Best Biscuit Joiners 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Biscuit joiners are a tool that not every shop owner uses. They can be a bit intimidating since they’re so uncommon. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our reviews of the best biscuit joiners of 2020 are designed to demystify these tools and help you find the model that’s right for you.
It’s also not always easy to shop online. It can be hard to tell if you know everything you need to know about a product before you buy, which can lead to heartbreak once you start using it. We cover the good and the bad with each model, so you can weigh the different models and find one that’s good for your budget and meets your needs.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide so that you can learn about biscuit joiners in general before committing your hard-earned cash. In no time at all, we’ll have you looking at these tools like an expert would.
A Look at our Favorite Models in 2020
|Best Overall||DEWALT DW682K||
The 5 Best Biscuit Joiners
1. DEWALT DW682K Plate Biscuit Joiner – Best Overall
The DEWALT DW682K is the best biscuit joiner on the market today. It comes with a non-marring shoe, which makes it hard to accidentally damage your piece while you work, which could quickly pay for itself if you’re using an old biscuit joiner that leaves scratches. It also comes with a powerful 6.5 Amp motor. That’s enough power to chew through even the hardest woods with ease. The dual rack and pinion fence are designed to ensure that the blade and fence are always parallel so that you can get very accurate joints without too much stress.
This model is also well-regarded when it comes to ergonomics. While a tool doesn’t have to feel good in your hands to be a great tool, it’s a feature that never hurts. The only problem with this model is that some of the units ship with alignment problems. Some units’ blades are not dead-square with the rest of the frame, which can make it hard to get precise cuts. This means you’ll need to quickly unbox it after you get it and check its accuracy. However, if you get a well-aligned model, you’ll be very happy with its performance and price.
2. Makita PJ7000 Plate-Biscuit Joiner
The Makita PJ7000 is another great biscuit joiner. This model comes with a 5.6 AMP motor, which is a tad on the weak side but won’t create a problem you’ll notice unless you’re exclusively working with the very hardest woods out there. You’ll still slice through softer woods and plywood like butter. This model also comes with a rack and pinion fence, which helps you easily achieve proper alignment before you make your cut. It also comes with six depth settings, twice as many as the previous model, giving you more cutting versatility.
Furthermore, this model cuts smoothly, which is a sign that the biscuit joiner is well-made. That smooth operation will help reduce operator error, as you’ll always feel like you’re in control. What ultimately keeps this model out of first place is its high price. It’s more expensive than the top model but has a weaker motor, which means the value is less on a per-dollar basis. However, this is still a great model, and if the top model didn’t exist, we’d have no problem placing this model first. If the price were a bit lower, this is a model that most people would enjoy using.
3. VonHaus 8.5 Amp Plate Biscuit Joiner – Best Value
The VonHaus 8.5 Amp Wood Biscuit Plate Joiner is the best choice for anyone who wants to get a quality biscuit joiner at a price that won’t break the bank. This model comes with the best power on the list, but also comes at a price that is a fraction of what you’ll pay for the top models on our list, making it the best model for the money. The 8.5 AMP motor is a beast that will make short work of any project. It also comes with a great dust collection system that will reduce the amount of cleanup that you have to do.
However, the lower price means that not everything in this model is perfect. It lacks a rack and pinion fence, which means you’re not able to adjust the height of the cut, and that this tool will be best for situations where a rough cut will suffice. It’s also very noisy, which means the motor probably lacks the latest tech inside, which tends to run more quietly. Still, if you need to able to cut biscuit joints but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, this can be the machine that gets the job done.
4. PORTER-CABLE 557 Biscuit Joiner
The PORTER-CABLE 557 has some positive attributes but suffers from some serious problems that cost it a few places on our list. This model comes with a whopping seven cutting settings, which includes all but the smallest biscuit sizes, making this a great general-purpose tool. It also comes with a powerful, 7-amp motor, which isn’t the top motor on our list but is stronger than the motor found on our top two models. It also comes with the ability to set the fence anywhere from zero to 135 degrees, giving it a huge range relative to most biscuit joiners, which stop at 90 degrees.
However, this model suffers from poor quality parts. Problems emerge all over the model, and which part breaks vary wildly from case to case, which is a strong sign that the manufacturer is cutting corners. It also costs the most of any model on our list. Most people aren’t going to want to pay the most for the worst-quality machine. That makes for poor overall quality. Given what you pay for this model, most people will end up very unhappy with their purchase, especially since this machine is likely to break sooner rather than later.
5. Ryobi Plate Joiner Kit
The Ryobi -JM83K-AC Biscuit Joiner Kit has one of the more innovative designs but falls short in some critical areas which causes it to fall to the bottom of our list. This model is easily the most ergonomic one, as it features an angled handle and vertical motor which makes this model easy on your hands. It also comes with a fence that can be used at angles up to 135 degrees which ties it for the greatest range you’re likely to find on the market today.
However, the ergonomic design results in a model that is bulky and sometimes unwieldy. While the actual cut will be comfortable, the process of getting it in position for that cut may not be. It also only has a six-amp motor. That’s enough for most woods but may give you some trouble with the tougher ones. Finally, it suffers from some quality control issues. Some units are dead on arrival, which is a huge pain to deal with. While this isn’t the most expensive biscuit joiner out there, the value isn’t that high, and you could spend a bit more or a bit less to get a model that you enjoy using more.
We hope that our reviews have already helped you get an understanding of what biscuit joiners can and can’t do, as well as the features and flaws that make for good and bad models. If you’re still not sure which model is right for you, don’t worry. There are a lot of things to consider when buying a biscuit joiner, and there’s no way to figure them all out based on a product review alone. This buyer’s guide is packed full of great general information about biscuit joiners so that you can learn everything you need to know about these models. We’ve also included some tips on getting great value for your money, so if you’re looking to get a fantastic deal, make sure you check out this guide.
Who needs a biscuit joiner?
Biscuit joiners aren’t standard tools found in every shop. However, if you’re a woodworker and want to take your game to the next level, this tool can be one that helps you get there. Biscuits are little, standard-sizes pieces of wood that can be inserted into slots in two pieces of wood, and then glued down. This creates very strong joints that look great since they don’t make use of any external hardware.
The biscuit joiner, while somewhat confusingly-named, is the machine that cuts the slots for the biscuits in the wood. Consequently, anyone who does their own woodworking and wants to create pieces that give the appearance of fixture-free joints would benefit greatly from owning a biscuit joiner. While biscuit joiners are practical in that they help you create a joint, they’re also a luxury tool, as you can create joints by less expensive methods, though they probably won’t look as good when you’re done.
Barrel grip vs D-handle
The title of this section might seem confusing at first, as most models come with both a barrel grip and a D-handle. However, there are some differences in how these parts are mounted which can change the degree of comfort and control that you feel while you’re working.
The D-handle can be mounted in two places. The first is on or near the fence mechanism. This means the D-handle won’t move as you work. That can help you keep a rock-solid grip on the biscuit joiner and can help keep it from sliding as that can increase the size of the cut you’re making. This is especially useful when you’re using the biscuit joiner vertically.
The other position in which you’ll find a D-handle is mounted on the motor casing. If you’ve used a biscuit joiner before, you know that the motor slides back and forth, allowing you to control the depth and speed at which you make the cut. If the D-handle is mounted on the motor, you get an extra degree of control over how it moves, which can be useful if you’re working with harder woods and want to be able to take operation super-slow.
The barrel grip is found on most models, even those with a D-handle mounted on the motor casing. This gives you another place to control the depth and speed of the operation. Some models forgo this part in favor of a pistol grip, which some people love, and others hate, so it’s something worth researching before you buy.
The fence is one of the most important parts of a biscuit joiner. The quality of your fence may have a larger impact on the variety and quality of cuts that you can do more than any other single part in a biscuit joiner. The best fences come with a rack and pinion system. These allow you to finely control the positioning of the blade relative to the top and bottom of the wood, allowing you to center it precisely, or not, depending on the needs of your project.
The good news is that biscuits can be somewhat forgiving, so you can be a little bit off and still achieve good results. You don’t need a rack and pinion system, but it is a feature that can up your precision.
Fences also tend to come with two different angle ranges, zero to 90 degrees and zero to 135 degrees. The first category is more common. Keep in mind that 45 degrees is the complementary angle to 135 degrees, so you can flip a board over to cut with a zero to 90-degree biscuit joiner. However, that can be a bit tricky sometimes. If you want to make the job easier, then it’s a good idea to invest in a model that can go all the way to 135 degrees.
All standard biscuit slots can be cut with just two blades. The most common is the four-inch blade which can cut from small-medium to the largest slots. Nearly every biscuit joiner comes with this blade since it covers so much of the possible range for which standard biscuits are made.
The other blade is a two-inch blade, which is used primarily for cutting the smallest biscuit slots, for the FF-sized biscuits. These are used in very small projects, so they’re not ones that most people will be using. However, many people who need the smaller blade make the mistake of assuming that the word “kit” in the title of a biscuit joiner sold online means that the second blade is included. This is rarely the case these days.
Instead, most manufacturers sell the smaller blade separately, and for as much as 50 additional dollars. That’s pretty steep for such a small blade. Make sure that you do your research on the available models and their inclusion of the smaller blade before you purchase so that you don’t have to go back and spend extra for that part.
Dust collection system
The dust collection system on a biscuit joiner is an often-overlooked part, which is too bad given that it’s often a pain point on these models. Most models come with some sort of dust collection bag. The best models allow the bag to be taken off and replaced with a hose from a shop vac to increase the rate at which sawdust is collected.
Unfortunately, a common problem with biscuit joiners is that the slots that lead from the back of the blade to the dust collection bag or shop vac hose can get clogged up. This can hurt your efficiency when cutting, or even stop the blade altogether in extreme circumstances. Some models are more prone to this model than others, and different manufacturers make it easier or harder to get as this slot to clean it out, so it’s worth researching before you buy.
Which biscuit joiner is right for you?
Not all biscuit joiners come with the same features, and since people’s needs vary, no one model is going to be right for all people. If you want to get the best value for your money, a good way to start that process is to figure out what kind of experience you want to have with your biscuit joiner and then determine what features would make it easy to have that experience.
Then, make a list of the biscuit joiners that come with most or all of those features. You can then choose the cheapest model from that list. Since it comes with the features you need for a good experience, you’ll be satisfied with your experience. Since you got those features for the lowest possible price, it will be the best overall value for your money.
The DEWALT DW682K is our favorite model due to its non-marring shoe, powerful motor, and dual rack and pinion fence. The Makita PJ7000 is another good option that comes with a good motor, a rack and pinion fence, and six depth settings, though its high price keeps it out of first place. The VonHaus 8.5 Amp model is the best biscuit joiner for the money, since it comes at a low price, and includes a very powerful motor and good dust collection. In fourth is the PORTER-CABLE 557 which comes with seven cutting settings, a large fence range, but is expensive and comes with poor-quality parts. The Ryobi -JM83K-AC Biscuit Joiner Kit is ergonomic and comes with a large fence range, but has quality control issues, a weaker motor and a bulky frame that drop it to the last place.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you better understand biscuit joiners. Armed with this information, you should be able to find a model you’ll love using at a price your wallet will love, too.
For further reading:
- A Look at our Favorite Models in 2020
- The 5 Best Biscuit Joiners
- Buyer’s Guide