Woodworking projects requires some tools, in order to be successful. One of the tools you need in woodwork craft is the best thickness planer, to help you get the desired thickness and smoothness. Nevertheless, thickness planers are of different types, serving different functions. Here is a buying guide to help you buy the best planner for your projects.
Last update on 2017-07-22 PST - Details
What is a Thickness Planer?
A thickness planner is simply a woodworking machine for trimming boards to a specific thickness on the length, and flatness on the sides.
The planer has a rotating cutter-head with removable blades. The blades rotate at high speeds per minute, to flatten the sides by shaving the sides and to reduce the lumbar into the thickness desired.
Uses of Thickness Planer
- To level irregular pieces of woos into a constant thickness and to smoothen the board.
- To adjoin parts together.
- To shape various sizes of woods into desired size and thickness.
- To enable you develop accurate sized boards for your project.
Factors To Consider when Choosing Thickness Planer
Thickness planers are of various types, and they are designed to carry-out different tasks. The primary types of planers are hand and electric planers.
Hand planers are suitable for simple woodwork, where you need to exert some force to work. They are of different types, such as pocket, trimming and block hand planers.
Electric planers get powered by electricity, and they are fit for professional use. Although they are effective and convenient, they have different power consumption, with the one having a powerful motor being suitable heavy projects, and working fast and accurately. Also, their thickness varies and need to be considered when purchasing.
Ease of use and flexibility
An easy to use planer is the best to choose, rather than a complex one. Also, the planer should serve various purposes.
Depending on the manufacturer, the cost of the planers varies. Therefore, check the features and purpose of the planer, rather than the manufacturer. Also, the planer should be easy to maintain, and suitable to your environment, for example, an electric planer in an area without electricity does not help.
Convenience and efficiency
Planers serve different functions according to their type and design. Therefore, you should choose a planer that serves your purpose now, but can still be used in future projects.
How to Maintain a Thickness Planer
- Always lubricate the moving parts, to reduce friction and avoid breakage of the parts.
- Regularly check electrical systems and cables to avoid leakage of electricity.
- Replace worn out moving parts and cutting edges using recommended spare parts by the manufacturer.
- Regularly tighten loose bolts and nuts to maintain precision of the tool.
- Store the thickness planer at the right place, to avoid injury and damage.
- Sharpen the blades regularly and always cut using the right orientation to maintain precision and accuracy.
Precautions To Take When Using a Thickness Planer
- Always keep your workstation clean, to avoid substances that might cause injury.
- Only operate a thickness planer in a well-lit workstation, to maintain precision and avoid injury.
- Never operate the planer under the influence of drugs.
- Store the planer correctly to avoid damage and injury to those in the workstation.
- Always perform a general inspection of the planer, to ensure all parts are working.
- Use protective gears when operating the planer to minimize exposure to injury.
- Use a vice to hold your pieces of work firmly on your working bench, to avoid snipe and injury.
Top 5 Thickness Planners
The DEWALT DW735 thickness planner has a 15 amp powerful motor, which enables the three-knife cutter- head to deliver 10,000 rpm. You can adjust the speed of the planner, hence full control of your planning work. The planner comes with a three year limited warranty, 90 days money guarantee and one year warrant of free service. The knives are easy to change, long lasting and reversible. The planner features a dual speed, which enables you to optimize cuts to 96 or 179 in an inch, giving you finer finishes.
The DW735 planer has a 15amp powerful motor, making it easy to make deep cuts even in hardwoods. The powerful motor ensures all cuts you make are clean. Also, the motor features a dual speed gearbox, which gives 96 or 179 cuts in every inch, and a three-knife cutter -head that works at 10,000rpm. To get finer finishes, use 179 cuts per inch and 96 cuts per inch to dimension material.
Disposable and reversible knives
The planner features a three-knife cutter, which uses disposable and reversible razor sharp knives. The knives offer you with convenience, because you can easily change them. Besides, the knives lasts longer compared to traditional disposable knives, saving you from time and cost of re-sharpening.
Chip ejection system
The DW735 planner has a chip ejection system that is fan assisted. The fan is motorized, and it breaks down the debris while leaving the cutter- head, blowing them into two dust shrouds. One of the shrouds spreads the chips on the floor, while the second shroud acts as a connection for dust collection hose.
- Suitable for heavy users.
- It’s very powerful, thus suitable for use with hardwood.
- Highly durable and of quality.
- Replacement knives are expensive.
- It’s heavy, thus not portable.
The Delta Power tools planner comprises of a powerful 15A motor that makes 18,000 cuts in a minute. The planner is designed with four columns for maximum stability, thus precise and smooth planning when in use. The knife system features dual edge disposable knives, allow you to change knives with the help of the alignment jigs. The in-feed and out- feed tables are adjustable, thus reducing snipe while supporting long pieces. In addition, the planner features a reversible dust port, which enables you to collect chips on either side of the planner.
Delta Power Tools 22-553 thickness planner features a reversible dust port, which offers you with options of which side to collect the chips by the connecting the dust collector on either left or right.
The construction of the planner is of a rugged design, using high-quality materials, making the planner strong and of quality. The materials and the design ensure the planner is durable, even when in use. Also, the design makes it easy to change the knives. Additionally, the design has four columns, to offer stability that leads to smooth and accurate cuts.
The planner has an easy to change knife system composed of dual edge knives that are disposable. The system enables you to change the knives with ease, with the help of the alignment jigs.
In-feed and out-feed tables
The in-feed and out-feed tables of the planner are adjustable, thus making it easy to support pieces, as well as reducing snipe.
- Highly accurate.
- Suitable for use in small shops and by hobbyists.
- Comes with a five year warranty.
- Solid and tight design, thus extremely stable and durable.
- The blades are easier to change.
- Not suitable for use with hard woods.
- Not for heavy users.
The Makita 12-inch planer is highly portable, and has a sturdy design, that makes it operate quietly. Also, the planer has blades that are easier to change. The unique automated interna-lok head clamp enhances the planning performance of the planer by eliminating snipe. In addition, the device has LED light that indicates when you plug in your planer to power source, and a fully adjustable depth to enhance repeated cuts. The design of the planer has a 15 amp motor, which works at 8,500 rpm. The cutting capacity of the tool is 1/8 inches in depth and a width of 12 inches.
15 AMP Motor
The Makita 12-inch thickness planer comprises of a 15 amp motor that delivers 8,500 rotations per minute. Besides, the motor operates quietly in its category, at 83Db, to offer you with comfort while working.
The planer is designed with four posts and diagonal cross supporters, to offer maximum stability. Also, it has large extension tables, to provide support to your work piece, as well as entirely adjustable depth that enhances repeated cuts. Additionally, the feed rate of the tool is 28ft per minute, and the cutting depth setting is easily adjustable, to provide the highest level of precision. The design makes it suitable for finish woodwork, furniture, staircase, closets and cabinets.
Easy to use features
For ease of transportation, the Makita planer has a compact design with lightweight. The 2012NB planer uses planer blades that are double-edged and disposable, thus easier and faster to change. LED light is featured to indicate when the planer is plugged into power source, and there is an easy to operate large paddle on and off switch. For ease of standard equipment storage, a detachable tool box is featured. Additionally, you can connect a dust collection system with the help of the optional dust hood.
Automated head clamp
The 2012NB Makita planer features an automated interna-lok head clamp, which improves the productivity of the tool by eliminating snipe, leading to enhanced planning performance.
- Most parts are made with cast aluminum, thus very strong.
- Easy to use.
- Highly portable from one place to the other due to lightweight.
- Impressive performance and a great design.
- Compact in size, thus easy to handle and store.
- Changing the blade can be difficult.
- It’s expensive.
- Does not come with the dust collection hood, which has an odd size.
DW734 is a previous model of DW735X planer, but with some differences like, the blade in DW734 is slightly smaller, and DW 735X features a mechanism with an auto carriage lock, thus no need for user engagement. Also, DW734 model is 12lb less compared to DW735X that has additional features. The feed tables are extra-long, in order to support your materials. The planer features a 15 amp powerful motor with three-knife cutter-head, operating at 10,000 rpm. The knives are made of steel, easy to change, and they are reversible and disposable.
The DW 734 planer features an efficient debris and dust management system. The dust hood gets connected to a dust collector, to maintain effective debris and chips to be collected.
Three razor sharp knives are featured, to provide convenience. The knives are reversible, disposable and lasts longer than traditional knives. You can easily change the knives, and they remain sharp for long. Therefore, no wastage of time and money in re-sharpen the knives regularly.
The DW 734 planer features a powerful 15 amp motor, which enables you to handle various types of hardwoods. Also, the motor has a three-knife cutter-head, which works at 10,000rpm, giving you 96 cuts in every inch.
The planer has additional features that make it easy to use. Among them are the extra-long out-feed and in-feed tables, giving support to your materials. There is a turret depth stop, which allows you to easily set the machine when using common depths. Also, there is an extra-large thickness scale and material removal gauge, to aid in ensuring all pass are accurate.
The planer has a sturdy design, featuring a four- carriage lock, to enhance stability, thus material snipe and damage, especially near the end is prevented.
- A great and cheaper alternative to DW735 that is expensive.
- Very powerful, thus suitable for professional use.
- There is no snipe.
- Highly durable.
- Gives precise cuts.
- Not portable due to its heavy weight.
- Replacing the knives is costly.
The R4331 planer has a multiple depth feature, which enables you to get the depth you need. The feed capacity of the planer is 13 inches wide, to enable you in planning large stock. In addition, the planer is corded, and has a cutter head with three blades. The dual –edge blades are self-aligning, easy to change and reversible, thus giving smooth cuts.
The R4331 planer features a cutter-head with three blades, giving you a finer finish surface that is smooth and free of blemish.
Powerful 15 amp motor
The planer has a powerful 15 Amp motor using 120V to work. The motor gives high power, thus the process of operation is continuous, and sufficient to handle hardwoods. Additionally, the powerful motor makes the planer suitable for multi-purpose.
The cutter-head of the planer has dual-edge blades that are quick to change. Also, the blades are self-indexing, thus reversible and self-aligning for an extended use.
The top of the planer is made of steel, and it has glides, making the area to be extra-wide, for easy staging of materials to make cuts.
- Good planer for multi-purpose use.
- It’s easy to use.
- Making suitable adjustments is much easier.
- Gives and smooth cuts, no snipes.
- Very rigid, thus durable.
- The planer is expensive.
- Very heavy, thus not easier to ship from one area to the other.
To buy the best thickness planer, you should consider all important factors and the purpose of use. Besides, the planer you choose should be easy to use and maintain. Nevertheless, the resources you have in your workstation and the project you intend to complete with the planer should determine the type of planer you purchase, not forgetting future projects.