House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Mortising Machines of 2024 – Top Picks & Reviews

person using PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser

person using PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser

Mortising machines are not one of the first tools to graze most workshops, but they are important when you need to cut square holes. Many brands are available, but it can be challenging to find good information regarding which one you should purchase since it’s not a popular tool.

We’ve chosen eight mortising machines to review for you so you can learn more about their differences and what makes one better than another. We’ll tell you about any special features they have or problems we had while using them. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we look closely at mortising machines to see how they work and what you should look for before purchasing one.

Join us while we look at RPM, weight, horsepower, chisel bits, and more to help you make an educated purchase.

user guide divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Delta 14-651 Mortiser Delta 14-651 Mortiser
  • Easy access to drill chuck
  • Large cast iron base
  • Adjustable rack and pinion fence
  • Best Value
    Second place
    WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser
  • 3 pounds
  • 5-amp motor
  • 1
  • 725 RPM
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser
  • Large adjustable vice
  • Easy to adjust
  • 3
  • 200 RPM
  • Jet 708580 Bench Mortiser Jet 708580 Bench Mortiser
  • 0.5-HP motor
  • 1
  • 752 RPM
  • Rack and pinion head
  • Powermatic 1791310 Bench Mortiser Powermatic 1791310 Bench Mortiser
  • Heavy-duty reversible handle
  • Two integrated bit and chisel spacers
  • Double lock system
  • The 8 Best Mortising Machines

    1. Delta 14-651 Mortiser – Best Overall

    The Delta 14-651 Mortiser is our choice for the best overall mortising machine. It uses a large 0.5 horsepower (HP) motor that can produce up to 1,725 revolutions per minute (RPM). It features a rotating head that you can turn for off-table mortising, and it has an adjustable depth stop to prevent you from drilling in too deep.

    The multi-position feed lever matches the correct position for the job, and the cast-iron base brings the total weight to 77 pounds, which helps keep the drill from moving while it runs. It has an 18.6-inch cutting diameter and a rack and pinion fence for precise mortising, and it includes 4 mortising chisels and bits so you can get started immediately.

    The only thing we found wrong with the Delta 14-651 was the plastic knobs that hold the fence in place. It’s easy to twist these flimsy knobs too hard, which can damage and ruin the fence’s stability if you’re not careful.

    • Easy access to drill chuck
    • Large cast iron base
    • Adjustable rack and pinion fence
    • Allows for off-table mortising
    • Rotating head
    • 0.5-HP motor
    • 1,725 RPM
    • Multi-position feed lever
    • Adjustable depth stop
    • 77 pounds
    • Includes 4 mortising chisels and bits
    • 6-inch cutting diameter
    • Plastic fence hold down knobs

    2. WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser – Best Value

    WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser

    The WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser is the best mortising machine for the money. It features a 5-amp motor that can deliver up to 1725 RPM. The spindle can travel up to 4.25 inches and has a large 13.5” x 6” table. It weighs over 60 pounds and features a large cast iron base to keep it in place. It features an onboard tool and chisel storage and comes with three chisel bits to help you get started.

    The only thing we didn’t like about it was that the chisel bits wear out quickly, so you’ll need to find a replacement soon.

    • 5-amp motor
    • 1,725 RPM
    • 25-inch spindle travel
    • 5” x 6” table
    • Cast iron base
    • Onboard tool and chisel storage
    • Includes 3 chisel bits
    • The chisels wear out quickly

    3. Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser – Premium Choice

    Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser

    The Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser is our premium choice mortising machine. It features a mighty 10.5-amp motor that can reach speeds up to 3,200 RPM without bogging down. The adjustable vice allows you to fasten it to your project securely, and it’s highly portable at only 38.1 pounds. All adjustments are intuitive and easily accomplished, and we found it required very little maintenance even after considerable use.

    The biggest problem with the Makita is the poorly written manual containing tiny text and not explaining how to use the tool very well. If you are new to the mortising machine, you will likely need to look up YouTube videos to replace these instructions.

    • 5-amp motor
    • Weighs 38.1 pounds
    • Large adjustable vice
    • Easy to adjust
    • 3,200 RPM
    • Low maintenance
    • Poorly written manual

    4. Jet 708580 Bench Mortiser

    Jet 708580 Bench Mortiser

    The Jet 708580 Bench Mortiser features an 8.5-HP motor that can reach up to 1,752 RPM, which is more than suitable for mortising most woods. The rack and pinion head provides smooth operation for its entire range of movement. The removable on/off toggle switch is unique and protects the machine from accidental use when you’re not around. It’s relatively lightweight at about 44 pounds and comes with 3 chisel bits.

    We found the chuck to be very clunky, and it didn’t work well with the key. It was very rough changing bits, and it felt like there was a problem internally as we turned the key. The fence was also hard to move accurately, and tiny adjustments were nearly impossible.

    • 0.5-HP motor
    • 1,752 RPM
    • Rack and pinion head
    • Weighs 44 pounds
    • Removable on/off toggle switch
    • Includes three chisel bits
    • Clunky chuck
    • Difficult to slide the fence accurately

    5. Powermatic 1791310 Bench Mortiser

    Powermatic 1791310 Bench Mortiser

    The Powermatic 1791310 Bench Mortiser features a heavy-duty and reversible handle that you can install on either side of the head without tools. The double locking system keeps your work in place, and two integrated bit and chisel spaces allow for quick setup. The huge 0.75-HP motor can produce up to 1,725 RPM, which is enough to mortise any wood.

    The quick-action cam lock enables you to lock the fence in position with a single 90° turn, and the inline depth stop prevents you from drilling too deep with its 5.5-inch stroke. It features an integrated chisel and includes four bits to get you started.

    At roughly 90 pounds, the Powermatic is heavy, especially if you need to move into position when you use it. The fence has a protective coating that we found nearly impossible to remove, and you need to be careful because the aluminum fence is somewhat flimsy and easily bent. The table surface is also extremely rough, which makes it difficult to clean.

    • Heavy-duty reversible handle
    • Double lock system
    • Two integrated bit and chisel spacers
    • 0.75-HP motor
    • 1,725 RPM
    • Quick-action cam lock
    • Inline depth stop
    • Integrated chisel and tool holder
    • 5-inch stroke
    • Includes 4 chisels
    • Weighs 90 pounds
    • Difficult to remove the protective coating from the fence
    • Hard to clean
    • Aluminum fence

    6. Shop Fox W1671 Mortising Machine

    Shop Fox W1671 Mortising Machine

    The Shop Fox W1671 Mortising Machine features a unique swiveling base to help you handle larger stock. An extra-long rocker arm with a gas string return makes accurate mortising a breeze by allowing smoother, more precise movement of the chisel bit. It has an adjustable depth stop to prevent going too deep, and a micro-adjustable fence helps position your project properly. The 0.75-HP motor can reach up to 3,450 RPM, which should be more than enough for any project.

    The downside to the Shop Fox is that it’s a bit heavy at 90 pounds and difficult to get a good grip on when moving it into position. Setting up the gas spring return requires you to press down on the spring and attach a ball, which is more complicated than it sounds, and the table uses a flimsy, low-quality particle board that will not last long in a busy workshop.

    • Unique swiveling base
    • Gas spring return
    • Double support columns
    • Adjustable depth stop
    • Micro-adjustable fence
    • 0.75-HP motor
    • 3,450 RPM
    • Weighs 90 pounds
    • Particle board table
    • Hard to set up gas spring return

    7. PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser

    PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser

    The PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser features one of the largest motors on this list at 1.75-HP. It can spin as fast as 27,500 RPM and make short work of almost any project, cutting 4-inch mortises in seconds. It’s lightweight at only 34 pounds and has two chisel bits to get you started.

    The biggest problem with the PORTER-CABLE 513 is that you can only use proprietary drill bits, which are pretty expensive. The bits also wear down quite quickly compared to others making it frustrating to use them for multiple jobs. It may be less of a problem if you have a reliable Porter-Cable parts dealer in your area.

    • 75-HP motor
    • 27,500 RPM
    • 34 pounds
    • It includes 2 chisel bits
    • Will only work with Porter-Cable bits
    • Bits dull quickly

    8. RIKON Power Tools Benchtop X/Y Mortiser

    RIKON 34-260 Power Tools Benchtop X:Y Mortiser

    The RIKON 34-260 Power Tools Benchtop X/Y Mortiser allows you to use the table to set up angles that are impossible with other models. It uses a 0.5-HP motor to reach up to 1,750 RPM, and an adjustable stop prevents you from cutting too deep. A gas field stabilizer keeps the unit in place while you work, and a table plant locks your project. It features an integrated tool holder and includes four chisel bits.

    The downside to the RIKON 34-260 is that it’s heavy and difficult to get into position at 93.2 pounds. If you usually transport your mortising machine to the job, this may not be the unit for you. The finish is also very rough, and it almost looks like it wasn’t ready for packaging. The low-quality chisel bits will hardly mortise anything before they’re dull and useless. We believe the low-quality bits also cause the machine to jam frequently.

    • 0.5-HP motor
    • 1,750 RPM
    • Gas-filled stabilizer
    • Highly positional table
    • Adjustable stop
    • Table clamp
    • Integrated tool holder
    • Includes four chisel bits
    • Weighs 93.2 pounds
    • Bad finish
    • Low-quality chisel bits
    • Jams easily

    divider 1

    Buyer’s Guide – How to Purchase the Best Mortising Machine

    Here are a few things to consider when choosing a mortising machine for your woodshop.

    How Does a Mortising Machine Work?

    Mortising machines use special drill bits called Square Chisel Mortisers to square off round holes. The specialized bit is in two pieces and has an inner auger that creates the outer square’s chiseling action and removes wood shavings. The outer part is square with sharp edges for chiseling the wood. The quality of the bit matters because if the inner auger cannot remove enough material, it can jam up the chisel, preventing it from operating correctly.

    Motor Size

    We usually use horsepower to describe the motor’s strength, but you may also see it listed as amps or watts. More horsepower will increase torque, allowing you to chisel and mortise harder woods. If all things are equal, choose a brand with more horsepower, and we recommend a unit with at least 0.5 horsepower to prevent it from bogging down while you’re working. We tried to list the motor size for each product in our reviews.


    A higher RPM allows you to finish the task quicker, but you may find a lower RPM better because it’s easier to control and produces a more accurate cut. We’ve experienced the best results around 1,500 RPM, but your experience may be different. If you’ve never used one of these machines, we recommend the lower RPM models until you have more experience.



    The weight of your mortising machine is important for two reasons. First, it’s too light, the machine may move or walk because of the vibrations created when it’s running. If it’s too heavy, moving the machine won’t be easy, and many people use mortising machines as portable devices.

    It can be challenging to find a machine that stays put yet is portable, and the ideal weight will differ from person to person, but we recommend finding a unit that weighs at least 30 pounds, or you may find the machine travels as you’re using it.

    using PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser

    Table Size

    The table is where you place your work and usually works with the fence to keep your workpiece steady while you use the mortiser. A larger table will allow for a larger project. Unfortunately, many of the tables on this list are relatively small, so some tools get around this limitation by providing a head that swivels so you can use it without the table.

    We recommend considering the projects you want to use your mortising machine on well in advance so you can inspect the tables to ensure they are large enough to work with your project.

    Ease of Adjustment

    Many mortising machines offer complex fencing and table positions and will also require frequent but changing adjustments. Some machines make accomplishing these tasks much simpler than others, and if you use one often, spending an extra minute changing a bit can add up over time. Even worse is that you will reduce the machine’s versatility if you don’t know how to make the adjustments.

    We recommend learning how these machines work before purchasing to know what to look at if you see one on display. It’s also essential to find a brand that provides adequate instructions, and we’ve pointed out any brands in our reviews that left out this vital step.

    divider 8

    In Conclusion

    When choosing a mortising machine for your woodshop, we couldn’t recommend the Delta 14-651 Mortiser more. It provides you with plenty of power at an ideal RPM. It has a large cutting surface and is easy to adjust and change bits. We recommend our premium choice if you’re looking for something with a bit higher RPM. The Makita 7104L Chain Mortiser produces up to 3,200 RPM and is portable and only 33 pounds.

    We hope you enjoyed reading our reviews and learned something new from our buyer’s guide. If we have helped you find your next tool, please share these eight best mortising machines on Facebook and Twitter.

    You might also like:


    Related posts

    OUR categories

    Project ideas

    Hand & power tools