Best Morticer – Ultimate Buyers Guide

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If you enjoy building pieces of furniture, or maybe you are regularly completing DIY and renovation jobs then you will be used to trying to find ways to secure two pieces of wood together. Without a doubt the best way to do this is with a mortice and tenon cut! However, to create one of these cuts you are going to need a special tool to do the job – which is well worth it if this is something that you are doing regularly!

This article will look at the different types of morticer and explain in more detail exactly how the tools work so that you can find a model that will work for you.

What is a morticer used for?

A morticer is used to create mortice cuts – hence the name. But that doesn’t really mean much if you don’t understand the importance of a mortice cut and the uses of them! A tenon and mortice joint is used for various woodwork jobs, as it forms a strong connection between two pieces of wood. The tenon is the ‘male’ part of the joint, shown here, and the mortice is the holed end that it fits into.

The difficulty of creating this type of cut is the accuracy that is needed if you are doing it by hand. If you want the joint to be secure and able to hold then you are going to need a snug and accurate fit! A morticer will be able to create this in a fraction of the time due to the precision that is offered by the machine and the variety of sizes of bits available – plus you won’t have to waste countless pieces of wood attempting to achieve that perfect cut!

Best Pick – Draper 09896 1-inch Bench Morticer

Draper 09896 1-inch Bench Morticer and Stand
  • Powerful induction motor supports 1" mortice facility
  • No-volt switch
  • Supplied with 5/8" chisel and bit, 19mm, 13/16" and 13/16" chisel bushes, 16mm chuck and key, work clamp
  • Powerful induction motor supports 1" mortice facility
  • No-volt switch

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Only Got 5 Minutes

This is just the part of the article for you if you are in a rush to make your purchase! We have filled it with all the crucial pieces of information that you need to know before purchasing the best morticer on the market at the moment! Keep reading to find out about power ranges, blade quality and operational preferences in mortice machines.

How To Choose A Morticer

There are two main things that you need to consider when trying to decide which style of morticer is going to be right for you and this is the cutting size and the type of machine.

Cutting Size

The first thing that you need to consider is the size of mortices that you are going to want to cut, as this will determine the level of machine that you are going to need to purchase! For mortices smaller than around 20mms you will be able to opt for a smaller, more portable mortice machine such as a benchtop model. These will be able to be secured to the worktop that you are using then put away again afterwards to make the most of the space that you are working with!

For mortices bigger than 20mm, or if you are going to be cutting mortices on a more regular basis, then you may want to consider a bigger, more stationary morticer such as a chain mortiser.

Types of Morticer Machines

There are three main types of morticing machines, all of which will be better suited for different jobs and also the people that are completing the jobs!

  • Horizontal Morticer – A horizontal morticer is arguably the most simple to use, as you will have fixed levers and depths to choose from, then just let the machine get on with its job. The horizontal morticer will work into the piece of wood horizontally (obviously) which makes it different from other morticers you will find. The only issue with a horizontal morticer is that you are restricted to the settings and controls that are provided by the machine. This also means that you will have to finish the edges of the mortise by hand, which makes the job more time consuming.
  • Square Chisel Morticer – There are two types of square chisel that you will be able to choose between, portable or stationary models. Portable models will be fixed to a worktop, whereas stationary models will usually come with a base already and be free-standing machines. The machines will work vertically to create the mortice and tenon cuts up to around 20mm. This style of cut will allow for very straight joints so is perfect for if you are wanting a professional finish
  • Chain Morticer – A chain morticer is used for any bigger jobs that you are planning on completing – but this also means that you need to space for a bigger machine! Running with a chain instead of a mortice bit to complete the cuts allows the to make bigger cuts into the piece of wood that you are working with (over 20mm). Some models will be portable depending on the size.

Morticer Product Features

We have explained some of the main morticer features that you need to know about before buying! Keep reading if you want to save yourself a considerable amount of time, money and effort when buying your morticer!

Build Materials

It is important to opt for a morticer that is going to be made out of more heavy duty materials than the ones that you are working with – otherwise you will find that they don’t last nearly as long. Look for machines that are made out of strong steel or iron materials, with anti-vibration technologies built into the design, if you want your machine to be easy to use and long lasting! You will also find that more durable materials will help the different parts of the machine to just feel more sturdy and smooth in their use. Some cheaper materials leave morticer machines feeling unstable with the levers wobbling when used, which is going to greatly affect useability and the finish that you achieve.

TOP TIP: Some also come with a coating on the material to protect from scratches or other marks.

Chuck Capacity

Most morticers will be able to work with the same size of chucks and chisels but it is worth checking the exact sizes that will be compatible. This usually goes up to around ¾” but can sometimes be slightly more!

Rotations Per Minute

The speed at which your morticer can work will have a great impact on the amount of time it takes you to get the job done – and the quicker you can actually get the job done, the quicker you can get to work building your piece of furniture! Look out for models that have upwards of 1650RPM, as these are the ones that are going to work quickly and effectively. If you know that you are going to be using your machine regularly then look out for models with upwards of 3000RPM as this will increase the time at which you can get the job done!


This is one of the things that can make or break an experience using a morticer, in our opinion. It is all very well and good for the machine to have a good power level, be built out of strong materials and be portable etc, but if the machine is then clunky and heavy to use, you will find yourself becoming frustrated. Make sure to opt for a model that has good reviews in how it is handled. This can include anything from the varied depth stops being easy to adjust, to the lever being soft and easy to control. If you opt for a model with a handwheel instead of a lever then make sure this is smooth and easy to control.

Another aspect to consider when looking at the functionality is how easy the machine is going to be to clean. Cutting into wood is obviously going to create a lot of dust and debris, which is going to have to be removed from your machine after every use if you want your machine to be long lasting. Look for a machine where it is easy to get access to the different nooks and crannies (and easy to put the morticer back together again after you have done this!).

Side fences, depth stops and clamps – hold the piece of wood in place to ensure a professional finish every time.

Weight and Size

The weight and size of your morticer will largely be affected by the type that you opt for, but it will also be dependent on the materials that are used. Worktop morticers weigh anything from around 20kgs all the way up to around 90kgs. However, you will find that stationary morticers weigh considerably more!

This also applies to the size of the morticer which will vary from as little as around 10 inches in height all the way up to just over a metre in height!

Best Budget – Dremel 220 Workstation

Dremel 220 Workstation - 2-in1 Multi Purpose Drill Press & Rotary Tool Holder for Bench Drilling,one size
  • Articulating drill press: Drills perpendicular and angled holes in 15 degrees increments, up to 90 degrees horizontal
  • Tool holder: Holds tool at 90 degrees horizontal for tasks such as polishing metal objects, sanding different shapes and grinding metal pieces. (Tool Not Included)
  • Flex shaft tool stand allows telescopic adjustment to any height between 16 inch and 29 inch
  • Crow's nest provides on-board storage for drill bits, wrenches and other Dremel accessories

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Additional Factors To Consider

Now that you have decided the type of morticer that you are going to purchase, there are some additional factors that are worth considering before you make your purchase.

  • Table size – The table size will determine the size of materials that you can work with, so it is important to consider what you are planning on working with. A larger table size will also impact on how easy it is to maneuver the materials that you are working with.
  • Reversible handle – This means that the handle will be able to be changed to either side depending on which works better for the user
  • Sliding X-Y axis tablet – this helps to make your positioning during work more accurate and easier to control.
  • Rotating head column – Some models will come with a mortising head column which can be rotated 180 degrees and remounted so that you can complete off-table mortising jobs.

Mortice Bits

There are various mortise bits that are available, and one of the best things about a morticer is that you will be able to alternative between these bits depending on the job that you are completing – this means that your machine will be able to work with you on a variety of jobs quickly and easily.

Mortice bits will be used for when you are cutting round mortises, so look similar to drill bits – but they are in fact different as they don’t have the point at the end like drill bits do. This increases the amount of effort that your morticer will have to put in to get the job done, but ensures that your mortice is the perfect depth and diameter every time!

There are also square chisel bits that you will be able to purchase that are made slightly differently. The inner part is like a standard drill bit, with the outer part made in a square shape to ensure that you are left with a perfectly square mortice cut.

TOP TIP: If you opt for a bit with two cutting edges then it will be able to turn in both directions so make sure you are cutting in the right direction when you start working!

Best of the Rest

Draper 33651 Bench Morticer, 1/2", 370W, 230V
  • Chisel capacity 12.7mm(1/2")
  • Chuck capacity 1/2"
  • Speed 1400rpm
  • Max morticing depth 76mm
  • Max clamping height 90mm

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a drill press to complete mortice cuts?
Yes – providing you have the right attachments and adjustments to your drill press then you will be able to create some smaller mortice cuts whilst using one. However, it is important to remember that they are not specifically designed for the job and will add to your set up time if you have to keep adding and removing the attachments. If you are wanting to complete a number of mortice cuts at home, we would suggest opting for a mortice machine instead.

What warranty will I get with a morticer?
It is difficult to say the warranty that you will get with a morticer as it really depends on the type and size of machine that you are going for. We found that smaller, more portable machines – such as the horizontal or square chisel morticer tended to have warranties up to around 3 years. Whereas chain morticers could have warranties up to around 5 years.

Do you have to glue mortice joints?

No! With a good quality morticer that is able to complete a neat cut, you will not need any glue to secure the joint – you will simply need to use a peg or a screw. However, many people do use glue for their mortice joints just to be sure that they are extra strong and secure.

  • Performance
  • Features
  • Ergonomics
  • Value
About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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