The Kreg K4 and K5 are both used to create uniform, accurate, and consistent pocket holes for joinery tasks. Both are crazy popular with professionals as well as amateurs, and anyone who tries them is an instant convert. Pros rely on them to speed through cabinetry and furniture building, and grandparents teach their young grandkids how to use them. They are safe, effective, and easy to learn and master.
Be confident that you won’t go wrong no matter which tool you choose. As you’ll see below, they both get the same high marks for performance. Kreg pocket hole jigs receive consistently rave reviews from all types of users. There is a small but vocal minority who complain of slipping quality standards, but the vast majority hail this as a miracle.
The K5 is the newer, fancier version of the K4, and as much as we hate to say it – and remember we’re only talking about tools here, not people – sometimes old models don’t quite measure up to new ones. The K5 does have a few bells and whistles that you might appreciate and want to pay up for, whether woodworking is your livelihood or just a weekend hobby.
The K5 features a clever design upgrade over the K4. The K5 comes with two storage boxes, or wings, in which you can keep drill bits and other jig-related pieces. But these boxes readily attach to the jig itself, changing its shape from a simple line to a plus shape. These wings are then perfectly positioned to help support wider pieces of wood, like tabletops, that you’re working on. It’s an ingenious, two-for-one solution.
All the Kreg jigs allow for tiny scraps of wood and sawdust to exit the drilling hole, but the K5 has a dust collection port to which you can hook up your shop vac. With the K4, all the mess is just falling on the floor. Not only will the K5 keep your work area neater but keeping the drill hole clear will make the work easier for your drill.
Theoretically, at least. This feature is appealing but there are quite a few reviews which talk about this dust port being flimsy. Between gravity and the weight of a hose, the connection fails, dumping all the collected sawdust and shavings on your floor anyway. We’ll give the K5 the win on this feature because we like to think this is something a little duct tape could fix, but the number of users mentioning this worries us a bit.
Every jig has two clamps in action – one to hold it to your work surface, the other to hold your wood in place. The K5 comes with a built-in clamping system for attaching to your tabletop. With the K4, you’ll have to provide your own. Do we all have clamps in the shop? Probably. But finding and setting them is an extra step with the K4.
Both jigs have a clamping system to hold the project in place, and neither is tough to use, but the K5 is just a hair simpler and more sophisticated.
These are a little nit-picky but are noteworthy examples of the improved functionality of the K5 and Kreg’s attention to design detail.
The K5 may have more bells and whistles than the K4, but at the end of the day, both are helping you craft accurate pocket holes with lightning speed and ease. They have identical specs – wood thickness it can accommodate, drill-guide spacings, and screw-centering. In a head-to-head contest, they will produce the same quality and quantity of perfect pocket holes.
You’d be right in assuming the K5 costs more. It’s the more recent generation of the same tool and has a few innovations the K4 doesn’t. But the K5 costs about 25% more while providing the exact same performance – those innovations may make the K5 more convenient, but they don’t make you drill better pocket holes. So, although we like the extra features of the K5, we like the lower price tag of the K4, making this a tie.
A tried and true pocket hole jig
Has nearly everything the K4 has plus:
The K5 has some intriguing innovations that build on the already high performing K4 as a base. And although we would never know what we were missing if we had only ever heard of the K4, the easy clamps, storage support wings, and shop vac connection are all small but significant improvements to the tool’s design – improvements that will ultimately allow you to work faster and cleaner. The win goes to the new kid on the block, the K5.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!
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