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Best Benchtop Planer for the Money: Reviews & Buyer Guide

If you ask an experienced woodworker, he’ll tell you that a thickness planer is one tool that you must have if you want to get into woodworking. Others may think that they can do woodworking without the use of a thickness planner. However, a benchtop thickness planer can do several things that other common tools cannot.

A plainer, whether it’s a smaller bench, top model or a heavy duty, four model is a must have for any shop. whether you’re building a tabletop or parts for cabinet doors and drawers, or even some minor woodworking inside the garage, a planer is  a major part of proper board dimensioning.

It’s smooth, rough lumber. It can be used to mill lumber to the exact thickness you need and enables you to make uniform boards. If you’re thinking of deck building or remodeling your home or merely interested in woodworking, this review will definitely help in deciding the ideal bench top thickness planner to purchase.

Best Benchtop Planer for the Money

IMAGEPRODUCTAMAZON
WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness PlanerCHECK PRICE
Dewalt DW 734 Benchtop PlanerCHECK PRICE
Makita's 2012NB 12-Inch PlanerCHECK PRICE
Porter-cable PC 305TP 12 Inch Thickness PlanerCHECK PRICE
CRAFTMAN Benchtop PlanerCHECK PRICE
  1. WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer.

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It’s two blade cutting system is powered with a 15 amp, your motor, which easily boards up to 12.5 inches wide by six inches thick wood. At 26 feet per minute feed rate, it can provide 18,000 cuts per minute.

The heavy duty non-marring granite table gives a smooth flat surface, which entirely supports the wood when it passes through worrying about distortion or warp is no longer necessary because the granite eliminates these issues. The WEN and 65 50 benchtop thickness planner cast iron frame, guaranteed sturdy base, which will not wobble our walk while you’re operating it.

It uses try roller feeding system that helps to minimize snipe. The SK five dual blades that are located in the middle roller are reversible thus ensuring sharp cuts and making them long lasting. The foldable adjustable in-feed and outfield tables support the long work pieces as they glide through the planer.

Its rubber grip handle will help you adjust the height of the planer to allow comfort and precise measurement. The collapsible tables inside handled with inside hollows, ease the transport around the workshop and to prevent mess.

And irritating sawdust flying around, attach the dust extractive device to the two inch dust port, which has fan-assisted .WEN and 65 50 benchtop thickness planner comes with a two year warranty, helpful customer service line and a nationwide network of service technicians.

Pros:

  • Smooth finish.
  • Sturdy face.
  • Granite table.
  • Precise measurement.

Cons:

  • None.
  1. Dewalt DW 734 Benchtop Planer.

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It’s a perfect woodworking tool for do it tourself. Home projects backed up with a 15 amp, your motor, which generates 20,000 RPM. The three knife cutter head of DeWalts DW 734 can make significant deep cuts in any hardwood material and provide 96 cuts per inch.

The extra large thickness scale and material removal gauge guaranteed quick and precise cuts to be specific. This full featured planner can make one eighth inch maximum cut depth, 12 and a half inch with capacity and six inch depth capacity. It’s easy to have a clean and custom stock with this reliable tool.

The DeWalt benchtop planner as a four column carriage lock that reduces snipe causing motion, thus producing clean and most elegant finishes for your home improvement projects. Changing knives is easy because they are disposable and reversible. Make sure that you have a spare to ensure continuous work. However, the blades lasts 30% longer compared to other brands.

This portable and handy benchtop plain has extra long in-feed and out feed table that allow 33 and a half inches material support. And to finish, it comes with a three year limited warranty, 90 day money back guarantee, and one year free service.

Pros:

  • Powerful motor.
  • Precise cuts.
  • Portable design.
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • The end snipes with time
  1. Makita’s 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interlock Automated Head Clamp.

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This 61.8 pound item is compact and can be transported to the job site. It is best recommended to cut wood and is perfect for even newbies. Makita’s planer is easy to use and does not require complex instructions.

Aside from that, the internal lock automated head clamp is an addition here. If you simply just want to remodel your kitchen and you’re an occasional do it yourself hobbyist, and this planner is best for you.

It boasts low noise, 83 decibels while at work. Add to that, it has an extended table and a dust hood collection system, which you can connect with the planer. However, this is optional. Makita’s planer is made for fast and easier changing of blades. With this product, you can use disposable blades that are double-edged.

To know easily if the planner is plugged on, it has an LED light indicator. Makita has an easy on and off switch. It is convenient for the user. The cutting depth is adjustable for precise planning and repeat cots.

The exclusive internal lock head clamp works to remove snipe and for effective planning performance Makita is ideal for woodwork, such as staircases, cabinets, closets furniture, and much more.

Pros:

  • Compact design.
  • Low noise.
  • Easy to use.
  • Precise planning.

Cons:

  • None.
  1. Porter-cable PC 305TP 12 Inch Thickness Planer.

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This fantastic tool is loaded with unique features and modern technology systems that will serve you thoroughly if you’re in need of a good planner to add to your workshop. It is portable and works exceptionally well in reclaiming old boards, as well as new ones.

The Porter Cable TP Planer offers a powerful 15 amp for superior stock removal that cuts quick and smooth through boards. Luckily, it does not make a lot of noise that can disturb your neighborhood when in use.

This thickness planner comes with two solid steel knives that you can easily replace and ensures smooth operation and long life. Plus the blades that come with this planner are double sided.

When one side gets blunt, you can flip it over to the other sharp end and it will work like a new one. You can easily raise or lower the blades as this Porter Cable Planer comes with a cranking mechanism, which you will find very useful during operation.

Another additional feature of Porter Cables is the patented Cotter elevation on four precision ground columns that provides stability and control for better finish quality. Moreover, over uses poly V belt cutter head drive that allows a very compact solution for maximum power transfer.

Pros:

  • Powerful motor.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Great stability.
  • Long life use.

Cons:

  • Snipe is aggressive.
  1. CRAFTMAN Benchtop Planer

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CRAFTMAN is another top notch bench top model that grants you to have the balance of power effectiveness and low cost with the price tag below $250, heavy duty specs and dimension, the 15 amp motor fast cutter head, and a cut per minute power tech really makes this item a great deal.

CRAFTMAN beats almost every benchtop planer that is best suited for light duty and small do it yourself projects. It’s compact and lightweight only 60 pounds. This item is an exceptional supplement to your shop that just calls for a little space to operate.

This planer will also give you the best result, everything you need in planning, all kinds of wood. The 15 at motor will give you 19,000 cuts per minute and the cutter head can reach a speed of 9,400 revolutions per minute, which makes it speedy for small projects.

The four column design adds support and stability to the unit decreasing any movement, swapping the blades is simple with the index pin setup and the spindle lock makes it safe.

Pros:

  • Best value.
  • Powerful motor.
  • Great stability.
  • Affordable price.

Cons:

  • None.

So how does a planer work?

Well first, not all planners have the same or offer the same features, but here’s a quick primer on the basic operation of the planner. It’s always best to begin working with the workpiece that is already relatively flat on one side, whether it was milled with a joiner or a resaw bandsaw, flat surfaces key.

Remember you are trying to create a uniformly dimensioned workpiece from a somewhat rough piece. And a joiner will give you a flat surface relative to the piece, but flat doesn’t always mean uniform.

Material thickness.

Check your material thickness and use the planar heighth hand wheel to set the height accordingly. This can take some trial and error to reach a top of the workpiece. You know you have the thickness set properly when the infeed rollers of the machine start pulling the workpiece into the cutterhead.

Once constant workpiece contact is achieved, you can make small hand wheel adjustments with each successive pass to dimension the board to its final size, but more on that and a little bit.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening inside the planar as the cut is taking place. The in-feed and out feed rollers on the planer can be either a rubber coated or cerated seal to help get the traction on the workpiece. And on some larger models, bed rollers might be present as well.

Bed rollers sit nearly flush to the planers table itself, and they’re designed to assist the in-feed and outfield rollers with moving the workpiece along. So as the workpiece enters the planer, it first must pass a depth limiter, which is often built into the front of the planer and acts as the indicator for a one eighth inch max depth the cut. Now, do not exceed this one eighth inch max limit.

In-feed roller

Next it’s picked up by the in-feed roller, was mentioned earlier and pass beneath a chip breaker that runs the full width of the table. The chip breaker, along with the chip deflector helps kick material into the dust collection system, helping to prevent chips from being pressed into the workpiece.

The cutterhead spans the width of the table as well, and is often represented in the name of the planer itself referring to the maximum width of cut with the cutterhead working hard to remove material and the in-feed roller pushing the workpiece inward.

Pressure bar

The next stop is the pressure bar, the pressure bar, which is available on machines with a 20 inch capacity and larger. Apply slight downward pressure on the freshly cut work piece, stabilizing it as it leaves the cutterhead and works its way to the outfield roller. The outfield roller also spans the width of the work table and provides downward pressure and assist by pulling the material through the cutterhead and beyond once the cut is complete.

Now the entire time the work piece has moved through the machine, it has traveled smoothly on the main table and in-feed and out feed wings. A perfectly flat main table, whether it’s steel or a precision ground cast iron model is essential.

There are several styles of in-feed and outbeat tables available as well. Often bench top machines will feature a steel in-feed and feed tables that can fold up for storage while larger machines can feature either a roller style table or a precision ground cast iron tables.

How to choose a benchtop planer

So we’ve taken a close look at what’s happening inside the planers. Now, which one do you go with? The correct planar, like most other machines in your shop should match your style or your future style of woodworking. Future style because it’s always a good thing to consider a bit larger machine to ensure that you have the capacity and power to complete your current work with ease and to expand your abilities in the future.

Horsepower

For example, a benchtop two horsepower, 12 and a half inch capacity, might be perfect fit for a one-car garage shop. It’s got the power it’s got capacity needed, and it runs off the standard power in your home. Plus it folds up and stores away.

Mobility

A great thing about most planers however, is the ability to make them mobile with a simple mobile base, like our T 28,000 bear crawl so you can take what most folks think of as a standalone machine and make it mobile

Power source

Something to always keep in mind as mentioned a moment ago is the power source you intend to use. Planers are pretty heavy duty and require considerable power with some being rated for 110 volt standard power while others typically those larger than the benchtop size or larger than two horsepower will require a two 20 volt power source.  Always ensure you have proper power in the space you plan to be working. And if not ensure that you have a certified electrician installed the correct voltage for you.

Exterior features

The exterior of a planer is actually pretty simple with some models, feature a top mounted motor and others. Typically the fixed base models feature a stand mounted motor. Motorcycles for planers berries from two horsepower mentioned earlier all the way up to 15 horsepower, three phase production models.

Headstock

The headstock of a plainer can either be fixed or moveable based on the machine style. For example, a 20 inch planar features a fixed headstock with four covered columns supporting the table, which moves up or down each time the table height, hand wheel is rotated.

In the case of a 12 and a half inch benchtop planer, the headstock with motor travels up and down while the table remains in one place. The fixed table height can be very handy when for example, you have a long work piece that requires multiple passes through the planer.

Return rollers

Return rollers can be a great helping hand between passes and are also available on some models as well. So what are some other components on the top side? Clearly visible on the front of the machine is the cut thickness gauge with indicator.

Feed rate

It’s a good practice to check your indicator mark from time to time to ensure it hasn’t been bumped during use some planar models will feature a fixed in-feed and out feed roller system while other models offer feed speeds that are adjustable for an example of adjustable feed rate. It’s important to remember that feed rate should only be adjusted while the machine is running to avoid damaging the gearbox.

Control panel

Finishing off our tour of the exterior of a planer is the control panel. Planers can feature everything from a toggle on off switch with a removable safety key to a fixed control panel with a power indicator light.

Cutter head

No talk about planers is complete without covering the focal point of the machine. The cutter head cutter head types vary from machine to machine with three main styles being at the forefront, straight knife spiral, and helical.

Conclusion:

So there you have it, a full breakdown on what is one of the most useful machines in your workshop. Hope we have helped in choosing the best benchtop planer for your home.

 

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Mike

My name is Mike Thorne, a car enthusiast and a DIY for life person. I love spending time in my garage and that is why you will get firsthand information on this blog about all things garage-related.

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