“Not all woods are created equal” – you’ve probably heard this more times than you can remember. So what do you do when you’re faced with an uneven stock or board? Simple…refine it with a good wood planer.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a woodworking shop without at least one wood planer. And the reason is not far-fetched. If you’ve got any work that involves wood, then you will most likely need to remove its defect before using it.
In most cases, this will involve straightening and squaring stocks. To carry out this neatly, you will definitely need a planer around.
Choosing the best wood planer for the money can be quite overwhelming. But don’t worry, in this article, we will try to make everything easier. We have compiled a list of the top 5 products in the market as well as a buying guide.
How to Choose the Best One?
Finding the right wood planer can be confusing, especially if this is your first time. Below are the key things to look out for in order to get a unit you will be proud of.
One of the chief considerations to make when purchasing a wood planer is the type of motor it has. This is important because it determines how much power will be generated by the planer.
There are two main variants here – induction and universal.
Induction motors are generally more robust, heavier, and long-lasting than universal motors. They are mainly designed for industrial use; you may also find them permanently installed in workshops.
On the other hand, universal motors usually have a more compact size and weigh less than induction motors. As such, they are mainly used in portable planers.
The speed and efficiency of the planer also rely on motor power, so make sure you choose something that will provide enough power for your project.
Another feature you should look out for when choosing the best wood planer is the blade. This includes the number of blades as well as the type of material they are made from.
Most times, planer blades are made from aluminum, which makes them highly durable. They may also be coated to make them resistant to corrosion and rust. Even though your planer blades are not aluminum coated, you want something that is as durable and resistant to rust.
You should also consider the number of blades. A wood planer with two or more blades will definitely provide more cutting power than a model that only has one. So take note!
Wood planers come in various sizes.
There are some that are large and heavy, which are meant to be installed in one place. On the other hand, some are small and lightweight, which can be carried around freely.
You can choose a suitable size from either one of these groups, depending on your needs and preference. If you’re going to be using the tool in various places, then you will find a handheld model you can easily carry around.
Or else you may want to consider a stationary model. However, there should be enough space in your workshop to accommodate the equipment.
The size of the material you plan to work on should also influence your decision. Therefore, the available space in your workshop should be large enough to accommodate both the workpiece and the machine.
If you plan to purchase a portable planer, then you may not need to worry about space. Instead, you should be concerned about getting something that is lightweight and won’t strain you.
Just like most woodworking operations, sanding generates a lot of dust, which can mess up your workspace and interfere with your work.
So it’s usually a good idea to have a planer with a reliable dust collection system. Unfortunately, many planers don’t come with this feature.
5 Best Wood Planer for the Money
Below is a detailed review of the best wood planer for the money.
1. DEWALT DW735X 13-Inch Thickness Planer
There are very few brands that can rival DEWALT in the world of power tools, so it comes as no surprise they have some of the best wood planers in the market.
On top of our list of the best wood planers for the money is the DEWALT DW735X for all professionals and serious DIYers who want a thickness planer that will not disappoint them.
The machine offers two speeds to enable you to produce both dimensioning and finishing cuts. So even if you decided to use it without a jointer, you would still do fine. Believe it or not, you might not find a better thickness planer out there.
The planer is equipped with a 15-amp motor, which makes it suitable for most heavy-duty planing projects.
It also features a three-knife cutter head that runs at 10000 RPM. This design ensures each knife is subjected to lesser stress enabling you to achieve finer finishes. More so, the knives are highly durable and very easy to change.
The machine also comes with a wide base, which makes it a lot easier to work on wider materials. It runs on a 15-amp motor, which delivers up to 20,000 RPM. Furthermore, the cutter head speed is 10,000 RPM, while the lifespan is 30 percent more than what you get with most standard planers.
The planer doesn’t produce a lot of noise like most competing models.
- Highly portable
- Two speed options
- Relatively quiet
- Wide base
2. DEWALT DW734 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer
The DEWALT DW734 is another high performing wood planer that has a lot of things in common with the DW735X. It doesn’t only boast of a powerful motor but also a straightforward design that makes it easy to use.
Both professionals and DIY enthusiasts will find it incredibly useful for carrying out planing operations. There’s little wonder, this is one of the best-reviewed wood planers in the market, just like the DW735X.
The major difference between the DW7354 and the DW735X is that the DW7354 weighs only 80 pounds instead of 105 pounds. Also, the DW734 offers just one speed instead of two. So it’s no surprise it’s less expensive. This makes it a great choice if a second speed is not something that will be useful to you.
This planer also delivers 96 cuts per inch, which enables you to achieve smooth and even finishes. Like the previous model, it also uses a three-knife cutter head, which lasts longer than most planers in the same category. You will also like the extendable wide base, which enables you to work on larger wood pieces.
It will interest you to know that this is a benchtop planer, so it is built to provide higher power and control, which makes it ideal for heavy-duty use. Like most high-end models, it runs on a 15-amp motor and uses disposable and reversible knives.
Thanks to the inclusion of a four-column carriage lock, snipe is greatly minimized.
The unit is relatively quiet, just like the previous model. However, we still advise you to use ear protection if possible.
- Less expensive
- Powerful motor
- 3-knife cutter head
- Great quality
- One speed option
3. WEN 6552T 13-inch Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
The WEN 6552T is another quality tool that is built to meet the inadequacies of most benchtop and thickness planers in the market. It combines power, efficiency, convenience, and portability to give you a planer that is adequately sufficient for any planing task.
The tool is equipped with a 15-amp motor, which generates enough power to plan boards with up to 6-inches thickness and 13-inches width. An onboard gauge lets you know the cutting depth of each pass.
One of the things that set this machine apart from the crowd is its high feed rate. With the ability to handle up to 26 feet of material feed in one minute, this is one of the fastest wood planers you will come across. So you need to get more work done with a planer, then this is the model you should choose.
Like most high-end models, it is equipped with a three-blade cutter that is designed to last longer than what you get with many similar models. With this cutter, you can take on even the hardest of woods.
The dust port of this unit comes with a fan that ensures efficient dust removal from the workpiece. This reduces the amount of clean up you have to do after every job. However, some users had complained about having issues with dust collection when they connected the port to their shop vac.
Overall, this is a quality planer that comes highly recommended for its price. You will surely get what you pay for.
- Solid construction
- Great price
- Powerful motor
- Foldable feed tables (in feed and out feed)
4. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
Another quality wood planer that is built for easy use and transport is the Makita 2012NB. The first thing you will notice about the tool is its compact frame, which makes it fairly portable. With about 60 pounds of weight, this is obviously not the lightest planer in the market, but it’s also far from being the heaviest.
The noise from the machine is rated at around 83 decibels, which is obviously not quiet. But it’s definitely less noisy than many planers out there. You should be able to work comfortably with the noise level.
This unit also features a large table extension, which makes it possible to work on larger materials.
In terms of speed, you will hardly find a faster model. With the ability to plan up to 28 feet per minute, you can accomplish more with this planer than many others in the same category.
The machine is equipped with a 15-amp motor, which delivers up to 8500 RPM speed. An LED light is included to help you know when the planer is connected to a power source.
You will also like the adjustable depth stop, which enables you to make repeat cuts. This is really useful when trying to duplicate your planing on one or more materials.
An Internal-Lok Automated Head Clamp is provided to prevent snipping. Blade change is also quick and easy, so you have nothing to worry about.
The only problem most people have with this unit is its price. It is more expensive than most high-end models. However, considering what it brings to the table, this is still a fair bargain. We consider it a great option for serious DIY projects and professional use.
- Great quality
- Compact and portable
- Sturdy construction
- Adjustable depth stop
- Planing is extremely fast
5. Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
Last but definitely not the least product on our list of the best wood planers is the Delta 22-555.
This model is a great choice if you have a limited budget but still want a planer that is powerful and efficient. That said, this is not the kind of tool we will bank on for professional heavy-duty use. But if you have one or a few projects at hand, you will find the planer incredibly sufficient.
While Delta might not be the most popular brand in the world of power tools, they’re known for producing quality tools. So you can rely on the Delta 22-555 to deliver.
The unit comes equipped with a 15-amp motor, which has a speed capacity of 18,000 RPM. With the cutterhead, you get up to 9,400RPM, which is quite impressive.
The planer has a fairly simple design that makes it very user-friendly. As a result, it comes highly recommended for people with little experience who need a planer to handle a larger board.
Although the planer uses only two cutting knives, it’s still as efficient as most three-knife models. As expected, the knives are disposable and very easy to change – thanks to the quick-change feature of the machine.
The four-column design of the tool makes it highly stable, thus helping you achieve smoother and more accurate planing.
- Reliable quality
- Minimal vibration
- Disposable and easy to change knives
- Full reversible dust port
- Reasonable price
- Uses only two cutting knives
- Few uses complained about snipe
Thickness vs. Hand Planers
In order to determine the right planer for your project, you need to understand the various types available first. While there are several options out there, they are two main groups that exist are handheld and thickness planers.
So what is the difference between both planers, and what are the merits and demerits?
All wood planers have the same basic functionality, whether it’s a hand planer or a thickness planer.
Construction and Operation
Hand planers are the oldest type of planers (first generation), and as their names suggest, they are operated by hand.
The old traditional hand planers (which are still available today) make use of a stationary blade. However, the modern models are more like the motorized versions of the old models. They rely on one electricity and could be corded or cordless.
Hand planers are generally used for trimming wood to obtain a level surface. However, the level surface obtained is usually not perfect since you’re using your hands
On the other hand, in a thickness planer, you feed the board into the machine, then it uses a set blade height to shave off the material. This results in a more consistent level surface, and you only have to put in a little work.
Ease of Use and Efficiency
There are two types of thickness planers – the popular benchtops and the professional-grade models. Benchtops are portable, but you still have to find a good spot for them.
Handheld planers are easy to work with which is expected since they are lightweight. They take a lot of time to level wood and are meant for small planing – below 1-inch. This makes them more suitable for finishing purposes. They are also cheaper and offer greater control over your project.
On the other hand, thickness planers offer more power to produce deeper cuts and also give control to the workpiece. They are also much faster than tradition and modern hand planers. However, there are more expensive and require a lot of maintenance. They are more suitable for heavy planing projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does a planer do to wood?
What planers do is basically to slice a thin layer from a wooden surface. They usually have a cut depth, which you can adjust to the desired thickness you want.
- What should I look for when buying a wood planer?
The major things to consider when buying a slider include performance, price, durability, and the brand you’re purchasing from.
- Does a planer make wood smooth?
Planers are mostly used for sizing; however, their finishes are usually smooth. To obtain a smoother finish, consider using a jointer.
- Can you use a table saw as a planer?
It is not advisable to use a table saw as a planer. And this is simply because both tools are used for different purposes. Table saws cut through the wood; they are highly ineffective for sizing lumber.
- What causes ripples?
The common causes of ripples include dull knives, very high feed speed, and a non-flat bedplate.
- What does spine mean?
Spine happens basically when your wood planer cuts deeper than the desired depth. It usually occurs when the stock is not held firmly on the planer bed and consequently moves towards the head of the cutter.
Before putting out your money for any planer, make sure you first evaluate your needs and project requirements. Purchasing a model just because it’s popular or cheap might lead to regrets later. Instead, go for a planer that offers features that you need to improve your work. It should also fall within your budget.
Hopefully, with our review of the best wood planer for the money, your job should be a whole lot easier. We are sure you won’t go wrong with any one of the planers above, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced woodworker.
Let us know if you have any more questions about choosing the right wood planer. And we will be glad to help. Stay safe!