What You Will Get Here
- Why you should trust us
- What are hand-held planers used for?
- Things to consider when buying
- How did we pick these products?
- Our top 10 product list
- Top Choice: DEWALT DCP580B
- The Budget King: WEN 6530 Electric
- Top Thickness Hand Planer: PORTABLE-CABLE PC60THP
- The Cordless Powerhouse: Makita XPK01Z 18V LXT
- Advanced Option: Makita KP0810 7.5Amp
- A list of 5 other models we tested
- Other tested products
- Care & maintenance tips
- Safety tips & tricks
Why you should trust us
In case you were wondering about the Drillly team, we're a cluster of craftsmen, metal, and woodworkers with decade-long experience with different woodworking tools. Our first-hand experience with the tools that we work with gives us a valuable understanding of their ergonomics, performance, and reliability. The team members' shared interest and passion brought them together from all over the US to launch this website where we share our research-backed reviews on top-of-the-line wood and metalworking tools.
You will find a number of how-to blogs and power tool reviews on our website as well that will hopefully give you crucial pieces of information on different types of power tools used in the industry. Before we start reviewing a tool, we maintain a strict protocol of collecting the most authentic data on it. We carry out field-testing for each of our selected product models. We also consult with industry experts for the reevaluation of our results.
Nonetheless, we don't have any affiliation with any particular brand or manufacturer. Our objective is to attain the trust of our readers and we present fact-based reviews in a bid to prepare them for making an informed buying decision.
What are hand-held planers used for?
A hand planer or wood shaver is used to create wood slabs or sometimes wide boards of equal thickness by flattening their surfaces. They are equipped with a knob that allows you to control the thickness of the cut.
In addition, the wood shaver can be used to create parallel faces on two wooden boards. It will be easier to use this tool if you know the working principles of a planer. As I had said earlier, you can use it to smoothen the surface of your door to prevent it from jamming or sticking with the frame.
Recycling an old but good quality wood can help you save some bucks. All you can do is to flatten the wood to expose a fresh surface. Also, with the help of a wood planing tool, you can easily process rough woods to obtain the right size or thickness for your boards.
These hand held mini tools are light, easy to use and easy to maintain. You shouldn’t be a professional woodworker before buying one. However, I will be discussing the various factors you should consider before buying any of these products.
Things to consider when buying
Buying a good hand planer for the money can be difficult if you don’t have any experience with these products. However, the following factors should come to your mind before choosing your most preferred model.
The type of wood and your rate of production should determine the type of planer to buy. If you have more projects to cover in a short time, you should prefer a thickness planer to a benchtop planer because of its higher rate of production. In terms of energy supply, there are two major types: Electric and Manual. Electric ones are more efficient and less time consuming than their manual counterpart. Big brands like WEN and Makita manufacture a huge number of electric models. However, manual ones are often locally produced. You'll find some overseas companies like Kakuri manufacturing manual models. US-based brand Caliastro manufactures some good quality number 4 manual models. There spokeshave design is a bit different but they fall in the manual category.
The higher the power rating of the machine the better. Motors with high power ratings can deliver more cuts in record time than those with lesser ratings.
3. Performance & precision
High-end models on the market offer good performance and accurate cuts that enhance the quality of your finishing. A good machine can create the cuts exactly as you desire.
4. Feed speed
This is the speed at which the blades of the machine passes through the board. The feed speed is higher in thickness planers than their portable counterparts.
5. Cuts per inch
This is another important factor to consider as it determines the quantity or thickness of wood that is cut within one inch. The finishing of the work depends on the planer’s cuts per inch rating. Also, your likelihood to make finishing touches on the workpiece will reduce if you’re using a model with a good cuts per inch rating.
6. Planing height, width, & depth
These three features determine the dimensions of the wood piece that the planer can handle. The maximum thickness and width of a board that can be accommodated by the machine are determined by its planing height and width rating. Also, the maximum cut in a single pass is determined by the machine’s planing depth.
Ergonomics refers to the design language of a tool that increases its durability, ease of use, maintenance and safety. An ergonomic design ensures a better working experience as ergonomics is all about engineering on the design of a tool that aims to improve work-experience.
You will have more confidence in buying a product with a warranty because of the protection that it offers if it is defective. You should consider buying one that has a minimum of 3-years warranty.
The quality and durability of the machine are determined by the material it is made from. Mostly, the material used in its construction determines the cost of the product. You should choose a model that is made from high-quality materials; of course, it does influence its durability and performance.
10. Other features
These are features that are included in the design and construction of these machines to enhance its performance and usability. They are usually found in the product descriptions. You should consider buying models with these extra features and choose the right type of hand planers for your project.
Consider a good price to quality ratio. You should understand that the price tag on a product may or may not be determined by its quality. There are some budget-friendly hand planers that come with high-quality features. Usually, the prices of these tools range from $30 to $200.
How did we pick these products?
The Drillly team maintains a strict protocol for attaining fact-based research result. Initially, we spent online around 30 hours searching for the most popular units of that time and we listed down 25 top-rated high-end hand planes based on their ratings, features, design, and reliability of the manufacturing companies. After the initial sorting process, our team members and a group of community-based volunteers started field-testing the tools for attaining first-hand experience with them. We applied the tools on different woods with various sizes and shapes. It took around 15 days of rigorous testing to shortlist 10 units.
After that, we reached out to some of the leading industry experts for their insights into our top list. We were further assured by their nods on our choices. Our repeated revision of our final list certified it to be flawless from our end.
From our research, we found that each tool has it's distinctive specialty when it comes to application. We believe our readers will find this research-backed buying guide useful when choosing the right planer model for themselves.
Our top 10 product list
So, what are the best hand planes? Let's figure that out. If you already know the type of wood you’ll be using and how much output you want from your tool, I hope this buyer's guide will help you choose the ideal model from our top 10 list.