Learn everything you need to know about the Kreg Jig 520 PRO – it’s features, how to use and how it compares to the other Kreg Jigs.
Pocket holes are one of my favorite ways to put together projects. They are easy to make and make strong joints.
The Kreg 520 PRO is one of the recent pocket hole Jigs released by Kreg along with the Kreg 720 PRO.
I have all the details you need know about it’s features and operation so you learn to use your jig or decide which one is right for you.
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig 520 Pro
The Kreg 520 is the replacement for the long-time Kreg K4 pocket hole jig. I have been using the K4 for almost 9 years and it’s the workhorse of my workshop. The 520 Pro is most definitely an upgrade with many new features.
Table of Contents
What’s included in the package?
The Kreg 520 PRO comes with the jig, an easy-set pocket hole drill bit, an easy-set stop collar, a material thickness gauge/hex wrench, a 6″ driver bit, and a 2″ face clamp.
Parts of Kreg Jig 520 Pro
Basic parts of the Kreg Jig 520 Pro are as follows –
- The drill guide – with settings for ½”, ¾” and 1½” material
- Tabs to change thickness settings on the drill guide
- VersaGrip squeeze clamp system – to clamp the workpiece to the jig
- Rotating handle – for the best comfortable hand position while using the jig.
- Clamp release
- GripMaxxTM anti-slip coating – To keep the workpiece stable during operation.
- Quick reset knob – for use when making pocket holes in multiple boards of the same thickness.
- Stepped drill bit (with easy-set markings) – to make the pocket holes.
- Depth collar for the drill bit.
- Square drive bits to drive the pocket hole screws
- Thickness gauge plus hex key.
Watch my video review
As always I have a full video showing you exactly how to use this new pocket hole jig. Lots more details follow below.
Features of Kreg 520 Pro
The Kreg 520PRO pocket hole jig is a smaller and more portable jig that helps make pocket holes in standard sized material a breeze.
The tab on the side of the drill guide can be pressed to move it to the appropriate pre-marked setting depending on the thickness of the workpiece. The available options are – ½”, ¾” and 1½”. This setting is determined by the thickness of the workpiece. See more about the operation below.
VersaGrip squeeze clamp
The VersaGrip squeeze clamp clamps the jig onto the workpiece. This is a brand new clamping mechanism. In the past models, the workpiece was clamped into the jig. This new mechanizm helps make the Kreg Jig 520 more portable and versatile for applications.
The flexibility of this portable jig makes it possible to use it in any configuration – vertical, horizontal, and everything in between! You can simply clamp it to the workpiece and start making your pocket holes – think about all times that you forget to make a pocket hole – this makes it super easy.
The squeeze-action clamp can be rotated 360°. This means that if end up using your Kreg 520 in a horizontal or angled configuration, you can easily rotate the handle to any angle to make it more comfortable for you to hold.
Quick reset knob
This is perfect for the times when you have to make pocket holes in multiple boards of the same thickness. You don’t have to squeeze the clamp all the way every time.
With the jig clamped to the first board, you can tighten the easy rest knob. Now, when pull the clamp release, the jig only releases the clamp far enough for you to switch out the board. Then it takes a couple of squeezes to tighten the clamp again.
Once done, you can simply loosen the easy reset knob for the next sized board.
Drill bit settings
The drill bit comes with easy set markings for the most commonly used thicknesses.
Mounting on a workbench
The Kreg 520 also accepts a jig clamp to allow it to be clamped to the workbench to use like a table top pocket hole jig.
How to use Kreg Jig 520 Pro
Using the Kreg Jig 520 is pretty much like using any Kreg Jig –
STEP 1 – measure thickness
- Measure the thickness of the board you are drilling pocket holes into using the thickness gauge.
Note – this is an important step and determines the strength of the pocket holes. While you might already know the thickness of the boards at the time of purchase, there and variations and should be double-checked to adjust for it.
Need help figuring out which board to drill pocket holes in? I have the answer here.
STEP 2 – Set Drill Bit depth collar
- Use the hex wrench in the thickness gauge to set the collar on the drill bit to the material thickness.
The included drill bit has easy-setting marks for the most common thicknesses. The depth collar can be moved to the required setting so the window is aligned with the marking and tightened.
Step 3 – Set the drill guide
- Press the gray tab and move the pointer to the thickness of the workpiece on the drill guide.
Step 4 – Clamp the jig
- Clamp the jig into place on the workpiece where you intend to make pocket holes by squeezing the handle.
If you will be making pocket holes in multiple boards of the same thickness, tighten the easy reset knob at the top of the jig.
Step 5 – Make pocket holes
- Using a power drill, drill pocket holes in the workpiece through the drill guides. Once the depth collar hits the drill guide, the pocket hole is done.
- Lift the drill out of the drill guide with the drill running to pull out the wood chips and get a clear pocket hole.
Step 6 – Remove workpiece
- Once the pocket holes are made, pull the release trigger to unclamp the workpiece.
- If you are repeating pocket holes in the same thickness board, you can switch the workpiece and repeat.
- If you are done or need to switch the thickness of the workpiece, simply, loosen the easy reset knob.
You can proceed to attach them with the appropriately sized pocket hole screw. Take a look at my complete guide on pocket holes for all the details to attach.
Kreg Jig 520Pro vs Kreg 720
There are two main differences between the Kreg 520 and the Kreg 720 –
- the Kreg 720 requires the solid work surface to be clamped to whereas the Kreg 520 can be directly clamped to the workpiece. This makes the Kreg 520 more portable and great for situations where you may forget to make pocket holes.
- Unlike the Kreg 520, the Kreg 720 automatically adjusts to the thickness of the workpiece and you don’t have to set up the thickness on the jig at all. This also means that you can work with more material thicknesses on the 720. The 520 only has settings for the most commonly used thicknesses.
Overall, the 520Pro is a great beginner Kreg Jig as it is great for working in the driveway or backyard for weekend warriors who do not have a workshop space.
Also see – How to use the Kreg 720PRO
Kreg Jig 320 vs Keg Jig 520Pro
The 520 Pro and Kreg 320 are similar – they both clamp directly to the workpiece and have thickness settings for the most commonly used materials – ½”, ¾” and 1½”.
The major difference is that the 520 has a built in clamp whereas the 320 needs a separate clamp to attach to the workpiece. This makes it a lot easier and faster to use. You also have the capability to hold the jig comfortably while drilling the pocket holes.
The Kreg 320 however boasts of the advantage of variable pocket hole spacing due to which I have been able to use it in extremely complex situations where the workpiece could not be clamped into a jig.
Also see – How to use the Kreg 320
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Where to buy the Kreg Jig 520 Pro?
The Kreg Jig 520 Pro is available online and in-store at all retailers that currently carry Kreg products.
The Kreg Jig 520 Pro will cost $99.99 and replaces the long serving Kreg K4.
Kreg has also released a couple of other accessories to make it even more powerful.
Micro Drill guide for Kreg Jig 520Pro
The micro drill guide separately available for the Kreg 520PRO and the drill guide can be easily swapped out for it.
It makes 25% smaller pocket holes and is perfect for
- Thinner ½” material – like that used for building drawers
- Narrow material – like 1×2 and 2×2 boards
- Hardwoods – because they are very dense.
You do need a pan head style pocket hole screw for pocket holes made using the micro drill guide.
Docking station for Kreg Jig 520Pro
When you want to clamp the 520PRO to a workbench for use, the docking station is a great add-on because it comes with material support wings which make using large boards in both the vertical and horizontal configurations a lot easier.
It is a separate purchase though so you can start off with the Kreg 520pro and then purchase the docking station if you feel the need, although I highly recommend it.
My review of the Kreg 520
Overall, I think the Kreg 520Pro is a great option for both beginner experienced woodworkers and DIYers. Even if you already own a bench top pocket hole jigs, you will find many uses for the 520 in your workshop due to its portability and versatility. My favorite feature is being able to clamp it onto the workpiece which will make managing larger boards a breeze.
More about pocket holes –
Also check out the Kreg Jig 101 for lots of pocket hole information!