Any serious woodworker needs a hand planer in his or her shop. It helps in shaping, flattening and finishing large boards and surfaces. The type of wood a woodworker works with will determine the kind of planer they prefer.
For hardwoods such as maple and oak, a planer should have a powerful motor and extra-sturdy blades. Note, however, that not all hand planers are electric. Non-electric ones depend on muscle power to force the cutting blade over a wood surface.
Electric ones, on the other hand, substitute the fixed blades for rotating ones. They are, therefore, able to shave off more material in a shorter amount of time. With that in mind, it is clear that electric hand planers are efficient.
Whether you want to start a new furniture restoration project or assemble some shelves, a hand planer will help you get the job done. A planer is a useful and innovative tool that every DIY enthusiast should have in his arsenal of tools.
The Best Hand Planers Reviewed
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Hand Planers Reviewed
- 2 1. Makita KP01810 7.5 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer — The Most High-End Hand Planer
- 3 2. DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer — The Most Energy Efficient Hand Planer
- 4 3. Bosch 3 ¼ Inch Planer with Carrying Case PL2632K — The Best Midrange Priced Hand Planer
- 5 4. PORTER-CABLE PC60TPH 6-Amp Hand Planer — The Best Hand Planer Under $100
- 6 5. WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch — The Most Affordable Hand Planer
- 7 What to Consider When Purchasing a Hand Planer
- 8 Hand Planers FAQs
- 9 Our Final Take
|Makita KP01810 7.5 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer|
|DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer|
|Bosch 3 ¼ Inch Planer with Carrying Case PL2632K|
|PORTER-CABLE PC60TPH 6-Amp Hand Planer|
|WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch|
1. Makita KP01810 7.5 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer — The Most High-End Hand PlanerThe Makita KP01810 is one of the most high-end planers because of its many features.
It has a two-blade cutter head complete with 16,000 RPM yield. When this kind of speed is combined with the planer’s dual blades, it facilitates stock removal in the shortest time possible. The double-edged carbide blades increase both efficiency and performance.
The planer’s body is made from stiff die-cast aluminum. The sturdiness of aluminum ensures the planer has a long tool life and is durable.
Because the KP01810 weighs only 7.3 pounds and it has an ergonomically-centered balance, the tool is easy to use. Additionally, the front and rear handles are rubberized which provides for comfortability and effortless handling.
The KP01810 has a spring-loaded stand that elevates the base and helps protect the blades and the workspace. Consequently, the blades last longer and the workspace is not destroyed. To facilitate precision wood planing; the depth adjust-knob has an easy-to-read scale that stops in 0.1mm increments.
The 3 V-shaped grooves in the KP01810’s shoe allow you to make chamfers in the wooden pieces. That demonstrates the tool’s versatility because it can be used for both planning and chamfering. The chip discharge chute that ejects chips leftwards and rightwards gets rid of the shavings and keeps your working area debris-free.
Finally, it is essential to note that the KP01810 has a lock-on button that is conveniently placed to facilitate continuous operation. Also, the KP01810 works well with both dry and damp wood.
2. DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer — The Most Energy Efficient Hand PlanerThe DEWALT DCP580B is one of the most energy efficient planers for one key reason—the motor is brushless. Note that a standard electric motor has carbon brushes that undergo friction every time they transfer current to the shaft to help heat the motor up.
A lot of energy is thus expended when trying to manage the overheating caused by friction. In contrast, a brushless motor does not experience friction which means it is less susceptible to overheating. That, in turn, ensures the motor consumes less power which saves the battery charge.
The 20V MAX battery that powers the DEWALT DCP580B can last for a long time before a recharge is required. Note that for user convenience, this MAX battery is interchangeable and fits other cordless DEWALT tools.
Similar to most planers, the DEWALT DCP580B has a groove that is used to create chamfers on the wood. You can thus use the plane for decorating and design.
Because the planer weighs just 5.5 pounds, you can use it for hours without experiencing hand fatigue or injuring your hand. In addition, the ergonomic handle complete with rubber coating facilitates a comfortable grip and ease of use.
The DCP580B has a kickstand that allows the user to rest the planer on the work surface without destroying the material. The kickstand automatically lowers when a user is done with planning and is thus convenient.
Finally, it is essential to note that the planer is cordless.
The Cordlesss Nature of this Hand Planer
That the DEWALT DCP580B is cordless does not mean it is less powerful. It has a 15,000 RPM no-load speed and the motor has a runtime of 32,000 cuts per minute.
That makes it highly efficient and incredibly powerful. To add on to that; the planer has a cutting depth of up to 5/65”. Such a depth capacity ensures you can remove wood layers for further planing quickly and efficiently
3. Bosch 3 ¼ Inch Planer with Carrying Case PL2632K — The Best Midrange Priced Hand PlanerThe Bosch PL2632K is ideal for anyone who wants a highly efficient hand planer that is not too pricey. The PL2632K has four key characteristics that make it a stand out compared to other planers with similar price ranges.
For one, the PL2632K has a powerful motor. The planer boasts a 6.5A rating and a 16,500 RPM speed. Thanks to this power, the planer guarantees fast removal of stocks and a smooth finish in both hardwoods and softwoods.
Second, it is convenient. It has an ambidextrous lock-off release button that helps the user avoid accidental starts. It also features a lock-on button that facilitates extended operation. This is highly convenient because both right-handed and left-handed users can access the buttons with equal ease.
Third, it is accurate. To provide for accuracy, both the front and rear shoes are precision-machined together. That means you can always expect a uniform finish when using the planer. Additionally, the planer has a machined groove that facilitates chamfering. That means you can extra-design and decorate your wood in the exact manner you desire.
Finally, PL2632K is versatile. Versatility comes from the fact that the planer’s two-blade system can be repurposed for a different task by incorporating large high-speed steel blades. However, it is important to note that the PL2632K already comes with two unique blades—the Woodrazor Mini Micrograin Blades.
These blades are stiff; they do not break easily when they hit a nail or metal, and they last up to 30% longer than regular carbide blades.
4. PORTER-CABLE PC60TPH 6-Amp Hand Planer — The Best Hand Planer Under $100PORTER-CABLE tools are renowned for their immense capabilities at affordable prices. The PC60TPH is no different. It features a powerful 6A motor complete with a maximum no-load speed of 16,500 RPM. That is enough power to process the majority of hardwoods.
The planer has an 11.5” long molded aluminum shoe which facilitates accuracy and provides better control. Also, the shoe has 3 V-shaped grooves that allow the user to make facets in the wooden pieces.
The PC60TPH has a maximum planting depth of 5/64”. It allows ten positions which can be set by a control knob in 1/128” increments. Such a planing depth might not be super impressive, but it still allows for a broad range of cutting and planning.
Note that in addition to the planer, the full package also includes two carbide cutting blades, one wrench, one dust bag, one edge guide, and one kit bag. The dust bag can attach either to the left or right.
It collects the shavings generated during planing and helps keep your workspace clean. The kit bag, on the other hand, provides a convenient way of carrying the planer.
5. WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch — The Most Affordable Hand PlanerDespite its affordability, the WEN 6530 is equipped with a powerful 6-amp motor that provides up to 34,000 cuts per minute.
This heavy-duty motor can toil for hours which makes it ideal for both home use and industrial use. Also, it has a no-load speed of 17,000 RPM. The speed and planing capability ensure it can process any hardwood.
The WEN 6530 is perfect for dressing large planks and bars because it can remove up to 1/8” of wood at once and covers an area of 3 ¼”. Also, it has a maximum planting depth of 11/16”. The planning depth makes it possible for you to overlap plywood, fiberboards or sheets and still get a smooth surface.
The planer is easy to use thanks to its ergonomic handle. Moreover, it does not matter whether you are right-handed or left-handed, the design facilitates for both which helps enhance user convenience.
The chutes on either side of the planer allow a user to connect a vacuum on either side to remove the wood chips. That helps keep the workspace clean and tidy and prevents the planer from clogging. The WEN 6530 also comes with a dust bag for the collection of the wood chips.
While a dust bag might fill up quickly, it is essential to note that it is easy to clean. All you need to do is flick the switch on the plastic toggle and detach the bag. Finally, the planer’s adjustable guide will help you set the desired depth in a matter of seconds.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Hand Planer
It takes more than knowing the best hand planers in the market to choose the right one. Here are some things you ought to consider.
The Type of Hand Planer
When considering the type, the essential thing to remember is that electric hand planers can either be corded or cordless. Corded planers are the most popular, and that is why of the five listed above, four of them are corded.
Corded planers connect to an AC source of power and usually have a more powerful motor. In addition, they can keep working as long as they are connected to the power source.
Cordless planers, on the other hand, need a battery. They can only work for a limited amount of time because eventually, the battery will die. However, they have numerous advantages as well. For one, they are more portable. Second, they are easy to maneuver on the workspace and can easily reach the hard to get areas.
Before making a purchase, it is important first to determine which of the two suits you best depending on your work scope.
Performance is determined by three things; the motor, the blades and the planer’s cutting width.
Your work scope should determine the motor you choose. If you are a hobbyist who planes occasionally, then a medium-power planer will suffice. If, on the other hand, you are a serious woodworker, then you need a high-power planer for maximum efficiency.
On a planer, the drum holds the blades. The no-load speed is the number of turns the drum makes per minute. If a planer has a no-load speed of 17,000 RPM and has two blades, then it means each blade will make equal revolutions providing 34,000 cuts per minute.
What you need to remember about the blades is that the higher the speed, the smoother the surface.
The cutting width is the width on a piece of wood that a planer can slice in one pass. That means the wider the planer, the fewer the passes you will need to make.
When it comes to convenience, you need to look at the planer’s weight, its ergonomics and if it provides for a mechanism to get rid of the chips and leave your workspace clean.
It is advisable to go for a light planer because your hand will not experience fatigue quickly. In terms of ergonomics, the planer should be easy to hold, and it should facilitate comfortability with features such as rubberized handles.
Finally, the planer should have a dust bag to collect the chips.
Hand Planers FAQs
Q: What’s a Hand Planer Used For?
A: Similar to electric planers, handheld planers can shape and shave any piece of wood, creating smoothly finished, sleek surfaces. It can double as a jointer or belt sander as needed. That means you get three tools rolled into one device.
From shaving off the bottom of a door to leveling joists, hand planers can be used for a wide range of wood-based projects. This useful tool can do a good job of making your shelving and shaping backyard decking.
Whatever the occasion and job, the primary function of every hand planer is to prepare and smooth wood in building projects. It allows you to adjust the depth gauge according to your needs until you get consistent thicknesses from end to end.
Q: Is a Hand Planer the Same As a Jointer?
A: As far as the basic woodworking is concerned, planers and jointers are two different things. Each device features a specific method of operation.
Jointers are essentially used to straighten and flatten wood, as well as for squaring off and straightening edges. On the other hand, planers are used on already jointed and prepared boards. In fact, hand planers serve to make a consistent thickness along the whole length, which results in uniform, smooth finish.
Q: How to Use Hand Planers on Wide Boards?
A: First things first, you need to set up the board. Get a flat surface of the board a bit larger so that it is completely supported. If you work with cupped boards, then set them in a way that they are convex and make sure that each edge is marked.
Then plan the boards following the marks you’ve made. Use winding sticks to set the boards to the flat surfaces according to your preference. The wider boards should be flattened gradually in a few steps because they tend to change shape when losing tension.
Let the boards settle for two days. That will allow them to shape completely. Lastly, sand down the board using a sanding machine to get a nice finishing.
Our Final Take
Whether you are a hobbyist or professional, the above guide provides a list of hand planers that is ideal for both. It also covers hand planers whose price range varies greatly. That means you can find a planer that suits your price range.
The only requirement is that you go through the considerations keenly so you can pick a planer that will not disappoint. Hopefully, these reviews will help you evaluate and choose a hand planer that best suits your needs and budget.
If we didn’t include a model you are looking for in our reviews, read through the buyer’s guide to get a better idea of what to consider when purchasing a hand planer. Happy shopping!