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Kreg K4 Jig Kit vs K5 Jig Kit

What Jig – Kreg K4 or K5?

Kreg JIg K5Pocket hole jigs are very popular with woodworkers and cabinet makers. Over the years Kreg has evolved their pocket hole jig and are still selling the K3, K4 and K5 pocket hole Jig. We will be going over the Kreg K4 and comparing it to the Kreg K5. John has significant experience with both the K4 & K5 through out many of his woodworking projects. The video above is a follow up video for the Kreg K5 after he used it for just over a year. The K5 has replaced his K4 only because I have his K4 jig. There are some differences between the K4 and K5 jig, but overall they perform the same function and both work very well. You can watch our initial reviews of the K5 and K4 below.

Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System

Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig

Differences between the K4 & K5

Our Kreg K4 jig has been well used on many projects. It is a great tool, but Kreg left some room for improvements and you can see some of them mentioned on John’s first review of the K4 below.

So after watching that older video, we will move on to the Kreg K5 changes. Side tables were added to K5 but are not made of the same hard plastic the rest of the jig is. It is more of a ridged plastic that I fear has the possibility to break in the future. The side tables are probably the one item most added to peoples K4 units when they customize them. The side tables have a couple of functions. Long work pieces have more stability and the side tables also open up so that you can store your drill bit, square driver bit, extra screws, set up guide and stop block. That way you won’t lose what you need.

Kreg K5The self-adjusting piston clamp is the most talked about improvement on this unit. The K4 jig had a threaded clamp that needed to be screwed in and out according to thickness of the piece you are working with. This was a bit of an annoyance when you go from a ¾” piece of wood to a 2×4. The K5 has a clamping mechanism that Kreg is calling “self-adjusting”. It is much quicker to adjust than the K4 clamp, but I wouldn’t call it self-adjusting. It does make the job a lot quicker when you know how to properly adjust it. Just make sure you read the instructions before using it. I made the mistake of using the clamp without reading the instruction guild when I got it and I could not see the big benefit of the system. It was quickly pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong. Now that I know how to operate the K5 clamp, I have to say it is a big timesaver and a welcome change.

One of the simplest of changes on this unit is that they added some color to the drill guide block setting. In the past, it was difficult to read the thickness setting because it was the same color as the rest of the unit. Now, they have colored it white. On top of that, all you need to do to set the drill guide block is to pull the spring loaded pin, set your height and let go of the pin. The older unit had a thumb screw. Not a huge difference, but an improvement.

Here is our first review on the Kreg K5 jig.

Not everything on the K5 is an improvement over the older models. On the K4, when you wanted to set the stop collar on your drill bit, you laid the drill bit into a grove and you set the collar according to the thickness of wood you were drilling through. On the K5, you have a separate stepped block that you have to never lose. Basically, you put your drill bit through the drill bit guide block, have the height adjusted the the proper height and then put the stepped block where the drill bit goes through the drill bit guide block. Make sure it goes into the hole that corresponds to the length screw that you are going to use. I do not like this stepped block and would prefer the older system. Maybe they will bring back that feature on the K6.

Final Thoughts on the K4 or K5

If you already own the K4 jig, I’m not suggesting you go out and buy the K5. Even though the improvements on the K5 are significant, I don’t believe they justify buying the new version. However, if you are thinking about buying a pocket hole jig system, the K5 jig is certainly the way I would go.

One thing that I highly recommend is mounting whatever system you own to a board. This makes storage, carrying and holding down your jig quick and trouble free.

Where to buy the Jigs, Screws & Accessories

We have found it easy and cheaper to purchase items on Amazon due to the free shipping on many items especially if you are an Amazon Prime member.  Here are links to some of the items discussed:

Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System

Kreg K4MS Jig Master System

Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig

Kreg SML-C125-100 1-1/4-Inch 8-Coarse Washer-Head Pocket Screws


Kreg K5 Jig

Kreg JIg K5

Kreg K4 Jig


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3 Responses to “Kreg K4 Jig Kit vs K5 Jig Kit”

  1. Thomas C #

    I have one of these in my woodworking shed and its one of the best investments I have ever made, It has so many very handy uses, I don’t think I could live without it now that I have it.

    May 6, 2015 at 8:22 am Reply
  2. ashley #

    Hi, came here looking to see what the differences were between the K4 & the K5. As this will be my first pocket hole device, I find that either the K4 or K5 is very expensive for what it does. So, I don’t want to waste my money. I see you are sold on the K5. And I see that you mounted it to plywood, but what are those black wings on the sides (towards the back and black color). Thank you in advance.

    January 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm Reply
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