If you’re hobbyist, you’ve probably dreamt of having a robust and portable handheld planer.
Today, there are plenty of reasons to have one of these handheld planer units. However, the wide variety of top-notch products on the market can easily confuse you. Unless you’re already familiar with the brands and models, choosing a suitable unit might be quite daunting.
Undoubtedly, we had to run through a few tens of hand planer units to pick the best. We have looked into some of the most essential features for every handheld planer – power, features, value, and others. Hopefully, our selection of recommendations will give you a good idea for an excellent electric handheld planer. Most of all, our buyer’s guide will undoubtedly inspire you to make the right choice.
Portable handheld planer
Best for home-construction and renovation
Most of all, it’s suitable for both amateurs and professionals.
Have you ever wanted to implement the power of a corded tool in an electric hand planer? Perhaps, the Makita XPK01Z offers just what you need. The machine comes with an 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery – a leader in the Makita power tool roster.Arguably, the best feature of the XPK01Z is its simplified design. The 3-1/4-inch gadget delivers quick stock removal combined with excellent precision. No doubt, it’s one of the best units from the series.
In terms of power, this tool’s motor can deliver up to 14,000 RPM. With its mere 7.4 pounds of weight, this hand planer has an extremely high power-to-weight ratio. Along with the two-blade cutter head, the dual-edge carbide blades on the machine make for delightful performance and finish.
Typically, you’d go for any battery, but this one has a fast charge time. This advantage will significantly increase your work time. Just make sure you don’t overcharge it. Similar other handheld planers, you shouldn’t leave the XPK01Z unattended while attached to a charging point.
Firstly, the fact that this tool is cordless makes it maneuverable. Now, you won’t have to look for a power source anymore.
- Fast Charge
Many people tend to dislike battery-operated tools because of the slow charging speed. Arguably, the 18V LXT Lithium-Ion series don’t have such problems as they are champions in their category. Indeed, your Makita will take minimum time to recharge and will last for a long time.
While most brands don’t pay attention to this aspect, all power tools by Makita are super quiet. Perhaps, this model is no different. That’s why many people would love this noiseless and efficient handheld planer.
- Adjustable Cutting Depth
If you love working with high precision, the XPK01Z offers a cutting depth of up to 5/64 inches. Of course, it’s not advisable to use the maximum extent as it may cause snipes. Still, it’s enough to give you a general impression of how smooth this planer works.
- Lightweight and Easy to Use
Yet another positive, many customers love the portability that this hand planer offers. With a weight of only 7.4 pounds, this cordless gadget is convenient and effortless to use.
- Doesn’t Produce Dust
Last but not least, you might not be a huge fan of casual workshop mess. Therefore, you’d love to have a highly-efficient tool that doesn’t produce dust. If you wonder why this handheld planer doesn’t come with dust bags, now you know.
- No Battery and Charger
As you can expect, many people would love this tool for its fast and long-lasting battery. However, it’s one of the items you won’t find in the package. The others are the charger and the edge guide. Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase these products separately.
- If Your Battery Dies Out, You Must Stop Work
Sooner or later, your battery will run out. If you don’t have a second one to replace the depleted, you’ll have to stop for a recharge. That disadvantage may cause a considerable inconvenience unless you have an already charged-up substitute.
Best for a variety of woodworking applications
The KP0800K is a much lighter but still one of the top-performers in its category.
Indeed, Makita is famous for its powerful electric tools, but sometimes power isn’t everything. Perhaps, you’ll love the 6.5-Amp motor on this machine. Compared to its 5.7 pounds of weight, this gadget boasts a smashing power-to-weight ratio. The 17,000 RPM on the engine can remove almost any material. In terms of accuracy, the cutter head consists of two double-edge carbide blades. What’s more, the hand planer’s click-stop depth control will ensure optimal efficiency. You can easily adjust the depth to a maximum of 3/32 inches.
Of course, you’ll have to replace your carbide blades from time to time. For this reason, the manufacturer has equipped the item with a quick-change feature. Perhaps, you might need some time to get used to the 3-inch width of this product. Over time, you’ll start feeling the perks when working with smaller materials.
Without a doubt, what makes this product so accessible is its ergonomic design. It has comfortable, rubberized handles, so you don’t tire your hands. Moreover, it’s easy to use even by entry-level users. It comes with a lock-on switch for continuous work. That way, you’ll have a both-hand grip when controlling the otherwise dangerous cutting tool. In combination with the lightweight structure of the machine, you will have no worries when cutting.
Typically, Makita delivers optimal durability for the price. The model comes with a robust plastic housing with a rigid die-cast aluminum housing. Furthermore, it has a machined aluminum planer drum for extra durability as well as vibration reduction. The high-quality poly-V belt will further upgrade the robustness. Last but not least, the manufacturer has put time and effort to insulate the gadget in case of overheating.
- Robust Construction
Hands down, this model is one of the most robust in its power-range. The handheld tool comes with a ton of features to enhance its durability to perfection. From the sturdy plastic construction to the aluminum drum and die-cast aluminum housing, every part screams “premium quality”. Also, the machine comes with a poly-V belt, double insulation, and an all-ball bearing construction.
- Ergonomic Design with Additional Features
While Makita doesn’t offer anything unique in terms of comfort, some features will make your work easier. Apart from the standard rubberized front and rear handles, the handheld planer comes with a click depth adjustment knob. If you plan to use the gadget for a more continuous job, just press the lock-on button.
- Easy to Operate
Typically, you wouldn’t expect from such a professional-oriented brand to nurture beginners like that. However, the seamless design on the KP0800K makes for a really user-friendly experience.
- Great Value for the Price
Generally, some may consider this hand planer to be too expensive. However, you’ll quickly make up your mind as it’s one of the top-performers in its class. Once you get your hands on this high-quality product, you’ll appreciate the value.
- Quick-Change Feature
Arguably, the quick-change feature on this tool will save you valuable time. Besides, the package includes a set of replacement carbide blades at your disposal.
- Precise and Smooth Finishes
If you’re willing to bet on precision, the 6.5-Amp motor with a 17,000-RPM cutter head will do the trick. Perhaps, the two-blade cutter head can run on carbide or high-speed steel blades. Moreover, tons of features add stability for extra precision. For example, you can take full advantage of the machined aluminum base.
- No Dust Bag Included
Apart from all the features, there’s no dust bag included in the package. Besides, many customers have complained about the odd shape of the dust port. Indeed, you have to watch out for chips and shavings unless you position yourself on the left side of the hand planer. Apparently, the item doesn’t come with a dust collection nozzle, too.
Best for your DIY or commercial projects
the two-blade configuration makes for a smooth finish with maximum accuracy.
If you’re a fan of battery-powered power tools, you’d love to have the Milwaukee 2623-20 hand planer. The 3-1/4-inch machine boasts a surprisingly potent combination of output and portability. Even though it’s cordless, this gadget is a real beast. It flaunts a powerful 14,000-RPM motor.
The handheld planer features the whopping 20 locking positions with an adjustable depth of up to 5/64”. With a maximum rabbet cut capacity of 27/64 inches, this tool will suit any perfectionist. Let’s not forget the increased productivity that you’ll undoubtedly enjoy when you work on larger projects.
Besides, there’s a chip ejection feature for seamless disposal on either side of the tool. Along with the 18V RedLithium battery, the kit includes a set of blades and a bevel/edge guide. The total weight of the unit with the battery is 7.5 pounds.
- Easy to Operate
As you may know by now, this hand planer doesn’t go too far with the design. Effectively, it provides a straightforward configuration suitable for both hobbyists and experts in the field.
- Powerful Output with a Smooth Finish
Undoubtedly, the 2623-20 M18 delivers unmatched depth control and performance. Thanks to its set of accuracy features, it can quickly and precisely remove softwood and hardwood material.
- Lightweight and Portable
Furthermore, the handheld planer weighs 7.5 pounds with the battery. Thanks to its cordless configuration, you can use it even in places without electricity.
- Long Warranty
Surprisingly, the tool comes with a five-year limited warranty. Perhaps, this is proof of the quality that Milwaukee guarantees with every purchase.
- Weak Base and Misalignment Issues
When using a hand planer, it’s essential to have a firm base. In this case, the aluminum base on this model might be too soft to endure heavy-duty work. Soon after you start using it, you many notice scratches and snipes on the material. This downside can make the planer virtually unusable as you won’t be able to achieve an acceptable finish.
- Short Battery Life
Some customers have complained about the short battery life. Indeed, this handheld planer drains off energy in a snap. Therefore, you’d be better off carrying a replacement battery with you
- No Dust Collection Bag
Apparently, this model comes without a dust collection bag. Therefore, your best move would be to direct the dust discharge to either side of the tool. If you have a vacuum cleaner nearby, you can connect it to the nozzle.
- Too Expensive
Even though it offers a lot of power and features, this hand planer is far too expensive. Compared to its counterparts, it seems a bit overpriced.
Best for a wide range of applications
Thanks to its 6-Amp motor, it has quickly become popular among professionals and beginners.
If you need a more powerful planer, the Porter-Cable PC60THP will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. Indeed, Porter-Cable is famous for bringing high value to their products. The corded PC60THP is no different.
Undoubtedly, this powerhouse boasts a no-load speed of 16,500 RPM. It comes with an ergonomic rubberized handle, and a robust design completed by an aluminum-cast shoe. These features allow buyers to use the hand planer both indoors and outdoors. The straightforward style of the gadget is very user-friendly, so it’s suitable even for the first-timers. Of course, let’s not forget the dust collection system. The hand planer comes with a dual-side chaff emission. The sizeable dust bag will help you to collect the dust without an effort.
Perhaps, the boosted motor power on the PC60THP is a bold statement from Porter-Cable. What’s more, the heavy-duty handheld device comes with sharpenable HSS blades. It’s a one-time purchase that will remove all types of wood chips with ease. Besides, the manufacturer has provided a durable poly-V drive belt for additional comfort.
In terms of precision, the handheld planer features three multiple-size chamfer grooves. The cutting depth is 5/64 inches at best, which is ideal for quick and aggressive planing. What’s more, you can easily cut deeper through denser types of lumber. You can find the depth adjustment knob on top of the first shoe for easy access. Ultimately, the 11 positive stops allow for precise cuts of 1/128 inches per increment.
No doubt, this handheld machine matches all requirements for a heavy-duty power tool. It has a robust design, with an 11.5-inch aluminum-cast shoe. On top of that, it boasts a formidable force with its 6-Amp motor. It can withstand continuous work without an effort. What’s more, the manufacturer has equipped the tool with a lock-on button for the purpose.
- Two-way Dust Emission
Perhaps, the two-way dust emission system makes for added convenience. The hand planer comes with a dust bag. Just make sure you empty it every now and then.
- Excellent Accuracy
As previously mentioned, the Porter-Cable electric hand planer can deliver high-precision cuts. Indeed, many customers praise it for its accuracy. Thanks to the HSS blades, 5/64 inches cutting depth, you can barely find any other machine with similar features.
- Warranty and Extra Items
If you ever happen to have issues with the PC60THP, you can take advantage of the three-year warranty. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a set of extra items in your package. With your purchase, you’ll get a plastic carrying case and two replacement carbide blades. Besides, there’s a dust bag and a T-shaped hex wrench for additional comfort during work.
- Misleading Product Description
Contrary to the manufacturer claims, some clients have complained about not receiving a carry tote bag. In other cases, some customers haven’t received any replacement blades.
- The Dust Bag Fills up Quickly
While it may not be a significant disadvantage, the dust bag fills up quickly. Unless you empty it out frequently, this may cause some inconvenience during continuous work.
Best Lightweight and Maneuverable
5. WEN 6528
Thanks to the 3200 RPM on this handheld planer, you’ll have no problem slicing away any irregularities on a surface.
If you’ve been looking for a planer to smooth out chips, flakes, and edges, this one will do the trick. The 3.8-Amp WEN 6528 2-3/8-inch electric hand planer is perfect for fixing and fitting wood.
Moreover, the machine comes with a maximum cutting depth of 1/16 inches. You can use any of the 9 positive stops to increase the increments of 1/128 inches. That way, you’ll have perfect precision when fitting and squaring boards.
The manufacturer has even added two V-shaped grooves on the base plate shoe. Ultimately, they aim to help for natural flattening and shaping sharp corners.
All in all, you’d love to have this useful tool in your backpack. Most of all, its 4.3 pounds of weight makes it extremely easy to carry everywhere. What’s more, this hand planer comes with an onboard storage slot for blade adjustment and a kickstand. Since you’re buying from WEN, the company backs its handheld planer with a two-year warranty.
- Ergonomic and Easy to Use
Firstly, this machine is ideal for both hobbyists and professionals. Indeed, the hand planer is so easy to use that you don’t need any experience in planing. What’s more, it comes with some features that will make your work easier. You can adjust your cut thickness in 9 increments, and use the two V-shaped grooves to flatten and shape post corners. Besides, the kickstand will protect the blade and the workpiece in between uses. The blade-change wrench sits conveniently in an onboard storage slot for easy reach.
- Lightweight and Maneuverable
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest perks of this handheld device is its weight. Thanks to its mere 4.3 pounds of weight, this mini gadget offers excellent portability.
- Value for Money
Overall, WEN delivers a handy budget-friendly option for smoothing out imperfections. Apart from the attractive price, the electric hand planer comes with a two-year warranty. If you have any issues, call the friendly customer helpline. Anyway, you get a plethora of features for the price of a regular meal.
- Heats up Too Quickly
Apparently, this hand planer heats up quickly. Some customers have even reported motor breakdowns.
- Doesn’t Have a Dust Bag
Even though the tool has a dust collection system, it seems like it doesn’t come with a dust bag. What’s more, WEN doesn’t offer any model-specific dust bags.
- Requires a Power Source
While this tool is lightweight and maneuverable, it requires a power source to work. Perhaps, that would be an issue if you plan on using it on worksites without electricity.
How to Purchase the Best Hand Planer – A Buyer’s Guide
Of course, you can read all you want. But without some basic knowledge, you won’t be able to pick the right tool for your needs. Perhaps, this list of handheld planer unit would be useless unless you understand the key specifications. Here are some of the essentials to purchasing the best hand planer.
The Type of Work
Firstly, you’d want to decide the purpose of your purchase. Since you’re going for a handheld planer, you’ll likely pick a small and portable unit. However, some may need something more powerful. In that case, consider investing in a large and powerful model. Most of the time, such products are cordless.
Also, don’t forget that battery-powered gadgets are perfect for smaller details and small projects as a whole. Therefore, you should carefully consider all your choices before you take a step forward.
Output and Speed
Of course, the motor is the first thing that everyone notices. If you have experience with planers, you’d know that higher cutting speed and more power equals smoother results. Moreover, the higher output will effectively reduce the load on the motor. Consequently, it will help your tool-of-choice last longer.
Besides, you’d want to invest inconsistency, too. While there’s an increasing trend in going cordless, losing battery energy may hamper your work. Therefore, it might be a far better idea to rely on a corded electric planer. That way, you won’t lose power and speed. Of course, both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Still, it’s a smart idea to bear in mind.
Precision and Accuracy
Yet another essential aspect, accuracy is vital to every quality hand planer. Since consistency is of such importance, you’d want to have a firm and smooth cuts. Most decent models will have a depth gauge, so you can adjust the cutting depth.
Usually, all handheld planers are portable enough for anyone to carry. Arguably, some brands have spent a little more time on delivering maximum comfort with their products. In this respect, some units are far more lightweight than their counterparts. Moreover, they focus on ergonomics and mostly waste management. As you can imagine, electric planers produce lots of waste. Therefore, it’s critical to have a way out of it. At least, every decent planer should be able to direct waste sideways.
Just like any other portable power tool, a handheld planer should be durable and sturdy. It should be able to withstand casual wear and tear as well as lots of heat. In this case, look for a planer with cast metal plates over a stamped metal one.
Price and Value
Finally, you’d want to make a bang for your bucks. Without a doubt, there will always be overpriced products on the market. Still, some bargains are worth every cent. Ultimately, you’d want to look for a tool that will deliver the best for-dollar performance. Determine your budget carefully and think of whether you’re willing to pay for each feature on the model.
If you’re an enthusiast who’s just beginning, you might want to start off with something more unpretentious. The WEN 6528 is certainly not the best in terms of precision and accuracy. However, it’s the perfect starting point for DIYers and newbies alike.
While the Porter-Cable PC60THP is a large and aggressive planer, the Milwaukee 2623-20 is genuinely precise. Either way, both Makita options beat the odds in terms of durability. They are bound to serve you relentlessly in all types of heavy-duty tasks.
All in all, there’s something for every price range. Of course, there will always be a better performer in the category. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose a hand planer that will suit your needs and preferences.