Woodworking is my passion – well besides my family, sleeping, watching TV, eating, sleeping and eating (yes, eating and sleeping each deserve two mentions). Anyway, to me woodworking is fun, and relaxing. I love transforming a boring piece of wood into something new and unique that can be enjoyed in our home or gifted to a loved one. I also love getting people into woodworking. So, as someone with 30 or so years of woodworking experience, I compiled a list of my 10 Essential Power Tools for Woodworkers.
For those also interested in hands tools, you can read our article: 10 Essential Hand Tools for Woodworking.
Our 10 Essential Power Tools for Woodworkers
Obviously, there are way more than ten woodworking power tools, but these ten are great for anyone ready to advance their woodworking skills. I mention a few of my favorite brands as well.
Table saws are a staple in woodshops. They are designed to make precise and straight cuts in wood. This will be a go-to tool for cutting wood straight and will be helpful during a lot of woodworking projects.
They are also adaptable. In fact, I built my portable DeWALT table saw into my workbench to avoid spending money on a cabinet saw.
When making larger cuts, a track saw is much easier, and a more precise cutting method than trying to run a large piece of wood through a table saw on my own. It’s a simple setup and cuts a true straight line, every time. I’ve had my DeWALT Flexvolt Track Saw Kit for several years and still love it. DeWALT has several Track Saw Kits available on Amazon.
Woodworking gets really fun when you move beyond just straight cuts in wood. A jig saw allows you to make detailed, curved cuts and shapes. This is where the projects you make can start to take on personality and you can express your skill level. We’ve reviewed countless jig saws over the years. I grab my Bosch 18V Cordless Jig Saw every time.
Planers actually made both our power tools list AND our 10 Essential Hand Tools for Woodworking list. That’s how essential they are. Planers are great for getting an even thickness across wood boards, which will impact the end result of your woodworking projects. A hand planer is great for smaller projects, but an electric planer is great for working with big and long pieces of wood. The RYOBI (The Home Depot) planer pictured above actually surprised us and is a really good value. Personally, I still love my DeWALT (Amazon).
Nailers or “nail guns” are perfect for driving nails into wood. They are a lot faster and more accurate than driving nails by hand. There are a variety of nailers out there, the most common are brad nailers and finish nailers. It might take a little research to figure out which nailer is right for you.
I believe these are essential in your woodshop. I’m not specific on brand. But for cordless options, I recommend just going with whichever brand of battery platform you’re already invested in.
This is one of my favorite and most used tools in my woodshop. A router is great for creating intricate details and finishing your edges. Routers are also great for trenching, allowing you to make decorative surface cuts.
When it comes to choosing a router, I recommend investing in a high-quality router and router bits. And you’ll also want to consider if you’d prefer a corded or cordless version. Especially if you are already invested in a battery platform.
No toolkit or workshop is complete without a drill. A drill is essential in a woodshop for fastening wood together. Plus, one is needed for things like drilling pilot holes, and more. Impact drills will fasten and screw, but you want more control on delicate projects. Impact drivers also tend to break screw heads off when working with hardwoods. (“Impact Drill vs Impact Driver – What is the Difference?“) So, I recommend going with a standard, trusted, electric drill when just starting out.
For me, I recently converted the cordless tools in my woodshop to FLEX. Here’s a FLEX Power Tool Combo Kit from Lowe’s that includes two batteries, and would be a great starter kit into this relatively new tool platform.
Want to know more about FLEX? Read more about my switch here: “Why I Am Switching to FLEX Power Tools“.
OK, I lied. The router is not my most used tool. My sander is. I use the heck out of my belt sander and orbital sanders. Not only do I use my sanders for standard things like smoothing out wood, but I them to sand-off dried glue spots that I forgot to clean up while gluing.
As one of your most used and vital tools, I recommend investing in a high-quality sander. I probably use the Bosch one pictured above most often. It is available on Amazon and comes with the “Mobile Dust Collection Bag”, which is great.
You might not use your drill press for every project, but you’ll love it whenever you need to make repeated holes with consistent hole depths. My drill press has been a go-to when I’ve made things like bookshelves.
Good news: you don’t need a fancy drill press for a home woodshop. Just choose one that is easy to work with and dependable. I’ve been pretty happy with my SKIL drill press pictured above. You can get a similar model on Amazon for around $200.
Ah, the stationary jig saw. I love a benchtop band saw because I feel I have more control than with a handheld jig saw. Again, another tool you do not need to spend a ton of money on, especially for a home woodshop. You just need one that is easy to work with and dependable. The SKIL model pictured above is available on Amazon and I feel it hits the mark for a decent benchtop band saw for your home woodshop.
So, there you have it. These 10 Essential Power Tools for Woodworking that are worth the investment for your home woodshop. In fact, these will be some of your favorite woodworking power tools if you decide to seriously pursue woodworking. Either way, these tools are perfect for developing your skills in this craft that I love And hopefully the start of a lot of handcrafted projects for you and the people you love.