Tool Reviews (+Hot New Tools): DeWalt 20V Max XR Biscuit Joiner

PRICE: $279.00 (tool only),


  • Brushless motor
  • Cuts #0, 10, 20 biscuits
  • Accepts DeWalt 20V MAX batteries
  • DeWalt Airlock compatible dust port
  •  1⁄8 × 4" blade

For many years I had been wary of any battery-operated power tools beyond your standard hand drills and drivers. One particular circular saw that would grind to a halt mid-board comes to mind. So when I first tried out DeWalt’s line of 20V Max XR tools a few years ago, I was dubious. But the angle grinder I tested out worked like a dream, rarely bogged down, and the charge typically lasted longer than I needed it to. I was a convert. When I heard there was a new DeWalt 20V Max XR biscuit joiner on the market, I knew I wanted to give it a try.
If you’re familiar with the corded version of this tool, the features are similar. In fact, it works just as well as the corded version, cutting accurately and aligning easily. Its depth dial lets you adjust the plunge action to cut the standard #0, 10, and 20 biscuit mortises, or switch the dial to “M” for a maximum plunge of 25/32". The fence adjustments are also tool-free and straightforward. Loosen the height adjustment lock knob before raising or lowering the fence with the adjustment dial, then relock. There is a second lock knob for adjusting the angle of the fence. I found the angle adjustment to be a little bit loose and clunky at first, but leaving the adjustment knob a little bit tight, but not locked, allowed me to get a more controlled, precise action.
 The included dust bag worked pretty well to catch the dust from the joiner in use, but the tool really shines when it’s hooked up to a dust extractor. It comes with a standard 35mm dust port, or you can swap in the DeWalt Airlock connector (also included) that works with their dust extractor systems. You might be asking, “What’s the point of a cordless tool if you’re just going to attach a giant hose to it?” And the answer to this is, “No tangles!” I was surprised at how freeing it felt to only need to wrangle the vacuum hose. That said, the connection between the dust collection adapters and the tool is a little flimsy, but I only had to reconnect the adapter once or twice during my testing.
Changing the blade is also straightforward, if a little cumbersome. Just remove four torx bolts on the bottom of the shoe and rotate it back to access the blade. The first time I tried this, the shoe was pretty well stuck on one of its roll pins. A little elbow grease knocked it loose, and it opened and closed pretty easily after that. With the shoe open, an included spanner wrench in combination with a spindle lock button loosens the blade nut to replace the blade.
The basic tool does not come with a battery, but it works with all DeWalt 20V Max batteries, including the flex volt series. In my testing of the tool, I never ran out of battery power, so I can’t say how many hours a charge will last, but I can say that I built the Library Steps 
(p. 31) without making a dent in the battery meter. If you’re looking for an accurate, reliable biscuit joiner with the freedom of cordless technology, this is a sturdy, powerful tool that will do the trick. 
—Tester, Sarah Marriage


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