10 Best Planers
Planers are one of the most essential tools in any workshop. Their concept is incredibly simple, but what they allow you to do is to build really complex, interesting, and captivating pieces of work.
Planers, in case you’re not aware, are one of the most basic tools any woodworker needs. These tools remove razor-thin shavings of wood from a workpiece, producing boards that are an even thickness throughout – and completely flat on both sides.
And as any woodworker knows, getting boards square and true is one of the most difficult parts of woodworking. That’s why planers are so essential. And that’s where this list comes in handy. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know exactly which planer is the best for you. From block planes to industrial-sized machines, you have no shortage of choices when it comes to buying a new planer.
Today, we’ll look at the top 10 best planers currently available, as well as a buying guide to help you identify which planer would be most beneficial for you and your projects.
Table Of Contents
- Top 10 Best Planers
- 1. DeWalt Thickness Planer DW735X
- 2. WEN 6552T Corded Thickness Planer
- 3. Makita 2012NB Planer
- 4. Delta 22-555 13 inch Portable Thickness Planer
- 5. Grizzly G0505 12-1/2 Inch Wood Planer
- 6. Cutech 40200H-CT 13” Spiral Cutterhead Planer – Professional Model
- 7. Delta 22-590 Planer
- 8. WEN 6550T 15-amp 12.5 inch Corded Benchtop Planer
- 9. Porter-Cable Thickness Planer, 12-inch
- 10. DeWalt DW734 Benchtop Planer
- Buying Guide
Top 10 Best Planers
1. DeWalt Thickness Planer DW735X
There’s a lot to like about this planer. DeWalt is known for producing quality tools for the contractor and hobbyist woodworker alike, so it’s no surprise to see them at the top of this list. It takes the top spot because of its combination of speed variability, the three-knife cutting head, and the relative quiet in which it works.
Variable speeds on planers is a great feature to have, because it allows you to not only use the planer to take rough-cut lumber down to size, but also to tackle more finishing-style chores, as well.
The DeWalt DW735X is the best planer you can get your hands on right now. It’s a solid, well-built machine with all the features you’d want and need in a top-of-the-line planer. We especially like how quiet it is, in comparison with other planers.
- 15-amp motor
- Delivers 20,000 RPMs
- Two speed options
- Three-knife cutting head
2. WEN 6552T Corded Thickness Planer
WEN is a brand that’s slowly, but surely, improving its stock over the years. Their 6552T Corded Benchtop Planer is a surprisingly great machine, packed to the brim with great features. What stands out most is how quickly this planer churns through wood. According to their own specs, the WEN will plane away 26 feet per minute. That’s one of the fastest rates in the industry, and definitely faster than anything on this list.
The only downside to this tool is that the dust collection system isn’t great. So, if that’s a dealbreaker for you, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
At a great price, and offering cutting speeds and depth adjustment to the 64th of an inch, it’s no wonder the WEN finished this high on our list. However, it’s subpar dust collection system kept it from being number one. That said, if you’re looking for a great budget planer, this might be the one for you.
- Super fast
- Three-blade cutter
- 64th-inch precision adjustment
- Reversible cutting blades
3. Makita 2012NB Planer
Once again, it’s no surprise to see Makita at the top of another of our lists. They’re a great brand that puts out quality products on a consistent basis. The 2012NB planer isn’t an exception to this. This planer is one of the lighter-weight models currently available, and it’s also one of the most compact. We really love the table extensions that are available with this, as that extends the functionality of the tool.
It also eats up wood at a blistering 28 feet per minute. If anything, this tool will help speed up your process.
There’s a lot of great things about this planer, but it does have a high price tag. Considering that you can likely find similar, or better, performance at a lower price point, that will likely push people away from Makita. However, if you’re a brand loyalist, and only want the best Makita has to offer, then this is the planer for you.
- Relatively Quiet
- Compact frame
- Quick speed
- Table extensions
- Light Weight
4. Delta 22-555 13 inch Portable Thickness Planer
Delta is arguably the leading brand name in higher-end power tools. If you want something that’s built to last, indestructible, and guaranteed with a warranty that’s tough to match, then you need look no further than Delta. This particular planer is a favorite among DIYers, or the hobbyist woodworker. For the price, it’s an incredible value, especially since you have a 15-amp motor that can make up to 18,800 cuts per minute. That’s some serious speed and power in this tool.
On top of that, you get a tool that has a simple, straightforward blade changing system. And, the amount of snipe you get on boards is a lot less with this Delta than with other planers.
Delta hits a home run here, but it’s not quite good enough to land on the top spot on this list for a few reasons. The first is that it’s not stellar when you’re using a harder wood. So, those of you who enjoy maple, or even oak, may want to look at a different planer. Second, the maximum cut length and widths isn’t as big as we’d like to see.
- 5 year limited warranty
- Not much snipe production
- Great DIYer tool
- Easy blade change
- Accurate cuts
5. Grizzly G0505 12-1/2 Inch Wood Planer
Grizzly is an interesting brand, because they have some truly great products, and some flops. This planer isn’t a flop, but it’s also not good enough to merit a top-four finish on our list.
The good news, though, is that this planer supposedly can eat wood at 32 feet per minute – a number that begs belief. But, according to multiple reviews, it delivers on that front. It’s also an incredibly light full-size planer, so you won’t be stuck with a tool that takes two people to move.
While this is a good planer, it’s not great. The fast speed is offset by the fact that you can’t make a cut deeper than 3/32nd of an inch, which means you’ll spend more time working boards through to get them down to a target thickness. On top of that, it only has a two-blade cutter instead of the three blades that are on all other models ranked above it.
The good thing, though, is that the Grizzly planer is a solid mid-priced tool. If it meets your needs, and you don’t need a ton of adjustment options, then this is the planer for you.
- Ridiculously fast speeds
- Mid-price point tool
6. Cutech 40200H-CT 13” Spiral Cutterhead Planer – Professional Model
Cutech bills this tool as a professional-grade machine, and they do deliver on that claim in at least one meaningful way. The spiral cutterheads are a great addition, because spiral heads tend to last longer than traditional blades. And, spiral cutterheads are known for producing a smoother, finer finish than you see from a regular three-blade planer.
It also has a built-in dust port, to help keep your shop clean and the air a bit more breathable. Most planers don’t have a built-in dust port, so this is a really phenomenal feature.
There are a few reasons that this planer didn’t finish higher on our list. First off, it is more expensive than most others that we’ve reviewed. On top of that, it’s also noisy, which is something to take into consideration if you’re using this planer for extended periods of time.
On top of that, the spiral cutterheads aren’t paired with a motor that’s capable of coaxing the best performance possible from them. While the spiral cutterheads are definitely a nice feature, they’re underutilized on this machine.
- 15-amp motor
- Spiral cutterheads
- Built-in dust port
- Relatively light
- Decent cutting depth
7. Delta 22-590 Planer
Delta gets another spot on this list with a different planer. The 22-590 isn’t as packed full of great features as its bigger brother, but that doesn’t make it any less effective as a tool. Utilizing a three-blade cutter head, it will plane up to 26 feet of wood per minute. That’s a good rate, if not the fastest rate that we’ve looked at today.
It also sports a cutterhead lock, which lets you perform the exact same plane on different pieces of lumber. That’s great when you’re working with a lot of material, and have a lot of work to do in order to get everything true and square.
This is a good tool, but it falls short of being great because of a few things. The major issue is that the motor and belts are misaligned from the factory. Now, you can probably tweak that on your own, but it’s something that shouldn’t have to be done once the product gets into your shop. So that’s a bit worrisome. On top of that, Delta blades are known to wear out a bit more quickly than other brands, so your cost of operation goes up with this particular tool.
- Three knife cutting head
- Fast speed
- Cutterhead lock
- Micro-adjustment options
- Snipe reduction built in
8. WEN 6550T 15-amp 12.5 inch Corded Benchtop Planer
WEN gets another entry on this list as well, and for good reason. This is the little brother to the bigger, meaner, stellar 6552T planer. It comes standard with a granite table base, so that means you’re not going to have to worry about this tool moving around on you. That does, however, mean that you’re looking at a heavier planer.
On top of that, you get a 15-amp motor which provides 18,800 cuts per minute, at a feed rate of 26 feet per minute, as well. That’s all great, and it’s made even better thanks to the built-in dust collection port.
So why does this tool finish so low on the list, especially considering its great price?
Well, it’s just not as up to the task as the 6552 planer. This model isn’t recommended for heavier-duty use, so if you plan on using your planer at anything more than a hobbyist level, this might not be the tool for you.
While WEN puts out a good option here, it’s just not as well-built, or up to hours of use, as the 6552 planer. If you’re a casual woodworker, this is a great option. But if you plan on using your planer on a regular basis, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
- 15-amp motor
- Granite table
- 26 feet per minute planing rate
- Built-in dust port
- Excellent depth-of-cut adjustment
9. Porter-Cable Thickness Planer, 12-inch
Porter-Cable would get on the list sooner or later, right? Their entry here is a solid get, but it’s lacking a lot of the bells and whistles of models that finished much higher on this list. It only has a two-blade cutterhead, and it uses a Poly V-belt drive system that’s not seen on other models.
However, you do get the power of a 15-amp motor, and the reliability of the Porter-Cable name.
This is a solid choice if you’re interested in woodworking as a hobby, instead of a full-time profession. The Porter-Cable is nice, but it just doesn’t have the capacity to work with bigger projects. It only has a two-blade cutterhead, which reduces its efficacy.
- Easily-replaceable blades
- 15-amp motor
- V-belt cutterhead drive
- High-carbon blades
- Patented cut stability
10. DeWalt DW734 Benchtop Planer
DeWalt bookends this review here, with the older version of the DW735X. The DW734 is still a good tool, but it’s lacking in a few areas. First off, though, it’s worth noting that it does make use of a three-blade cutterhead – which is great. Second, we do get the legendary DeWalt quality here, so you know you’re getting a tool that’s put together with attention to detail.
However, it’s not as easy to move around as the newer model. It also doesn’t have quite the depth adjustment options that other models do.
If you want a DeWalt tool, but want to save a few bucks, then this is your best bet. It’s still a good planer, but it doesn’t have the variability of performance that the DW735X does.
- Three-knife cutterhead
- 10,000 rpms
- Disposable, reversible knives
- 15-amp motor
- Easy blade-change system
As we mentioned at the beginning, there’s a lot that goes into determining what kind of planer is best suited for you and your needs. This list covered the best benchtop planers, because they’re the most versatile. However, you may end up finding that a different style of planer works better for you (we’ll dive into different styles here in just a minute).
So, with that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that you consider all of the following aspects before you go out and buy your next – or first – planer. With so many variables to take into account, it’s worth your time – and money – to really look through everything, and to be honest with what you really need in a planer.
Types of Planers
Broadly speaking, you have three different kinds of planes:
- Hand Planes
- Handheld Planes
- Benchtop planes
Hand Planes are among the oldest, most classic, woodworking tools. The most common hand plane is the block plane. It’s a tool that you use with one hand, scraping across the top of a workpiece, removing whisper-thin shavings of wood. These are used on smaller projects that require an absolute level of attention to detail, or on projects too delicate for power tools. You likely won’t use a hand plane on projects bigger than say, a jewelry box.
Handheld Planes are exactly what they sound like. They’re a full-electric plane, usually with only a single or double blade, that works by cutting into a workpiece that’s clamped to a bench, instead of being fed through a feeding lane. Handheld planes are convenient and nice for a lot of projects, but they lack the precision and control that you get from a benchtop plane.
Benchtop Planes are the type we reviewed on this list, and the style of plane that you’re most likely familiar with. They remain stationary on your workbench, while you feed wood through them. The ability to adjust for cutting depth, stability, and overall quality is why benchtop planes are the most widely-used models. You can power through just about anything you need with one of these, and you won’t be limited by your tools when it comes to taking on a new project.
When you’re shopping for a new planer, you need to be honest with yourself in what your project demands are. This is the main determining factor in what kind of planer you’ll get.
For example, if you know you primarily work with softer woods, on smaller projects, you don’t need a big, beefy planer. There’s no reason to use a tool that’s too powerful on any given project.
Harder woods and bigger projects will necessitate the use of a tool that’s more powerful, bigger, and able to handle a wider variety of tasks.
Another thing to take into consideration is the type of project you’re tackling. If you’re doing something that requires a finer, almost hand-finished look to it at the end, you’ll want a planer that has spiral cutterheads and seemingly endless depth adjustment options. If the finish doesn’t matter, then any planer will do, in theory.
This is also where you need to consider how wide you want your planer to be. Most pieces of rough-sawn lumber aren’t too wide. But if you plan on working with oddly-shaped lumber, then you’ll want to find a planer with as much space as possible.
And lastly, you do want to take into consideration your budget, and potential return on investment. If you’re just a DIYer or hobbyist woodworker, you probably don’t have $1,000 or more to spend on a planer. And, if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t need to spend that kind of money, either.
However, if you do plan to make money off your woodworking, then investing in something that’s a bit nicer can go a long ways in ensuring that you’re able to tackle whatever projects come your way. And with a planer being such an essential piece of equipment, you really don’t want to go wrong with your choice here. So, make sure to carefully consider all of the features and factors we’ve discussed here, as well as price, before you go shopping for your next planer.