Corded vs Cordless Jointer [Differences You Must Know!]

Jointers come in corded electric and cordless battery-powered versions. Each has its own pros, cons, differences, and ideal uses. This comprehensive guide will compare corded vs cordless jointers to help you decide which is better for your woodworking needs.

Corded vs Cordless Jointer Comparison Table

Here is an overview of the key differences between corded and cordless jointers:

FeatureCorded JointerCordless Jointer
PowerHigher power, larger amp motors (10+ Amps) deliver consistent cutting speedLower power due to battery limitations (4-8 Amps)
SizeLarger, full-sized 6-8” modelsCompact 4-6” models
PortabilityStationary tool that must be wired to wall outletPortable around shop and job site
FeaturesAdvanced features like spiral cutter headsTypically fewer features
Duty CycleDesigned for heavy-duty flattening of thicker hardwoodsBest for lighter smoothing work on thin boards
CostMore expensiveLower cost
Corded vs Cordless Jointer

As you can see, corded jointers offer substantially more power and capacity but lack portability. Cordless jointers trade off some functionality for untethered convenience.

Key Differences Between Corded & Cordless Jointers


The most significant difference between corded and cordless jointers is the power source:

  • Corded – Corded jointers run on household 120V or 240V electricity and can deliver high sustained power for dealing with tougher material removal jobs. They provide continuous, constant power and don’t slow down during extended use.
  • Cordless – Cordless jointers use onboard rechargeable batteries as the power source. The batteries allow freedom from cords but provide less total power compared to corded models. Cordless performance can begin decreasing as the battery drains during use.

Generally, corded jointers have higher horsepower motors capable of faster cuts and heavier passes than similar-sized cordless models. Serious hobbyists and professionals mostly prefer the unlimited power of corded jointers.

Cutting Width Capacity

The max cutting width determines how wide of stock you can joint. Wider capacities help with flattening and straightening large tabletop slabs and panels:

  • Corded – Corded jointers commonly range from 4″ up to 12″ maximum cutting width. Industrial models may go up to 16″ or more.
  • Cordless – Most cordless jointers max out at 6″ cutting width due to battery power limitations. A few high-end cordless models may reach 8″ capacity.

If you’ll be working with lots of wide stock, a corded jointer offers more width capacity. For smaller boards and general woodshop use, a 6″ cordless jointer is usually sufficient.

Cutting Depth

Cutting depth determines how deeply you can plane off material in a single pass. More depth helps remove more unevenness faster:

  • Corded – Corded jointers typically offer 1/8″ to 1/2″ cutting depth per pass, some over 1″. This allows taking very heavy cuts when flattening rough stock.
  • Cordless – Battery power restricts most cordless jointers to 1/8″ to 3/8″ max cutting depth to avoid stalling the motor. You’ll need to take multiple lighter passes to flatten stock.

Corded jointers can hog off more material in one go whereas cordless models excel at taking lighter passes across the wood’s face.


A major advantage of cordless tools is easy mobility around the shop without dragging cords:

  • Corded – Corded jointers are limited in placement by the available power outlets in your shop. They tend to be large stationary machines.
  • Cordless – The battery power makes cordless jointers fully portable and able to be used anywhere. Their lighter weight also makes them easier to transport and store.

For a fixed machine that will live in one spot, corded is fine. But cordless jointers offer useful flexibility in positioning.


In general, you’ll pay more for the extra power and capabilities of corded jointers:

  • Corded – Entry-level corded jointers start around $200 to $400 for benchtop 4″ models, ranging up to $2000+ for heavy floorstanding 12″+ industrial jointers. Expect to pay $800 to $1500 for a capable mid-range 6″ to 8″ jointer.
  • Cordless – Cordless jointers are a newer product category and thus more expensive, with most starting around $400 to $600 for basic 6″ models. Larger pro-grade cordless jointers cost $1000 to $2000+.

Both corded and cordless jointers scale up in price for more cutting width, features, power, and durability for heavy use.

Pros of Corded Jointers

Continuous, Powerful Operation

The major pro of corded jointers is the essentially unlimited power available from the wall outlet. Even entry-level 4″ corded jointers start with ~1 HP motors and go up dramatically from there. Large industrial corded jointers may have 10+ HP.

This ample power means corded jointers can take very heavy cuts when flattening rough stock, power through denser exotic woods, and joint for long periods without performance drop off. Serious workshops with heavy jointing demands benefit from their unflagging power.

Low Long-Term Cost

Though initial purchase prices may be higher for corded jointers, they offer lower operating costs long-term by avoiding expensive battery replacements. You just plug them in and go.

Over a lifetime of ownership, not needing to regularly buy replacement batteries saves significant money vs cordless jointers.

Wider Cutting Width Capacity

Corded jointers commonly max out between 6″ to 12″+ cutting width capacity, letting you joint wide tabletop slabs, large panels, and other substantial stock. Wide jointing on a cordless jointer would require lighter passes and edge-jointing multiple boards.

Deeper Cutting Depth

The wall power enables corded jointers to take very deep cuts of 1/2″ or more in a single pass. This is useful for quickly removing significant unevenness from rough stock. Cordless jointers top out around 1/4″ to 3/8″ depth per pass.

Quieter Operation

In general, corded jointers utilize heavier mass cast iron tables and bodies with belt drive systems that dampen vibration and noises. Jointing lumber produces less high-pitch whining compared to the motors and gears of lighter cordless jointers.

Better for Production Use

Corded jointers offer sustained high power and capacity for dealing with large volumes of stock, as found in professional workshops. They’re ideal for flattening and preparing lots of boards continuously with no waits for battery charging.

Cons of Corded Jointers

Higher Upfront Cost

While they can save money long-term without replaceable batteries, corded jointers do cost more upfront. Expect to pay $800+ for a good mid-range corded jointer vs $400 to $600 for a capable cordless model. The unlimited power carries a price premium.

Less Portable

Corded jointers must be located near available power outlets in the shop. This somewhat limits placement flexibility. Their large heavy bodies also make corded jointers harder to move around and store.

More Setup/Maintenance

Due to their belt drive systems and higher power, corded jointers require a bit more setup care and maintenance like belt tensioning and replacement, knife setting, and table adjustment. Cordless jointers are mostly “plug and play”.

Dangerous Spinning Cutters

The extreme cutting speeds and power of corded jointers come with safety risks. The open spinning blades pose a serious injury hazard if hands contact the cutterhead. Special care is needed when operating corded jointers.

Require Dedicated Electrical Circuit

To deliver their high power, corded jointers need a dedicated 240V circuit or may trip the breakers on standard household 120V circuits. Proper wiring by an electrician is ideal prior to getting a large corded jointer.

Pros of Cordless Jointers

Less Expensive Upfront Cost

The newest generation of cordless jointers provides an easier entry point for causal DIYers and small shops. A capable 6″ cordless jointer runs $400 to $600 compared to $800+ for an equivalent corded model. The lower initial investment makes upgrading more attainable.

Increased Portability

Lacking a power cord, battery-powered jointers offer unmatched portability and flexibility for positioning around the shop. Their lighter weight also allows easier transport and storage. You can bring jointing operations right to the workpiece rather than vice versa.

Quick/Easy Setup & Use

Cordless jointers maintain the pick up and go usability of other cordless tools. There’s no power cord wrangling and minimal setup or maintenance other than blade changes. Just charge the battery and start jointing.

Safer for Beginners

The lower cutting power and speeds of cordless jointers make them inherently a bit safer for novice woodworkers to operate. There’s less risk of major injuries from accidental contact with the spinning knives.

Quieter Operation

Thanks to the enclosed beltless direct drive systems on most cordless jointers, they produce very little noise when running – mostly just a mild electric hum. This makes extended jointing operations less fatiguing and noisy for your ears.

Don’t Need Dedicated Electrical Circuit

A standard 120V household outlet provides ample current for even larger cordless jointers. You can easily plug them into any nearby receptacle rather than needing heavy wiring for 240V circuits like bigger corded jointers require.

Cons of Cordless Jointers

Lower Total Power & Cutting Capacity

Due to battery limitations, cordless jointers max out at around 1 to 1.5 HP and mostly top out at 6″ width capacity to avoid overtaxing the motor. They lack the raw power of larger corded jointers for big cuts. You’ll need more gradual light passes.

Run Time Restrictions Between Charging

While advanced Lithium batteries provide decent run times, all cordless tools still face eventual performance degradation as the battery drains, especially under heavy loads. Plan on charging halfway through longer jointing tasks to maintain full power.

Slower Feed Rate Capabilities

The lower power of cordless jointers also restricts how quickly you can feed lumber through the machine. Trying to joint too fast can slow the cutterhead speed and cause burning. You’ll need to work at a more moderate controlled pace.

Lower Cutting Depth Per Pass

Don’t expect to take more than 1/8″ to 3/8″ depth of cut per pass on a cordless jointer when surfacing rough or warped boards. Removing lots of material requires making multiple light passes rather than hogging off heavy cuts.

Higher Long-Term Costs

While cheaper upfront, cordless jointers cost more in the long run as the batteries wear out every 2 to 5 years and need replacement. New battery packs often cost $150+ from the manufacturer.

Uses for Corded vs Cordless Jointers

Despite the differences, both corded and cordless jointers can perform well for general woodworking when matched to appropriate tasks:

Best Uses for Corded Jointers

  • Flattening large slabs and wide panels
  • Jointing dense exotic hardwoods
  • Production shops with high jointing volume
  • Fine woodworking with tight tolerances
  • Removing significant cupped or warped stock
  • Deep surfacing of rough lumber

Best Uses for Cordless Jointers

  • Hobbyists and small DIY shops
  • Beginner woodworkers for safety and ease of use
  • Jointing smaller boards up to 6″ width
  • Portable jobsite and on-location work
  • Quick touch up jointing of furniture projects
  • Occasional light jointing tasks

Key Features To Compare

When choosing between corded or cordless, here are some of the most important features and specifications to consider for your needs:

Cutting Width Capacity

The wider the better for jointing large stock. Corded jointers range from 4″ up to 12″+ while most cordless max out at 6″ capacity.

Cutting Depth Per Pass

Look for 1/8″ to 1/2″ depth on corded or 1/8″ to 3/8″ on cordless. More means removing material faster.

Feed Rate

Faster feed rates improve workflow for high quantity jointing. Cordless tops out around 10 feet per minute while corded offer 15+ fpm.

Power Rating

Horsepower equates to torque for cutting. Look for 1+ HP on corded or ~1 HP for cordless.

Table Size

Long tables give better support for jointing longer boards. Look for 40″+ tables on corded or 30″ on cordless.

Fence Quality

A sturdy, precise 45 or 90 degree fence ensures straight edges. Look for solid cast iron on corded models.

Dust Collection

Integrated ports for extracting shavings improve shop cleanliness. Most jointers have 4″ ports standard.

Safety Features

Guards, paddle power switches, and magnetic switches prevent accidents. Corded jointers especially need ample safety mechanisms.

Warranty Coverage

Expect 1 year or more of warranty for manufacturing defects. Cordless tool warranties often exclude batteries.

Recommended Corded Jointer Models

Here are some of the best corded jointer options currently available:

  • Grizzly G0725 – 10″ Benchtop Jointer with spiral cutterhead and 1.75 HP motor. Great for hobbyists.
  • Jet JJP-12HH – 12″ Parallelogram Jointer packing 3 HP power and 56″ tables. A true woodworkers machine.
  • Powermatic 54HH – The gold standard of jointers providing 13″ capacity and 5 HP cutting power from a helical cutterhead. Amazing performance for pros.
  • RIKON Power Tools 60-150H – A 10″ open-stand jointer with 2HP for the ideal midpoint of power and capacity for passionate hobbyists.
  • Shop Fox W1829 – Offering 8″ capacity and 2 HP at a great price point for budget-focused home shops.

Recommended Cordless Jointer Models

Top cordless jointer options include:

  • Makita XAJ13 – Makita’s high-performing 5.5″ cordless jointer runs on two 18V batteries for top power and cutting depth.
  • DeWalt DWE7492X – At just 6.35″ wide capacity, this lightweight cordless jointer is highly portable and great for job site use.
  • Triton TJP10 – Triton’s advanced 6.5″ cordless jointer utilizes reactive force cancellation to allow deeper cuts despite the battery power supply.
  • Metabo HPT CJ90VST – Excellent value from this brushless cordless jointer with 6″ capacity and adjustable fence for angled edges.
  • Porter Cable PCCJJ617L – A budget friendly cordless pick for DIYers and hobbyists, providing capable jointing in a portable package.

The Bottom Line

When choosing between corded or cordless jointers, consider your power needs, budget, types of projects, and workload levels. Corded jointers offer unlimited sustained cutting power but are costlier upfront. Cordless provides convenience and mobility at lower capacities and overall power.

For smaller hobbyist shops doing occasional lighter jointing of boards under 6″ wide, a cordless jointer provides great ease of use and portability. Larger professional workshops jointing lots of wide stock are better served by the capabilities of a powerful corded jointer.

By matching the right jointer type to your specific woodworking needs, you can ensure the optimum jointing performance for crafting professional quality finished projects.