Top Festool Domino Alternatives for Woodworking (2022)

Festool Domino

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Festool has been a trusted company for woodworking tools for years. The Festool Domino, in particular, has heightened their status as a brand and is known as one of the best power tools today for woodworking projects. 

But the question is, are there more affordable options in the market? If you’re on a budget, there is a Festool Domino alternative that you can opt for.

Festool Domino – An Overview

Festool Domino is a premium, superior tool used as a domino joiner for your joinery. It creates loose or floating tenons as quickly as possible, which is rare and even impossible with other tools. However, it is sold at a high price tag. 

Though a professional woodworker is not required to use Festool Dominos, this hand-held power tool can provide a quick and easy tenon joint and loose mortise. 

Cost

The Festool Domino is worth about $1,000 to $2,000. It is usually why other woodworkers look for the best alternatives. 

Festool Domino

Why Is Festool Domino Expensive?

How It's Used

Step #1

Before using the Festool jointer, ensure that the 5mm cutter is connected to the tool. You can also use the lock key to fit it in.

Step #2

To keep the dust out of the workplace, attach the dust extraction port. Then, position the adjustable fence to the tenon spot.

Festool Domino bottom view

Step #3

Measure the thickness of your material using a scale. The presets will help you in repeating the measurements.

Step #4

Fix the height of the fence, select the correct domino tenon cutter, and set the domino mortise for the job. 

Step #5

Lastly, mark the placement of the tenon and put the domino joiner in that exact position. Grab the handle tightly and push it forward. You’ll see the cutter move gently, providing a deep cut. Place the tenon you’re using and attach the wood accordingly.  

Top Alternatives for a Festool Domino

Plunge Router

If you do not want to alter the joinery technique and require a robust wood joint type for your project, then using a plunge router is the best option. Plunge routers, allow you to lower the bit directly from the top and cut the slots you require, unlike with fixed guard routers.

plunge router

If you’re also not keen on hand-make mortise and tenon joints, this is a good option for you. 

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino?

Pocket Hole Jig

Pocket holes or a pocket hole jig are the best alternatives to a Festool Domino for cabinet construction. A good pocket hole jig, or pocket holes, can quickly join plywood for cabinet carcass construction and cabinet face frames. 

pocket hole jig

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino?

Basic Mortise and Tenon Jig

This tool is a fast and easy way to make domino joints using a standard dowel holes drill. It offers the strength and flexibility of a traditional joint at a lower cost.

basic mortise and tenon jig

General Tools’ all-in-one aluminum tenon and mortise tool are designed to cut the tenon and the standard mortise in one setup. Unlike Festool tenons, this tool creates a unique, one-of-a-kind tenon domino joint.

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino

Product Highlight: Rockler Beadlock Pro Jig

This is one of the fast and easy domino joiners – creating a robust and cost-effective domino jointer. Unlike a standard drill bit-based joint, this tool uses Beadlock to create a clean and resilient joint, and it doesn’t require you to chisel the holes.

Rockler Beadlock Pro Jig

For additional flexibility, router bits are also available to cut tenons for various exterior projects. The key features include:

Loose Tenon Jig

To make unique jigs, one best alternative you can use is a loose type tenon jig. You can achieve the same size and shape, just like a Festool Domino joiner. 

loose tenon jig

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino?

Product Highlight: Woodpecker's Morty Jig

Woodpecker is one of those few brands allowing you to create unique tools and jigs. Key features include:

Mortise and Tenon Router Jig

To begin, this is not a budget-friendly option. It costs close to the Festool Domino 500. But, it is the best Festool Domino alternative for creating mortise and tenon joinery. It can support tenon layouts that a Festool can’t do.  

Mortise and Tenon Router Jig

Main Features

When to Use an Alternative to Festool Domino?

Benchtop Mortise Machine

This may not be the best Festool Domino alternative on this list, and this mortising machine doesn’t operate the tenon part mortise and tenon joint. 

Benchtop Mortise Machine

However, it can be your best option if you can cut a tenon using a table saw or band saw, as a benchtop mortise machine is affordable compared to other machines in the market.

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino

Plate Joiner or Biscuit Joiner

Plate joiners or biscuits joiners create portable and strong joints suitable for building face frames, counters, or furniture repair.  

Plate Joiner or Biscuit Joiner

Although it has limitations compared to the Domino, it can still be used for various applications like plywood edge joinery.

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino

Doweling Jig

Festool and doweling jigs offer the similar advantage of creating precise alignments, joint strength, and glue-ups workability. That’s why a doweling jig is a comparable and best tool alternative to a Festool Domino. 

Doweling Jig

Main Features

When to Use as an Alternative to Festool Domino

Best Biscuit Joiner Models

Product Name

Description

DeWalt Biscuit Joiner Kit

Best for creating cabinets, counter edges, and face frames

Draper 83611 Storm Force

Quality sub-brand and high-processing tool with 50hz motor

VonHaus 8.5 Amp

Comes with 8.5 amp motor, suitable for hard materials

Makita XJP03Z 18V LXT

Comes with powerful lithium-ion battery, suitable for cuttung soft and hard materials

PORTER-CABLE 557

Flexible and budget-friendly tool, with a sleek design

1. DeWalt DW682K

This biscuit joiner is perfect for creating face frames, counter edges, and cabinets. It can cut thick wood with its 10,000 rpm. This biscuit jointer uses dual-rack and pinion fence. 

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Draper 83611 Storm Force

Draper 83611

The Draper 83611 is another biscuit joiner with a much higher speed and processing. This Storm Force Biscuit jointer is a notable brand that promotes quality with a high-performance engine (900-watt). 

If you’re into DIYs, this is one of the valuable biscuit joiners for you.

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. VonHaus 8.5 Amp

VonHaus is a less popular brand that offers quality and high-performing biscuit joiners. It’s pretty expensive but has impressive features, though. 

All the basics are here, like 10,000 rpm, biscuit size presets, flexible fence, and so on. Its D-shaped grip and dust control let you work efficiently.

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Makita XJP03Z 18V LXT

The Makita XJP03Z is battery-powered and a cordless biscuit joiner that offers 160 joints on a single charge. It offers portability, making it a great substitute for Festool. 

Also, its high depth limit and 12,000 rpm engine allow extended cutting control. 

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. PORTER-CABLE 557

The Porter-Cable 557 is a budget-friendly joiner that can handle all your requirements regarding making dominos. Its seven cutting settings allow it to work with any type of material. 

The 557’s design features a higher-than-normal tilt capacity that allows for smooth movement. Its grip also allows for additional control.

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Best Dowel Joiner Models

Product Name

Description

TritonTDJ600 Duo

Has a powerful 59 amp motor perfect for cutting soft and hard materials

Freud FDW710K

Features an optimal motor power with 6.5 amp good for regular work

Grizzly Dual-Spindle Doweling Joiner

Unique doweling jig that joins plate or biscuit joiners with a hand-held design

1. TritonTDJ600 Duo

The Triton Duo dowel joiner can quickly join furniture or shelving components. It can cut dowel joinery easily with its duo dowel jointing system. 

The fence of the Triton duo dowel jointer can create holes in thick or hardwoods. Its full metal exterior is highly durable.

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Freud FDW710K

The new technology in the Freud FDW710K is designed to accelerate your workflow and provide you with the best possible results. It’s ideal for various furniture maintenance and general joinery projects. Its 5-year warranty also makes it an easy choice. 

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Grizzly Dual-Spindle Doweling Joiner

The unique design of the Grizzly is that it allows joiner glue-ups by offering the same hand-held construction but with better joint power by drilling a dowel joint. It functions the same as the biscuit joiner method, only for the dowel, except for some distinct features. 

Main Features

What We Like

What We Don't Like

A Guide in Choosing an Alternative for a Festool Domino

Big and Small Joints

If you’re looking for large joints, then a dowel jig and a mortise tenon are good alternatives. However, making biscuit joints can be a bit hard to handle with these products.

The same with large joints, the best for small joints are found in the dowel and mortise tenons. 

Strength of the Joint

Festool Domino’s high strength of joints makes them ideal for various applications. If you are looking for more powerful joints, we suggest going for the mortise and tenon joinery or doweling jig.

hands on a jointer jig

Angled Joinery

When it comes to angled joinery, our woodworkers prefer using mortise tenons or biscuit joiners. These are both easy to hold and provide strength to the material. 

However, Festool Dominos do an extremely good job for fast-angled pieces.

Exterior Joints

Many factors go into getting an exterior joint, and Mortise Tenons are the ones that can provide you with reliable joints other than those from Festool Domino. Do not go for pocket holes or biscuits.

operating TritonTDJ600 Duo

Efficiency

Most of our woodworkers prefer Festool Domino due to its speed. This is because it allows them to finish their work quickly and efficiently. Biscuits joinery is the best choice if you are also looking for an easy and fast way to get your work done.

Versatility

Go for the tool that will make your work easier, like Festool Domino. It features a durable and portable design. 

Alternatively, we recommend using a doweling jig for versatility as it functions almost the same as Festool Domino joiners.  

Price

Of course, opt for the machine or tool you can afford. But if you want to ensure quality without minding the price, go for Festool. 

Should You Buy a Biscuit Joiner or a Dowel Joiner?

FeaturesBiscuit JoinerDowel Joiner
Ease of UseEasy to use than doweling jigs. Get your job done with easeBasic use, but it requires more strength
Joint Strength Can make precise and strong joints than using a doweling jigWhile it is typically some of the basic joiners, these are also loose traditional tenon joiners.
Alignment and SturdinessIt provides more durability, preventing joiner from being apart. The best domino jointer for creating precise alignment for your wood projects.
RepetitionNo multiple attempts required to achieve your desired cut.It requires repetitive attempts to get accurate cuts.

What is a Domino Joiner?

Manufacturers

Many brands produce domino joiners, but The Festool is the one that started it all. Though other brands produce this type of tool, the Festool is regarded as the most popular one.

The Festool’s domino joiners are made with durable and enhanced features that will add value to your woodwork.

setting up Festool Domino

Types of Cuts

The domino joiner can create up to six sizes of Tenon by using five different cutters. 

Its smooth and accurate rotating cutter capabilities allow it to make various types of cuts, such as edgeless frame joints, solid rack joints, and flush panel joints. 

It also has a fence that can tilt up to 90 degrees allowing slight modification. 

What's the Difference Between a Biscuit Joiner and a Domino Joiner?

Sturdiness

Dominos provides better structural support than the biscuit joiners. They also cause fewer kickbacks compared to the other types of joiners.

Although biscuit joiners are known to provide good structural support, they are not as firm and sturdy as domino joiners.

plunge depth of Grizzly Dual-Spindle Doweling Joiner

Efficiency

Domino and biscuit joiners are well-known and widely used power tools for accomplishing joint work in wood pieces.

But, a domino joiner is more accurate and faster than their counterparts when performing joint work in wood pieces.

Cost

Between the two, biscuit joiners take over domino joiners as it is more affordable. However, a domino joiner is more durable and efficient, proving their price tag reasonable. 

FAQ

Are dowel joints stronger than biscuit joints?

Yes, dowel joints are stronger than biscuit joints. A dowel has extra glue joint space and more deep cuts in the material. 

Conclusion

No one would argue about Festool Domino’s high price but it comes with excellent features and capabilities. So, it’s worth investing in a Festool Domino if you want to create a strong, stable joint with portability. 

But, if you’re on a limited budget, we have listed the best Festool Domino alternatives that you can try. You can get similar work results at an affordable cost. Hopefully, you have found the best substitute with the help of our buying guide. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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