For serious woodworkers, having a wood planer can really upgrade your collection of tools. Wood planers make it easier for you to smooth out rough boards and customize the thickness to your heart’s content. They may not be important for hobbyists or woodworkers who are just getting started, but if you’re looking to improve your skills and maybe test out the professional side of woodworking, a wood planer can be a fantastic investment.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to wood planers. Different brands, different sizes, different models. In order to help you narrow down your search for wood planers, we’ve created this wood planer review. We’ll talk about the different types of wood planers, the sizes available, and list a few of the top recommended wood planers of the year.
Types of Wood Planers
As if choosing a brand and model wasn’t enough, there are different types of wood planers available on the market today. The main three types used today are the Jack planer, Jointer planer, and the Smoothing planer.
A Jack planer is your basic wood planer. It can sometimes be called a hand planer or a benchtop planer and uses muscle power to cut and smooth out boards. They can be a little tricky and the mini Jack planers rarely produce satisfying results, so if you do go this route, we highly recommend a full sized planer.
The second type is the Jointer planer. You may hear it also be called a try planer or trying planer. This planer will make a forward side of your board flat and the edges straight.
Smoothing planers are typically used at the very end. They do pretty much what it sounds like they do: smooth out your board.
Again, there are other types of wood planers available out there, but these are the most popular types. If you have more specific needs, you can always look around or ask at a local hardware center to find a wood planer that better suits what you’ll need it for.
What Size Wood Planer Do I Need?
As you’ve probably noticed, there are many different sizes of wood planers available. This is because some projects may require larger planers whereas others may only need a small board planed.
When it comes to choosing what size wood planer to get, it really comes down to what you’ll mainly be using it for. Most people don’t actually need a huge, 20” wood planer.
If you’ve used a planer before, you’ll have a better idea of what size you need. For instance, if the largest board you’ve ever planed was 15”, then don’t bother buying a wood planer that’s any bigger than that.
If you’ve never used a wood planer before, it’s perfectly fine to start with a small size.
Take a look at the boards you think you would use your planer on and decide if it’s worth it to invest in a large planer. Instead of gluing boards together and then planing them, consider planing them separately and then gluing them.
Best Wood Planers
To help you get started on the right track, here are some of the best wood planers on the market.
1. DEWALT Two Speed Thickness Planer
When put to the test, this thickness planer by DEWALT is fast and easy to handle. There’s not a steep learning curve when using this planer which makes it great for those who have little or no experience.
This planer has a top motor speed of 20,000 rpm and a cutter speed of up to 10,000 rpm. With the two speed feature, you can quickly and easily change between 96 CPI and 179 CPI in order to better optimize your cuts per inch. It’s a fast machine that can reach 14 feet per minute of cutting safely and quickly.
2. CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer
This benchtop planer by CRAFTSMAN is a great planer for many projects. It has a 15 amp motor and a speed of 8,000 rpm, working together to create 16,000 cuts per minute. The sharp steel knives of this planer are double-edged and have a greater lifespan due to their ability to be reversed.
The CRAFTSMAN planer does great at cutting through both softwood and hardwood cleanly. It’s a planer that can be used for a variety of woodworking tasks which makes it a great starting planer.
3. Cutech 40200H-CT Spiral Cutterhead Planer
If you’re looking for a planer that will work well in a professional setting or for more heavy duty projects, this is a fantastic option. It’s perfect for professional woodworkers with a 13” spiral cutterhead. It’s made with strong steel and can turn even more difficult jobs into a piece of cake.
This is a heavy duty planer and not for the faint of heart. It weighs in around 90 pounds, but has a durable build with reinforced screw posts. It gives boards a beautiful smooth finish and perfect for experienced workers.
4. WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer
This powerful hand planer is lightweight and fast. It has a 6 amp motor and can reach a speed of up to 34,000 cuts per minute. The blades are reversible and long lasting, but also quick and easy to replace if the need arises. With a cutting width of 3.25” and a cutting depth of ⅛”, this planer is better suited for fitting boards together and smoothing out crooked edges.
5. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
If you’re looking for a planer that will be easy to move around or take with you to a job site, this is a great one to check out. It’s easy to pack up and carry around, making it a great option over more heavy, awkward planers that are out on the market. It even has an extendable table to make using it easier.
This planer is particularly great if you commonly work near kids or people with sensitive hearing. It’s not very loud, but we still advise you to follow proper hearing protection protocol.
6. DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer
This small benchtop planer has three sharp, reversible knives and is a decently priced option. It’s lightweight compared to some other planers of its size and is a good option to medium or large workloads.
Using a 15 amp motor and reaching 20,000 rpm, this planer is good on both soft and hardwood. It can do heavy duty work without needing a knife change and will last you a long time. For woodworkers who are new to wood planers or looking for a low-cost, high quality option, this is definitely a great benchtop planer to consider.
7. Grizzly G0505 Wood Planer
This is a customer favorite when it comes to portability. It only uses two blades but it cuts fast and can feed wood through at 32 feet per minute. The planer also features an extendable table for making it easier to feed wood in and guide it out of the planer.
If you’re looking for an easy wood planer for home use, we highly recommend this one. It’s easy to carry around and durable, so it will last you quite a while.
8. WEN 6552 Benchtop Thickness Planer
This is a 13” benchtop thickness planer that uses 3 steel blades and turns even the roughest, thickest wood into smooth boards. With a 15 amp motor and 25,500 cuts per minute, this benchtop thickness planer is used by professional woodworkers all around the country. It has a feed rate of 26 feet per minute and can be used on boards up to 6” thick.
Thanks to a fan-assisted dust guard, sawdust is quickly taken care of and kept out of your way. You’ll still have some clean-up to do after using it, but this benchtop thickness planer does a pretty good job of controlling sawdust.
9. Delta Power Tools 22-555 Portable Benchtop Thickness Planer
If you suffer from allergies, you should look into benchtop planers like this Delta one. It has a great dust port that traps most of the sawdust and dust created while using the planer. Customers that had asthma or allergies found this planer does a fantastic job at removing particles that could possibly cause problems from the air.
With double edged knives and a maximum width of 13”, this wood planer is excellent. The knives are disposable and easy to change out while the planer itself runs smoothly.
10. Stanley 12-220 Block Planer
This isn’t an electric planer like the others on this list. Instead, it’s a manual hand planer that is adjusted with a clamp wheel that’s fairly easy to change. Because it’s a manual planer, there’s really no limit on width. The planer itself measures only 2” wide and 7” long so it’s easy to store and carry around in a tool bag.
Stanley has created a great little manual planer that has a comfortable handle and better control. With a cast-iron base, the planer is finished with epoxy and is very durable and long lasting. You can quickly adjust that cutter and with a 21 degree resting angle, you’ll find it’s ideal for cross-grain planing.
Wood Planer Buying Guide
There are a few different factors that come into play when looking for the perfect wood planer. Every woodworker will have a different idea of what the perfect wood planer is, but there are a few factors that stay the same no matter what purpose you need a planer for.
Of course, as you find new projects and experiment with some different aspects of woodworking, you may need a different planer to better suit your needs. When looking for a wood planer, consider what type of work you’ll be using your planer most for.
Once you have a good idea of what work you’ll be doing, it’s time to look at what features make a good wood planer.
Motor and Power
Wood planers have two different types of motors: induction motors or universal motors. A planer with an induction motor will be designed to be more stationary and won’t be great for someone looking to carry or transport their planer.
Induction motors are for more industrial workshop use and will last a long time, but universal motors are better for porting around. If you are looking for a wood planer that is either handheld, lightweight, or portable, the chances are you’ll want a planer with a universal motor.
When it comes to power, you’ll be looking at the amp rating of a planer. Another way to find out how powerful a planer is, is to look at the cutting depth of the planer. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find out how powerful a potential planer is, but if you have any questions, be sure to check with a salesperson.
An often overlooked aspect of buying a wood planer is the size. You don’t want to buy a wood planer that is too big for the work you do or won’t fit easily in your workshop. It’s easy to get caught up in buying a big planer in order to be more efficient, but if the machine doesn’t fit in your woodworking space, you’ve just wasted lots of money.
What’s more, bigger is not always better. Don’t purchase a planer that is twice as large as the boards you’ll be cutting. If you generally stick to boards 8” or narrower, buying a 15” planer is a little excessive.
Most wood planers have three blades, though some may come with two and some may come with five. You can find planers with more blades if you look at high industrial versions, but it’s more likely you’ll be looking at planers with two, three, or five blades.
The more blades your planer has, the more it will be able to cut. With a faster cutting speed and a higher blade count, your boards will come out looking smoother and more refined.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a planer with only two blades isn’t worth buying, because it certainly can be. This is just a generalization.
Another thing to consider when looking at the blades is how easy they are to change out. Some planers have reversible blades that are easy to keep sharp.
Whether this is true or not for the planer you choose, make sure that changing the blades out isn’t too complicated. There will come a time when you’ll need to replace the blades and the last thing you want is to spend hours figuring out how to do so.
Staying Safe When Using a Wood Planer
Like all woodworking tools, even the best wood planers can be dangerous. You’ll need to follow some extra safety precautions when using one no matter how experienced you are. For those who are unfamiliar with wood planers or aren’t sure how to act safely when using one, here are some quick tips for staying safe.
1. Use Goggles and Ear Plugs
Wood planers are loud. There are a few models that are a little quieter, but even these models can damage your ears with repetitive use. Whenever you use a wood planer, make sure you have good ear plugs to protect your hearing. If possible, it would be ideal to wear ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones over them in order to protect your hearing the most.
It’s also important to wear goggles while operating a wood planer. Sawdust tends to fly in all directions and there’s no controlling it. In order to prevent particles from finding your eyes and possibly hurting your vision, make sure to wear protective goggles whenever you work with or around a wood planer.
2. No Loose Clothing
Whenever you’re working with your wood planer, make sure you don’t have any loose clothing. This includes long sleeves, jackets, or long hair. If your clothing gets caught in the blades or your wood planer, you could get seriously injured.
You should also make sure you aren’t wearing any bracelets, necklaces, or watches that could get caught in the blade.
3. Use a Push Block
You should never feed wood through a planer with your hands. Instead, have a specific block for guiding your boards through the machine. If your push block gets caught by the blades, it’s a much smaller problem than getting your hand caught.
4. Keep the Area Clean
Don’t let the area surrounding your wood planer get messy. If there are scraps of wood or trash lying around, it could pose a safety hazard. Make sure there aren’t any puddles or other things you could possibly slip on. Keeping the area around your planer clean and free of any tripping or slipping hazards can prevent a majority of potential safety problems.
Investing in a good wood planer will help you tremendously with your woodworking projects. Follow the tips we’ve laid out and consider the best wood planers on the market that we’ve listed out in this guide.