Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray
A planer is an exceptional woodwork tool to have in your arsenal if you want to produce workpieces with clean and smooth edges.
Thanks to technology, Power Planers replaced the conventional manual planers, which required advanced skills to produce clean and snap woodcuts.
Even though the modern planing machine can’t handle a few molding projects as the manual planer would, they aim to make life easy.
That said, choosing the best planners can be a nightmare sometimes, especially if you’re not an experienced woodworker.
In this article, I’ve listed the best planners—with their product info and specs to make your buying decision easier.
Are you a newbie or someone with little knowledge of the planer categories that exist? Do you want to get a brief overview of the top planners and their unique selling points?
Then, take a quick run at these options:
- Best Portable Planer – WEN 6552T
- Best Budget Portable Planer – Triton TPT125
- Best High-Capacity Planer – DeWalt DW735X 13-Inch
- Best Thickness Capacity Planer – Makita 2012NB 12-Inch
- Best Benchtop Planer – Delta Power Tools 22-555 13-Inch
- Runner-up Storage-friendly Planer – Craftsman CMEW320
Typically, there are two main categories of planers: corded and cordless. Both have different functions and features, and not understanding them could make your buying decision difficult.
I created this in-depth guide to clear up any confusion you may have with planers generally.
So, here’s my recommendation;
If you invest quality time reading this post to the end, you’ll have a clearer view of the perfect planer to pick.
Best Portable Planer – WEN 6552T
WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
Are you a newbie woodworker or a DIYer?
Then, you’ll love this Wen 6552T. This machine succeeded the WEN 6550T, which comes with a lesser blade system and a lower speed of 15,000RPM.
No doubt, WEN 6552T is an entry-level planer like the 6550T, but it comes with some improvements from motors heating up and seized bearings. The manufacturer made efforts to fix the issues on the latest WEN 6552T models.
The WEN 6552T is almost plug-and-play from the box, and it’s easy to set up and mount on your portable workbench.
Here’s why I believe the WEN 6552T is the most portable planer to choose:
- Produces 25,500 cuts per minute that give smooth finishes
- 3-Blade system that makes work easy even with the hardest of woods
- Planes a 13-inch board easily
- Lightweight and portable benchtop planer because it doesn’t have a granite surface
- Dust port removes the sawdust easily, thanks to its fan-assisted feature
- In-built material removal gauge informs you about current settings of the cutting depth
- Reversible blades to extend the machine’s life cycle
- Tri-roller system helps to reduce snipe
- Foldable outfeed and infeed table supports long workpieces moving through the planer
- It comes with Depth adjustments that easily fine-tune the cutter head’s height
- Tri-roller feeding system
- Fan-enhanced dust port
- 25,500 cuts per minutes—producing smooth finishes
- 2-year warranty
- Reversible blades
- 3-blade system
- Internal fasteners lose sometimes
- WEN 6552T 13-inch Benchtop planer (1)
- Dust chute (1)
- Dust chute Adapter (1)
- Magnets (2)
- Depth adjusting handle (1)
- T-handle hex wrench (1)
- Both with flat washer (1)
- Thumbscrews (2)
- Handle cap (1)
My Favorite Feature: “Material Remove Gauge”
- With the onboard material remove gauge, you can determine the cutting depth—based on the current settings
This feature makes it clear and simple for you to measure a cut before each pass. That way, you can achieve a perfect finish.
Best Budget Portable Planer – Triton TPT125
Triton TPT125 High-Performance Benchtop Planer with 12-1/2″ Cutting Width
The Triton TPT125 is another remarkable entry-point planer to consider if you’re a hobbyist or newbie woodworker.
This benchtop planer delivers at high performance—way above its price. No doubt, it’s a great bang for your buck.
The manufacturer—Triton, has a good history of producing tools with innovative design. So, I’m not surprised by the Triton TPT125’s high performance, despite its portable size and lightweight.
Here’s why I think the Triton TPT125 is a budget and portable planner with high performance:
- Up to 5.9-Inch cutter-height enhanced for maximum versatility
- Big outfeed and infeed tables that support long workpieces
- Accurate and easy cutting depth settings
- Reading thickness scale is easy
- 4-post column design that supports a rigid, vertical, and smooth movement to deliver precise results
- Circuit-breaker protection against an electric hazard
- Efficient dust extraction system thanks to dust chute
- 17,500 cuts per minute that produce a smooth and consistent finish
- Location holes enable secure bench mounting
- Roller case moves easily because of enhanced crack handle
- TPT125 1100W Thicknesser 317mm / 12 ½ inch (1)
- Crank Handle (1)
- Dust Chute (1)
- Hex Key (1)
- Instruction Manual (1)
- 3-year warranty
- 17,500 cuts per minute
- High performance
- Decent roll rate
- A bit noisy
- Technical instructions are hard to understand
My Favorite Feature: “4-Post Column System”
- The 4-post column design produces precise cuts
This feature caught my attention because the planer produces smooth, rigid, and accurate vertical movement when trimming workpieces.
Best High-Capacity Planer – DeWalt DW735X 13-Inch
DeWalt Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-Inch (DW735X)
The DW735X is an advanced model of the DW735 with a few upgrades like:
- The infield and outfeed tables
- Extra set of planer knives
But that’s not all.
DeWalt products have a proven record for high capacity. And the DW735X didn’t fall short.
So, here are the reasons why I named the DW735X a high-capacity planner:
- Dust host adapter
- 2-speed gearbox
- Outfeed and infeed tables with fasteners
- 3-blade cutter head
- Chip Ejection design
- Automatic carriage lock reduces snipe
- Material removal gauge
- Cast aluminum rigid base
- Extra set of knives
- Large turret depth-stop
- DeWalt DW735X 13-Inch (1)
- An additional set of cutter head knives (1)
- Installation manual (1)
- Powerful motor
- Precise depth adjustment
- 3-year warranty
- Extra cutter head knives
- Fan-assisted ejection system
- Requires a solid bench to sit on
My Favorite Feature: “2-Speed Gearbox”
- The DeWalt DW735X comes with a two-speed gearbox that operates at 96 cuts per inch (CPI) or 179 cuts per inch (CPI)
If you want to get a more refined finish, you can use the 179 CPI option, while the 96 CPI works better for dimensioning materials.
Best Thickness Capacity Planer – Makita 2012NB 12-Inch
Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp
With a 15-amp power and quiet operation, the Makita 2012NB delivers two things: performance and portability.
This tool features Makita’s unique Interna-Lok automatic head clamp that helps to reduce snipe and enhance your productivity.
But what makes the Makita 2012NB the best thickness capacity in its category?
- Lightweight and compact for easy movement
- Highly adjustable stop system for repeat cuts
- Double edge disposable blades
- Diagonal cross and post design enhances stability
- 83 DB low noise machine
- LED indicator light for power supply
- Easy-to-use on/off paddle switches
- A feed rate of 16FPM and 30FPM
- 3-blade cutter head
- 8,500RPM cutter speed
- Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer (1)
- Blade set (1)
- Magnetic holders (2)
- Blade Wrench (1)
- Key (1)
- Easy-to-use design
- Compact and lightweight
- Sturdy construction
- Super quiet in operation
- Dust hood enables fast cleanups
- It could be slow sometimes
My Favorite Feature: “Quiet Operation”
- The Makita 2012NB comes with an 85 DB low noise machine that makes wood planing quiet and comfortable
Makita is one of the best in the woodwork industry for quiet operations, despite its 15-amp motor that’s a bit louder than a garbage disposer.
Best Benchtop Planer – Delta Power Tools 22-555 13-Inch
Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
The Delta brand designed the 22-555 for precision, stability, and durability.
The 22-555 has a 4-column system that offers smooth and accurate planing for workpieces. Planing hard oak woods seems to be an easy task with this machine.
Here are key features of the Delta 22-555 that makes it an excellent tool:
- 15-amp motor that can effectively handle the demands of a small workshop
- The 4-column design offers remarkable stability for rigid, smooth, and accurate planing
- Fast and easy change knife system with double-edged disposable knives
- Adaptable outfeed and infeed tables that support long workpieces
- Adjustable dust port that allows you to gather wood chips from the left or right side of the planer
- 2-polyurethane feed rollers positioned close to the cutter head and suitable for a non-slip grip on the workpiece
- Accurate cutter head steel perfect for precision and endurance
- Reduced friction and improved motor efficiency with stainless steel bed
- It comes with an overload button that protects the motor from destruction
- DELTA 22-555 Planer (1)
- Height Adjustment Handle (1)
- Reversible 2″ Dust Port (1)
- Knife Transfer Tool (2)
- T-wrench (1)
- 4mm T-handle Hex Wrench (1)
- M5x16mm Hex Head Screw (1)
- M5 Flat Washer (1)
- M6x15mm Lock Knob (2)
- Smooth and large handle for adjusting cutter head
- Low noise
- Synthetic Nitrile rubber rollers
- Open design planer
- Adaptable dust port
- Has only two disposable knives
My Favorite Feature: “Support for Long Workpieces”
The 22-555 has outfeed and infeed adjustable tables
The adjustable tables allow you to plane long workpieces effectively and eliminates snipe.
Runner-up Storage-friendly Planer – Craftsman CMEW320
CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer, 15-Amp (CMEW320)
The CMEW320 is an 8000RPM planer that comes with a 15 Amp motor. This 2-blade tool has a fantastic ability to remove superior stock from your workpiece.
But there’s more.
It has a head speed that provides approximately 16,000 cuts per minute. Plus, its solid steel cutter head offers long life and smooth operation.
So, it’s the ideal choice for dimensioning your lumber to your required thickness.
The CMEW320 is pretty compact, lightweight, and foldable. So, it’s a storage-friendly option.
Here are other outstanding features that make this planer a great bang for your buck:
- 15 Amp motor that easily planes soft and hardwood
- 2-blades, solid steel cutter head attached to the ball bearings for smooth operation
- Vacuum port that collects dust effectively
- Maximum stock removal is possible with the Poly-V cutter head
- High-carbon long double-edged blades for cutting
- CMEW320 Benchtop Planer (1)
- Installation Manual (1)
- Low noise
- Optimal planing speed
- Easy to use
- Simple Setup
- Sturdy construction
- A bit of snipe
My Favorite Feature: “Compact and Storage-friendly”
- The CMEW320 is easily foldable and compact.
If you move around often with your planer, you should consider getting the CMEW320 because of its compatibility.
Best Planers: What Are the Factors to Consider Before Buying One?
Understanding the major points of planners can help your buying decision. So, let’s have a clear picture of the factors to consider.
Planers come in a plethora of sizes.
Some come in portable sizes to enhance mobility, while some are large and heavy—with significant power.
If you plan to use the planer in various places, you can consider corded or cordless handheld planers.
But if you have a stationary workshop, you can go for heavy or medium-powered planners like benchtops.
We measure feed rate as feet per minute (fpm).
So, a high fpm rate means wood can feed into the planer faster and vice versa.
However, a low fpm, which represents a slower feed, means your machine can have a larger number of cuts and smoother edges.
Cutter Head Speed
The cutter head speed represents the overall planner speed. And we measure it as rotations per minute (rpm). This factor shows how many cuts your planner can handle for each pass.
So, I recommend you go for a planer with a high cutter head speed for improved performance.
Most planers use single, three, or even multiple blades (for industrial options).
However, the essential thing is to confirm if the blades are replaceable. That way, you can rest assured that you’ll make sharp cuts for a long time.
Also, confirm if the planer has an overly complicated blade system that’s difficult to switch out.
The standard measurement for tool planers is amp rating.
But we measure heavy duty planers in horsepower(HP). It’s ideal to know the maximum cutting depth of a planer to understand its power.
In short, the maximum cutting shows how much board you need to remove to have a smoother surface.
So, here you’ve it: the six best planers for 2021.
Our first choice is the Makita 2012NB because it ticks all the boxes for portability, performance, and low noise. It’s one thing to have a powerful machine and another to have it operate quietly.
Our first runner-up is the DeWalt DW735X, thanks to its two-speed gearbox that operates both at 96 cpi or 179 cpi. With the 96cpi for dimensioning workpieces and the 179cpi for producing smooth finishes.
Craftsman CMEW320 is the option to consider if you want a mobile, lightweight, and compact planer.
Overall, the planer you eventually choose should match your specific needs.
We’d be excited to hear from you in the comments section;
Which planer do you plan to choose? What key factors would you consider before buying a planer? Do you have any favorites you wish we listed here?
Q What is a planer?
It’s a woodworking tool that trims and cuts wooden boards to a certain thickness or smooth surface.
Q What are the types of Planers available?
- Benchtop planers
- Corded Handheld planers
- Cordless Handheld planers
- Thickness planers
Q What are the safety precautions to take when using a planer?
Use a push block to prevent wood kickbacks
Always use the correct wood size when working on your planer
Keep your kids, hands, clothing, and hair far away from cutter blades
Use earplugs and goggles to protect yourself while using a planer.