Having a thickness planer is the first step to achieving success as a woodworker. These machines are capable of accomplishing tasks that we would never get done with our hands. The best part about it is that they do the work efficiently and with exact precision.
It doesn’t matter the level of experience you are in as a craftsman, there are certain things you cannot do without the help of such machines. For one, planers can help you trim a piece of lumber or board with a consistent thickness that will suit most of your carpentry needs. It can also make the woodwork smooth, thereby giving you an easy time when fitting various pieces of wood together.
There are two main categories of thickness planers, the benchtop model and the industrial model. There are several advantages that the former has over the latter. Unlike the industrial planer, benchtop planers are portable, allowing you to use them either in your garage or construction sites. They also occupy a relatively small space making them very convenient for those with operate in a limited space.
However, there are several brands of benchtop planers out there, so deciding on the one that will give you good results can be a bit tricky. Additionally, you also have to consider your budget because not all benchtop planers have the same price tag. But the most important aspect that you should focus on is the level of efficiency of each planer.
As mentioned earlier, planers come in a variety of brands, which automatically means that they have different features and capabilities. Brainstorming all this may be tedious and time-consuming, for this reason, we have made for you a detailed list of some of the best benchtop planers.
11 Best Benchtop Planers for Woodworking
#1 PORTER-CABLE PC305TP Thickness Planer
The knives in this planer are made of high-quality carbon steel, which is very strong and is also shock resistant. Furthermore, the knives have a reversible design, which enables you to use them two times the normal cutting life. When one side of the blade gets blunt, all you have to do is make a quick change to the side that is sharp. The other interesting feature with the Porter-Cable PC305TP knives is that each of the cutting sides has index holes, which reduce friction when cutting through a slightly dense wood.
Lumber has no chance against the powerful 15 amp motor. With this, you will be able to cut through wood very fast, and the cut edges will also come out smooth. This will give you an easier time when working with the cut pieces of wood.
The cutter has been elevated precisely on four ground columns to deliver superior stability when cutting wood. The gearbox powers the chain and sprocket, delivering enough force to the feed roller drive resulting in maximum delivery.
#2 DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer
The two-speed gearbox is probably the most dominant property of this planer. Depending on how smooth you want to make your wood, you can change the feed speed to optimize the cuts per inch by either setting it at 96 or 179 CPI.
When the machine is set at 179 CPI, it delivers very clean and smooth cuts that can be used directly without performing any post-planer finishing. But if you want to take out big chunks from the piece you are using, 96 CPI will do. To avoid wasting or damaging the wood, always ensure that you know exactly what you want before choosing either of the dimensions.
When it comes to power, DEWALT DW735X has enough to get all your woodwork done. It has a 15 amp motor with a speed of 20,000 RPM. This feeds the cutter head with 10,000 RPM of speed, which is enough to handle large cuts with ease, especially when dealing with wide materials.
The cutter head is equipped with three knives that are durable. In the vent that any of the knives wear out, you can always make a replacement and continue with your work.
#3 Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp
The Makita 2012NB has a compact design, which makes it lightweight. This makes it suitable for people who like moving to and fro from the job site. The engineering in place allows a much faster and easier change of blades should there be need.
This machine has a low noise level of about 83dB, making it very comfortable to operate. It also has a 4-post and diagonal design, which keeps the cutter head stable at all times, thereby eliminating snipe. The interna-lok has an automated head clamp which clears out snipe without using the manual head locking mechanism.
When dealing with wide pieces of wood, the large extension table will provide you with enough space for the workpiece. You can connect a dust collection system to the planer through the optional dust hood. The detachable toolbox can be used in storing some of your standard equipment.
#4 WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
The benchtop planer from Wen has an onboard material removal gauge, which will inform you about the cutting depth of the settings that you are currently using. This will provide you with accurate measurements with each pass that you make. As a result, each board will come out of the planer in a perfect state.
The crank handle allows you to tune the height of the cutter head according to your needs. Each quarter rotation that you make adjusts the cutter head to a height that is 1/64 of an inch, giving you room for quality and precision.
Both infeed and outfeed tables can be adjusted at an angle to enable the wood to be fed in the planer in a way likely to prevent sniping. The tri-roller system makes the WEN 6552T even more efficient because it also helps in minimizing the occurrence of snipe. It has a 15 amp motor, which gives a speed output of 25,500 cuts per minute, resulting in a smooth finish.
#5 Cutech 40200H-CT 13″ Spiral Cutterhead Planer – Professional Model
This benchtop planer has a cutter head snipe lock, which resists the torque that is generated when the board collides with the cutter head during the first contact. The lock should be engaged whenever necessary in order to avoid snipe.
It has individual cutter tips that rotate very quickly and also require little downtime when it comes to making changes. With this, you can fine-tune the machine within the shortest time possible and proceed on with your work.
The Cutech 40200H-CT does not use straight knives like most benchtop planers. Instead, it relies on a spiral cutter head, which shears wood delicately without damaging it. The other advantage of the spiral cutter head is that it is not prone to wear and tear compared to straight knives. This makes them more durable and likely to offer you a longer service.
#6 POWERTEC PL1251 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer
The ultra-sturdy design in this benchtop planer will prevent marring when you are dealing with a workpiece. This is made possible due to the heavy-duty and anti-wobble base, which gives the machine exceptional stability.
This planer is defined as a workhorse due to its versatility. You can use it on your DIY woodworking projects, or if you like, you can go pro. This planer delivers good results when repurposing wood, it doesn’t matter whether it’s weathered, worn out or old wood, Powertec PL1251 will give it an outstanding flawless finish.
You can effectively work on long boards with the help of the professional roller assistance, which will feed the entire length of wood into the planer. The cutter head is made of high-quality stainless steel, which rotates at a speed of 9,400 RPM delivering 18,800 cuts in a minute. This allows it to deliver deep cuts on hardwoods that are often hard to deal with.
#7 Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
This Delta brand planer runs on a 15 amp motor, which enables it to take on most planing jobs. If you are a person who has a deep understanding of how woodworking is done, this planer can be one of a kind assistant.
It has a quick-change knife system that does not require you to use alignment jigs when setting up the knives. In addition, the knives are dual-edged and are also disposable. You can adjust the infeed and outfeed tables depending on the length of the workpiece on the planer.
It has a feed rate of 28 ft. per minute, making it very efficient when there is a lot of work to be done. You can collect dust chips from either side of the planer due to the reversible nature of the dust port. It is good to keep in mind that this planer can deliver excellent results when handling small projects. Not that it can’t work on bigger projects, just don’t push it too hard.
#8 13″ JET Helical Style Bench Top Planer
This benchtop planer has a horsepower of 2HP with a 15 amp motor. The cutter head rotates at a speed of 10, 000 RPM, providing you with power and efficiency. As the name suggests, this planer has a helical style cutter head with 6 rows and 24 individual change inserts, which are very easy to deal with.
The four-post design ensures that there is sufficient stability and control when working on wood. This will provide you with smooth boards that have equal measurements in terms of thickness. This machine ensures that your boards are kept as flat as possible in order to reduce snipe.
The planer has side handles, which you can use to carry the machine from one working station to another. This is added to the fact that it only weighs 82 pounds. It has a dual infeed speed design which gives you control over 18Fpm and 26Fpm settings. This will result in maximized cut efficiency when planing different types of wood.
If used as directed, this planer can deliver clean and smooth cuts that will send your work on a whole new level of professionalism. It is among the planers that you would go for if you are after precision and efficiency.
#9 Mophorn Thickness Planer 12.5 inch Thickness Planer
The Mophorn Thickness Planer can fit in tight spaces, so it can be very convenient when working in places such as the garage. Despite its size, it delivers very good results; the automatic feeding design will evenly push the wood towards the cutter head.
This arrangement saves you from the hassle of having to push the wood into the planer manually. Basically, what you will be doing during the entire process is to observe and check if everything is running as it should. All the heavy lifting will be taken care of by the machine.
It also comes with an all-metal workbench that is smooth, thereby reducing damage to the surface of the workpiece as it comes out of the planer. Additionally, it has a heavy-duty steel stand, which has a wide center of gravity to ensure that the planer is stable. This limits wobbling when the planing is being operated.
The power-off electromagnetic switch ensures that you and the machine are safe from electrical faults that may occur during operation.
#10 Grizzly Industrial G0505-12-1/2″ 2 HP Benchtop Planer
The benchtop planer from Grizzly is lightweight and makes cuts very fast. It has a feed rate of 32 FPM, with a 2 horsepower motor that rotates the cutter head at a speed of 10,000 RPM. It also has extra-large table extensions that can allow you to customize your workspace depending on the length of the wood being cut.
It can perform a maximum cutting height of about 6 inches, and a maximum depth of 3/32″.The cutting height gauge is easy to read and will provide you with exact measurements that will help you cut the wood with the required thickness.
This machine only has two knives, but they are very good at what they do. In case you need to replace the knives, you can use the wrench and the knife setting jig that is provided. This will allow you to get the machine back in shape in just a few minutes.
#11 RIKON Power Tools 25-130H 13-Inch Planer with Helical Head
With its 6-row helical cutter head, this benchtop planer makes clean cuts that are fine and smooth. It can do this both on softwood and hardwood. The powerful 15 amp delivers enough power that you can use to achieve a maximum cutting depth of 1/8″.
In case the knives get knicked or dull, you can easily change them, thanks to the automated cutter head lock. This machine also has an open design which allows you to see everything when working on a piece of wood. You can clearly see the workpiece as it goes in and exits from the other side of the planer.
The 4-column design will ensure that there is no unnecessary shaking when the machine is being operated. This will bring about an improvement in precision and will also lower the possibility of having a snipe. The table height adjustment feature will allow you to set the scale with reference to the expected results.
This is also another brand that you can easily carry around from one place to another. If you work at a construction site, you can take some of the work back home and do it in your garage as homework. And don’t worry about the neighbors because this planer operates with minimal noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Snipe?
Snipe is a term used to explain a situation where the planer cuts some parts of the workpiece too deep. In most cases, snipes occur at the beginning or at the end of the wood.
How can I stop Snipe when using a planer?
A good number of modern-day planers have snipe locks which when engaged, lowers the probability of a snipe occurring. So basically what you can do is to ensure that the lock is engaged each time you are using your planer. But if your planer does not have a snipe lock you can perform additional corrective measures to the parts that are affected.
Why should I buy a planer?
If you are a person who works with wood and you really value your work, you’ll have to get a planer. Planers have bountiful benefits when it comes to woodworking, for one, they can help you reduce stock down to the exact required thickness and can also make the surfaces of boards smooth.
Can I use a planer on old wood?
With the right planer, you can transform old wood into something new. Just ensure that you go for a planer that will delicately peel of the old surfaces without damaging the wood.
Can a planer take on any type of wood?
A good number of planers can process both soft and hardwood, but there are some that have some limitations when it comes to planing hardwood. So before you do anything ensure that you know the brand of planer that you are using. This will prevent you from knicking or damaging the blades if it happens that the brand you have cannot cut hardwood.
To get the best from these machines, you must ensure that you go for the perfect one that will help you achieve all your woodwork goals. For this reason, there are several things you must consider before you buy a planer.
One of which is the number of blades on the cutting head and the next thing is the design. The design in which the planer is made will determine whether it can fit in your working space or not.
But most importantly, it will help you to know if the planer can do the work that you want it to do without experiencing a malfunction.
- 11 Best Benchtop Planers for Woodworking
- #1 PORTER-CABLE PC305TP Thickness Planer
- #2 DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer
- #3 Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp
- #4 WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
- #5 Cutech 40200H-CT 13″ Spiral Cutterhead Planer – Professional Model
- #6 POWERTEC PL1251 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer
- #7 Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
- #8 13″ JET Helical Style Bench Top Planer
- #9 Mophorn Thickness Planer 12.5 inch Thickness Planer
- #10 Grizzly Industrial G0505-12-1/2″ 2 HP Benchtop Planer
- #11 RIKON Power Tools 25-130H 13-Inch Planer with Helical Head