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What’s something every handyman and builder wants but doesn’t necessarily have? A benchtop thickness planer. The reason is most planing jobs can be achieved somewhat by a hand planer, with that being said there is the accuracy and speed that can never be achieved as easily by just using a portable or industrial thickness planer. After doing this review I’m actually surprised at how affordable they are these days, considering you could even mill timber yourself using an Alaskan mill and a chainsaw, and then finish it perfectly using a thickness planer. Of course, watch out as thickness planer blades can be expensive so take extra care to make sure there are no nails in any timber you glide through this machine for your project.
Best Thickness Planer
#3 BEST CUTECH THICKNESS PLANNER
Cutech / Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT Bench Top Planer, 13 Inch
#4 BEST PORTABLE DEWALT THICKNESS PLANNER
DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer, 13 Inch
dA thickness planer is a powerful tool that lets you shave off thin layers of material from timber or lumber. An essential tool for woodworking, carpentry, and sometimes construction, it enables you to trim down wooden slabs to the desired thickness by removing a little bit of material at a time. By making several passes, an experienced woodworker can get a piece of wood to the right thickness with an impressive degree of accuracy.
Thickness planers are a more feasible alternative to other power tools that can accomplish the same job. Although it is possible to reduce the thickness of wood slabs with a table saw, it can be difficult to get accurate results with this method. Furthermore, you will also have to clean up the surface or edges of the stock afterward with a planer and a sander. By using a thickness planer from the start, you can get the job done a lot quicker and with more accurate results without any additional tools.
Thickness planers are ideally suited for trimming down a large amount of raw timber and transforming them into useable finished lumber. If you need a lot of wooden slabs for a table, or cabinet, or some other building, DIY project, purchasing finished lumber can be quite expensive. But if you have a thickness planer at home, you can save a lot of money by purchasing raw timber and doing the finishing yourself. Many thickness planers can even trim down wood extremely smoothly, so you won’t have to do any sanding afterward. And if so only light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper.
Electric planers range in size from handheld models to large bench planers that can handle sizeable slabs of wood. Although handheld models offer the advantage of portability and convenience, bench planers are more suitable for high volume jobs. Bench planers also have features such as depth stop settings that make it easier to get more accurate results.
Industrial Vs. Portable Thickness Planers
Industrial planers are nice to have, but not everyone needs that much power for home or DIY use. For most non-crucial applications, a portable thickness planer will do just fine. Of course, they aren’t as accurate as thickness planers, nor will they be able to handle high volume work. But they are much cheaper and easier to get started with, and won’t take up too much space. Unless you are planning on making a career out of trimming down slabs of timber to precise thicknesses, I strongly advise you to get a portable thickness planer instead of an industrial planer.
Electric Hand Planers Vs. Thickness Planers
Portability is usually a plus when it comes to power tools. But in the case of planers, portable models aren’t necessarily the best or most appropriate solutions. Despite the bulk and cost of a thickness planer, there are situations wherein they are the better option.
Electric hand planers essentially let you bring your tool to where you need to work instead of the other way around. However, what you gain in portability, you lose in power and accuracy. Electric hand planers really are better suited for quick trimming or leveling, where extreme accuracy isn’t that important.
On the other hand, if you do need to trim lumber into precisely measured slabs, a thickness planer will be tremendously useful. You can learn more about planers here
What Thickness Planers Are Better Used For
Thickness planers can be quite useful in a home setting or a DIY woodshop. They can be used to make finished lumber out of raw stock, which can save you a lot of money. If you have a large construction project at home, for example, you can reduce your material costs considerably by purchasing unfinished lumber and trimming them down yourself.
Thickness planers also let you get your lumber to the precise thickness that you need. Handheld solutions won’t give you anywhere near the same accuracy and will require a lot more work besides. With a good thickness planer, you can trim down a pile of lumber to the correct thickness in a fraction of the time it would take with a hand planer. Some of the best planers even smooth lumber down to a perfect finish so you won’t have to do any additional sanding afterward.
Top Thickness Planer To Buy
There are some pretty impressive thickness planers on the market these days, and you could easily find a few that will deliver the performance you need for a wide variety of trimming jobs. Of all the models reviewed here, these three deliver particularly exceptional performance.
The DeWalt DW735X is a 13-inch thickness planer with a powerful 15-amp motor. Equipped with a triple-blade system, it can handle even the most stubborn stock without a hitch. The 20,000 RPM motor spins the cutter-head at a top speed of 10,000 RPM, which is more than adequate for even heavy-duty jobs. The DW735X also has a two-speed gearbox that lets you switch between 96 and 179 cuts per inch (CPI). It even has a generously-sized aluminum base that is twice as rigid as the standard base that comes with most thickness planers.
DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer, 13 Inch
The Makita 2012NB is a 12-inch planer that scores top marks for portability and convenience. Despite its compact design and light weight, it is a surprisingly powerful unit that delivers the performance that you expect from the most efficient bench planers. The 15-amp motor cranks out a no-load speed of 8,500 RPM, which should be sufficient for most planning jobs. The 2012NB also has Makita’s own Interna-Lok automated head clamp system that eliminates snipes for more consistent results. Even the blades are quick and easy to change, making this a convenient solution for professionals and DIY woodworkers who need a serious planing tool.
Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer, 12 Inch
The Cutech/Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT is an affordable thickness planer that is capable of pro-level performance. Building on the success of the earlier 40200H-CT, the new model features an improved cutter-head with carbide inserts. Along with professional features such as heavy-duty guideposts and elevating screws, a snipe lock for the cutter-head, internal height adjustment gears, and a dual-sized dust port, this makes the 40200HC-CT a planer to reckon with. It even has a depth repeat cut setting and generously-sized tables that accommodate large stock. Even with all these features, the 40200HC-CT weights a manageable 90 pounds, so you can easily move it around your workshop if necessary.
Cutech/Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT Bench Top Planer, 13 Inch
Best Value DIY Thickness Planer
If you are looking for a capable planer that doesn’t cost a bundle, definitely check out the WEN 6550T. A 12.5-inch model equipped with a 15-amp motor, it has a two-blade cutting system that can make short work of even the roughest timber, transforming them into usable slabs of lumber. The 6550T can make up to 17,000 cuts per minute and process stock at 26 feet per minute. This is a pretty impressive feed rate for any model, but it is even more so considering the reasonable price of the 6550T. Features such as the smooth granite table, heavy-duty base, and fan-assisted dust port make this a thickness planer that can easily hang with the best of them.
WEN 6550T Thickness Planer, 12.5 Inch
Thickness Planer Features
Thickness planers are generally built for durability, especially the models from the best brands. You do have to maintain them properly and avoid subjecting them to abuse. This usually means not using them for excessively hard materials and
Bench or table size is an important consideration when shopping for a thickness planer. Most models support boards from 12 to 13 inches, but some can support boards of up to 15 inches wide. Choose a planer that can accommodate the widths that you will likely be working with.
Planers can have one to three blades. You can generally expect more efficient performance from planers with more blades, as they can remove more material in a single pass. They also tend to last longer before they need to be sharpened. This is a definite plus, as sharpening is a time-consuming and tedious process. Unless you just buy new blades, to keep perfect cuts.
You will want to get a planer with a powerful motor, which will allow you to trim down even hard and dense stock. Most of the models featured here can trim a variety of woods efficiently without bogging down.
Some of the best thickness planers on the market are made by companies such as DeWalt, Makita, and WEN. Brands such as Porter Cable, Delta Power Tools, Grizzly POWERTEC, and Cutech also make affordable models that deliver excellent value and performance.
Shopping according to price doesn’t necessarily equate to getting the cheapest model on the market. It is more important to maximize the value that you get from your tool, so price shouldn’t be the only consideration. In most cases, it is better to spend a little more for a higher quality tool than to settle for a substandard model just to save a few bucks.
Tips For Using Your Thickness Planer
Thickness planers are fairly straightforward tools, but you do have to know how to use them to ensure safety and quality results. As with all power tools, you have a higher risk of injury if you use a thickness planer without knowing the proper safety and operational procedures.
Wear protective gear at all times when operating a thickness planer. At the very least, these should include a dust mask and safety glasses or goggles.
Prepare the planer before you begin, making sure that all the components and safety features are in place. This typically requires unfolding the feed tables and setting up the guide fence.
Always check to see that your blades are sharp and securely fastened. It is usually best to trim the stock by making a few passes instead of trying to remove a lot of material at one go, and overworking the tool.
Thickness Planer Comparison
|DeWalt DW735X||Makita 2012NB||Cutech / Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT||DeWalt DW735||Grizzly Industrial G0505||DeWalt DW734||DeWalt DW733||WEN 6550T||Porter-Cable PC305TP||Delta Power Tools 22-555||Mophorn||WEN 6552T||Powertec PL1252||Triton TPT125||Ridgid R4330|
|Table Size:||12” x 30-3/8”||14” x 14”||12-⅛” x 26”||6-3/4” x 13”||12 ½” x 12 39/64”|
|Weight:||105 lbs.||61.9 lbs.||88 lbs.||90 lbs.||73 lbs.||80 lbs.||85.2 lbs.||70 lbs.||64.8 lbs.||58 lbs.||66 lbs.||63.4 lbs.||63.9 lbs.||72.9 lbs.|
|Max Cutting Width:||13”||12”||13”||13”||12.5”||12.5”||12.5”||12.5”||12”||13”||12.5”||13”||12.5”||12.5”||13”|
|Max Cutting Width:||⅛”||⅛”||⅛”||6”||6 3/8”||⅛”||3/32”||8" stock: 3/32"; 121/2" stock: 1/16"||3/32”||0.1”||3/32”||5” stock: 3/32”; 5” - 12 ½” stock: 1/32”||⅛”||⅛”|
The best options by far are the DeWalt DW735X, the Makita 2012NB, and the Cutech/Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT. The DeWalt DW735X is an excellent choice for those that need to make large cuts in wide materials. The Makita 2012NB is a more portable option that delivers efficient operation in a compact design. Ideally suited for finish woodworking, this is also a good choice for cabinetry and furniture making. As for the Cutech/Wahuda Tools 40200HC-CT, definitely check out this model if you place high demands on your thickness planer. With a wide array of pro features and a reasonable price tag, the 40200HC-CT is a step up from your average planer.
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