Thickness planers, also known as benchtop wood planers are perfect for smoothing and milling the woods to precise thicknesses you would need. In the event you are doing some remodeling or are into the woodworking business, then getting this unit will make life easier for you. As a matter of fact, when you get one for yourself, you will soon be wondering why in the world you had not gotten one sooner. We’ve tested and reviewed our top 6 picks below to make your purchasing decision easier.
|DEWALT DW735 Two Speed Thickness Planer||4.5/5|
|The Makita 2012NB||4.4/5|
|Delta Power Tools 22-555||4.2/5|
|Delta Power Tools 22-590||4.0/5|
|WEN 6550 12.5-Inch 15A Benchtop Thickness Planer||4.6/5|
Benchtop planers are investments for wood workers who take their projects seriously. The units over time enable you to save some money by buying rough stock and dimensioning the wood yourself. In addition to this, they help in making custom designs which consequently results in achieving great results with great ease. The DeWalt DW735 is equipped with a powerful 15 amp motor that can handle cutting deep through tough hardwoods. The motor delivers a whopping 10,000 RPM. The three knife cutter head it features, complemented by its two speed gearbox, deliver an impressive 179 CPI or 96 CPI. The 96 CPI is important when you are dimensioning materials and the 179 CPI is best for when you are looking for a finer and smoother finish.
For the cuts, the DeWalt DW735 features very sharp knives that are disposable and reversible. These knives in comparison to the traditional disposable knives usually last 30% longer. This reduces the frequency of replacement and saves you time and money in the process. To ensure that the knives are changed up fast and with great ease, several pins machined on the cutter head go through holes that have been machined on the knife. These enable the user to fast locate the fresh knives and to refasten the knife clamp with great ease. The planer features rather long infeed and outfeed tables that provide 33 ½ inches of the material support. When setting the machine in commonly used depths the turret depth stop will save you a great deal of time.
Adding to this, the unit features a material removal gauge and an extra-large thickness scale that helps in ensuring that every pass made is accurate and precise. The four column carriage lock significantly reduces the movement that usually leads to snipe or material damage when you are planning close to the end of the board. The DeWalt DW735 is sturdy, strong and durable. It weighs only 92 pounds and provides a maximum cutting depth of 1/8 inches. In addition to this, it has a depth capacity of 6 inches and a width capacity of 13 inches The DeWalt DW735 is equipped with a chip ejection system that is complemented by a motorized fan. The fan is useful in breaking down the debris as they leave the cutterhead and blow right into the two dust shrouds. The two shrouds are useful in that one disperses chips down to the floor of the shop while the other leads to a vacuum hose of a dust collector hose. The thickness of two speed planers with the three knife cutter head comes with a DeWalt Warranty package that has a 3 year limited warranty and a contract for a 1 year free service. In the box of the unit is the DeWalt DW735 13 inch thickness two-speed planer featuring 3 knife cutterhead, a dust ejection chute and a dust hose adapter.
DeWalt is one of the leading companies in the industry providing quality power tools. The DeWalt DW735 is one of the best benchtop planer it has to provide. It is perfect for professionals looking to do the job right and looking to save some money in the process. This unit is designed to help in cutting up through stocks that come cheap. It also is best when you have a custom design project on your hands. The DeWalt DW735 is made with a powerful 15 amp motor. This motor has the ability to deliver 10,000 RPM when hard at work. With these figures, the unit is both powerful and fast which ensures that the project progresses fast. The powerful motor drives three knives and works together with a two-speed gearbox which deliver 96 CPI or 179 CPI. These speeds are applied differently. The 96 CPI is important when dimensioning materials while the 179 CPI is best used for creating a smooth finish.
The knives on this unit are razor sharp and are reversible as well as disposable. The knives are created to be 30% more durable than traditional knives. With the increased durability, you will spend less time and money. But even with the increased durability DeWalt knows that at one point you will need to get the blades replaced. For when this time comes, the unit has been created with a fast and easy knife change system. DeWalt DW735 has a set of pins machines on the cutter head that go through to the hoes that are machined on the knife. This helps you in quickly locating the fresh knife and refastening the knife clamp. The DeWalt DW735 comes with extra-long outfeed and infeed tables and has a 33 ½ inch surface for material support. The turret depth is designed to save you some time when you are setting the machine to some commonly used depths. Adding to this, the planer comes with a material removal gauge as well as an extra thickness scale that ensures you have an accurate and precise pass. A four column carriage lock on the unit helps to reduce the movement of the unit that cause material damage or even snipe when cutting the material close to the edge of the board.
It is important to note that the unit comes with a fan assisted chip ejection system. The fan is motorized and is important in cutting up the debris as they emerge from the cutter-head. It also blows them into either one of the two shrouds the unit contains. One of the shrouds on the unit connects to a dust collector hose or a vacuum collector hose, whichever you prefer while the other disperses the chips to the floor of your workshop. Whichever shroud you choose to reroute the chips to, you can rest assured that you will be safe as you will not have them blowing into your face. Overall, the DeWalt DW735 is a powerful sturdy and durable unit. it weighs about 92 pounds and comes with a maximum cutting depth of 1/8 inches. Adding to this, the unit has a depth capacity of 6 inches and a width capacity of 13 inches. Buying this unit, you can be confident that it works as it should be. In the event it is faulty, you can cash in on the three-year limited warranty the unit comes with.
The Makita 2012NB features a powerful 15 amp motor that has a no load speed of 8,500 RPM. Complementing the lower is a low noise operation of 83dB. The unit comes with a four post design in addition to a diagonal cross support for added stability and a large table extension to support the wood being worked on. The planer comes with an adjustable depth stop to enable repeat cuts. The Makita 2012NB comes with a feed speed ate of 28 feet per minute. The cutting depth can be easily adjusted for accurate and precision planning. The maximum thickness of the unit is 6 3/32 inches.
The Makita 2012NB is lightweight and compact allowing for easier transportation to the job sites. The 2012NB features easy and fast blade changes. The blades are disposable and double edged. The unit has an LED light that shows when the plane is connected to a power source. The Makita 2012NB also comes with a detachable tool box for storing the standard equipment. The unit comes with an optional dust hood that enables the dust collection system to be connected to the planer. The 12 inch Makita 2012NB portable planer delivers productivity and portability complete with quiet operation, a compact design and easy and fast blade changes, the unit comes with an exclusive Interna-Lok automated head clamp that helps to eliminate snipes thus improving the performance of the planning.
For a while this unit has been the leader in the bench top wood planer category. But while the company and most who have used this may claim this, should you just believe it blindly? No, you should strive to know why this is so. As such, to help you understand why woodworkers have been raving about this unit, here is a detailed review of the unit.
The unit comes equipped with a 15 amp motor. Needless to say, with such a powerful motor, the unit is well able to handle most woods. As a matter of fact, some professionals have gone on record to state that they tested it with IPE and it handled the wood with great ease. The 15 amp powerful motor generates a whopping 8,500 RPM no-load speed. Aside from this, the unit comes with adjustment settings that are clear. These adjustments are used on the width capacity to vary it from 0-12 inches. With some maintenance, the unit can last for ages and still provide you with great performance. The Makita 2012NB is made to use a 4-post design that helps to balance the whole setup. The weight of the unit is evenly distributed and the structure is able to support the heavier woods with no hiccups. The base at the very bottom of this unit enables it to provide this support. The extensions on the table see to it that the weight of the wood placed on the unit does not lie on the core of the planer.
DIY professionals love to refer to this unit as a power lifter. Why? Well, its design and build allows it to handle some of the toughest woods available including pine oak, plywood and maple. The unit gives all these smooth finishes. The unit achieves this in three ways. First, as stated above, the weight of the unit is evenly distributed such that no single part of the machine bears the entire weight of the wood. Second, the unit has a powerful motor that powers the cutter-head with great speed to scrape the wood with great ease. Third, the blades feature a great design. Speaking of which, the unit comes with a single blade. The blade is sharp and provides optimum precision and accuracy. It is also strong and durable. However, with time, it will wear out and you will need to replace it. When this time comes, be sure to favor the Makita blades to other blades types available for optimum results. This Makita unit has a feed rate of about 28 feet per minute. As such, you can have multiple passes until you achieve the thickness you desire. Overall, you will get a smooth finish with this unit. It should be noted that it has been quite some time since the unit was first launched. As such, the adjustments on this unit are not as intuitive those on some of the modern bench top planers like the DeWalt DW735X. Nonetheless, the adjustments are accurate. You can proceed to choose the depth of your cut to a maximum of 1/8 inches. The unit comes with a depth capacity of 6 inches and in the event you need to make several passes, you should use the depth stop. Adding to this, with this unit you can get several pieces of wood with the same thickness. The Interna-Lok System the unit is equipped with works perfectly with the extension tables. It however is not perfect. As for the noise, you will be pleased to note that the unit has a low noise level rating of about 83dB. It is not the lowest you will find in the industry but it still is commendable for a unit that has been on the market for such a long time. Additionally, the LED lighting that alerts you when the unit is plugged into the socket is useful.
The Delta Power Tools 22-555 is compact and lightweight. It weighs 58 pounds and measures 25 x 17 x 21 inches. The unit has a solid construction, is sturdy and durable. Under the solid casing is a 15 amp motor that delivers more than enough torque to the 2 knives for powerful and efficient planning. The motor enables the unit to work on both hardwood and softwoods with great ease. The weight capacity of the unit is set at 13 inches. This is more than enough width for individuals working with commercial woods. These normally measure 10 inches in width. With this, most will never reach the maximum application of the unit.
As for its thickness, it comes with a maximum thickness capacity of 6 inches. Again for individuals working with commercial woods, the woodworker will rarely come close or exceed the thickness. The high thickness capacity provides versatility and more room to work with thick materials including raw lumber. The unit is constructed and designed to have a lot of working space. While other units are compact and difficult to use, the Delta Power Tools 22-555 come with sufficient space to maneuver the wood. The space provides better visibility of your work and more access to the knives when they need to be changed.
The Delta Power Tools 22-555 comes with a dust collection system which traps the sawdust produced. This feature helps in keeping a clean working environment. The dust collection system also features a reversible dust port which provides more option on the connection of the device to the dust extraction system. For safety purposes, the spinning knives are hidden away from access and the power button is located at the front of the unit for easier access in the event of an emergency. Switching off power to the unit locks the system and immediately stops the blades from spinning. Other features of the unit include height adjustment, a column design, too storage, a precision scale and Nitrile Synthetic Rubber coated rollers for rolling ease and durability.
If you are in search of a popular wood planer for your workshop, then the Delta Power Tools 22-555 is the unit for you. The model is highly recommended for professionals in the industry though DIY woodworkers can make use of the unit as well. For most persons, the motor is by far one of the most important features of a wood planer regardless of the type of the planer. Without enough power, the planer will take ages to get the job done or worse still deliver bad results laden with inconsistent cuts on the surface of the material. The Delta Power Tools 22-555 is designed complete with a powerful 15 amp motor that is designed to deliver sufficient torque to its 2 knives for a powerful, fast and efficient surface planning. With such power, the unit is more than able to plane both soft and hardwood with great ease. For anyone looking for the best unit on the market, the Delta Power Tools 22-555 is the best and proves to be overkill for most individuals. The unit can work with a stock of a maximum of 13 inches wide. For most individuals, this is more than sufficient space. Many of the commercially available materials including wood planks are very rarely wider than 10 inches. As a matter of fact, most raw woods are normally sold with a maximum thickness of 7 inches. For a wood worker looking to create a custom design, and use units larger than what the industry provides, this unit is perfect.
The thickness capacity of this unit is where it shines best. The Delta Power Tools 22-555 comes with a maximum thickness capacity of 6” high. This is also an overkill for individuals who work with the commercial wood commercial wood planks come with a thickness not exceeding 1 ½ inches. The extra thickness capacity of the planer, you have more versatility and more room to work with the even thicker material such as the raw lumber. Speaking of raw lumber, it is usually cheap and can help you save a great deal of money. Another advantage of this unit is the spaciousness it comes with. Unlike most units, the Delta Power Tools 22-555 offers a lot of space and as such you can maneuver the material in and out with great ease and speed. Adding to this, the additional space provided by the unit allows you to see what you are doing thus increasing your precision and accuracy. The spaciousness also makes it easier to change the disposable knives. With everything in your line of sight, you will be able to determine how well the cutters perform and carry out your maintenance without easily. You will not even have to open up the unit to maintain it.
Most woodworkers get challenges when it comes to dealing with the sawdust produced when planning. Powertools shave a lot of material from the surface of the stock and also produces a lot of sawdust as well. The Delta Power Tools 22-555 solves this problem using its dust collection system. This helps in keeping your working area clean. As if that is not enough, the unit also has a reversible dust port that gives you an option of choosing how you would want to connect the unit to the dust extraction system. Despite having a lot of space to work with, and keeping everything in your line of sight, the unit does a great job of keeping the sharp blades away from your hands while you work. As a matter of fact, when the unit is running, you cannot get to the spinning knives since they are hidden away. But this is not enough safety. As such, Delta placed the power switch at the front where it is easily accessible. In case of an emergency, you flip the switch and the knives lock and stop rotating immediately. Other features of this unit include storage for essential tools located at the back of the unit, a height adjustment, a precision scale which allows for easier adjustment and rollers for the infeed and outfeed of the wood. These rollers are coated with Nitrile Synthetic Rubber which provides them with increased rolling ease and durability.
The unit is categorized as a portable unit. It weighs about 82 pounds, and measures 14 x 22 x 19.5 inches. On its top and bottom sides, the unit comes with handles that make it portability a breeze. It comes packing a 15 amp powerful motor which delivers more than enough torque to the cutting blades. The cutting blades are three in total and are razor sharp cutting through wood (both hard and soft wood) with great ease. The three knives the unit features makes 50% more cuts than the two head system. The knives are double sided though reversible.
The Delta Power Tools 22-590 comes with a material removal gauge. This gauge is improved from the other versions. It features a full length pressure bar that presents an accurate reading regardless of the positioning of the unit. The power button is located on the front of the machine and comes with a big red button. In addition to this, the unit features a reset button for easier access. Unlike other units, the Delta Power Tools 22-590 comes with two holes on the power button to allow locking the power button when switched off. The dust collection system is designed to be easy to set up. The system features a 4 inch outport and helps to prevent the wood from being through in all directions.
The unit comes with a manual height adjustment. The crank adjusts from 0-6 inches. The crank is attached to steel rods measuring ½ inches. 96 turns of the crank are sufficient to take the head from the lowest height setting to the highest. Adding to this, the unit come with an adjustment ring that fine tunes the adjustments. It has 1/128 inches of accuracy. The Delta Power Tools 22-590 features a cutterhead lock that is designed to reduce snipes on the final product. The table of the unit feature spring latches that hold them in place. The table is made from thick metal and is sturdy. The table height can be adjusted slightly by a knob on the side of the table.
Truth be told, having the right tool for the job makes it easy to finish jobs and still produce quality work. Adding to this, it also helps in saving you the frustrations that come with getting a cheap sub standard quality unit and the wrong tool altogether. It is for these reasons that you will be excited to work with the Delta Power Tools 22-590. While most units come with manuals that give directions on how to operate the units, many do not bother to read through the manuals. However, for some legal reasons with this unit, we suggest that you read through the manual. This unit is categorized as a portable planer even though it weighs 82 pounds and measures 14 x 22 x 19.5 inches. The handles at the top and bottom of the unit make it easy to move around. The unit also comes with 4 planer spots that are designed to bolt the unit in place. You however do not need to bolt the unit in place.
On every side of the unit are outfeed, infeed and tables. The table of this unit is spring latched and helps to keep the unit in table in place. When using the unit, the very first thing that you will notice is the fact that the tables are not made from cheap material. They are sturdy and carved from a thick metal. To the sides of the tables are two screws which you can use to make adjustments to the height of the planer table. Also, it is worth pointing out that the planer contents are incredibly easy to access. As such, changing the planning blades and adjusting the dust port is a breeze. Delta features a magnetic tool which will save you time since you will not have to rifle through the tool box to find a tool you need to use during the project. To the right of the unit is a manual cutterhead lock this lock is designed to help in reducing the snipes on the finished product. Now sure, some individuals would rather that the cutterhead lock be automatic. However, turning the knob several times will not hurt and honesty does not take away the value this unit brings to your workshop. You should however make a point of remembering to unlock the heads before you attempt to make any height adjustments.
On top right side of the unit is a height adjustment. This is also a manual system. You can spin the crank in both ways to adjust the height of the unit up to 6 inches. The handle of the crank has been attached to 2 ½ inch stainless steel rods. Under the base of the unit is a chain that is used to making weight adjustments. The head of the planer rides ¾ inch steel rods which provide for a smooth operation. If the math is right, the unit only requires about 96 turns to go from 0 inches to the maximum 6 inches. A full turn of the crank moves the unit head 1/16 inches up or down. As such, a quarter of a turn means that the head will be adjusted by 1/64 inches. Under the handle is another adjustment ring that aids in fine tuning the unit. This ring makes changes by up to 1/128 inches which makes using the ring very practical.
Another great feature is the material removable gauge. This is a feature that has been present in bench top planers for a while. However, in this unit, it has been taken a notch higher. While other planers on the market use inverted pins for the removal gauge, Delta uses a complete length pressure bar. As such, regardless of hot you stick the wood in the planer, you will still end up with accurate readings. Right next to the power on button is a reset button which is easy to access. In the event you need to lock the power button to prevent the unit from being used when you are not around, you can use a padlock on the two holes.
The Delta Power Tools 22-590 comes with a dust collection system the system is very easy to set up. All you need to do is remove four screws and then attach the dust chute provided along with the purchase of the unit and you are ready to start working and trap dust in the process. The system comes with 3 knives which together produce a cleaner cut that single or two knives. The knives are not created to be re-sharpened which can be disappointing for most but they are double sided which is an added plus. So when one side gets dull, you can turn it over and proceed with your planning process. As for the performance of this unit, you will be pleased to note that the unit comes with a powerful 15 amp motor. Together with the three sharp blades, the unit cuts through just about anything for a cleaner finish. The power of the unit allows you to work on both hardwood and softwood surfaces.
POWERTEC PL1251 is powerful planer that comes with a 15 amp motor. The motor drives sharp blades at speeds of 9,400 RPM and delivers a maximum of 18,800 cuts every minute. The unit is as such both powerful and fast. It works on a variety of woods both hard and soft providing great results every time. The unit features a four column design. This design provides it with great accuracy and stability. The columns are made from stainless steel and as such can last for a long time. To the side of the unit are handles mounted to the unit. They make the unit portable despite its weight and size. The unit weighs 63.6 pounds and measures 24 x 18 x 14 inches. Carrying it for short distances is a breeze. The unit comes with a table complete with return rollers that make it easier to work with long boards.
On the right side of the unit is a scale that helps in taking accurate measurements when planning the unit. The scale is useful in adjusting the height of the table to accommodate different woodworking requirements. The scale rises from 0 – a maximum of 6 inches. The unit comes with a maximum thickness capacity of 1/8 inches and a width of the stock as 12 ½ as the maximum. The thickness of the stock is 6 inches maximum while the depth cut is 3/32 inches for boards that are less than 5 inches and for boards that are between 5 inches and 12 ½ inches, the depth cut is 1/32 inches. The blades of the unit are sharp and durable. They, however, will need to be replaced at one point. When this time comes, the Spindle lock works its magic and keeps you safe while you make the changes. In addition, the unit features an index pin set up for the EZ blade replacement. Additionally, it does require a blade gauge. Complementing these safety features is a circuit breaker located to the right of the power on switch. This helps prevents accidents from occurring. Also, the power button is large and located on an easily accessible point on the unit.
This brand is not as popular. But regardless of its popularity rating, the unit comes with killer whopping features designed to provide the best results to both professional and DIY individuals. The most important part of a planer, the bit that most people check out first is the motor. The power of the motor determines the speed with which the unit will work as well as the torque the unit will generate. The torque refers to the power with which the unit spins the blade and the type of wood it can work on. There are many units in the market but very few with powerful motors. The POWERTEC PL1251, however, comes with a 15 amp powerful motor. The motor generates enough to propel the cutter head at a speed of 9.400 RPM. Agreed this is not the best speed rating we have seen, but for the price point, it is pretty impressive. With the speed stated, the unit provides about 18,800 cuts every minute. But this is the highest speed setting which is deemed to be best to work on hard woods. The speed can be varied to allow the unit to work on soft boards and lumber as well and still provide great finishes.
The thickness capacity of the unit is about 1/8 inches maximum while the width of the stock is 12 ½ inches maximum. The thickness of the stock is 6 inches and the depth of the cut is 3/32 inches for boards that are less than 5 inches. For the boards that are between 5 inches and 12 ½ inches, the depth cut is 1/32 inches. The unit is designed to be sturdy and durable. Powertec achieved this by using the four column design and supporting all the components of the units between these four pillars. This design provides for greater accuracy and stability.
Speaking of accuracy, the unit features a clear scale on its right column. It is clearly labeled and varies the height from 0- 6 inches. The height adjustability is important since it provides diversity. The unit is categorized as a portable unit. Looking at the unit, it is large and seems bulky. As a matter of fact, the unit weighs 63.6 pounds. For a bench top thickness planer, this is pretty impressive. But for individuals looking to move the unit from place to place it might be a bit of a hassle. POWERTEC, however, added handles on either side of the unit to make its transportation a breeze. For safety purposes, the unit has its power button positioned at the front. The button is large and you cannot possibly miss it. To the right of the power button is a reset button which is designed to break the circuit if anything goes wrong. This is a safety feature that prevents accidents from getting worse. Planning very long boards can be a bit of a problem. The POWERTEC PL1251 features a workpiece return roller which provides some bit of assistance when working with very long boards.
The WEN 6550 is a benchtop planer weighing 79 pounds. For a benchtop planer, it is compact and measures 23.5 x 24 x 19 inches. With this weight, the unit is sturdy and highly stable. It will not shake or slide while in use. The iron base and the full granite table work well together to create a heavy foundation for the planer to rest upon. If this is not enough the unit also comes with mounting holes on the bottom of the frame which you can always use to screw the unit to your surface for added stability.
The granite table is a unique feature in the planner. It provides a great flat surface to support the boards. The granite table is long lasting and does not warp or distort in shape with time. Generally the granite table provides a smooth surface that does not marr for the wood to glide over safely. But in addition to this, the granite table prevents sawdust from clinging onto the face of the table which may create unevenness on the table you are working on. The granite table comes with both outfeed and infeed tables. These are designed to provide extra support to the longer workpieces going through the planer. Each of the tables can be adjusted to perfect feeding angles for best smooth finishes. Complementing these tables is a tri roller feeding system which helps in minimizing the snipe on the woods planed.
As for power, the unit comes with a 15 amp motor that generates over 18,000 every minute making use of a 26 feet per minute feed rate. This makes planning faster and easier even for hard woods. The unit attacks wood pieces of up to 12.5 inches and 6 inches in thickness easily. The motor coupled with a dual blade cutting system takes off a maximum of 3/32 of an inch with every pass. This, however, can be varied from 0-3/32 of an inch. The planner makes use of index pins and some installation magnets to provide for even and correct alignment of the blades during their replacement. The rubber handle at the top of the unit used in making height adjustments is rubberized for a comfortable grip. Every full rotation adjustment changes the height by 1/16 inches. These small adjustments provide for increased accuracy. The dust hose connection port on the side of the unit can be connected to a vacuum or any dust extraction device. The port is fan assisted and helps to avoid the mess created and reduce the amount of clean up you have to do after the project
This is yet another bench top planer that can be considered to be an underdog in the industry but one that delivers great power, and functionality. The unit does not fail to disappoint with is reliability and strong structure. If you are looking for a unit that is not insanely expensive but will still get the job done, the best unit to choose is the WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer. WEN pulled out the stops in their design and construction of tis unit. This much is evident from what the unit has to offer. With this unit, you will easily bring back to life the worn out and rough wood. Now, this WEN unit comes with a powerful 15 amp motor. This motor drives a two blade cutting system. The cutting system makes about 18,000 cuts every minute at an impressive 26 feet per minute feed rate. What does this mean? Well, in simple terms, this means that the unit will smoothen out your worn out wood in a matter of minutes. This unit helps to reduce the time you will take on a planning project tremendously. Plane boards up to 12.5 inches wide and 6inches thick will be worked on with great ease.
What is even more impressive is that WEN decided to go with a granite table that never warps and that continues to provide great support to the wood you are passing through the unit. But not only does the base provide support for your boards or a smooth surface to glide on, the granite table also keeps sawdust from clinging onto the face of the table. This ensures you always have a clean table to work on. The granite table also comes with both infeed and outfeed tables. These add support to longer workpieces going through the planer. Each of the tables can be adjusted to perfect angles for perfectly feed the board into the unit. To feed the boards into the unit, the planer comes with a tri-roller feeding system. This system is preferred as it helps in reducing the chances of sniping. The dual blades located on the middle roller can be reversed and help to elongate their durability and also ensure sharp cuts. The base of the unit is made from heavy duty cast iron. This makes the base heavy which adds to its stability. When you are working with the unit, you will notice that it does not wobble or walk courtesy of vibrations resulting from the planning. Overall, the unit weighs 79 pounds. This is not exactly light even for a benchtop unit. But still the unit is marketed as portable. How is this so? Well, the unit comes with handles on both sides. The handles have hollowed insides which create sufficient room for fingers to freely wrap around and be comfortable. The height adjustment handle located at the very top of the unit is rubberized. This provides ample comfort for the handles. Each complete rotation by the unit adjusts the height by 1/16th of an inch. This adjustment allows for accuracy while taking measurements. Last but not least, the unit comes with a dust hose connection port. Attach a dust extraction device or a vacuum to the 2-inch dust port and trap all the dust produced. This will reduce your clean up after you are done with planning.
Why should you get a Benchtop Wood Planer?
Benchtop planers come with several advantages over stationery planers given their small size, lightweight nature, and portability. They are the perfect tools for wood workers looking to get the best stock thickness on site. Using thickness wood planers, you also will have with you more floor space to work with since they are smaller in comparison to the stationary planers especially those that come with both outfeed and infeed extensions. Adding to this, their knives are easily adjustable and replaceable. You should, however, note that if you work on big projects often and need high speed for your job, that involve planning huge amounts of wood, then you should consider getting a stationary planer instead.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Benchtop Thickness Unit
When you are purchasing a tool, you just do not pick up any make and model that you come across. There are several factors that you will need to consider if you are to get the perfect tool which will make your decision-making process all the more easier. That said, below are some of the most important considerations that you need to make when you are choosing the best benchtop planner. We should probably point out that we too used the below factors in providing the list of top benchtop thickness wood planners.
Cutting depth and width
Many of the commercially available wood feature a width of 10 inches. If you work with this sized units, then a 12-inch planer will be sufficient. However, if you mostly work on custom made projects, the kind that need you to work on woods that are wider than this, then you will need a unit that has a wider cutting width. If your woods are 12 inches, then a 12 ½ inch width unit will do you good. There are also 13-inch width units. The general idea here is to get a unit which is wider than the wood you are used to working with.
With regards to the depth, you will not have an issue since most have a maximum cutting depth of 6 inches. This is overkill and rarely, if ever, will you need to work on wood that are more than 6 inches thick.
Depth of cut
With most units, the manufacturers tend to specify the amount of material that the unit can remove in a single pass. This specification is important since it determines how fast the project will proceed. If you will be working on soft woods, then you are better off heeding the manufacturers’ advice and recommendation. However, if you will be working on hardwoods, then you are better off using shallow cuts between 1/32 inches to 1/16 inches. As such, the unit that you choose should have a knob to adjust the depth for purposes of versatility.
Most of the thickness planers come with two knives. However, in the recent times, three knife planners are being produced and are increasing in popularity by the day. But what has the number of knives got to do with anything? Well, in this case the more the knives, the lesser stress each knife will experience over time and the longer the knives will last providing you with high performance for longer. In addition to this, it is also important to get a planer that makes use of disposable reversible blades since these will save you a great deal of money when the blades get dull. With these, all you will need to do is turn them and you will good to go. You should, however, note that while they are reversible and a preferred choice, they will eventually need to be replaced.
Knife changing quality
In today’s benchtop planers, changing the knives have been made easy. Most manufacturers have taken note that many users prefer units that feature systems that make the blade changing process a breeze. As such, they have fitted quick knife changing systems in their units. Some of these systems include the use of elongated holes that allow you to drop them into pins on the cutter heads. Changing up cutters on a helical cutter head can be time-consuming given that there is a total of 26 cutters that you will need to attend to.
The feed rate refers to the speed with which the wood is passed through to the planer. The speed is measured in feed per minute which is abbreviated as FPM. The most common feed rate is 26 FPM. However, this is not to say that it is the best available federate on the market. Also, being popular does not mean that it will be best suited to meet your needs.
If you tend to deal with hard woods mostly, you should consider getting a planer with a lower FPM or the units that have the ability to switch from high to low FPM – those with a dual feed rate). A lower feed rate will allow more time for the unit to cut the wood for best results.
Cuts per inch
This feature s abbreviated as CPI. This is one of the factors that you will need t pay keen attention to. Why is this? Well, the CPI is affected by 3 factors; the FPM, the number of knives the unit has and the speed of the motor. But you do not need to worry yourself much with the three factors affecting the CPI. The golden rule of thumb is that the higher the CPI the better the finishes will be regardless of whether it has a two blade system or a three blade system or even a federate of 20 or 25 FPM. Provided two units have the same CPI they will provide the same quality of finish. That said, you should choose a unit with a high CPI.
Almost all planers available on the market make use of universal motors. Since overheating has long been an issue that affects most thickness planers, you should go with those that have a thermal overload protection. This is an imperative feature that you should not overlook as it will protect you from accidents and injuries caused by the motor in the event the unit breaks down.
The thought of having a sniper on a roof just crossed your mind when you read that statement right? In the wood working industry, a snipe refers to a deeper cut that is typically found on the trailing or end of the board after it has passed through a planer. Snipes are normally caused by the front or rear end of the board being elevated as the unit enters the cutter head or as a result of the cutterhead vibrations.
There are planers that come with anti-snipe locks that work to stabilize the cutterhead and prevent sniping. Adding to this, there also some brands that have an infeed and an outfeed table which helps in preventing sniping as well.
Planners are bound to generate a lot of sawdust. This comes with the territory. But while this is expected, having the ability to manage the dust produced is a great feature.
Safety Tips When Using Benchtop Planers
Benchtop planners are designed to be safe and very easy to use. However, there are some safety tips that you should follow so that you can get the best from your planner.
- Always have ear protectors, ear plugs or any other hearing safety gear. Many of the benchtop planners are very noisy. Constant exposure to such loud noise could damage your hearing. Even while using the quietest of all bench top planers, which produce about 58dB, it is still recommended that you use ear protectors.
- Always have safety goggles on. The safety glasses with side shields are most preferred as they offer ample protection from dust and wood particles that may escape from the unit and come right at your face.
- While working the machine, always work while standing to the side. This is to avoid any potential wood shattering or kickback from the planner. This normally occurs even when you are using feed rollers. As such, you are better safe than sorry.
- Do not wear gloves while operating the unit
- Avoid having loose clothing and jewelry as they just might get caught in the unit and result in grave accidents.
- Before changing the blades, be sure to disconnect the planner from the power source. Never peek into the machine while it is still running.
- If the wood gets stuck in the planer, you should not be tempted to push it in. just turn off the power and disconnect it and then lower the bed or raise the cutter head to get rid of the stock.
- If you will be working on milled timber, be sure to use a metal detector first to check for any metal in the wood.
If you are a woodworker looking to make your wood working projects easier, the 6 best benchtop woodworker are the very best you will get. Even though there are some that have hefty price tags, their durability, speed and efficiency most often than not will pay off. Just be sure to pair them with the right maintenance processes so as to get the very best out of them despite some shortcomings that they each feature.
All in all, thickness wood planers are a great investment for your workshop and you will not regret getting one.