Best Hand Planer

A hand planer is a tool that allows you to flatten, smooth, or shape a board with ease. The truth is hand planers come in different sizes, shapes, range of power, and quality. When leveling floor joints, smoothing out rough edges, working with door edges, removing wood from around door casings, and smoothing out filler boards to fit cabinets, the best hand planer is an answer in which you seek.

Wood is an essential part of most construction projects, and with that, specific tools are crucial. Hand planers play a significant role in remodeling, carpentry, and furniture making. One thing you should know about each hand planer is not a one size fits all. 

Looking for tools can seem overwhelming; therefore, reviews like this one are an excellent place to start. Throughout this article, we will examine five hand planers breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

Sure, you could outsource your project and send it to a cabinet maker, but it’s more satisfying doing the job yourself and isn’t quite as complicated as it seems.

The Best Hand Planer For Every Job

Now that you know you need a hand planer for your project, the question is which one. There are many on the market, causing some confusion as to which one you need. Research is part of learning, and in this article, we have done the work for you. We have reviewed five different hand planers by laying out their strengths and weaknesses to match precisely the right job for you.

DEWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer

If you’re looking for something to speed up the process of your project, the Dewalt DCP580B could do the job. Its size is less bulky, and the cordless option gives it a lighter, more agile feel, making it easier to maneuver. The Dewalt has an electric brake stopping the blade in 1 to 1/2 seconds, so the rear footrest is not needed.

It doesn’t come with a dust bag, but you can hook up a vacuum cutting down on the dust volume with the exhaust on the side. The Dewalt DCP580B can have a bit of a learning curve, but it pays off with a little patience like anything. The blade provided is plenty sharp, but you may consider purchasing the highest quality blade when you are doing hardwood.

Dewalt has thought through this collection, for the guide is stable and easy to adjust. It has excellent power making it an ideal tool for trim-up jobs. It has different depth levels and works well with longer or shallow scribes. Make sure you’ve removed all the nails and screws from the boards to avoid chipping the blade or sending hardware flying through the air. An LED light would be a great addition to the Dewalt DCP580B.

Specs:

  • 15,000 RPM
  • 8 x 6.94 x 16 inches
  • Battery-powered
  • 1 Lithium-ion battery
  • 6.8 pounds

Pros:

  • Runs smooth and quiet
  • Has an electric break
  • Not too bulky
  • Cordless
  • Light and agile
  • The guide is sold & easy to adjust

Cons:

  • Big learning curve
  • Can cause gouging
  • The front shoe is not coplanar with the main body
  • Doesn’t come with a dust bag

Wen 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4 Inch

The best hand planer will give your 80 grit sandpaper a long-deserved break, for it makes any job more manageable. The Wen 6530 is powerful enough to cut 1/ 8″ deep, setting it on a shallow setting; it works as a belt sander, quickly and easily, and has a back leg to protect the blade. 

The Wen 6530 has a chip collection bag, but it fills up quickly. It’s best to pull the long plastic sheath at the bottom and open where it’s widest. The build quality is sufficient, and the weight is heavy enough not to lose control of it and light enough, keeping your arms from becoming exhausted. 

It’s easy to change the direction of the shaving discharge and depth of cut. It’s 16 positive stops giving a 0 to 1/8 inch cutting depth and rabbets up to 7/10 inch. If you ever need to use it freehand, you can remove it from the jointer in about five minutes.  

The dust collection side lever doesn’t tighten, so it is known to fall off, but it’s nothing a little gorilla tape can’t fix. The Wen 6530 is an outstanding tool for the money and makes for an excellent planer for your DIY projects. 

Specs:

  • 6 amp motor
  • 34,000 cuts per minute
  • 16 positive stop adjustments
  • Weighs 6 pounds
  • 120V, 60HZ

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Prepares boards nicely
  • Good price
  • Has back leg to protect the blade
  • Works quickly

Cons:

  • Chip collection bag fills up quickly and can clog
  • Adjustment knob can’t lock & can move out of place
  • Kickstand at the end of the unit can get in the way
  • Knives difficult to change
  • Loud
  • Turning one-handed can be tough
  • Short cord

Makita KP0800K 3-1/4-Inch Planer Kit, Blue

The Makita KP0800K has many functional properties, one being that it delivers more output power for fast material removal. Its high power to weight ratio makes it a force to be reckoned with. It planes up to 3/4 inches wide and 3/32 inches deep in a single pass. Its two-bladed setting system makes for easy blade installation, while Its aluminum base provides accuracy. 

The Makita has your back with its centered balance using rubberized handles if you are looking for an elaborate kind of comfort. Tool life is essential, and Makita has proven themselves to be up for the task for its die-cast aluminum housing with all-ball bearing construction. 

Two familiar topics with hand planers are durability and vibration. When looking to add longevity and reduce vibration, the machined aluminum, and balanced planer drum is the answer. Its clicks-depth adjustment knob with easy to read scale that allows for precise depth adjustment. The spring-loaded stand elevates the base to protect the blades and workpiece. 

Specs:

  • 6.5 Amp motor
  • Weights of 5.7 pounds
  • 17,000 RPM
  • Planes up to 3 1/4″ wide and 3/32″ deep 

Pros

  • Sturdy double-sided sharp blades
  • Smooth finish
  • Aluminum base for accuracy
  • Double edge carbide blades
  • Double insulated
  • Lock-on button
  • Spring-loaded stand
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a dust bag or attachment
  • Expensive
  • Oddly shaped dust port
  • Accessories are hard to find

TACKlife Electric Hand Planer

The Tacklife electric hand planer allows you to tackle various woodworking projects quickly and precisely with its machined aluminum base achieves, giving you high accuracy. It’s powerful and efficient for fast material removal, leaving you with a smooth finish in soft and hardwoods. You can work with this tool for a long time due to its lightweight, minimizing fatigue. 

The Tacklife is known for its protection and durability, with its lock button accessible by either hand, making accidents less likely. The aluminum front and rear shoes will not rust or deform, while the rubber drive belt provides enhanced durability. 

It’s convenient for it comes with two reversible blades on the machine. You can choose the left or the right hand to operate the planer because of the dual exhaust ports. It helps ensure consistent planing through the entire work material with the dual-mount guide fence and no-mar plastic overshoe mounts to either side of the tool. 

The blade is reversible, so either side is available for use; however, replacements are not difficult to locate. 

Specs:

  • 6 Amp motor
  • 16500 RPM
  • 5/64: adjustable cut depth

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Good multiple pass shallow cuts
  • Smooth

Cons:

  • Runs hot
  • Doesn’t take apart well to sharpen blades
  • The blade doesn’t last long
  • Catch bag gets in the way

Ryobi HPL52K

This adjustable tool allows a depth of 0-1/8″ in 1/96″ increments enabling you to tackle woodworking projects with accuracy and precision. The grip has a rubber molding helping in slippery conditions. A lock-off button prevents accidental activation from damaging your equipment and possibly injuring yourself. The dual exhaust ports allow you to choose which side the chips will blow out of, depending on the side you’re standing on. The rear mount kickstand will prevent it from scuffing your work surface. 

Trimming wood is made quick with the Ryobi HPL52K and will leave a smooth surface. It works great for shaving interior doors, for it takes off the top and sides with ease. It makes quite a mess but is a reasonable price for what it does.  

Specs:

  • 6 AMP motor
  • 16,500 RPM
  • 3 1/4″ cord hand
  • Kickstand & dual ports

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Easy to handle
  • Adjustable
  • Safe to use
  • A fair amount of power

Cons:

  • Catch bag is too small
  • The flip switch won’t stay in position
  • Discharge can clog

Best Hand Planer’s Guide: What to Look For 

The best hand planers are used to shave wood from a surface to make it level. As you’ve learned throughout this article, hand planers come in handy for various woodworking projects. The type of planer chosen is based on your job ahead of you, whether it’s a larger project with denser material or lighter less involved. So, what should you consider when buying a hand planer? 

Power

Hand planers come in corded and cordless options. Cordless offers more freedom for where you work and not needing electricity close by; however, cordless options are more expensive, so if you are sticking to a budget, this may not be your best option. 

Your hand planer’s power abilities depend on your job’s size and the material you are using. A corded planer is typically for bigger jobs and should focus on the AMPs rating. 7 AMPs are efficient for smaller projects, where 10 AMPS or more would be more equipped for the bigger jobs. The larger the motor, the heavier your hand planer will be. 

RPM

Higher speeds translate to even consistent cuts. A 15,000 RPM ore is advised so the cutting wheel can rotate at high speeds to shave wood from the surfaces. 

Cutting Blades

The most utilized electric hand planers have dual blades. When the blades spin at a rotation of 15,000 per minute, it can dull quickly. When doing a lightweight to medium size job, blades made out of (HSS) high strength steel, where heavy-duty jobs should switch to a carbide blade. You can salvage some of the blades by sharpening them before needing to replace them, or they are reversible, allowing for more use out of each edge. 

Maximum Cutting Depth

Wider electric planers are available, but with that comes more power and more cost. The standard cutting width for an electric planer is 3 1/4 inches. 

Depth Control

One of the most crucial factors in planing is depth. Most models come with a depth control knob for adjustment options. Highly accurate material removal makes sure the depth gauge and adjustment knob are calibrated. If your model offers click stop at standard increments, you tend to have more control. Just make sure they are appropriately calibrated. 

Power Cord

A longer cord is more convenient, so you are not tethered to an outlet or in need of an extension cord. Each company has different cord lengths, so when choosing a hand planer, know your workspace needs and verify the cord length to the brand you buy.  

Accessories

Each company differs as to what accessories come with the hand planer or what to buy aftermarket. Make sure when purchasing your planer, you know what it includes. Accessories are sold aftermarket, but some are harder to get ahold of than others. It’s essential to think ahead when researching what will cost you extra after your original purchase. 

Maintenance

Part of your hand plane’s maintenance routine should consist of flattening out the sole of your plane because they can become uneven. Use a lapping plate and an abrasive compound on metal-bodied planes. 

A light coating of tool oil on the hand plane’s face can help it run smoothly. 

When sharpening, use oilstones, Waterstones, or diamond stones. You can mechanically sharpen as well with a grinding machine. 

Final Thoughts

Hand planers are an exciting addition to your wood finishing projects making each job slightly more manageable and better than you envisioned. Owning one of the best hand planers makes your life easier, but each one varies on specs, so knowing what you need yours for is of the utmost importance when purchasing one. 

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