Editor’s Choice: Top products of 2023
2023 Editors Choice badge

Woodworking Network editors selected standout products for 2023. See what they picked.

From simple to high technology, this year’s top products all stand out for their ability to make your shop more efficient and profitable. Several of the items offer opportunities to expand product offerings or services. Others might encourage you to try new technologies or techniques. Together they are all a testament to the exciting innovation in the woodworking industry. 

These selections are the subjective choices of Woodworking Network editors. Some are products we have actually used and tested. Some have won various awards to achieve our notice. Some are products we have seen demonstrated at trade shows. Some are products that we have only read press release information from the manufacturer, but the capabilities still really stood out to us. Some of these products might have been introduced before 2023 but only came to our attention this year. Finally, the selections are presented in no particular order.

Task Lighting kit unboxed

Best Hardware Product: Hardware Resources Task Lighting Kit
Are you doing kitchen and cabinet lighting yet? If not, you are missing out on big profit opportunities. New LED lighting systems don’t require an electrician and offer easy installation. The Task Lighting Kit from Hardware Resources is a great example of a simple system that can introduce you to the value of adding lighting to your projects and increasing your bottom line at the same time.

This low-voltage system can be installed by any cabinetmaker without needing to bring in a licensed electrician.

Hafele Magic Corner II

Best Component Product: Hafele Magic Corner II
While the Magic Corner II, available from Hafele, has been around for a little while, it is surprising how many cabinet shops don’t know about it. The unit tackles storage in blind corners with an innovative solution that makes maximum use of the space and brings all of what’s inside the cabinet completely out, providing full access without having to reach inside the cabinet. Straightforward installation and operation make it an attractive upgrade for high-end kitchens.

We installed these units in two blind corners, and the process was easy and straightforward. Once installed, the unit added so much ease and efficiency to the kitchen, we’re surprised the units aren’t more popular.

Gemini EVO Eclipse waterborne finishes

Best Finishing Material: Gemini EVO finishes
Gemini EVO finishes show how far water-based finishing has come. Available in a wide variety of clear and pigmented finishes, with and without hardener, and a variety of sheens, EVO finishes are designed to convince even veteran solvent-based finishers to try a more environmentally friendly alternative without sacrificing efficiency or finish quality.

Unlike many water-based finishes, the Gemini EVO finishes did not have significant problems with grain raising in our tests. The finishes were also quite versatile for application, working with everything including simple brushing to popular forms of professional spray application such as HVLP.

Inventables X-Carve Pro CNC router

Best CNC Product: Inventables X-Carve Pro
For all those shops that have been still hesitating to dip their toes in the CNC router waters, Inventables offers the X-Carve Pro CNC router with professional build quality and features in a compact package at an affordable price, with easy-to-learn Easel software included. Its 4x4 bed handles most smaller projects, and a tiling feature built into the software allows using full 4x8 sheets or even longer material.

Available cabinetmaking software gets you cutting parts quickly. Even if you already have a production machine cutting out parts, this machine opens the door to profitable customization and other projects while not tying up your big CNC.

Dremel 8260 cordless moto-tool

Best Portable Power Tool: Dremel 8260
Cord cutting marches on. The Dremel 8260 rotary tool brings cordless power to a professional grade tool that will easily replace the corded moto-tools you’ve been using. Long battery life, plenty of power, electronic speed control, and even Bluetooth connectivity set this tool apart.

While rotary tools like this are not the most common tools in modern professional woodworking, they can come in really handy in specialized applications, including detail work, some repairs or modifications to existing woodwork, and in carving. Having a full-power alternative that doesn’t require a cord makes the tool that much more useful.

Northtech iGlue machine

Best Gluing Product: Northtech iGlue 
The Northtech iGlue quickly and accurately applies glue to dovetail and similar joinery. You just put a part in, and the machine scans and applies glue all in one pass in seconds, with no required setups, mess, or wasted glue. The machine has auto thickness compensation and can apply glue to either the mortise or tenon at a rate of more than 100 dovetails/minute. An automatic waterbath sleep mode keeps the glue tip fresh and ready to go. It works with standard PVA white glue. It was a Visionary Award winner at AWFS Fair 2023.

MicroJig Grr-Ripper2GO

Best Safety Product: MicroJig GRR-Ripper 2GO
The best safety measures are simple ones, and the MicroJig GRR-Ripper 2GO is a simple solution for a better push block on the table saw and other woodworking machines. Nothing to adjust, the block has thin legs oriented to handle most cutting needs. Color-coded indicators tell which direction and position to use the block depending on the work being cut.

Nederman Save software

Best Dust Collection Product: Nederman SAVE 
Nederman’s SAVE is an airflow monitoring system designed to save energy, enhance performance, and track process utilization on industrial dust collection and air filtration systems. Traditional dust collection systems are designed to operate continuously regardless of whether extraction is required. This leads to wasted energy, increased wear and tear, increased maintenance costs, and suboptimal filtration performance. Nederman SAVE tracks the process operation and adjusts blast gates and fan operation to deliver airflow as it is required, using the minimum energy required to maintain desired performance. The system was a Visionary Award winner at AWFS Fair 2023.

ProFoam with interface pad

Best Abrasive Product: SurfPrep Pro Foam 
SurfPrep ProFoam is designed to be the longest-lasting foam abrasive on the market, according to the company. A spokesman said it gives two to three times the cut rate with five times the abrasive life. It won a Visionary Award at AWFS Fair 2023.



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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.