When you are in the wood business, it’s only a matter of time (and dedication, we might add) until you get familiar to all the tools you need to perfectly work the wood.
Therefore, eventually you get to use the biscuit joiner, aka the “plate joiner”. For those of you who don’t know by now, the biscuit joiner is a woodworking tool that helps you join two pieces of wood together.
Let’s make a short description on how a plate joiner actually works. A small circular saw blade within the biscuit joiner cuts a crescent-shaped hole (also known as “the mouth”) in the opposite edges of two pieces of wood (you may also use some wood composite panels).
A compressed wooden biscuit (that is oval-shaped and also highly dried) is covered with glue. In some cases, the glue is applied in the slot. You place right away the biscuit in the slot and the two boards are attached together. As the wet glue expands the biscuit, the bond gets also increased.
There are many job applications for the biscuit joiner. You use it when joining sheet goods: particleboard, plywood, medium-density fiberboard.
If you want to do things easier, without losing the strength, you may also use some solid wood, not use mortise, and tenon joints.
You get to use the plate joiner when you want to align pieces of wood, as they are joined edge-to-edge so that you can obtain wider panels.
No matter the job, keep in mind though using the same face when cutting the slots, as you want the boards to be the same color. Even if you used the best biscuit joiner out there (no, there is no such thing!), your work is in vain if the boards aren’t the same flush.
You may also use the biscuit joiner to align edges of your work pieces (say you want to make a 90-degree angle between your work pieces). It’s the biscuit joiner that helps you get the perfectly color joint, providing reinforcement for the joint at the same time.
There are many types of biscuit joiners out there, and you can decide for yourself if you need metal connectors or hinges. All joiner reviews highlight though that biscuit joiners are highly portable and versatile, more than anything else is.
How to choose?
There are some things to consider when you are shopping for a biscuit joiner and power is the most important aspect.
The more power the joiner gives, the more cutting strength you get. It’s quite obvious that you don’t need a beast if you only use it once a year. A smaller amperage unit would do it in this case. Nevertheless, if you use the biscuit joiner on regular basics, don’t hesitate to get a powerful tool.
You can’t talk about power without minimal consideration for the motor. The main rule is that a tool that is used very often should feature a double-insulated motor. This provides longer lifespan to the motor and the risk for overheat is minimal.
The initial cut on of the biscuit joiner (also known as “plunge”) is essential so look carefully when shopping. You want a tool that comes with a smooth plunge, that doesn’t cause uneven cuts.
And now we talk about cutting, we also need to remind of the blade that should be tight all the time. After all, you want accurate cuts all the time, right?
No tool is useful if it’s not comfortable to use. In the case of biscuit joiner, the handle should have several features for adjusting. You want an ergonomic design on the handle that ensure minimal strain, no matter how long you use the joiner.
Now that you know all these tips and info, you’re only one-step away from finding the best plate joiner for you and your needs.
Top 5 biscuit/plate joiner reviews
If you are new to working wood and don’t want the high-end biscuit joiners (for various reasons, not money related), you can start with a tool that is reliable and pretty strong. The Chicago Electric Power Tools 4″ Plate Joiner comes a very good price and gives you decent performance, with some to-be-expected limitations.
The plate joiner ensures fast and easy biscuit cuts for miter joints, T-joints, edge-to-edge cuts and also butt joints.
The list of features includes an adjustable fence and a dust port with dust bag, so that you work clean and easy every time. The fence adjusts to a maximum depth of 1-1/8 inch and tilts up to 90 degrees.
The tool is pretty versatile and the preset depth stops are for the most popular biscuits: 0, 10 and 20.
The plate joiner is strong and features an 8.5AMP motor with an 11000-RPM speed.
You may use the plate joiner right out of the box and you don’t need to make any adjustments. The tool has a solid build and runs rather quiet. Its carbide tipped blade and arbor wrench are durable and the tool gives accurate cuts.
The biscuit joiner is easy to use and to adjust.
The very short list of things we like:
- The tool has a good build and is reliable
- It’s strong and ready to use out of the box
- It’s easy to use and to adjust
- It has preset depth stops and adjustable fence
As for the things we like less, the list is rather short:
- The tool clogs rather easily
- There is some play on the tool
We try to see the bigger picture though and this gives us the image of a pretty good, reliable and strong plate joiner that comes for a low price.
Versatile and dependable in many wood applications, the Porter-Cable 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner Kit is a tool to get when you have a decent budget for it.
The plate joiner may be used for many types of wood and presents seven different cutting settings. It features a strong 7-amp motor that has a 10,000-RPM speed.
The fence on the plate joiner tilts from 0 to 135 degree and has a positive adjustable stop at 90 degrees.
You get clean, accurate cuts when using the tool and the four-inch blade is reliable for all standard-size cuts. The precision of the cuts comes from the bale handle that is not attached to the motor, but to the fence. The lock-on trigger, the Fence system with pivot point ensure precise height readings. The fencing plate gives also stabilization, spacing and centering.
The tool also comes with a centering plate, dust bag, spanner wrench and chip deflector.
You get to remove and change the blade easy and fast as the tool features a keyhole-slotted blade cover and a spindle lock.
The tool takes two blades-standard and face frame biscuits.
The plate joiner has a good weight and is easily portable. Its cord has a good length and the tool has a good build. It’s well made and comes with a storage case.
Let’s sum it all up and list the pros:
- The tool has a fence system with pivot point for precise height readings
- The removal of blade is fast and easy to do
- The plate joiner takes two blades
- The tool is portable and has a good build
We also have to mention the parts we like less:
- The tool has some plastic parts
- The main plastic base is not perfectly aligned
Despite the minor issues, we still think the plate joiner is a good tool to have that gives good performances for a very good price.
There are many similarities between the Makita 3901 5.6 amp Plate Joiner and the more popular Makita PJ7000, but Makita 3901 manages to present great qualities and features.
The biscuit joiner gives you both fast, accurate cuts and strong joints. The large top-grip handle sure makes handling easier and safer, giving you better control over the tool at the same time.
When we go through the functional features, we notice also the precise pinion and rack vertical fence adjustments, but also the depth settings. You can choose six depths and the tool fits most common biscuits: 0, 10 and 20. The carbide-tipped blade doesn’t just ensures cuts through the tough wood, but is also made to last long.
The motor on the tool is strong (5.6AMP) and presents a 10,000-RPM speed.
The cam locks are easy to reach and the blades are easy to change- you just loose the knob on the blade door.
The biscuit joiner has three positive stops (0, 45 and 90 degrees) and the cast-aluminum pivot fence is in charge of that. The non-marring rubber strip insert adds to the features.
The tool comes in a case, along with several items. It’s a great choice when you want to make strong plate joints in a nick of time.
The plate joiner is very well made and has a solid build. It’s powerful and double insulated.
Let’s go through the most important qualities:
- The plate joiner has a large top grip handle for easier use
- The tool is great for strong plate joints, making furniture or fine woodworking
- It gives you 6 depths to choose from
- The tool is strong and easy to use
As for the things that could use some improvement, here they are:
- The finger control could be better
- The dust bag fills rather fast
Despite the minor problems, we still think the tool is a great choice when making furniture or working the fine details on wood.
For the hard-working contractor that needs a plate joiner for his/hers heavy duty jobs, a strong and durable tool is the Lamello Classic X 101600 Biscuit Joiner.
The tool presents many useful features that provide an amazing performance every time. For an easier position on edge for reference, the base plate swiveling front stop and stop square are flush on sides.
The plate joiner is very strong as it features a powerful 780-watt motor. The tool has an ergonomic design that gives a compact shape.
The parts on the tool are CNC high precision machined so not only the build, but also the materials are high quality and durable.
The plate joiner features a useful guidance system for accurate alignment every time.
The tool may cut grooves for 12 different biscuits and you don’t need to change the cutting tool for that. The swiveling fence features a beveled edge so you see instantly the measuring and angle scales. It comes also with positive stops for the most popular cutting scales: 0, 22.5, 45, 67 and 90 degrees.
The dovetail design keeps the Multi-function stop square parallel to front plate at all time. The flush to the sides are a great reference against work surfaces and you can get 135-degree angle setting to reference outside surface of 45-degree miter joints.
You may also use the tool (easy and safe) vertically as it slides and locks on to the bottom of the slide shoe.
When you have to maintain and access cutter, you get to remove fast and easy the cassette base with just as thumbscrew, thanks to the central locking system.
The tool has various depth settings and doesn’t need any batteries. It has a very good build and it’s made to take the intense use.
Let’s pinpoint the main pros:
- The tool is a strong, durable plate joiner
- It comes with a guidance system
- You may cut 12 different biscuits without changing the cutting tool
- The dovetail design presents many advantages and you may use the tool vertically
Along with the good things come some minor issues:
- The scale is in mm
- It doesn’t come with a storage case
So, whenever you feel you want to invest as you use a plate joiner daily, don’t sit on a fence and try the tool.
Get the German precision and quality with the Festool 574432 Domino Joiner DF 500 Q Set. The joiner features a one-of-a-kind and patented cutting action that may rotate and oscillate, giving you clean and perfect mortises, repeatedly.
It’s easy to align the panels when joined together as the mortises are adjustable. You also get angled mortises from 90 degree angle with positive stops, of various sizes, thanks to the pivoting fence.
The faster alignment against the edge of your piece comes also from the indexing pins. A dust extractable design gives you clean holes for stronger adhesion of the glue, for more time.
The system comes with sip, beech and pre-fabricated domino tenons.
The numbers are also impressive: a 24,300-RPM cutter spindle speed, domino slot cutter diameter: 5/6/8/10 mm. The tool has a 420Watts power consumption and routing depth stops at 12/15/20/25 and 28mm.
The joiner ensures fast, accurate adjustments for five various mortising depths and the solid inner mechanism gives precise routing results every time.
You may use the tool for face frames, work pieces 1”x5/8” small, or large pieces and heavy furniture. You need to use pre-fabricated, rugged beech domino tenons for more power.
The Domino tenon is 100% rotation-proof and is stronger than biscuits or dowels. It offers a larger gluing surface area, thus being stronger. Despite its impressive performance, the joiner is easy to use and gives you angle, depth and height adjustment scales.
The joiner is also portable and has an ergonomic design.
Here are the most important features:
- The joiner gives larger and stronger gluing surface area
- It has height, angle, depth adjustment scales
- It’s highly accurate and has a unique cutting mechanism
- The tool is portable, reliable and durable
Let’s speak a little of the downsides:
- The tool comes with metric scale
- The attachments could be of better quality
The downsides aren’t deal breakers and if you are willing to pay the extra buck, you get a strong, reliable joiner that features an innovating cutting mechanism.
Best biscuit/plate joiner for the money
Sometimes you buy a certain tool and you already know, by its name that is not going to let you down. It’s the case of Dewalt DW682K 6.5 Amp Plate Joiner is a long lasting tool that may help you in many wood applications.
The plate joiner features a strong 10,000-RPM motor and may work in the hardest woods.
You get accurate cuts every time as the dual rack and pinion fence seek that the blade and fence are parallel every single time.
The integral one-piece fence is adjustable and has ranging degrees from 0 to 90. You don’t even have to remove fence when you want flush cuts at 0 degree. You may also get indexing off the outside surface of a mitered joint thanks to the 45-degree locating notch in fence.
Staying in the useful features area, we also need to mention that you may clamp joiner for stationary work as the tool comes with a non-marring, durable aluminum shoe. The anti-slip pins hold your work piece for the accurate cut.
The tool gives you the chance to have various depth when working and the preset depth stops are for all common biscuit sizes: 0, 10 and 20.
The plate joiner is safe to use and doesn’t give unexpected movements. The setup is easy, as it is the use of the tool.
The tool has an ergonomic design that provides comfortable handling and smooth run. You may find it perfect for frames and small cabinet doors.
Here are the most important qualities:
- The plate joiner may be clamped for stationary work
- It comes with preset depths for most common biscuits
- It has a strong build and an ergonomic design
- The tool is versatile and dependable
We do need to remind the parts we don’t like much:
- The plate joiner doesn’t perform best when you have repeatable cuts
- It sits on the loud side
- The plate joiner is rather heavy weight
These issues aren’t deal breakers for us and you may find it useful and reliable for many wood applications.
Best cheap/budget biscuit/plate joiner
When your budget is not that big but you don’t use a plate joiner on regular basis, you can give it a go with a pretty strong and reliable tool like the TruePower 01-0102 Biscuit Plate Joiner with Carbide Tipped Blade.
The plate joiner is a strong tool that comes with an 11000-RPM motor and has a 1010Watts power.
When we go through the numbers, we see a maximum cutting depth of 0.55” and a cutting angle ranging from zero to 45 degree.
The biscuit joiner features a 4”6TC2 Tungsten carbide tipped blade. You get clean, accurate and smooth cuts most of the time. The preset stops for biscuit sizes 0, 10 and 20. After you clamp, the joint is quite strong.
The plate joiner is a reliable tool that you can use for T-joints, butt joints, edge-to-edge cuts and very strong miter joints. It also features an adjustable fence.
The dust port with dust bag helps you have a working space pretty clean.
The plate joiner is very well made and has a solid build. It’s powerful and easy to use. It’s also very easy to adjust it according to your needs.
It makes great doors and drawer fronts, but you may use it in various wood applications also.
Here are the most important things we like:
- The plate joiner is well made and has a good build
- It gives clean and accurate cuts and strong joints
- You may use it for many wood applications
- It’s easy to use and to adjust
We also have some things to mention as cons:
- The plate joiner is on the heavy weight side
- It’s a loud tool
- The dust collector could be improved
Overall, for the money you pay, you get a strong, reliable tool that gives clean and precise cuts and strong joints.
Best overall biscuit/plate joiner
The very popular Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner has many cool features that explain a lot its popularity among the passionate wood workers.
You get to understand its position on the market right from the first sight, as the tool has a slim and ergonomic body design.
The plate joiner comes with three positive stops (at 0, 45 and 90 degrees) and the cast-aluminum pivot fence is responsible for that.
The tool has a design that lets you get precise fence adjustments and the rack-and-pinion vertical fence design sustains the accuracy. The cutting is precise every time, no matter the type of wood, you’re working and the 5.6AMP motor gives you the power to do it.
Among the functional features, we also notice the large and easy to use cam locks, the 6 depth settings (for stops at 0, 10 and 20 biscuits), and the non-spoiling rubber inserts that doesn’t let the material slip during operation. The top grip handle is large so the handling is always easy and comfortable.
The tool has a cast aluminum front body that is long lasting, even in case of intense use.
The biscuit joiner is powerful and provides smooth operations. The setup is easy as are the several adjustments.
The slim body design and the comfortable design sure may seal the deal, if you didn’t begin with that.
Here are our most important pros:
- The plate joiner has a slim and ergonomic body design
- The tool is powerful and easy to use
- The plate joiner offers several settings and adjustments
- It’s easy and comfortable to use the tool
As for the parts we don’t like much, we don’t have many:
- The height adjustment could be improved
- The tool isn’t quiet
Overall, the tool manages to meet most of your expectations, for a very good price.
Best biscuit/plate joiner on the market
For the dedicated contractor that is determined in working with the best, industrial grade, plate joiners, a natural choice is the Lamello Zeta P2 Biscuit joiner.
There are many impressive features and qualities on the Lamello Zeta P2 and the P-system depth adjuster is one to begin with. The system has five settings for the range of Clamex connectors and the standard biscuit-jointing blade also.
An undercut function lets you fit the special concealed Clamex P connectors that easily go into the “T” slot produced. You don’t need any other clamping methods as the connectors also function as clamps.
The tool is almost entirely concealed and the 6mm hole is the only thing barely visible. This is why you can use the plate joiner for furniture, shop fitting or exhibitions. You can solve many design problems with the tool and you may use it for solid wood and fabricated boards just as well.
The joiner features a vertical mechanical drive (VMD) that is engaged when the joiner is at full plunge. You may switch off the undercut function and get a 7mm slot, using the “Bisco” biscuit afterwards.
As for the features, we also need to remind the accurate plunge with clear depth setting and jointer fences with flush sides for easier placing every time. The grooving option for shelving is also a nice detail.
The tool has a well thought out design and an amazing build. It has a great appearance and comes in a Sustainer case with a 7mm blade and several items.
Let’s list the most important pros:
- The joiner features the P-system depth adjuster
- The tool is entirely concealed
- You may use it for solid wood and man-made boards also
- It has a great build, design and appearance
As for the parts we don’t like, we only mention the high price.
However, if you are willing to pay the extra buck, there’s no better option out there.