A high-quality pocket hole jig is an invaluable tool for making all kinds of repairs and renovations to your home.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pocket Hole Jig

Pocket hole jigs arent new technology, but they’re a less popular choice for framing than they were in the past. Thats because they dont generate the same amount of interest or excitement as drilling through concrete and other materials (though that remains an option). However, pocket hole joinery is still a strong technique and one that can be very effective when used correctly.

Type

Pocket hole jigs come in two main varieties: T-shank and U-shaped.

  • T-shank pocket hole jigs have a threaded shank that screws into a pre-drilled hole in the material being framed. The angle of the shank creates a stable platform on which to work.
  • U-shaped pocket hole jigs also attach to a pre-drilled hole, but they’re offset from the T-shank design. This means they require both a T-shank and a U-shape if both are required.

Material

The majority of pocket hole jigs use steel alloys that can handle the pressure and torque required to drive them into wood. However, some use titanium, which is stronger than steel but more expensive. Titanium does not hold up well to the elements in outdoor applications.

If looking for a high level of performance that can resist extreme temperatures and frequent changes in humidity, weather resistance might be a feature to seek out in the materials used for pocket hole jigs. However, keep in mind that these jigs arent designed for outdoor use.

Pre-Drilled Holes

Before choosing a pocket hole jig, its important to determine where it will be used and whether a pre-drilled hole is available. If there isnt a pre-drilled hole, then a standard drill bit must be chosen to match the size of the jig.

For example, if using a jig at 90 degrees, a single hole is sufficient. However, if the jig will be at an angle, a second hole is needed.

Angle Range

The majority of pocket hole jigs can be used at an angle, though some come with mounting holes that allow them to be installed at various angles. Keep in mind that the longer the shaft of the jig, the easier it will be to use at an angle.

For example, a long T-shank allows the user to position the jig at a shallow angle while working, and then switching to a steeper angle when the work is complete. A U-shaped jig requires a bit more dexterity, as it must be rotated to line up with the angle of the material.

Ease of Use

The best pocket hole jig should make a clean, precise cut without any fuss. For this reason, many manufacturers incorporate built-in clamps that lock the blade in place to prevent movement during installation.

Also, many jigs have swappable tips to help deal with different types of material. These tips range from flat blades for cutting through plywood to pointed blades for boring through stone.

Additional Features

Some pocket hole jigs have additional features that add functionality, such as LED lights, dust collection ports, and even bottle openers.

  • LED lights can illuminate the work area so the user can see the cutline as well as any debris or irregularities they’re cutting away.
  • Dust collection ports allow the user to direct dust away from their face.
  • Bottle openers are a useful addition if the user happens to be drinking during the job.