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Choosing the best benchtop wood planer can be a difficult task when you’re faced with different options.
We put together this list of some of the best models available on the market as well as a buyer’s guide at the end.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Benchtop Thickness Planer with Reviews 2020
Here’s a list of the best benchtop planers available:
1. DEWALT DW735X 13-Inch Two Speed Thickness Plane
- Well renowned.
- Highly rated.
- High quality & very long lasting.
- Extremely powerful thanks to the 3 knife cutter head.
- Great customer service.
- Recommended for the professional / heavy user.
Not so Good
- More of a dedicated workshop machine as opposed to being a portable planer due to the weight.
- Standard knives don’t last long. R
- Replacement knives are expensive.
- Hearing protection is recommended.
- Some users say the older DW734 model is just as good.
More suited to the professional this machine can be found for around $600 – $700, a price that reflects the quality of the product and its features.
Probably the coolest thing about the latest DeWalt DW735 is the fact that the speed is adjustable, giving you excellent control over your planning work. You can change feed speed to optimize the cuts at 96 or 179 CPI. The width capacity is 13 inches, and the depth capacity is 6 inches. There is also an extra large depth turret that allows users to return to the thickness they use most often.
The DeWalt has a three knife cutter, designed to extend knife life by 30%. You can quickly change the knives when you need to. The tool is operated by a 15 amp motor which performs 20,000 rotations per minute. Despite the fact that this is a very powerful tool, there is a safety measure installed. It is an automatic carriage lock which reduces movement unless it is user operated.
When doing our research we found that the knives that come with this model dull very easy, and you may want to buy some better quality ones as back up if you are planning on using it with hardwoods.
The other problem mentioned a few times was that this is not great for heavy imported hardwoods or highly figured woods – but nor is any benchtop planer. You are better off with a cabinet planer if this is what you plan on using it for.
Overall, the DW735X is a top bench top planer with adjustable speed and no snipe, as promised. It is also the most expensive item on our list, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and with DeWalt, you are purchasing a lifelong machine. All the owners that had previous cheaper models agree that paying the bit extra is well worth it.
2. DeWalt DW734 Benchtop Planer
- Great cheaper alternative to new & more expensive model DW735.
- Very smooth finish cut on your final pass.
- Highly rated.
- Very popular.
- High quality – built to last.
- Minimal snipe.
- Great investment.
Not so Good
- Heavy for what is considered a portable planer.
- Standard blades are known to wear quickly.
- Some users mentioning the dust collection system is not very good.
The DeWalt DW734 is the older model of the DW735X planer, one of the main differences is that this model has a slightly smaller blade; also the other difference is that the new model has an auto carriage lock mechanism, which removes the need for user engagement. Because of the extra features of the newer model, the DW734 weighs 12 lb less.
The price ranges for this model between $400 and $500. The original package the product comes in includes a much-needed dust hood. There is a three years guarantee from the manufacturer on this product. This is a sturdy planer weighing 80 lbs.
Just like the DeWalt DW735, this item too has 30% more knife life with the disposable and reversible three blades which you can easily change. The cutter head performs 96 cuts per inch, making this the tool that provides the finest finish of all other planers.
The 15 Amp motor performs 20,000 rotations per minute. The width capacity of the tool is 12 – 1 /2 inches and the depth capacity of the tool is 6 inches. The maximum depth of the cut is 1/8 inches. The turret depth stop allows the user to return to the most frequently used depth. Snipe is removed with the aid of a manual four-column carriage lock.
The feed tables give extra support of 33 1/ 2 inches of material. It also has an additional material removal gauge and extra-large thickness scale for more accurate cuts.
One thing you should be aware of, however, is the fact that users claim that this item eats blades. However, we are talking about people who do this for a living and who use the planer intensively. The same users also praise the product for its no snipe performance.
Overall DW734 is a great product for anyone who wants a cheaper alternative to the DW735 but still wants the quality. It’s not quite as power, but is still solid and produces minimal snipe given the size. For the price, we have this down as the best value for money.
3. WEN 6552 Benchtop Thickness Planer
- Onboard material removal gauge informs users about the cutting depth of each pass
- Plane boards up to 6 Inch thick and 13 Inch wide
- 15A motor generates 25,500 cuts per minute at a 26 feet per minute feed rate
- Three-blade design makes easy work out of even the hardest of woods
- Fan-assisted dust port removes sawdust from work piece
- 2 year warranty
- Excellent value at almost half the price of the bigger brands.
- Easy to change blades.
- Improved and more powerful version of the WEN 6550.
- Perfect for the home DIYer / occasional user.
Not so Good
- Users report sniping created at the leading and trailing edge.
- Not recommended for industrial use.
The WEN 6552 13 inch is a great value thickness planer you can buy for around $370.
The 15 Amp motor performs over 25,500 cuts per minute. You can adjust the depth of the device anywhere from 0 to 3 /32 of an inch. What is more, for a more comfortable experience, the fan-assisted dust post can remove the chips and the sawdust from the workplace.
The blades are carbon steel double edged. The granite table never warps and provides a very smooth surface for the smoothest of finishes. As a material that maintains its shape for a very long period of time, the granite table is guaranteed to provide you with the support you need for your planning project. The warranty offered by the manufacturer for this product is 2 years.
This feature is matched by the cast iron frame which makes the model very sturdy and reliable. You can use it to plane wood 6 inches thick and 13 inches wide. The weight of this product is 70 pounds.
Reviews are pretty positive for this model. It is a good price – quality ratio. Some of the red flags raised by the users concerned some snipe, chipped blades after the first use and the fact that the blades will not cut that well.
All in all, the WEN 6552 planer is good for the money you pay for it. It’s highly recommended if you are causal/infrequent user as opposed to an industrial workshop.
4. Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer
- Better portability than the Dewalt models.
- Easy to use.
- Highly rated.
- Little to zero snipe reported.
- One of the quietest models reviewed.
- Great alternative to the Dewalt DW735.
Not so Good
- Dust collection hood sold separately,
- Dust collection outtake on the hood is an odd size & does not fit many shop vacs,
- Blade change can be difficult.
You can not mention bench tops planers without mentioning a Makita. The Makita 2012NB 12-inch planer with interna-lok automated head clamp comes available at the price range of $550 – $650. This puts this machine at the top end of our bench top list for a similar price to the DeWalt DW735X.
The original package the product comes in includes the 12” double edged planer blade, one magnetic holder, a blade wrench, a key and a tool box.
The great thing about the Makita planers is the low noise levels (83dB). This makes for a very comfortable operation the DIY-er will enjoy even more. Apart from that, there is the interna-lock option which prevents sniping altogether.
The width cutting capacity is of 12 inches. The depth cutting capacity is 1 /8 inches. The cutting depth can be adjusted for more precision planning and stop for repeat cuts.
The 15 amp motor performs 8,500 rotations per minute. It only weighs 62 pounds, making it easily transportable to the work site. Also, it comes with a LED light which indicates when the plug is not in.
The blades are easily changed, and disposable double-edge blades are available. Another great feature consists in the optional dust collector.
Makita is one of the leading brands in the industry, and you are never going to go far wrong if buy their products.
5. Delta Power Tools 22-555 Portable Thickness Planer
- Great value,
- Amazing warranty
- Very accurate
- Solid build
- Produces very little snipe
- Blade change is easy
- highly recommended for the home DIYer / casual user
Not so Good
- Not so great with harder woods
- Not powerful enough for the professional / heavy user
The Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 inch portable thickness planer is a mid-ranged benchtop planer which you can get for the price of $320 – $400.
With a 15 Amp motor able to make 18,800 cuts per minute, this portable thickness planner handles well and can meet the demands of users for various projects for smooth and accurate planning. The motor efficiency is improved with the help of a stainless steel bed which reduces friction. Also, it is protected against overheating thanks to an overload button.
The maximum length of the cut is 3 /32 inches. These are performed by two double edge reversible knives. They benefit from a quick change system, so you do not have to deal with difficult-to-use alignment jigs.
The infeed and outfeed well support long pieces of material, and the snipe is much reduced. Also, two polyurethane rollers prevent the material from slipping. They are placed next to the cutter head for a smoother result.
The cutter head is precision machined steel for endurance and accuracy. The chips resulting from the cutting work is collected from either right or left sides of the planer, as it is reversible for increased convenience.
It is very stable, thanks to its four-column design. The Delta Tools planer weighs 58 pounds, and it has a warranty of 5 years, the biggest warranty for any product on our list.
Reviewers find that this is a great machine, especially for the money. Professionals feel that it is a real improvement over previous models, and they are comfortable enough with it to use of on bigger projects as well.
There have been some sniping problems mentioned by users who added that they even trying tampering with the planer to adjust all the parts and to prevent this from happening again. Other people just feel that the motor could have been a bit stronger.
Overall, we tried to include in our list the Delta Power Tools option to cover as much of the market offer as possible. This is an affordable benchtop planer with an extended warranty. If you feel the need to make a very safe purchase from a brand that knows how to back up a product, this is the one for you.
6. WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer
- Granite table provides a sturdy non-marring surface for wood to smoothly travel over
- Plane boards up to 6 inches thick and 12.5 inches wide, adjust depth to plane off anywhere from 0 to 3/32 of an inch with each pass
- 15-amp motor generates 18,800 cuts per minute at a 26 feet per minute feed rate
- Fan-assisted dust port removes sawdust from workpiece
- The smooth granite table never warps and provides precise support to wood passing through the machine, combine that with the heavy duty cast iron base for a sturdy planer that does not walk or wobble during operation
- Excellent value for money.
- One of the cheapest planers on the market.
- One of the top sellers backed by many happy users.
- Solid heavy base, not made of cheap lightweight material.
Not so Good
- No spiral head.
- Not recommended for heavy commercial use.
7. Grizzly G0505 12-1/2-Inch Portable Planer
- 1/8″ thick knives are designed to last for years.
- Comes with extra large table extensions for better in/out feed.
- Ideal choice for the home DIY woodworker.
Not so Good
- Quite an old model now and lacks some features of the new top models.
- Not recommended for heavy commercial users.
Buying a benchtop planer (and what to look out for)
Finding the best wood planer does not mean getting the most expensive product out there and expecting it to perform miracles for every dollar spent.
On the contrary, it means looking into product specifications and reviews to make sure that the product you are thinking of buying is the right one.
Unlike simpler tools, planers have evolved to such a state that each manufacturer chose to grow and innovate in a different way. This is what makes the products different and this is what you need to look for.
Evaluate your project first and see what exactly stands out. If it takes a long time because it implies a heavy workload, then you will need a planer that handles well, is lightweight and has an ergonomic handle which does not allow your hand to tire fast.
If the workload is heavy but the tasks are all the same, you can make it better by choosing the planer with the right width or depth of cut to get your work done in no time. Also, consider the knives and the type of material you are using. Sure, all manufacturers use the best material for the knives, and they try to make them as resistant as possible, but some types of wood could be more difficult to cut or could have knots.
Think of where you will be doing all the work. This will make the dust collecting system essential. Reading reviews about the performance of the dust collection system is another thing you have to do before making up your mind.
Also, some jobs are more creative, while others are more mechanical but require great accuracy and the same dimensions for all boards. In this case, you will need a planer with depth stops to set the required thickness of the board. It will allow you to work fast without thinking too much about the settings of the planer.
This makes handheld planers better for smoothing wood, but precision work is better left to the benchtop models. While you might say that since you are not used to working with such a tool, a lighter one might be easier to handle, in reality, handheld and benchtop do not only differ in matters of weight but mainly in the type of projects they can handle.
As far as professionals have it, the handheld options may seem appealing because they are surely easier to carry around. However, a professional who has worked with planers a long time now knows the limitations of handheld planers over benchtop ones in ample projects. They are more likely to go for the benchtop models.
Benchtop models also pack bigger motors, allowing them to cut through more. What is more, the support system of the benchtop items is unequaled when you need high precision with your work.
What is the difference between a jointer and a planer?
These are two different tools with different purposes. A planer is designed to create perfectly parallel surfaces while cutting wood to the desired thickness. A jointer is used to create smooth, flat surfaces along the four edges of a piece of wood.
Doing your homework is crucial before buying such a product. Going by a look and feel alone with not help you in this situation. A planer is a product which must be chosen according to specific demands from the person who is going to use it. Failing to meet these needs does not mean that the product was faulty, but that you did not choose the right model for the right type of tasks.
Even though you are just getting started, and you are only a weekend warrior, choosing the right product for your first project might open your appetite for similar future projects. Also, a tool that is easy to use will teach you how to use it better and improve. Unfortunately, things can also go the other way around as well.
Bob Zeliff says
Is there will there be a helical carbide cutter available for this? Dewalt 735
I’m moving and have to sharply down size my shop, so have to give up my 20″. Planer with carbide cutters
Jared Fitzgerald says
Check out cutech planers
With a few exceptions, many portable planers come out of the same factory in Taiwan. They make 3 basic models and have done so for years. A company called Cutech imports nothing but portable planers and jointers. It is expensive to put a Shellix head with replaceble spiral cutters on a DeWalt 735. For the cost of a basic 735 you can get a top of the line Cutech with spiral carbide blades. They cut better, use less energy, last a long time, can be rotated and are much quieter. The reviews are excellent. Straight, thin blades are obsolete. They are importing what was the Steel City and also the old Ridgid, before it was cheaped out. Much more bang for the buck than the 735.