Best Budget Planers under $500 of 2018 – Top Picks & Reviews

a powerful planing machineAre you in the market for a planer but you just don’t know where to start? We feel you there. It is a complicated topic for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are lots of different options out there and while they may look similar often enough they certainly do not perform the same way.

There is also the matter of price. Even when you are looking for a budget planer the fact of the matter is that the purchase certainly isn’t going to be cheap. When you are thinking about spending a lot of money on a tool, you definitely want to make sure that you get a good one.

We understand that you probably don’t have the free time to do the research necessary for making an educated purchase. Fortunately for you, we do. We have tested products and done the research so that you don’t have to and assembled a guide detailing what we found. Read on for your budget planer reviews!

Comparison of our Favorite Picks of 2018

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
DEWALT DW734
DEWALT DW734
(Top Pick)

Check Price
80 lbs4.9/5
WEN 6550
WEN 6550
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
79 lbs4.7/5
WEN 6530
WEN 6530

Check Price
7 lbs4.3/5
Delta Tools 22-555
Delta Tools 22-555

Check Price
58 lbs4.0/5

4 Best Budget Planers under $500 – Reviews:

1. DEWALT DW734 Budget Planer – Top Pick

DEWALT DW734

Is anyone at all surprised to see Dewalt find its way to the top of our list? This power tool manufacturing juggernaut is one of the most prominent brands on the planet and with this unit they demonstrate why that is.

Of course, this planer has much more going for it than just its name. The DW734 also benefits from a powerful fifteen-amp motor, that generates 20,000 rotations per minute for deeper and more accurate cuts on hardwoods.

It also features a three knife cutting head that is able to deliver exceptionally refined finishes by delivering ninety-six cuts per inch.

The blades also feature a longer lifespan for the fact that they are reversible, ensuring that they undergo even wear and tear.

These things said, the Dewalt, of course, is not a perfect machine (no such thing exists, unfortunately). The biggest fault that we were able to detect through our tests is that the wood tends to get jammed or caught up in the feed system a little bit more often than you would expect from a unit of this caliber.

This aside it really is an excellent tool.

Pros
  • Excellent Motor
  • Three Knife Cutting System
  • Reversible Blades
Cons
  • Wood gets jammed occasionally

2. WEN 6550 Planer – Best for the Money

WEN 6550

Even on a budget buy list, some options are more economical than others. The WEN 6550 has been selected as our best for the money pick because while it may not be the indisputable top choice on the list it does provide an exciting combination of quality and value that budget shoppers will love.

One of the first things that you are going to notice about this machine is that it is priced significantly lower than the first planer that we looked at, meaning it will be a good alternative for shoppers who experienced sticker shock with the Dewalt.

One of the principal benefits of this machine is that, despite its affordable price, it still boasts a motor that is powerful enough to keep your work accurate.

The fifteen-amp motor delivers 18,800 cuts per minute which makes it similar in cut consistency to that of the Dewalt.

It also features a fan enhanced dust port that is able to skillfully and consistently extract dust from the machine for a longer tool lifespan, a very strong granite table for stability, and a cast iron base that further enhances stability.

In short, it’s a reliable machine that will get the job done for you while delivering a level of quality that is consistently pleasing.

One problem that we noticed is that it is more prone to snipe errors than the Dewalt, though this is something that most would expect considering the price range.

The unit also lacks a depth lock component, which makes feeding wood through the system a little bit inconvenient.

Other than that, it is a good, affordable planer.

Pros
  • Very Stable
  • Good Motor
Cons
  • Snipe Errors
  • No Depth Lock

3. WEN 6530 – Best Budget Hand Planer

WEN 6530

In third, we have a special slot reserved for the WEN hand planer. Of course, readers know that hand planers operate very differently than stationary units, which means that you will do well not to compare this model to the last two that we looked at.

This disclaimer aside, the 6530 is an excellent option that any shopper looking for a hand planer will be very wise to consider.

The 6-amp motor is powerful, delivering 34,000 cuts per minute, the unit itself is a light-weight six pounds to make handheld use simple and easy, and the machine is capable of generating rabbets of up to 6/10ths of an inch.

The short of it is that for the price you would have a very hard time finding a better hand planer.

The most challenging fault that we were able to identify with this unit is that the blade change is a big pain. This frustration aside it is a really excellent option for anyone looking for a hand planer.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Quality 6-Amp Motor
Cons
  • Overly Complicated Blade Changes

4. Delta Tools 22-555 Inexpensive Planing Machine

Delta Tools 22-555

At the last place, we have the Delta Tools 22-555. We should just put it on front street that this is not our favorite option on the list. Before we get into the negatives let’s talk the one big positive that this option has going for it: for a stationary unit, the Delta Power Tools is very affordable.

The downside is that in addition to being priced cheap, it also performs like one would expect a cheap planer too.

The bottom line is that the finish that this planer is able to output is just very rough and unrefined—a fact that experienced craftsmen aren’t going to be able to reconcile.

The knives are also pretty low quality and will require very frequent changing, which is a process that is in and of itself overly complicated.

While this planer may be an acceptable option for people looking for a good deal, most shoppers will be better off with our best for the money pick.

Pros
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Rough, Unrefined Finish
  • Cheap Blades
  • Complicated Blade Changes

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know what is out there here are a few considerations that should help make the process a little bit easier for you.

Stationary or Handheld?

As you noticed from the list above, you are going to have to choose between an upright stationary unit or a handheld option.

The handheld option is a great and affordable way to tackle smaller tasks, while the stationary unit will be perfect for larger jobs and harder stock.

Materials:

The type of materials that you intend to use should factor largely into which option you decide to go with. If you work with softer more basic stock you will be fine with settling for a cheaper, lower powered option.

On the other hand, if you work with harder materials, you will need the benefit of a powerful engine to ensure that your work is accurate.

Blades:

Good blades will eliminate the possibility for a lot of frustration. Carbide is the industry standard for good reliable blades, but there are other options that should be suitable as well.

In addition to having a good resilient blade, you also want a planer that makes the most of these blades. Features like a reversible blade component will ensure even wear for less frequent blade changes.

Similarly, you will also want to research to see just how easy it is to change the blades on the unit you are looking at. Overly complicated blade changes can be a frustrating feature that hinders the user experience.

Stability:

If the planer is shaking or vibrating excessively as you feed materials through it is ultimately going to show in your work. Investing in a planer with a solid base and table is a good way to ensure that your unit stays stable, and your work remains consistent.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. You have read our budget planer reviews and now you have a tough decision on your hands. Which of these budget-friendly options are you going to be taking home?

While it is certainly a complicated decision you might recall that we have actually made the decision a little bit easier for you by furnishing a couple of distinguished a couple of recommendations for you. If you are in the market for the very best of the best, then you will be well served by the Dewalt–our choice as the top pick which earns it place with high caliber features.

On the other hand, if you are trying to really keep to a budget while still bringing home a quality product there is no besting our best for the money pick, the WEN which offers good quality at a great price.

Of course, these are just suggestions that we like. Now that you are well versed in the dos and don’ts of buying a planer you can make your own informed decision!