Dowels are a modern innovation in joinery. They are cylindrical pieces of wood that fit into holes drilled into workpieces. Their strength is close to that of the mortise and tenon joint.
The biggest difference between dowels and biscuits is their shape. Dowels are cylindrical, while biscuits are football shaped. Unlike dowels, biscuits are not hollow and are designed to be glued in.
When it comes to strength, dowels are a little bit stronger than their biscuit counterparts. However, dowels are not as fast. Unless you have the right jig, dowels can be a bit fiddly. You will need a few drill bits to make them.
There is also a big difference between dowels and biscuits. For example, biscuits are more robust and are better at aligning pieces than dowels. But they do not provide enough strength to replace dowels in some situations.
Dominoes are similar to dowels but are even stronger. Although dominos are still more expensive than dowels, they are more useful in certain situations.
Dominos are a great choice for large, solid wood projects. In fact, they have been shown to outperform dowels when it comes to bonding and alignment.
The biggest downside to using a biscuit joiner is the lack of lateral strength. It is easy to break a board if you try to force it onto a biscuit. If you are doing a project that requires a lot of clamping, you may want to consider using a dowel.