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Woodworking Tools

Best Thickness Planers Reviewed & Comparison (Oct. 2021)

If you take woodworking seriously, you’ll add a thickness planer to your power tool buying list sooner or later. After all, your belt sander won’t be able to replace it, nor would your hand planer unless you’re a seasoned planer.

In fact, you’ll need this tool for three purposes – to make the second/flat face of a board parallel to the other, to smooth rough stock, and to reduce your stock down to your preferred thickness. Then pair it up with a jointer and you’ll always get to enjoy flat, straight and consistent thickness to your exact preference.

Top Thickness Planers: Comparison Chart

Pick NameThumbnailProduct NamePrice
1stDEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X)DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X)Check Price
2ndDEWALT Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch (DW734)DEWALT Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch (DW734)Check Price
3rdWEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness PlanerWEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness PlanerCheck Price
4thWEN 6550T 15 Amp 12.5 in. Corded Benchtop Thickness PlanerWEN 6550T 15 Amp 12.5 in. Corded Benchtop Thickness PlanerCheck Price
5th Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head ClampMakita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head ClampCheck Price

Best Thickness Planer Reviews : Our Top 5 List

01 DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X)

DEWALT Thickness Planer

Why It Stands Out to Us

It comes with 3 super sharp knives that managed to produce a very smooth finish. And the 13” of width capacity along with the 6” depth capacity is one of the highest in this list.

Our Experience with the DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

  • The cutter head of this one is pretty impressive. We managed to get very smooth surfaces on boards. It has 3 blades which help it achieve this result.
  • Width capacity is pretty high as well. With 13” of width capacity and a maximum depth capacity of 6″, we didn’t face any problems working on different kinds of projects.
  • If you have worked with a poor-quality planer, you would know slipping can be an issue. Thankfully, we didn’t have to face any such troubles with this one. There is an automatic carriage lock that holds the cutter head right in place. Slipping won’t be an issue anymore.
  • Without a proper exhaust system, using a planer can not only be very annoying, but it can also be dangerous. The vacuum exhaust of this one gave us confidence. It’s a fan-assisted one that easily vacuums the chips off the cutter head with ease.
  • There are two gearboxes that allowed us to change feeds without taking much time. You can optimize cuts per inch to 96 CPI or 179 CPI. That’s pretty impressive if you ask us.

What We Didn’t Like

  • There is one small gripe we’ve had with DeWalt’s DW735X – the dust ejection port was located in a weird and awkward spot.

Who Is It Great for

Anyone looking for a solid thickness planer with all the required features should look into this one. It has all the right features you would want.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • Tweaking the position of the dust ejection port to be in a better and less awkward position would be great.

Specifications

  • Brand: DeWalt
  • Color: Yellow
  • Width Capacity: 13”
  • CPI: 96 or 179
  • Base: Cast Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 24” x 22” x 18”
  • Weight: 105 lbs.

Pros

  • Durable build quality
  • Wide 13” width capacity
  • Good dust ejection
  • Height adjustment crank
  • 2-speed gearbox

Cons

  • The awkward dust ejection port

02 DEWALT Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch (DW734)

DEWALT Benchtop Planer, Single Speed

Why It Stands Out to Us

The things that make this product from DEWALT stand out is the 3 double-edged cutter, 12.5″ width capacity, and a 20,000 RPM motor, even professionals will love this one.

Our Experience with the DeWalt DW734

  • We loved the build-quality first and foremost. It’s made from premium materials, and we are sure it will last. That’s exactly what you want in a professional-grade tool.
  • It features 3 knives with double edges. That meant when one side got dull, we just reversed them to use the other edge for cutting. It was all plain and simple.
  • The 15-amp motor provided plenty of power to get the toughest job done. We didn’t have any trouble working on demanding projects with this planner. The RPM is 20,000, if you’re wondering. That’s quite high.
  • We were able to control the depth easily too! There are convenient knobs that we used to get the exact depth we needed.
  • Oh, and we have to mention the large infeed and outfeed. They reduced sniping during testing and provided ample support for the stock. All in all, this one is a great thickness planer.

What We Didn’t Like

  • We didn’t like the fact that the outfeed table doesn’t fold once you attach the dust hatch.

Who Is It Great for

If you need a powerful planer for professional work or very complex DIY projects, this will be a great choice.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • Tweaking the design so the outfeed table folds even with the dust hatch attached would be great.

Specifications

  • Brand: DeWalt
  • Color: Yellow
  • Blades: 3 (double-edged)
  • Cuts/Inch: 96
  • Dimensions: ‎24” x 17” x 21”
  • Weight: 80 lbs.

Pros

  • 3 blade cutter head for the smoothest finish
  • Fantastic build-quality
  • Reduces snipes
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Outfield table doesn’t fold with dust hatch attached

03 WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer

WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer

Why It Stands Out to Us

We loved the portability of this one. It still has all the good features you would want in a thickness planer. Plus, this one isn’t that expensive. If you don’t want to shell out top dollar for a brand name like DeWalt and Makita, WEN is a great choice.

Our Experience with the WEN 6552T

  • We loved how it always kept us informed about cutting depth for each pass. We are sure this information will be just as helpful for you as it was for us.
  • Chip and dust removal was very easy as well. There is a convenient little 2-inch dust port that lets us connect a shop vac for easy chip removal.
  • We can’t review this one and not talk about the motor and cutter head. It was able to produce 25,500 cuts per minute. Yes, you heard that right. That was impressive and helped us to finish projects quickly.
  • The quality of the cuts was impressive too! Plus, the surface finish was impeccable and great—no complaints in the quality of work it produces whatsoever.
  • There are index pins that made blade replacements a complete non-issue for us. It only took us a couple of minutes, and that’s a win in our books.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Although this one is great, some components are made of plastic. Those can feel a bit flimsy.

Who Is It Great for

If you want to save some money on a thickness planer and don’t know which one to get, you should give this one a try. It is a good value option.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • A sturdier plastic material for the construction will be a welcomed improvement.

Specifications

  • Brand: WEN
  • Color: Black and Orange
  • Blades: 3
  • Dimensions: ‎25.25” x 21.75” x 16”
  • Weight: 66 lbs.

Pros

  • It has got a great value
  • Portable and easy to move
  • Offers 25,000 cuts per minute
  • Convenient dust port location

Cons

  • Some plastic components are flimsy

04 WEN 6550T 15 Amp 12.5 in. Corded Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550T 15 Amp 12.5 in. Corded Benchtop Thickness Planer

Why It Stands Out to Us

This one from WEN stood out to us because of the high-quality motor. It’s a 15-amp electric motor which gave us reliable performance and the adjustable depth was impressive as well. Besides, you’re getting as much as 17000 cuts which is a cherry on top.

Our Experience with the WEN 6550T

  • The first thing that stood out to us is the table itself. It’s made from granite and is super durable. We were able to slide boards across it with utter ease. It feels like someone rubbed it with butter. That’s how smooth it was.
  • Just like most of the thickness planers in this list, there is an adequately powerful fan that powers the dust collection system. All chips and dust are vacuumed easily and kept us safe from harmful debris.
  • The feed rate of this one was pretty impressive as well. At 26 feet/minute, we were able to be much more productive and got the job done.
  • While we are on the subject of productivity, can we also mention it can deliver up to 17,000 cuts? We had planers that give you more cuts, but this one was still enough to get the job done for us.
  • Adjusting the depth of the planer was super easy too. We were able to make small adjustments to get a precise cut. The range is from 0 to 3/32 of an inch—pretty impressive stuff.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Since it uses granite for the table, this will naturally mean it’s a bit on the heavier side. That might be a problem for some of you out there.

Who Is It Great for

Although the base is heavy, you get a very stable surface. If that’s something you want, along with the high-quality graphite table, it will work for you pretty well.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • Making it a bit lighter without sacrificing the build-quality in future revisions will make this one a better buy.

Specifications

  • Brand: WEN
  • Color: Black and Orange
  • Width Capacity: 13”
  • CPI: 96 or 179
  • Base: Cast Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 24” x 22” x 18”
  • Weight: 105 lbs.

Pros

  • Sturdy granite table
  • Great dust collection
  • Impressive feed rate
  • Powerful motor

Cons

  • A bit heavy

05 Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp

Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp

Why It Stands Out to Us

Makita’s Interna-Lok is one of its prime features that make it stand out. Snipe handling is something this one does pretty well. There is also a cool little LED indication light for user convenience.

Our Experience with the Makita 2012NB

  • This is also a pretty portable unit. That made it easier for us to transport it to the job site without much trouble. If you need a high-quality planer that needs to be portable, you have found just the one you need with this planer.
  • A cool little thing this one has is an LED light. It lets you know when the planer is plugged in and ready to go. No-fuss! The thing just works and is easy to use.
  • The clearance of this thickness planer was also pretty good. We were easily able to load 6 3/32” wood with ease. But keep in mind that you can only work with 12” handle boards. This shouldn’t be a problem for most people, though.
  • You can’t have a Makita product without it having some Makita-specific features. This one has Makita’s Interna-lok head clamp. This automated clamp allowed us to lock the cutter head in place, which gave us stellar performance.
  • The powerful 15-amp cutter head was able to provide enough juice to get all kinds of jobs done with little effort. One thing is for sure; if you want to be productive and tackle different projects head-on, this one should be right up your alley.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The only thing we didn’t like is how loud this thing is. During the operation, we had to wear some kind of ear protection.

Who Is It Great for

Buyers looking for a product that uses high-quality materials and a planer with lots of power should go for this one. It’s pretty lightweight and compact too! So, that’s a plus.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • Making future revisions a little quieter is the only improvement we can think of for this already great thickness planer.

Specifications

  • Brand: Makita
  • Color: Grey and Blue
  • Width Capacity: 12”
  • Dimension: ‎30.35” x 19.02” x 15.79”
  • Weight: 61.8 lbs.

Pros

  • High-quality construction
  • Blades are easy to remove and install
  • Powerful motor
  • Minimizes snipe
  • Adjustable depth

Cons

  • Slightly loud during operation

Best Thickness Planer: Buying Guide

Best Thickness Planer Buying Guide

1. Power and motor

The power and motor of your planer are some of the most important components that allow it to work smoothly and also work with all different kinds of wood boards. That versatility is something you want to get the most value out of your brand-new planer.

Also, look out for a high feed rate. It will allow you to feed in the wood stock much faster.

2. Material, size, and design

A well-built one is a must. Thickness planers go under a lot of pressure and stress. If you end up with a shoddy planer, it won’t last that long. The last thing you want is your brand-new planer to kick the bucket in just a couple of weeks. So, get one that’s made of high-quality materials, comes with the right size, and boasts a cool design.

3. Width capacity

The width capacity will determine how thick boards you can fit in it. So, naturally, the higher the width capacity of your planer, the better it is since you will be able to plane boards with wider widths. We suggest not to go for anything less than 12”.

4. Type of Cutter Head

a) Straight knife

The straight knife cutter head is the traditional type of cutter head and the most common one you will find. You will find these mostly paired with benchtop planers.

They feature 2 to 4 straight blades that are usually longer than the planer width. These are also the cheaper option of the two and thus means they become dull quicker. You can replace them easily, though.

b) Helical or spiral

Helical cutters are a little different. They feature rows of multiple small and square-shaped cutters called inserts. The name of the cutter head comes from the way these inserts are arranged.

As you can guess, they are arranged in a helical configuration. The small inserts are pretty easy to replace individually. If they get nicked, you can also just rotate them 90-degree and voila! You have a new sharp cutting edge.

These are long-lasting too! Since they are made from carbide, you will typically get longer use out of them compared to straight knife cutter heads.

Another benefit you get with helical cutter heads is the ease of dust collection. They produce few amounts of wood chippings compared to straight knife ones, which are, of course, easier to vacuum and clean up.

5. Maximum depth of cut performance

Depth of cut performance is exactly what it sounds like. It’s how deep it can cut. Look out for a max depth of cut performance of 1/16” at least. The higher you go, the better is, obviously, but 1/16” should be the bare minimum.

6. Depth of cut accuracy

Good depth of cut accuracy should also go hand in hand with depth of cut performance. What is the point of having a planer that has a high depth of cut but isn’t accurate? “There is no point” is the answer. So, make sure you get one that gives you accuracy as well.

7. Number of blades

The more blades your planer has, the better cutting performance you will get and also the less replacing you will need to do. You will find 2-blade and even 3-blade planers. Try to go for those.

8. Measuring ruler

A measuring ruler will help you make precise cuts and work perfectly. This is especially important if you want to do some professional work. You can’t and shouldn’t always just eyeball it.

9. Table size

A large table size helps you move your boards around freely and also allows you to work with larger boards as well. Depending on what kind of cutting you need to do, table size can be a very important factor.

10. Adjustable rollers

Adjustable rollers will make your planer more versatile and allow you to make the necessary changes you want.

11. Snipe handling

Snipe is all too common to those who use thickness planers regularly. It’s sort of a part of the job. What you want to do is get a planer that reduces or helps you control the snipe as much as possible.

Look for good cutter headlocks and other snipe handling ways to make sure the planer you get won’t destroy the board with snipe.

12. Dust collection

Cutting wood produces a lot of chips and dust. Having a proper dust collection system is crucial to keep yourself and the environment safe. Fan-powered ones do the best jobs in this case.

13. Price

The price range is from $100 to $500. The thing to remember here is pay for features and no gimmicks. That way, you will end up with one that gets the job done.

Thickness Planer Maintenance and Safety Tips

  • Wear safety glasses and ear protection

When working with heavy machinery, the first thing you should think about is your safety. Always make sure to wear safety glasses and ear protection at all times. The loud noise can be damaging, and there is the risk of a stray piece of wood flying into your eyes. Yikes! Better safe than sorry.

  • Always run dust collection system with your planer

Whenever you’re using your planer, never miss running the dust collector with it. It’s there for a reason.

  • Keep your hands at a safe distance

Make sure to keep your hands 4″ away from the infeed at all times. This is the best way to keep all your fingers intact.

  • Check rollers and table for debris

Before you start working on a new board, always check the rollers and tables for any sort of debris. If there is some debris, never use your hands to remove them.

  • Ensure the cutterhead is at full speed

A cutter head that’s at full speed will give you the smoothest cuts and also help reduce wear and tear on the cutter head itself. So, this is basically the best of both worlds, and all of us want that.

FAQs

1. Can I use a thickness planer as a jointer?

Ans. Yes, you can. Woodworking stores that don’t have a jointer can use a planer as a jointer. You just need to use a couple of woodworking tricks.

2. What’s the maximum I should cut at a time?

Ans. Never cut more than 1/16″. This is the standard. It will ensure you don’t accidentally cut off too much and can make small incremental progress.

3. Are thickness planers safe?

Ans. Of course, they are an industry-standard tool. You need to maintain proper safety and operating protocols when using them, though.

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

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