A lot of woodworker's wish lists include a 12-in. jointer to match their 12-in. thickness planer. But a 12-in. jointer is a big expense. That’s why, in recent years, combination machines have gained popularity. A 12-in. combo machine gets you both machines in one space-saving package for about the same price as a 12-in. jointer alone. Recently, I looked at two new ones from Grizzly and Laguna (click on the links for more information and to write your own reviews).

The machines are functionally alike, and both are excellent. I planed and jointed white oak, maple, and cherry with each machine and the results were impressive. If forced to pick between the two, I’d lean toward the Grizzly, mainly because of the lower price.

Laguna Jointer-Planer Combo Machine

Quick changeover. After jointing, it takes less than a minute to raise the tables, move the dust hose, and change over to planing mode.

As an option on both machines, you can substitute a spiral cutterhead for the standard straight-knifed cutterhead. It adds about $500 to the price but requires less power and produces little tearout, even in very challenging woods. A series of multisided carbide insert cutters, mounted in the head, do the cutting. These edges last much longer than steel blades, and should one get nicked, it’s a simple matter to rotate it to a fresh edge.

From Fine Woodworking #203