Benchtop Planers Comparison Essay

Essential in a woodworking man’s shop, the planer makes itself an indispensable gear piece to own as it allows you to trim wood boards to a consistent thickness throughout their entire length. Ideal for use when performing other tasks as well, like integrating square stock with beadboard and preparing rough stock for gluing on furniture pieces, it is a workshop tool you simply cannot afford to go without. In the following, we will present you with the best benchtop wood planers and talk more about these useful tools to help you easily decide what the right model is for you.

Top 5 Benchtop Planer Comparison

Benchtop Woodworking Planers Reviews

1. Makita 2012NB

Out with the old, and in with the new – this seems to be the premise followed by Makita when the company developed the 2012NB planer. Even though it is a high performing tool that offers speed like you have never witnessed before, it is incredibly quiet, producing only 83 dB. Thus, you will not be discomforted in any way by using it.

Featuring a powerful 15 amp motor and delivering an 8500 RPM no-load speed, it is a woodworking tool you will have a pleasant time using and with which you will finish projects in no time.

It features LED indicator lights that announce you when the planer is plugged in and easy for use, a feature boasted by few tools on this market. For enhanced convenience in use, it allows quick and easy blade changes. Additionally, the 4-post design delivers superior stability in use, thus making it safe for you to operate it.

PROS

CONS

Low operational noise – produces only 83dBNot the best choice for beginner woodworkers
Accurate and efficient operation ensures long-term reliability
Specially designed to reduce snap at a minimum
Perfect for professional workshops as it works well even with an extensive workload

VERDICT

As expected from the top choice in terms of benchtop planers, the 2012NB is a capable tool you can confidently rely on even when you are dealing with heavy-duty workloads. Portable and discrete in its operation, this wood planer is the right purchase to make regardless of your skill level or the manner in which you intend to use it – either professionally or at home when working on minor projects.


2. DeWalt DW734

This woodworking benchtop is widely regarded as being convenient to work with due to its overall design – it measures 24 inches in length, 17 inches in width, and 21 inches in height, so it does not take up too much space in the workshop, and the metal construction ensures durability. However, it weighs 80 pounds, which is a tad heavier than industry standard, so you should find a permanent spot for it as soon as you bring it in.

It puts metric as well as inch scale measurements at your disposal to ensure you will use it hassle-free. The 8-foot long cord ensures positioning it wherever you want won’t be an issue. It boasts a maximum cutting width of 12.5 inches, more than the industry average, and a maximum cutting height of 6 inches.

The 15 amps amperage of the motor ensures it is a powerful addition to your woodworking tool collection. It boasts a hard to surpass 10000 RPM cutterhead speed, and the planer feed rate is 26 FPM. Furthermore, it produces up to 18000 cuts per minute while it operates, so speed will be one of your strong points when woodworking with it.

PROS

CONS

Side handles make it easy for you to carry and shift the planer anywhere you wantCustomers have complained it does not do the best job when handling hard wood like oak
Strong cutting force due to the powerful motor it features
Easy to clean and maintain thanks to dust collection port
Allows detailed work and cutting of narrow pieces

VERDICT

Boosting an impressive overall quality, the DW734 is the wood planer which managed to impress us the most. Although it comes at a relatively high price compared to other models, it is worth the investment considering the smooth surface it leaves behind. Easy to use and coming with a plethora of features that add to its convenience and performance, this is a tool you must acquire regardless of your skill level.


3. Grizzly G0505

Compact and lightweight, the G0505 measures only 21.75 inches in length, 27-3/8 inches in width, and 18.75 inches in height, and it weighs 71 pounds. It comes with a 7-foot long cord which allows you to position it wherever you please in the workshop. Important cutting performance details you should be aware of include the fact that it supports a maximum cutting height of 6 inches, a maximum depth of 3/32 inches, and a maximum width of 12.5 inches.

Undoubtedly, the greatest highlight of this product is the 32 FPM feed rate that exceeds industry standards and ensures a qualitative operation. It delivers up to 52 cuts per inch, and it can produce up to 20000 cuts per minute, ensuring your woodworking project will be done in no time.

It comes with multiple safety features that add to the purchase desirability of this products, like the thermal overload protection feature and the on/off toggle switch with safety key. Thus, you can free your mind of any worries when it comes to your protection while using the planer as well as when it comes to the tool’s resistance to heavy-duty use.

PROS

CONS

Hand wheel depth adjustment allows you to customize the operation as you likeHigh noise output of 112 dB – you should wear ear protection when using it
Cast-iron table is highly durable, making it a planer you will use for years on end
Board return rollers enhance convenience in use
Features a toggle switch with safety key to ensure protection when using it

VERDICT

Highly portable as it is light and thus easy to shift its location in the workshop, this Grizzly wood planer is a tool you must get your hands on regardless if you are working on a professional level or just in your free time. Besides coming with a multitude of features that help make it easier to work with, it can be yours for a relatively low price, so you will not have to spend all the cash you have set aside on it.


4. WEN 6550

Able to plane planks up to 12.5 inches wide and 6 inches thick without a problem, the 6550 produced by WEN is a tool you definitely need in your woodworking shop. Although it comes with numerous features, what is to appreciate about it is the fact that it comes at a cheap price, thus catering to the budget and financial possibilities of most people.

It comes with an outfeed as well as an infeed table that can both be folded down when you want to store the tool. In terms of design, it measures 23.5 inches in length, 24 inches in width, and 19 inches in height. When it comes to cutting performance, know that it delivers up to 17000 cuts per minute, more than enough to quickly finish any woodworking project you are working on.

The granite table it comes with ensures an enhanced stability and safety in use, so you need not worry about unwanted accidents taking place. The cast-iron frame it features prevents it from wobbling when it is used. Additionally, it comes with a depth adjustment knob that allows you to decide how deep the smoothing of the surface should be with each pass.

PROS

CONS

Tri-roller system allows you to cut and plane wood without experiencing snipeSome customers have reported the plastic height adjustment knob breaking after regular use
Dust hose connection port helps you keep a clean working surface with little effort
Cast-iron frame helps reduce vibrations, thus keeping the tool neatly on the surface you place it on
Rubber adjustment handles allow easy changer and adjustment of planer blades

VERDICT

The affordable price this WEN wood planer comes at might have you wrongly thinking it is a cheap product, when in reality, it is one of the best performing tools on the market. Easy to work with and allowing you to adjust and customize the operation as you see fit, you will get accustomed to using it fast as it is designed with your best interest in mind.


5. Powertec PL1251

Cheap yet effective, the PL1251 is the go-to benchtop woodworking planer for hobbyists and beginners alike. It measures only 24 by 18 by 18 inches, so it does not take up much space in the workshop. Although it boasts a durable metal construction, the planer only weighs 63.6 pounds, so it will not be difficult to change its place whenever you want to.

The 9400 RPM cutterhead speed rating more than suffices for any size woodworking job to be done in no time. Furthermore, as it produces up to 18800 cuts per minute, you can see why speed is not an issue as long as you use it. It allows you to adjust the depth of the cut as you like for the planks or whatever materials you are using to be cut perfectly.

It features side-mounted carrying handles which allow you to move it around the workshop with ease. In addition, it comes with a safety enhancement feature you will surely appreciate in the form of the spindle lock which allows an injury-free blade change.

PROS

CONS

For safety in use, you can lock the cutterhead when you change the bladesDust port is not included
Best quality-price ratio out there – comes at an affordable price
Minimal snipe even when it is passed through heavy-duty use
Adjustments when using it can be easily make thanks to its convenient design

VERDICT

If your desire is to own a budget-friendly wood planer that does not skimp on features and does not sacrifice performance quality to be accessible price-wise, this Powertec model is your ideal choice. Designed for light and mid-grade projects, it will not fail you in the long run, regardless of how often you use it. After testing it ourselves, we confidently recommend it to all DIYers.

What Is the Purpose of This Tool? – General Info You Must Be Aware Of

A benchtop planer is a woodworking tool you use to produce boards that have an equal thickness, thus being able to put together furniture pieces or do other types of projects that involve the use of wood boards. Traditionally, they used to be handheld tools, but they have evolved with the passing of time, now finding on the market a variety of tools, including benchtop, portable, jointer, and thickness planers.

To use the planer for creating the desired thickness on a wooden board, you must adjust the cutterhead to set the desired cutting depth and turn the machine on. After turning it on, feed the plank through the planer. Now it will be carried by the rollers forward, and smoothened throughout its surface by the spinning blades the machine features. It comes in handy when you are dealing with irregular wood planks, which is a common occurrence as you already know.

As time passes and you begin to master using the machine, you will even be capable of using it for beveling hinge-less door edges, for example, as well as other more intricate projects. Needless to say, this is a machine you cannot afford to miss from your woodworking collection if you do not want to be limited when performing various tasks and projects.

Wood Planer Safety Advice for Rookies and Pros

Regardless of the woodworking project you take up, safety should be your main priority as you will have to work with power tools most of the time. Seeing how a benchtop planer is a power tool itself, you must be aware of how to correctly use it in order to keep yourself safe from danger. In the following, we will list the safety considerations you must always pursue when working with the planer, so check them out and never skip on them to keep yourself out of trouble. Here is our compilation of safety advice you must follow:

  • Make sure the planer is turned off before you plug it in;
  • When you are finished using it, switch the machine off and unplug it;
  • When changing the blades, do not stick to only turning the machine off but rather unplug it as well as an extra caution measure;
  • When operating the planer, do not look into the infeed or outfeed;
  • Keep your hands away from the infeed and outfeed at all times – keep a distance of at least 3 inches;
  • Do not pass boards that are too short – shorter than the distance between the infeed and outfeed – or too thin – under ¼-inch thickness – through the planer;
  • When the board gets stuck, switch the machine off and unplug it, raise the cutterhead, and remove it;
  • Wear proper safety gear at all times when using the machine – safety glasses, a dust mask, ear protection;
  • Never wear loose clothing.

Makita 2012NB

DeWalt DW734

Grizzly G0505

WEN 6550

Powertec PL1251

While there are many tools that a woodshop needs, a planer is one of the best ways to really advance your woodworking abilities.  It will allow you to go from good to great and refine the projects that your make.  I do not recommend buying it if you don’t already have the essentials, but it is certainly every DIYer should consider.

I’ve made this “best of” guide here to bring all the benchtop planers into one place and help you discern one from the other.  It does not include floor planers or hand planers.  Both of those are totally different and serve different purposes.

Who Needs a Benchtop Planer?

Hobbyists and new woodworkers who are really looking to step up their game.  Basically anyone who likes to build things on a regular basis (out of wood of course).  This can include:

  • Hobbyists
  • Weekend warriors
  • Anyone working on the job site
    • A benchtop planer is great for this because it is still somewhat portable

Even if you make a few projects a year then you might be inclined to get a planer strictly because it will make things easier.

If you are more of a cabinet maker or are in the business of making cool stuff out of wood, then I recommend that you upgrade to a floor model planer.  It will have more features and greater capacity and power.

What is this Guide?

This guide is to help beginners and experts both find the best benchtop planer.

All these planers will do a decent job planing hardwood, but each tool varies a little from the other. The higher priced units offer a few more thoughtful features.

For example, the Rikon comes with a spiral cutterhead, and the Dewalt DW735X has two speed settings for finetuning.

I look at each planer based on price, features, and consumer reviews. Then I rank and list the pros and cons of each tool.

Check out the comparison guide and planer reviews below.

Dewalt DW735X

Features

  • 3 Blade cutterhead
  • 13″ Width
  • 2 Feed speed settings – 96 or 179 Cuts per Inch
  • 15 Amp Motor
  • Automatic carriage lock to reduce snipe
  • Fan assisted chip exhaust

Details

This planer offers some great features at a price that is competitive with any other benchtop planer.  There are two feed speed settings.  This allows for a faster speed for strictly dimensioning rough lumber, and the slower speed gives you a finer finish.  The more cuts per inch allow it to do a better job.

Unlike the other planers, this one comes with an infeed and outfeed table.  This adds up to a total table surface that is 33 1/2 inches long.  This helps with snipe issues and general usability.

The dimensioning abilities are as follows:

  • Max cut depth 1/8″
  • Max width 12 1/2″
  • Max depth 6″

Knife changes with this planer are fairly straightforward.  It requires one tool, the blades are reversible, and indexing is simple with pins that fit into the blade.  This means that there are small raised pins that fit into holes in the blade.  That way the blade will always be in the right position when you set it into the cutterhead.

Supposedly the blades last 30% longer than traditional disposable blades.

Another good feature is that it has dust port than can either be directed onto the floor or hooked up to a vacuum.  It is fan assisted, meaning it will blow the wood chips out of the way.  You will probably want to have a vacuum no matter what, but this will make sure that wood chips don’t get stuck anywhere along the way.

The planer itself is 90 lbs.  This will allow you to use it as permanent shop fixture or take it to a job site.  (It is 90 lbs, so that trip to the job site might exercise your back a little bit)

What’s Good About it?

It is a simple and easy machine to use.  The instructions are clear and the setup of the machine is intuitive.

The exhaust port is easy to get to and clean.

The blades are easy to change.

It is heavy duty.  It is really as close as you can get to a permanent shop planer while remaining portable.

What’s Not So Good?

Some users have reported that the unit is abnormally loud.  This is just in comparison with some other planers available.

The feeding rollers can slip a little but this usually only happens in cold temperatures.

It is susceptible to clogs, such as when you plane a bad knot.  This requires some care.  Make sure that there are always chips coming out of the dust port.  Otherwise it is probably clogged up.  A vacuum may help this problem.

TL;DR

A good, solid planer for the money.

Rikon 25-130H

Features

  • 6 Row, Helical Style Cutterhead
  • 13″ Width
  • 10,000 RPM Cutterhead Speed
  • 15 Amp Motor
  • Infeed and Outfeed Tables
  • Complete Steel Construction

Details

This planer offers a feature that you can’t find in any of the others at this price point: a helical style cutterhead.  There are several advantages to this design.  First of all, it produces a clean and efficient cut.

There are 26 steel blade inserts making up six rows on the cutterhead.  Each one of these inserts is a two sided blade.  This means that you can rotate a damaged blade to the other side, or replace it completely.

This planer comes with an infeed and outfeed table, along with all steel construction.  The steel body creates rigidity and strength, allowing you to not worry about its stability.

The flat top allows you to return the board over the top of the machine if you are operating a two person team.  This is a neat design because they have thought about the efficiency and ease of use. Snipe is still a factor on this machine, as with many planers of this size.  Make sure to plane the board before cutting it to size.

The dimensioning abilities are as follows:

  • Max cut depth 1/8″
  • Max width 13″
  • Max depth 6″

This model does have a wood chip fan and dust port.  This will allow you hook up a vacuum to your machine and keep your shop clean.

Rikon makes replacement blades for this model, along with a floor stand accessory.

This planer is 73 lbs.  That is about 20 lbs lighter than the Dewalt DW735X

What’s Good About it?

The machine is built with quality materials and a smart design.  The learning curve is not too steep, so it should have a place in most wood shops.

The cutterhead works well to efficiently remove stock.  The blade inserts can be replaced with ease.

It is a good size and has decent capacity.  It is well on par with any of the other planers in its category.

What’s Not So Good?

The blade inserts for this unit are somewhat expensive.  One user reported having to change his blades quite often.   This should not discourage one from buying it, however, because all blades will need to be replaced as you use them.

The snipe on your boards can be relatively bad with this planer.  Make sure to keep it supported well and to not cut your boards to length until after you have planed them.

TL;DR

A very affordable helical style planer that does a decent job.

Dewalt DW734

Features

  • 3 Blade cutterhead
  • 12.5″ Width
  • 96  Cuts per Inch @ 10 RPM
  • 15 Amp Motor
  • 4 post carriage lock to reduce snipe

Details

This planer is a budget workhorse.  It is cheaper than the Rikon and its big brother, the Dewalt DW735X.  But don’t let that deceive you.  It is still a quality planer with some great features.

First of all, it has a powerful motor that should last for a long time.  Don’t hesitate to invest in this machine if you are worried about its longevity.  At 15 amps, it has enough power to plane a range of hardwoods.

The blades are indexable and reversible.  This means that you can easily rotate a blade around when it gets wore out.  The indexing pins help you align it perfectly so the cuts are even across the cutterhead.

 

The infeed and outfeed table amounts to 33-1/2″ of table support.  This is helpful to prevent or minimize snipe and help you get the boards in and through the planer.

The dimensioning abilities are as follows:

  • Max cut depth 1/8″
  • Max width 12 1/2″
  • Max depth 6″

Like the DW735X knife changes are easy.  It requires just one tool.  The blades that Dewalt provides are also supposed to last 30% longer than traditional disposable blades.

Difference Between DW734 and DW735X

The DW734 does not have a chip assisted fan like the 735.  This means that your vacuum will have to do most of the work, but that is not a deal breaker in my opinion.  It still has a dust hood and dust collection port.

Also, the 735 has two feeding speeds. The slower infeed speed allows the planer to make more cuts per inch, creating a finer finish.  This planer only has one speed at 96 cuts per inch.   This will likely be quality enough for you, but there will be certain situations where that feature is beneficial to your work.

This planer is 80 lbs.  This is about in the same range as the other planers.  It is heavy, but it needs to have some weight to it to keep its stability.

What’s Good About it?

It is a strong and quality machine.  The design is intuitive and simple.  There are no extra features that will get in your way of simply planing boards.

The blades are easy to change.  They are reversible, so it requires less replacement parts.

The measurements on the depth guide are clear and easy to see.  You will be well aware of what you are doing at all times.

What’s Not So Good?

The feeding rollers need to be cleaned every once and while, or it will start slipping.  Some users have reported having issues with this.  Generally, the rollers will struggle more when the temperature is low.  Keep this in mind when operating this machine.

Some users have reported the blades wearing out quickly.  Again, this is kind of the nature of the beast.  Planing wood is hard work and blades will only last so long.  That is why Dewalt has made it painless to replace the blades.

The chips from the wood and sawdust tend to fly all over the place.  If you are in a shop environment, it is wise to have a dust collection system in place.  This could simply be a shop vac on the floor hooked up to the dust port.

TL;DR

A great budget planer.  Minimal features, but the ones it does have are quality and should last a long time.

Delta 22-555

Features

  • 2 Blade cutterhead
  • 9400 RPM or 18,800 cuts per minute
  • 13″ Width
  • 58 lbs
  • 15 Amp Motor
  • Left or Right Dust Port

Details

This Delta planer is an effective machine for the hobby woodshop.  The price is lower than some of the more high end benchtop planers available.  It is built from a few different materials to control the price and weight.

The outer shell, for example, is made from a type of plastic.  This is in contrast to the others like the Rikon where it is solid metal.  That does not ruin the rigidity of the product, however, because it has a four post construction that keeps the cutter head solid and in place.  The measurements and quality of the fittings is not compromised by the plastic outer shell.

Like the other planers in this list, it runs off of a 15 amp motor.  The feed speed is reasonable for the power of the motor.  It is powerful enough cut almost any wood, you will just need to adjust the cut depth on some of the tougher hardwoods.  It may only be able to cut less than 1/16 of an inch at a time.

Snipe is an issue just like on the other planers (although a few users did not have any snipe issues).  You should take the normal steps to cut down on snipe, such as making sure to adjust the infeed and outfeed tables, not cutting the board to length till after it is planed, and even using sacrificial boards beside the board you are planing.

The dimensioning abilities are as follows:

  • Max cut depth 1/8″
  • Max width 13″
  • Max depth 6″

This cutterhead only has 2 blades.  They are reversible and easy to change.  So you will get a good lifespan out of each blade since you can simple switch it around.  The two blade cutterhead seems to perform just as well as some of the 3 blade models.  One positive to this is that it is cheaper to replace the blades, although they may or may not need to be replaced more often.  These blades are indexed with holes so that alignment is straightforward and easy.

The dust port on this machine can be directed to the left or right side.  This is nice because it can be changed according to your shop layout.  It does not have a fan assisted dust port like the DW735X, but a basic shop vac should help with sawdust control when you run the machine.

This planer is lighter than most at only 56 lbs.  As long as it is on a stable surface this could be a big benefit to you if you need to move it around frequently.  For example, you may need to take it to a jobsite if you are a carpenter.  56 lbs is very manageable compared to the 80-90 lb range of the other models.

What’s Good About it?

It is lightweight and built with careful consideration of materials to reign in the price.  You may see this as a bad thing, but they have not cut back in the crucial components.

It is basic to use and good for a part time woodworker.  Anyone who is planing boards day in and day out should not consider this planer unless it is all they can afford.

The dust port can change sides to accommodate your shop situation.

The blades are easy to change.

Users have reported it to be quite accurate, so your cuts should be satisfactory.

What’s Not So Good?

Its cheaper construction can affect quality control and its longevity can be questionable.  Anything built with a significant amount of plastic instead of metal runs the risk of having more stuff break.

It lacks some more advanced features like dual feed speed settings.  This is a compromise you make to take advantage of a better priced product.

Some users have reported getting units that were not calibrated very well, and the four post construction had too much slack in its joints.  This resulted in poor planing, along with excentuated snipe issues.

Judging from some user reports, it can be hit or miss with this unit.  This is not surprising considering it is geared more toward the budget minded side of things.

TL;DR

A cheaper option that can usually provide similar results as the better models.

WEN 6550

Features

  • 2 Blade cutterhead
  • 12.5″ Width
  • 18,000 cuts per minute
  • 15 Amp Motor
  • Fan assisted dust port

Details

The Wen planer is almost in a class by itself because it is on the cheaper side of things, but it has very good user reviews.  Most of the people who buy this planer (with realistic expectations) are very happy with their purchase.

It has some of the same features as other planers in its price range.  This includes a 15 amp motor that is powerful enough for most cuts as long as the depth is not too much.  It also has a easy depth management and a clear gauge for you to see where the cutterhead is set up.

The infeed and outfeed tables are made from granite for strong and durable use.  This also helps with the stability of the machine.

The dimensioning abilities are as follows:

  • Max cut depth 3/32″
  • Max width 12 1/2″
  • Max depth 6″

This machine uses a 2 blade cutterhead with reversible blades.  The blades are relatively easy to change.  Like the other planers in this category, it uses indexable blades so that installation of new blades is simple and correct from the beginning.

Snipe is an issue just like any other planer, but it uses a three roller system to help minimize the issue.

Like the DW735X, this machine has a fan assisted dust port.  This is a great feature to have at such a low price point.  It separates this unit from the others in its price range.  Although it you will still need a shop vac or some kind of vacuum system, it is very helpful to remove sawdust and wood chips away from the cutterhead.  This allows it to more efficiently make cuts.

The shell of this unit appears to be plastic, but with its cast iron base and granite feed tables its rigidity should not be an issue.

This planer sits right in the middle in terms of weight at 79 lb.  This is a decent weight because you can still move it around but you will not have to worry about it moving around when planing boards.

What’s Good About it?

Good quality construction, with more thought put into each feature than normal at this price point.

Side handles make this machine easy to transport.

Fan assisted dust port helps get rid of wood chips and sawdust.

The blades are easy to change.

Heavy duty infeed and outfeed tables.

Roller system helps minimize snipe.

What’s Not So Good?

Quality control can be issue at this price point, but still very uncommon.  Only a few users have experience issues with this unit.

 

It lacks some of the better features on higher end units like dual feed speed control.

TL;DR

An impressive planer that can hold its own against higher end units.

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