TOP 10 Best Dowel Jigs in 2021: Ultimate Review & Buyer’s Guide

Best Dowel JigsDowel Jigs or Dowel pin jigs are compact tools usually built from hardened steel or aluminum, made for locking boards in place to avoid unnecessary movements during work.

A lot of woodworkers are looking for information on what are the best dowel jigs and we have an answer.

Here’s the deal:

A dowel jig is not a luxury for woodworkers but rather a necessity, especially for furniture-making.

Since dowel jigs are compact tools, people would often pick a cheaper version.

While it’s true that you don’t need to go over the top for a jig, it would still be wiser to get something of great quality, meaning something that has a reasonable price for a long-lasting tool.

However, for woodworkers who are really on a tight budget, we have listed the best dowel jigs that are cheap work fine for certain projects.

Do You Need a Dowel Jig?

A Dowel Jig is a tool specifically designed to lock woods in place before drilling holes. This tool serves as a guide for drilling holes in the edge, sides, and even surface of a board.

The most important parts of a Dowel Jig are the metal clamp and bushings. The metal clamps are the ones that secure the tool in position by locking it on the side of the wood, while the bushings come in metal blocks that have different sizes of holes that serve as the drill guide.

Normally, a regular Dowel Jig only has three to four bushings. Still, lately, companies have tried innovating this tool by adding more bushing sizes and features that will make it more convenient for a woodworker, carpenter, and hobbyist to use in all their wood projects.

Dowel Jigs are used in furniture such as shelves, tables, drawers, cabinets, chairs, and more. Several parts of furniture are locked and glued together by using a dowel jig to mark, drill holes, and fasten wood parts together to form the finished product.

10 Best Dowel Jigs

PRODUCT

DOWEL SIZE

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

5.43 x 4.25 x 3.46" 

Perfect Dowelling Jig Under $60

11 x 13.9 x 4.15" 

Best Dowel Jig Kit Under $200

12.4 x 4.63 x 4.4"

Interchangeable Dowel Jig [Valuable]

5.79 x 4.92 x 2.83"

Best Self-Centering Dowel Jig Under $40

3 x 4.3 x 12.3"

Recommended Budget Dowel Jig

4.75 x 2.5 x 4"

Accurate Doweling Jig for Drilling Multiple Holes

5 x 4.17 x 2.95"

Affordable Semi-Professional Dowel Jig 

10 x 4 x 2"

Best Budget-Friendly Handheld Dowel Jig

7.5 x 5.4 x 1.1"

Build to last

5 x 2 x 1"

Budget-Friednly Dowel Drilling Jig Kit

1. Woodstock D4116 – Best Doweling Jig Under $60

Best Doweling Jig Under $60Aside from customer feedback, the only way to find out the quality and performance of a tool is by testing it out for several days.

For beginners, we’ve decided to test out the Woodstock D4116 Doweling Jig seeing as it’s one of the cheaper ones, and surprisingly, it is one of the best dowel Jigs today.

As a team who sought after quality and affordable tools for woodshops, it’s difficult to find a multifunction wood dowel jig that’s under $200, but this unit certainly is a catch for its $60 selling price. It functions well, though it still should be handled with care.

It’s enough to hold your project in place to be able to drill holes without having to worry about the wood moving around during the operation, but a little warning, it doesn’t center accurately. Precision is the only issue here, and for a Hole Jig that’s under $60, it’s pretty much a good deal.

  • Dowel Size: 5.43 x 4.25 x 3.46 inches / 137.92 x 107.95 x 87.88 mm
  • Self-Centering: No
  • Bushings: Steel-hardened Bushings that have two each in sizes 0.25, 0.31, and 0.37 inches / 6.35, 7.94, and 9.53 mm
  • Material: Aluminum Steel

Key Features:

  • Can fasten stock up to 2-inch thick;
  • The sizes of the drill holes are 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2 inches / 6.35, 7.93, 9.53, 11.11, and 12.7 mm;
  • Have six steel-hardened bushings;
  • Weighs 1.1 kg / 2.6 lb;
  • 1-year warranty.

PROS

  • Affordability
  • Durability
  • Solid built
  • Ideal for hobbyists and smaller woodshops

CONS

  • Not self-centering
  • Isn’t suitable to be used on the surface of the board

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2. Jessem Model 083350 – Best Dowel Jig Master Kit Under $200

Best Dowel Jig Master Kit Under $200Probably one of the sturdiest and most ergonomically-designed Doweling Jig we could find.

The Jessem Model 08350 Doweling Jig Master Kit is a powerful and helpful tool for furniture-making wood shops.

Most woodworkers have to change several Dowel Jig units upon working, especially when the project requires different drilling hole sizes.

Even if it’s convenient to change doweling jigs to ensure you get the right hole size for the project, the money you spent on the best dowel jigs aren’t necessary if you can get most bushing sizes you need in one unit.

Upon trying the Jessem Model 08350, we found out that it has a multiple-hole configuration, which technically allowed us to change bushings conveniently without using another.

This Hole Jig’s unusual built makes it possible to fasten it securely to avoid unwanted movements during the process of drilling. The alignment slot also allows drilling holes in a perfectly aligned manner.

Within a week of using this, the team has already done multiple projects without encountering any inconveniences, and most of these projects are drawers and cabinets.

Upon thorough discussion, we’re giving this a 9/10, with 10 being the highest.

This is highly recommendable for fast-paced woodshops who work on tables, cabinets, drawers, and other kitchen furniture.

  • Dowel Size: 11 x 13.9 x 4.15 inches / 279.4 x 353.06 x 105.41 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: Guide bushing carrier-type that consists of 3/8 inches/9.52mm with 5 guide bushings, ½ inch/12.7mm with 3 guide bushings, and ¼ inch/6.35mm with 7 guide bushings.
  • Material: Steel

Key Features:

  • Has a multiple Dowel configuration hole for a more universal fitting;
  • Perfectly align Dowel Holes with the fixed alignment slot;
  • The laser-engraved finish allows quicker setups;
  • The bushing comes with an indexing pin and guides mount;
  • 1/8 Hex Key;
  • Weighs 1.2 kg / 2.1 lb

PROS

  • High-quality aluminum-built
  • Affordable
  • Dual clamps keep the board in place during drilling
  • Offers multiple bushing options

CONS

  • Built-in screws made from cheap quality
  • Accuracy could be better

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3. Milescraft 1311 JointPro – Best Interchangeable Dowel Jig for Money

Best Interchangeable Dowel Jig for Money The Milescraft 1311 JointPro allows you to drill several holes in one area without moving the jig around.

Moreover, the dual clamping system also secures both sides of the board for tight fastening.

We’ve decided to test this tool on projects such as tables and shelves, and as an observation, it was quite easy to use and it somehow does the job, minus accuracy.

Considering this flaw, you have to determine first which bushing to use according to the thickness of the wood.

The tool also has an interchangeable bushing that made it easier for us to reposition our desired hole diameter in the middle.

By doing this, you have to unscrew the M5 Pan Head screws of the bushings you want to change positions, then screw them back once you’ve placed the bushings according to your desired position.

Despite the many functions this tool has, it wasn’t hard to figure it out. It’s one of the best dowel jigs for hobbyists and small woodshops.

  • Dowel Size: 12.4 x 4.63 x 4.4 inches / 96 x 117.60 x 111.76 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: Interchangeable steel bushing blocks with three ¼, 5/16, and ⅜ inches / 35, 7.93, 9.52 mm holes
  • Material: Aluminum

Key Features:

  • Dual clamps that lock the board in place;
  • Interchangeable bushing blocks made from hardened steel;
  • Heavy-duty built that maintains sturdiness;
  • Weighs 1.7 kg / 3.11 lb

PROS

  • High-quality built
  • Very easy to use
  • Measurements are secured, which makes it easier to use for projects after projects
  • Precision at its finest

CONS

  • It doesn’t come with a storage box for storing and organizing purposes
  • Lack of clamps

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4. Waricaca Dowel Jig – Best Self-Centering Dowel Jig Under $40

Best Self-Centering Dowel Jig Under $40To test this tool, a lot of woodshop teams used it for a month.

For a cheap price, we did not expect it to show good performance, but surprisingly it did.

It only took us 2 to 3 minutes tops to drill three holes. Locking the Dowel Jig in place was easy but should be taken extra care of when you line the drill bit onto the guideline.

The build was solid and the whole thing was heavy, so when it’s locked in place, it’s pretty much sturdy enough to handle the pressure of drilling.

We would like to note that for a cheaper price, this truly lives up to its name as a “Self-centering Dowel Jig” since it does self-center and the placing is accurate.

The team would highly recommend this for both small woodshops and hobbyists, making it the best budget self-centering doweling jig out there.

  • Dowel Size: 5.79 x 4.92 x 2.83 inches / 147.1 x 125 x 71.9 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: ¼ inch, 5/16 inch, 3/8 inch, 7/16 inch, and ½ inch / 7.9, 9.5, 11.1, and 12.7 mm
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy

Key Features:

  • Corrosion-resistance;
  • Accurate positioning offers no gaps and offsets;
  • Bushings come in different sizes that allow precise drilling;
  • A self-centering tool that is suitable for making various pin joints;
  • Can work up to 2-inch/51 mm thickness of the wood;
  • Weighs 1.2 kg / 2.1 lb

PROS

  • Made from stable and durable aluminum alloy
  • Affordable yet provides excellent accuracy
  • Material is corrosion resistance
  • Convenient and accurate drilling

CONS

  • Not meant for heavy-duty tasks

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5. Wolfcraft 3751405 – Best Budget Doweling Jig Kit

Best Budget Doweling Jig KitThe Wolfcraft 3751405 Dowel Pro Doweling Jig Kit is probably one of the great quality and cheapest dowel jigs we found.

For a tool that costs less than $30, it intrigued the team how it keeps getting good reviews, and the only way to find out was to try it ourselves.

Since our partners have a few orders of shelves, they tested this tool out for about five projects. Just in case we encounter any inconvenience, we also prepared our $200-worth Doweling Jig, and we were surprised that we didn’t even have to use it.

We had a hard time figuring it out at first, especially with how to drill holes precisely, but we managed to make it work by reading the manual. It was hard to use, but you will understand the tool once you’ve read the manual.

We noticed that it doesn’t position holes precisely, but it’s fine for a $30 tool. If you really need 100% accuracy, then you might as well get a more expensive one. This unit is perfect for beginners and even entry-level woodshops.

If you haven’t used a hole jig before, then it’s better to test one out by getting this tool. The secret to utilizing it is by using the two workpieces together in a single setup, so you won’t have to worry about alignment afterward.

  • Dowel Size: 3 x 4.3 x 12.3 inches / 76.2 x 109.2 x and 312.4 mm
  • Self-Centering: No
  • Bushings: ¼ inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inches / 6.35, 7.9, and 9.5 mm
  • Material: Cast Aluminum

Key Features:

  • Bushings made from hardened steel;
  • Features 9 hole guides aligned for easy marking and measuring;
  • Can create Dowel joints such as Edge-to-corner, edge-to-surface, and edge-to-edge;
  • Boasts a 5-year warranty upon purchase;
  • Weighs 861.8 g / 1.14 lb

PROS

  • Affordable and durable
  • Manual directions were straightforward
  • Clamps lock securely
  • It can be used in woods from ½ inch/12.7 mm to 1 ¼ inch/31.8 mm thick

CONS

  • Less precision in positioning
  • Not designed for heavy work

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6. Autotoolhome – Accurate Doweling Jig for Drilling Multiple Holes

Alternative for a Self-Centering Doweling JigLuckily, the AUTOTOOLHOME Self Centering Doweling Jig is under the category of affordable self-centering Doweling jigs that most hobbyists and even small-time woodshop owners love.

As you already know, self-centering Doweling jigs are perfect for creating several pin joints made of wood. Once clamped securely, the bushings of this tool make it possible to drill effortlessly while achieving a precise angle and alignment of Dowel holes through the wood board.

Another convenient feature of this tool is that it allows drilling two identical holes in parallel with each other without having to move the whole Dowel jig around the side of the project.

It also has a good-quality built, and since it’s made of solid steel, it offers long-lasting use and durability.

This tool is perfect for weekend hobbyists and even carpenters.

  • Dowel Size: Length is 4-3/4 inch/7mm, height is 2-1/2 inch/63.5mm, and width is 4 inches/101.6 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: Has two set each of ¼ inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inch / 35, 7.9, and 9.5 mm
  • Material: Hardened Steel

Key Features:

  • Allows accurate drilling on multiple holes;
  • Has four guide holes that were accurately designed to be a carpenter’s favorite;
  • A self-centering system that reaches up to 2 inches/51 mm square stock;
  • Can be used for drilling on two identical holes in parallel with each other;
  • Large clamps made from steel that offers sturdiness upon use;
  • Weighs 1.1 kg / 2.6 lb

PROS

  • Affordable, self-centering Dowel jig kit
  • Built for long-lasting use
  • Easy-to-use with its no-brainer design

CONS

  • Drill bits in standard size don’t fit accurately
  • There is resistance in the clamping mechanism

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7. Joywayus – Best Self-Centering Semi-Professional Dowel Jig Under $50

Best Self-Centering Semi-Professional Dowel Jig Under $50Upon testing it out for a few days, we can say that the Joywayus Self Centering Dowel Jig Professional is certainly one of the best dowel jigs for hobbyists and weekend warriors.

The quality is good, but it isn’t built for top-class furniture-making, although it works fine for entry-level shops and beginners.

Colleagues used it for Dowels and for marking boards, mostly on white ones. The accuracy of drilling holes by using this has potential since it’s not too inaccurate to be noticeable, which is why it’s a good tool for startup projects.

The build was surprisingly well-made and from the looks of it, and it may last longer than expected.

  • Dowel Size: 5 x 4.17 x 2.95 inches / 127, 105.9, and 74.9 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: ¼ inch, 5/16 inch, 3/8 inch, 7/16 inch, and ½ inch / 6.35, 7.9, 9.5, 11.1, and 12.7 mm
  • Material: Aluminum

Key Features:

  • Surface treated with Anodic Oxidation;
  • Equal spacing measurement of each hole;
  • Clamps are adjustable from 3/8 inch/9.5 mm thick of wood to 2 inches/51 mm thick;
  • Bushing made from dying steel;
  • Weighs 1.02 kg / 2.3 lb

PROS

  • Affordability
  • Wear-resistant and durability
  • Clamping flexibility
  • The perfectly centered drill guide

CONS

  • Inaccuracy in tightening of both jaws
  • Build quality could be better

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8. Milescraft 1319 – Best Budget-Friendly Handheld Dowel Jig

Best Budget-Friendly Handheld Dowel JigWho would’ve thought the team would be able to find a dowel pin jig under $15?

The Milescraft 1319 JointMate – Handheld Dowel Jig surprised us with its ability to align holes accurately.

That’s why it is the best budget-friendly handheld self-centering dowel jig for drilling straight holes on your board too.

It was weird to use it at first since it was very light and hand-held, but other than that, it works for small projects.

The self-centering system works surprisingly fine. It’s cheap, simple, and yet it’s a great value for money.

  • Dowel Size: 10 x 4 x 2 inches / 254 x 102 x 51 mm
  • Self-Centering: Yes
  • Bushings: Made from metal
  • Material: ABS

Key Features:

  • Self-centering;
  • Has an adjustable fence that provides accurate dowel alignment;
  • Can handle ½ inch/12.7 mm to 1 ½ inch/38.1 mm thick of wood;
  • Weighs 226.8 g / 8 oz

PROS

  • Cheaper alternative
  • Works as its intended
  • High-quality ABS
  • Quick and easy set-up

CONS

  • Not ideal to use on bigger woodworks
  • Instructions are difficult to understand

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9. Powertec 71498 – Cheap Dowel Drilling Jig with Cobalt

Cheap Dowel Drilling Jig with CobaltThe team loves the POWERTEC 71497 Dowel Drilling Jig since it’s a great tool for startups, hobbyists, and even carpenters.

The M35 drill bit is high-speed steel, a strong metal that resists scratch and heat.

The tool built seems easy to set up on boards, but since we weren’t used to its design, it was difficult at first.

To keep the POWERTEC 71497 Dowel Jig in place, woodworkers used it with two clamps since its clamping pressure is not strong enough, although it works.

It’s also good for marking woods as long as you have the guideline aligned accurately and near the work area.

All in all, we would recommend this for weekend hobbyists and beginners.

It’s one of the best dowel jigs to make Dowel joints since it’s cheap and compact.

  • Dowel Size: 7.5 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches / 191 x 137.1 x 28 mm
  • Self-Centering: No
  • Bushings: Dowel Holes in 3/8 inch/9.5 mm size, in ¾ inch/19 mm thick
  • Material: Metals and Acrylic

Key Features:

  • Easy fastening system;
  • Has a 3/16 inch/4.8 mm of hardened acrylic that allows a clearer view;
  • It comes with an M35 drill bit made from premium steel with a split point in a 135 degree;
  • Compact and lightweight for easy storage;
  • Build to last;
  • Weighs 362.9 g / 12 oz

PROS

  • Affordable and works for beginners
  • Easy guide with a clear view
  • High-quality cobalt drill bit
  • Can make efficient dowel joints

CONS

  • Lacks accuracy
  • Bad design of guide hole sizes

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10. Big Horn 19695 – Affordable Dowel Drilling Jig Kit

Affordable Dowel Drilling Jig KitThe Big Horn 19695 has the same unique design as POWERTEC 71497, which means that the features could be almost the same.

The holes on the acrylic plate were in an awkward shape, but after a few tinkering and adjustments, we managed to make it work.

We would not really recommend this for a fast-paced woodshop, but it can easily work for hobbyists and beginners.

The holes screwing the pieces together are not aligned accurately, but again, to not waste your $16, you can do some adjustments to it.

We advise not to use this daily because once the holes on the acrylic plate get overused, the size will start to change due to drilling through it multiple times.

  • Dowel Size: 5 x 2 x 1 inches / 127 x 51 x 25.4 mm
  • Self-Centering: No
  • Bushings: ¼ inch/6.35 mm guide with ¾ inch/19 mm holes spaces
  • Material: Metal and Acrylic

Key Features:

  • Designed for centering dowel holes on ½ inch/12.7 mm stock;
  • Durable 3/16 inch/4.8 mm acrylic plate;
  • Hole guides made from hardened steel;
  • Only has two parts that provide easy set-up;
  • Weighs 119 g / 4 oz

PROS

  • Affordable
  • A good tool for beginners and hobbyists
  • High-quality hardened steel
  • Fast and easy set-up

CONS

  • Inaccurate hole guides
  • Not suitable for daily use

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How to Choose a Dowel Jig?

  • If you’re a hobbyist, a carpenter, or you own a small shop:

Then it’s wise to get a simple Dowel jig. The price range of simple ones go from $20 to $50, and usually, these are the basic dowel jigs that can work for entry-level shops and beginners. Most people would opt for the cheaper ones, and most basic jigs have a problem with inaccurate alignment. Only choose a cheaper version when you’re really on a tight budget.

  • For small woodshops:

It’s advisable to get a dowel jig with a bushing, but not necessarily many bushings since you don’t need that much for fewer projects, although it still depends on your preference. Bushings allow drilling same size holes without having to move the whole jig. Less movement can help you get a more accurate alignment.

If your shop is still small, getting the best dowel jig for money would be the best choice.

  • Bigger and fast-paced shops:

You need a wood dowel jig with more bushings since this type has more threaded holes that give the user more options of spacing and measurement between holes. This usually costs from $50 to almost a hundred dollars. It’s more expensive, but the quality and performance are better.

  • Lastly, and this applies to all woodworkers:

Get a self-centering dowel jig. It’s difficult to find a cheap self-centering jig that works, but we’ve listed some units above that you might want to check out.

A self-centering jig, regardless of the design, will most likely have good accuracy and stays locked in its position upon work. The more precise it stays in position, the better the alignment of drilling holes will be.

Conclusion

Dowel Jigs, like any other tools, help in making fine-quality outputs.

However, it‘s not because you have complete equipment that means you can make top-class furniture. It will still depend on the quality of the tool and how the woodworker uses the tool.

Woodworking is a beautiful platform for making art. Even when you make furniture for a living, all of your crafts are still considered your art pieces.

In making art, we need tools to work efficiently. Create wood projects quickly and conveniently by getting yourself the best dowel jig kit!

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