It comes as no surprise to us that the popular Dewalt DW734 is frequently included in the conversation among those planning to invest in a new wood planer.
Since as far back as 1924, DeWalt has carved out an enviable reputation as one of America’s best-selling power tool brands. It’s a reputation they’ve earned by combining Grade-A manufacturing with effortless usability and, of course, affordable pricing.
At first glance, the Dewalt DW734 seems to epitomize all of those characteristics to a T, but is this high-performance planer really all that it’s made out to be?
Will the DW734 really make a worthwhile addition to your workshop?
Most importantly of all, is it really worth spending your hard-earned money on this particular model, or should you look elsewhere?
Today, we’ve tasked our woodworking experts with answering all of those questions and more in this comprehensive DewWalt DW734 review.
Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key features of this top-selling desktop planer, weigh up its pros and cons, and outline everything you could possibly need to know to make a fully informed purchasing decision.
Before we dive into the specifics of the DW734 model, let’s tackle a question that crops up time and time again in the UpDweller inbox:
What exactly do you use a wood planer for why do I need one?
What Does a Wood Planer Do?
Sometimes known as desktop planers, thickness planers, or thicknessers, wood planers are used to create a precise and consistent thickness across your wooden boards.
As many a woodworker will know from experience, trying to buy wood at the exact thickness you need for a project can be frustrating, if not entirely impossible.
Sure, one option is to trim down the wood using a table saw then run it through a jointer, but in our experience, that rarely produces accurate results.
One of the main differences between jointers and planers is that while a jointer flattens a board’s edges and faces to roughly the same thickness, only a planer can ensure that all edges and faces are of the precise same thickness.
Not only does this save a lot of time, but it also cuts out much of the costs and complications of buying your lumber in the first place.
Rather than searching for a certain thickness or paying over the odds to have your lumber supplier cut it for you, you can buy any good quality wood and trim itself.
It also proves invaluable in helping you make the most of recycled cut-offs from previous projects, reducing the cost of your DIY projects even further.
How to Choose the Best Wood Planer
Even at the bottom end of the price scale, a good quality wood planer is no small investment, so how do you know you’re getting the best value for your money?
We’ve already provided you with a comprehensive guide to finding the best wood planer, but if you don’t have time to read that right now, here’s the key points summed up:
Hand-Held vs. Desktop Wood Planer
Traditionally, all wood planers were hand-held tools that you operated manually. While there may be a certain satisfaction to be enjoyed by doing things the old fashioned way, you’ll find that a desktop planer like the DeWalt DW734 is much easier to use and produces better results.
Though the main goal of any wood planer is to make your life easier, you’ll still find that some models are more intuitive than others.
What’s more, it’s often the case that tools pitched at novice woodworkers lack many of the features included in those aimed at more advanced users.
For us, one of the biggest selling points of the DW734 is that it’s a semi-professional planer that still manages to be newcomer-friendly.
Admittedly, the DeWalt DW734 isn’t the most wallet-friendly wood planer on the market. So, if budget is a major deciding factor for you, it’s worth noting that there are much cheaper options out there.
That said, the old adage that you get what you pay for certainly rings true here.
As we’ll see momentarily, the DW734 triumphs in terms of power, performance, and precision, delivering a finish quality that is rivaled only by its higher-priced big brother, the DeWalt DW735.
DeWalt DW734 Review – Technical Features
Weighing in at just 80 lbs and measuring 24 x 17 x 21 inches, the DeWalt DW734 isn’t exactly small, especially when you consider that many planers weigh somewhere between 60 lbs – 70 lbs.
That said, the DeWalt’s ample size makes sense when you consider what it packs in and what it’s capable of.
The DeWalt brand is synonymous with power, and this formidable wood planer is no exception.
At its heart, there’s a 15amp electric motor that moves at a rate of 20,000 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). The cutter heads themselves move an equally impressive rate of 10,000 RPM, making it capable of creating a smooth, quality finish regardless of the type of wood you’re cutting.
In our experience, the planer can handle both softwood and hardwood with ease and comes with a manual control option so that you’re always in charge of how much power it utilizes.
If you’re new to the world of woodwork, terms like “width capacity” and “thickness capacity” may be unfamiliar to you, but they pretty much explain themselves.
The width capacity of a wood planer determines the maximum width of the wood that it is capable of cutting while the thickness capacity, naturally, determines how thick that wood can be.
The DW734 is well equipped to trim stock of up to 12 and a half inches in width and six inches in thickness, which is usually more than enough for most household renovations and DIY projects.
By comparison, the WEN 6550 Planer also works with boards up to 12.5 inches wide and six inches thick while its sister model, the WEN 6552 can take boards up to thirteen inches wide.
So, though it’s cutting capacity may be fairly typical of wood planers, if you know for certain that you’ll be using boards bigger than 12.5 inches, another model may be more suitable.
Accuracy and Precision
The hallmark of any good thickness planer is its accuracy.
To be more specific, you should be on the lookout for a model that eliminates all of the guesswork and much of the manual effort in creating a polished, even finish every time.
To that end, the DW734 does deliver.
The three-knife cutter head provides 96 cuts per inch, resulting in a deep, clean, and accurate cut that requires little to no extra polishing.
While this is certainly true for most home improvements, we did find that the DW734 did falter a little when it came to commercial and industrial-level projects.
If you are working on these kinds of projects, you’ll still be able to get an accurate trim, but it will take much more work and you might be better off investing in a more heavy-duty, commercially-orientated planer.
DeWalt haven’t maintained their position at the forefront of their industry for almost a century by producing shoddy products.
Since the mid-20s, the brand has consistently delivered power tools that offer the ultimate in long-lasting durability and construction quality.
Naturally, excessive use is going to lead to your motor burning out quicker than average and increase the likelihood of typical wear and tear. Then again if you’re using a wood planer to such an extent, you’d probably be better off forgoing the DW734 altogether and opting for an industrial-level machine.
Otherwise, you can rest assured that this desktop planer is as solid, sturdy, and well-built as you’d expect from DeWalt.
Other users we spoke to before buying ours told us that they’d owned their DewWalt wood planer for several years without any decrease in quality.
So far, ours is more than holding its own and we expect it will continue to do so for years to come.
Warranty and Customer Support
As well-built as DeWalt products are, there may still be times when you run into unexpected problems.
Should the worst happen, nothing beats the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re well covered and, in that respect, DeWalt once again delivers.
As with all of the brand’s products, the DW734 comes with the standard three-year limited warranty and one-year service contract at no extra charge.
What’s more, if you decide this isn’t the right planer for you, DeWalt will give you your money back as long as you return it within 90 days.
Arguably even more important than quality is safety. Make no mistake about it, this is no kid’s toy and, as with most things in your workshop, improper use can cause injury.
Fortunately, the DW734 significantly reduces the risk of hurting yourself thanks to some well-placed safety features.
The power switch is easily accessible at the front of the machine so that you can quickly turn it off in case of an emergency. The switch can also be keyed to prevent your kids or others accidentally flicking it on and getting themselves into trouble, providing extra peace of mind.
The planer comes with three cutter head knives capable of delivering 30,000 cuts per minute. Like everything DeWalt does, these knives are built to withstand plenty of use and should serve you well for at least two years before needing to be replaced.
How Much Does the DeWalt DW734 Cost?
Depending on where you shop, you’ll typically find the DeWalt DW734 wood planer retailing for around $500 – $550.
To their credit, sometimes you can find this on Amazon a little cheaper (with shipping included).
To put this into context, the WEN 6552 planer comes with a 15 amp motor, produces 25,500 cuts per minute, and accepts boards up for 13 inches wide, yet only retails for around $400.
However, at the top end of the scale, the DW735 boasts many of the same features as the model we’re looking at today, albeit with a starting price on of around $540.
So, though it may be possible to get a cheaper model, fans of the DeWalt brand or indeed anyone serious about investing in a seriously high-quality planer will find the DW734 to be a worthwhile investment, providing everything you’d get with a high-end professional model at a lower price.
DW734 Wood Planer Pros and Cons
- Dust Collection
If you’ve spent any amount of time on a woodwork project in the past then you don’t need us to tell you how quickly it takes for all that sawdust and debris to leave your workshop looking like a total mess.
This thickness planer solves that problem with a helpful dust collection system that does a great job of keeping the place tidy even when you’re working on larger projects.
There’s also a handy dust hood which makes it easy to connect an external vacuum cleaner for even better dust management.
If there’s one thing we like the most about the DW734, user-friendliness has to be it.
Although it features professional-grade features and produces the kind of finish you’d expect from a commercial shop, the DW734 takes very little getting used to.
So, if this is going to be your first time using a desktop planer, you’ll be glad to know that the learning curve isn’t very steep at all with this one.
- Extra-Long Infeed and Outfeed Tables
A key feature of the DW734 is the infeed and outfeed tables which offer 33.5 inches of support for larger pieces of wood and prevent sniping.
Though this popular thicknesser may have a lot going for it, it’s certainly not without its flaws.
Our biggest complaint is the noise. Unfortunately, all of that power and performance doesn’t come quietly. If you’re going to buy this model, we also recommend buying a good pair of ear defenders or similar safety gear.
- Not Suitable for Heavy-Duty Work
Throughout this review, we’ve talked enthusiastically about what a high-quality piece of kit the DW734 is. Though this is certainly true, that quality doesn’t quite hold up in a commercial environment.
If you’re making home improvements or simply getting into the woodwork as a hobby, you can’t go far wrong, but if you’re planning on doing the kind of intensive planning required in a commercial workshop, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
Dewalt DW2734 Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. DeWalt specializes in creating contractor-grade power tools for the home improvement market.
Sure, opinions may vary on what is the very best power tool brand. Experienced contractors often recommend names like Milwaukee and Bosch as those which give DeWalt a serious run for their money, but if you want durability and high-performance at a reasonable price, a DeWalt tool is definitely worth your consideration.
The DeWalt DW735X frequently tops lists of the best wood planers by any brand, not just DeWalt.
Even though we ultimately preferred the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp, the DW735X still came highly recommended in our own Best Wood Planers guide and remains a firm favorite among many of our team.
Yet there’s still a strong argument that the DW734 deserves the top spot. After all, it does many of the same things as its more popular brother for a lower cost, making it a serious contender.
The most noticeable difference is the size – both the DW735 and the DW735X weigh 92 lbs compared to the 80 lb DW734 model.
Though desktop planers like these are usually left in a fixed position, that extra 12 lbs can make a big difference when it comes to setting up your workshop, or if you need to move things around to work on a specific project.
In terms of performance, all three models are capable of operating at 96 Cuts Per Inch, but the DW735 and DW735X also have a second speed option and can perform at 179 Cuts Per Inch, making it better suited for tougher hardwoods.
All three products have a decent dust collection system, but only the DW735 and DW735X come with a chip ejector that reduces the likelihood of your dust collection chute clogging.
Finally, there’s blade size to consider. The DW734 comes with a 12.5-inch blade which is generally big enough for most home improvement projects, but if you do need a 13-inch model then you’ll find that with the other two types.
You could try, but you wouldn’t get very far.
A jointer is used to create a flat surface on one edge and one face of your lumber.
Though it does this well, it isn’t so good at creating a perfectly consistent thickness across that board.
Conversely, a planer is excellent at creating that even thickness but only when your board already has a flat side.
It’s also worth mentioning that a jointer can remove bowing or warping from your wood whereas a planer can’t.
Our Experts’ Verdict
And so we come to the ultimate question:
Should you buy a DeWalt DW734 desktop wood planer?
In our estimation the answer to this question is a resounding yes, depending on your circumstances.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast, taking up woodworking as a hobby, or need a quality planer to ensure that your home improvement work is done to the highest standard, then you can’t go far wrong with this model.
Our experts spent hours testing the DW734 model in our workshop and found that it consistently delivered smooth, consistent, and precise finishes on a range of boards of varying sizes and thicknesses.
What’s more, it’s safe, easy to use, and comes with a smaller price tag than the DW735 model, making it a great choice for newcomers.
However, if you’re looking to invest in a professional-grade wood planer for your commercial workshop, you might want to consider that DW735, or even a different brand altogether.
Sure, the 734 will hold its own for a while, but it just isn’t designed for heavy-duty commercial use. That aside, our team agrees that this makes a worthwhile addition to any home workshop
If you found this review useful you might want to check out our WEN 6550 vs 6552 comparison and find out how these two wood planers compare.