Mortising Machine Reviews & Buying Guide 2019


Hello, I'm Gregor and I put this site together. At first, you'll find an overview of recommended mortising machines, followed by a public poll and a general buying guide on mortising machine. Further down on this page, we do link to other well-written articles and reviews about mortising machines. At last, you'll be able to weight in your own opinion in the comments section.

If you choose to buy an item that I've chosen indepenently and recommended it here, I may earn commissions to support my efforts. For you, the price of the product will not change, I'm just saying this to be completely open with you.

1 0

The 10 Best Mortising Machines of Our Choice

Quick comparison in an overall view
WMH Tool Group
Shop Fox
RIKON Power Tools
7104L 10.5 Amp Chain
Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt
1791310 PM701 3/4
3 / 4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser
W1671 3/4 HP
RIKON Professional Power
708580 JBM-5 1/2
1 / 2 Horsepower Bench Mortiser
14-651 Professional 1/2HP
G0645 Bench-Top Mortising
513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock
1-1 / 2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser
43012 5-Amp Cast Iron
Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Image
Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser
WMH Tool Group Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Image
Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand
Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Image
Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser
Great Deal
Shop Fox W1671 3/4 HP Image
Shop Fox W1671 3/4 HP Heavy-duty Mortising Machine
RIKON Power Tools RIKON Professional Power Image
RIKON Professional Power Tools Benchtop X/Y Mortiser, 34-260
Jet 708580 JBM-5 1/2 Image
Jet 708580 JBM-5 1/2 Horsepower Bench Mortiser
Delta 14-651 Professional 1/2HP Image
DELTA 14-651 Professional 1/2HP Bench Mortising Machine
Grizzly G0645 Bench-Top Mortising Image
Grizzly G0645 Bench-Top Mortising Machine, 0.50-HP
PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Image
PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser
WEN 43012 5-Amp Cast Iron Image
WEN 43012 5-Amp Cast Iron Bench Mortiser with Chisel Bit Set
according to our criteria
93 %
in comparison
93 %
in comparison
91 %
in comparison
88 %
in comparison
87 %
in comparison
86 %
in comparison
85 %
in comparison
81 %
in comparison
78 %
in comparison
77 %
in comparison
  • Powerful 10.5 amp motor (3,200 rpm) to quickly notch or cut holes i...
  • Extremely portable at only 38.1 lbs
  • Razor sharp chain for clean accurate cutting
  • Sturdy cast iron construction for optimal stability and durability
  • Quick position table mounted swiveling vise clamp for angled work p...
  • Feed lever features six positions for quick adjustments
  • In-line depth stop allows stopping at pre-set depths without rackin...
  • Heavy-duty Reversible handle can be installed to either side of the...
  • Stock hold-down with a double lock system top and side to eliminate...
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Unique swiveling base
  • Gas spring return
  • Benchtop mortiser - This benchtop x-y Mortising Machine gives preci...
  • Powerful - With powerful HP Motor with 1750 rpm this motor quickly ...
  • Consistent cut - Use this benchtop mortiser with dovetail column wa...
  • 1/2-horsepower bench mortiser; 115 volts; 1,752-rpm motor
  • 1/2-inch chisel capacity; 4-3/4-inch head stroke; rack and pinion head
  • Constructed from rugged cast-iron and steel
  • Easy and open access to drill chuck for bit changing
  • Large cast-iron base with center through hole
  • Adjustable rack and pinion fence and rack and pinion head raising a...
  • Drill square sided mortises with this Bench top Mortising Machine
  • Rigid cast iron construction and a rack and pinion head control mec...
  • A pneumatic return strut eases the step and repeat cycle of multipl...
  • 11 Amp 27,500 rpm motor producing 1-3/4 Peak hp
  • Quickly and accurately cuts mortises for box locks
  • Particularly useful in entry door lock installations
  • 5-amp motor with 1/2-inch chuck provides up to 1725 rotations per m...
  • 4-1/4 inch spindle travel creates mortises up to 3 inches in depth
  • Features a spacious 13-1/2 by 6 inch table and a 10 by 8 inch cast ...
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer
Show Offer

Results of the Straw Poll: Popular Mortising Machines

Every month, we analyze which products our readers like the most:

Which Mortising Machines Would You Buy Online? (July 2018)

  • 40 % (14 votes) Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench M...
  • 25.71 % (9 votes) DELTA 14-651 Professional 1/2HP Bench Mortising...
  • 20 % (7 votes) Fisch Hollow Mortise Chisel Set (5/8") - K...
  • 8.57 % (3 votes) Shop Fox W1671 3/4 HP Heavy-duty Mortising Machine
  • 5.71 % (2 votes) Central Machinery Mortising Machine
  • 0 % (0 votes) RIKON Power Tools 34-260 Bench Top X/Y Mortiser,
  • 0 % (0 votes) Jet 708580 JBM-5 1/2 Horsepower Bench Mortiser
  • 0 % (0 votes) DELTA 17-924 Mortising Attachment with 1/4 Inch...

35 total votes.

If you also want to vote on the best mortising machine, click here to view the poll.

Mortising Machine Buying Guide

Mortising Machine Image
Picture: 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain from Makita

Woodworkers everywhere rejoiced when the mortising machine became available. It made things so much more comfortable than having to do things out by hand. Today, you can have a small version of those machines for your own woodworking studio.

If you only do a few jobs that require a mortise, the power of a smaller machine might do well. If you’re transitioning out of hobby woodworking into commercial or custom pieces, there are machines for you as well.

Let’s look at a few different options before you decide on your mortising machine.

How To Choose A Mortising Machine

There are a few different considerations you should make before deciding on a particular machine.

Type Of Mortising Machines

A square chisel mortising machine, sometimes called a hollow chisel, is a machine that uses a four-sided chisel with a drill bit in the center. The bit clears out the material and the chisel squares the cut.

A horizontal mortising machine uses a side mounted router. It’s useful for larger jobs and drilling mortise and tenon jobs. It is also capable of producing floating tenons in addition to traditional mortise and tenon pairs.

Chain mortises are often used in lumber yards for huge jobs that need a lot of power. They use chains of varying widths, but the chains are very expensive, making these unsuitable for most hobbyists.

Bench Top Versus Freestanding

Benchtop mortising machines are smaller and more suited to a hobbyist. They’re also cheaper. They have an average stroke of about 4 3/4 and can handle a 3/8 inch mortise in hardwood. If you’re using them with very dense wood, they may bog down.

Most have a half horsepower engines, but some premium machines have a full horsepower. If you cut with much denser wood, the extra horsepower might be worth it for you.

Freestanding machines are the upper end of the spectrum. They are much heavier and require more space, but they can handle bigger jobs. They can cut up to one inch. They also have much more sophisticated adjustments that allow you to make angled mortises, perform longer strokes, and make more accurate location measurements for the machine.

Motor Speed

The old machines had high-speed motors of at least 3450 rpms, but lately, machines have been slowing down. Some are even as slow as 1725 rpms. These slower speeds help preserve your chisel sets and increase the lifespan of even the cheap sets.

They aren’t as fast, but they can be a lot more stressful to use if you aren’t used to them. Slower machines give you the chance to get things right. They don’t overheat as much, and there’s way less dust kick-up. There’s also a lot less noise and smoke.

The downside to the slower machines is that it takes more pressure to get the cut right. The slower machines take about five to ten pounds more pressure at a comfortable speed. You’ll have to decide which is more important to you, speed or comfort.


One piece of the machine that can make or break its usability is the handle. You need some leverage to get the drill bit just right and to save some of the pressure from your shoulder and arm. A longer handle helps you hit that leverage sweet spot.

This leverage is particularly essential if you choose a slow speed machine because they require significantly more effort. They’re more likely to stall out so you’ll need the extra leverage any way you can get it.

Some machines even have reversible handles that change direction with one smooth motion. You don’t need any special tools, so you don’t spend all your time adjusting your machine preferences.

Be sure that you can adjust the handle to the most comfortable position for different jobs without much fuss. Otherwise, your mortising machine is just going to gather dust while you grab a hand tool instead.


Your first instinct may be to invest in an expensive set of chisels, but in reality, it isn’t that big of a deal. Cheaper chisels will still get things done, but if something goes wrong, you won’t feel so sad about replacing a more inexpensive chisel set. Sets around $20 seem to be a good compromise between expensive sets and ultra-cheap sets.


Obviously, the price of the machine is a huge factor. Some machines are quite affordable in the $200-300 range and offer basic mortising in compact designs. Larger, industrial style machines can be a lot more.

Price is a serious consideration, but more often than not, spending more on a machine doesn’t always correspond to a better experience. It depends a lot on how much mortising you do and how fast you need it done. If it’s something you do every once in a while, you can get away with a smaller budget.

Do You Really Need A Mortising Machine?

If you’re a hobbyist woodworker, you may not even need a machine like this. Traditionally, mortises were cut by hand using a routing tool and squared later with a standard chisel, which took a long time, but might be worth it if you really don’t use them that often.

The Takeaway

Mortising machines can make a lot of your jobs go more quickly. With the proper adjustments, they can drill out mortises that are uniform and solid. You can even set the machine to a mortise depth that’s slightly deeper than what you need, so you spend less time cleaning out the bottom with other tools.

Whatever your budget, space, or mortising needs, there’s a machine that fits exactly what you need. And don’t worry about trying to invest in expensive chisels or bits while you’re at it. Most retailers also offer budget sets from the very same place as your machine.

What kinds of jobs are you hoping to do with a mortising machine? Are you a hobbyist or a serious woodworker? Let us know in the comments below.

Your Opinion Matters!


Mortising Machine Reviews & Additional Articles

New: Our editorial list of additional articles. We decided to gather informartion all around the internet and present you a list of helpful, external links to interesting reads about the best mortising machines and their reviews and guides.

Reviews Sure, there's more than one way to cut a mortise; you don't have to buy a dedicated machine to do it. Still, I think a mortiser is the fastest way to  ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful
Reviews Old age strikes. Recently I went to a book store and read an article in one of the woodworking or tool magazines pertaining to several mortising  ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful
Reviews I bought a Harbor Freight mortising machine around 5 years ago and have not used it on a project, other than to test cut. I now have a project  ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful
Buying Guide Buying a Mortice machine (Morticer or Mortiser). Published on Thursday, March 03, 2016 in Guides, News. Buying a Mortice machine (Morticer or Mortiser). ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful
Buying Guide It effectively turns your drill press into a mortising machine (see Method Clamp a guide block to your plunge router to align the router with the  ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful
Buying Guide (My only exception to this is buying a drill sharpener, which I've used centered or offset, I can put a plug in the template guide slot to limit mortice open the box on your new mortising machine it will NOT be ready to use. ...
0 persons liked this post.
helpful or   not helpful

Share this article:

Why sharing? Because we wrote this article for you, our readers. And not for search engines.

The Mortising Machines of Our Choice At a Glance

You're not convinced by the previous writings about mortising machines? Of course you can just choose by visual impression, that's why we present you all our chosen products at a single glance. A click on any image is enough to open an external link to the best offer we could find.

Tips from YouTube about Mortising Machine

Today - Rikon Mortiser Review (Model 34-260)

I bought the new Rikon Mortiser model 34-260. This is a video review on it and my opinion. Special thanks to Frank Howarth for inspiring me to improve the ...

Disclaimer: This video is not from us, but we found it relevant enough to show it here.


Conclusion for this Mortising Machine Buying Guide in July 2019

Finally, we want to present you our rating criteria for our mortising machine comparison, so you can better understand and comprehend our recommendations and the rating process itself. Furthermore, we still ask you to keep your eyes open for short term deals in order to make some great bargains with mortising machine in 2019.

Published by on (last update on ).


19 of 26 readers found this article helpful.

Your opinion will appear tommorow, since this page is cached for 24 hours.

(Corresponds to a rating of 3.65 / 5)