The Best Wood Planer – Our Top Picks
If you’re in the market for a thickness planer for your lumber, you might have been wondering what the differences are between planers and why some are priced much higher than others.
Here’s the bottom line: all wood planers basically get the job done. That is, they plane your rough lumber down to the thickness that you specify. The difference between the really pricey ones and the cheaper planers is that the more expensive planers leave less work for you to do.
Some of the cheaper wood planers leave what is called “scalloping” on your wood, meaning that there are dips in the wood from the cutting blades of the planer.
If you’re a cabinetmaker or are working on very precise projects, don’t go cheap.
If you’re trying to get a flat board cut down to a specific thickness, they’ll all work just fine.
In this post, our experts researched and reviewed a handful of what we think are the best planers for your money. Let’s get started below:
DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer
If you are looking for a good mix of power, price, and portability, this DeWALT power planer might meet your requirements. It’s a 12 ½ inch planer, which is just right for most board sizes, without stepping up to a permanent installation. The 15 amp motor is enough for cuts that are both deep and clean. The cutter is a triple knife design, and it’s adjustable for thicknesses of up to 6 inches. The blades are slightly on the thin side, so you might want to order some extras, and look forward to a little honing from time to time.
This isn’t some cheap little toy, it should last you for many years. The 33” deck serves the purpose it’s meant for, and the table is fully adjustable down to 1/64th of an inch, with a maximum depth of cut around 1/8th of an inch. At this price point, it’s one of the best planers for the money right now.
WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch
For hand planing potential, but all the power of an electric motor, this planer from WEN gets the job done. The 6 amp motor is more than enough to trim up to an eighth of an inch from smaller pieces, and has 16 positive stops up to that depth. Much easier than a push planer and more versatile than a bench top, for those who want power and precision at a reasonable price point.
It even comes with a dust bag, a kickstand, and a parallel fence bracket. Straighten your work up and use it over and over. All the versatility of a hand planer with the power of a motor. One of the most inexpensive planers out there but it isn’t cheaply made.
WEN 6550 12.5-Inch 15A Benchtop Thickness Planer with Granite Table
If you are worried about the table warping on a new planer, then you should have no issue with this. The surface is granite, and will not warp, flex, or bow, ever.
Powered by a 15 amp motor, you can plane up to 3/32 of an inch depth with ever pass. The dust port is fan assisted for easier use. The whole setup collapses for easy transport, which you will love if you’re a contractor.
Keep it in your truck, packed away neatly until you need it. It doesn’t cut as deep as other planers, so expect to exercise a little patience when working, possibly making two passes to one from other planers. Still, there’s plenty of power and the blades come sharp. It’s a nice unit for the budget minded, especially if you are only straightening boards.
Stanley 12-404 No. 4 Adjustable Bench Hand Planer with 2-Inch Cutter
If you are looking for something simple in this age of technological gadgetry, this planer from Stanley uses your own muscles to perfectly smooth and shape that piece of art you’re working on.
The base is cast-iron for durability, and the sides and bottom are ground to a smooth surface. The handle is ergonomic, and manufactured from polymer for a comfortable grip. The metal surfaces are coated with epoxy to prevent corrosion. The cutter is two inches wide, and the whole unit is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
This is a solid addition to the workshop that’s built to last forever.
Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp
It claims to be “low noise,” but 83dB is still pretty loud. Perhaps not as loud as others, but don’t expect whisper quiet operation. The internal skeleton is a four post design that’s sturdy, and you can trust it with precision cuts. An LED lights up when plugged in, so you will know if it’s been isolated. Check before doing any service to make sure the unit isn’t charged.
The cutting capacity is a little on the skinny side for a product in this price range, but 12 inches is enough for most work done on a portable planer. Makita advertises a depth of cut of one eighth of an inch, and the 15 amp motor certain delivers the power to do it. Will take boards up to 6 inches thick and it’s engineered to hold up for a long time to come. You’ll pay a little more, but the value you get in a quality machine is enough to justify the cost.