Are you looking for a beginner-friendly woodworking tool that can shape different wooden surfaces and even modify old furniture?
Then, handheld planners should be your perfect go-to. And you don’t have to be an expert to use one.
Also, if you’re dealing with a large-sized wood stock that you can’t place on a table, a handheld planer will be an ideal choice.
But choosing the best handheld planners could be tricky, considering how many handheld planners have flooded the market.
Hence, I created the post to show you four of the best handheld planners.
You don’t have to go through this detailed review if you’re in haste. I’ve already done a quick summary of the best handheld planners. You can find them here:
- Best Value Handheld planer – Porter-Cable PC60THP
- Runner-up Reliable Handheld Planer – Bosch 3-1/4-Inch PL2632K
- Best Budget Handheld Planer – WEN 6534
- Best High Capacity Handheld Planer – DEWALT DCP580B
After testing different handheld planners with my team, we came up with this in-depth article that involves many comparisons and reviews. I’ll also be listing a few factors for you to consider before making a purchase.
So, I’ve summarized this guide in the most concise way. Plus, I’ve listed the best four options to choose from and created a short synopsis of each handheld planner.
However, I’d advise that you don’t go through this post hurriedly if you want to get an in-depth view of each tool—listed here.
Best Value Handheld planer – Porter-Cable PC60THP
Porter-Cable Hand Planer, 6-Amp, 5/64-Inch (PC60THP)
No doubt, the Porter-cable brand isn’t a name in the woodwork industry. That is, it’s not as popular as the likes of DeWalt, Bosch, etc.
But the brand has come a long way in the past 100 years, producing quality planers that can go head-to-head with other big and popular brands. And the PC60THP hasn’t failed to prove its worth.
One of the striking features of the Porter-Cable brand is its price. The company has a way of producing high-quality woodworking tools that are budget-friendly.
That’s why we listed the Porter-Cable PC60THP as the best value handheld planner—because it bridges price and performance.
So, here are key features of the PC60THP that inspired us to choose it as the best value tool:
- Powerful 6-amp motor provides smooth finishes for hard wooden materials like oak wood
- 16, 500 cuts per minute for smooth material removal
- Double side dust ejection enables extraction from the left and right side of the tool
- Better planer control and multiple depth settings—thanks to the depth knob–having ten positive steps
- Edge chamfering is available because of its three chamfering grooves
- Quality finish and control because of its 11.5-inch cast aluminum shoe
- Excess wood material removed in a shorter time because of its 5/64-inch depth of cut
- Removes more material per pass due to its 0.47-Inch max rabbit
- Porter-Cable PC60THP (1)
- Installation manual (1)
- Double side dust ejectors
- 10-way adaptable knob
- Handle is comfortable
- An excellent option for newbies
- The 6-amp motor struggle to work sometimes
- The material quality isn’t so sturdy
My Favorite Feature: “5/64-inch Depth of Cut”
- The Porter-Cable PC60THP provides a 5/64-inch Depth of Cut to eliminate excess wood material
The 0.47-Inch max rabbit feature also makes your planing easier by removing additional wood material per pass.
Runner-up Reliable Handheld Planer – Bosch 3-1/4-Inch PL2632K
BOSCH 3-1/4 Inch Woodworking Hand Planer with Carrying Case, PL2632K
The Bosch PL2632K is the successor of the PL1632. So, it’s not surprising that the PL2632K has better performance, power rating, and cut per minute.
Bosch released the PL263K 3-1/4 inch to solve the issues people had with the PL1632, which also cuts at 3-1/4 inch.
That’s why we selected the Bosch PL2632K as the most reliable handheld planer to buy.
But that’s not all.
Here are other features that show it’s a worthwhile handheld planner:
- 15,600 RPM and 6.5-amp for easy stock removal and smooth finishing for hard and softwood
- Lightweight planer weighing only 6.3 lbs.—making it easy to handle
- Lock-off release button to protect you from hazards and a lock-on button for more extended operation
- It comes with a spring-loaded stand to protect the blade and elevate tool from its resting spot
- It offers a unique feature that allows easy entry in the middle of the workpiece
- Machined groove for chamfering
- Front and rear aluminum shoes are joined together for precision
- The versatile two-blade system can work with large high-speed steel blades
- Dual-mount guide fence mounted on the left or right side of the tool
- Plastic overshoe prevents damage of workpiece face or door
- Poly Micro-V belt improves belt sturdiness
- Ball-joint cord swivel enhances the tool and cord positioning
- Bosch 3-1/4 Inch PL2632K (1)
- Wood razor Micro grain Blades (2)
- Dual-Mount Guide Fence (1)
- Straight No-Mar Plastic Overshoe for Fence (1)
- 3-Degree No-Mar Plastic Overshoe for Fence (1)
- Shavings Bag (1)
- Blade Wrench (1)
- Carrying Case (1)
- Powerful motor
- Sturdy construction
- 15,600 RPM
- It comes with a dual mount guide fence
- A bit pricy compared to other brands in its category
My Favorite Feature: “Ambidextrous lock-off button”
- The Bosch PL2632K is the only handheld planer with the ambidextrous lock off-button feature
It takes a lot of thinking to produce such an innovation as the lock-off button, which helps prevent accidental injuries for users—especially inexperienced woodworkers or newbies.
The combination of the lock-on button for extended operation with the ambidextrous lock off-button to prevent injury is remarkable—coming from Bosch.
Best Budget Handheld Planer – WEN 6534
WEN 6534 8-Amp Electric Hand Planer
The goal of the WEN brand is to help artisans and woodworkers around the world bring their imagination to life.
In a bid to hit their goal, the 6534 model happened, which is a powerful corded hand planer with a strong motor.
Here’s why the 6534 took the best budget spot in its category:
- Comes with an 8-amp motor that works perfectly for tough workpieces
- The blades spin at 16,000 RPMs when it reaches its operational speed
- The shoes can cut 4x4s and 2x4s effectively with its 4 and 3/8-inch wide shoes
- V-shaped chamfer grooves assist the shaping of old wooden sharp edges or door edges
- You can make up to 16 adjustments
- Comes with a front handle right in front of the top handle that significantly enhances stability
- Two dust vents that give room for shooting loose shavings
- Two-way dust ports
- Has a powerful 8-amp motor
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- You can adjust it from 0 to 1/8 inches of depth
- The model has a rabbeting guide and parallel fence
- Affordable price
- The model comes with a blade adjustment tool
- The shoes have two chamfer grooves
- 1/1-28-Inch adjustment increments
- The motor isn’t as reliable
- The built quality isn’t outstanding
- You may notice misalignments with the front and back shoe
- WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer (1)
- 6 ft. power cord (1)
- Parallel fence (1)
- Retractable kickstand (1)
- Chamfer grooves (2)
- Rabbeting guide (1)
- Reversible HSS blades (2)
- Dust adapter (1)
- 8-amp motor (1)
- Blade adjustment wrench (1)
My Favorite Feature: “Retractable Kickstand”
- The kickstand is one exceptional feature of the WEN 6534 that stood out for me
Why? It allows you to place the planer upright. Plus, it helps to protect the surfaces of tables and workshop stands.
Best High Capacity Handheld Planer – DEWALT DCP580B
DEWALT DCP580B 20V Max Brushless Planer
DCP580B is a unique piece of art that comes with a brushless motor. The idea behind this feature is to increase efficiency.
Also, the motor helps to maintain speed under load. In summary, it’s a lightweight, high-capacity cordless hand planer you can work with on the go.
Here are other features that made this model stand out in its category:
- Rear loading 20V MAX battery that balances the tool and saves your wrist from fatigue—while working
- Offset handle with a molded nonslip grip that boosts comfort while you operate the device in different outdoor conditions
- Twin blade drum with a carbide reversible blade that produces a clean planed surface on all materials
- Smooth adjustment knob allows you to increase or decrease the setting with ease
- Brushless motor increases run time and power
- Machined V groove in the front shoe that permits chamfering
- Offers 32,000 cuts per minute for fast removal
- Provides parallelism cutting with the help of its precision machined front and back aluminum shoes
- Comes with a Poly-V drive belt that offers increased belt durability
- Portable and lightweight tool (6.7 pounds)
- Rear kickstand that doesn’t allow damage to blades or work
- Edge guide that helps to keep your glide path straight
- Easy to read scale that’s securely locked in
- Comes with a comfortable handle design
- Excellent value
- Precision machined aluminum shoes
- Comes with a kickstand
- It can move from one to three-speed
- Easy to change accessories
- This model has a V-groove in its center for chamfering
- Comes with a depth guide
- Has multiple grip options to initiate the trigger
- Has a powerful 20V brushless motor
- You may need a universal adapter to use some accessories
- It’s pricey
- DEWALT DCP580B Handheld Planer (1)
- Guide fence (1)
- Users guide (1)
My Favorite Feature: “20V brushless motor”
- The brush motor bags the award for me this time.
The reason is it’s the brain behind the high performance of the DCP580B.
How to Pick the Best Handheld Planers
There are five features of a handheld planer to consider before making your purchase
1. Operation Speed
One of the essential things to consider when choosing a handheld planer is its operating speed. You need a power tool that can save you time.
So, I recommend you opt for a handheld planer with a high operating speed if you want to complete a job in good time.
However, bear in mind that you may require a low operation-speed machine for specific projects.
2. Power Type
When it comes to handheld planers, we have two main power types; corded and cordless. Corded planers come with substantial power output, while cordless planers outshine for portability.
So, consider the power type that suits your woodworking projects better.
3. Power Rating
Handheld planers vary in terms of power rating, like other woodworking power tools. If you want to enjoy the higher performance while you work, consider getting a device with heavy battery life or a high-power motor.
Keep in mind that most high-power handheld planners are more expensive.
Handling is an important factor when choosing a handheld planner since it influences your comfort. So, it’s crucial to look out for some things when considering this factor:
- Surface properties
- Weight of the machine
- Design orientation
Also, you can select a handheld planer that balances all the features above if you plan to have an optimum experience.
Remember, you can’t do much if you aren’t comfortable with the tool.
Blades are essential to consider before buying a handheld planner. So, you need to look out for the size of the blades and their compatibility.
Typically, the blades come in the form of steel or carbide. I recommend you choose handheld planers that come with carbide instead of steel. Carbide blades tend to wear less and are sharper than steel blades.
Another thing to consider is the blade edge—check if it’s double-edged or not. If it’s double-edged, it means you will have a more precise cutting experience and performance.
And if you want to add rigidity to your carbide blade, you can add tungsten, which may increase the price tag.
Don’t get confused by the myriad of tool features when picking the best handheld planners. What you need is to choose one—based on your specifications and needs.
That said, our winner is the DeWalt DCP580B because of its brushless motor that enhances high performance.
The runner-up, Bosch PL2632K, outperformed because of its ambidextrous lock off-button feature that helps to reduce accidents—while planing.
WEN 6534 Is also a superb choice to consider if you’re looking for a budget option.
And Porter-Cable PC60THP rocked for me because its 5/64-inch depth of cut helps to eliminate excess wood material—while planing.
So, what do you think? Which tool are you rooting for? Are there others you think we should have added?
Please, drop your comments below.