The Best Wood Planer: For Faster and Better Wood Shaving

Wood smoothers come in different shapes and sizes. These machines are mostly responsible for shaving your wood at a consistent and uniform manner. Before wood planers came into existence, there was a lot of trial and error in woodworking industries.

But, you need to understand that getting the thickness of a wood panel can be tough without any help from a machine like a wood planer. You’ll have to resort to the filing, cutting, and other laborious work. On the flip side, the best wood planer will get the job done in less than five minutes!

Picture
Grizzly G0505 12-1/2-Inch Planer
Best Pick
DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Single Speed Benchtop Planer
Reasonable Price
WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer
Bosch PL1632 6.5 Amp Planer, 3-1/4"
Planer Type
Portable Planer
Benchtop Planer
Hand Planer
Hand Planer
Amp Planer
Warranty
None
Dewalt Warranty Package
Two-year warranty
None
None
Safety Features
Thermal Overload Protection, On/Off Toggle Switch Safety lock
Four Column Carriage Lock
None
None
Dual mount guide fence with shield
Rating
4.6
4.9
4.5
4.3
4.8
Picture
Grizzly G0505 12-1/2-Inch Planer
Planer Type
Portable Planer
Warranty
None
Safety Features
Thermal Overload Protection, On/Off Toggle Switch Safety lock
Rating
4.6
Best Pick
Picture
DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Single Speed Benchtop Planer
Planer Type
Benchtop Planer
Warranty
Dewalt Warranty Package
Safety Features
Four Column Carriage Lock
Rating
4.9
Reasonable Price
Picture
WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch
Planer Type
Hand Planer
Warranty
Two-year warranty
Safety Features
None
Rating
4.5
Picture
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer
Planer Type
Hand Planer
Warranty
None
Safety Features
None
Rating
4.3
Picture
Bosch PL1632 6.5 Amp Planer, 3-1/4"
Planer Type
Amp Planer
Warranty
None
Safety Features
Dual mount guide fence with shield
Rating
4.8

Last update on 2018-10-21 at 00:54 PST - Details

How Does a Wood Planer Work?

Wood smoother is an essential tool in your workshop, especially if you’re dealing with woodworking. Every woodworker knows that bars and panels of wood don’t come ready-made to suit your preferences. That is why it needs to undergo several changes before you can use it for sculpting or commercial purposes.

One of the things that most wood panels need is thickness adjustment. Dozens of projects require thinner panels of wood, which are commonly not available to be bought right away. That is why you have a wood planer to act as either a tool to smoothen the surface or a thickness planer. 

Mechanism

If you’re planning to use the wood planer as a thickness planer, then everything will be simple. A wood planer works by having a set of jagged teeth inside. If you’re using a hand wood smoother, then the teeth will be visible from the bottom. However, it should still be somewhat covered.

These set of steel teeth are what “eats” the thickness of the wood panel. When using industrial wood planers, the bar or panel of wood should go inside the printer-like machine. It then juts out to the opposite side, allowing the steel blades to shave off the wood in one pass completely.

For Hand Electric Planers

For the hand electric planer, the mechanism is a lot different. Instead of jagged teeth, this tool usually has around three to four rolling blades beneath it. Imagine an iron that you can use for clothes having this set of teeth.

These teeth continuously roll and scrape off the surface of the wood as you press it. For you to create even surfacing, all portable planers have a flat surface called a “base plate” which works similarly with the iron.

There are two ways to use this portable planer. The first one is known as the freehand. As the name implies, you just use the tool to your liking. Your hand dictates where it goes, and what angle it’s used.

The second one makes use of a fence that comes with the tool. The barrier is attached on the wood planer and is used as a guide or stopper upon operation While connected; this component aligns the wood planer to keep it straight. The principle of this tool is no different from a T-square in technical drafting.

Keep in mind that the fence’ distance with the edge of the wood is possible for changes via screwing. It gives you more freedom on how to dictate the area that you want to cover.

Adjustment

The neat trick with a wood planer is that it’s easy to adjust. That is because you’ll only need to focus on the height of the steel blades. Typically, the tool will give you an option to customise it to meet cutting standards such as 1/16 inch to a quarter of an inch.

For industrial tools, you can adjust a crank that connects towards the steel blades. The crank has a handle in which you simply turn to adjust the height. Along with the crank, there is also a depth adjustment knob.

The depth adjustment knob is tasked to lock-in the crank handle to prevent you from misjudging the height of the device. For example, if you’re only looking to scrape an eighth of an inch, you can set the adjustment knob to prevent from going any further.

It is also evident in the handheld type. However, instead of a crank handle, it makes use of a twisting knob to adjust the height of the rolling blades. Hand electric smoothers also have a depth adjustment knob. It is typically the biggest button in the tool, and lifts and lowers the blade by twisting it.

Sawdust Collection

Any woodworker would know that shaving wood or at least removing its entire outer surface would mean tons of sawdust. That’s precisely the case when you’re using a wood planer, which can be a problem.

If you’re using the portable one, you’re going to need a vacuum to clean up all that sawdust. Hand electric smoothers usually don’t have any sawdust collector. Instead, it has a wide rectangular gap built in its body which shoots out sawdust away from you and the tool.

However, industrial types are compatible with sawdust collectors. You have to connect these machines to the port of the planer which directly shoots out the dust towards the collector. Thus, it safely and quickly catches all sawdust, preventing any laborious cleaning.

Types of Wood Planers

Wood smoothers, as previously mentioned, can be manufactured in more ways and one. Typically, these machines can fall into two categories. Particularly, you’ll have an electronic handheld wood planer and a technical wood planer.

Industrial vs. Hand Electric Planers

Both act as a sort of wood shaver in the workplace. Despite the two machines’ appearance being different, they work similarly. It’s just a matter of preference. Of course, the handheld wood smoother will provide more convenience in usage and storage.

However, it is also convenient to use this wood planer. Although it’s a lot bigger and consumes a lot more electricity, it’s way more efficient. With an efficient equipment, the work you do will be quicker and better.

The reason for this is because this wood planer eats up the wood completely in one pass. That means that the only thing you’ll need to do is place the wood and align it towards the teeth. Afterwards, it will just simply take in the wood for shaving. It’s no different from putting the paper on a printer.

Although it might limit what you want to do, it does the work faster. On the flipside, the handheld version of a wood planer will be harder to operate. The fact that you’ll be guiding this machine with your hands will mean that its precision is dependent on you.

Of course, seasoned professionals won’t have this problem. That is why it’s a good idea to have an electric hand wood smoother if you’re more advanced on woodworking. It’s a great way to make intricate and accurate shavings that an industrial planer can't.

However, there’s no doubt that the industrial one is more apt for mass thickness adjustments that most wood industries need.

Safety is Just the Same

Although the industrial and hand electric planers have distinct characteristics that separate them, safety measures are the same. Always remember that you need three essential equipment before operating either of the two.

These are your safety glasses, hearing protection, and face mask. It is crucial most especially when using the hand electric planer. Given that it does not have a sawdust collector, you’ll need extra protection to prevent inhaling or eye contact with the dust.

Moreover, the sheer noise and loudness of the machine, especially the industrial type, can be harmful to your hearing. Be sure that you have a good set of earplugs when you’re about to run the wood inside the machine.

Our Top 5 Picks

Grizzly’s G0505 is a 12 ½ inch planer that is significantly lighter compared to other brand models. Not compromising on muscle or design quality, Grizzly assures you that this tool is highly portable yet able to finish cuts faster.

With its 2HP motor and 10,000 RPM cutter head, you get not only a smoother but also a good cutter. It features top mounted return rollers, extra-large table extensions and a knife setting jig and wrench. Also, safety is also left uncompromised as Grizzly added several safety features. 

Pros

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    It comes with a lot of useful and functional features as well as safety features.
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    It has a thermal overload protection feature and an On/Off Toggle Switch with safety lock.
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    The construction of the product makes it an excellent equipment.
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    It even comes with little to no vibrations while in use.
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    It is effortless to set up and to operate, even for non-professionals.

Cons

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    The cord that comes along with the unit might not be long enough if you don't have extensions in the workplace.
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    It comes with the metal material can accumulate rust if not well maintained.


On the other hand, Dewalt’s DW734 Amp Benchtop Planer claims to be a powerful 15 amp tool with a 20, 000 RPM motor. The machine's three knife cutter head with 10, 000 RPM can make 96 cuts per inch creating a beautiful finish for a portable planer.

Blade life is also something not to be worried about as its blades are reversible and disposable. That makes it easier for you to change knives while increasing blade life to 30%. Lastly, its extra-long infeed and outfeed tables provide excellent material support. 

Pros

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    It features a four column carriage lock which reduces snipe causing movements.
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    It delivers smooth results with little to no snipe
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    It features an efficient dust and debris management.
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    It comes with a DEWALT warranty package.
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    The warranty package includes a three-year limited warranty, a one-year free service contract, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Cons

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    You have to buy the vacuum or standing dust collector you can connect for the dust and debris management.
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    It works best with wood that already has to staples, loose knots, etc.
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    You have to make sure that the wood you use doesn’t have any obstructions.

With WEN’s 6530 Electric Hand Planer, you get a three and ¼ inch planer that delivers 34, 000 cuts per minute. It features 16 positive stops so you can adjust the cutting depth anywhere between 0 to ⅛ inches. It can also make rabbets up to 1-inch size. 

Weighing only 6 pounds, it is a very lightweight product that you can take with you for projects, not at home. But most importantly, the whole package comes with a power planer, dust bag, kickstand, a parallel fence bracket and a two-year warranty. 

Pros

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    It comes with a two-year warranty, unlike other brands that don’t.
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    It is very cheap yet capable of getting the job done.
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    It is easily portable for work on the go.
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    Its dust collection also works well.

Cons

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    You might find its trigger lock a bit hard to reach.
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    It works best with light or small to medium projects.

As for Porter-Cable’s PC60THP is a 6 amp Motor Hand Planer, you get a dual side extraction for easier extracting from either side of the tool. The over mould depth comes with ten positive steps. It also features three chamfering grooves for edge chamfering.

Lastly, it also has a multiple depth control settings to give you more control over your project. The whole package includes a wrench, dust bag, carbide cutting blades, edge guide, kit bag and the machine itself. 

Pros

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    The dust extraction works efficiently to keep your workplace clean.
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    It is a double blade planer.
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    It does the job and delivers smooth and easy cuts.

Cons

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    It is ideal for rough work.
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    But for making a smooth surface, it might be a little different.
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    You might find the pop out safety button under the plate a little bothersome as it requires removal. 

Finally, Bosch’s PL1632 is a 16, 500 RPM smoother meant for fast stock removal and delivering smooth finish. It features a spring loaded stand that elevates tool for protecting the blade and also serve as a tool resting spot.

The product's double mount guide fence has a protective shield for consecutive smoothen of door edges. Its handle is also optimally angled making it ideal for forwarding motion of tool with a soft grip for added comfort during use. 

Pros

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    The double mount guide fence with protective shield helps keep you from putting together door faces with plastic overshoe.
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    The separate inch and metric depth scales make it easy to set the depth.
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    It comes with an option to buy a package with the tool kit.
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    It features a ball joint cord swivel.

Cons

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    It might not be ideal for heavy commercial use.
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    The touching aluminium surface might be a little soft.
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    It can get scratched up from the wood.

Our Verdict

Planers should not only do the job smoothly and efficiently. They should also have safety features for its users. With this said, Dewalt might be a good option. It is particularly the case because you can be “insured” through its warranty package. Also, it also has safety features that can come in very handy when the product is in use.

Bosch might also be a good option, especially if you are not planning to use it for heavy commercial projects. However, the nature of your project, needs and budget will determine which product is the best for you. 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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