The best pocket hole jig kit
There's no denying the beauty of a well-cut dovetail joint -- or the time it takes. Pocket hole joinery is much faster and doesn't require the high skill level, so anyone can turn out professional results.
Pocket hole jig kits vary in their mounting method, and they may have drill guides with one, two, or three holes.
To learn more about pocket hole jigs and hear about a few of our top picks, continue reading. Our favorite pocket hole jig kit, the Kreg Jig Master, comes from the world's leading manufacturer and is a great example of the flexibility and precision available.
Considerations when choosing pocket hole jig kits
Why a pocket hole jig?
Anybody can screw two pieces of wood together, but if you've ever bought flat-pack furniture you'll know how easily it can be pulled apart. Much of the problem is the 90º fixing angle, which doesn't allow the screw to grip enough of the wood.
A pocket hole jig is designed to guide your drill at a 15º angle, which creates a much stronger joint. It's a simple job to clamp the jig to the workpiece, and the drill bit and depth guide are included, so you've got accuracy built in.
Portability and mounting methods
Many pocket hole jigs are designed to be portable, so you can take them to wherever the work is. Others use a toggle clamp or other type of clamp to grip the wood while you work. While these are less portable, they don't require a separate clamp.
Bench-mounted models have screw or lever clamps to hold the workpiece -- but also need to be fixed to the bench in some way. Screws are sometimes provided. Some have a recess for a fixing clamp -- though the clamp itself will often not be included.
You'll find one-, two-, or three-hole guides with most pocket hole jig kits. A singl- hole jig works for narrow boards, but two-hole guides are much more common for their ability to handle wider boards. Three-hole jigs offer greater variation in hole placement, but they come at a price. Guide holes should be steel lined, but cheap jigs may have aluminum-lined holes. Your steel drill bit will wear away at the hole, and eventually you will lose accuracy.
The more accurately you set your jig up, the better the result. Pocket hole jigs are usually quite clearly marked, but cheaper models have minimal graduations for common board thicknesses, whereas better quality jigs are marked in 1/8-inch increments.
A drill bit is always supplied, as is an adjustable depth collar. On cheap kits these bits can be low quality and often cut rough holes. We would recommend investing in better bits, especially if the joinery will be visible.
If you're buying your first pocket hole jig kit, it's nice to have screws and dowels included, but at best you will get a couple dozen -- which don't last long. You might want to consider adding a bigger selection to your order. Dowels should be certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) which means they've come from a sustainable source.
You can find cheap pocket hole jig kits for around $25 -- if this isn't a tool you plan to use often, models in this range should meet your needs. High-quality kits start at around $45, and even the most comprehensive professional jigs are available for under $150. There are one or two powered pocket hole machines on the market, but these cost closer to $400.
Q. Does pocket hole joinery need to be glued?
A. Glue isn't a must, but it will reinforce the joint if you want something permanent. If you're concealing the screw heads with dowels, you'll need glue for them anyway. Some can be stained or painted to create a seamless look.
Q. Can I use any kind of screws?
A. You can, but pocket hole screws are available with different threads depending on the material you're joining (hardwood, softwood, or composite). They give a stronger fixing and there's very little price difference.
Pocket hole jig kits we recommend
Best of the best: Kreg's K4MS Jig Master System
Our take: Unparalleled quality and versatility for the woodworking professional.
What we like: Kreg continues to set the standard for jigs. This kit includes a robust base for bench work (with fast workpiece clamping) and a removable drill guide for portability. Three-hole guide maximizes fixing options.
What we dislike: Disappointingly poor case.
Best bang for your buck: Milescraft's PocketJig 200 Kit
Our take: This low-cost yet comprehensive set is ideal for repairs and small-scale furniture projects.
What we like: Simple, portable jig offers excellent value for money. Hardened steel bushes prolong tool life. Quick-change connector and driver included. Imperial and metric markings.
What we dislike: Clamp not provided. Not many screws included. Cheap drill bit.
Our take: A versatile entry-level option from a company known for the durability of their tools.
What we like: An affordable way to get started with pocket holes. One piece guide and clamp in lightweight aluminum, portable or bench mount. Fine and coarse screws. Dowels are FSC certified.
What we dislike: Poor-quality drill bit. No guide bushes.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.