10 Best Wood Planers 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
What if your home was missing one of the most valuable possible tools? A wood planer is basically a “must-have” for every home, especially if you like to work on many different projects around the house. Unfortunately, many people don’t have a wood planer and don’t know where to start when it comes to buying one.
You may be thinking, “who has the time to research the best wood planers out there?” The answer is us, of course! We’ve scoured countless reviews online to help you find the wood planer that is best for you and your needs.
So which ones are worth your time and which should you skip? With our in-depth reviews of each wood planer, you’ll finally have your answer!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer||
|Best Value||TACKLIFE TGGLA152 Electric Hand Planer||
|Premium Choice||Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer||
|WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer||
|Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer||
The 10 Best Wood Planers – Reviews 2020
1. DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer – Best Overall
The DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer is our overall top pick for wood planers. It’s one of the more high-end options that are available, but you definitely get what you pay for!
Power and speed are the main hallmarks of this planer. It has a powerful motor that powers a 10,000 RPM cutting-head speed, allowing the planer to make 96 cuts per inch.
Keep in mind this is not the planer for beginners. You’ll need to monitor the infeed and outfeed foldouts so they remain level, and you may need to replace short screws with longer bolts for maximum stability.
2. TACKLIFE TGGLA152 Electric Hand Planer – Best Value
You may not want to buy the biggest and most expensive wood planer out there. If you’re more interested in the best wood planers for the money, then the TACKLIFE TGGLA152 Electric Hand Planer is our pick for the best value.
It’s tough to beat the price on this model, and you get a lot of features for your money. This includes a solid power-to-weight ratio (6-amp/16,500 RPM @ 6.93 pounds) and a surprisingly high degree of accuracy.
Why is this not our number one pick, then? In addition to offering fewer options, you are likely to experience issues with things like the leveling surface as well as maintenance of this product.
3. Delta Power Tools Portable Planer – Premium Choice
Planers are available in a variety of lower-end and higher-end options. If you are looking for the best of the higher-end options, then it doesn’t get better than the Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer.
What do you get for the luxury price tag? This planer seriously reduces snipe thanks to the cutterhead lock system and the well-designed infeed and outfeed table. The machine is also very versatile, allowing you to choose very specific dimensions for your subsequent cuts.
It’s not all great news, though. It’s surprisingly easy to burn the belt out on this model, and it may require adjustments right out of the box in order for you to get the most out of it.
4. WEN Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
While it’s not the absolute best for the money, the WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer is one of the best value picks on this list. With its 15-amp motor, you can generate a whopping 25,500 cuts per minute with a smooth rate of 26 feet per minute.
The three-blade design has a lot of potential, and we like that the fan-aided dust port makes it easy to breathe while you’re doing work. Unfortunately, this system is likely to make a mess for you to clean up, so you’re basically trading one annoyance for another.
5. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer is another high-end option for your wood planer needs. Interestingly, this model (at a modest 60 pounds) offers a good combination of compact design, portability, and project versatility.
This is also one of the quieter planers on this list, clocking in at about 83 dB. While that’s still quite audible, it is very quiet and unobtrusive compared to most planers. And despite keeping quiet(er), this planer is very fast, allowing you to plane up to 28 feet per minute.
What we don’t love, though, is the price. You can get most of the features in this planer at a lower price point. And if you’re willing to shell out for premium prices, there are other premium planers that offer more bells and whistles.
6. PORTER-CABLE PC60THP Hand Planer
Some planers are designed as fixed models, while others have portability in mind. If you specifically need a portable planer, the PORTER-CABLE PC60THP Hand Planer is the way to go.
At 8.5 pounds, you can take this planer just about anywhere. And even if it doesn’t go beyond your house, the lightweight makes it easy to set up in any position.
Fortunately, the aluminum shoe provides the strength and stability you need without weighing the planer down. And there is a convenient knob to make depth-adjustment a breeze.
There are limitations to the small size and portability. For example, this planer lacks the range of other models, and the finish it provides is not as fine or precise as more than the bigger, better models.
7. CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer
What if you’d prefer a more “midrange” option when it comes to wood planers? In that case, the CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer is a very solid pick.
We were impressed by the 8,000 RPM head which allows you to make up to 16,000 cuts per minute. And the two-knife steel cutter-head provides a smooth planing experience while helping your equipment last that much longer.
However, it can be a bit difficult to set this planer up, especially if you’re inexperienced. And the gauge can make it difficult to get the exact depth you need without serious adjustments or modifications.
8. POWERTEC Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Planer
The POWERTEC PL1252 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Planer is very attractive at first. It offers a relatively low price for a full-size planer. Unfortunately, you’ll quickly notice why this model is near the bottom of our list.
Planing on this model takes a very long time for everything except the tiniest pieces of wood. And while the two-knife cutterhead can get the job done, it doesn’t offer the versatility or precision that the three-knife models do.
You’re also going to experience snipe issues more often than not. In other words, this cheaper model will nonetheless cost you a lot in terms of time wasted fixing various issues.
RELATED: we also have an article where we go over the best electric hand planers
9. Grizzly Industrial G0505 Benchtop Planer
With the Grizzly Industrial G0505 Benchtop Planer, you are moving towards the higher end of planer prices. Unfortunately, it does not offer the performance or features you might expect from a planer at this price point.
To its credit, this is a lightweight planer that is nice and fast (32 feet per minute). Sadly, the two-blade cutterhead is less efficient and versatile, and it will inevitably cause your machine to burn out more quickly.
That limited cutterhead will also affect how deeply you can cut into wood without running into problems. And by the time you’re willing to pay for planer in this price range, you’re better off buying something much better.
10. Cutech 40200H-CT Spiral Cutterhead Planer
Want to see a visual definition of the word “compromise?” In that case, look no further than the Cutech 40200H-CT Spiral Cutterhead Planer.
It’s not the worst planer in the world, but it’s a planer that doesn’t really have a true audience. For example, it’s not really a pro planer because you can get more features for a lower price from other models. And it’s not really great for beginners due to factors like the price and different features. Plus, it weighs a whopping 90 pounds, which is hardly portable for trucking between job sites.
The spiral cutterheads are a nice touch, and the dust port is convenient. But you should check out other planers for better prices and more features.
Now that you’ve read the reviews, you should have a better idea about the best planers out there. But even after you narrow things down to a few possible choices, it can be difficult to finalize your decision.
That’s where our buying guide comes in. With this guide, both newbies and veterans can learn about the different factors and features that will help you make the best possible wood planer purchase.
Hand Planers: The Right Choice?
From reading our reviews, you probably know that some planers are light enough to work as hand planers. Others are meant to be used as stationary devices. How, then, can you decide whether you need a hand planer or not?
The main thing hand planers have going for them is their lightweight. If you’re traveling and need to bring a planer with you, they are almost always your best bet.
With that being said, hand planers don’t provide the level finish that other planers do. This is usually because of a combination of the lumber’s uneven surface and the potential for user error.
If you need something more level and steadier, then you need a traditional planer (also known as a thickness planer). Some planers (usually pro planers) are effectively stationary because they weigh many hundreds of pounds. Other planers are lighter in weight but designed as benchtop models that can remain stationary as you work.
It’s easy to get confused on the subject of “portable” vs “hand planer.” Portable may refer to any planers that you can pick up and move, including most benchtop models. Hand planers, though, are specifically meant to be used as handheld devices.
So, when should you use a thickness planer over a handheld planer? These planers help you set the blade at a particular height and shaving everything above that point. So, if you need a more consistent level surface, or you just want to save yourself some elbow grease, you should use these models instead of hand planers.
How deep can you cut into the wood? That’s actually a deceptively good question!
With a hand planer, you can cut nearly as deep as you want. You simply have to worry about the limitations of both your device and your own physical energy.
With thickness planers, you can decide how much you want to cut per pass. This gives you finer control of everything, but you must worry about making multiple passes if the wood is thick enough.
Exactly how much you can remove per pass is determined by the model you are using. For example, 1/16 -inch is the industry standard. But some fancier (and more expensive) models allow you to double that and cut 3/32 -inch per pass.
While you pay for the privilege of that increase, it does effectively cut the number of passes you have to make in half. This can be especially important if you are working on a large project and time is of the essence.
Keep in mind that “deeper is not always better” when it comes to cuts. A deep cutting depth can more easily lead to unwanted tearout, especially on wood that is very soft or very hard. It may take some trial and error to find the cutting depth that is best for both you and your material.
Risk of Snipe
We’ve mentioned unwanted snipe a few times now. But what is snipe? This refers to when the board you are cutting gets pulled into the blade a bit too early, resulting in a piece of wood that is unevenly cut and looks awful.
What prevents snipe? As long as the wood in question makes it to the second roller on the planer, the snipe risk goes away entirely. Unfortunately, it’s very easy for snipe to happen on some models versus others.
If you’re really worried about snipe, look for planers that offer ways to reduce the risk. A planer that allows you to easily adjust the tables, for example, will let you mitigate this risk. And you can manually switch the planner to smaller cuts towards the end, as this serves to greatly reduce the risk of snipe.
Cuts Per Inch
Some planers (but not all) will allow you to adjust cuts per inch. This determines how many times the blades cut the wood per inch, so you generally want a higher CPI rather than a lower one.
Why? More cuts per inch means that each cut is smaller than it would otherwise be. This reduces the chance of things like snipe and tearout while also minimizing the size of the hills and valleys you create by cutting.
What if the manufacturer does not advertise the CPI rate? In that case, you can do some quick “back of the napkin” math to determine the rate.
Start by multiplying the number of blades by the overall RPG of the cutterhead. Next, multiply the feed rate by the accepted lumber width (normally, this is 12 inches). Now, you can simply divide the first number by the second to determine CPI.
What, then, is a good CPI? Most people will be fine with a CPI of 90 or higher. But if the final product will receive a lot of scrutiny, you may want even higher to be on the safe side.
Here’s an open secret: wood planers create a lot of dust. If you’re not careful, this can put your health in danger while creating a very unpleasant work environment.
Some models have dust collection features and some do not. And of the ones which do have such features, some work better than others.
If you’re worried about dust, be sure to do your homework on a planer before you buy it. You’ll want something with a dust collection port that is between 2.5 and 4 inches, ensuring maximum compatibility with your other dust collection devices.
If you already have some dust collection devices, make sure to get a planer that matches. This will save you a lot of time and effort and help remove unwanted dust from the area.
Related buying guides you should check out:
- Budget planer showdown: which one to choose?
- WEN 6550 vs 6552 Planer: What are the differences?
- Wood lathe product showdown
- Wood router product showdown – see the winners!
As you can tell, there are plenty of wood planers out there. With any luck, our reviews helped you make the best decision for your own projects.
Speaking of the reviews, which models were the big winners? For the best overall model, we have to hand it to the DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer. It has most of what you need, and you definitely get what you pay for.
If you’re on a strict budget, though, we recommend the TACKLIFE TGGLA152 Electric Hand Planer. It’s easy to use, very portable, and it won’t break the bank too much, making it a great choice for beginners as well.
Ultimately, all we can do is shine a light on these different planers. Only you can choose the one that is right for you!
Featured Image Credit: Amazon
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Wood Planers – Reviews 2020
- 1. DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer – Best Overall
- 2. TACKLIFE TGGLA152 Electric Hand Planer – Best Value
- 3. Delta Power Tools Portable Planer – Premium Choice
- 4. WEN Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
- 5. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
- 6. PORTER-CABLE PC60THP Hand Planer
- 7. CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer
- 8. POWERTEC Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Planer
- 9. Grizzly Industrial G0505 Benchtop Planer
- 10. Cutech 40200H-CT Spiral Cutterhead Planer
- Buyer’s Guide