What You Will Get Here
- Why you should trust us
- What are benchtop planers used for?
- Things to consider when choosing a model
- How did we pick these products?
- Our top 10 choices
- Our Top Pick: DEWALT DW734
- Top Thickness Planer: DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed
- Easy to Operate: Makita 2012NB 12-Inch
- High-End Choice: Jet - JWP-Helical Head
- Portable Choice: Delta Power Tools 22-555
- A list of 5 other products we tested
- Other Tested Products
- Storage and maintenance tips
- Safety tips
Why you should trust us
Here at Drillly, we prioritize facts over marketing jargon. We maintain a systematic research protocol in pursuing our objective goal of revealing facts. We focus on detailing our reviewing products as much as possible. We rely on field-testings for collecting practical and authentic data. We spend days online flickering through hundreds of reviews, blogs, forums, and magazines to collect the most relevant information. Our passion for the ever-increasing technological development of drilling and cutting tools motivates us.
Some of our team members are experienced professionals with years of factory training. We employ our experts to do research on the tools they specialize in. We also maintain connections with some of the top industry experts and university professors for their precious insights. Our well-structured research framework incorporates all the data we gather from different sources to finally come up with our top list.
We are not associated with any brand or manufacturer whatsoever, our aim is to provide our readers with maximum information on the products that they want to buy with their hard-earned money.
What are benchtop planers used for?
If you are an amateur carpenter, or even if your profession requires some woodworking, you will already know the difficulty of finding boards with an identical thickness for your woodworking projects even from the most serious and reputable of your local suppliers. You risk wasting time, supplies, and money. And you’ll be mega-frustrated! If you know how to use a benchtop planer, things will be much easier. It will make your woodworking projects simpler and more enjoyable.
A benchtop (also known as Table Top or Cabinet Thicknesser) planer is a tool that allows you to prepare boards of the same thickness and flat on both sides. Modern versions of this tool permit you to work quickly and accurately both electronically or manually. You set the depth you want for the cut. You can adjust the planning platform or the cutter head to do this. Then you switch on your machine and move your board through it.
Since this tool helps the wood move forward and out of the machine, you achieve a smooth and even thickness reduction of your wood and very quickly. Since purchased timber only comes in specific sizes, a tabletop model is an ideal solution for this type of woodworking need where you must have an exact measurement.
Things to consider when choosing a model
While we cannot tell you that one specific product is top on the market, we can help you in considering the available options in order to find the best model for you. Let’s begin with our list of factors that you will want to take into consideration when choosing.
1. Power & Performance
The more power you have, the better your planer will be. You will want to consider this aspect seriously unless you are only using pine. Your stationary planner should be able to work any type of wood. You will want a motor that produces a super smooth and well-finished surface. Motors that have a tendency to hesitate, should be avoided.
2. Design & finish
Most planers will give you the thickness you want for your woodworking project. A better, more costly model, however, will provide you with a smoother finish as well. Depending on the quality, you may be able to avoid sanding as a result. Three-knives models with substantial cutting RPMs will provide you with the smoothest surface.
3. Gauges & stops
Usually, benchtop planers will have a gauge that will tell you how much wood will be removed every time you pass through it. This gauge can help you to avoid taking too much, in order to avoid snipe. You will want to verify if the model you are thinking of purchasing provides this type of gauge.
4. Self-indexing knives
A benchtop planer will usually come equipped with two knives. If you purchase a more expensive model, it may have three. As most knives are reversible, their lifespan will be doubled. Flipping knives is usually a simple, easy operation. As these knives are disposable, don’t try to make them last longer by sharpening them yourselves. In any case, you won’t need to interrupt your project, when you can easily flip the knife and continue.
5. Infeed & Outfeed Tables
All planers should come equipped with tables to hold the wood as you feed it through the machine. If the tables are longer at both entrance and exit they will reduce or eliminate snipe. Find a benchtop model that is equipped with good infeed and outfeed tables.
6. Motor Speed
Many standard benchtop planers have only one speed. Some models offer two speeds. The slower speed will produce more than twice the amount of cuts per inch, which will give you an incredibly smooth surface but may cost twice as much.
7. Cutterhead (Cutting depth and rate)
The machines that we have selected have a maximum cutting depth of 6 inches. Higher-end models will be able to reduce more in a single pass. Selecting the maximum cutting depth will increase your risk of sniping, however, this measurement will indicate your planer’s capabilities. A deeper cutting depth will cost you more.
8. Handling Snipe
Snipe is also a major concern when considering planers. Snipe are those deep cuts that occur on the leading or trailing edge of the wood. Perhaps your board isn’t supported adequately or perhaps the knives take time to engage or disengage leaving snipe. Don’t be in a hurry to plane off a lot in one single pass. A higher-end model can help you avoid snipe if you plan to work with valuable wood.
9. Size of Boards
The majority of these machines will allow wood boards up to 11 to 13 inches wide and up to 6 inches deep. If you use 12" boards regularly, you will want to consider this when choosing. Also, several narrower wood pieces can be passed through simultaneously, such as staircase spindles.
10. Ridges & Marks
You don’t want to plane a beautiful piece of wood and have it emerge discolored or scratched. Feeder mechanisms can leave boards smudged or dirty while knives can tear ridges or leave marks in your wood. This is a significant issue that you will want to consider. Remember that feeding your planer with the grain of the wood as opposed to against the grain will help you avoid scarring your wood.
Noise is constant even with the high-end tabletop models. It will be loud or maybe even louder! Some models make it a priority to reduce the noise while maintaining the power level. This, however, will be listed in the product features. Any planers that do not specify noise reduction should be considered as loud. You can and should use ear protection in any case.
Planers weigh quite a bit. While you may be able to move it around your garage or shop, or from a truck to your desired workstation, it isn’t a tool that is easily portable. You can attach it to a table complete with wheels, but that won’t contribute to its portability. You must have a level work surface to attach your machine to produce smooth results.
Also, choose a brand that gives a good warranty. This implies that the manufacturer stands behind their product, especially if and when your product needs servicing. Reliability is of the utmost importance when acquiring a tabletop wood planer.
How much does a planer cost? Well, price is an important factor when selecting any power tool. For a benchtop planner, the price ranges from around $330 to as high as $3000. It is worth considering, however, that you may actually save money in the long run by investing initially in a better tool and spending a bit more money. If the extra expense provides you with better performance and more durability, then you may be better spending more to get a better benchtop planer possible.
How did we pick these products?
Our selecting process was outlined by our research framework that undertook three major steps. First, we did a 30-hour long online searching for tracking down 25 top rated benchtop planer models with maximum features from the most reliable manufacturers. We did hands-on testing of these 25 initially selected models. For that matter, our team members and a group of volunteers spent over two weeks testing the units.
The field testing data along with online community-based user data were added to our research database for final analysis. We had to focus on certain features to categorize the testing items into their respective fields. Based on performance, design language, handling comfort, building material and reliability we shortlisted our final 10.
Our quest for the best models did not end there. We sought opinions of industry experts and university professors for their thoughts on our final list. Their suggestions helped us edit and finalize our list a second time.
Hopefully, our readers will be able to use our buying guide as a reference point for further analysis of their choices. We aim for quality, not quantity. Here in our review, we have tried to describe the vital points of each item we tested and we are pretty much confident about our final list.
Our top 10 choices
So, What is the best benchtop planer on the market today? We have placed our top picks in categories to assist you in finding the planer most adapted to your needs. Once we analyzed the basics as we discussed in 'Features to consider when choosing a model' section, we came up with the following list to help you find the product which is most suitable for woodworking. Let’s begin!