Best Wood Planers: Reviews & Buying Guide

Best-Wood-Planers-featured-photo

Our Top Picks

If you’re looking for a wood planer, you will want to consider what you need to plane, how portable it should be, and whether or not you want it to be powered. The combination of those three will help you decide which are the best wood planers for your task.

Below, I have included the top picks for every type of wood planer you might need, and included detailed reviews with pros and cons. There is also a buying guide with key considerations outlined to help you choose.

Top Picks for Wood Planers

We spent hours searching for the best wood planers available online. Here’s a quick overview of the best ones we’ve found. 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 2.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 0.25 kilograms
  • Material: High Carbon Steel
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 14.63 x 7.75 x 8.25 inches
  • Weight: ‎8.34 pounds
  • Material: Plastic
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Material:
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 24 x 22 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 92 pounds
  • Material: Plastic
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: ‎23.5 x 17.5 x 15.4 inches
  • Weight: ‎61.2 pounds
  • Material:
View On Amazon →Read Our Review

Table of Contents

TopicPage
Quick Intro to Wood Planers2
Wood Planer Buying Guide

What is it and how does it work?
Types of Wood Planer
• Manual Planer
• Handheld Planer 
– Corded vs Cordless
• Benchtop Planer
• Standalone

Key Factors
• Which one should you choose?
• Cutting Capacity
• Cuts per Minute
• No. of Blades

Maintenance and Safety Tips






3 – 5
Best Wood Planers Reviewed
• Best Manual Planer
– KAKURI Hand Planer 41931
• Best Handheld Planer
– PORTER-CABLE PC60THP
• Best Cordless Handheld Planer
– Makita XPK01Z
• Best Benchtop Planer
– DEWALT DW735X
• Best Budget Thickness Planer
– CRAFTSMAN CMEW320





6 – 10
Bonus Products11
FAQs12
Summary12

Quick Intro to Wood Planers

When working on woodworking projects, it’s important to have a consistent thickness to your workpiece and a smooth surface. No other woodworking appliance does this job as efficiently or effectively as a wood planer. 

In this article, we’ll be going over the best wood planers we’ve found online and we also made a buying guide that we recommend you check out especially if this is your first time buying a wood planer of any kind.

Intro to Wood Planers illustration

Wood Planer Buying Guide

What is it and how does it work?

Wood planers have been used in woodworking for hundreds of years. 

In general, a wood planer is categorized as a device or appliance that uses a blade to shave layers off of a wooden surface to create an even and smooth finish.

(replacement image needed)

 Imagine scraping a knife across the top of a block of butter. That’s the basic function of any wood planer be it manual or electric. 

There are dozens of different variants and styles across the globe. From the palm sized variants first used centuries ago to the modern stand alone models capable of shaving large amounts of wooden boards in just a few seconds. While modern electric models are definitely the more efficient option, manual wood planers have a specific niche in the fine arts and crafts side of the market. 

Let’s sum up the different kinds of wood planer you might come across.

Types of Wood Planer

Manual Hand Planer

Manual Hand Planer 

These are the oldest variants with some examples dating back to ancient Rome although it is believed to go back even further. These come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. From one handed or two handed variants and varying blade positions and angles. Generally, a manual wood planer has a single blade attached to the sole (the bottom or foot) of a firm body that is dragged across a wooden surface and slices off shavings of wood.

Electric Hand Planer

Electric Hand Planer

These are the most common and readily available variants found in workshops across the world. They come in either corded or cordless variants and work by using a motor to turn the blades at a specified depth. These are also more lightweight than benchtop or standalone planers but are more efficient and obviously more powerful than manual hand planers.

BBenchtop Thickness Planer

Benchtop Thickness Planer

Benchtop models are used to produce boards that have an even thickness and are flat on both sides. These are commonly found in workshops and are mounted on top of workbenches, hence the name benchtop planer. These are used for making floor boards, wooden fencing among other uses, quickly and efficiently.

Standalone Thickness Planer

Standalone Thickness Planer

Although standalone planers are slowly being replaced by the more portable and significantly cheaper benchtop planers, these still see use in mills and professional workshops. These machines are driven by powerful motors and have higher cutting capacities. These also have industrial variants that are very heavy but even more powerful, capable of cutting through any lengths of hardwoods.

Key Factors

Which one should you choose?

If we haven’t mentioned it yet, wood planers are a great tool to have if you’re a woodworker. Which one you should choose however, depends on what kind of woodworking task you need it for. 

The manual hand planer for example, has been a staple for hundreds of years and to this day is used by craftsmen around the world. Some might say their use is more of an artform now rather than a practical method but that’s not for us to judge. 

The modern electric handheld planer is a workhorse for both professional woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts. These are great for leveling out smaller boards and do well on any type of wood. 

Both the benchtop planer and standalone planer are professional machines for larger projects and often see use in workshops and mills. These are great for larger scale projects requiring multiple boards of longer lengths that would be too much for a handheld planer. These even out boards the most efficiently and are also the most expensive variants. 

Cutting Capacity / Width

This refers to the width of the cut being made by the planer and is usually used for benchtop and standalone wood planers but is sometimes used for handheld models. Most benchtop planers have a cutting capacity of 12 to 13 inches while standalone planers can have a cutting capacity of 15 to 25 inches. 

The cutting capacity of manual and electric handheld wood planers are determined by the width of the model and this can differ greatly depending on the manufacturer. Most electric models have a cutting capacity between 3 ¼  and 6 ½  inches. 

Cuts Per Inch and Revolutions Per Minute

This is used on electric models and determines how fast the blades are rotating or cutting through the wood.

 In theory, the faster the blades are spinning, the smoother the cut will be. Both CPM and RPM translate to the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. This specification is just one of several that you should be aware of and shouldn’t be confused by when you come across it.

Number of Blades

The number of blades is important to consider. Manual planers have one blade while electric models can 2 to 3 in a cutter head. Ideally, having 3 blades is better because it produces a smoother cut and puts less stress on each blade as it’s cutting although most models come with only 2. 

It’s also important to note that some manufacturers make the blades reversible. That means if one edge is dulled, then you can simply turn it over.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

A wood planer can potentially be a very dangerous tool. This goes especially for the electric models because of their high RPM. Here are a couple of maintenance and safety tips that you can apply with your own wood planer.

  • When using an electric planer, always place your body in a comfortable and balanced position to avoid slipping and for the best cuts. Avoid applying too much weight on one side or the other to prevent snipe. 
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing when operating an electric planer. 
  • Before planing a piece of wood, always check for nails. These can seriously damage the blades and even the user. 
  • Electric wood planers can be extremely loud and throw out a lot of shavings. Always wear the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) such as ear plugs, safety goggles and a mask. 
  • Always check your wood planer after use and clean the components. You can use compressed air, brushes or a damp cloth. Make sure to unplug any power source.

Best Wood Planers Reviews

Best Manual Planer

KAKURI Hand Planer 41931

KAKURI Hand Planer 41931 Wood Planer
Specifications:
  • Body: Oak wood
  • Blade: High carbon steel
  • Blade Dimensions: 2.2×5.9×1.6 inches
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.39 x 1.89 inches
  • Weight: 8.96 Ounces
Features:
  • Palm sized wood planer          
  • Pull instead of push orientation         
  • Made with top quality Japanese materials
  • Includes English instructions
Best Manual Planer featured photo
Overview:

When it comes to woodworking as an artform, an important tool you’ll want is a manual hand planer. 

This hand planer from Kakuri is great for shaving off a wooden surface and uses a pulling motion rather than a pushing motion. This requires less force to do and with the right skill, produces an exceedingly smooth, accurate and clean finish. 

Kakuri makes traditional hand tools all with materials from Japan. This manual hand planer is made of oak and the blade is made with high carbon steel. The blade is razor sharp and durable, it is possible to restore the sharpness by sharpening the blade with a whetstone. Also, the wooden body is heavy duty and excellent wear resistance. 

This hand planer is a great choice if you’re looking for a traditional tool for woodworking.

Check out the Kakuri Hand Planer 41931 here: 

Best Handheld Planer

PORTER-CABLE PC60THP

Porter Cable PC60THP Wood Planer
Specifications:
  • 6 amp motor
  • Two knife cutter head
  • 16,500 RPM
  • 5/64 inch max cutting depth
  • 11.5 inch cast aluminum shoe
  • 8.3 lbs
Features:
  • Dual size dust ports
  • Overmold depth control knob      
  • 3 chamfering grooves for chamfering
  • 3 year warranty
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP parts illustration
Overview:

This is a heavy duty machine from PORTER CABLE that combines power, quality and price in one product.

The PORTER CABLE PC60THP features a powerful 6 amp motor capable of reaching 16,500 RPM. It has a 5/64 inch cutting depth and 3 chamfering grooves below the foot for more chamfering options.

It features a safety trigger locking mechanism that makes you press it before the trigger deperesses. It also features dual side vacuum ports for maximum dust removal and an overmold depth control knob for easier adjustments. 

This handheld planer is easy to use and has excellent power for the price. It has a bunch of features that make operating the tool easier, safer and more efficiently gets the job done.

Check out the PORTER-CABLE PC60THP here:

Best Cordless Handheld Planer

Makita XPK01Z

Makita XPK01Z Wood Planer
Specifications:
  • 15,000 RPM
  •  Two knife cutter head 
  • 3 ¼ inch cutting width
  • 5/64 inch cutting depth
  • 7.4 lbs
Features:
  • Spring loaded stand 
  • Aluminum base 
  • Electric brake
  • Uses one 18V Li-ion battery (included)
  • Star Protection Computer Controls        
  • 3 year warranty
Best Cordless Handheld Planer featured photo
Overview:

The XPK01Z provides the performance and quality that comes with the Makita name. 

It has a powerful motor powered by a 18V battery and has a 5/64 inch cutting depth and a 3 ¼ inch cutting width. Its cutting head has 2 double edged carbide blades that allow you to switch the blades around when one side is already dull. 

It has additional features such as a spring loaded stand that elevates the base to protect the blades and workpiece, electric brakes that stop the blades in mere seconds after the trigger is released and the Star Protection Computer Controls that protect the battery from overloading, over discharging and overheating.

Check out the Makita XPK01Z here: 

Best Benchtop Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735X

Dewalt DW735X Wood Planer
Specifications:
  • 2 speed, 15 amp motor
  • 20,000 RPM
  • 96 -179 CPI (Cuts Per Inch)
  • 13 inch cutting width
  • 1/8 inch cutting depth
  • 105 lbs
  • Three knife cutter head 
Features:
  • Automatic carriage lock
  • Fan-assisted chip vacuum
  • Comes with feed tables and extra blades        
  • 19¾-inch cast aluminum base
  • Dust hose adapter
  • 3 year warranty
Overview:

The Dewalt DW735X benchtop thickness planer is a beast of a machine that offers you greater power and cutting capacity for all your wood shaving needs.

It has a powerful 15 amp motor capable of spinning upto 20,000 RPM and offers two cutting speeds from 96 to 179 CPI. It has a great cutting width of 13 inches and a 1/8 inch cutting depth. It has additional features such as outfeed tables that help stabilize long boards and 3 additional double edged blades that double the time till you need to buy a replacement. All these specs make it a great pick if you regularly need wooden boards be it for a job or for selling.

It also includes a fan assisted chip ejection system to help keep your work area free of any unwanted debris, and it also features a rugged cast aluminum base that is both built to be rugged and designed to help minimize vibration. 

This Dewalt planer provides professional woodworkers with a powerful motor and a great cutting capacity rivalling some standalone models. 

Check out the Dewalt DW735X here:

Best Budget Friendly Benchtop Planer

CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Wood Planer

CRAFTSMAN CMEW320

Specifications:
  • 15 amp motor
  • 8,000 RPM  
  • 61.2 lbs
  • 12 inch cutting width
  • 1/16 inch cutting depth
  • two double edged cutter head
Features:
CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer parts

Overview:

The Craftsman CMEW320 benchtop planer offers durability and reliable performance at a budget friendly price in this category.

The 15 amp motor powers through hardwood at 8,000 RPM with its Poly-V cutting head and 2 double edged high carbon steel blades makes short work of any type of wood. It has a good 12 inch cutting capacity and a max cutting depth of 1/16 inches. It also features a vacuum port for dust removal and a user-friendly interface with all the controls being manual. This machine uses a hand crank and a built in gauge for fine depth adjustments

Whether you’re just getting started with a woodworking business or are looking for a cheaper alternative, this benchtop planer from Craftsman should definitely be on your radar. 

Check out the CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 here:

Bonus Products

Here are a couple of runner ups that didn’t quite make our list but we thought you might want to check them out as well. 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Dimensions: 7.87 x 2.17 x 4.13 inches
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Material: Alloy Steel
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 7.68 pounds
  • Material:
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 24 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 70 pounds
  • Material:
View On Amazon →Read Our Review

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between a wood planer and a jointer?

A: The most important thing you need to know is that a jointer is used to square an edge and flatten a single surface while planers are used to create exactly even surfaces. So if you have a wooden board, you’ll want to use a jointer to even out the edges while you’d want to use a planer to even out the wider surface of the board. 

Another difference is that a jointer has the blade mounted in the table that cuts the wood from below, whereas planers cut from above.

Q: Do you still need to sand the board after putting it through a planer?

A: Most of the time, you won’t need to sand the surface after it goes through a planer. This obviously is a matter of preference and if you feel like you want a smoother surface then go for it. A good planer will definitely create a smooth surface afterwards and there are some tricks you can use to get smoother finishes. 

Q: Can you plane a board with paint on it?

A: Spinning blades and hardened paint don’t really go well together and it might be best to avoid doing this. Paint can dull the blades really quickly and the dust particles with paint can be harmful to your health.

Final Thoughts

Wood planers are a great tool to have by your side and the best one for you depends on your needs and expectations. 

No matter what kind of wood planer you’re looking for, we hope this article has helped you in your search and that you leave here with a little more knowledge than before. Happy cutting! 

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