What's your favorite biscuit joiner? Thoughts on the Porter Cable 557?

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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 08-19-2011 06:56 PM 3352 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3074 days

08-19-2011 06:56 PM

One of the tools that’s at the top of my list to procure sometime this year is a biscuit joiner. I’ve done a little bit of research and reading, and am currently leaning towards the Porter Cable 557. Seems to be a solid choice for the price. I can currently get it for $173.25 on Amazon, with free shipping.

(I’d love to get a Festool Domino, but that is not in the budget.)

What other biscuit joiners might you personally recommend I look at that are around the same price range and quality, and why do you recommend them? Or should I just stop looking and pick up a PC557 when I get a chance?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

25 replies so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4114 days

#1 posted 08-19-2011 07:01 PM

I have a Dewalt. I picked it up on E-bay for 50 bucks. You might consider a used model. They are pretty simple little machines and not much is going to go wrong with a used model.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View syenefarmer's profile


492 posts in 3104 days

#2 posted 08-19-2011 07:14 PM

I have a PC557 and like it. It will do a some things that others in its price range can’t but if FF aren’t in your future the DeWalt should do nicely too. Something else to consider though is how much you will use a joiner. For me, having the Porter Cable has certainly not been worth the money I paid out to have it.

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2622 days

#3 posted 08-19-2011 07:24 PM

I have the dewalt, a simple but functional tool. I have read that the PC is supposed to be pretty good machine, with a fence that may offer some benefits the dewalt does not. Good luck.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3074 days

#4 posted 08-19-2011 07:24 PM

John, I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a used one, particularly if I can find one locally (such as on Craigslist), that hasn’t seen a lot of use.

syenefarmer, FF’s are certainly one of the reasons I’m looking at the PC557. Don’t have an immediate use for them, but I’m sure something will arise down the road. I do have a few projects floating around in my head right now where a joiner would help with alignment. I don’t think I just want to settle for a slot cutter router bit though. It just seems like a compromise. Not sure how often I’d use it, as I don’t have one particular type or style of woodworking that I focus on, and am actually beginning to design some larger furniture-type projects, compared to most all of the little things I’ve posted on here. I’m still growing as a woodworker and exploring various areas, so I’m not sure where it’ll take me?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Mike's profile


18 posts in 3018 days

#5 posted 08-19-2011 07:25 PM

This is the one I have.

I love it so far, I really like the vertical handle way more comfortable/stable to use. It comes with a carbide tipped blade, hard case, biscuits to get started, a dust collector that works and can cut #0 to 20. I wont speak of durability as I have only made 20-30 cuts but so far so good. Actually the quality of this item got me to purchase a bench top drill press from Ryobi. Its been great as well. I know its not what your post listed as candidates, PC and Festool make great products but IMO this is a inexpensive little gem.

-- Why measure twice when you can cut twice.

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 08-19-2011 07:48 PM

IMO, biscuit jonter is a straight forward machine tool. Most makes (brands) will do the job. If your like PC, go ahead – I believe you will enjoy using it. Good Luck!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2851 days

#7 posted 08-19-2011 07:52 PM

I have the PC its very nice and a great deal off of amazon


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3332 days

#8 posted 08-19-2011 07:57 PM

I also have the PC and it is very nice but I rarely use it. I bought it when building some larger cabinets for the house and it came in real handy and was a pleasure to use. Now I primarily build Jewelry boxes and don’y use it in their construction.

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3457 days

#9 posted 08-19-2011 08:21 PM

I have a PC. For the amount of use it gets, I’d get either a used or reconditioned. Wouldn’t spend much on it. Not the most important tool you can have by a long shot

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2517 days

#10 posted 08-19-2011 08:23 PM

I have the PC, and feel it’s the top of the BJ food chain. The Dewalt is a very close second. It replaced a Ryobi which was about the hardest tool to use I’ve ever owned (sold it on e-bay). The small biscuits the PC does (it’’s biggest and maybe only advantage over a Dewalt: my opinion) are fairly handy and have proven useful several times for me. The only thing about is that for a $200 or so tool, it really doesn’t earn it’s keep….at least in my shop. It’s handy to have, but if it was gone it’s unlikely I would miss it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3198 days

#11 posted 08-19-2011 08:23 PM

I think there’s a sense that the 557 is the best value, and that the Lamello (think: Festool) is the best product.

But … lots of people seem happy with their Ryobi biscuit joiners, too.

-- -- Neil

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3504 days

#12 posted 08-19-2011 08:35 PM

I have the PC too and like it. It works very well.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3256 days

#13 posted 08-19-2011 08:48 PM

Go lay your hands on a few biscuit joiners. I have the Ryobi, and unlike Fred, I find it incredibly easy to use. But I like the D handle, a lot of guys don’t. I can never plunge straight with a barrel handle joiner, so the PC style won’t work well for me…

Even though I like my biscuit joiner, honestly, I spend WAY more time cutting M&T joints than biscuits. The biscuit does very little for adding strength, the M&T will usually outlast the wood around it…

If my biscuit joiner died, I seriously doubt I would replace it.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2617 days

#14 posted 08-19-2011 09:03 PM

PC PC PC Why because it’s PC

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2714 days

#15 posted 08-19-2011 09:35 PM

I have had the Harbor Freight unit for about a year and a half and even though the fence is pretty much crap, it works fine once you get it adjusted and you don’t have to pay and arm & a leg for it. I have only needed to cut biscuits about 3 times and they all came out fine. But whatever brand you get test it out on a scrap piece first to make sure the adjustment is ok .

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