on a tight deadline.
Therefore, impeccable performance is a must. This is why you should always look for quality first. Price is usually determined by the quality of the biscuit joiner parts and workmanship, but you can also easily fall into the trap of overpaying the tool.
Always make a good research of the brand reputation and the current market offer before making your decision. You can also find excellent models at affordable prices.
How did we pick these products?
As I had already mentioned, a lack of comprehensive and detailed online reviews on biscuit joiners forced me to conduct a thorough research on the topic. Our expert woodworker team spent more than 20 hours of detailed internet research and picked top rated 20 plate joiners that stood out from the rest.
Then, we tested some of these biscuit joiners in our workshops. We completed different kinds of tasks to test the versatility and functionality of those products. As we couldn’t test all of the chosen products by ourselves because not all were available in our locality, we relied on a team of volunteers to do the testing for us. Luckily, they were able to provide their feedback on time.
This is how we narrowed down the list of the most reliable products and picked the Top 10. As you have seen, the choice was based on our testing results and feedback from real-life users. After we narrowed down the list of the highest quality biscuit joiner tools in the market, we asked for an opinion from the users. Analyzing lots of community-based organic reviews from Amazon and other trustworthy sites helped us get the complete image on all tested products.
Furthermore, we want to point out that we had designed a value grid that helped us set the criteria for evaluating the tools. Those criteria include power, motor, durability, depth settings, biscuit sizes, blade versatility, handle style, plate joiner plunge action, fence settings, dust collection system, accuracy, and ease of use. In addition, we did not underestimate the warranty and price either.
Our top 10 product list
In this section, we will be answering your question-- which biscuit joiner is the best-- with our top 10 list. We believe that this comprehensive review will provide a good insight into the features of different models, categorized based on their common values, peculiarities, as well as technical features. Let’s begin!