March 6, 2021

Difference Between Jointer and Planer

Most experienced craftsmen will know that a Jointer and Planer are two different tools that work towards the same goal. It comes down to how you want to use the tool and the place. Both machines use a rotating drum. 

They are used to fix the surface of lumber. Jointers are used for perfect edges and flattening wood, whereas a Planer maintains a certain degree of thickness on surfaces. A Jointer cuts wood from below, whereas a Planer cuts from above. More features that separate the two tools are below. So, onto jointer vs planer.


A Jointer is a wood machine used to remove bent surfaces on wooden surfaces. It is not only done for joining wood pieces but also for creating long items.

I would not let go of a short cutting board and buy a new one when I can extend the one I have. You might have a damaged cupboard door that needs an extension. That does not mean you need to destroy the whole unit to install a new one. 

That is where the Jointer comes into the picture. You might need a Jointer so that you work on uneven wood pieces. They are difficult to join. A warped or twisted item can be a result of storage conditions. 

The Jointer removes the un-even part and levels up the surface. You might be asking what makes a difference between using a hand plane and a Jointer. A Jointer does not work manually. It has a motor that does not require the user to put more effort. 

You might not spend more time working when you get to master the skill required. As you use the Jointer, a bit of skill is required. It may take more time for you to be an experienced user. The moment you master using the tool, you can be quicker than you can imagine. The limitation with a Jointer is that you are not guaranteed consistency in thickness. 


  • Requires less effort
  • Saves time
  • Easier
  • Adjustable
  • Affordable


  • Requires skill
  • Lack of consistency


A Planer smoothen surfaces which makes it easier to join or use the wood-piece. The moment you are done with the warps and the cupping, you might need a smoothened surface for quick and easy joining of two wood pieces. This is why I would advise you that you can finish off the surface using a Planer. You might need to get rid of unnecessary surfaces and edges. 

You might opt for the Jointer only as you will run the surface several times till you achieve the preferred texture. This will take much of your time and you are required to use more effort.

I would not want to spend more hours working on a single piece of wood when I can spend half of the time. Having an additional machine will attract an additional cost but it is worth it. 

You can as well choose to have just the Planer but the challenge comes with how best you are going to make sure the surfaces are leveled. A Planer does not need a skilled woodworker. There is a flatbed that you can put your board on top of.

The rollers determine the speed at which the board passes through the cutting head. Smoothness, precision, and consistency are the main characteristics of the machine. Unlike the Jointer that can smooth the work-piece through multiple runs, a Planer cannot get rid of warps and twists.


  • Ease of use
  • Consistent
  • Smooth
  • Convenient
  • Great finishing tool


  • It is not affordable
  • It cannot remove warping or twists


  • Design
  • Cutter-head
  • Bed-width



The Planer has a box-like shape. The Jointer has two coplanar tables that have a cutter-head in the middle.


The rotating cutter-head cuts from the top of the wood. The wood goes over the cutter-head. 


The standard width is 6 inches but you can have more. It can be enough for a wide range of wood surfaces. It can withstand both soft and hardwood.



A Planer comes in a box design. The rollers take your board from one side of the machine to the other end. 


Unlike the Jointer that has a cutter-head that cuts from below, the Planer has one that cuts from above.


The thickness on a Planer could have been better. However, it can withstand the minimum pressure that comes with smoothing surfaces. 

What could be better?


  • Consistency could have been mastered using a Jointer.
  • The tool could have been more accurate and innovative in such a way that less skill will be required.


  • It could have been able to get rid of warps and twists
  • The manufacturer could have accommodated users with a tight budget.
  • A flat surface could have been placed downwards so that the tool will get rid of the top layers.
  • Pressure rollers could have been substituted with rollers that take away warps

Similar features

  • Both tools work on wood-pieces by taking away the rough surface and transforming the deformed piece. 
  • Rotating cutter-heads

Key Differences

  • Jointers are used to square and flatten edges whereas Planers are used for thickness and making parallel surfaces. The thickness of the surface has to be the same.
  • When a certain item is twisted or bent, a Jointer straightens the surface. It also eliminates cup warps.
  • A Planer is accurate when it comes to thickness whereas a Joint is not precise on thickness.
  • Planners cut wood from above whereas a Jointer cut from below. 

Final Verdict

It is a very tough exercise to choose between a Jointer and a Planer. The tools tend to work together better than separately. The initial stage of woodwork requires the services offered by a Jointer and you can finish off the task using a Planer.

The reason why you need a Jointer first is that it flattens and squares up the edges of the wood piece. When you want to perfect your edges in terms of thickness, the Planer can be the appropriate tool. However, if you cannot have both machines, I would advise the Planer as it gives you uniform surfaces that have the same thickness, size, and shape.

David D. Hughes

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