Planer vs Jointer – Which One Should You Buy?

Planer vs Jointer

Woodworkers might often ask, ‘What’s the difference between a planer and a jointer?’ Some of them woodworkers may know about the planer and jointer, but may not be able to differentiate between these two power tools. Before we start differentiating, we must know that both the planer and jointer are expensive tools. Only the professional woodworkers and serious DIY experts purchase these tools for their projects.

Due to the high price tag, many woodworkers face a dilemma as to which tool to buy first. Both the tools are also bulky and cumbersome, which means that these tools require a lot of space and regular maintenance. This makes the decision even tougher to make. To ease up the process of decision making, we’ve come up with the planer vs jointer comparison where we look deeper into the functionalities of each tool in detail.

What Is a Planer?

Benchtop planers are a power tool with two sharp blades which can cut through the wood surface. The planer is fairly easy to use. It can be used to smooth top and bottom surfaces of the wooden lumber consecutively. As the wooden piece is inserted through the opening and the motor is turned on, the feed roller will take hold of the lumber and push it to the cutting blades on the top of the opening. The thickness of the final lumber can be determined by adjusting the height of the cutter.

The electric hand planer is a hand-held planer which requires a lot less space than the stationary counterpart. It has one cutting edge similar to that of a power jointer. The planer can be placed on the wooden surface and pushed through the surface to get smooth lumber.

Benchtop planers

What Is a Jointer?

The benchtop jointer is a power tool with a sharp edge used for smoothing the surface of pieces of lumber. The wood jointer has an outfeed table and an infeed table. There are multiple blades in the middle of the tool. These blades lead straight to the tool’s outfeed table. The blades can rip through the wood, creating a smooth texture on the wooden surface.

To start the operation, the infeed table must be lowered to the depth that is equal to the thickness of the wood you want to chip off. There is a fence in the edges of the tool to prevent the lumber from moving off the tool. It also acts as a supporting element when you are cutting the edges of the lumber.

The benchtop jointer

Planer vs jointer

Both the planer and jointer can be used for wood surfacing tasks. The jointer is particularly handy when it comes to smoothing a surface of the lumber. It can also create a flat or squared edge with high accuracy which is why most woodworkers prefer it.

On the other hand, the planer provides the woodworker with a smoother finish. It requires a little effort to operate and can smoothen both sides of the lumber with high precision. Two opposite sides of the lumber can be smoothened while making sure that both sides are parallel to each other.

Planer or jointer

Which One to Buy?

Well, the decision is heavily dependent upon the individual’s personal preferences. Many people prefer to use a jointer rather than a planer whereas some people prefer the use of a planer. Although these tools serve different purposes, the outcome of the lumber is almost the same. We get a smooth finish to the surface of the lumber.

According to us, we recommend purchasing a planer at first. It is mainly because the planer can smoothen both the surfaces of the lumber, ensuring that both sides are parallel to each other. The jointer can provide a smooth surface as well, but we can’t always get the uniform thickness all throughout the lumber. The planer, on the other hand, ensures that the lumber has a uniform thickness. It also requires a lot less effort when compared to the jointer as the motor itself does the chipping.

Some people prefer the jointer over the planer as they can process a lot more lumber in a small period with the help of the jointer.


When it comes to functionality, we can say that both the planer and the jointer are the same. Both can produce smooth surfaces and squared edges with high accuracy. The planer has the upper hand over the jointer because it can trim both the upper and lower surfaces of the lumber at once, producing a final piece of lumber with uniform thickness.

However, you must remember that these two tools work hand-in-hand with each other. The jointer planer combo is essential for having a productive workshop. This is why one can’t serve the purpose of the other. Since these tools are quite expensive, you can go on with purchasing a high-quality thickness planer at first and then considering purchasing power jointer. You can also consider checking the information and reviews of many woodworking tools.

DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735)
  • Powerful 15-AMP, 20,000 RPM motor (10,000 RPM cutterhead speed) handles larger cuts in wider materials with ease
  • Three knife cutter-head delivers 30-percent longer knife life and makes knife change faster and easier
  • Two speed gear box allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
  • Fan-assisted chip ejection vacuums chips off of the cutter-head and exhausts them out of the machine

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

Leave a Comment