Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Barry Gray
If you find yourself working on a project that involves using large lumbar, then trying to plane things down without it taking an eternity is not easy. Well, that’s not entirely true because a stationary planer has the ability to make this task a whole lot easier.
But I see a problem here: most people remain unaware of just what a stationary planer has to offer. So, I’m here to counteract that problem, and it’s only going to take a short period of time for me to achieve this.
What you will find below are four of the best stationary planer options on the market right now, and I’ve picked different options suitable for various needs, budgets, and experience levels.
- Best Helical Head Stationary Planer – JET JWP-15 BHH
- Best Stationary Planer for Reliability – Powermatic 209HH
- Best Budget Stationary Planer – JET JWP-15 B
- Best Stationary Planer for Features – Laguna PX22 ShearTec II
Also, after you have checked out the different options and models I’ve selected, you will find a series of tips on what to look out for with this machine. My intention is to make your life as easy as possible if you find yourself in the position of even contemplating buying one of these machines.
How I Made My List
So how did I even get to the point of choosing these four models from the various options on the market? Well, I had specific criteria that each model had to meet to qualify.
But first, I should let you know that I’ve worked with wood on a wide range of projects over a period of some 20 years. That personal experience is something I then put to good use when determining which tools or machines represent real value for money.
But in this instance, I wanted to ensure each machine could perform in the way you wanted and that it wasn’t too difficult to set up and use. The last thing I want is for you to encounter a machine that takes an eternity to set up since this clearly holds you back from getting on with the task.
Also, I wanted to ensure each model offered absolute precision when it came to working with that wood. I needed each option to be capable of removing precisely what you wanted and to do so consistently.
Finally, aside from checking out the different features of the models, I also spent time studying what owners had to say regarding their own experience of working with the machine. In the end, I was left with the four models you can check out below.
Best Helical Head Stationary Planer – JET JWP-15 BHH
- Power: 3 HP
- Speed: 5,200 RPM
- Cutting Depth: ⅛”
- Knives Number: 48
JET has a habit of producing some fantastic power tools, especially when it comes to large-scale equipment such as this particular stationary planer. It comes with 3 HP throwing out speeds of up to 5,200 RPM, which is more than enough for most projects.
It has a helical cutter head complete with a total of 48 knives. I do like how it can cut a maximum of ⅛” off at a time, so it does make quick work of planing down those boards exactly as you want them.
But there’s one other thing I love about this model: the Precision Air Strut System, or PASS for short. What this does is it pushes some pressure upwards, and that’s designed to prevent board snipe. Ultimately, you get a better result under more control.
I also appreciate the model comes with a two-speed gearbox. This helps you with the feed speed, and it’s also well placed, so there is no need to stress about how you get to it.
Talking of feed speed, it comes with speeds of either 16fpm or 20fpm. I do like having two different speeds as it means you can dictate what happens rather than the planer forcing you to work at a certain pace.
Finally, this planer can work with material up to 6” thick and 16” wide. That’s more than sufficient, in my opinion, and with the entire machine being so easy to control, it does mean this planer is worthy of appearing on my list.
- It has two feed speeds for better control
- It can cope with large size material
- It has a more than adequate dust port system
- The large hand wheel makes setting up the depth a lot easier
- It has ample power for dealing with tougher wood
- Some machines do offer better cutting depths
Best Stationary Planer for Reliability – Powermatic 209HH
- Power: 5 HP
- Feed Speed: 4 different feed speeds are available
- Cutting Depth: ⅛”
Powermatic is another brand known for producing large machinery such as this stationary planer. However, they are also known for something else, reliability.
This particular model comes with 5HP of power and a maximum cutting depth of ⅛”. It also offers a total of four different feed speeds, and that’s something I really do appreciate.
As a result, you can completely change the feed speed from a choice between 24fpm or 31fpm with one gear set down to either 16fpm or 20fpm on the second gear set. That means you get a lot of control over the feed aspect, and that’s great.
This model also has a helical cutter head, which translates into a machine that works significantly quieter than other options. While noise may not matter to many people, the key with the helical cutter head is the way it has a smooth operation.
This comes as a result of this model coming with 100 individual four-sided knives, which leads to you getting the sort of outcome you were hoping for. A perfectly flat and smooth surface.
I need to mention the adjustment option. This is controlled via a chrome-plated handwheel which is very easy to move. It means you can easily make those slight adjustments, and I feel the entire machine comes across as well-balanced. That’s partly due to the cast iron assembly, which gives it that stability.
Overall, I feel this stationary planer is one you can trust. It’s very well made, produces consistent results, and it is also very easy to set up.
- It’s very easy to adjust
- You have four different feed speed options
- It has a large work area of 55 ½” x 20”
- The feed rollers work smoothly
- It comes with 100 carbide knives
- The machine is large and requires a lot of space
Best Budget Stationary Planer – JET JWP-15 B
- Power: 3HP
- Feed Speeds: 16fpm – 20fpm
- Cutting Depth: ⅛”
If you are working on more of a budget and still want to own a stationary planer, then I recommend the JET JWP-15B, which is a fantastic model. It comes with 3HP of power and offers a cutting depth of ⅛”, which is relatively standard.
I like how this model comes with two different feed speeds, with you choosing between 16fpm and 20fpm. This does mean you get ample control over the feed aspect, so I believe it means you have a better chance to get your desired end results.
This model also comes with their PASS technology to cut down the possibility of board snipe. That is where the start of the board is cut deeper than the rest, so if you want a smoother result, then having this technology makes a difference.
One thing to mention regarding this model is it only has three knives, but don’t worry about that. It still has the capability of making those smooth cuts.
The maximum size that this planer can work on our boards is some 6” in height and 15” wide. That’s more than satisfactory, in my opinion.
I also appreciate the ease with which you can use the handwheel to adjust the depth, and it doesn’t take long for you to get your desired result. In addition, the 4” dust compartment works well, and it does remove the majority of the dust.
Overall, even though this model is a budget version, it still allows for ample opportunity to adjust the cutter and get those smooth boards. It’s powerful enough for working on tough wood, and it’s a heavy-duty machine more than capable of lasting for years.
- It has ample power for working even on tougher woods
- It’s very easy to adjust via the handwheel
- It has two different feed speeds available
- Their PASS technology helps
- A straight cutter head is safer
- Steel blades are not as good as carbide-tipped blades
Best Stationary Planer for Features – Laguna PX22 ShearTec II
- Power: 7.5 HP
- Bed Size: 22 x 28”
- Cut Depth: ¼”
- Max Stock Thickness: 8”
Even though I’m aware the Laguna brand is not the most well-known in the world, I don’t think you should then allow that to put you off checking out this model.
This model is exceptionally powerful since it comes with a 7.5 HP motor. It’s also capable of dealing with some large boards as the maximum stock thickness measures in at 8” while it can remove up to ¼” at a time.
But don’t worry about how you will manage to set things up. It comes equipped with a digital display, which means you can set the thickness in advance and create a perfectly smooth board at the end.
I also love the cutter head with this planer. It has six rows, leading to it creating a much smoother cut than you ever thought possible. Also, that smoothness applies to any type of wood.
But when working with large boards, you need a smooth feeding system, and this planer has exactly that. You will find it straightforward to feed those boards on, producing a smoother finish.
Overall, I’m impressed with the dust collection, the ease with which you can rotate the four-sided blades to get a clean cut, and how quickly this planer produces those smooth boards.
- It’s extremely powerful
- The digital display makes it easy to set your desired thickness
- The cutter heads are fast and efficient
- The rollers are exceptionally smooth
- The dust ejection system works well
- It is on the large side, so space may become an issue
How to Choose the Right Stationary Planer
I mentioned four different stationary planers above, and I trust each machine to be capable of producing the types of results you would want from this type of machine. However, I know many people may be new to using this tool, so knowing what to look for when purchasing one is important.
So, these tips on what to look out for should help.
Power has a direct link to the way in which the stationary planer can then deal with tougher woods. The more power you have, the easier it is for the planer to get through that material.
For me, I would suggest going for a minimum of 3HP, but it is better to have around 5HP just to make your life easier.
Cutting depth is something else I would pay attention to. You want to have significant control over this, and it should really be around ⅛” on each pass. I believe that to be a substantial depth without removing chunks of wood at once.
But it’s not all about just the cutting depth. It’s also how you adjust the depth, and many will come with a simple handwheel to allow you to make those adjustments. Other options have a digital display, but those machines tend to cost more, even though it means you have absolute precision.
You must also become aware of the size of material the individual stationary planer can handle before purchasing one. These planers tend to have the ability to cope with more considerable material both in width and depth.
This is where you need to understand your potential projects and the material you will work with. Most stationary planers can cope with 6” thick and 15” wide materials. However, others go bigger than that, which is why understanding your project is critical.
Feed speed regulates how quickly the material goes through the planer. Often, you will have more than one option depending on the gear system.
I would look at planers that have either 16fpm or 20fpm as options. You do get machines with a feed speed closer to 30fpm, but I wouldn’t suggest you use that option if new to using this type of machine.
The dust port is another feature I would pay attention to when choosing a stationary planer. It must have one, even if it involves you linking up your own vacuum system.
Look at the material the knives are made from. Carbide performs better for longer than steel blades. If you have steel knives, then prepare to change them regularly to continue to get the perfect end result.
Also, spend time looking at the safety features. You want the machine to switch on and off easily without scrambling for the switch.
Overall though, you don’t have too many issues to think about when searching for the perfect stationary planer.
Those are the four different stationary planers that I feel represent the best options on the market right now. Each model is more than capable of performing exactly as you want it to, and I can assure you that you will be very happy with the results.
However, if you still feel somewhat unsure which option to go for, run over the tips and points I mentioned above to make things easier for you. I have absolutely no doubt that the perfect stationary planer is out there waiting for you. All it takes is for you to think carefully about what your projects will most likely involve and to ensure you pick the perfect planer for your own individual needs and requirements.
Once you do all of that, you can look forward to planing down those large panels in next to no time at all.