Woodworking enthusiasts often encounter the dilemma of choosing between a jointer vs planer when embarking on projects that require precise wood surfacing. While both tools serve essential functions in the woodworking arsenal, understanding their differences is crucial for achieving optimal results in various projects.

In the realm of woodworking, efficiency and precision are paramount. Two primary tools, the jointer and the planer, play integral roles in achieving smooth and flat surfaces essential for quality woodworking projects. While these tools may seem similar at first glance, they serve distinct purposes and possess unique features that cater to different stages of woodworking processes.

What is a Jointer?

A jointer, also known as a surface planer, is a woodworking machine designed to create a flat surface along the length of a board. It consists of a flat surface, known as the bed, and a cutter head equipped with rotating blades. The jointer excels at flattening one face of a board and creating a straight edge perpendicular to that face.

What is a Planer?

In contrast, a planer, often referred to as a thickness planer, is utilized to achieve a uniform thickness across the entire width and length of a board. It consists of a flat bed and a cutting assembly that includes rotating blades. The planer is adept at reducing the thickness of rough lumber and ensuring consistency in thickness for multiple pieces of wood.

Differences in Function

The primary distinction between a jointer and a planer lies in their functions. While a jointer focuses on flattening and straightening one face of a board, a planer concentrates on achieving uniform thickness across the entire surface of the wood. Essentially, a jointer prepares the wood for planing by creating a flat reference surface.

Physical Differences

Visually, jointers and planers exhibit notable differences in their configurations. A jointer typically features a longer bed with a narrower cutting head, allowing it to accommodate longer boards for face flattening. On the other hand, a planer often has a shorter bed but a wider cutting assembly to accommodate boards for thickness reduction. difference between a planer and a jointer

Accuracy and Precision

Both jointers and planers are capable of producing precise results when used correctly. However, the jointer is primarily used for ensuring flatness and straightness, making it essential for preparing rough lumber before planing. The planer excels at achieving consistent thickness, crucial for creating uniformity in woodworking projects.

Cost Considerations

In terms of cost, jointers and planers vary depending on factors such as size, brand, and features. Generally, planers tend to be more expensive than jointers due to their capability to perform a wider range of tasks, including thickness planing. However, investing in quality equipment is essential for achieving professional results and long-term reliability.

Skill Level Required

Operating both jointers and planers requires a certain level of skill and knowledge of woodworking techniques. However, jointers are often considered more beginner-friendly, as their primary function involves flattening surfaces, which is a fundamental aspect of woodworking. Planers, with their ability to adjust thickness, may require more experience to achieve desired results consistently. difference between planer and jointer

Common Applications

Jointers and planers find applications in various woodworking projects, from crafting furniture to building cabinets and other wooden structures. A jointer is indispensable for creating flat surfaces and straight edges necessary for joining pieces of wood seamlessly. Planers are essential for achieving uniform thickness, ensuring that components fit together precisely.

Space and Storage

Consideration of space is essential when setting up a woodworking workshop. While both jointers and planers can be sizable machines, compact options are available for smaller workspaces. Some woodworkers opt for combination machines that integrate both jointer and planer functions, optimizing space without sacrificing functionality.

Safety Precautions

Safety should always be a top priority when operating woodworking machinery. Both jointers and planers feature sharp blades and moving parts that pose potential hazards if not used properly. It is crucial to wear appropriate safety gear, such as safety glasses and hearing protection, and to follow manufacturer guidelines for safe operation.

Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping jointers and planers in optimal working condition. This includes cleaning the machines regularly to remove debris and sawdust buildup, lubricating moving parts to prevent friction, and periodically sharpening blades for clean cuts. Following a maintenance schedule can extend the lifespan of woodworking equipment and ensure consistent performance.

Pros and Cons of Each

Before making a decision between a jointer and a planer, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each tool. Jointers excel at creating flat surfaces and straight edges but may have limitations in thickness adjustment. Planers offer versatility in thickness control but may require more space and investment.

Choosing the Right Tool

Ultimately, the choice between a jointer and a planer depends on the specific requirements of woodworking projects. For tasks that prioritize flatness and edge straightness, a jointer is indispensable. For projects that require uniform thickness and precise dimensions, a planer is the tool of choice. Some woodworkers may opt for both machines to cover a broader range of tasks.


Understanding the differences between jointers and planers is essential for woodworking enthusiasts seeking to achieve professional results in their projects. While both tools serve distinct purposes, they complement each other in the woodworking process, enabling craftsmen to transform rough lumber into refined creations. By considering factors such as function, cost, and space requirements, woodworkers can make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate tool for their projects.