In my search for the best tools and gadgets, I sometimes purchase a few different versions of the same tool. Not all at the same time, but over time. In my hunt for the best pocket hole jig, I’ve ended up with 3 different jigs. Two are Kreg pocket hole jig. The Kreg K5 is a larger pocket hole jig than the Kreg R3 Jr. and priced quite a bit higher at $140.
Kreg K5 Review
It has three set drilling locations. The spacing between the holes is set up to be perfect for 1×2 for 1×3 material without moving the wood once it’s clamped in place. You can drill holes in larger pieces of wood as well by moving the wood in the jig. There is no adjustability with the hole spacing.
The Kreg K5 has two “support wings” that attach to the sides to hold your workpiece steady and also supply storage for bits, screws and other small supplies.
I find that the lightweight plastic “support wings” don’t really offer too much in the way of support or stability. They are level with the jig so they support the sides of a large piece of wood helping to prevent the jig from tipping under the weight of the wood. But the jig is made almost entirely out of plastic so it is very light weight.
You really have to clamp the jig down or build a base on which to mound it to make it sturdy enough to use without additional support — which in my opinion completely defeats the purpose of buying a jig like this.
One area where the Kreg K5 really excels in the dust collection. With this bad boy connected to my shop vac there was barely a speck of sawdust to be found after drilling numerous holes.
There are a couple problems with the dust collection feature though.
- The port and hose tend to get in the way when you are using the jig
- The whole dust collection port pops off frequently.
The dust collection port is in the front of the jig, right in between the quick release clamp lever and the spot where you’ll be drilling. It tends to get in the way. It does swivel which is good thinking but in my experience, the whole thing pops off a little too easily.
Material Thickness Adjustments
When you change material thickness, you have to make adjustments in three places:
1. Adjust your Thickness Clamp
There is a quick release clamp in the front and a thickness clamp in back. Engage the quick release clamp and then push the silver button and slide the thickness clamp forward into the wood. Then release the quick release clamp for running multiple boards of the same thickness.
2. Drilling Depth Block
To adjust the drilling depth block, pull out the spring-pin, adjust the drill block, push the pin back in. There are markings on the side of the depth block so you know where to adjust it. (See this post for tips to make it easier to see the markings.)
3. Stop Collar on the Drill Bit
You also have adjust the stop collar on the drill bit whenever you chance thickness and drill depth. You have to use a small hex key for this — which can be stored in one of those wings so it’s close by.
The jig kit comes with this handy doodad that you place in front of the drilling block to tell you where to adjust your stop collar. I have never once used this.
I generally keep my drill bits in my Kreg R3 case which has a better system for setting your stop collar in my opinion. AND, I have several drill bits so I just have each one set for a different material thickness so I don’t have to mess with adjusting stop collars.
The Kreg K5 also has a little alignment block that you can set in place when you want to drill holes in the same place on multiple boards.
You can remove the drill block completely and use it remotely by adding a spacer block and clamping it to your workpiece.
I have never used my Kreg K5 for remote drilling because I don’t want to have to take it apart and put it back together every time I need to do a different task. I use my Kreg Jr. for remote drilling and the “big jig” for stationary drilling.
Buy you can use it remotely if you need to, which is a plus.
Drilling in Extra Large Wood Pieces
To use the Kreg K5, you must clamp the material into the jig so the material sticking straight up in the air. With very large pieces of wood I find it too awkward and difficult to use the K5.
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Summary
This Kreg pocket hole jig works pretty well but but is lacking in quite a few areas.
- There is no adjustability with the hole spacing.
- It is so lightweight you have to clamp it down regardless of the “support wings”
- Dust collection port gets in the way and frequently pops off the jig
- It requires you to make three different adjustments each time you change material thickness
- It is awkward to use for large pieces of wood because the only option is to have the wood stick straight up in the air.
In my opinion, the Kreg K5 is a great tool for drilling pocket holes in 1×2, 1×3 and 2×4 material as well as smaller pieces of plywood.
It is not a good all around pocket hole jig, if it is the only jig you have because you can not easily use it to drill holes in larger project material. It is handy when used in conjunction with the Kreg R3 junior,which I reviewed earlier.
I find the Porter-Cable 560 Quick Jig to be a better tool. It is a little more expensive than the Kreg K5 and I still also use my Kreg R3 in conjunction with my PC 560.
See my Porter-Cable 560 review here.
You might also like this tip for how to make your Kreg Jig easier to use!