Make the perfect concealed joints with the best pocket hole jig
There can be nothing more ungainly than tons of visible screws on your woodworking project. Apart from marring the appearance of the finish, it also makes it look like an amateurish job, certainly not a desirable trait if you are a professional. By allowing you to completely hide any visible screws and making the most perfect front face joints, pocket hole jigs deserve a place in every woodworking tool shed. Much like the miter sled or the miter gauge, you shouldn’t even be starting a new project without it, if aesthetics really matter. Some examples are fastening picture frames, making face frame joints on cabinets, drawers etc.
However, if you have never used pocket hole jigs before then you may find it a tad confusing to buy one off the shelf. Like every other purchase, there are a few things that you need to be aware of and it pays to be a discerning buyer.
** All prices and ratings mentioned in this article are accurate at the time of publishing and may change with time.
Top 5 Best Pocket Hole Jig – Reviews
Without getting overly technical here, we have picked a list of the best pocket hole jigs in the market on the basis of their features, their precision, the customer ratings and their durability. You want to ensure that you get the most perfectly angled screws. At the same time, you don’t want to end up with a jig that breaks a few months down the road. Here’s our list for you.
#1 – Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig
Kreg is a de-facto choice among woodworking professionals and the K5 is the latest addition to their range of pocket hole jigs that stays true to the brand name and delivers a stunning performance. It is a feature rich tool that will allow you to make easy joints with pocket holes.
Easy clamp mechanism
One of the most annoying aspects of using a pocket hole jig is when you are trying to move the handle to the front side of the jig and the panel blocks or restricts the movement. The K5 features a front mounted handle with an easy clamp ratcheting mechanism that can be adjusted without the need for any tools or nuts. It just slides fit against the stock. Just lift the handle until you hear two very audible clicks to your stock until you need to change the thickness. Further making your life easy is the easy adjustment for the wood size and the size of the screws. Unlike your older jig, this can be adjusted on the fly allowing you to use varying stock sizes with ease. (see full specs and features)
Simple use even for first timers
If this is the first time you are venturing into pocket holes from dado joints, then the Kreg K5 will amaze you with its simple set up and usage. All that you need to do is select the right screw according to the thickness of the stock, use the drill bit block set up to arrange the stop collar in the right position, adjust the drill-guide block by pulling the spring-loaded pin and set the easy-to-adjust clamp. That’s it. You are all set to drill pocket holes.
The package also includes two large sized support wings that can be attached to the base provide stability to the stock. This also includes a storage compartment that can store your screws, bits and other sundry details.
To ensure that your workstation remains clean, the K5 features a swiveling dust collection port that can be adjusted according to the position of the wooden panel. It can then be connected directly to a vacuum hose.
The Kreg K5 is a perfect first timer’s pocket hole jig that creates strong and stable joints. You can very well create entire cabinets with these without having to worry about the stability. It also takes the learning curve out of the task with its easy to use mechanism.
#2 – PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG
When you are looking to start a project with multiple face frames, you need a pocket hole jig that automates a lot of the tasks and delivers a precision based performance. That’s the Porter-Cable 560 Quikjig for you. With an easy setup and a bunch of practical features that make it ridiculously easy to make stable pocket holes, the Quikjig definitely deserves a place in your shed.
Meaty, Durable appearance
Out of the box, you cannot help but be impressed with the large and meaty appearance of the Quikjig that looks miles away from its competition. There is a lot of metal used in the construction and is not all lightweight plastic. This added mass gives it a stability that is often lacking in pocket hole jigs. Also included are compartments for storage for the drill bits, the depth stop and the square drive bits of varying length, in addition to a bunch of screws, a hex wrench and a locking clamp that is extremely useful for holding the two workpieces together.
Easy setup and operation
You will be amazed at how easy it is to set up the Porter Cable Quikjig and the flexibility it brings to a job. You can adjust it once for stocks of any thickness ranging from 1/2 in. to 11/2 in and it is equally simple to adjust the screws using one single knob. It comes with a rotating clamp handle that automatically adjusts the depth and locks the stock saving you a lot of time and effort. A strong clamping mechanism ensures that your workpiece stays aligned and if you want to make repeat cuts, the task is effortless.
Drilling is extremely easy with a side mounted scale that tells you about the ideal screw setup that you need for the job. Even if you are looking to drill pocket holes in your stock that is held vertically, a few adjustments with a 2 x 4 will have you covered in no time.
Strong, durable, easy operation and automation for some of the more labour intensive tasks. You cannot find a flaw with the Quikjig. This is a professional’s tool all the way. Highly recommended.
#3 – Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System
The R3 Jr. is a proven warhorse. Years of performance behind it. Used by everyone from professional woodworkers to the weekend DIY warrior, impossible to go wrong with. It is barebones alright but sometimes that’s all you need. All those bells and whistles are nothing but an overkill. It does its job perfectly and that’s what’s most important.
Simple, Easy to use
That’s the best way to describe the Kreg R3 Jr. If you are seeing the junior after watching some of the more schmancy paraphernalia, it may not seem so great. But put it to the test and it shines. This is a two hole pocket jig and the package also includes the driver bit, a drill bit and a carrying case for all the stuff. The case housing for the bit is marked with the appropriate length where you need to adjust the stop collar for your stock of varying thickness. Out of the box, the R3 Jr. includes a round portion for a face clamp that has to be purchased separately. If you wish to avoid adding this $20 to your price tag, then you can just remove it off completely.
Usage is as simple as it gets. All that you need to do is slide in the drilling bit and adjust it according to the material thickness. There are two plastic tabs on the side that will need to be squeezed until the arrows are lined up in the appropriate position and then released.
Perfectly aligned pockets
The results are flawless and that is what makes this the #1 selling pocket hole jig on Amazon (see what amazon customers says). The compact size allows you to use it even with giant sized wood panels where it is almost impossible to adjust some of the bulkier models that we have reviewed in this list.
The only caveat is that due to the positioning of the jig, you will mostly be drilling towards yourself. It may take a little getting used to, especially when you pull the drill back. But that is only temporary and you will get adjusted in no time at all.
This doesn’t even warrant a second thought. Just buy it. It will serve its purpose perfectly and it is fairly inexpensive.
#4 – Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System
The K4 is the middle range model in Kreg’s range of highly popular Jig systems. This is very identical to the top-of-the-line K4 Master system. The only difference is that it does not include the face clamp, portable base and the support stop. If you already have a bunch of clamps in your workshop, then you can save some money and go for the K4 which offers the same performance. (see full specs and features)
Perfect setup with Kregs signature ease of use
Having used Kreg Jigs and clamps for ages, it would be fair to say that you’d only expect the best from these guys and the K4 doesn’t disappoint one bit. It features the main casing that includes the removable drill guide block and the fastening clamp along with the stepped drill bit and an adjustable collar that allows you to set the drill depth. Last but not the least, there is an extra-long screw driving bit.
For the noobs, the package also includes a DVD that shows you the many ways in which you can use this pocket hole jig.
The setup is as simple as ever. There are two adjustments that you need to be aware of. The first one is to adjust the drill bit collar according to the thickness of the stock and the second is to adjust the guide drill block which can be done by backing out the thumb screw.
Flawless pocket holes
The K4 is all that you will need to drill holes fast for perfect face frames. Everything from securing the wood panel, lining them up and drilling holes is extremely simple. The result is precise and sharp. The only thing that you’d want to keep an eye on, is adjusting the bit to the right thickness and using the right screws. As a rule of thumb, it is coarse for softwood and fine for hardwood.
The K4 is fast, effortless and precise. It is one of the best pocket hole jigs from Kregs line up and deserves the popularity that it enjoys among DIY woodworkers.
#5 – General Tools 850 E Z Pro Pocket Hole Jig Kit
The 850 EZ Pro pocket hole jig is a versatile and inexpensive pocket hole jig that has a very sturdy all-metal construction and a bunch of features that make it a good choice for all kinds of woodworking projects. This is an upgraded version of the 849 from General tools that was equally popular for its budget pricing and great feature set.
Durable all-metal construction
Most of the top pocket hole jigs in the market, including Kreg have a plastic and metal combo design that feels light weight. But the General Tools 850 EZ Pro has an all-metal construction with heavy-duty aluminum extrusion and hardened steel bushings. This is one quality product that will last for years without any problems whatsoever. The unique design allows portability and also allows you to bench mount it when needed. The built in clamping system secures to the work surface.
The ease of use is further extended due to the self-tapping screws.
The EZ Pro from General tools comes in a very durable clamshell carrying case that allows you to neatly organize the screws and the drill bit when not in use. The case also has a handle for easy portability. Drilling pocket holes is effortless. If you do not get the depth right according to the width of the wood panel, this may result in a lot of wood shavings around the work desk. So ensure that you get the setting right and secure the wood panel before you start to drill.
If you are a DIYer looking to dip your toes and want to start with an inexpensive pocket hole jig, this is it. It will save you a few bucks and get your job done provided you know how to use it.
** All prices and ratings mentioned in this article are accurate at the time of publishing.