A wood jointer is a necessary part of the shop for serious woodworkers and hobby craftsmen alike. While a complement of other tools could theoretically replace the tool, it is a one-stop-shop for shaping wood. Need a perfectly tight corner? A jointer squares off the sides for you. When your lumber a bit rough around the edges, a jointer trims edges and helps make a smooth piece of lumber. With straight feeding, it can also help create a smooth, straight edge for a building project. When investing in a jointer, shop around before taking the plunge. The right piece of equipment will save you tons of time by making precise cuts and helping the remainder of your project align.

Grizzly Industrial sells the Grizzly G0725 6-inch by 28-inch benchtop jointer for $325 plus $49 freight direct on the Grizzly website. Perfect for smaller shops due to its smaller footprint, the Grizzly still packs a punch. Despite its size, the unit is sturdy with a cast iron table, but its lighter weight makes it a portable powerhouse. A 1.5 horsepower motor provides plenty of oomph for most jobs. Cutting speed is quoted at 10,000 rpm with two cutting knives in operation. Overall table size is 28.5 inches by 6.25 inches. The center-mounted aluminum fence measures 22.875 inches by 4.25 inches and features stops at 135, 90 and 45 degrees.

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the JET 708457DXK wood jointer, is a six-inch one horsepower unit with a quick-set knive system included at a starting price of $1,033. Add on a universal mobile base and the price jumps to $1,123 on Amazon. Both offers include free shipping with a slightly longer delivery window of approximately two weeks. The JET is designed with the heft for more industrial applications but features fewer adjustments than some competitors. The 33.125-inch fence features stops at 45 and 90 degrees only. However, a larger dust port is included for shops who prioritize chip recycling or cleanliness. For speedy adjustments to the table height, hand wheels are included on the front edge.

On a step up the industrial side with Jet, the JJP-12 provides a 12-inch combination planer/jointer machine for $2,799 with base through Woodcraft. Quick changes from the planing function to jointer use do not require the removal of the aluminum fence. A heavy-duty three-horsepower motor can tackle heavy lumber, and a steel cabinet keeps the unit stable for heavier loads while adjustments are easily made with the unit's large hand wheel. An alternate high-end investment is the Powermatic 1610086K jointer with a helical cutter head for $2,499 at Amazon or $2,699 with a mobile base included. Free shipping is provided via freight. The table provides a longer work surface while a convenient high-mounted switch makes for easy operation.

Additional budget options are available through The Home Depot and Lowes. An investment of $399 will pay for the Delta 12-amp six-inch benchtop jointer with two blades. The unit features cast iron construction to lend stability and strength to a portable and compact option for the shop or travel. Adjustments are provided at both 45 degrees and 90 degrees. For $322 at Lowe's, the Porter-Cable jointer provides a 10-amp bench with a two-knife head. An extra-large cutting table is suited for bigger projects while speed ranges of 6,000 to 11,000 rotations per minute provide added flexibility.