Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Barry Gray
A planer is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal, but not everyone has the space available for a large-scale planer. However, I don’t want you to stress that because it turns out, you don’t need as much space as you thought.
That’s because some pretty cool benchtop planers exist on the market and are more than capable of delivering astonishing results. The fact they take up little space is just an added bonus, in my opinion, but I know it then leads to another problem; which benchtop planer should you buy?
Well, that’s where I intend to help you out. What you will find below are six of the best benchtop planers that I think you need to know about. But I won’t only tell you all about them. Instead, I will also provide you with some tips and a guide focusing on the key areas you need to focus on regarding your purchase.
- Best Overall Benchtop Planer – DeWalt DW735X
- Best Value Benchtop Planer – Craftsman CMEW320
- Best Benchtop Planer for Beginners – PowerTEC PL1252
- Best Three Blade Benchtop Planer – Ridgid R4330 13”
- Best Benchtop Planer for Rough Wood – WEN PL1252 12.5”
- Best Mid-Range Benchtop Planer – Delta Power Tools 22-555
I intend to make your task of finding the perfect benchtop planer as easy as possible.
How I Made My List
I’ve been working with power tools for over 20 years, and I believe all that experience puts me in the perfect position to help you. I’ve used countless planers over the years, and I also know how I expect a machine to work to get the results I’m looking for.
But I also had specific criteria for each benchtop planer before it could make it onto my list.
Each model that appears here is easy to set up and use. I want you to effectively take it out of the box and start using it. In addition, I have chosen six different models that have proven themselves to be reliable and deliver consistent results.
I think that’s important, as is ensuring any model you purchase will continue to work for some time and to round it all off, I checked out what other owners had to say. By leaning on their own experiences of using a certain benchtop planer for some time, I reckon it then gives me better insight into what you should expect to happen in your own experience.
After doing all of that and sorting through countless benchtop planers, I was then left with the six different models listed below.
Best Overall Benchtop Planer – DeWalt DW735X
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 20,000 RPM
- Max Plane Depth: ⅛”
DeWalt always produces excellent tools, and this particular benchtop planer is another example of how good their tools tend to be. Honestly, I just love this planer, thanks to its capabilities and how easy it is to operate.
First, it comes with a 15 Amp motor, so you will have no issues with the power department. Also, this planer offers speeds of 20,000 RPM, which makes a difference in the smoothness of those boards.
I also appreciate that this model offers two different feed speeds. One measures in at 96 CPI, with the other much higher at 179 CPI. Having that option to effectively slow things down does help when new to using a benchtop planer, so you always feel in control.
This DeWalt model also comes with three knives on the cutter head, and I find it quick and easy to change the knives when that time comes around.
But ease of use is not limited to changing the knives. I also like how this model comes with an automatic locking carriage, which reduces the board’s ability to move around. Also, it reduces snipe, which is a huge deal since it can effectively ruin your lumber.
But one problem with a planer is how it deals with chips and dust. However, that’s not a problem here, as this model has a fan-assisted chip ejection system. This effectively blows all that stuff out of your line of vision, giving you the perfect opportunity to check out what’s going on.
Overall, I find this model easy to adjust and produces consistent results with every pass. There really is little not to like about it.
- You have two feed speeds available on this model
- Changing knives is quick and effortless
- It deals fantastically with dust and chips
- It has a 19 ¾” cast aluminum base for added stability
- It comes with a material remove gauge which aids in providing more accurate cuts
- Some owners feel it’s on the noisy side
Best Value Benchtop Planer – Craftsman CMEW320
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 8,000 RPM
- Max Cutting Depth: 3/32”
If it’s a value benchtop planer you want, then I suggest checking out this model by Craftsman. It comes with a lot of power thanks to a 15 Amp motor and offers cutting speeds of up to 8,000 RPM.
That is undoubtedly an impressive speed, but as this model comes with two knives, it does mean it offers 16,000 cuts per minute. I find that this model makes quick work of almost any material as the power behind it does mean it can cope with even tougher lumber.
From a size perspective, this model can work with lumber up to 6” thick. That’s also good for your average benchtop planer, so I have little to complain about.
One thing I don’t like, though, is the fact you cannot change the feed speed. I prefer having some control over that aspect, but I can tell you that the feed speed does not come in too high either. So, it’s not something I would worry about.
Also, be aware you may have a slight snipe with some of the boards with this machine. This is where trying to take that little bit of extra care comes into play to reduce the severity of that snipe.
Furthermore, I also appreciate the quality of the blades that come with this model. You can reverse the knives, which increases their lifespan, and they are carbon steel, which means they continue to provide a sharp edge for longer.
Overall, even though this benchtop planer is a budget model, it packs a lot of features into one machine. I certainly would not feel disappointed if this was the first benchtop planer that I owned.
- It creates an incredibly smooth surface
- It has an excellent dust extraction system
- It feels exceptionally sturdy
- The infeed and outfeed tables fold up for better storage
- You can reverse the knives so they last longer
- You need to bolt it to a worktop to ensure it doesn’t move around too much
- It can create a bit of snipe on some wood
Best Benchtop Planer for Beginners – PowerTEC PL1252
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 9,400 RPM
- Max Cutting Depth: 3/32”
As a beginner, you want a benchtop planer that makes your life as easy as possible but still delivers stunning results. Well, that’s where this model by PowerTEC comes into its own.
It is packed with 15 Amp of power while producing speeds of 9,400 RPM. That ultimately creates a smooth surface, which is what you always aim for with a planer.
From a size perspective, this model can work with wood up to 5” thick. While that’s less than other models, it’s still pretty good, in my opinion.
But one thing I love about this model is its stability. The machine sits with little movement and wobbles, so you get a more accurate outcome. I love this about it, especially when you are just a beginner, as it means you feel you can trust the machine.
In addition, this model also cuts down the risk of you encountering that dreaded snipe. If you are new to a planer, it means it digs deep at the start resulting in gouging. Once again, this machine seeks to counteract this, which is always appreciated.
Overall, what I love best about this model is that you can set it up in no time and start to get results. It makes using the planer an absolute joy, and as a beginner, you can begin to see why a benchtop planer could very well be one of the best tools you ever buy.
- It doesn’t wobble around, making life easier for you
- The machine is straightforward to use
- You can change blades in an instant with this model
- It removes a decent amount of wood with just a single pass
- It’s a sturdy machine that will last years
- It doesn’t do a good job of keeping dust out of your way
Best Three Blade Benchtop Planer – Ridgid R4330 13”
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 9,000 RPM
- Number of Cuts: 27,000 CPI
- Maximum Cut Allowance: ⅛”
It’s more unusual for a benchtop planer to come with three blades in the cutter head, but I feel that means you can get a faster result. So, if you want speed mixed in with accuracy, then this model by Ridgid is certainly one benchtop planer I would be happy to recommend.
It comes with 15 Amp of power, and that’s ample for the projects you will be passing through this planer. Also, I’m impressed with the speed as it reaches 9,000 RPM. Thanks to the three blades contained in the cutter head that does equate to 27,000 CPI, so a smooth cut should be possible.
People also comment on how this planer works on hard and soft wood. Thanks to that power aspect, it easily cuts through anything, so there is no need to worry about struggling with any material.
The maximum cut allowance is also standard at ⅛”, so I again have no problem here. For material size, it works on boards up to 13” wide and 6” high. That’s pretty impressive for a benchtop planer of this size, so once again, I feel it performs exceptionally well.
But there’s something else I love about this model: how you can change the depth gauge. It has small increments of 1/64”, making it very easy to carry out these changes.
However, this machine still produces some snipe, but it’s certainly not as bad as you get with other options. Also, people report how they can manage to reduce the chances of this happening if you provide your boards with some additional support. That slightly alters the board’s angle, which appears to be enough to stop it from happening as often.
Overall, the quality of the end result makes me want to add this planer to my list. The three blades are exceptional and will make short work of removing that rough upper layer on a board while giving you the smooth finish you were hoping for.
- The three blades are excellent
- The ability to make small increments is amazing
- It has ample power
- It produces smooth results
- Changing the blades is quick and effortless
- It does still produce some snipe
Best Benchtop Planer for Rough Wood – WEN PL1252 12.5”
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 10,000 RPM
- Max Cutting Depth: 1/8”
If you are looking for a benchtop planer that can cope with rough wood, then this model by WEN is one I think you should look at. It does deal with boards of up to 12.5”, and while that is slightly narrower than you may get elsewhere, there’s only a slight difference.
The model comes with a 15 Amp motor, which can quickly push through rough wood. It is helped by the fact that it works at up to 10,000 RPM, which translates into 20,000 CPI. While some benchtop planers offer a higher CPI, I feel it generates a smooth enough end result for most people.
This model offers a maximum cutting depth of ⅛”, which is standard for a benchtop planer. However, this model uses a hand to allow you to adjust the depths with one turn equating to 1/16”.
Changing the blades is quick and easy, as is the general working of the planer. Yet, it’s how it manages to slice through rough wood with absolute ease, giving you that perfect surface for your project.
- It offers impressive speed
- You get a standard cutting depth that is easy to adjust
- Changing the blades is straightforward
- The machine is relatively stable
- Its power helps it cut through that rough wood
- It does work with slightly smaller boards than other planers
Best Mid-Range Benchtop Planer – Delta Power Tools 22-555
- Power: 15 Amp
- Speed: 9,400 RPM
- Max Cutting Depth: 3/32”
This model by Delta Power Tools is an excellent example of what’s out there on the market for something that is classed as a mid-range benchtop planer. It too, comes with 15 Amp of power while it also offers speeds of 9,400 RPM. As it has two blades, that means it provides 18,800 CPI.
That figure can be higher with other models, but I feel it does give you a good enough end result. In addition, you should have no problem changing the blades as they are so accessible.
But another standout feature of this model is that it just doesn’t produce much in the way of vibration. I believe that offers you better control over the results you can achieve with this model, and you get a smoother end result.
It can handle boards of up to 6” thick and 13” wide for stock size. That’s good enough for most projects, so you will have no concerns here.
Overall, this planer can produce smooth results without too many problems. It’s fast and easy to set up, and adjusting to get your cutting depth will also be straightforward.
- It can handle large stock with ease
- Adjusting for the cutting depth is straightforward
- It has ample power for dealing with even the toughest woods
- You should have no difficulty in getting a smooth end result
- The control you have over the planer is amazing
- You do still get some snipe with this model
How to Choose the Right Benchtop Planer
The different benchtop planers I’ve listed above are all excellent in their own right. However, I know that choosing the right planer is not always easy. So, here are some tips on things to look out for to make your life so much easier.
I would never drop below 15 Amp when it comes to the power aspect for a benchtop planer. You need that power in combination with torque to allow the planer to cut through that wood.
These machines may be relatively compact, but you still need that power for it to be worth your while using the machine in the first place.
The speed relates to the number of times the cutter head will rotate in a minute. Most benchtop planers will sit around 9,000 RPM, but that’s not the only speed you have to think about.
You then need to consider the number of blades on the cutter head. Take the number of blades and multiple that with the RPM. That gives you the CPI, or cuts per inch, which relates to how smooth the end result will likely be.
I would always look at a CPI of at least 18,000.
With size, I’m talking about the size of boards you can push through the planer. Most will be capable of dealing with stock up to 6” thick. However, the board’s width is where you will see a difference.
I would look for something around 12” to 13” as a width. I say this as most of the boards you will work on will be under 10” wide, so you have some room to play with.
The cutting depth relates to how much wood the planer will remove in one single pass. The standard depth is ⅛”, and you should be able to make minor adjustments of 1/16” at a time, depending on the depth you want.
However, not every planer offers this depth. So, it depends on what you intend to do with your stock to see if the cutting depth is suitable.
I would also pay attention to items such as the dust port and how easy it is to change the blades. The ability to stop the machine should something go wrong is also key. In addition, you should consider how much vibration a planer produces to reduce the need for you to effectively battle with the planer to get a smooth end result.
Finally, remember the potential for that snipe to appear. You want to reduce it by planing wood longer than you need as it does happen at either end of the stock.
Those are the six different benchtop planers that I think you need to know about. However, if you are perhaps still uncertain about what you need to look for in a benchtop planer, then read over my tips above to hopefully clear up any confusion.
I have no doubt that a benchtop planer can prove itself to be a highly effective tool in your workshop. The way it can smooth down those boards to precise measurements can transform your projects. It can do all this in no time, which is merely an added bonus.
Owning a benchtop planer is vital if you plan on working with wood regularly. I highly recommend indulging in one if you have not already done so.