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Last updated: January 26, 2021
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When it comes to woodworking and joining two pieces of wood together, there are few tools more useful to have in your garage than a biscuit joiner. This handy tool allows you to quickly cut slots in paired pieces of woods that can then be fitted with a biscuit to hold them securely together. Joining wood together with a biscuit takes a fraction of the time and effort that it would take to achieve strong joints manually, making the best biscuit joiner the perfect tool for hobbyists and professionals alike.
In order to help you find the best biscuit joiner for your woodworking, we considered a number of factors that set biscuit joiners apart. These included the blade diameter – which determines how large the biscuit slots you make will be – and the cutting speed – which affect how smooth your cut will be. We also looked at motor power and the dimensions and weight of the tool, since these affect how easy it will be to handle in your workshop.
We spent tens of hours reviewing the most popular biscuit joiners, poring through technical specifications and customer reviews to narrow our list down to the top seven biscuit joiners highlighted in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each joiner, complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide and Frequently Asked Questions sections cover everything you need to know to choose the biscuit joiner that’s best for you. Finally, we sum up our top three favorite biscuit joiners on the market today.
Offered at a surprisingly modest price for the features included, this powerful and robust biscuit joiner from Porter-Cable is a favorite among users and has everything that the professional woodworker needs to tackle complex joining jobs. The joiner comes with a standard four-inch diameter cutting blade, but it is worth noting that Porter-Cable separately sells a two-inch diameter blade for this joiner that is capable of making cuts as small as 1.5 inches when needed. The blades can spin at up to 10,000 rpm thanks to the powerful 7-amp, 120-volt motor at the heart of the joiner. The result is that users find that this joiner is able to easily cut through even the knottiest of hardwoods.
One of the things that makes this biscuit joiner perfect for professional woodworkers and beginners alike is the adjustability. The joiner offers seven depth stops that cover the three most common biscuit sizes, as well as four less common biscuit sizes. However, it is worth noting that making manual cuts can be difficult since there is no fine adjustment knob for cut depth. The fence is durable and has a unique pivot point design to provide accurate height readings at almost any cut angle. Plus, the fence is adjustable all the way from 0 to 135 degrees with a stop at 90 degrees, allowing woodworkers to make angled joints with this joiner.
Another advantage to this joiner is the one-inch diameter dust port, which includes a dust collection bag to keep your workspace clean. Better yet, the dust port can be attached directly to a vacuum so you have as little to clean up as possible.
One minor drawback to this biscuit joiner is that Porter-Cable does not specify a warranty period, although users report few issues with the joiner over years of use.
This biscuit joiner from Lamello was designed with the professional in mind, but the high price can put it out of reach for some hobbyists. The tool is described as “the Cadillac of plate joiners” and lives up to its reputation for quality, ease of use, and accuracy. The Lamello’s slide shoe, fencing, and multi-function strip square are all milled from the same piece of metal – the only plate joiner to use this construction method – to provide incredible durability and accuracy. The fencing has 12 individual depth halts that allow you to use nearly any biscuit you can find at your local hardware store without changing the cutting tool. Plus, the fencing pivots to more stops – five in total – between 0 and 90 degrees than nearly any other biscuit joiner on the market today and is capable of extending out to 135 degrees when working on complex miter joints. Users also appreciated the second fence on the tool, which makes it easy to use the joiner in a vertical orientation when needed.
The 780-watt motor spins the standard four-inch blade to 10,000 rpm and, given the rest of the tool’s quality, it unsurprisingly cuts through knotty hardwoods with little difficulty. Users note that the motor itself makes a slight grinding sound, but that this does not affect precision when using the tool and that the motor almost never clogs with sawdust, even when not using a dust bag or vacuum on the included one-inch dust port.
Although the tool surprisingly does not come with a protective case given the high price, Lamello does offer a one-year warranty and guarantees that replacement parts for the joiner will be available for at least the next 10 years.
Although this small and lightweight biscuit joiner from Makita features a smaller motor than many of the other joiners in our top seven list, don’t let this dissuade you from this feature-packed joiner. The 5.6-amp, 700-watt motor is still capable of rotating the four-inch diameter blade at up to 11,000 rpm and users noted that it provides plenty of power, even when cutting through knotty hardwoods. One drawback for professional woodworkers, though, is that the joiner does not accept two-inch diameter blades for making small cuts. That said, users loved the blade cover on this joiner, which does not require any tools in order to access and change out the blade for a fresh cut.
The fence on this joiner has a huge top grip handle that users appreciated for how ergonomic it is to hold, especially when using the joiner for extended periods of time. The fence itself is capable of pivoting only in the positive direction from 0 to 90 degrees, with a stop at 45 degrees, so this can be limiting again for professional woodworkers who need to make complex cuts at 135 degrees. However, the fence also has six depth settings to cover not only the most common biscuit sizes, but also three less frequently used biscuit sizes. Users also note that the height of the cut is adjustable, even in the absence of a fine adjustment knob. The rubber inserts on the shoe help to prevent the joiner from slipping, which makes it easier to make the perfect cut when using the joiner without a clamp.
The joiner comes with an integrated dust bag to reduce the amount of mess the tool makes in your workspace, which users appreciated. In addition, Makita offers a one-year warranty on this biscuit joiner to add peace of mind to your purchase.
What we liked:
Six depth stops
11,000 rpm blade speed
Tool-free blade cover to make switching blades simple
This biscuit joiner from VonHaus is extraordinarily inexpensive, but can get most simple cuts done for woodworkers who don’t need a joiner extremely frequently. The 8.5-amp motor adds some weight to this joiner compared to more expensive models, but is capable of spinning the four-inch diameter blade to 10,000 rpm in order to cut through most hardwoods without catching or kicking. However, users note that the blade dulls relatively quickly and can take several minutes to replace in between cuts. In addition, the joiner is not capable of accepting a two-inch diameter blade for making small cuts, as required by many professional woodworkers.
The fence lacks some of the durability that users may be accustomed to from more expensive biscuit joiners, but is stable enough for infrequent use. The fence has preset depth stops for the three most common biscuit sizes to allow you to make cuts quickly with little measuring, while the angle of the fence is adjustable from 0 to 90 degrees and can be locked at any angle in-between, even though it does not have preset angle stops. Users did appreciate the oversized handle on the fence, which makes it easy to keep a firm grip on the joiner when cutting.
One issue that users note with this biscuit joiner is that, although it has an integrated dust collection system, the blade can lock up as the joiner gets easily clogged with sawdust. While most users needing the saw for a few quick cuts did not mind this issue, for the low price of the joiner, this can be a severe hindrance for more advanced woodworkers looking for a joiner they can use extensively. Also note that VonHaus does not specify a warranty on this saw, although this is not surprising given the low price of the unit.
For the budget-friendly price, it’s hard for hobbyists to argue with this biscuit joiner from Gino Development. The 1010-watt motor spins the included four-inch diameter cutting blade at 11,000 rpm, ensuring that the joiner will get the job done quickly on nearly any type of wood you use it on. Note that the joiner will not accept two-inch blades, although users opting for this inexpensive joiner likely will not need to make miniature biscuit joints frequently. Users did not love the quality of the included blade, noting that it would burn delicate woods when making cuts, but this is relatively easy to upgrade after purchasing the joiner.
The fence on this joiner is highly adjustable and has preset depth stops for the three most common sizes of biscuits. However, note that the fence on this joiner is only capable of pivoting from 0 to 45 degrees, rather than to 90 degrees as found on most other biscuit joiners, which can limit its usability. Users did appreciate the large handle on the fence, which makes it easy to stabilize the joiner when making cuts.
Users also liked the fact that this biscuit joiner comes with a one-inch dust collection port and includes a dust bag. However, numerous users note that the dust removal system is not as effective as it needs to be, especially when the bag is attached, so that the motor can clog with sawdust. Many users commented that the dust collection bag needs to be cleaned out every five or six cuts to prevent clogging.
With these caveats in mind, it remains hard to beat the low price of this biscuit joiner. Plus, Gino Development offers a one-year warranty in case of any manufacturing defects in the tool.
This battery-powered, cordless biscuit joiner from Makita was our pick for those looking for a cordless biscuit joiner. Although cordless biscuit joiners often suffer from lower power output than their corded competitors, the Makita offers an impressive 6,500 rpm blade speed that users comment is capable of cutting through most hardwoods without sticking or kicking. Getting rid of the cord is especially helpful for users who work in the field in areas without consistent electricity and justifies the extra cost of this biscuit joiner compared to corded alternatives (the battery is sold separately, at additional cost, from the joiner). Users note that a single 5.0-sized Makita battery is capable of making around 75-90 cuts on a single charge (note that Makita advertises 320 cuts), in part thanks to the Star Protection Computer Controls that allow the battery to avoid over-discharging and overheating during use. Plus, Makita’s lithium-ion batteries are renowned for their quick charging, so that you only need two batteries to work consistently around the clock.
The joiner comes with a four-inch diameter blade, but is not capable of accepting two-inch blades. With that in mind, users appreciated that the fencing has six depth halts to accept both the most common and less common biscuit sizes with minimal measuring. The fencing itself is designed with a rack-and-pinion system that allows for quick and accurate cuts when working parallel to the wood, while the angle adjustment has stops at 0, 45, and 90 degrees. Professional woodworkers may miss having the ability to adjust to 135 degrees for complex joints, but the large handle on the fencing in part makes up for this by making it easier to hold and control the biscuit joiner when making preset or manual cuts.
This relatively lightweight biscuit joiner from Dewalt is perfect for the beginning woodworker who wants as little fuss as possible in making joints.
The motor on this joiner is a 6.5-amp powerhouse that is capable of delivering blade speeds of 10,000 rpm, on par with any of the best joiners on the market. This power helps to make the joiner safer overall by limiting kickback when cutting through particularly tough wood types. The joiner also comes with a four-inch diameter carbide blade that is relatively durable even when cutting frequently into knotty hardwoods.
The adjustable, integrated fence is capable of pivoting from 0 to 90 degrees, making it easy to cut most straightforward joint types. In addition, the fence has three preset depth stops that cover the most common #0, #10, and #20 biscuit sizes. However, note that the joiner’s inability to pivot to 135 degrees and the lack of depth stops for less common biscuit sizes can limit the applicability of this joiner for professional woodworkers.
One advantage that users loved about the design of this joiner, though, is that Dewalt’s dual rack-and-pinion fence make it easy to ensure that the blade and fence are always parallel for the perfect cut, and the fence does not need to be removed from the joiner for making standard cuts flush to the wood. However, a number of customers note that the housings on some models have too much clearance, resulting in compromised alignment. Thankfully, Dewalt offers one of the best warranty policies among joiners we reviewed, with a three-year warranty, 90-day money-back guarantee, and one year of free service – so it is easy to work with Dewalt’s customer service to get a new tool or your money back, should you receive a defective joiner.
What we liked:
Three-year warranty, 90-day money-back guarantee
Dual rack-and-pinion fence for parallel cuts
Powerful motor for cutting hardwoods
What could be better:
Does not accept two-inch blades
Some users found housings had too much clearance
Limited to 90-degree pivot angle
Things to Сonsider
Now that you’ve learned more about our seven favorite biscuit joiners on the market today, how do you choose among them to find the biscuit joiner that is best for your next woodworking project? Although all biscuit joiners achieve the same end goal of joining two pieces of wood, there are important technical differences between them that determine what types of projects they are best for and how easy they are to handle. Our Buying Guide will cover everything you need to know about biscuit joiners in order to find the one that’s right for you.
Advantages of having a top-notch biscuit joiner
There are few tools that make it easier to securely join two pieces of wood than a biscuit joiner. Whereas fitting two pieces of wood together manually, either with a jigsaw or by cutting your own biscuit slots with a hand saw, can be a time-consuming and laborious process that is difficult to get right, fitting the same two pieces of wood together with a biscuit joiner can be done easily in minutes. A biscuit joiner solves the problem of cutting a directly perpendicular slot frequently faced by using routers, while also ensuring that your slots will be the size you need and that the slots on the corresponding boards will match.
In general, biscuit joiners are able to cut miter corner joints, butt joints, widening joints, frame joints, and T-joints. Many biscuit joiners are also able to cut slots at angles, further increasing the number of joints that you can cut with this single tool.
Features to consider when choosing a biscuit joiner
Although biscuit joiners tend to be very similar in their design and purpose, there are a number of features that differentiate them and can dramatically affect whether the biscuit joiner you choose is the right tool for your woodworking project. We’ll cover some of the most important features to consider in a biscuit joiner to make sure you’re getting the right tool for your needs.
One of the most fundamental features of a biscuit joiner is the diameter of the cutting blade, which determines the length of the slots you will be making in your wood pieces. Biscuits that are four inches in length are the most common, so, correspondingly, all of the biscuit joiners that we reviewed come standard with a four-inch cutting blade. However, smaller biscuits, typically two inches in length, are available for when you are working with small pieces of wood or are worried about splitting your wood with a longer cut. If you expect to work with smaller biscuits, look for joiners, like the model from Dewalt, that allow you to switch to a two-inch blade.
Power: more = better?
When it comes to the power of your biscuit joiner’s motor, more is typically better – up to a point. In truth, how much power you need depends on the hardness of the wood you’ll be cutting. For soft woods, low power biscuit joiners such as the battery-powered model from Makita will provide enough motor and blade speed to get the job done. However, the same motor might struggle to cut through hardwoods, especially if you try to cut into a knot in the wood, whereas a more powerful biscuit joiner like the one from Gino Development will have no problem. Note, though, that adding power will also increase your electric bill if you are using your joiner frequently. Also bear in mind that powerful joiners are typically much heavier.
Cutting speed is often related to motor power, but again this matters only to a point. The reason that cutting speed is important to consider is that faster spinning blades will typically able to cut through harder woods without difficulty, whereas a slower biscuit joiner blades are more prone to getting caught on knots or overheating when cutting through hard woods. The majority of corded biscuit joiners top out at 10,000 to 11,000 rpm, since this is more than sufficient to cut through nearly any type of hardwood smoothly.
The dimensions of your biscuit joiner affect how easy the tool is to fit around narrow or oddly shaped pieces of wood, how ergonomic the tool is, and how easy it is to store in your workshop. In general, opt for the smallest biscuit joiner that offers the power and other features you need, but don’t skimp on other features in favor of size. Note that tools with a dust collection bag, like those from Porter-Cable and Makita, are often a few inches longer than comparable biscuit joiners without dust collection.
Weight is an important consideration in how ergonomic a biscuit joiner will be since adding even a little weight can dramatically increase the amount of fatigue you’ll experience from wielding the tool for extended periods of time.
Biscuit joiners like those from Makita and Dewalt are less than seven pounds, which is relatively lightweight. However, note that in general, adding motor power will increase the overall weight of the joiner – thus the eight-plus pound weight of the powerful joiner from Gino Development.
Biscuit joiners typically allow you to cut your slots to a desired depth and come with multiple depth halts so that you can precisely and repeatably cut to the depth you need. The cutting depth you require will depend on the size of biscuit you are planning to use, which in turn depends on the characteristics of the joint and wood that you are working with. To give yourself the most flexibility for future projects, look for tools like the joiner from Makita that allow you to quickly adjust between multiple depth halts, or for tools like the joiner from VonHaus that offer a manual mode so that you can cut to any depth you desire.
The maximum cutting angle is another important consideration when choosing a biscuit joiner. While most simple joints require a standard 90-degree angle cut to simply fit two boards together with a biscuit, some more complex projects will require cuts at higher angles up to 135 degrees or beyond. If you plan to use your biscuit joiner professionally or think that your woodworking skills might improve over the lifetime of your joiner, it is worth looking for a joiner that is capable of going beyond 90 degrees, such as the Porter-Cable biscuit joiner.
What you’ll be using it for
Before choosing any biscuit joiner, it’s important to think about what projects you’ll likely be using it for – both now and in the future.
If you plan to use your joiner for small pieces of wood, for example, you will probably want to opt for a joiner that is capable of switching out the standard four-inch blade for a two-inch blade.
In addition, if you work on many custom and complex wood projects, you may want the customizable cut depth offered by a joiner like the VonHaus model.
You should also think about what types of wood you’ll be cutting – if primarily soft woods, you can likely save money and weight by opting for a less powerful cordless joiner like the model from Makita. On the other hand, if you work primarily with knotty hardwoods, you’ll want to invest in a biscuit joiner that is capable of a high (10,000 rpm or greater) cutting speed with a powerful motor behind it.
Cord or cordless?
Both cord and cordless biscuit joiners have their advantages and disadvantages, although you’ll find that most professional woodworkers prefer traditional corded joiners. The reason is that although a cord tethers you to a wall and makes the tool less portable overall, corded biscuit joiners tend to have larger motors – which translates to higher cutting speeds and the ability to quickly and easily cut slots into nearly any type of wood. In addition, when using a corded biscuit joiner there is no need to worry about running out of battery in the middle of a project.
Cordless biscuit joiners, like the battery-powered model from Makita, are much more portable than their cordless counterparts and don’t require a generator if you’re using them in a fieldwork site without power. However, given that the batteries on these joiners last only a short time, you’ll likely want to invest in a backup battery to use while the first battery charges.
If you’ll be working in an enclosed space like a garage, having a dust collection system built into your biscuit joiner can make a world of difference. Although these joiners are not cutting through huge amounts of wood, they can create a significant amount of sawdust residue. Without dust collection, you’ll likely need to wear goggles and a dust mask to prevent sawdust from getting in your eyes and mouth. Dust collection bags like those found on the biscuit joiners from Porter-Cable, Makita, and VonHaus, for example, drastically reduce the amount of sawdust that is ejected into the air and also save you time on cleaning up your workspace.
A biscuit joiner is a significant investment into your woodworking toolbox, so you want to be sure that the tool your buying is guaranteed to work by the manufacturer. While this isn’t critical to your choice of biscuit joiner, the availability of a warranty can play into your decision if you are choosing between two similar joiners. Several manufacturers, like Gino Development and Lamello, offer a one-year warranty on their tools to provide peace of mind. Porter-Cable goes above and beyond the competition in providing a warranty on their biscuit joiner, offering a full three-year warranty, in addition to a 90-day money back guarantee.
Biscuit joiners are designed primarily to work with wood, including both softwoods and hardwoods, but many biscuit joiners will also work with wood composite materials and hard plastics. Although metals can be joined with a biscuit joiner, there are special metal biscuit joiners designed to cut through this material. Note that your biscuit joiner needs to provide sufficient power and blade speed to be able to cut through especially knotty hardwoods.
The first thing to consider when choosing biscuits for your joiner is the length of blade that you have on your joiner. Most joiners come with a four-inch blade, requiring a four-inch biscuit, although some joiners can also accept a two-inch blade to create smaller joints. Biscuits come in three common sizes, #0, #10, and #20, which require different cut depths to fit in the joint. Nearly all of the biscuit joiners we reviewed have preset depth halts defined for these three common biscuit sizes.
Biscuit joiners rarely come with accessories and extras, unfortunately, but there are a few things to look out for to add value to your purchase. The joiner from Porter-Cable, for example, comes with a hard-sided carrying case to protect your joiner. Few joiners come with a two-inch blade in addition to the standard four-inch blade, but this is an accessory to watch out for. In addition, keep an eye out for which joiners come with manufacturer’s warranties like those found on the Porter-Cable, Lamello, and Gino Development joiners.
A biscuit joiner is a tool that, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime of woodworking. For that reason, if you expect your woodworking skills to improve over time, it can be worth paying the extra money now to invest in a high-quality biscuit joiner with features like numerous depth halts or the ability to cut beyond 90-degree angles.
A biscuit joiner does create a lot of sawdust despite the small cuts that it makes, but it doesn’t have to make a large mess if you equip your joiner with a dust collection bag. While these bags will still allow some sawdust to escape into your workspace, they can greatly reduce the mess that you have to clean up. The bags themselves are easily emptied into the garbage.
Our overall favorite biscuit joiners were the 557 from Porter-Cable, the Classic x 101600 from Lamello, and the PJ7000 from Makita. All three of these biscuit joiners are capable of cutting through knotty hardwoods thanks to the powerful motors and 10,000 rpm or higher cutting speeds. In addition, the Porter-Cable and Lamello joiners come with fences that are capable of pivoting to 135-degree angles for complex miter joints and have predefined depth halts for numerous biscuit sizes in addition to the three most common sizes. The build quality of the Lamello model is particularly immaculate thanks to the single-piece construction of the body, although this joiner can be overly expensive for non-professional woodworkers. Overall, we felt that the Porter-Cable tool is the best biscuit joiner on the market today thanks to its terrific value, including a protective case, three-year warranty, and 90-day money back guarantee with your tool purchase.