Though you can do a lot with a saw and some other basic woodworking tools, you need a planer to work on more complex jobs. Planers allow you to remove thinner and thicker chunks from wood boards and blocks, which you can then sand down to reach the type of finish or surface that you want. Some planers are stationary and designed for use in one specific spot, but others are portable and let you move the planer from spot to spot.
Finding one planer that meets the needs of all woodworkers is almost impossible, which is why we decided to divide our list into four different categories. You can find out how to choose the best planer for your shop as well as the best electric, thickness, benchtop and hand-held power planers.
How to Choose the Best Planer for Your Shop
Think about which type of planer is right for you before you even look at a few of the top ranking models. Benchtop planers, as the name implies, are those designed for directly on top of a bench, table or cabinet. Electric planers are smaller in size and give you a little more control.
A thickness planer is best for controlling the exact width or dimensions of a board. Many of these models are portable too for taking to job sites. You can also look for power hand-held planers that you can use with just one hand.
Blade speed refers to how quickly the cutting blade on the planer turns, which also helps you see how quickly it will work with boards. Though some use just one speed that you cannot change, others have a variable speed that you can adjust for different jobs. You may prefer a speed that automatically adjusts or one that you can go in and adjust yourself.
Number of Blades
You generally want a planer that comes with four or five blades, which will allow the planer to cut more efficiently. Some planers feature just two blades, but those planers are harder to operate and run slower. Those with three blades operate faster than those with only two blades do.
Depending on the type of boards that you work with, you may need to consider the width capacity of the planer too, which is the width that it can work with and accommodate. If you pick one with a smaller width, you may need to go over the same board multiple times, which can result in a choppy or uneven finish.
RPM stands for revolutions per minute and refers to the number of times the blade spins around in a single minute. The higher the RPM is, the faster the planer will cut. You can also look at the no load speed, which tells you the RPM rating when the machine is not operational.
Hobbyists and amateur woodworkers can get by with a wood planer that has a one-horsepower or 1.5-horsepower motor, which is strong enough for most basic jobs. If you want to work on decks or patios and on larger projects, you need a planer with more horsepower.
With planers that you plan on leaving in a dedicated spot like your workshop, the overall weight won’t matter much, but weight is important when you want a planer that you can carry to job sites. You can find portable planers that weigh well under 100 pounds that come with features like storage bags and carrying handles.
When looking for a planer that you can use in your home workshop, make sure that the voltage it requires will work with your home’s electrical system. You want one that uses 110 to 220 volts.
Most planers on the market today have a thickness capacity of six-inches or less, which tells you the thickness of the boards that you can use with that planer. For larger and more complex projects, you’ll need a larger thickness capacity.
Top Electric Planers on the Market
The Bosch 1594K 6.5 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer Kit just might be the only electric planer that you will ever need because it packs all the great features of larger planers into a lightweight tool. As it weighs only six pounds, this planer is perfect for use on projects all around your home as well as projects you do for clients, and you can grab it and take it with you. Bosch even gives you a protective case that keeps dust out of the motor and protects the planer from other types of damage too.
This planer kit comes with a two-blade system that works with its 6.5-amp motor to help you plane boards and blocks faster, and that motor produces up to 16,500 revolutions per minute. Those blades feature a micrograin design that helps the blades last longer and stay sharper for longer too. The included spring-loaded stand lets you keep this planer nearby when working on jobs without worrying about scratching the wood or doing damage to any other nearby surfaces.
Bosch includes a full kit of other products and accessories with this planer too like a chip bag that fits on the planer to collect sawdust and wood chips from the board you plane. You also get a bevel guide fence that helps you make both beveled and straight cuts while holding your boards in place and a blade wrench for making adjustments to the blade.
Easy to use and durable are just two of the terms that describe this DEWALT DW680K 7 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer, which has a long cord that you can plug into a nearby outlet before using the planer. A heavy-duty 7-amp motor makes this planer suitable for use on all types of boards, and it can cut through and along the surface of even the hardest of wood types. It has a larger cutting width of 3/32-inch, which cuts down on the number of passes you need to make on any board.
Though it comes with four sharp blades on the bottom, this planer will also work with larger steel blades that you can remove for sharpening that make framing and making straight cuts easier. The calibrated depth adjustment knob turns in both directions to change the depth at which the planer cuts, but you can easily reset this knob before starting on a new project too. This planer also comes with its own hard-sided case that protects it against different types of damages.
Three guides on the front of the planer are perfect for creating different channels in a piece of wood, and you’ll like that DEWALT precisely designed these guides specifically for this planer. DEWALT also designed the trigger on this planer for use with two hands, which allows you to control the speed and where it goes without feeling fatigue in your hand.
The Makita KP0800K 3-1/4-Inch Planer Kit is a solid planer for amateur woodworkers and hobbyists, but some of the features found on this model also make it suitable for use on construction sites. Those features include a 6.5-amp motor that is more powerful than those found on other electric models that planes boards faster. Despite having a larger motor than other planers, Makita found a way to bring down the weight of this model to under six pounds.
Two cutter blades found on this planer deliver up to 17,000 revolutions per minute, which leave boards with such a smooth finish that you might think you already used a sander. Those blades come out easily from the planer too, which makes it easier to sharpen or replace those blades. Each blade is a double-edged carbide blade that is similar to those found on more expensive planers, and the blades add to the overall speedy performance of the planer.
An ergonomic handle on the top of the planer reduces fatigue in your hand and keeps you from applying too much pressure, and this handle has a simple trigger that you can operate with one or two fingers. The aluminum base helps you keep an eye on the planer while moving it across a board to more accurately plane the wood. It also features a depth adjustment knob on the end that you can turn with your other hand while holding onto the handle.
Though similar to the Bosch electric planer that took our top spot, this Bosch PL1632 6.5 Amp Planer costs a little less and is a better choice for those who want to see how a planer works before investing a lot in one. It has a 6.5-amp motor that produces up to 16,500 revolutions per minute, which is enough planing power for using on both harder and softer woods. A spring-loaded stand lifts the planer away from the wood and supports the tool when not in use to protect your wood and other surfaces.
A dual-mounted fence guide acts like a shield and lets you use the planer on specific surfaces like a door without worrying that you might damage the surrounding frame because the guide keeps the spinning blades away from the surfaces you do not want to cut. Its handle has an optimal design that puts the handle at an angle to the planer, which lets you keep your arm at the right angle to the machine for longer cutting. This handle also has a textured grip to keep slick hands in place and a trigger for changing the speed.
Two different depth scales help you set the depth in either metric units or inches to ensure you hit the right depth, and you can adjust the depth via the tool’s knob. It also comes with both a blade wrench and a shavings bag that collects the chips and shavings that come off your wood.
Best Electric Planer
Our choice for the best electric planer for your workshop is the Bosch 1594K 6.5 Amp 3-1/4-Inch Planer Kit, which comes with a two-blade kit and a 3-1/4-inch planer kit that includes a ratcheting knob for adjusting the depth and an ejection switch. The 6.5-horsepower motor is one of the largest that you’ll find on a portable model, and that motor produces more than 16,000 revolutions per minute. An included stand has a spring-loaded design that supports the planer when it’s turned off.
At just six pounds, this planer shows that big things do sometimes come in small packages. It comes with a durable case that lets you store the planer when you finish your work for the day and a blade wrench for adjusting the blade. You also get a bevel guide fence that helps you keep boards at a steep or shallow angle and keep that board from shifting as you use the planer on it.
Top Thickness Planers on the Market
The best thickness planers are those that are easy to adjust based on the boards or blocks you want to plane, which is one of the reasons why this DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer took the top spot on our list of thickness planers. It has a cranking hand wheel on the side for changing the height of the planer and for adjusting the depth at which it cuts, and you can use the measurement markers on the front to decide on that depth. The planer also has an emergency stop button in a bright shade of red that you can use to bring the tool to a complete stop when necessary.
A built-in two-speed gear box lets you change the cutting speed from 96 to 179 CPI, and changing this speed will also change the speed at which you can feed a board through the planer. It comes with a chip ejection system that uses a fan to catch the chips produced as you plane. This system will then blow the chips away from the machine to prevent accidents caused by those chips getting in your way and to keep the motor clean.
Its 15-amp motor works with three cutter heads to produce up to 10,000 revolutions per minute. You can also use the planer without those three blades to increase the revolutions up to 20,000 per minute.
Many thickness planers are so heavy and hard to carry that you might find yourself stuck using one at home, but this Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp has a portable design that makes it great for contractors and others who use thickness planers on job sites. It has four posts that sit in each corner and supports that connect those corners together for extra stability and an open space that lets you send boards right through the middle. The planer has heavy-duty wings on both sides that keep those boards flush and flat while moving through too.
This planer requires a standard outlet and electrical system, and it has an LED light that turns on to let you know when it has power. An adjustable depth stop gives you the option of using the same depth for multiple boards or changing that depth to make cuts on the same board or different boards. It has a noise output of 83 decibels, which means that it runs quieter than other planers.
Makita guarantees that you can change the blades in this planer faster than you can on other models and includes accessories with the planer like wrenches, a toolbox, magnetic holders and a set of blades. The planer has a capacity that lets it plane boards up to 12-inches wide, 1/8-inch deep and 3/32-inches thick.
Dual-function tools are great for those who work out of smaller spaces because these tools can do more than one thing, and this Jet JJP-8BT 8-Inch Bench Top Jointer/Planer, which works as both a jointer and a planer, is a solid option for those who need to save space. It has a fast feed speed that lets you move wood through the planer at a rate of 19.5 feet per minute, which is faster than many other planers, and its 13-amp motor, which is larger than similar models, can do up to 18,000 cuts per minute. This cuts down on the time that it takes to plane any type of wood and lets you plane both softer and harder woods.
The attached feed table features heavy-duty sheet metal that holds its structure well, and this metal supports the width and height of larger boards without requiring that you keep both hands on those boards. Small knobs turn the machine on and off as well as bring the machine to a stop, and ergonomic handles have an oversize design for easily grabbing with one hand to push the boards through the planer. Jet also gives you a three-year warranty on this jointed and planer combo, which has an aluminum fence that you can adjust up to an angle of 45 degrees.
Portable planers like this Grizzly G0505 12-1/2-Inch Planer are great for those who do not always work out of the same shop because these models are more lightweight and specifically designed for taking to and from job sites. It comes in the patented Grizzly green color, which the manufacturer coats onto the frame and surrounding pieces in a way that ensures the paint won’t flake off or fade. It also has rubber pieces on its small feet that keep the planer flat for accurate cutting.
The G0505 comes with measurement markers on the front that appear in both inches and metric units as well as a small knob on the top with an ergonomic design that fits comfortably in one hand. It features a two-horsepower motor that produces a 10,000 RPM and return rollers that increase its feed speed up to 32 feet per minute. Though it has a maximum cutting width of 12.5-inches, it also has a maximum depth cut of 3/32-inches and a maximum cutting height of six-inches.
Capable of making up to 52 cuts per inch, this planer has built-in thermal protection that prevents overheating and keeps the planer from overloading your electrical system. The G0505 also has a safety lock that keeps the planer from accidentally coming on or turning off when you or something else bumps against the power switch.
Best Thickness Planer
Our search for the top thickness planer led to use looking at dozens of planers from the top companies around, but it didn’t take long before we realized that the DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer will always come out on top. The DW735 has a 15-amp motor that produces a maximum RMP of 20,000 and a clutter head speed of 10,000 revolutions per minute, and that clutter head uses three separate knives that extend the life of the planer. You can adjust the thickness of the planer to cut to the exact size you need.
A chip ejection system uses a built-in fan to lightly blow sawdust and wood chips away from the work area to keep your area clear and to help you see your boards too. This planer has a high capacity in terms of both widths and heights for working with different types of wood boards.
Top Benchtop Planers on the Market
This SHOP FOX W1754 20-Inch Planer with Built-In Mobile Base is the best benchtop planer on the market because it combines features of commercial models with the lower price tag of models designed for hobbyists. It has a cast-iron base that is more durable than bases made from steel, and it has four columns on the inside that support the table and any wood as well locking mechanisms that lock the table in place. If you want to move the planer to a new location in your workshop, you’ll like the durable rolling casters on the bottom that let you push the cabinet, but this casters also have locks that lock each wheel down to keep the planer from wobbling.
Some of its other nice features include a measurement chart on the front that shows you depths in terms of both metric units and inches, a cranking hand wheel made from dependable metal and three buttons on the side that turn on the planer, start the motor and bring the motor to a complete stop during an emergency. The five-horsepower motor on this planer is suitable for most jobs, including decking and patio jobs, and it has a kickback system that reduces the vibrations and kickbacks that might cause injuries. The planer has a maximum cutting width of 20-inches and a maximum cutting height of eight-inches.
The top reason woodworkers pick benchtop planers over other types of planers is because they want the stability offered by these tools, and the DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer has all the stability that you need to cut and plane boards. It has a 20,000 revolutions per minute rating produced by its 15-amp motor that lets you work with larger boards as well as hardwood, and DEWALT guarantees that this planer can cut through the hardest of wood types. The built-in cutter head has a 10,000 RPM rating that can do up to 96 cuts per single square inch to give the wood a cleaner and smoother finish.
DEWALT opted for reversible knife blades that sit inside this machine because those knives are more durable and will last up to 30% longer than any other blades on the market. Though this is a portable planer that you can take with you to jobs, it comes with a carriage lock made from four support columns as well as other supports inside that add stability to the planer and keep any woods that you use from making it wobble. It also features both an in-feed table and an out-feed table that extend the length of the planer’s top for using with boards of more than 33-inches long.
With a maximum cutting depth of 1/8-inches, this RIKON Power Tools 25-130H 13-Inch Planer with Helical Head is strong enough for use on projects with harder woods, but it can also make smooth and even cuts on softer types of woods too. Its helical cutter head has six rows of cutting power to leave behind finishes as smooth as those created by an electric sander, and the planer has a 15-amp 115 volt motor that works quickly on both job sites and in your workshop. RIKON Power Tools designed this planer to have a maximum cutting width of 13-inches and a maximum thickness of six-inches.
At 80 pounds, this is one of the heavier benchtop planers that you might see, but depending on how fit you are, you might find that you can still move it on your own, and its heavier weight also makes this a good choice for a stationary planer that you use just in your workshop or another area. It uses a standard volt for power and comes with a longer electric cord that lets you install and use the planer in different areas around your shop without feeling forced to place it right next to an outlet. RIKON Power Tools includes a five-year warranty on this benchtop planer, which has wings that support boards moving under its cutting blades.
If you aren’t sure how often you’ll use a benchtop planer or just want to save money on one, this WEN 6560 10-Amp 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer with Filter Bag is a good option because it functions as both a planer and a jointer. It comes with a large table on top that measures 6.25-inches wide and 28.5-inches long, which can accommodate most of the boards that you use, and it has an adjustable fence that measures 22.75-inches by 4.5-inches. Not only does this fence extend the length of the boards that you can work with, but it also lets you adjust the angle up to 45-degrees in two different directions for making bevel cuts.
The base or cabinet on this benchtop planer uses cast iron, which adds stability to the planer and also reduces the vibrations produced by the planer that can make your hands shake. A large vent on one end of the planer helps keep debris away from the table, and it comes with a filter bag that you can put on this vent to collect all that dust and keep it away from your work station. When an emergency happens and you need to stop the planer, you can hit the red button on the front to make the tool come to a complete stop in seconds or less.
Best Benchtop Planer
The SHOP FOX W1754 20-Inch Planer with Built-In Mobile Base took the top spot on our list of the best benchtop planers because it comes with features that you usually only see on professional and commercial planers. It comes with a built-in base made from cast iron that gives the planer lots of stability when working with sheets, but wheels on the bottom of that cabinet, which you can lock in place, help you move the planer too. Extension wings also made from cast iron give you a greater work area on top of the planer.
Despite its large size, it comes with features that make it fairly easy to use like a power button that brings the machine to life and a start button that turns on the motor. You can use the cranking hand wheel on the side to change the thickness of the planer and hit a bright red button on the front to stop the planer during an emergency.
Top Power Hand-Held Planers on the Market
The DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brush-Less Planer features a brush-less motor that is easier to maintain and lasts longer than comparable motors to ensure that you get more planing out of this simple tool. That motor has a powerful run time that produces up to 32,000 cuts every 60 seconds, which leaves woods with a nice and smooth surface, and you can use this planer flat against a wood block as well as at an angle to make beveled cuts. Unlike other planers that come with a power cord that sticks out from one end, this planer uses a rechargeable battery that you can plug in and recharge view chargers from DEWALT.
A calibrated depth adjustment knob lets you adjust the depth of a cut down to 5/64-inch, and it features aluminum shoes on both the front and back that let you keep track of the planer as you move it across the wood to make smoother cuts. The included kickstand makes it easy to store this one near your work area without the blades damaging any of the things that you need to work on or want to protect. It also comes with a poly-v drive belt that adds to its lifespan.
Hitachi has a long history of making durable electronics and a good reputation among shoppers for its power tools, which is why the P20ST 5.5-Amp 3-1/4-Inch Portable Hand-Held Planer from the company easily took our second spot away from the competition. Though it has a hand-held design, it comes with a powerful 5.5-amp motor that can produce more than 10,000 revolutions per minute to leave wood looking and feeling smooth. Though it doesn’t come with a spring-loaded stand like other planers do, it does come with a kickstand that lets you learn the planer back to keep it on any surface without damaging anything nearby.
This planer comes with a dust bag that you can easily attach to the back to keep track of any debris produced and to collect dust and chips that can damage your eyes and skin, but you can also hook up this planer to a vacuum attachment and let the vacuum suck up that debris for you. Though it comes in a cordless model that relies on rechargeable lithium ion batteries, we recommend that corded model that plugs into any standard outlet and provides a continuous stream of power to the planer. Another great feature of this planer, which has an easy to use adjustable depth knob, is that it weighs less than six pounds.
With a long power cord, this PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer gives you the chance to plane boards, blocks, doors and any other wood surfaces around your home without charging a battery first because all you need is a standard outlet. A front depth knob adjusts the cutting depth to 10 different settings, three built-in groves let you use this tool when creating chamfering groves or edges. The six-amp motor produces more than 16,000 revolutions per minute, but it also has a no load speed that saves the motor from overheating when left on but not in use.
Included in this set is a kit bag that safely stores the planer and accessories from dust and other hazards, two carbide cutting blades that will last for months or longer and a wrench for changing the blades. You’ll also get an edge guide for using this planer at an angle without damaging any nearby wood surfaces. PORTER-CABLE also includes a dual-side extraction feature and a dust bag that pulls in dust from either side to protect the motor.
Though the WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer is the cheapest planer on our list of power hand-held planers, it still comes with a six-amp motor that cuts up to 34,000 times in a single minute to give boards a softer and smoother finish. The included rabbeting guide measures 5/16-inch and can create one-inch rabbets, and it also has a depth cutting knob that has 16 positive stops between zero to 1/8-inch. This is a more lightweight planer that you can use around the house and on job sites because it weighs just six pounds.
One issue you might have with this WEN planer is that it has a solid handle and trigger that can make your hand feel uncomfortable when working on larger projects. Its low price might lead to problems in the future because it cannot keep up with your demands. WEN does give you some good accessories with this planer though, including a dust bag that collects the dust that comes off the wood, a parallel fence guide and a kickstand that holds the planer when you’re not using it.
Best Power Hand-Held Planer
The DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brush-Less Planer is our choice for the best hand-held planer because it features an easy operating design that lets you squeeze the trigger with one hand and keep your other hand on a board or sheet. The brush-less motor can do more than 30,000 cuts in a single minute to leave boards as smooth as if you sanded those boards first. A depth adjustment knob, which DEWALT calibrated specifically for this planer, twists back and forth to help you set the depth of your cuts.
A poly-v belt drive extends the life of the planer and cuts down on some of the routine maintenance that you might otherwise need to do, and it features aluminum shoes that help you make smoother and more even cuts. DEWALT also includes a kickstand, which lets you set the planer down on almost any surfaces in between uses without damaging counters, tables and other surfaces.