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How to Find the Best Wood Planer

How to Find the Best Wood Planer
Latest posts by David Borgogni (see all)

When you are working on your home renovation there are some tools that are well worth investing in, and one of these tools is the Wood Planer. Choosing power tools can be a daunting process, especially as there are so many different brands available now, so how do you know which ones are worth spending your hard earned money on? Today we are going to talk about how to find the best Wood Planer, to make this process easy for you and to help you decide which Wood Planer is best for you.

Firstly we will explain exactly what a Wood Planer is (and what it isn’t) so you can understand if you need one for the project you are working on, or if another tool would suit you better. We will also take a look at the different types of wood planers available, and we will review the top 5 Wood Planers available at the moment, to give you a good overview of what’s available. Let’s get stuck in…

What is a Wood Planer and Why Should You Buy One?

A Wood Planer, also known as a ‘Thickness Planer’ is a powerful tool used to create planks of wood of an exact thickness. This is a really useful tool to have if you are doing any carpentry during your home renovation, as it can be tricky to buy wood of the exact thickness you need at a DIY store. Having a wood planer means that you can take any piece of wood and trim it to the precise thickness you need, as many times as you want.

To use a wood planer you simply adjust either the cutter head or the planning platform to your required thickness and turn the machine on. The next step is to feed the board into the machine. The ‘in-feed’ roller will carry the board through the machine, where it will be cut from the top by the fast spinning blades of the Cutter Head. After it has been cut the ‘out-feed’ roller pulls the newly planed plank of wood out of the other side, and you can feed in your next piece.

A wood planer is one of those woodworking tools that can save you both time and money, since instead of going to buy wood at different thicknesses for every project you are working on, you can use off cuts from other projects, or cheaper wood that might be on offer, and simply feed them into the Wood Planer to give you a perfect plank of wood at your desired thickness. It’s such a quick and easy process, and your own time is saved by reducing your trips to the DIY store!

Different Types of Wood Planer Available

There are different types of wood planers available to buy, so to avoid any confusion we are going to talk you through each type quickly, so you know which one is right for your project:

  1. Benchtop Wood Planers. A benchtop wood planer is a tabletop planer that can be easily moved around between different projects that you are working on. These wood planers are perfect for home renovations since they do not need to be confined to a workshop. Although they may be smaller than a heavy duty wood planer they are still pretty powerful, although you may need to feed larger planks through more than once to get the perfect finish. Benchtop planers are also a budget-friendly option, ranging from just $250 to $650.
  2. Heavy Duty Wood Planers. You will find heavy duty wood planers in large workshops that need to cut huge amounts of wood each day. Heavy duty planers can manage even the hardest of hardwoods at an extremely quick rate, but the downsides to heavy duty planers are that they are expensive, ranging from $2000 all the way to $8000. Due to their size, they are difficult to move once installed,  and they take up a lot of space, so this is only worth buying if you will be using it on a daily basis for large amounts of wood.
  3. Hand Operated Wood Planers (Corded, Cordless, and Manual). Hand operated wood planers are a popular choice for home renovations too and they are best suited for smaller jobs. There are three different types of hand-operated wood planer; Manual, which does not require any electricity to operate (but you will need a strong arm!) Corded, which works from your mains power, and cordless, which is usually powered by an 18-20V battery. Hand operated planers are also budget-friendly ranging from $40 to $200.

For home renovation projects we would recommend using either a benchtop or a hand operated corded or cordless wood planer. A benchtop wood planer would suit you best if you are undertaking a whole house renovation that requires a lot of wood planking.

If you are just doing a little bit of wood planning here and there for smaller renovation projects then we would recommend going for a handheld wood planer, as they are budget-friendly and easy to move from room to room for the duration of your renovation project.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Planer

There are a few main things you should consider when you are choosing a wood planer for your home renovation project.

  1. The Size of the project.  Are you renovating a whole house or just a kitchen? Think about how much wood you might need to plane for your project.
  2. Your Budget. How much do you want to spend? If you are on a tight budget then a hand operated planer would probably be the best choice for you.
  3. Access to power. Do you have access to a power source where you are working? If not then you can use a battery powered hand operated planer, but you will need to remember to have spare batteries with you if you have a lot of work to get through.
  4. Reviews. You should ALWAYS read reviews from previous customers before you make a large purchase, this way you can be aware of any pitfalls of the products, and choose one that has lots of positive reviews. Beware of any tools that only have one or two reviews, even if they are positive as they may not be genuine. Look for tools with lots of reviews to give you a well-rounded review of the pros and cons of each product.

Our 3 Favorite Benchtop Wood Planers Reviewed

We are going to look at some of the best benchtop wood planers currently on the market. We will look at the features of each, as well as the pros and cons, and what other users have had to say, so you can see which one is best for you.

Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp

The Makita 2012NB is a portable benchtop wood planer made by one of the most well known and trusted power tool brands, Makita. It features a compact design, making it easy to move between job sites, and also making it handy for storage when it is not in use. It also has low noise operation (83dB), so you won’t be annoying your neighbors too much while you use this machine.

This wood planer is easy for anyone to use, and the blade changing system is incredibly simple and quick using disposable double-edged blades. Since wood planning can create a lot of dust, there is also an option to connect a dust hood to the planer, so dust can be extracted while you are working.

Features of the Makita 2012NB

  • Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation
  • Low Noise, just (83dB)
  • Fast and easy to change blades
  • 2 x large table extensions for additional support
  • LED safety light to show when the machine is plugged into a power source
  • Large on/off paddle switch for easy use
  • Double edge planer blades
  • Easily adjustable cutting depth
  • Detachable tool box
  • Optional dust extraction hood
  • 4-post design and diagonal cross supports for stability
  • One-year manufacturer’s warranty

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Easy to use

Feed rollers don’t last long and are expensive to replace

Easy to change the blades

No sensor to let you know if it’s overheating

Quieter than most comparable tools

Option to add dust extraction system

One year warranty

4-post design and diagonal cross supports for stability

 

Customers Opinions of the Makita 2012NB

We’ve been checking out the reviews to see what other users are saying about the Makita 2012NB:

  • Easy to use
  • Can take a lot of wood
  • Takes all types of soft and hard wood
  • Leaves a nice finish on the wood
  • Impressive performance and very well made
  • Powerful and accurate

The Makita 2012NB has a lot of great reviews, with 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. There was a couple of reviews mentioning that the feed rollers were expensive to replace, but it seems like a majority of the users are really happy with this machine and would recommend it to others!

DEWALT DW735X 15 Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package, 13-Inch

The DEWALT DW735X is the benchtop planer made by the popular American power tool brand, DEWALT. This powerful machine features a 15 AMP, 20,000 RPM motor and a 10,000 RPM cutterhead speed. Due to its size and power, it can handle larger cuts in wider materials with ease. It also has two speeds, enabling the user to change the required cuts per inch, to either 96 or 179 CPI.

The machine includes infeed and outfeed tables giving additional support to the workpiece. This machine is on the more expensive side, coming in at between $550 and $850 depending on the seller.

Features of the DEWALT DW735X

  • Two cutter speeds
  • 15 AMP 20,000 RPM motor
  • 3 knife cutter head for longer knife life
  • Includes infeed and outfeed tables for support, and an extra set of knives
  • Exhaust fan for dust removal
  • 3 year limited warranty

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Well known brand

Quite expensive

High quality

Knives wear out quickly

Powerful

Replacement knives are expensive

3 year limited warranty

Very loud

Two cutter speeds

American brand, good customer support

 

Customers opinions of the DEWALT DW735X

We’ve been looking at reviews from other customers to see what they have to say about the DEWALT DW735X.

  • Worth the extra money
  • Good dust extraction
  • Takes all types of wood
  • Gives you a smooth finish on wood
  • Very loud- hearing protection is recommended
  • Great customer service when there is a problem
  • Easy and intuitive to use

Overall the DEWALT DW735X  has great reviews with 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon!

WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer

The WEN 6552T is a budget-friendly benchtop planer, coming in at around $300. This model is packed full of useful features such as an onboard material removal gauge, enabling the user to easily see cutting depth for each use. The cutting depth can be adjusted easily with a comfortable rubber grip crank handle, and it can make adjustments to 1/64 inch, ensuring complete precision for your cuts.

The WEN6552T features a 3-blade design, making it easy to cut all types of softwood and hardwood. There is also a handy dust extraction port which can be connected to a vacuum for easy cleanup while you are working.

Features of the WEN 6552T

  • Onboard material removal gauge
  • Precise cutting depth and easy to use adjustment handle
  • 3 blade design
  • Dust extraction port
  • Infeed and outfeed tables for support
  • Precise depth adjustments

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Good value

Some machines have had issues with the bearings on the feed rollers wearing out and breaking too quickly

3 blade design for powerful cutting

Single speed

Lightweight

Not powerful enough for professional use

Powerful motor

Large thickness scale

2 year warranty

Customers opinions of the WEN 6552T

We’ve been looking at reviews from other customers to see what they have to say about the WEN 6552T.

  • Bearings can break easily
  • Good value machine for the low price
  • Well put together, solid piece of machinery
  • Machine can break easily
  • Can cause some snipe issues
  • Overall very good machine

The reviews for the WEN6552T are very mixed! While the overall score is a respectable 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon, a lot of the recent reviews say that their machine has broken quickly or has issues with the bearings on the feed roller. This suggests there may be issues with a newer batch of machines, so although this machine is a great value and clearly a good product in general, we would steer clear until these issues have been resolved, as you may waste a lot of time waiting for replacement parts.

Our 3 Favorite Hand Held Wood Planers Reviewed

We are going to look at some of the best handheld wood planers currently on the market. Handheld wood planers are very portable and convenient to use for home renovations. They are lightweight and can be moved around easily, perfect for trimming and smoothing things like door frames during a home renovation project.

We are going take a look at the features of each of the top three hand planers, to show you the pros and cons of each, as well as reviews from other customers, to help you decide which one is best for the project you are working on.

WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch

The WEN 6530 is a popular hand planer by the power tool brand, WEN. This machine is corded electric, running off mains power so you will never need to worry about a battery running out. The WEN 6530 features a powerful 6 amp motor which delivers a huge 34,000 cuts per minute giving you a perfectly smooth board.

The tool features 16 positive stops, allowing you to adjust the cutting depth in increments of 1/128 inch, from 0 all the way up to? inch. A handy kickstand helps you to avoid any unwanted cuts when you place the machine down. There is also a reversible dust chute, so the dust bag can be attached to either side of the planer allowing you to work easily whether you are right handed or left handed.

Features of the WEN 6530

  • Variety of cutting depths
  • Kickstand
  • Reversible dust chute
  • 34,000 cuts per minute
  • Dust bag
  • Rabbeting guide
  • Onboard adjustment wrench
  • Parallel fence bracket

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Very affordable

Small dust bag needs changing frequently

Easy to use

Easily adjustable

Lightweight

Powerful motor

34,000 cuts per minute

2 year warranty

Customers Opinions of the WEN 6530

We’ve been checking out the reviews to see what other users are saying about the WEN 6530:

  • Great value for the lazy woodworker
  • Great time-saving tool
  • Very useful
  • Outstanding product- removes wood like lightning
  • Great tool at a great price
  • Perfect for fixing doors that won’t close

Customers are raving about the WEN 6530, with 4.4 stars out of 5 on amazon out of over 1000 reviews, and an overwhelming amount of 5-star reviews which says a lot about the product. There were a couple of negative reviews but it sounds like they are unfortunately the result of the odd faulty product, which does happen occasionally.

Bosch 3-1/4 Inch Planer with Carrying Case, PL2632K

The Bosch PL2362K is a lightweight hand planer featuring a 6.5 amp rating and 16,500 RPM speed for super fast cutting. It includes some innovative safety features such as an ambidextrous lock-off release button to avoid accidental starts, and a spring-loaded stand to ensure the blade doesn’t touch any surfaces while you put it down between cuts.

The Bosch planer also has a dual mount fence guide to ensure perfectly smooth cutting every time, and it also has a separate inch and metric depth scales, allowing you to easily set the planing depth without any confusion.

Features of the Bosch PL2632K

  • Dual mount fence guard
  • Separate inch and metric depth scales
  • 16,500 RPM cutting speed
  • Spring-loaded stand
  • Optimally angled handle
  • Lock off/lock-on button to prevent accidental startup

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Very lightweight at 6.3lbs

Expensive

Powerful and efficient

The touching aluminum surface is too soft and gets scratched easily by wood

Optimally angled handle

The dust bag isn’t the best

Gives nice smooth even edges

1-year warranty

Customers Opinions of the Bosch PL2632K

We’ve been checking out the reviews on Amazon to see what other users are saying about the Bosch PL2632K:

  • Gives very smooth and even edges
  • Time saver makes small jobs much easier
  • Ability to eject dust left or right is very useful
  • The bag doesn’t catch all the dust but you can attach it to a shop vacuum
  • The fence doesn’t have markings on it to let you know it’s straight against the blade so you need to measure this manually

Overall the Bosch PL2632K has good customer reviews on Amazon. There are a few negative reviews though, mostly about the dust collection bag not being adequate and the aluminum touch surface being too soft.

TACKLIFE RES002 7.5-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch

The Tacklife RES002 hand planer is another great value hand planer that packs a lot of punch for a reasonably low price. It features a high quality 7.5 amp pure copper motor with a blade that rotates at 16,000 RPM, giving you 32,000 cuts per minute.

The flat bottom plate is anti-rust and anti-corrosion, ensuring your tool has a long life with consistent smooth cuts. The cutting depth gauge has 12 positive stops which increase in increments of 1/10 inches anywhere from 0 all the way up to 1/8 inches. Overall the design is very user-friendly, with a rubber grip handle for comfort, and a long power cord allowing you to move easily around your workspace.

Features of the TACKLIFE RES002 7.5-Amp Electric Hand Planer

  • 32,000 cuts per minute
  • Rabbeting guide to make rabbets of up to? inches in size
  • The aluminum flat bottom plate is anti-rust and anti-corrosion treated
  • Adjustable cutting depth
  • Parallel fence bracket
  • 2-year warranty

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Affordable

Dust bag fills up quickly

Comfortable rubber grip

The instruction manual is not very helpful

32,000 CPM

High-quality copper motor

Powerful

Customers Opinions of the TACKLIFE RES002 7.5-Amp Electric Hand Planer

We’ve been checking out the reviews on Amazon to see what other users are saying about the TACKLIFE RES002 7.5-Amp Electric Hand Planer:

  • Great basic planer
  • Cuts surfaces with ease
  • Powerful and precise
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Very good value for the price

It seems that users of the TACKLIFE RES002 are very happy with their purchase, with a massive 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. There were very few negative reviews, just a couple that said the instruction manual did not have any information on where to purchase replacement parts, and some said the dust bag was too small, which to be honest is a common complaint of most hand planers. This can be resolved by attaching the planer to a shop vacuum.

The Verdict

All of the wood planers we have reviewed today are excellent products (we wouldn’t show you anything we didn’t love) but we do have favorites from each category. Our favorite benchtop wood planer is the DEWALT DW735X.

Although it is slightly more expensive than the other two, we feel it is well worth spending a little extra for this fantastic tool. It’s powerful enough to take all types of wood with ease, and you can be sure that if you do have any issues with your product, the customer service team at DEWALT will resolve your problem quickly.

From the handheld planers, our favorite is the WEN 6530. This product is a really good value for money, so if you are just planning on doing a few smaller jobs like trimming doors, this is the tool for you. It is high quality, lightweight and easy to use, and has excellent customer reviews. You really get a lot for your money with this tool, so it’s a worthy addition to your power tool collection.

Final Thoughts

When you are choosing a wood planer for your home renovation project, be sure to think about what you will need to use it for before you make your purchase. Both of our favorite players are brilliant tools, but depending on your needs, one will suit you better than the other.

We hope you have found this guide helpful, but if you have any other questions about how to find the best wood planer for your home renovation project, just get in touch- we would love to hear from you!

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