What Size Jointer Do I Need? [Easy Guide!]

For small projects and boards under 6 inches wide, a 6 inch jointer is recommended. For wider boards up to 8 inches, an 8 inch jointer is ideal. Larger 10-12 inch jointers are best for heavy timber frames and surfacing large slabs.

As jointers coming in different sizes like 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″ and even 12″, how do you determine what size jointer you need?

The answer depends on several factors like the type of woodworking projects you do, size of stock you work with, your shop space and of course your budget.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to decide what size jointer is best suited for your woodworking needs.

What Does A Jointer Do?

Before we dive into sizes, it’s important to understand what exactly a jointer does.

A jointer serves two main functions:

  • It joint edges – flattens an uneven edge of a board. This prepares the edge for gluing up boards together edge-to-edge to make wider panels.
  • It faces joints – flattens and squares one face of the board. This establishes a reference surface that can then be run through a planer to flatten the opposite face parallel.

So in short, a jointer makes one face flat and one edge straight to give your stock consistent thickness and square edges. This allows precise joining of pieces and uniform surfacing.

Key Factors Determining Jointer Size

There are four key factors that determine the ideal size jointer for your workshop:

1. Type of Projects

The type of woodworking projects you take on is the number one consideration for jointer size.

For small projects like cutting boards, boxes and decorative items, a 4″ or 6″ jointer will suffice. For most furniture projects and cabinetry, a 6″ jointer is recommended. Larger pieces like tabletops, doors and wide panels need an 8″ jointer.

For heavy-duty timber framing, millwork and surfacing large slabs, you’ll need a 10″ or 12″ size.

So assess what you intend to build and what size stock you’ll be working with. This will give you a good idea of the appropriate jointer width for your projects.

2. Width of Stock

The width capacity of the jointer should exceed the width of your typical workpieces.

You want about 2″-3″ extra capacity than your regular board width for stability and to avoid tipping.

For reference, here are common jointer sizes and the maximum board width they can handle:

| Jointer Size | Max Board Width |
| 4″ | 3″-4″ stock |
| 6″| 5″-6″ stock |
| 8″ | 6″-8″ stock |
| 10″ | 8″-12″ stock |
| 12″ | 10″-16″ stock |

So if you mainly work with 6″ boards or less, a 6″ jointer will fit your needs. For tabletops using 8″-12″ stock, an 8″ or 10″ is recommended.

3. Shop Space

The physical size of your workshop and layout is another limiting factor. A 6″ jointer takes up approximately 5 square feet. An 8″ is close to 8 square feet. Larger capacity jointers have length up to 10 feet!

So consider the space you can dedicate when choosing a machine. Compact 4″ and 6″ jointers offer more flexibility for tight shops.

4. Budget

Your budget plays a big role too. In general, the wider the jointer, the more expensive it is.

While a 4″ jointer costs $200-$500, an 8″ model runs from $900-$2000. 10″ and 12″ heavy duty jointers cost upwards of $3000.

Prioritize size/capacity first, then get the best jointer you can afford in that range. Quality over size is better if budget is limited.

Jointer Size Recommendations

Based on the factors above, here are some general guidelines for choosing the ideal jointer size:

  • For small projects with 3″-4″ stock – 4″ jointer
  • For furniture and cabinets with 4″-6″ stock – 6″ jointer
  • For wider tabletops and doors 6″-8″ stock – 8″ jointer
  • For large panels, slabs and timber frames – 10″ or 12″ jointer

While an 8″ jointer is considered ideal for most hobbyists and professionals, a quality 6″ jointer is sufficient for over 90% of typical woodworking projects.

Features By Size

In addition to width capacity, larger jointers come with beefier motors, longer tables, and extra features. Here’s an overview of notable features based on size:

4″ Jointers

Best For:

  • Small projects and stock under 4″ wide
  • Occasional use
  • Space and budget limited shops


  • 3-4″ max cutting width
  • 5000-8000 RPM motor
  • Shorter 20″-30″ tables
  • Lightweight under 50 lbs
  • Portable and easy to store

6″ Jointers

Best For:

  • Furniture building
  • Cabinets and doors
  • 4″-6″ stock


  • 5-6″ max cutting width
  • 10000-12000 RPM motor
  • 30″-40″ tables
  • 70-120 lbs weight
  • Large stand or benchtop

8″ Jointers

Best For:

  • Tabletops
  • Wide panels
  • Doors
  • 6″-8″ stock


  • 6-8″ max cutting width
  • 12000-18000 RPM motor
  • 40″-50″ tables
  • 150-400 lbs weight
  • Stand alone with long beds
  • Helical cutterheads

10″ & 12″ Jointers

Best For:

  • Heavy timber frames
  • Large slabs and live edge boards
  • Commercial shops
  • 8″+ stock


  • 10-13″ cutting width
  • Powerful 220V or 3HP motors
  • 60″+ tables
  • 500-1000 lbs weight
  • Robust industrial construction
  • Helical cutterheads
  • Mobile bases for large models

Top Brands By Jointer Size

Here are some of the top jointer brands available in common size ranges:

4″ Jointers

  • Cutech
  • Wahuda
  • Grizzly
  • Shop Fox

6″ Jointers

  • Jet
  • Powermatic
  • Delta
  • Rikon
  • Grizzly

8″ Jointers

  • Grizzly
  • Jet
  • Powermatic
  • Shop Fox
  • Laguna

10″-12″ Jointers

  • Powermatic
  • Jet
  • Hammer
  • Oliver Machinery
  • Grizzly

Stick to reputable woodworking brands that make durable jointers with excellent cut quality. Avoid very cheap light duty jointers which can be frustrating and even dangerous.

Manual vs Electric Jointers

Another choice is manual hand jointers vs electric jointers:

Manual Jointers

  • Utilize hand planes to flatten edges
  • Don’t require electricity
  • Limited to small boards under 3′ long
  • Very slow and labor intensive

Electric Jointers

  • Use spinning blades for fast material removal
  • Require 220V power connection
  • Joint boards up to 10′ long
  • Produce smooth, flat edges quickly

For most woodworkers, an electric jointer is highly recommended for productivity and efficiency. The initial cost pays for itself with the time savings compared to using hand planes alone.

But for the very space and budget constrained, a manual jointer is better than no jointer at all.

Benchtop vs Floor Model Jointers

When looking at jointers, you’ll also come across benchtop and floor standing models:

Benchtop Jointers

  • Compact footprint
  • Mount on workbench or standalone stand
  • Best for 4″ and 6″ sizes
  • Equipped with shorter beds
  • Take up minimal floor space

Floor Model Jointers

  • Freestanding on a closed stand
  • Available in 6″, 8″, 10″ & 12″ sizes
  • Require permanent shop placement
  • Long beds with space behind cutterhead
  • Heavier and more stable for smoothing

Bench style works well for smaller hobby jointers. Floor standing cabinet style jointers are better suited to larger capacity professional models over 8 inches.

Should You Buy A Wide Jointer?

A common question woodworkers have is whether it’s worth buying the widest jointer possible.

The upside of larger capacity is the ability to surface wider stock in a single pass. An 8″ jointer can face joint the equivalent of a 24″ wide panel for example.

However, wider jointers come at a cost – they take up more shop space, cost significantly more, and are overkill if you don’t regularly work with wide boards.

Here are some pros and cons of buying an oversized jointer:


  • Handle wider stock for large projects
  • Eliminates the need to edge glue narrower boards
  • Saves time compared to multiple passes on a smaller jointer
  • Increased resale value if you upgrade shop later


  • Require more shop space and placement planning
  • Cost substantially more than adequate size
  • Not portable and hard to move to new location
  • Overkill if you mainly use 6″ and under stock

Our recommendation would be to buy the minimum size that meets your current needs rather than the maximum. Invest the cost difference in other critical tools instead.

You can always add a larger jointer later on if your projects scale up. Chances are you’ll use a 6″ or 8″ jointer 95% of the time anyway.

Critical Features To Look For

Beyond just width capacity, there are several important features that affect the performance of a jointer:

  • Fence – A sturdy, adjustable fence ensures square joints at 90 and 45 degrees.
  • Table length – Longer beds over 40″ provide better workpiece support.
  • Cutterhead – Helical cutterheads make smoother cuts than straight knives.
  • Dust collection – Built-in ports are essential to control wood chips and dust.
  • Mobile base – Makes it easy to move the heavy machine around the shop.
  • Safety features – Guarded controls, overload protection, and anti-kickback are vital.

Prioritizing these aspects makes for a superior jointer. Don’t compromise quality just to get a wider machine on a tight budget.

Planer & Thickness Jointer Combination Machines

Another option is to get a 2-in-1 machine that combines a jointer and thickness planer:


  • Saves space having both tools in one.
  • Usually priced lower than buying separately.
  • Quick to switch between jointing and planing functions.


  • Jack of all trades but master of none. Quality and power is compromised.
  • Limited to 6″ width at best. Not viable for wide stock.
  • Major hassle if one component needs repair.

The consensus among most pros is to get dedicated stand-alone machines. The compromise of having a jointing planer combo usually leaves woodworkers dissatisfied with both functions.

An exception would be going with a combo machine for a compact hobby shop only doing small projects.

Jointer Size Recommendations By Project

To make it easy, here is our recommended minimum jointer size based on your typical woodworking projects:

| Project/Woodwork | Minimum Jointer Size |
| Small boxes, crafts | 4′′ jointer |
| Cutting boards, signs | 4′′ or 6′′ jointer |
| Cabinet doors, face frames | 6′′ jointer |
| Chair parts, tables | 6′′ jointer |
| Bed frames, shelving | 6′′ jointer |
| Desks, cabinets, dressers | 6′′ jointer |
| Short tabletops | 6′′ jointer |
| Long tabletops, live edge slabs | 8′′ jointer |
| Large dining tables | 8′′ or 10′′ jointer |
| Wide counter tops | 8′′ or 10′′ jointer |
| Entertainment centers | 8′′ jointer |
| Interior doors | 6′′ or 8′′ jointer |
| Exterior doors | 8′′ or 10′′ jointer |
| Timber frame home building | 10′′ or 12′′ jointer |
| Barn wood siding | 10′′ or 12′′ jointer |
| Flooring | 8′′ or 10′′ jointer |

This provides a good estimate based on typical wood stock sizes used for each project type. Easy to choose a jointer knowing what you’ll mainly be using it for.

What If My Stock Is Wider Than My Jointer?

You may be wondering what can you do if your workpiece width exceeds the capacity of your jointer?

Here are some options to flatten wide boards with a small jointer:

  • Rip the board into narrower pieces that do fit your jointer, then edge glue them back together. A little extra work but not too difficult.
  • Use a handplane to flatten the edges beyond your jointer’s range. Fast forremoving high spots but requires some skill.
  • Build an outfeed table extension for more support with long stock. Easily bolts onto the jointer bed.
  • Use cauls and clamps to help joint wider pieces if they can hang off the beds a few inches.
  • Upgrade to a wider jointer if you constantly work beyond your current model’s capacity.

With some jigs and techniques, you can work around jointer size limitations relatively easily.


Choosing the right size jointer requires careful consideration of your typical wood stock width, project types, shop space and budget.

For most hobbyists and small shops, a 6 inch jointer provides the best balance of capacity, footprint and cost.

Professional furniture builders get great mileage out of 8 inch jointers. And serious timber framing merits a 10+ inch heavy duty jointer.

Don’t get swayed by the appeal of wider capacity if you realistically don’t require it. Start reasonable with your first jointer and upgrade later if needed.

Focus on build quality, safety features, dust collection, and ease of use when selecting a jointer. With proper care and maintenance, it will serve your woodworking needs for decades to come.

Hopefully this guide has covered all the key questions to help determine the ideal jointer size for your shop and projects. Thanks for reading!