Best Dovetail Jigs For Beginners

When you are a beginner, something like a dovetail might be intimidating at first. But with the right jig, you can and you will be able to make perfect dovetails. Right now there are tons of options on the market, which might confuse anyone. So which one is the right dovetail jig for you? Don’t worry, we are here to help you out with making that decision. We reviewed all the best jigs in the market and compiled the list all in one place. Read this article to find out the best dovetail jigs for beginners available right now.

The best dovetail jigs for beginners are: the Porter-Cable 12-inch 4210, Leigh D4R-PRO, Keller Dovetail System 135-1500, Porter-Cable 4216. All of these jigs fit the criteria for being the best amongst the others in the market. They are easy to assemble out of the box, they are compatible with most routers, setting up wooden boards in them is easy, and they always give you perfectly square dovetail joints.

There are tons of dovetail jigs in the market, and you can make your own if you want to. Making your own jig can be hard for a beginner, and cutting dovetails without one is even harder. But with the right jig and the knowledge to use it, you can get square dovetail joints each and every time. The dovetail jigs in our list are chosen because they do exactly that. Not to mention they are easy to assemble and anyone can set up wooden boards in them without issues.

What to Look for in Dovetail Jigs?

Earlier on we mentioned the criteria of what to look for when choosing a dovetail jig. Let us briefly go over those again and understand why these things matter most.


Don’t you just hate it when you buy a tool and there are like a billion instructions on how to assemble it properly? Well, we do too! This is why ease of assembly is on top of our list! Whenever you buy a product you usually want to be able to use it out of the box. But if it does require a little bit of assembly, it shouldn’t be rocket science. If you mess it up, that will just mean that the dovetails that you make will not be perfectly square. Instead, you will just end up wasting time figuring out how to fix this jig and getting results.


While most people want to buy the best of the best tools, not everyone can afford them. Some of us still do the best we can with a budget pick that does the job fine with a few compromises here and there. But that shouldn’t limit us to the options of jigs we can buy. After all, a jig should be compatible with most routers that are on the market. We shouldn’t have to buy a whole new router just so it works on the jig. Some jigs even work for both, table routers and handheld plunge routers.

Setting Up

So the setup is another thing to keep in mind whenever you are buying a jig. No one likes it when it takes an hour to set up the wood in the jig before cutting joints in it. If you wanted to spend an hour doing that it is better to cut a dovetail by hand. Because it would take less time doing that, it is best to find a jig that not only cuts square but also lets you set up the wood in it with ease, accuracy, precision, and less time.


A good jig needs to meet all the criteria and not miss one even slightly. If it ticks all the boxes but fails to tick this particular one, then it is a no-brainer that you don’t go for it. Because in the end you want square dovetails and you want them to fit and slide together perfectly. So having a dovetail jig that always makes square dovetails is going to be important when you choose one.

4 Best Dovetail Jigs Reviewed

1. Porter-Cable 12-inch 4210

Porter-Cable makes one of the finest dovetail jigs, in fact, they have three models on the market at the moment. The 4210 is a reasonably priced jig and is 12 inches wide, and comes with 3 templates for your router. It has template alignment lines and a router bit depth gauge for maximum accuracy.

With the alignment lines you know where to position your router, and the depth gauge keeps your router bit from overextending. Not to mention the machined aluminium template gives you square dovetails all the time. 

What we like about the jig are the clamps which hold wooden boards really firmly using the cam lock style clamps. With clear-cut instructions and a manual included, using this Porter-Cable 4210 dovetail jig is incredibly easy. For us, this jig ticks all the boxes that we talked about earlier.


  • Excellent construction with durable material.
  • The depth gauge for the router bit allows for more precision.
  • Clamps hold the boards firmly.
  • Reasonable Pricing


  • Does not contain many options for making adjustments in the setup.

2. D4R Pro Dovetail Jig

The D4R Pro might be the most expensive dovetail jig on our list, but it is certainly worth its money. Not only is it the biggest dovetail jig that will be able to support boards up to 24″ but it also has an adjustable pin and tail template. Meaning you can move the pins and tails on the template to where you want. So if you want a pattern in which there is a dovetail joint with asymmetrical spacing, you can do that.

The adjustability does not only end there, if your dovetails get too tight, playing with the scale on the template helps you loosen or tighten the pins and tails better for perfectly square results every time. With the kind of adjustability and the size of the jig, you will be highly satisfied with spending all that money. The jig also includes the template for your router plates to help it glide along with the pins and tails on the jig.


  • Full freedom when it comes to moving the tail and pin templates.
  • A lot of adjustability options.
  • Strong grip with cam lock clamps.
  • 24″ wide projects are supported.


  • Ridiculously expensive.

3. Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman DoveTail Jig

When it comes to cutting precise dovetails using a router table, the Keller Dovetail System Journeyman Jig is perfect for the job. While not great for plunge routers, using only two bits, a few clamps, and sliders, you can use this with your router table to provide accurate results every time thanks to the template. Though you are bound by one template and it does not come with a lot of adjustment options.

But sometimes the simple things are, the more accurate results you get. You don’t have to play around a lot, you just clamp a board, and start routing. Also with the freedom that this jig provides you, you can route out as many dovetails on as big size of boards as you want. There is no restriction, but it comes at the cost of adjustability, and you need to also clamp boards by hand.


  • Unlimited space for boards of all widths and lengths.
  • Reasonably priced and works well with all kinds of routers.
  • Accurate results thanks to a fixed template design.
  • Does not require any adjustments and works perfectly out of the box.


  • No options for adjustment.
  • Fixed template.

4. Porter-Cable 12 Inch 4216 Dovetail Jig

This is another model of a dovetail jig by Porter-Cable, which is slightly more expensive. It comes with 3 templates compared to the one template that you get with the 4210. These templates are designed to give you more options to make different types of dovetails. Although we said it is slightly more expensive, it is still reasonably priced as far as dovetail jigs are concerned.

Like the previous model, it has a solid aluminium build and comes with cam-style locking clamps that hold the boards firmly, giving you more stability and accuracy. The depth gauge is also present on this model so you know how far out you need to extend your router bit. All in all, a pretty solid and decent dovetail jig for the price.


  • Comes with 3 different templates that allow you to make different types of dovetails.
  • A depth gauge gives you accuracy when cutting dovetails.
  • Once you adjust the jig properly, it gives you accurate results almost all the time.
  • Cam-style locking clamps give stability to projects that you are routing.


  • Just like the previous model does not contain many options for making adjustments in the setup.

What is the Easiest Dovetail Jig to Use

There are dovetail jigs for hand-cutting dovetails on boards. Then there are ones that can help you cut dovetails with a table saw. But the best dovetail jig to use has to be one that can be used with a router. Though even in those, there are many options so which dovetail router jig is the best?

While most people would argue over this matter, we found the D4R Pro Dovetail Jig by Leigh to be the best. If you can overcome the part where you have to spend almost a grand, you get a lot of freedom. The adjustability of the template design gives you unique dovetail designs every time. That is not all, you are able to work on bigger projects, thanks to the 24″ build of this dovetail jig.

But we also found the Porter-Cable 4216 to be a great dovetail jig. Partially because it is more reasonably priced, but also because it can give you square dovetails almost every time once you adjust it.

Best Dovetail Jig for Cutting Dovetails by Hand

If you want to cut dovetail jigs by hand the Kat Mozes Dovetail Jig is by far the favourite amongst woodworkers. The magnetic grip this dovetail jig gives to the saw allows for accurate cuts every time. Whether you have to cut tails or pins, both of these can be cut with a dovetail saw with ease thanks to this great dovetail jig. There are two jigs available for the different ratios, the link will take you to the 6:1 dovetail jig. But an 8:1 ratio dovetail jig is also available and both of them are reasonably priced.

Even without this jig though, if you just have a template, you can make pretty accurate dovetail joints. But this jig just makes it all the easier allowing for even beginners to produce accurate results in a few tries.

Final Thoughts

If you were looking for the best dovetail jig, any of the jigs above will provide you with square dovetails. Though depending on your budget, you might want to stick to a more reasonably priced one. But if you want to really ramp up your dovetail game then go for the most expensive one. We are sure you must have found a suitable dovetail jig for your projects from our list.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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