Nowadays, everyone can walk into a furniture store and buy one of the pre-made pieces. However, assembling such tables and sofas don’t make you a craftsman. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, you’d need a dedicated workshop. Of course, crafting your unique pieces of furniture won’t happen, unless you have a benchtop planer.Since it’s an essential part of every woodworking project, you should make a careful choice. To help you pick the right tool for your needs, we’ve compiled a list and a buyer’s guide. Hopefully, it will help you get the ideal benchtop planer for your workshop.
Purchasing a best Benchtop Planer…
If you’re willing to take your woodworking hobby to another level, make sure, you make the right investment. Many factors may affect your choice. That’s why you need to have some basic knowledge before you start browsing for a benchtop planer.
Power and Motor Speed
Put simply, more power means handling more types of wood. Typically, most decent planers run at around 10,000 RPM. Of course, some more sophisticated models can run at two speeds. They provide super-smooth finishes but cost nearly twice as much as one-speed planers.
Usually, every machine comes with a feet-per-minute rate. It indicates the feed rate of the infeed table. Most units come with dual infeed speed control, but that doesn’t necessarily equal quality. In most cases, slower feed rates produce smoother finishes.
Of course, knives play a significant role in the quality of the cuts. If you want to work with extreme precision, you should go for three-blade heads rather than two. Arguably, three knives can ideally create a smooth surface without much effort. If they are disposable and reversible, you’ll be even luckier. That way, you’ll be able to flip them when needed, effectively doubling their lifespan.
Perhaps, this might be one of the most significant concerns about planers. The deeper, annoying cuts on the leading or trailing edge of the board are quite worrying. Therefore, you should look for a unit that’s stable and perfectly level on the entry and exit.
Usually, all decent planers have maximum cutting depths of 3/32 or 1/8 inches. However, we don’t recommend you to use the maximum extent because it will increase the chances of sniping. Still, you can use this feature as an indicator of the planer’s capabilities.
While looking for a machine with a decent maximum cutting depth, you may also look for a stop feature. In essence, it will prevent cutting the lumber thinner than you’d wanted. Mind that this option is handy when working with boards of varying thickness.
Moreover, you’d want to have a cutter head locking mechanism. That way, you’ll save time and effort. Once you’ve adjusted the cutting measure, the lock will hold the knives at the exact level. Ultimately, it will virtually eliminate snipe.
While it’s not that essential, some benchtop planer units benefit from their portability. Generally, they weigh somewhere between 58 and 80 pounds, but this has little to do with carrying your machine around. Alternatively, it affects the need for a flat and level surface.
Perhaps, you might plan on using your gadget away from home. In such cases, you should look for one that can readily mount anywhere. The ability to firmly bolt your machine to a work surface will improve your precision and accuracy.
Dust Collection Systems
Today, the majority of newer planer models have a dust collection system. This feature is a convenient way of avoiding the annoying mess of working with a benchtop planer. Sometimes, planers would include dust hoods and hoses. They can be comfortable when it’s time to get rid of the accumulated dust.
Infeed and Outfeed Tables
As a general rule of thumb, every benchtop planer comes with infeed and outfeed tables. Their main goal is to hold the wood as it goes through the machine. Therefore, more extended tables can reduce or even eliminate snipe.
Without a doubt, prolonged work on a noisy power tool can become a nightmare. A benchtop planer is no different, and it’s a wise idea to look for a quiet unit. As you can imagine, quietness is not a number-one priority for most companies. Therefore, you’ll hardly find any model that has put its focus on reducing noise without sacrificing power. Luckily, there are plenty of earbuds to protect your ears.
Usually, a mid-range unit can accommodate a board of the size of 11” to 13” full and 6” deep. Since the price difference isn’t that big, you can safely go for a 13-inch model.
At last, you should pick a brand that stands behind their product. Most of the time, companies that have a vast experience in the power tool manufacture provide extensive warranties. What’s more, such sellers usually have an extensive provider network. Therefore, you’re less likely to have issues with servicing, repairs, or defective products.
Overall, all benchtop planer units are suitable for occasional use at home. However, the DeWALT DW735X and the JET JWP-13BT are significantly ahead in terms of quality and precision. Arguably, they will give you the smoothest finishes of any other planer.
On the other hand, you can pick one of the more budget-friendly options like the CMEW320 or the WEN 6552T. Of course, the cut wood may require some sanding. Ultimately, you’ll get quality pretty close to the more high-end models on the list.
What Are Best Benchtop Planers…
DeWALT DW735Xs Planer DeWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer, JET JWP-13BT Benchtop Planer CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer WEN 6552T Benchtop Planer
When you mention DeWALT, you know you’re talking about quality. Perhaps, the DW735X 13-inch thick benchtop planer offers plenty of that. It’s a powerful, efficient, and reliable machine with lots of features. Even though it’s not the most affordable, it delivers outstanding value for its price.
Undoubtedly, the first thing you’re going to notice is the build quality. It’s more than evident that DeWALT builds products that can last for years, and the DW735X is no different. This planer has a rugged construction with a cast aluminum base. As a result, customers get a durable and stable machine for enhanced accuracy during woodwork.
Of course, you can’t neglect the power on this benchtop planer. The 20,000 RPM motor and 10,000 RPM cutter head is indeed an impressive combination. Moreover, there’s a two-speed gearbox that allows the user to adjust the velocity of the machine. This feature makes cutting larger chunks in broader materials look like a piece of cake.
One thing that makes a difference with this model is that the cutter head has one sole purpose and it’s accuracy. You can optimize your cuts with 96 or 179 CPIs. Last but not least, the 15-amp motor allows for consistent cut quality, even when working with a deep cut. Thanks to the six-inch depth capacity, you’ll have no issues with accuracy whatsoever.
Indeed, power plays an essential role in every benchtop planer configuration. Since you’ll be working with all kinds of wood, the 15-amp motor is enough to provide excellent results. The 20,000-RPM engine and 10,000-RPM cutter head will easily make massive cuts on extensive materials.
Arguably, one of the main advantages of the DW735X is the three-knife cutter head feature. It reduces the need for maintenance, as you can easily change the blades. Ultimately, it extends the lifespan of the machine, leaves you more time for work.
Multi-Speed Gear Box
Perhaps, the 15-amp motor would make little sense unless you can adjust the speed manually. Thanks to the two-speed gearbox, you can alter your feed speed to your liking. That way, you’ll optimize the planer cuts at 96 or 179 CPI.
Durable and Rugged Design
As previously mentioned, DeWALT is famous for its quality standards. No doubt, you’ll notice is the ruggedness of the model. What’s more, the cast aluminum base is twice as rigid as other common materials. As a result, you get a durable benchtop planer that can withstand casual wear and tear. Meanwhile, it will ensure excellent accuracy and consistency to your woodwork.
If you have some experience in woodworking, you’d love to have a stable planer. Fortunately, the automatic carriage lock on the DW735X will reduce the chances of snipes. Most of all, you won’t need to put extra effort into preventing it.
When you talk about planers, power and accuracy are terms that must go hand to hand. That’s why the manufacturers have ensured this benchtop planer has both features. You can enjoy the extra-large thickness scale that will help you increase the accuracy of your cuts. Furthermore, you can take advantage of the large turret depth stop.
An upgrade from the DW735, the DW735X, comes with an extra set of knives. Of course, replacement blades are generally affordable. Still, the extra set will give you time to enjoy your benchtop planer without having to buy more.
Just like any other DeWALT power tool, this one comes with a three-year repair warranty. There have been numerous complaints about faulty and defective products. If by any chance, you get to receive a defective product, you can return the piece for replacement.
Short Blade Lifespan
Whether purposefully or not, the manufacturer has probably predicted the need for extra blades. Sooner or later, you’ll notice that they don’t last for very long. Of course, this setback is far from critical. Ultimately, you should pay attention to the material hardness and frequency of use. Make sure you avoid high blade turnover in cases of extended usage.
Weak Performance with Hardwoods
Although this benchtop planer has the power to cut most types of woods, don’t overuse the cutting knives. Unless you have plenty of blades at disposal, we don’t recommend you pushing your limits. Therefore, you should avoid working with dense hardwoods.
By far, you must be familiar with the DeWALT DW735X. No doubt, you may love the features of this mighty beast. However, it may come a little too pricy for your budget. In such cases, the DW734 single-speed 15-amp benchtop planer is a reasonable alternative.
Loved by many, this power tool comes with the standard 20,000-RPM motor. Just like its newer counterpart, it can deliver 96 cuts per inch. Perhaps, this machine will make for a worthy investment thanks to the 33-inch extra-long infeed and outfeed tables. This feature makes cutting more significant pieces of wood look as easy as pie.
In terms of durability, one of the most prominent advantages of the DW734 is its long-lasting shelf life. Many customers have pointed out the ability of the planer to cope under heavy loads. Moreover, the disposable and reversible knives add 30% more knife life.
What’s more, the manufacturer has ensured this power tool packs all the safety precautions. The DW734 has an easily-accessible power switch at the front that allows keying for extra safety. Ultimately, these features make the benchtop planer ideal for both beginners and intermediate users.
Finally, consider the warranty of the benchtop planer. The DeWALT DW734 comes with a standard 3-year limited warranty. There are numerous complaints about defective products. For this reason, DeWALT guarantees free repair when the fault is due to faulty materials or workmanship. Even more, safety…
Accurate and Precise Cuts
As mentioned previously, the hallmark of every benchtop planer is its accuracy. Similar to DW735X, this model makes sure there’s no guesswork. Optimally, you’ll have to carry out minimal manual effort to create a polished and even finish. At your disposal, there’s a three-knife cutter that provides 96 cuts per inch.
High-Quality and User-Friendly Construction
Of course, let’s not forget the quality of all DeWALT products. The DW734 is a reliable, sturdy, and well-built as any other power tool from the brand. Most of all, it’s simple to use from both beginners and professionals.
Extra-Long Infeed and Outfeed Tables
Undoubtedly, the signature feature of this piece is the extra-long infeed and outfeed tables. The 33.5-inch support allows for more easily work with more massive wood planks while preventing sniping.
To further enhance your comfort, the machine comes with a dust collection system. You will no longer leave your workshop, looking like a total mess. Moreover, there’s a dust hood that allows for easy cleaning with an external vacuum cleaner. Of course, let’s not forget about the disposable and reversible knives.
No matter how well-built the DeWALT products are, there are still cases of faulty planers. Similar to the DW735X, the DW734 comes with a standard 3-year limited warranty and a one-year service contract. It aims at dealing with such issues to prevent frustrations.
Fragile Dust System
Unfortunately, the dust collection system looks quite fragile. Over time, it may wear down or even break from excessive use.
Despite the high quality of the machine, you’ll find the motor noise quite annoying. Therefore, we recommend you get a pair of ear defenders for the purpose.
Cannot Bear Heavy-Duty Work
Finally, prolonged operation of this thickness planer may shorten its life. Indeed, this gadget shows formidable durability. However, it’s simply not fit for a commercial environment. If you’re in for casual woodwork as a hobby, it can serve you for years. Otherwise, you should look for an alternative.
With over 90 years of history, CRAFTSMAN has become the epitome of quality. If you’re into classic American power tools, the CMEW320 would be a brilliant start. Moreover, it’s suitable enough for any beginner. It offers a simple assembly with one to three screws.
Perhaps, the standard 15-Amp motor provides enough power to remove both soft and hardwood. It runs at 8,000 RPM and provides 16,000 cuts per minute. These characteristics, along with the two-knife reliable steel cutter will ensure precise cuts every time you use the machine.
Besides, the quick-change feature and the ball bearings also contribute to the smooth operation and long life of the benchtop planer. Arguably, this machine is good enough for dimensioning lumber to the desired thickness.
In terms of durability, CRAFTSMAN doesn’t disappoint its customers. The thickness planer comes with high carbon steel, double-edged, reversible knives. The gadget comes with a foam-covered handle for carrying, which everyone will appreciate. If we don’t count the minor disadvantages, we can say the CMEW320 is clearly worth the money.
Thanks to its 15-Amp motor, you can cut nearly any wood. Besides, the 8,000 RPM cutter-head delivers 16,000 cuts per minute, which is enough for a moderate load of work. If you’re a newbie, this tool is the perfect training ground before you transition to something more powerful.
Durable and Quality Build
As already mentioned, the CMEW320 benchtop planer offers its customers excellent value for the money. Arguably, it has a sturdy build with everything you need to start using the gadget. For example, there’s a thickness indicator and a dust collection system.
Given its properties, this thickness planer is relatively inexpensive compared to other products in the category. If you’re in for something cheaper, this tool will make a worthy purchase.
Easy and Smooth Operation
Of course, it wouldn’t be user-friendly if it didn’t offer easy assembly. You can mount this planer without an effort with merely one screw. If you plan on using the dust collector, you’ll have to use two more screws. For a smooth operation, there are a set of features, including head-mounted on ball bearings, quick change, and others.
Lightweight and Portable
On top of that, the unit weighs merely 61.9 pounds. That’s lightweight enough to carry it around. Perhaps, you can safely pack it in your car. Just make sure you choose a level surface.
Has Two Blades
Unlike its counterparts, this planer has only two knives in the head. Consequently, that may reduce the accuracy of the planer. Still, some customers are content with the performance of the Poly-V Cutterhead drive.
One thing that annoys most customers is a terrible gauge. Defying all standards, the thickness gauge on the CMEW320 comes at the odd 10th of an inch increment. On a side note, the top depth wheel comes graduated in 16th of an inch increment.
Finicky Infeed and Outfeed Tables
Before you start working, you’ll need to adjust the tables, so they are level. Instead of heavy-duty cast iron, these tops are light sheet metal. Also, some customers have complained about a tricky roller. When you feed a board into the machine, the roller catches it and makes a flip up a bit. As a result, the blades cut about 1/64 deeper in the first and last two inches. Last but not least, there’s an annoying plastic film on the middle table. Unfortunately, you can remove it only by taking apart the stand.
Still Too Heavy
Even though it’s lightweight, this unit is still too heavy for certain types of surfaces. Therefore, you should make sure you make a dedicated rolling stand. At least you should have a dedicated station.
Undoubtedly, JET has a lot to show with its JWP-13BT 13-inch helical-style benchtop planer. This machine has some unique features that are worth considering. The 15-Amp, 2-HP motor is typical for the class.
As common as it seems, it runs at 10,000 RPM, which is identical to the DeWALT DW735X. Another similarity is the two-speed feed rate settings. You can adjust the feed to either 18 or 26 feet per minute for optimal efficiency.
Perhaps, this machine doesn’t seem to have an actual helical cutter head. Still, the knives have plenty of advantages over traditional blades. The JWP-13BT has six rows of cutters to make it twenty-six in total. The machine offers a 1/8-inch maximum depth of cut and high-speed steel knife inserts.
Arguably, the most significant advantage of this type of cutter head is that it makes two complete cutting passes. Moreover, a set of rectangular inserts have replaced the traditional square ones. The point is to use machine screws for better fastening to the head. For additional comfort, you can return or rotate the quick-change knife inserts.
In regards to the design and build, the JET JWP-13BT provides excellent value for its price. The 4-post design features cast iron table bed and steel cover construction. Moreover, users can enjoy an adjustable depth stop and folding infeed and outfeed tables. Even though this model is not the most lightweight, it’s still maneuverable thanks to the built-in side handles.
Easy to Use
According to customer reports, this machine is straightforward and easy to use. It has a simple switch button with a safety key. Besides, the unit has all the standard adjustment features.
Quiet and Powerful
Surprisingly, the 15-Amp motor on the JWP-13BT is significantly quieter than its DW735X rival. Other than that, the rates on the cutter heads are identical.
High-Quality Construction and Materials
Undoubtedly, this benchtop planer has one of the most robust builds. Perhaps, the only competitor in this respect can be the DW735X. Apart from the cast iron table bed and steel cover construction, the machine features rectangular inserts. They ensure maximum hold-down to the cutter head.
Comes with Warranty
Unlike some of its counterparts, this model comes with a three-year warranty. It may come in handy if you receive a defective product.
Tons of Features
As for the features, users can take advantage of the adjustable depth stop. The modifiable and folding infeed and outfeed tables enhance the comfort, too. Also, there’s a dual infeed speed control for pristine-smooth finishes. Whenever you decide to move the unit to another location, you can use the carrying handles.
Annoying Height Adjustment Crank
It might be annoying, but the height adjustment crank rotates counter wise. While it’s not such a huge problem, it may take time to get used to turning the crank.
Surprisingly, many customers have complained about the quality of the knife blades. In reality, they are very soft steel and opt for a regular replacement to ensure optimal cutting efficiency.
Finally, you wouldn’t want to buy this benchtop planer, unless you have an unlimited budget. This piece is considerably pricier than other products in the category.
If you haven’t heard about WEN, the 6552T will give you an excellent first impression. Perhaps, this model is one of the newer ones in the roster. That’s why the expectations are high.
Similar to its DeWALT counterparts, this benchtop planer comes with a 15-Amp brushed motor. The difference is in the speed and cuts. The 6552T rates at 8,500 RPM and can make the massive 25,500 cuts per minute. If not the motor, the three-blade cutter head will further increase the precision of the cuts. As you’d expect, they are reversible, which increases their lifespan considerably. The 6-inch stock capacity and 13-inch blade width are enough to allow work with any lumber size.
While the infeed and outfeed tables aren’t as long as those of the DW734, they’re sturdy and durable. The iron cast feeds work at a 26ft per minute feed rate to make an exceptional finish. What’s more, there are three rubber rollers for a smooth lumber delivery without snipes. If you need a crisper finish, you can reverse the piece for a second pass. You can adjust the depth to 3/32 inches, which allows for precise calibration.
In terms of mounting, these machines are easy to assemble and install. You don’t need to have experience with thickness planers to operate this gadget. Indeed, there are predrilled mounting holes for secure locking onto the table. Also, the benchtop planer comes with handles on the sides for easy maneuverability.
Of course, some standard features will make your work easier. For example, there’s a height adjustment handle and depth adjustment knob. If you hate cleaning your workshop after a long day of planing, the dust chute will save you from making a mess. What’s more, the chute comes with a fan to concentrate all the chaff into the collector for increased efficiency.
Although it’s standard for most planers of the same category, the 15-Amp motor will make you worthwhile. Perhaps, the brushed powerhouse will provide long hours of accurate and precise cuts.
Three-Blade Cutter Head with 13-inch Width Accommodation
Furthermore, the three-blade cutter head on this benchtop planer is nothing less than perfect. The reversible blades provide fast and beautiful cuts, making beginners look like professionals. For additional precision, you can take advantage of the 13-inch width accommodation. That way, you can work with nearly any lumber size.
Lightweight and Durable Build
Just like any other power tool, the WEN 6552T strives for durability. Therefore, the tough iron-cast infeed and outfeed tables on the planer can withstand loads of wear and tear. When you see this feature, you know the manufacturer has put time into creating a quality product. Also, unlike many other thickness planer units, this one weighs merely 66 pounds. In case you need to move it, just use the handles on both sides.
Easy Mounting and Control
Last but not least, the 6552T allows for an effortless mounting. Thanks to the predrilled mounting holes, everyone can use this benchtop planer. After all, a little extra stability can only add to the accuracy of the machine.
Plenty of Features
Arguably, a too simple thickness planer wouldn’t appeal to anyone. For this reason, WEN offers a standard set of features in the 6552T. One of the best perks is the dust collecting system. In terms of comfort, customers can use the crank and carrying handles. As for safety, the power switch features a standard safety key.
Iron Tables Can Get Slippery
Even though it’s not a significant setback, working on iron tables can be tricky, especially if they are wet.
Somehow Still Too Heavy to Move Around
Despite the carrying handles on the sides, the machine is still too heavy to move around. Indeed, this benchtop planer is lightweight, but not enough to consider it portable.
There have been numerous complaints about defective products. Some customers have reported cases of feed rollers coming out. Others have complained about the rollers stopping to work after a malfunction in the gearbox.