Thickness planers come in a lot of variety, which is perfect since they’re used for a ton of different jobs. If you want to work with wood in any serious capacity, you need a planer of some kind, even if it’s just a small handheld option.
Here I’ve curated a list of my favorite options available on Amazon, along with a bit of an explanation for my criteria for choosing and a short breakdown of the different types. If you’re in a rush, though, and just want a quick recommendation, here’s my top pick:
In a Rush? My Top Pick:
Jet - JWP-208HH: 20-inch Helical Head
Top 10 Thickness Tools on the Market
How Do I Choose The Right One?
There are five main criteria to think about when choosing a thickness planer: the type, its power, the purpose you need it for, the size, and your budget.
Type and Size
Type and Size
There are three main types of planer, and a more rare one: full size, benchtop, hand, and combos
Full size planers are exactly what they sound like. They’re large (usually over 500 lbs) machines that have a lot of horsepower, huge tables (15 to 20 inches, usually), and can handle large boards (about 8 inches thick on average).
Benchtop planers are much smaller, meant to be light enough(under 80 lbs) to move by hand around a workshopor job site. They’ll usually have tables about 10 to 13 inches in width and can handle boards about 6 inches thick.
Hand planers are even smaller, ultra lightweight (usually under 10 lbs) planers meant to be maneuvered around and can even be used on already placed boards vertically in a pinch. They can usually cut between 3-4 inches in width at a time.
Jointer/planer combos are exactly what they sound like: a planer that converts into a jointer, and vice versa. They’re usually a worse option than buying both tools individually, but take up much less space than two bulky machines.
A bigger motor draws more power, which produces a higher RPM, and more cuts per minute.
Cuts per minute is really the big number to look at. The more cuts per minute (listed as cuts per second or cuts per inch on a small minority of models) the smoother the finish after a single pass. RPM and CPM are USUALLY related, but especially for helical cutterheads, two planers with the same RPM can have a lower CPM (or even a planer with a much higher RPM but a lot fewer blades!).
The kind of planer you need will depend on what you’re using it for. Generally everyone will at least want a benchtop planer, with a hand planer as a supplement. Ful-size planers are generally only going to be wanted by professionals or dedicated hobbyists that work with a lot of big projects.
If you’re just starting out and not sure what to get, you can’t go wrong with a good benchtop model, since they’re relatively cheap and can carry you through a lot of jobs. Wait to spend the thousands on a full size for when you determine whether you even need it.
Pretty much exactly correlated to the type and size is the price. Hand planers are the cheapest (usually under $100), then benchtop planers (between $250 and $600), followed by full size and combos (around $3000 to $5000), and the absolutely outliers for full size models (of which one is on this list) going up to $10,000 to $12,000.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to the reviews!
10 Great Thickness Planer Reviews
Jet - JWP-208HH: 20-inch Helical Head Planer, 5 HP 1 Phase
The Jet JWP is not the highest performance full size planer I can find (we’ll get to that one in a moment), but it has one of the best cost to affordability ratios around.
The width and thickness capacities on this one are pretty solid, to start (20 inches wide and 8 inches thick), making this a great machine for high volume and large board work. The two speed 5 horsepower motor complements this, spinning the helical cutterhead (92 carbide inserts) at 5000 RPM, producing a great, smooth finish.
The cats iron table is sturdy, as is the whole machine designed to be rock steady to help eliminate annoying snipe, and the 4 inch angled dust port helps keep the dust out of the way.
Jet products are usually pretty good, and this one is obviously no exception. It can handle pretty much anything you throw at it (and anything it can’t…well, that’s what the 5-year warranty is for) and will only run you a bit under $4000.
Not the bets option for amateur or infrequent woodworkers, but for someone that needs a full size machine this one is a great pick.
Grizzly G0603X Extreme Duty Planer with Spiral Cutterhead, 25-Inch
Grizzly planers operate on a bit of a higher power level than most others, and this one is no exception. This enormous (over 2000 lbs) machine packs a lot of punch, with a 25 inch width table, a 9 inch thickness capacity, and a whopping 15 horsepower motor.
It can feed wood through its 4900 RPM spiral cutterhead (170 inserts) at three speeds: 20, 25, and 30 feet per minute, up to ¼ inch deep, and does it all relatively quiet for something this huge (one of the major benefits of the spiral cutterhead).
As you might expect, it draws a lot of power: be prepared with 200 volt or 44 volt outlets and potentially the cables to match if you buy this machine.
Of course, as might also be expected, a machine three times the effectiveness of our winner (and twice the size) is also close to three times the price: this machine will run you near to ten grand.
That price is the reason it sits a bit lower. It is unequivocally the most powerful planer on this list, with performance not even rivalled by anything above or below it in the rankings. It is also by far the most expensive, and is a bit overkill for a lot of people, making it amore niche purchase, and so not quite as good for the general public as the Jet. But if you need this kind of power, it’s hard to do better.
WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer, 12-1/2"
Swapping gears a bit, let’s look at a lower powered option. Sometimes you don’t need a full size planer. Maybe you just don’t need one at all because you only do smaller projects, or maybe you need one you can move around to complement your full size and hand planers as an in between option.
Either way, while benchtop planers may be smaller and less powerful, they aren’t less good. For under $300 you can pick this one up and enjoy a solid 12.5 inch width capacity (6 inch thickness capacity) and a 9400 RPM, 15 amp motor.
The only real drawback to this one is it uses straight blades, which the otherwise largely identical (but more expensive) Wen 6552 swaps out for a helical cutterhead. Whichever you get though, it works great for cabinetry and things of that nature that don’t need to use the louder, more cumbersome full size planers for.
The only real thing to keep in mind is the granite table top (as opposed to the more common cast iron). While still a great, sturdy material it is potentially more brittle, so don’t drop it or anything heavy on it.
Grizzly G0634Z Planer/Jointer with Spiral Cutter head, 12"
If you’re going to work with wood, generally a planer isn’t going to be the only tool you need. One of the others you should own is a jointer.
But both machines tend to be big, and not everyone has the space to fit both tools. That’s where the combo planer/jointer machines come in, which can flip their table up or down to swap between being a jointer or a planer at will.
The issue is…most of them aren’t very good, being essentially meh to bad versions of both instead of decent to good examples of either.
This is one of the only exceptions I could find, and the only one I thought was worth putting on the list, being simultaneously one of the cheaper options, and the best one.
While it won’t blow you away with how awesome it is, a 12 inch width capacity isn’t bad for a planer, and a 5 horsepower motor, 5034 RPM with its 32 insert spiral cutterhead, and 1/8 inch max cut depth are pretty good, especially given you get a jointer in the deal.
For the under $3000 asking price, I’d suggest you pick this up if you need to buy both machines anyway.
Grizzly G1033X 5 HP Spiral Cutter Head Planer, 20-Inch
A 20 inch width capacity and 5 horsepower motor puts it on curve for the price, and the larger than average 8 and 5/8 inch thickness capacity pushes it a bit above. The 96 carbide insert helical cutterhead rounds things out and makes this a great machine.
So why is it so low on the list?
Mainly because it’s almost identical to the Jet at the top, but about $700 more expensive.
That would naturally put it in second place, but then starts competing with the massive power of its bigger, more Extreme Duty cousin, the best benchtop planer around, and a good planer/jointer combo (which are hard to find).
Basically: it’s good, but not “best in class” for anything, so it slides down the list. If you find this one on sale, by all means pick it up since it is a bit better than the Jet in raw stats, but I don’t think the increased cost properly correlates to how much the price is jacked up.
Powermatic 1791213 15HH 3 HP 15-Inch Planer with 230-Volt 1 Phase Byrd Shelix Helical Cutterhead
While not as good as the Jet (or the Grizzly Extreme Duty), this one is pretty great for its under $3200 price tag.
3 horsepower motor (230 volts) gives the 74 carbide insert Byrd (spiral) cutterhead a good amount of power. The main problem with it is the small width capacity (15 inches), though the 6 inch thickness capacity is pretty standard.
Other than that, everything is good. It cuts to a max depth of 1/8 inch, it runs quiet, and has a solid extendable cast iron table.
It sits in the middle of the list because it’s pretty middle of the road, but it’s not at all bad.
WEN 6534 8-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 4-3/8-Inch
Going into the realm of hand planers, we have a great option.
For under $60 you get a pretty wide swathe (the average is about 3 inches), a great 8 amp motor that outputs 16, 000 RPM (32, 000 cuts per minute from its two straight blades), and most importantly: a lot of adjustability.
This one can be adjusted in 1/128 inch increments up to 1/8 inch depth of cut, making it a very accurate machine (not just for hand planers, a lot of larger ones have less positive stops than the 16 this one boasts).
With the two chamfer grooves, lightweight design for the size (11.5 lbs), and dual dust bag ports on top, it’s a great purchase to round out your collection of planers.
PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12" Thickness Planer
The main draw of this one is how insanely light it is: 62 lbs, about 20 lbs lighter than any other benchtop planer on this list.
With a 12 inch width capacity, 15 amp motor, and 8000 RPM dual blade cutterhead (16, 000 cuts per minute) it suffers a bit in performance compared to both of the others above, but it can’t be overstated how those stats are already pretty good for the under $300 price, and the lighter weight is a huge boon.The main drawback is the construction (including the table) is of lighter, weaker materials like steel and aluminum, so you need to take care with it more so than the Wen or Rikon models.
Makita 1806B 10.9 Amp 6-3/4-Inch Planer
Makita makes great tools, but I’ve always found them a bit bulky.
This one follows that trend with a near 20 lbs of bulk, but makes up for it with an impressively huge cutting path (6 and ¾ inch, about 50% larger than the above Wen handheld).
A 10.9 amp motor and 15, 000 RPM cutterhead are similarly big numbers that make up for its small (1/16 inch) maximum cut depth.
That cutting depth is really the only major issue besides the weight, and is mitigated by the massive cutting swathe that makes redoing a board less of a problem, but it’s still there.
Of course, the massive weight and good power come with a similarly big cost: nearly $1000, which is why it sits so low. It’s huge, which is great for some jobs, but the cumbersome weight of it defeats the purpose of hand planer for many people, making it a very niche product for people that need to plane large boards and can’t use a benchtop planer for whatever reason.
RIKON Power Tools 25-130H 13-Inch Planer with Helical Head
A 15 amp motor is pretty standard, and so is the 13 inch width capacity (6 inch thickness capacity), and 1/8 inch depth capacity, but the 6 row (26 carbide inserts) helical cutterhead puts it a step above.
The lightweight 77 lb design makes it a little lighter than the Wen, but not by much.
This one falls so low not because of its stats, but because it’s insanely expensive for what it does (only a little under $700). I put it on here because it’s a great pick if the price ever drops or it’s on a deep discount, but it’s hard to justify anywhere other than last place otherwise.
Best Thickness Planer for the Money
The only one I’d say “don’t buy” is the Rikon; it’s here only as an option to purchase on a huge sale of some kind. Other than that, all of these are great, even if some of them like the Grizzly Extreme Duty and Makita handheld planer are pretty niche all things considered.
If I had to break them down into categories, the Jet JWP is the most value for full size planers, with the Wen 6550 (or 6552) taking the benchtop position, and Wen 6534 sweeping the hand planer slot too.