Top 10 Best Benchtop Planer | How To Choose The Best Thickness Planer
As a woodworker of any kind, whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, a benchtop planer is one of the most important tools you can have in your workshop.
However, a benchtop planer is not used to flatten a warped or twisted wood or lumber. That is the work of a jointer.
If your lumber is warped, bowed or twisted in any way, you need to use a jointer to flatten one face of the lumber first. Then you can run it through a benchtop planer to achieve the thickness you desire. The resulting board will be flat on both sides, will have a consistent thickness, and will have very smooth surfaces.
That said, in this article, we’ll be talking about the top 10 best benchtop planers and how to choose the best benchtop planer.
Today, there are lots of big-name brands out there producing different power tools. But in the world of woodworking tools or any power tool in particular, big brand does not always mean top quality.
When it comes to a power tool that you’ll rely on for a very long time, it is wise to look past the brand name sometimes and just go for raw quality.
Tough jobs requires tough tools.
If you go into the market right now, you’re going to find a huge selection of these benchtop planers, and picking the best quality can easily become a daunting task.
That is why we have dedicated our time and efforts to researching the top 10 best benchtop planers you can find today, and presenting you with our findings through this article.
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For those in a hurry, you can quickly compare the different properties of the top 10 best benchtop planers using the following comparison table and find out the one suitable for you.
We chose 10 planers and they’re all fantastic and produce quality work, that’s why they made our top 10. However, my choice is the DeWalt DW735X, and here’s why.Buy the Dewalt DW735X on Amazon
Compare The Top 10 Best Benchtop Planers
|Dewalt DW735X||10000 RPM||13x6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inches||92 lb|
|Dewalt DW734||10000 RPM||12 1/2 X 6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inches||80 lb|
|Wen 6552||25500 cuts/min||13x6 Inch Boards||3/32 Inch||66 lb|
|Wen 6550||18000 cuts/min||12.5x6 Inch Boards||3/32 Inch||79 lb|
|Makita||8500 RPM No load||12x6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inch||62 lb|
|Porter Cable||12x6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inch||62 lb|
|Delta Power Tool 22-555||1800 cuts/min||13x6 Inch Boards||3/32 Inch||58 lb|
|Grizzly G0505||10000 RPM||12-1/2x6 Inch Boards||3/32 Inch||78 lb|
|Powertec PL1251||9400 RPM||12-1/2x6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inch||63 lb|
|Cutech 40200||10000 RPM||13x6 Inch Boards||1/8 Inch||88 lb|
If woodworking is just a hobby for you, and you don’t know what a benchtop planer is, you might be wondering. What exactly is a benchtop planer? Another name for a benchtop planer is thickness planer. It is commonly known in UK and Australia as a wood thicknesser.
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When you purchase lumber, they are usually supplied in different thickness and sizes. The function of the benchtop planer or thickness planer is to adjust the thickness or size of your lumber, and to make the surface plane and smooth. In order words, it is used for trimming boards and creating a consistent smoothness and thickness across the length of a board.
Why You Need A Benchtop Planer
A benchtop planer is just one type of the different kind of planers out there. There are heavy duty planers which are usually found in big workshops, there are benchtop planers, and there are hand planers.
A benchtop planer does not boast the power of heavy duty thickness planers, but it’s existence is very important. This is because most of us cannot afford the thousands of dollars required to purchase these heavy duty planers. Even if you can afford it, you might not have the workshop space to put it. Since these heavy duty planers require very large workshop space to operate.
This is the reason benchtop planers are very important. They are small in size but they achieve the same work output of the heavy duty planers. The difference is that, a heavy duty planers require fewer passes of the board to achieve a particular thickness. While a benchtop planer will require more passes of the board or lumber through the machine in order to achieve the same thickness.
This is not a problem for most workshop owners and me in particular. Since I can do the same work using a benchtop planer, why go for the monster? Why should I spend all that extra money in buying a heavy duty thickness planer, when I don’t even have the space to put it?
So like I said earlier, we’ve done our research and we’ve consulted several woodworking machine experts, and we’ve come up with the top 10 best benchtop planer you can acquire today. So you can be rest assured that this is not just our personal opinion, but the result from thorough research and expert opinion.
The top 10 best benchtop planer
1. DeWALT DW735X – Best benchtop planer
You can’t talk about benchtop planers without mentioning the DeWALT DW735X 13-Inch benchtop planer. The planer is made up of a powerful 15 AMP motor with 20000 RPM which is capable of easily handling larger cuts in wider boards. It can handle slightly wider boards than the DW734, due to it’s cutting width being 1/2 an inch larger.
It has a three Knife cutter head which is very durable with a 30 percent longer knife life. Changing the knife is also very easy and fast in case the knife get’s blunt.
This means that you can switch between the 96 cuts per inch or the 179 cuts per inch. More cuts per inch means the machine is going to produce a very fine finish on the wood you’re working on. However, when you’re working at more cuts per inch the (179), then you have to reduce the rate at which you field the wood into the planer. In other to achieve the finishing touch you desire.
A fan assisted chip ejection technology helps to remove chips off the planer which helps you to focus your attention on getting your lumber to the right thickness instead of trying to remove chips from your planer by hand.
The planer also has a 19-3/4″ cast aluminum base which makes it twice as rigid as a standard 10″ base. It has an extra-large thickness scale and a folding removal gauge which ensures that each cut is very accurate with every pass.
If you working on a project and you need all your boards at particular thickness, then the large turret depth stop of this planer will be very useful to you. This is because sometimes you can get carried away and you mistakenly plane your board lower than the thickness you want your board to be at. The turret depth stop allows you to set the planner to never go past that thickness. So, it’s just like a way of preventing you from damaging your board.
The planer comes with an extra set of knives. It also includes infeed and outfeed tables. The DeWalt DW735X is very similar to the DeWalt DW734 in a lot of ways. Both has a maximum cutting depth of 1/8″, and and adjustable material depth of 6″. Both machines features similar extra length infeed and outfeed tables. And they both have the extra-large turret depth stop.
The DW735X is also very heavy. Thanks to it’s 92 lbs weight. However, it is equipped with large soft grip handles for easy movement or transportation.
Overall, the DeWalt DW735X benchtop planer is definitely above the game when compared to other planers. It’s a planer I would recommend to anyone who is serious about woodworking. It’s of superb quality and it gets the work done in a nice fashion.
2. DEWALT DW734 – Best budget benchtop planer
The DEWALT DW734 planer takes the second spot on our list of best benchtop planers because it is the best budget planer. It has almost as much features and the same quality as the DW735X, but for a less price.
In terms of speed and high rpm, the DEWALT DW7334 is a planer you can rely on. This benchtop planer is made up of a 15 amp high speed motor that produces a 10,000 rpm, and it’s also equipped with a three-knife cutterhead.
It is easy to adjust because it provides you with several quick, accurate depth adjustments. It also comes with extra-long feed tables for material support.
One interesting feature of this planer are the reversible knives that comes with it. No matter the type of planer you’re using, knives usually get dull after several use. However, the reversible knives means, when one side of the knives/blades gets dull, the other end is still sharp. So you just have to lose it and reverse it to the other sharp side to continue planing with ease.
Overall, The dewalt DW734 is one strong reliable planer that will make life easy for you when it comes to planing and reducing board thickness. You can throw any kind of hardwood at it, and you can be sure that your expectations will be exceeded.
Important features of the DEWALT 734 benchtop planer
Reversible Disposable Knives for Convenience
One very important feature of the DEWALT benchtop planer is that it comes with reversible Knives. Both sides of the knives are sharp. So when one side of the blade gets dull, all you have to do is remove the knives from the cutterhead, turn it to the other side, and continue your planing.
The knives are also very easy to change. To facilitate the changing of the knife fast and easily, the cutter-head consist of a set of pins machined on it which fits into corresponding holes machined on the Knife. As a result of this, you can quickly and easily locate the fresh knife and refasten the knife clamp to it.
It is also important to note that in contrast with traditional benchtop planers, the DEWALT benchtop planer knives last 30 percent longer. All these features help you to save cost and the time it takes to resharpen traditional benchtop planer knives.
Powerful 15 amp Motor for Deep, Clean Cuts
If you are going to buy a benchtop planer, it is important to buy a good one because we all know they are long time investments which will allow you to be able to buy rough stock of wood and dimension it by yourself.
You can easily create custom materials from your rough stock, which makes it possible for you to get great results from the work you do with your benchtop planer.
The DEWALT benchtop planer is equipped with a very powerful 15 amp motor. Which means tough hardwood is not a problem for this benchtop planer. The 15 amp motor helps to spin the three-knife cutter-head at 10,000 RPM. This results in a 96 cut per inch cut on the work piece.
Effective Dust and Debris Management
The DEWALT benchtop planer is very effective in managing dust and debris that results from working on the wood material. It is very important for a benchtop planer to have this feature because if it doesn’t, it will be very uncomfortable for anyone using it to work.
The planer comes with a dust hood that is attached to a shop vacuum or standing dust collector (does not come with the planer). This makes it possible for an effective collection of dust, debris and chips that result from working with the planer in the workshop
Large capacity and easy, accurate depth adjustment
This benchtop planer has an extra-long in-feed and outfeed table which helps to provide 33-1/2 inches of space to support the material being worked on. It also has a turret depth stop which saves a lot of time when setting up the machine at a depth that is used often.
In addition, to help ensure accuracy, this DEWALT benchtop planer comes with a material removal gauge and an extra-large thickness scale.
To reduce damage drastically, the DEWALT benchtop planer is equipped with a four-column carriage lock which reduces movements that causes damage to the material being worked on, when planning near the end of the board.
The DEWALT benchtop planer is a very sturdy planer. It weighs 80 pounds and it can cut to a maximum depth of 1/8 inch. It has a depth capacity of 6 inches and the width capacity of the planer is 12-1/2 inches.
3. WEN 6552 Benchtop Planer
On our list of the top 10 benchtop planers, the Wen 6552 Planer with granite table comes third. It is tough and stable due to the heavy combination of cast iron and granite base. This means it will easily absorb a lot of vibration during operation. The smooth granite table allows materials to slide through the planer without any obstruction.
One thing we love about this planer is that it has an onboard material removal gauge. Which means, that you’re well informed about the cutting depth of each pass of your material through the planer. This ensures you’re not going to make any mistake with this planer, unless you don’t know how to use the machine.
It planes boards up 6” thick and 13” wide. The WEN 6552 benchtop planer does not lack in power because it comes with a powerful 15 amp motor which produces aout 25,500 c.p.m when 26 feet of the board is fed in every minute.
Bring in the toughest wood you can get your hands on. The WEN 6552 benchtop planer is up to the task. The three-blade design of this benchtop planer ensures even the hardest wood pass through it smoothly. Don’t worry about the dust produced during operation accumulating in the planer because it has a fan-assisted dust port. This helps to remove the dust from the work piece during operation. If you seek quality and functionality, then the WEN6552 might just be your answer.
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4. Wen 6550 Benchtop Planer
Just like the WEN 6552, the WEN 6550 benchtop planer is another fantastic planer with the WEN brand name. With this benchtop planer you can easily re-purpose old, rough, jagged and worn out wood back to life to give it an exceptionally smooth finish.
It comprises a 15-amp motor which is combined with a two blade cutting system. Together it produces a whopping 18,000 cuts per minute at a 26 feet per minute feed rate. This benchtop planer can be used to work on plane boards with dimensions up to 12.5 inches wide and up to 6 inches thick with so much ease.
One important addition to Wen 6550 benchtop planer is the smooth granite table. The table never warps and it provides precise support to the wood being
worked on by the machine. It also comes with a heavy duty cast iron base
which makes it rigid, steady and prevents it from wobbling during operation.
The Wen 6550 benchtop planer comes with a warranty and there is a very helpful customer support line in case you encounter any issue or you have questions to ask.
Features of the Wen 6550 Benchtop Planer
Once again, here are the features of the Wen 6550 Benchtop Planer outlined in detail.
Non-Marring Heavy Duty Granite Table
This benchtop thickness planer is equipped with an all-granite table which ensures that the surface for placing your board is perfectly flat. The granite, unlike other materials, does not warp or distort over time. It maintains it integrity for a very long time.
Apart from the fact that the granite table provides a non-marring and smooth surface for the wood to safely and smoothly glide on. It also prevent the sawdust that comes out during operation from sticking or clinging to the table’s face.
The weight of the heavy-duty benchtop frame in addition to the rugged and sturdy base ensures that the machine does not shake or wobble during operation.
Side handles and collapsible tables for easy transport
The Wen 6550 benchtop planer comprise two side-mounted handles and foldable infeed and outfeed tables which make it possible for the planer to be easily transported from one location to another.
Fingers can easily wrap around the handles because the inside of both of the handles is hollow which create room for your fingers. To move the WEN benchtop planer around your workshop, all you need to do is collapse the table and grab the handles and you are good to go.
Cut Boards up to 12.5 x 6 inches in size
As already mentioned earlier, the WEN benchtop planer comes with a 15 amp motor that generates more than 18,000 cuts every minute at a feed rate of 16 feet per minute. Even the hardest when it comes to woods is no match for this benchtop planer.
It can work on wood up to 12.5 inches wide and 6 inches thinck with relative ease. It has a dual-blade cutting system which for every pass over the work piece, takes off from 0 to 3/32 of an inch.
To ensure correct and even alignment of blades during replacement, the WEN benchtop planer is equipped with installation magnets and index pins to take care of things.
Combination of cast iron and granite for maximum stability
The WEN benchtop thickness planer will not slide or shake during operation because it weighs over 70 pounds. The combination of the cast iron base and the fully granite table work in unison to form a heavy foundation for the WEN benchtop planer to rest on.
If you need extra stability, the benchtop planer also has mounting holes which can be used to mount it on any location of your choice around your workshop. You don’t need to worry about the stability of the WEN benchtop planer during operation.
- Two-Year Warranty for added protection
As if the previously mentioned features of this planer is not enough, the WEN benchtop planer comes with a two-year warranty period for added protection. If you have any questions, there is a team of specialists and engineers always available to take care of your queries.
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5. Makita 2012NB Benchtop Planer
The Makita 2012NB benchtop planer finally eliminates one problem commonly found in several benchtop planers. That is snipe. There’s very little or no snipe when you plane materials with the Makita 2012NB because it features Makita’s exclusive interna-lok automated head clamp. Just as you begin to field your board into the planer, this automated lok systems automatically clamps your material. This eliminates any chance of snipe on your material. If you hate snipe as much as I do, then this feature will be very appealing to you as well.
The Makita 2012NB is a compact planer. It is design in such a way that it is very easy to transport to a job site. If you have a project in another place other than your workshop, you have no worry. You can easily carry your Makita along. It has less weight compared to many other planers. It is very easy to use the Makita. It has disposable double-edged blades, and they’re very easy to change.
It has a 15A motor with a speed of 8500 rpm when it’s not moving any load. The less weight of this planer does not affect it’s stability in any way. This is because it has a four-post design, and diagonal cross supports. This helps to ensure total stability of the machine during operation.
6. Porter Cable Benchtop Planer
The porter cable planer is the 6th benchtop planer on our list. Please check out our full review of the porter cable planer to learn more about this amazing benchtop planer.
7. Delta Power Tools 22-555 | Thickness Planer
The Delta power tool is built similar to the Makita, but it weighs less than the Makita. The Makita is 4 pounds heavier than the Delta Power tool. Just like the Makita, it also has a powerful 15 amp motor which can handle the demands of any small shop. Remember, a benchtop planer is not the planer you need when you want to rebuild the fallen wall of Jericho. So, don’t expect too much from these planers. If you have a very big shop and you handle much larger work, then you need a larger and more powerful heavy duty planer.
However, if that’s not the case with you, then a benchtop planer just like this Delta power tool will do just fine. It will get the job done. I has a four column design for stability and to ensure that your benchtop planer continues running smoothly through the years.
It features dual disposable knives which are very easy to change because it is equipped with a quick-change knife system. You won’t also have a problem working with long piece of wood. This is because of the adjustable infield and outfield tables that this planer is equipped with.
Sometimes, your dust collector is on one side of your workshop, and you just wish that you can reverse or change the direction through which dust comes out of your planer. The delta power tool has a reversible dust port. Which means you can collect dust from either side of the planer (Right or Left).
If it is accuracy that you desire, the delta power tool comes with a very accurate precision scale. This means you can adjust the scale to make sure that your materials are planed to your desired thickness.
8. Grizzly G0505 Benchtop Planer
The grizzly G0505 occupies the number 8 position in our list. This planer is also very special that we have reviewed it separately in another article. So checkout the full review of the Grizzly G0505 thickness planer here to learn more.
9. POWERTEC PL1251 Benchtop Planer
One more important benchtop planer on our list is the Powertec Pl1251. It is fairly priced it possess all the important features you need in a planer. It also has a four-column design for stability and precision scale for accuracy.
You’ll have no problem when planning very long boards with the powertec benchtop planer because it is equipped with return Rollers. It has side mounted carrying handles in case you want to move your planer to another position. The blades are easily replaceable because of it’s index pin set-up. There’s also a spindle luck to prevent the blades from moving and causing any harm while they’re being changed.
It’s equipped with a 15 amp, 2 horse power motors which turns at 9400 rmp and produces 18,800 cuts per minute. This helps to produce a very smooth finish on the material being worked on.
Other Tech Specs:
- Minimum Thickness Capacity: 1/8”
- Maximum Width of Stock: 12-1/2”
- Maximum Stock thickness: 6”
- Maximum cut depth: 3/32” for board less than 5” and 1/32” for boards between 5” to 12-1/2”
10. Cutech 40200H-CT Benchtop Planer
The Cutech 40200H-CT benchtop planer takes the 10 position on our list. Taking the 10 position does not mean it’s the list among all. Remember, we’ll talking about the 10 best benchtop planers. So it’s among the best benchtop planers you can ever get your hands on in the market.
This benchtop planer has all the features any pro woodworker needs. It’s equipped with a 15 amp motor. It has 4 heavy duty guide posts and 2 other heavy duty screw posts which provides all the stability it needs during operation. As if that’s not enough, it weighs 88 pounds. Which means nothing can easily rock this benchtop planer.
It has cutterhead snipe lock, internal gears for adjusting the height. It’s also equipped with large infield and outfield tables for planning long boards. It has a spiral cutter-head with 26 two-sided tips with uniquely designed dust chute which helps to create a very efficient chip removal. It also helps to reduce any chance of a tear-out which is caused by poor chip removal. The cutter-head tips are also easily changed or rotated.
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How to choose the best Benchtop Planer for your needs
If you want to purchase a good benchtop planer, going through a list like the one above is very essential. However, it can also have the opposite effect on some people. It can leave you more confused than you were before going through the list. But to keep your mind settled and focused, you just have to consider why you need a benchtop planer in the first place.
You need a planer than can withstand wood of any toughness, and still produce the smoothness and accuracy that you desire. Here are important factors you need to consider before choosing a particular benchtop planer. We considered all these factors when compiling the list above.
Power / Motor
Power is arguably one of the most important factor you need to consider when buying a benchtop planer. A benchtop planer with a very weak motor means you cannot plane any kind of wood with it. A tough hard wood will cause problems to it. So, it’s important to always look at the power ratings of a benchtop planer, and making sure it’s up to what you need.
Talking about motors, there are two types you can find in any machine tool. Induction motors and Universal motors. Generally, induction motors are better than universal motors. They are more powerful and have more resale value. They’re also more energy efficient and have a longer life span. So if you intend to use your benchtop planer for a very long time, then you should opt for a planer with an induction motor in it. On the other hand, you can also opt for a planer with a universal motor, if you’re not going to be using it quite often.
Precision scales and depth stops
A clearly marked precision scale is one thing that can make life very easy for you when planing boards. With the precision scale, you can easily adjust the depth of wood you want to take off. Also, with a depth stop, you can set a minimum thickness beyond which you don’t want the planer to plane the wood. This is because you can easily get carried away and plane he wood thinner than the thickness you desire. The depth stop will prevent that from happening.
The amount of noise produced by the planer during operation is also an important factor you need to consider before purchasing a planer. Even if you intend to work with ear protection, you also have to consider the impact of the noise on your neighbors. You wouldn’t want your neighbors calling the cops on you because you’re disturbing everyone with noise from your planer.
It is very important that your planer is able to expel the dust and wood chips produced during operation. So check to make sure the planer you intend to purchase is capable of expelling the dust produced easily.
Snipe is usually produced when fielding wood into a benchop planer. It is caused when the wood moves up or down during the fielding process, which in turn causes deeper cuts at the ends of the wood. Some benchtop planers such as the DeWalt and the Makita are equipped with automated cutter head clamp which helps to hold the wood in place, preventing it from moving up and down while it is being fed into the planer. This helps to reduce the amount of snipe produced during planing. So, this is one important factor that might affect your decision when shopping for a benchtop planer.
One other important feature to consider is the type of cutter head that comes with the planer. Some planers come with spiral cutter heads as seen in the Cutech 40200H-CT. The spiral cutter head produces a very efficient chip removal, therefore producing smoother finishes and reducing any chance of a tear out in the wood. Some other planers come with helical cutter head which is able to move across the board faster than other cutter heads, which in turn also produce a fine finish on the board.
Price is one more thing that can influence your decision. The size of your budget matters too. All the planers listed above all have different prices. So, the price tag on each of them can also influence which one you buy.