Plastic bench dogs
4-pack, no. 64256, $10
Short of making your own bench dogs, these stops offer the lowest buy-in. They hold workpieces securely, but can get misplaced because they don’t self-store by dropping below the benchtop when not in use.
8" benchtop jointer, no. 40180HCB-CT, $470
I’m a big proponent of 8" jointers because the wider the cutterhead, the wider the boards you can face-joint. This Cutech jointer pairs big capacity with a segmented carbide-insert cutterhead for less than $500.
For a benchtop model, this unit has surprising power. Its universal motor won’t compete with the induction motors on stationary jointers, but it gets along nicely if you remove no more than 1∕32" per pass on most wood species, and 1∕64" on very dense hardwoods. The cutterhead creates a smooth, clean cut without snipe or tear-out. I never dulled the cutters during testing, but replacements sell for $60 per 10-pack. Changing cutters is quick and easy, using the included wrench.
The cast-aluminum tables proved perfectly coplanar, and pullout extensions increase workpiece support from 331∕2" to 51" without drooping or causing catches while jointing boards. The aluminum fence moves easily back and forth, and locks solidly in place. Dust collection proved exceptional.