Best Woodworking Tools You Should Have in 2018 [Must Have Tools]

Whether a hobby or a job, woodworking is an enjoyable and sometimes trying experience.

Best woodworking tools

Handcrafted furniture is beautiful and completing an heirloom-quality piece can instill a sense of pride. The right tools make any task easier, and when it comes to woodworking there are a variety of specialized tools designed to take on a whole slew of tasks. Find out more and learn which woodworking tool is the best for your job with this product review. 

Best Woodworking Tools Comparisons

12 Best woodworking tools - Reviews 

1. DEWALT DW734 15 Amp Benchtop Planer

Easily make consistently sized boards or shave down the surface of rough cut lumber with the 12-½” benchtop planer from Dewalt. The 15-amp motor delivers 20,000 RPM to take on large and deep cuts. Equipped with a three-knife cutter-head, this planer delivers fine finish cuts for a smooth surface. The reversible steel knives are simple to change via a set of pins machined on the cutter head that line up to holes machined on the knife. The reversible knives deliver up to 30 percent longer life than other knives for improved longevity.

The extra-long tables support the material being run through the planer and provide 33-½” of support. The built-in turret depth stop makes easy work of setting this planer at commonly used depths to reduce setup time on jobs. Reduce snipe, or cuts that are too deep at the beginning or end of a board thanks to the four-column carriage lock that provides even and consistent pressure.

What we liked

  • The three-knife cutter-head spins delivers 96 cuts per inch
  • Extra-long infeed and outfeed tables provide support
  •  Four-column carriage lock provides consistent pressure for even cuts the full length of the board

What we didn't like

  • Rollers require regular cleaning to prevent marking boards
  • The blades wear out quickly, especially if used to plane boards with knots

2. DEWALT DW745 Compact Job-Site Table Saw

At 48.5 pounds this compact table saw is portable enough for easy transport and can be used on job sites for added convenience. The built-on steel roll cage protects the equipment from damage that may happen during storage, transport or on a job site to keep this table saw looking and working like new. The built-in cord wrap ensures the equipment is contained during storage or transport for added convenience.

The 1850-watt motor coupled with the 10-inch blade is powerful enough to take on a variety of jobs. The built-in overload protection system ensures consistent power while working with wet, hard or even frozen wood. The fence system supports rip capacity up to two feet, making easy work of ripping, or cutting large boards down to smaller sizes. Easily make accurate cuts using a host of features from the rack and pinion fence system to the front and rear fence lock. Large and clear scales and the quick bevel lock also contribute to the ease of use when operating this table saw.

The Dewalt DW745 compact table saw comes with a miter fence, parallel fence, 2 blade spanners, a dust port reducer and a push stick to cut boards while keeping your hands a safe distance from the blade. 

What we liked

  • Built-on steel roll cage protects the unit on job sites or during transport
  • Built-in overload protection
  •  Fence system allows for rip capacity up to two feet

What we didn't like

  • The rip fence and crosscut guide may require adjustment and alignment prior to use to ensure accuracy
  •  Extension for table unavailable

3.DEWALT DCCS620P1 20V Cordless Chainsaw

The Dewalt compact cordless chainsaw is powered by a replaceable 20-volt lithium-ion battery, allowing you to have the convenience of a chainsaw that can be started cold without the hassle of gas fumes, air filters or spark plugs. The battery is compatible with other Dewalt products in the 20-volt max system of tools, so you can swap the battery with other items in the series.

At 8.8 pounds, this compact and lightweight chainsaw is comfortable to use and allows for improved control. Equipped with a 12” Oregon Bar and chain, this chainsaw is intended for use on construction projects and outdoor cleanup. The 12” bar is an ideal size for jobs that require detail work or maneuverability, while also minimizing kickback for improved safety. The chain speed is rated at 25.2 feet per second to quickly power through cuts. Ensure proper bar clamping force via the tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob.

What we liked

  • Battery powered operation is quiet
  • Lightweight design for ease of use 
  •  Oregon bar and chain are durable and long-lasting

What we didn't like

  • Bar oil may leak through the tensioning knob if stored with the knob facing down
  • Battery can overheat given extended use and cause the unit to power down

4. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Compact Router

This compact router from Dewalt can take on big projects thanks to the powerful 1.25 HP motor and delivers a no load speed range of 16,000-27,000 RPM. Meet the demands of different materials via the variable speed control, that allows for the bit speed to be adjusted for improved results. Enjoy precise depth adjustments and quick bit and base changes using the fast motor pack removal and multiple shaft-lock detents. An adjustment ring makes easy work of changing the bit depth to within 1/64”.

The clear plastic fixed base allows for improved bit visibility, while the built-in dual LEDs illuminate the work area. A large plunge base platform supports use for heavier applications by providing additional stability. The plunge base also supports precise depth setting via the fine-tune adjustment rod. The sub-base can be used with universal template guides for added convenience.

The soft-starting motor is equipped with full-time electronic feedback to ensure consistent motor speed through an entire cut for dependable and accurate results. The over-molded rubber handles are comfortable to grip for secure operation.

What we liked

  • Clear plastic base and dual LEDs for improved viewing of the work area
  • Full-time electronic feedback delivers consistent speed
  • Built-in adjustment ring to easily change the bit depth

What we didn't like

  • Aluminum motor housing and base are prone to damage
  • Not ideal for table mounting use

5. Festool 574432 Domino Joiner DF 500

The Festool Domino Joiner makes easy work of plunge cutting mortises for clean and precise joints using domino joiners. The cutting action both rotates and oscillates for dependable and strong mortises that are completely repeatable, ensuring different panels and pieces lineup during assembly.

A dial control allows for easy width adjustment of a mortise to align panels during joining.

Support for five different mortise depths allow for tenon, or domino joiners in varying sizes to meet the needs of different projects. Quickly and easily determine placement on a workpiece using the indexing pins. A pivoting fence allows for angled mortises up to 90-degrees and positive stops at several intervals (22.5-degrees, 45-degrees and 67.5-degrees), are ideal for use on chair or table legs.

The dust extractable design of this joiner removes cut particles of wood and sawdust from freshly cut mortise holes. Removing dust ensures improved glue adhesion while also extending the life of the cutter. The hose port diameter measures 1.06” for wide-ranging compatibility.

What we liked

  • Pivoting fence for angled mortises and positive stops for ease of use
  • Indexing pins for quick and easy placement determination
  • Dust extraction design cleans mortise holes for improved construction

What we didn't like

  • Device must be aligned to ensure accurate cuts
  • Additional bits and tools necessary for adjustments not included

6. WEN 6510 Oscillating Spindle Sander

Curved edges on furniture and other woodworking projects require special attention in order to effectively sand and smooth the surface. The WEN 6510 oscillating spindle sander can address those needs while saving time. To use this oscillating spindle sander a sanding sleeve is attached onto the drum. The sanding drum, or spindle, rotates while also moving up and down for increased movement to quickly and effectively sand a surface. Sanding sleeves come in different grit ratings and curvature sizes. This sander includes six 80-grit sanding sleeves in ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1-½”, 2” and 3” curvatures to fit into the curve of a variety of items.

Outfitted with a ½ HP and 3.5 amp motor, this oscillating spindle sander delivers 2,000 RPM and 58 OPM to make easy work of sanding away rough edges. Built-in storage provides space to keep accessories close at hand, while the table provides a level and sturdy work surface. A built-in dust collection port enables easy hook up to a dust extractor or collector to minimize mess and make cleanup easy.

What we liked

  • ½ HP motor delivers 2,000 RPM for powerful sanding results
  • Sanding drum moves up and down while also rotating
  • Onboard accessory storage keeps items nearby and organized

What we didn't like

  • Dust collector not included
  • Additional sanding sleeves not included

7. Powermatic 1791310 PM701 Bench Mortiser

Mortise joinery provides a strong joint that is long lasting. Corresponding channels, also known as mortises, are cut into boards. A joiner is inserted into the channels and held in place using glue. The size of the mortise determines the type of joiner used from a dowel to a biscuit to a domino. This bench mortiser from Powermatic makes it easy to consistently cut mortises to different sizes for simplified assembly.

A ¾ HP motor delivers 1,725 RPM to power through different types of woods of varying hardness. This mortiser features a 1-½” chuck capacity for compatibility with most bits. Mortises are concealed when furniture is assembled, so they are cut partially through and not completely through a board. The in-line depth stop ensures the mortiser stops at a pre-set depth, to ensure the channel is deep enough without going too far.

The fence is equipped with a quick action cam lock that allows for easy positioning of the workpiece. Pieces are held firmly in place when removing the chisel due to the double lock system of the stock hold-down. This prevents damage that could ruin the work piece. The handle is reversible to allow for left- or right-handed use.

What we liked

  • Stock hold-down with double lock system holds work pieces securely in place
  • Quick action cam lock for easy positioning

What we didn't like

  • Assembly required

8. BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Combo Kit

Pounding in nails or staples by hand is time consuming and you run the risk of damaging the surface with near misses or too hard hammer strikes. Specially designed nail, brad or staple guns make it easy to secure items securely, quickly and without marring the surface of the wood.

The Bostitch 6-gallon 150 PSI pancake compressor powers a variety of nail, brad and staple guns to quickly fasteners in substrates of different densities. The high-efficiency motor maximizes power for dependable results, while the 25’ PVC air hose provides enough slack to move around. The ¼” fitting is compatible with a variety of products.

This combo kit from Bostitch also includes a variety of tools that can be used with the air compressor. The brad nailer supports 18 gauge brad nails ranging from 5/8" to 2" to meet the needs of small projects. The straight finish nailer is compatible with 16 gauge finish nails between 1-¼” to 2-½”. Lastly, this set also includes a crown stapler to secure ⅜” heavy-duty crown staples ranging from ¼” to 9/16” in size.

What we liked

  • Includes a brad nailer, finish nailer and stapler for use with the air compressor
  • 25’ PVC hose provides space to move around your workshop
  • Rubber feet keep the compressor in place while in use

What we didn't like

  • Compressor is loud when in use
  • Holds pressure for about one hour

9. Armor All 2.5 Gallon, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

Messes are inevitable, and the Armor All wet/dry utility vacuum is able to handle all sorts of clean up needs with ease. Equipped with a 2.5-gallon storage tank, this vacuum can pick up a lot of debris before it needs to be emptied. The 2 HP motor can clean up dry items, like saw dust, small off-cuts and more, while also taking on water and other liquids. An auto shut-off feature turns the vacuum off to prevent overflow and keep messes contained.

The utility vacuum is compact in size for improved maneuverability around tight spaces. At 7 pounds and equipped with a built in handle this utility vacuum can be brought to where ever a mess needs to be cleaned. The 10’ long power cord and 6’ long hose provide plenty of reach. A built-in cord wrap keeps the power cord neat and contained when not in use. A variety of nozzle attachments are designed to accommodate different debris and surfaces from water to upholstery and more. All of the attachments can be stored on the vacuum to keep everything close at hand.

What we liked

  • 2.5-gallon capacity holds large messes
  • Powers through both wet and dry debris
  • 2 HP motor picks up stubborn messes

What we didn't like

  • Handheld design does not feature casters and must be carried

10. Dewalt DCD771C2 20V MAX Cordless

Cordless drills provide the convenience and power to drill pilot holes or fasten a screw without being tethered by a cord. The 20-volt Max cordless drill from Dewalt also boasts a lightweight and compact size to accomplish demanding jobs in tight spaces.

Two speed settings take on drilling or fastening in different types of wood and deliver 0-450 RPM or 1,500 RPM. The ½” single sleeve ratcheting chuck is easy to loosen and tighten when changing the bit, and securely holds the bit in place while in use. A built-in light illuminates the work area when in use in dim or low light conditions. The ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold while still allowing for dexterity.

This cordless drill is part of Dewalt’s max system of tools which all utilize the same 20-volt lithium-ion battery. The battery delivers long-lasting power to get through difficult jobs, and it can easily be removed and charged. For long work days you can alternate through a couple batteries, and swap out to recharge as one looses power (additional batteries not included).

What we liked

  • Lightweight and compact cordless drill easily fits into tight spaces
  • Two-speed transmission for use with different types of wood
  • Removable lithium-ion 20-volt battery is compatible with the Dewalt max series of tools

What we didn't like

  • The battery charger does not indicate when the battery is fully charged
  • During extended use you may need to continually re-tighten the chuck to ensure the bit is secured

11. INCRA Miter1000/HD Miter Gauge

Make the perfect miter cut using the INCRA 1000/HD miter gauge. This device enables you to make coordinating cuts that line up for tight seams, segmented turns and more. The protractor gauge features 180 Angle Lock with indexing stops at 1-degree increments, as well as special stops at +/-22.5-degrees. This wide range enables you to take on large or complicated jobs and make miter cuts with confidence.

The Glide Lock miter bar features six expansion disks that adjust for a dependable fit into the T-slot channel of a table saw. When the discs are expanded there is no side play on most table saws from leading manufacturers. This miter gauge is compatible with slot widths that range from 0.740" to 0.765”. The adjustable miter bar is compatible with square-sided miter slots that measure ⅜” deep and ¾” wide. This adjustable miter bar can be used on saws that feature a miter slot with or without a 15/16" T-slot at the bottom.

Additional features include a steel Vernier scale that breaks down increments to 1/10 degree and the telescoping lock cut-off fence to make precise cuts. This miter gauge is heavy-duty machined with laser cut components and built to last.

What we liked

  • Angle Lock technology makes easy work of making coordinating miter cuts
  • Glide Lock allows the device to easily and securely fit into more table saws

What we didn't like

  • This gauge may need require routine adjustments to maintain square
  • Aluminum fence provides play and is flexible

12. Bosch Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser

Easily line up pieces or level items with the Bosch self-leveling cross-line laser. This simple-to-set-up device clearly projects horizontal, vertical and cross lines, either independently or together to meet the needs of your project. The Smart Pendulum System easily self levels while alerting when out-of-level conditions are present for improved accuracy.

Included VisiMax technology monitors the temperature of the laser to find balance between delivering maximum brightness without allowing the diodes to overheat. Laser lines are visible for up to 50’ under normal conditions with a +/-⅛” accuracy at 33’, making it easy to take on large scale projects. This laser level is better suited to indoor projects, since the laser beams will be easier to see.

An included magnetic L-shaped mounting bracket attaches to steel studs to quickly and easily suspend the level for different applications. Retractable feet enable freestanding use. The Bosch self-leveling cross-line laser is IP54 rated to protect against rain or dust and other demanding job site conditions. To protect the device when not in use the system automatically locks the pendulum when the power is turned off.

What we liked

  • Smart Pendulum System self-leveling technology alerts when out-of-level conditions are present
  • Projects horizontal, vertical and cross lines, either independently or together
  • Laser lines are visible for up to 50’

What we didn't like

  • Laser lines are difficult to see in bright conditions, like direct sunlight
  • Controls are difficult to adjust

Final Verdict 

Each woodworker has different needs and requirements in terms of equipment. This is based partially on skill level, along with the types of jobs taken on. Tools that would make an excellent addition to one shop may be unnecessary in another. In terms of universal use and appeal the BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-tool and compressor combo kit will make a great addition to just about any woodworking shop. The air compressor is versatile and can be used with the included fastener guns, as well as other tools. The round up of brad and finish nailers and staple gun are diverse enough to take on a wide range of jobs.

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