Kreg K4 vs K5 Jigs: Two HUGE Reasons Why K5 Is Better
Remember my other post on Kreg? I outlined how the smaller R3 and the mid-range K4 differ from each other.
This time, I’ll talk about Kreg K4 and the brand’s masterpiece. The Final Boss.
Yup – none other than the outstanding K5.
R3 vs K4 was more of an ambivalent matchup, right? Well, with comparing anything Kreg with the K5 feels pointless.
It’s that good. And there are two very important reasons why it excels over the K4:
Built-in clamp + the clamp lever being IN FRONT.
Near automatic clamping, yes, but way more important – convenience. K4’s lever is located BEHIND. Picture yourself reaching over the jig every time you want to clamp…Not that fun.
Storage wings: Easily attached to the jig, or detached.
Obviously, perfect for storing your tools/accessories. However, these also provide important support for longer wood pieces/panels you might work on. No such thing with K4.
If you do frequent DIY projects, these two features alone make the K5 jig worth the few extra bucks. I can’t stress how important these are for any larger scale (35+ pocket holes) projects.
And I’m far from the only person who thinks so:
Sticking to my usual format, let me compare these two Kreg tools head-to-head.
Also, I just realized how close I am to being a namesake with the brand!
Kreg K4 vs K5:
Round 1: Body & Scope
Both pocket-hole jigs are made of the same materials. That would be the staple glass-reinforced nylon – ultra tough and spectacularly long-lasting. The brand makes no compromises on how their tools are manufactured.
These are built to last.
As I mentioned before, K5’s design introduces a crucial improvement. Yes, that’s the clamping lever (or handle, if you want to call it that.) The lever is moved to the front instead of being in the back – looking at you, K4.
Imagine working on a huge panel. Really wide too. Every single time you want to clamp, you have to reach over and around it.
Doesn’t sound that appealing, right?
It’s such a small detail, yet it affects the whole design of the tool. And from there, it improves the efficiency of your work, and the overall pleasure of doing DIY projects.
As for the scale, by Kreg’s official categorization, K4 and K5 have the same output. The jigs are suitable for medium to large-scale projects involving 25-50 pocket holes.
They both have 3 holes, unlike lesser Kregs like the R3 (it has only two.) They both can connect materials that are 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ thick.
- Kreg K4 82% 82%
- Kreg K5 93% 93%
Round 2: Convenience
Without any doubt, the K5 steamrolls over the K4 in terms of being easy/convenient to work with.
On one hand, both tools improve over previous generations Kregs with fast clamping, better dust collection, and more durable drill guides.
With K5, the port for collecting dust can be effortlessly connected with your standard vacuum hose.
And then…Well, K5 decides to go above and beyond in some other aspects.
I already spoke about the clamp lever advantage, but with K5, there’s a fully built-in clamping process going on.
It’s as close to automatic as you can get. Seriously.
You can adjust it without any tools, without the need of any nuts either. Slide, click the front lever, and you’re ready to work. That’s it.
Let’s be honest, though: the big contributor to the K5 convenience is the storage feature.
These wings are near magical. First of all, you can attach or detach them at any time, depending on the project you work on.
With smaller projects you mightn’t need them. For more serious DIY work, though…oh boy.
Obviously, their primary purpose is to help you store your tools/accessories. Large-scale projects might involve a myriad of small stuff you’d prefer to keep in one place.
However, there’s an additional benefit of having them around.
Picture yourself jointing very long panels. Sure, you got the jig to work on them, but they extend beyond it. You need to find something to support them. With K4, you have to insert additional supports to keep the wood pieces steady.
With K5 you can simply use the storage wings as panel support too. They work exceptionally well.
In any convenience aspect, the K5 is just way ahead than its predecessor.
- K4 80% 80%
- K5 97% 97%
Extensions & Accessories
As I’ve mentioned before, all Kreg jigs have a limit when it comes to wood thickness. Their basic models can only work with 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ thick panels.
What you need to do is to grab additional face clamps. Kreg offers them in three varieties: 2″, 3″ or 6″ face clamps.
Remember: their actual scope is a bit less than that. 3″ will actually get you a clamp that supports wood pieces up to 2 3/4″ in thickness.
Both K-models have something called a Master System.
Summed up in short, this is a full DIY kit including the base K4 or K5 jig…and all the accessories you might ever need. Screw kits, face clamps…
If you have the money to spare, the Master System bundles will prepare you for any DIY wood jointing you might stumble upon in your household.
If you are planning to do more project, more frequently, and don’t mind sparing just a few more dollars…
The heavy-duty, ultra convenient K5 is a no-brainer. It massively improves your workflow, shoots up in terms of convenience, and is overall way, way better than the K4.
If you are somewhat tight on money, the K4 will still do a good job. After all, both pocket-hole jigs support the same materials and feature the same basics you can work with.
Where things differ greatly is the speed and coziness of the actual execution. Which – to me, is what matters the most.