Woodworking projects often require custom thickness boards that can take a while to get from your local wood supplier. But, with a wood planer, custom boards can be easily made. Planers work by producing boards that are evenly thick and totally flat on both sides.
With wood planers, also known as thickness planers, wood pieces that are irregular in shape can have their thickness leveled according to a project’s requirement.
Additionally, old wood can be reclaimed and put to good use again with the flattening qualities of a wood planer. Recycling wood can also be a cost-effective solution if quality lumbar is out of the budget.
There are different kinds of planers available to suit every need. A benchtop planer is large in size and requires a flat surface to work on. This type of wood planer is powerful; induction motors are used with high power output to make deeper cuts and allow this tool to handle higher thicknesses of wood.
For individuals who specialize in woodwork, a benchtop planer is an integral part of their workshop. Owning your own planer is a good long-term investment that will save you time, as well as offer you the convenience of doing the job in your own shop instead of having to travel in a mill or a cabinet workshop.
The Best Benchtop Planer Reviews
WEN 6550 12.5-Inch 15A Benchtop Thickness Planer with Granite Table
The WEN 6550 benchtop planer is a handy tool for every workshop that wants to enhance old jagged boards and repurpose them until they have an exceptionally smooth surface. This machine is easily able to plane boards up to 6 inches thick. It operates on a 15 Amp motor with a cutting speed of 18,000 cuts per minute.
This benchtop planer has a changeable depth adjustment knob that enables it to shave off 0 to 0/32 of an inch with each pass.
All-granite table. The smooth granite surface gives this table the perfect flat surface for wood pieces to safely glide on. Because it has a granite table, you can rest assured that no warping or any kind of distortion will happen to it. You will also have no problem with sawdust clinging to your table surface.
Reliable operation. Generating over 18,000 cuts per minute at a 26 feet per minute feed rate, this machine operates at a fast and reliable pace. The dual-blade cutting system it features can easily cut through hard wood with ease. Longer pieces of wood can also be processed by using the adjustable infeed and outfeed tables for additional support in guiding the wood as they pass through to be planed.
Sturdy Build. Weighing over 70 pounds, the WEN 6550 benchtop planer has a heavy base for its foundation. Combining the heavy-duty build of the granite table, along with the iron-cast framing, this benchtop planer has a stable foundation to prevent it from shaking and slipping while in use. If you opt to make it more stable, you can mount it on solid surfaces using the mounting holes provided.
For workers who travel often, you can easily transport this planer wherever you need it. For a hassle-free transport, it features two side-mounted handles as well as collapsible infeed and outfeed tables. The handles have hollowed out spaces allowing your fingers to comfortably carry the machine.
Dust collection port. Don’t worry about messy surroundings after every job, the WEN 6550 has a port specifically for hooking up a dust hose to minimize cleanup.
Anti-snipe system. To avoid snipe while parts of the wood are shaved off, a tri-roller feeding system is utilized to ensure that cuts are kept consistently sharp with the use of dual-blades placed on the middle roller.
A handy tool to bring on job sites where you require wood or boards to be finished smoothly. The machine is designed to be portable which will enable you to transport it with minimal hassle.
Repurposing old wood and boards is a cost effective way to keep your expenses at a minimum. This will greatly help in decreasing your budget for your projects.
A great-performing machine that is affordable, according to reviewers.
According to some people who reviewed this product, they were not satisfied with the durability of this planer. Some have reported experiencing blades chipping as well as other parts getting damaged easily.
If you are on a budget but in need of a quality planer to use, you may consider purchasing the WEN 6550 12.5-Inch 15A Benchtop Thickness Planer with Granite Table. It can handle even heavy-duty tasks and is also portable so you can take it anywhere when you need to.
Makita 2012nb 12-inch planer with interna-lok automated head clamp
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer has a robust motor at 15 Amp, however, among its class of planers, this model is popular for operating efficiently and quietly at only 83 dB, lower than most planers available.
This portable thickness planer only weighs 62 pounds which makes it easy to transport wherever your job requires it.
Operating on a 15 Amp motor, this planer will continuously work efficiently without you worrying of sudden breakdown as the motor can cool itself to prevent overheating. This planer can produce fast results with a feed rate of 28 feet per minute.
Anti-snipe system. To prevent snipe marks from ruining the ends of wood pieces, Makita developed the Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp that will keep the cutter head in place during operation.
Designed to be compact, this lightweight machine will prove useful for workers who need to bring their tools to the jobsite.
Smooth finish. This planer is ideal for woodworkers who specialize in finishing projects like cabinets, closets and other well-finished furniture.
Precision cutting. Disposable double-edged blades are specially designed to deliver smooth, planed surfaces. Depth adjustments can be set in increments with the adjustable depth stops to enable you to process multiple materials with the same measurements.
Designed with four posts as its base with a diagonal cross to support it for more stability.
Other features. Useful features include an LED light that switches on to indicate if the machine is plugged into a power source. The power switch is also easily seen and accessed with its large paddle design. You can also use the optional dust hood and connect it to the planer to minimize the mess.
Compact and lightweight, the machine allows easy transport.
It uses disposable double-edge knives for easy and fast blade changing.
The machine operates quietly allowing you to have audible conversations while the machine is at work.
According to some people who reviewed this product, there were instances where snipe marks and tear outs almost ruined the wood.
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp is an ideal power tool for wood finishing. Because Makita is a reliable brand, you are assured that the machine you get will perform well and is durable enough to last for years.
DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X)
By just looking at the outside appearance of the DeWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer, you will already see that the construction materials used in making this machine are durable and high-quality.
15 Amp motor. A robust and heavy-duty motor operates this machine, running the cutter head through a belt-drive. It also has a circuit breaker to protect it from getting damaged. Also included in the package are replaceable brushes that help extend the motor’s life.
Dust collection. A 4” dust collection chute is provided for you to attach a dust collection bag or hose of your choice. This dust collection system is mainly powered by a blower operated by the planer’s motor. While wood chips are sucked off the cutter head, air from the blower directs them out of the machine and into the bag. Additionally, wood shavings are further decreased in size by this system before it actually exits the machine. If a dust collection bag is not available, a flat dispersal hood can deflect the chips into a downward direction.
Depth lock. An easy-to-use dial will let you adjust the thickness settings. Repetitive planning is made easier with the inclusion of six preset turret stops at 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, and 1-1/4″. These stops can also be fine-tuned if you prefer.
Reversible, three-knife cutter head. Using disposable knives, replacing worn out ones will be fast and easy. An automatic cutter head lock engages when the top cover is removed. By using a wrench, also included in the package, you can safely remove the blades through the magnets embedded in the wrench.
Dual feed rate. The DeWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer gives you two options to use the three-knife cutter head effectively. If you want to plane or cut soft wood, the 96 CPI rate, which runs at 26 feet per minute, is recommended. For hard woods and making finish cuts, the slower feed rate of 179 CPI, which is 14 feet per minute, is advised to prevent putting too much stress on the knives.
Snipe reduction. The cutting head can be adjusted by lowering and raising it 1/16” per revolution by using the hand wheel. These adjustments can be further fine-tuned to correct errors using a 6” vertical scale. Together with the snipe reduction device that engages the four threaded corner posts, snipe is efficiently eliminated.
The chip ejection system works great in keeping the machine free from debris while also keeping your surroundings dust free.
People who reviewed this product were satisfied with the smooth finish that this planer makes.
According to some who reviewed this product, this planer creates too much noise during operation.
A powerful planer that with an efficient cutter head that planes various kinds of woods to an extremely smooth finish. The depth stops are very accurate and the machine also easy to operate in general.
How to Choose a Benchtop Planer
With a variety of different wood planers available on the market, with different features and functional uses, choosing from so many models can be overwhelming as well as confusing. There are also sets of affordable and expensive models that offer exactly the same features, so how do you choose which one to buy?
Because each customer has different needs and working budgets, what’s best for another person may not exactly work for you. Here are some guidelines that can help you choose your own planer.
Choose according to specific tasks you want done. A benchtop planer excels in its ability to give you the optimal amount of control in choosing the kind of thickness you want your lumber to achieve. Good models are able to handle heavy-duty tasks, if your work requires it. Choose one that can also do hardwood.
Choose one from a reliable brand. Well-known and reliable brands are popular because they make quality, durable and high-performing products. Choosing a reliable brand may be expensive at first, but if you are looking for a long-term investment, a branded model can give you the best value for your money.
Consider your workspace. Although a benchtop planer is like a portable planer, it is larger in size, which means it will need more space to occupy. Additionally, your workspace should also be big enough to accommodate the wood pieces that you will be working on.
Sometimes it’s best to avoid models that offer too many “bonus” features. Choose a model that can adapt to different conditions and still deliver the desired results that you need.
Choose one that fits your budget. Just because a model is popular or expensive, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the best. You can always find a reliable planer that will meet your requirements as well as fit within your budget.
What to look for in a benchtop planer
Buying a high-quality benchtop planer is a long-term investment. It will save you on lumber costs because with your own planer, you can now level rough-sawn stock which is less expensive compared to already leveled lumber. But, you must remember that although these power tools get the job done, they are not made for production-like work.
Preferably, look for models with self-indexing blades. Most models have double-edged blades but not all are self-indexing blades which can be time-consuming to set. Look for one with an automatic cutter head lock; this feature will keep the head from rotating when you remove the bolts and blades. Carbide blades are ideal as they are more durable than high-speed steel blades.
Motor type. This will depend on the kind of task that you need the planer for. Basically, if you need the planer for heavy-duty tasks, choose the induction type. However, if you need one just for minor home improvements and other DIY projects that will not require as much power, you can opt for the universal motor type which is more affordable.
Depth stops. As the planer levels out the surface, it will cut inches or millimeters off the wood piece to reach the desired level of thickness and width. With depth stops, you can indicate how much wood will be removed with each pass. This will prevent the machine from cutting off too much which can cause the wood to tear.
Chip direction. As the planer levels wood, lots of dust and wood chips will be generated. It is recommended that you choose a planer that you can change the chip direction to either left or right where you can hook a dust bag or a hose, according to the job. If you do not want this option, find one that shoots wood chips away from you.