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Jointer vs planer: What Is The Difference

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Written By John Gibbs




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As a novice woodworker, you may be wondering whether you should use a jointer or a planer to properly prepare your lumber for your next big project. The answer to this debate is not about picking one tool over the other but understanding that both products serve different purposes. In order to get the best results, you should use both the jointer and the planer on the same board. In this article, we will try to understand the functionality and purpose of these tools.

The Difference Between a Planer vs. Jointer
A jointer is a woodworking tool used to create a smooth, flat surface on a piece of lumber. A planer is a woodworking tool that is used to create a smooth, even surface on a piece of wood. The main difference between a jointer and a planer is that a jointer is used to create a smooth, flat surface on a piece of lumber, while a planer is used to control the thickness of the wood.


So, what is the difference between the jointer and planer:

  • The jointer will create a perfectly flat surface, while the planer will create a uniform thickness.
  • A jointer has a spinning blade within the table, while a planer has a flat deck and a blade that spins above the table.
  • Jointers are typically larger and more expensive than planers.
  • The jointers can be used to create rabbets and chamfers while the planers cannot.
  • The planers can be used to thickness stock that is too wide for the jointer.

What Does a Jointer Do?

A jointer is a woodworking tool used to create a level, flat surface on wood stock. It is also used to square the ends of boards. Most jointers have a set of infeed and outfeed rollers that help to feed the board evenly through the cutting blades. The blades are mounted in a cutter head that is rotated by a motor. The speed of the cutter head is usually adjustable, depending on the type of wood being cut.

Jointers are an important tool for any woodworker, especially if you are working with raw lumber. Are jointers used for creating level surfaces for gluing and finishing or to square up the ends of boards before cutting them to length? Jointers are also handy for creating rabbets and other types of joints.

How a Jointer Works

A jointer works by shaving off small pieces of wood from the edge of a board. This is done by feeding the board through a set of blades that are set at a precise angle. The result is a board with a perfectly straight edge. This is necessary for many woodworking projects, such as creating level surfaces for shelves or tabletops.


There are two main types of jointers: benchtop jointers and cabinet-style jointers:

  • Benchtop jointers are smaller and more compact than cabinet-style jointers. They are typically less expensive as well. However, they may not be as sturdy or have as many features as cabinet-style jointers.
  • Cabinet-style jointers are larger and more expensive than benchtop jointers. They are typically more powerful and have more features. However, they may be more difficult to move around and take up more space.
Jointer Pros
  • Allows for precise and accurate cuts;
  • Cuts can be made very quickly;
  • Jointer is very versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks;
  • Jointer is very durable and built to last;
  • Jointer is relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it.
Jointer Cons
  • Jointer can be expensive, especially if you are looking for a high-quality model;
  • Jointer can be difficult to use if you are a beginner;
  • Jointer requires regular maintenance and care in order to function properly;
  • Jointer can be very loud and produce a lot of dust;
  • Jointer can be dangerous if not used correctly.
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What is a Planer?

A planer is a machine that is used to smooth and thickness boards. The tool consists of a flat bed with a cutting head that is positioned above it. The board is fed through the cutting head, which removes small amounts of wood, and the output rollers ensure a consistent and smooth finish.

What Does a Planer Do & How It Works

The flatbed of the planer holds the wood in place while the cutting head above it removes material from the surface, levels it off, and leaves behind a smooth finish. This is a much more efficient way to create a level surface than using a jointer or hand plane and results in a more consistent finish. If you are looking to create a professional-looking finish on a piece of wood, a planer is a tool for you.


Planers are typically used after a board has been run through a jointer to create a single, flat surface. The planer then takes care of creating a consistent thickness across the board, as well as ensuring that all surfaces are parallel.

Operating a planer is relatively simple. The first step is to adjust the depth of the cutting head to your desired thickness. Then, you feed the lumber into the machine, making sure to keep a consistent speed so that the head can do its job properly. As the board comes out on the other side, you should have a beautifully smooth piece of lumber that is ready to be used in your project.

  • A planer can give you a much more precise, consistent, and smooth finish than you’d get from a jointer or even a hand plane;
  • A planer can be a huge time saver if you need to flatten or thickness multiple boards;
  • Planers can be used to create tongue and groove joints;
  • Most planers have built-in dust collection systems to help keep your work area clean;
  • A planer can be a very versatile tool and can be used for a variety of woodworking projects.
  • A planer can be a bit of a noisy tool;
  • A planer can be a bit pricey, depending on the model and brand;
  • A planer can be a bit of a messy tool, as wood chips and shavings will be produced during use;
  • A planer can be a bit dangerous if not used properly;
  • A planer can be a bit difficult to store, as it is a large and bulky tool.

Types of Planers


There are three different types of planers: benchtop planers, floor model planers, and electric handheld planers:

  • Benchtop planers are the most common type of planer. They are small and lightweight, making them easy to move around in a workshop. Benchtop planers can handle small to medium-sized pieces of lumber.
  • Floor model planers are larger and heavier than benchtop planers. They are designed to handle larger pieces of lumber. Floor model planers are not as common as benchtop planers, but they are still widely used in woodworking shops.
  • Electric handheld planers are the least common type of planer. They are powered by electricity and are used to plane small, delicate pieces of wood. Electric handheld planers are most powerful as benchtop or floor model planers, and they are much easier to control.
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Power Jointers vs. Jointer Planes

There are a few key differences between power jointers and jointer planes. For one, power jointers have a motor that helps to power the blade, while jointer planes are operated manually. This means that power jointers can make quicker work of larger projects and are better suited for more heavy-duty work.

Additionally, the blades on power jointers are often wider than those on jointer planes, which can be helpful when working with larger pieces of wood. Finally, power jointers typically have adjustable fences, which allows for more precise work.

Wood Jointer vs Planer: Which to Buy First

When it comes to woodworking, two of the most essential pieces of equipment are a jointer and a planer. But jointer or planer first you should buy?


A jointer is used to create a perfectly flat surface on a piece of wood. A planer, on the other hand, is used to thickness a piece of wood. This is important for projects where you need to have a uniform thickness, such as when making boards for a fence or shelves for a bookcase.

If you are just starting out in woodworking, then a jointer is probably the better option. This is because it is more versatile and can be used for a wider range of projects.

If you are more experienced, then a planner might be the better choice. This is because it can save you time when working on projects that require uniform thicknesses.

No matter which you choose, a jointer and a planer are essential pieces of equipment for any woodworker.


Can You Use a Planer as a Jointer?

A planer can be used as a jointer, but it is not the ideal tool for the job. A jointer is designed to create a perfectly flat surface on a piece of wood, while a planer is designed to remove material from a piece of wood to make it thinner. If you use a planer as a jointer, you will likely have an uneven surface.

Can You Use a Table Saw as a Jointer?

The answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to know first. Jointers are designed to create flat, 90-degree joints between two pieces of wood. This is done by running the wood through the jointer’s blades, which cut away any unevenness.

Table saws, on the other hand, are designed for making rip cuts – cuts that are parallel to the grain of the wood. So, while you can use a table saw to create a flat, 90-degree joint, it’s not the ideal tool for the job.

Can you use a jointer on both sides?


Most jointers have a fence that is adjustable to allow for beveling the edges of your workpiece on both sides. This is a great timesaver when you need to create two identical pieces, such as the sides of a drawer.

Why would you use a jointer?

A woodworking jointer is a tool used to create a flat surface on a piece of wood. This is done by running the wood through the jointer, which cuts away any unevenness on the surface of the wood. This is a necessary step in woodworking, as it allows for a more accurate and precise cut when the wood is later run through a table saw.

Final Thoughts

Both jointers and planers are essential woodworking tools that serve different purposes. In order to get the best results, you should use both the jointer and the planer on the same board. We hope this article has helped you learn the differences between these tools.


  • Plane (tool) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plane_(tool)
  • Woodworking – https://www.thisoldhouse.com/woodworking/21015509/choosing-and-using-hand-planes
  • Tools – https://www.britannica.com/technology/tool


About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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