Kreg K4 vs. K5 – What’s the Difference?

Kreg K4 vs. K5

Any DIYer or woodworker that is yet to try out pocket joinery is missing out on one of the quickest and simplest ways of joining two pieces of wood when building anything from frames to different kinds of furniture.

But to create the pocket holes needed for this joinery, you need a pocket-hole jig system, and this will often lead you to Kreg as they make some of the best quality and most popular ones on the market.

However, you still need to choose from their many options, and if you are looking for something more efficient, well-built and modern, their K4 and K5 jigs are your best bet.

Because the differences between the two popular jigs might not look so obvious, many potential buyers will often get confused about which to buy. But, here we help ensure that this does not happen to you with in-depth overviews and comparison of the two.

Kreg K4 Overview

Kreg K4

Photo: Kreg

The K4 is tried and true pocket-hole jig system that has been around for quite some time now, and it is one of the best-selling Kreg products. Hence, you can be certain that it is the kind of jig that will always get the job done no matter the scale.

With the Kreg K4, you will get a versatile jig that will make it possible to make pocket holes with high precision, and it is also loaded with different features for easier and more convenient operation.

Kreg makes it for small to large scale uses and when compared others its size from other brands, it can do way much more. With the multiple thicknesses settings, it can handle a wide variety of material thicknesses.

Many woodworkers will love that it can also be upgraded to HD or Micro Kreg when you have the right attachments. Better yet, it will come with a removable drill guide which makes it even more portable.

Overall, it is a well-built jig designed to last a lifetime and is backed by a lifetime warranty. But some users will not like the fact that unlike the K5, it does not have a tiltable dust port as this makes dust management a little hectic.

Pros:

  • Smaller and more portable
  • More affordable
  • A tried and true jig
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Inconvenient fixed dust hole

Kreg K5 Overview

Kreg K5

Photo: Kreg

Kreg K5 is an upgraded version of the K4 and despite not having been around for as long as the latter, it is slowly becoming more popular thanks to the extra features and more efficient design.

This pocket hole jig system will come with a built-in clamping system that means you will not need any additional clamping tools, and it also has a more convenient front-mounted handle design.

Its unique ratcheting clamp system will give you an easier time than what you get on the K4 as it is mostly self-adjusting which means the users have to do very little when making adjustments.

And it has been built to accommodate large workpieces as it includes more spacious side tables. Better yet, these side tables also have some onboard storage which ensures easy organization of the things you need when using the jig.

Dust management will be faster and easier when using this jig because unlike its predecessor, the dust port is tiltable which will allow you to direct the wood dust where you want.

However, given the extra features and upgraded design, this will be a much larger jig than the K4 which makes it less portable. Also, as an upgraded version, it will be significantly more expensive than its predecessor something that many woodworkers might not like.

Pros:

  • More efficient clamping system
  • Supports larger workpieces
  • Also includes onboard storage
  • Convenient swiveling dust port

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Larger and less portable

Comparison Chart

Kreg K4Kreg K5
Clamping SystemToggle clampRatchet arm clamp
Storage WingsNoYes
Overall PerformanceGood enoughGreat
Dust Collection AdaptorYes, but not tiltableYes, tiltable
Clamping HandleAt the backFront-facing
Size and PortabilityCompact and more portableLarger and a little inconvenient to carry
Price$$$

Kreg K4 vs. Kreg K5

The fact that the Kreg K4 and K5 are two of the most popular pocket hole jigs from the company shows that you will end up with a reliable and efficient product regardless of what you choose. But, to make sure that you get a jig that will work well for your specific projects or situation, here are the few differences between the two you need to know.

1. Clamping System                             

Every jig will come with two kinds of clamps with one being for holding it in place on a work surface and the other for holding the material. The quality of each clamp matters as it will determine the efficiency of the jig. The good news is that Kreg has the best of each clamp type for their different jigs.

But the K4 will not come with a clamp to hold it on the work surface which means to use it you will need to get an additional clamp. With the K5, this will not be the case as it will come with clamps for both workpiece and holding the jig in place.

What makes the K5 even better is that its ratchet arm clamp is self-adjusting which means that when using it, you will not need additional tools to make adjustments. With the toggle clamp system on the K4, a manual adjustment will be required.

Given the more effortless and easy-to-use design of the clamping system on then K5, it is the clear winner here. Better yet, this jig makes it easy to match the thickness of the material you want to drill because you will not need to release and rotate a locknut manually like when using the K4.

2. Storage Wings

There are several accessories that you will need when making pocket holes with these jigs. Many of these accessories are quite small which means you can easily lose them without proper storage.

Kreg makes their K5 with this in mind because unlike the K4, it will also include storage wings which have some nice storage compartments for all your pocket-hole drilling accessories.

Besides providing much-needed storage, these wings will also be useful for providing support to larger workpieces which means the jig will give you an easier time than then K4 when dealing with larger materials.

To make things even better, the wings are designed to be easy to remove when you do not need them for a particular project and reattach them afterward.

3. Overall Performance

Since the K5 surpasses the K4 in many aspects from the style to the features, one can rightfully expect it to deliver a better overall performance. And it does not disappoint because anyone that has used both jigs at some point will find the overall performance of the K5 a little better.

But, it is worth noting that when it comes to the actual pocket hole drilling, there is not much difference between the two since they both use the 3-hole drill guides.

Also, they are designed to accommodate the same wood thickness and will perform the same when it comes to centering the screws and other things like the drilling angles are the same.

With that said, the inclusion of the side wings and the more comfortable clamp handle on the Kreg K5 also helps make the job faster and easier which can further enhance the overall performance.

4. Dust Collection Adaptor

Given that there will be some drilling involved when making the pocket holes, there will be a significant amount of dust produced when using the K4 and K5.

Luckily, Kreg makes them in a design that ensures managing the dust will be easier for you as they both come with dust ports that you can connect to a shop vac for efficient dust extraction.

But, the dust collection port or adapters that you get on the two jigs are designed differently and this is also one of the key differences between them.

The Kreg K4 will come with a fixed dust collection port which means you can only use it from one position while the K5 is tiltable which allows it to swivel to allow you to make a more secure connection.

While for some users this might not make a huge difference, for many others, a swiveling dust port will allow for more efficient dust management.

5. Clamping Handle

When looking at the two Kreg jigs, one of the clearest differences between them will be the location of the clamp handle.

For the Kreg K4, the handle will be located at the back of the jig while for the newer K5, Kreg puts it at the front which helps make clamping much easier for the users.

Although the handle at the back still works well enough, it can be a little tedious to use, and this is more so for those that have confined spaces.

The front handles on then K5, on the other hand, make clamping almost effortless and can also be handy when doing the actual drilling by providing extra support for the hand.

6. Size and Portability

The size of your jig also matters a lot because, like most other DIYers and woodworkers, you might want to use it from different locations, and so if it is too large, this will not be possible.

Both the K4 and K5 jigs will have their pros and cons when it comes to the size. And because they have a similar design and are both quite compact, they will be easy to carry around.

However, the K5 is the larger of the two when looking at them side by side as it also includes the storage wings. This means that it will be less portable, but it is also worth noting that the wings are removable which can make the jig easier to pack and hence enhancing its portability.

While both jigs will include a removable drill guide that is designed to make them more portable, what you get on the K5 will be much smaller than the K4’s drill guide which gives it an added advantage when it comes to portability. But overall, Kreg K4 is still more portable.

7. Price

Given their better build quality and the overall performance that these Kreg jigs will deliver, they tend to be pricier than regular jigs from other less known brands.

Also, the K5 is the newer model of the two, and so it should be obvious that it will cost significantly more than the K4.

At the time of writing this piece, the Kreg K5 was around $30 more expensive than the K4 when buying the jig alone. When buying the Kreg K5 with other things like a screw kit it can cost up to one and a half times the price of the K4.

Conclusion

Kreg always has you covered when it comes to jigs as they will have something for everyone from DIYers to professional woodworkers. But, you cannot go wrong with their K4 or K5 models as besides being their top-selling units, they are also their most advanced jigs.

And when you have to pick between the two, you will only need to keep their differences in mind when shopping. These differences include the clamp system, clamp handle, storage wings, and their prices.

For our recommendations based on their differences, the Kreg K4 is perfect for anyone looking for a simple Kreg jig that gets the job done and is also more affordable and portable.

Kreg K5, on the other hand, is perfect for those looking for something more advanced that has an easier to use clamping system, comes with handy onboard storage and can support larger materials.