10 Power Tools Every Woodworker Should Own

Building out a workshop is something that takes a lifetime.

Our advice remains constant: buy the best tools you can afford and add to them over time. 

If you’re just starting out, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and intimidated by the enormous spread of options at your disposal with power tools. 

It’s also natural to be assailed by questions…

Which tools do you need first?

How much should you spend?

How about accessories?

The good news is there is no fixed order you need to buy power tools in and no one-size-fits-all price range.

So, without further ado, we’ll give you a very brief summary of the leading benefits of each of the following power tools: 

  1. Miter Saw
  2. Circular Saw
  3. Power Drill
  4. Jig Saw
  5. Table Saw
  6. Router
  7. Random Orbital Sander
  8. Planer
  9. Scroll Saw
  10. Benchtop Jointer


10 Power Tools For an Effective Capsule Workshop

Today’s summary of power tools is intended strictly for beginners so we won’t be probing down into too much detail or leaving you more confused than you started out.


1) Miter Saw

The first thing on your list should be a miter saw.

You’ve got 3 main choices here:

  • Basic Miter Saw
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Sliding Miter Saw

A basic miter saw is the least expensive, simplest but also relatively limited option. You’ll be able to make miter cuts and cross cuts at 90 degrees with a great deal of precision. Lightweight and easy to use, they make a sound starting point but maybe you want something with a little more versatility?

As the name suggests, a compound miter saw gives you more leeway. Along with the miter cut and cross cut, you’ll also be able to bevel and make compound cuts. A compound cut is a combination of a miter and bevel. Compound saws offer either single or double bevel options.

A sliding compound miter saw provides all the versatility of a compound miter saw with the inbuilt benefit of a sliding arm. This type of saw is much heavier-duty and perfect for working with wider or longer boards. You’ll save time if you’re working on more ambitious and repetitive projects since you won’t need to keep flipping the board.

If you want a precise method of making angled cuts and a workhorse capable of everything from intricate trim work and moldings through to dealing with baseboards, bulkier timber and even logs, check out our detailed guide and breakdown of the best miter saws right here.


2) Circular Saw

While you might associate circular saws with carpentry rather than woodworking, these tools can be surprisingly versatile.

You’ll be able to execute rip cuts and cross cuts as well as performing a range of other jobs including bevels and swift, accurate plunge cuts.

With circular saws, our advice is to dig a little deeper. The budget models at the lower end of the market won’t give you the oomph or accuracy you need.

Blades on circular saws can easily power through plywood and even fiberglass.

Along with a miter saw, a circ should be one of the first items on your list if you’re looking to set yourself up with a respectable home workshop.

3) Power Drill

Cordless power drills give you a great deal of maneuverability while a corded model will give you added firepower and reliability. Think about your intended use and buy accordingly.

Drills with 3/8-inch chucks generate outstanding pace and work well for making small to medium-sized holes in wood, plastic and even metal.

A lower-speed and heavier ½-inch chuck on your power drill comes with a secondary handle for added stability and you should only get one of these if you intend to use larger bits like a hole saw or wood auger bit.

If you’re only buying one, choose the 3/8-inch option for maximum flexibility.


4) Jig Saw

A jig saw, sometimes written as jigsaw, gives you enormous scope if you’re looking to cut more than straight lines. For intricate woodworking, this tool is an absolute must and surprisingly inexpensive.

While you could get away with a small hacksaw or other hand saw, if you’re working on larger projects, that soon gets old.

Jig saws are extremely portable so they work well just about anywhere you need to take it from workshop to job site to inside the house for DIY.

Choose from a corded, cordless or less common pneumatic jigsaw and stop sweating away with hand tools when you can get the job done more quickly and easily for a modest investment.


5) Table Saw

Stepping up in terms of power, a table saw comes in many different configurations.

From a smaller benchtop model right through to a full-bore cabinet saw, you can also opt for a hybrid table saw falling somewhere in between.

For a wide array of cut from rips and miters through to bevels and compound cuts, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t do with a table saw.

Once you’ve got your basic power tools covered, this is an essential investment if you’re serious about woodworking.


6) Router

A wood router comes with either a fixed base or a plunge base. You can also opt for a combination base.

A fixed router is a great starting point if you’re an inexperienced woodworker but they work best purely for edging work.

If you’re developing your skills and you want a more future-proofed tool, opt for the plunge base to enjoy a broader range of duties.

From edging and template work through to grooves, rabbets, joints and decorative grill work, the router is magnificently multipurpose.


7) Random Orbital Sander

A crucial if tedious element of woodworking comes when you need to smooth and sand your boards.

Carrying out this task by hand is onerous so if you’ve got any intention of pursuing woodworking as more than an occasional hobby, treat yourself to a sander as soon as budget permits.

While a random orbital sander is more expensive than a palm sander, you’ll get a far cleaner finish with little chance of marking ruining your workpiece. And, let’s face it, when you’re looking to finish a project, you want the best finish.

This type of sander is circular so allows you to work in tight, awkward spots. The sandpaper is attached using a simple but effective hook-and-loop system.

8) Planer

A planer or thickness planer is crucial if you want boards of uniform thickness.

You’ll be able to shave an assortment of different sized material so that you ensure both faces are parallel while thickness is the same across all boards.

Portable planers are a reasonable place to start but if you’ve got a larger workshop and you plan to keep forging ahead down the woodworking route, there’s no substitute for a benchtop planer or thickness planer. Powerful and able to deliver deep, precise cuts, if you’ve got the space and the budget, angle toward one of these beasts.


9) Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a real space-saver and a vital weapon in your armory if you want to carry out curved and intricate cuts.

Unlike a band saw, scroll saws come with reciprocating blades. The variable speed control gives you the precision you need for fine work while still delivering ample power.

For decorative jobs and wood design of all natures, a scroll saw will get an astonishing amount of use.


10) Benchtop Jointer

The last power tool on our list, a benchtop jointer, is essential if you want to flatten uneven boards.

You’ll use a jointer before you thickness your wood so you really do need both these machines.

The jointer will plane one face and edge so they are straight and square. A thickness planer then ensures the other edge and face are parallel while making the boards a uniform thickness.

Terminology can be confusing, especially with different terms used across the world so check out our exploration of planers for more detailed information.


Final Word

All we wanted to do today was collate a solid selection of the many power tools at your disposal and give you a very brief overview.

Take your time and look through Miter Saw Judge for a more in-depth low-down on all these fantastic power tools. We don’t stop at simply reviewing products, we’ll always throw in a concise but thorough guide to help you out.

Bookmark our site and come back soon. We’re currently working on a new collection of informational pieces to help you through every stage of your woodworking journey.

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