The Best Benchtop Planer In 2017: Ultimate Buying Guide And Reviews
Recent advances in mechanics and technology have brought forth the advent of a new age of power tools. Newer models of power tools have woodwork and carpentry continually. Benchtop planers are a class of woodworking tools used to smoothen the surface of the wood. Modern benchtop planers are an advancement over traditional muscle powered planers. This article aims to help you identify the best benchtop planer models available on the market and what to look out for when buying or renting one.
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What Are Benchtop Planers?
Planers are carpentry implements used to reduce the thickness of wood or lumber, flatten its surface or impart a smooth finish to it. Benchtop planers are descendants of hand planes whose use can be traced to thousands of years ago.
These comprised a small wooden block with a rectangular mortise cut across the mid-section where a sharpened piece of iron blade went. A smaller piece of scrap wood was incorporated into the design and served as the handle. The user pushed the whole tool against a flat wood surface with an aim to cut off the excess or uneven wood. This resulted in a smoother or even wood surface.
Modern power planes pretty much follow a similar operating principle with the difference being the incorporation of a motor and oscillating blades. Common problems associated with incorrect planning may include rear outs cause by feeding the wrong end of a plank into the machine resulting in tearing of wood fibers as opposed to cutting and snipping.
Choosing The Richt Benchtop Planer; The Specs To Consider
The choice of what particular power tool model to settle on can often be a daunting task. Benchtop planers are no exception. Several considerations go inter determining what the perfect planer should entail in terms of physical dimensions, ease of operation and other non-technical specifications. The most important points to take into keen consideration are the technical aspects of the planer machines. These include;
1. Self Indexing Knives
Nearly all straight knife cutter head models feature self-indexing, double-edged knives. (Knives that don't self-index prove fussy and time-consuming to set.) An automatic cutter head lock helps, too, preventing the head from rotating while you remove the bolts and knives.
2. The Power
Most benchtop planers run on adequately powered motors. This means that a vast majority can handle different tasks without much fuss. Power is mostly a non-factor as far as planers are concerned.
3. Gauges And Stops
Cutting Depth of the planer is determined by gauges and stops built into the cutting mechanism of the benchtop planer. The thickness of wood the cutting blade can remove in one pass is the main concern here. Most planers incorporate a gauge that dictates show much wood will be shaven off with each successive pass. These gauges avoid taking off too much material.
4. Dust Collection
Woodworking power tools generate a lot of dust and chips that an area headache to clean up afterward. To avoid a mess, it is necessary to hook up a dust collection mechanism. Some benchtop planers feature built-in dust collection mechanisms that suck up wood chips and dust from the cutting heads. Afterward, the wood debris is blown out the dust port and collected.
5. Financial Considerations
When shopping for the perfect planer, it isn’t necessary to break the bank trying to acquire one. Different types of planers vary in pricing depending on the manufacturer and quality of the power tool. It is recommended to consider the total installation costs and maintenance costs.
Efficiency And Convenience
As a general rule, it is advisable to follow safety instructions when operating planers and other power tools as well. Power tools pose serious and potent injury risks. This is especially the case with powered cutting or drilling implements. The danger of personal injury to the extremities is always present and as such the following simple rules should be followed;
Dust is a respiratory risk and masks are highly recommended. Goggles also protect the eyes from flying debris and wood pieces.
Avoid wearing loose clothes, gloves or jewelry. These could easily get caught in the rollers or knives which are dangerous.
It is common knowledge that reaching under the cutters is the worst move you can make as far as benchtop planers are concerned. Keep your hands, fingers, and appendages away from the cutting area.
Ensure that the planer is switched off before plugging it into a power source.
When not in use, unplug the planer. This reduces the risk of children powering it on and getting injured.Read the safety instruction lite rature that comes included with your planer for basic setup procedures, safety precautions, and other technical instructions.In the segment below, I have sampled and reviewed a compilation of the top five biscuit joiners currently available on the market.
5 Best Benchtop Planer Reviews Currently On The Market
1. DEWALT DW735 Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package, 13-Inch
The DEWALT DW735 two speed thickness planer is one of the best benchtop planers available on the market. It is an extremely powerful woodworking power tool capable of handling almost any type of wood whether walnut, oak, or any other type of exotic wood. The planer’s portable size makes it easy to transport.
This model also features a two-speed gear box which enables the user to adjust the feed speed for better cuts per inch. The DeWalt brand is reliable in delivering of high-quality power tools and this particular model goes on to add onto an already strong reputation. TheDeWalt DW735 is a reliable benchtop planer with impressive power and performance.
- The DeWalt DW735 planer runs on a powerful 15-ampere motor capable of making deep cuts into all types of hardwood. This combined with a unique three knife cutter head and a two-speed gearbox provides all the necessary power needed to take on any project.
- This model has two different methods of getting rid of wood chips, debris, and dust. First, a motorized fan breaks up the chips and debris as it leaves the cutter-head. It then blows the dust and debris into one of the two included dust shrouds.
- The benchtop planer has a four carriage column carriage lock that greatly reduces sniping by drastically reducing the amount of movement that is often associated with material damage.
- After prolonged heavy usage, the cutter blades tend to wear out quickly. The blades are quite expensive to replace.
2. Dewalt DW734 15 Ampere Benchtop Planer
The DEWALT DW734 is the perfect tool for handling deep and large cuts in hardwood. The machine’s three knife cutter head rotates at speeds of up to 10,000 RPM which translates to 96 cuts per square inch and the finest finish possible by any planer out there. This benchtop planer is all about precision which is why it incorporates a four column carriage lock that drastically reduces snipe. In addition, the planer features extra length for the outfeed and infeed tables which together offer an extra 33.5 inches of a support base.
- This model runs on a powerful 15-ampere motor peaking at 200000 rpm. This speed is sufficient to cut through most species of wood easily.
- The DeWalt DW734 planer has long-lasting blades that can be used for up to two full years without replacement. This means lowered blade changing costs.
- This product is accompanied by a 3-year limited warranty from the manufacturer. This goes on to add onto the excellent quality of design, build and finish.
- The dust collection feature on this model is superb; a dust hood is built into the design which works exceptionally well with any vacuum cleaner.
- The DeWalt DW734 is quite noisy. You might want to use earplugs while working with this machine.
3. WEN 6552 3-Blade 15 Amp Benchtop Thickness Planer, 13"
The WEN 6550 model makes planing look easy. This benchtop planer handles even the toughest projects with ease. The first noticeable feature that catches your attention is the planers beautiful design. This WEN planer is fitted with two functional folding tables. The middle table is made of granite which is known for its exceptional strength and is nearly impossible to deform. Portability is yet another great advantage this benchtop planer has to offer. When the folding tables are collapsed inwards, the planer becomes really absolutely portable, compact and easy to move around.
- The WEN 6552 features two built-in ergonomic carrying handles which are designed for a comfortable grip.
- This model has a built-in dial for a precise cutting depth adjustment. With the dial, the user can set the required cutting depth value ranging from 0 to 3/32 inches.
- The collection of wooden chips, debris and dust are efficient on this model. The manufacturer designed the port to blow chips and dust off the work piece during the planer’s operation.
- This model is accompanied by a two-year warranty alongside invaluable customer support from the manufacturer ensuring complete peace of mind.
- This model is rather expensive for a planer of its specifications.
4. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp
The Makita 2012NB is a compact woodworking tool engineered with the fastest and easiest blade change system. The planer utilizes disposable and double edge blades. This model runs on a powerful 15-ampere motor that has a no-load speed of 8,500 RPM.
The low noise emission levels are the best and most noticeable feature on the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer. It also features an Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp with a four-post design and diagonal cross supports which are responsible for its stability and durability. The planer has an average feed rate of about 28-feet-per minute and can effectively cut through a maximum thickness of 6-3/2 inches. It also features an adjustable depth setting for precision planning.
- The dust and debris collection feature on this model is as efficient as it can get. This allows for a cleaner, safer working space.
- The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer features a fully adjustable depth stop for repeat cuts.
- This model is accompanied by a year’s worth of warranty alongside a 30-day money back guarantee.
- The Makita 2012NB features a compact design which makes the planer easy to move around especially due to the fact that the machine weighs only 68 pounds.
- This model has been cited as being a bit too expensive.- The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer cuts slowly through wood compared to its competitors.
5. WEN 6550 12.5-Inch 15A Benchtop Thickness Planer with Granite Table
This machine runs on a 15 Ampere motor whose speed peaks at 18,000 RPM. The planer can handle boards up to 6 inches thick. The feed rate on this WEN planer is 26 feet per minute. This benchtop planer enhances precision by incorporating an anti-snipe feature synonymous with most members of its class. The design incorporates an all granite table which is durable and resistant to deformation. This model is designed to me portable and weighs in at 70 pounds.
- The model features an effective dust collection mechanism that ensures the work space is clean and safe for the user.
- This model is accompanied by a two-year warranty alongside customer support from the manufacturer ensuring complete peace of mind.
- The 26 feet per minute feed rate is impressive for a machine of its size and specifications.
- There have been numerous reported instances of the planer’s blades chipping as well as other machine parts easily getting damaged.
- The stability of this model is rather wanting and leaves a lot to be desired.
All entries on this list of top five benchtop planers are worthy candidates to consider when out prospecting for a planer. However, the DeWalt DW735 is earning the number one spot. This planer is the best value for your money largely based on the performance specs, the beautiful design and fish and its ease of use. The DeWalt DW735 is easy to use and doesn’t require expert level skills to operate.
Benchtop planers and other types of power planers have increasingly become essential woodworking and carpentry tools. Planers have for ages played a pivotal role in carpentry. Benchtop planers and powered planers, in general, are among a few indispensable woodworking tools that no carpentry project is complete without. When seeking to buy or rent a benchtop planer, it is often recommended to seek the opinion of several seasoned power tool dealers and experts before making that all important decision to settle on a particular brand.
I sincerely hope you found this article enlightening and resourceful. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section provided below. All the best!
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