Best Planers For Beginners – Complete Guide 2022-23

Wood materials come in different shapes and sizes. But a clean, smooth, plane surface is essential for the wood products’ look, appeal, and functionality. Many wood planers are available to do this job, but when it comes to choosing the best planer for beginners, people often seem confused.

With this point in mind, we set out to find the best wood planers for starters.

There are two main types of planers that beginners can use hand planers and benchtop planers. Be it the best benchtop planer for beginners or the best hand planers, there are certain key features in each that we have to keep in mind before buying.

The features you should look for before buying electric hand planers include blade type, motor speed, cutting capacity, and maximum depth. For benchtop planers, look for the speed gears, blade types, height, motor power, and cutting depth.

We have done the research job for you and found several planers with the described features in both categories. These belong to brands like Dewalt. Stay with us if you want to find out which one best suits your needs.

How do Beginners use Planers?

Beginners are bound to make some mistakes when they start their woodworking journey. All the different types of wood materials and tools often confuse them, and they are seen asking their superiors for advice. But there is no need to be shameful about it, as all of us were beginners at one point. 

Now, if you are going to use a wood planer for the first time, there are various points you need to keep in mind if you want to get the best performance out of your respective planers.

1.    Choose the Appropriate Planer

Planers come in different shapes, sizes, and types. The first step in your wood plane journey will be to choose the best planer for you. Look for all the features given above to see which planer fits your needs.

2.    Wear the Proper Protective Gear

When working with heavy-duty planers or any other machinery, always wear the proper protective gear to protect yourself. Protective goggles, ear plugs, and masks are a must when doing any type of wood job.

3.    Set the Planer to the Required Thickness

Once you have chosen the planer for you, the next step is to adjust the thickness of the planer to give the shaving results according to your needs. This can be done through the planer’s thickness and depth control knobs.

4.    Get to Shaving the Wood

Turn on the planer and get to work. Pass the wood through the planer several times until your desired thickness is achieved


Top Planers for Starters At a Glance:

  1. Dewalt Hand Planer (DW680K)
  2. Makita Hand Planer KP0800K
  3. WEN Electric Hand Planer
  4. Bosch 6.5 Amp Hand Planer
  5. Porter-Cable Hand Planer
  6. Dewalt DW735X Planer
  7. WEN Benchtop Thickness Planer
  8. Dewalt Benchtop Planer DW734
  9. Craftsman Benchtop Planer
  10. JET 13-Inch Benchtop Planer

Best Hand Planers for Beginners

Hand planers are perfect for projects that require a fine and delicate touch. They are also used when the wood is too thick or irregular to fit into other traditional machines. Their handy design and small shape can be used on any wood surface, including doors, window frames, and wood used for roofing.

These planers also have an electric variant which provides a more powerful and robust alternative to the manual, hand-held planers. These electric planers come with a powerful motor to provide a swift and easy solution to conserving the muscle power used in the manual planers.


dewalt hand planer

Dewalt Hand Planer (DW680K)

Best Hand Planers For Woodworking

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Planer Only | Voltage: 110V | Material: Carbide | Amperage capacity: 7 Amps | RPM: 15000 | Weight: 11.8 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 |

REASONS TO BUY

7 amp powerful motor which can cut through hard material.

Different blades can be used.

More accurate because of reversible carbide blades.

Already calibrated depth knob

REASONS TO AVOID

Heavy

No dust bag

This powerful yet compact planer is undoubtedly among the best hand planers for woodworking. This is a tool you will find in professional woodworkers’ toolboxes. With this in your hand, you are sure to get some of the most accurate wood shaving jobs, with the shavings being precise to one-thousandth of an inch.

This planer comes with a powerful 7 amp motor, with a 15,000 rpm speed which gives the wood a smooth and even surface. It can provide cuts to a maximum of 2.5 mm, sure to scrape the wood off with the least number of strokes. It only weighs about 11.8 pounds, which is logical considering the power and speed it offers.

It is a corded model, so batteries are not required. The motor can give a torque of about 1400-inch pounds. There are options to adjust the cutting depth and the sizes for edge chamfering. The blades are resharpenable, which means they can be removed whenever worn out and placed back in. The blades can also be replaced with other carbide blades.

For a more comprehensive look at all the features, take a look at the feature table given below:


Makita Electric hand planer

Makita Hand Planer KP0800K

Best Beginner-Friendly Hand Planer

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Planer Only | Voltage: 120V | Material: Other | Amperage capacity: 6.5 Amps | RPM: 17000 | Weight: 10.12 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.7 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Powerful and accurate giving a smooth finish

Solid build which makes it durable

Changing blades is quick and easy because of the ergonomic design

Extra HSS blades

REASONS TO AVOID

Bit heavy but still acceptable

Makita is famous for its power tools range. This hand planer from Makita is the best beginner-friendly hand planer and is perfect for professional woodworking jobs, including framing in construction and window installation.

Its 3/32″ deep cutting gives clean and precise cuts with each pass. It also has a precision-based solid aluminum base, making it much more sturdy.

This planer has a 6.5 amp motor, which is a trifle less powerful than the DEWALT Hand Planer (DW680K), but this tool makes up for this decreased power by providing a 17000 rpm speed, which is a lot more than the Dewalt planer. It weighs about 10.12 lbs, less than the Dewalt planer, giving it a close look overall.

The cuts are made without any deep digging into the material. Although its design calls for a short time to get used to it, once we get the hang of it, this planer gives a great, smooth, and easy scraping experience.


WEN Electric Hand Planer

WEN Electric Hand Planer

Best Electric Hand Planer For DIYers

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Corded Hand Planer | Voltage: 120V | Material: Metal | Amperage capacity: 6 amps | RPM: 17000 | Weight: 6.5 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.6 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Perfect weight making it portable and stable at the same time.

Easy to use

Good value for money as it is less expensive than its competitors

Sharp and replaceable blades

REASONS TO AVOID

Small dust bag

Noisy

Now, this is a planer worth considering when you want to buy a planer belonging to the future. With its 6.5 lbs weight and a compact design, this planer certainly gives the feel of a very modern hand planer.

This planer comes with a 120V, 6 amp motor and a  blade drum having two double-sided blades which rotate at a speed of about 17,000 rpm, making it one of the fastest hand planers available in the market.

The cutting depths can also be adjusted to provide depths ranging from 0 up to ⅛ th of an inch. If this isn’t customizability, we dont know what is!

The planer also has a dust bag built-in to collect the unwanted wood dust flying everywhere. The dust chute can also be adjusted to fly off the sawdust and wood chips to either side of the worker.

The WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer can be used to chip off mishappen edges and all types of splinters from the wood surface.

This planer can be called the best electric hand planer for DIYers since its compact design, low weight, and immense power make it an excellent tool for personal use.

Take a look at the different features of this planer in the table given below:


Bosch 6.5 Amp Hand Planer

Bosch 6.5 Amp Hand Planer

Best Planer for Professionals

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Corded Electric | Voltage: 120V | Material: Metal | Amperage capacity: 6.5 amps | RPM: 16500 | Weight: 6.3 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.7 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Comfortable handle with ergonomic design

Works well with both soft and hardwood.

Adjustable cutting depth

REASONS TO AVOID

Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

No carrying case.

Bosch, the company which has been around since 1957, delivers yet again with this powerful tool for all kinds of scraping and smoothing jobs. This planer is the best Planer for professionals who want a fast and secure job done in a short time and with perfect precision.

Mounted with a 6.5 amp motor that fires at the speed of 16,500 rpm, this planer is sure to give a smooth finish with fast removal of the stock.

With a low weight of 6.3 lbs, this tool utilizes a very advanced planer-guidance system to deliver the precision we discussed. The aluminum-made front and rear shoes are also precision-machined to improve the accuracy further.

This planer has also figured out a solution to the misguided cuts common in most other planers. The blades come with a counterbalanced design, which minimizes these misguided cuts by putting the blade in the perfect cutting position. It also has a built-in dust collection bag to keep the workplace clean and tidy.

Very popular among the pros, this planer has earned its reputation as the best top-rated hand planer in the market, to no surprise. It combines speed and power to deliver the best results.

Take a brief look at all the features of the Bosch PL1632 6.5 Amp Hand Planer:


Porter cable electric hand planer

Porter-Cable Hand Planer

Best High-Value Hand Planers

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Corded Electric Hand Planer | Voltage: 120V | Material: Plastic | Amperage capacity: 6 Amps | RPM: 16500 | Weight: 8.4 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.7 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Two-sided dust ports provide more convenience

Lock-on button

Three chamfering grooves of different sizes

Less expensive

REASONS TO AVOID

Build quality can be improved

Some users might feel it is heavy

This hand planer is one of the best high-value hand planers. It has almost all the features of the other planers described above. What makes this planer unique is the 5/64-inch cutting depth and the ability to adjust the deep with a ten-level control knob.

This planer has a 6 amp motor, producing speeds up to 16,500 rpm to allow a fast, smooth, and easy cutting experience. This corded planer, operating at a voltage of 120V, weighs about 8.4 pounds. The weight is a bit on the higher side, but considering the power and the speed it delivers, the weight of the planer can easily be neglected.

It also comes with a dual-sided dust extraction system to allow easy extraction. It has three chamfering grooves to give a more flexible chamfering experience. The 11.5-inch cast aluminum shoe provides more control over the shaving job.

The most distinctive features of the planer are provided below:


Best Benchtop Planer for Beginners

Suppose you are a beginner and one of those DIYers and hobbyists woodworkers looking for an alternative for those big industrial heavy-duty machinery. In that case, Benchtop Planer or thickness planer, which are different names for the same thing, is perfect for you.

These are portable and need a small place to start working. These perform the excellent work of making the surface of the wood smooth. So now you can get some rough lumber and make it smooth for your next project using these handy planers.

Before we move ahead, we must warn you here that all of the benchtop planers can perform the work on a maximum of 13 inches-wide boards, which should be enough for most home usage. But if you plan to work on something bigger, then benchtop planers are not for you.

It is not simple, especially for beginners, to choose from many planers from various companies with many models from each one. Here are some of our best-handpicked benchtop planers for beginners after we went through a bunch of them:


Dewalt DW735X Planer

Dewalt DW735X Planer

Best Benchtop Planer For The Money

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: 2-Speed 13″ w/Feed Tables & Extra Blades | Voltage: 120V | Material: Plastic | Amperage capacity: 15 amps | RPM: 20,000 | Weight: 101 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.8 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

2-speed gearbox

Superb build quality for durability

Easy blade changing.

Extra knives

REASONS TO AVOID

Expensive

Heavy and noisy

If you have done some research, then you must know about Dewalt. This is one of the leading brands in manufacturing woodworking tools. It is liked equally by the professionals and hobbyists.

This particular model of the Dewalt, DW735X, is a step up from the previous model, DW734. It can handle wood of 13- inches in width. It comes with a 2-speed gearbox which allows you to be versatile. Other valuable features include a depth setting dial and an effective dust collecting unit.

With the three-knife cutter head, you will get a smooth finish and long-lasting life. Even if you need to change the blades, the extra ones come with them and are very easy to replace.

It is a powerful machine and has a speed of 20,000 rpm. So, you will not have any problem with any wood. It is durable and has a warranty of 3 years like all Dewalt products.

But it also comes with problems such as high speed; you will expect any machine to be loud and noisy. It is better to wear ear gear when you are using it. Other than that, it is perfect.

Although it is a bit expensive compared to its competitors, given the features it is equipped with, it is the best benchtop planer for money.


WEN Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN Benchtop Thickness Planer

Best Budget Benchtop Planer for Beginners

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: 12.5-Inch 2-Blade Planer | Voltage: 120V | Material: Cast Iron Steel | Amperage capacity: 15 amps | RPM: 8500 | Weight: 55.6 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.5 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Powerful motor

Good stock capacity

Infeed and outfeed tables are foldable

Affordable

REASONS TO AVOID

Not good for small places because of the large size

WEN markets PL 1252 as one of their best planers to smooth out the rough wooden logs. It comes with a 15A motor which produces a speed of 8500RPM, enough to cut the wood 6 inches thick and 12.5 inches wide.

With each pass, you can adjust the thickness anywhere between 0 to 1/8 of an inch with an adjustment knob. It comes with a planning gauge which lets you know how much wood is being taken off with each passing round. This way, you can check the thickness and improve work accuracy.

Compared to the DW735X, it is less powerful but can still perform the typical tasks quite effectively. But it is also way less expensive than DW735X. So it has something to give if it is lacking in another department.

One thing to remember before buying is that it takes a lot of space and can’t be used in cramped places. If that is not a problem, then we can assure you it is the best budget benchtop planer for beginners.

Here are some of its features:


Dewalt Benchtop Planer DW734

Dewalt Benchtop Planer DW734

Best Dewalt Benchtop Planer

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: 12-1/2″ Planer w/Feed Tables | Voltage: 120V | Material: Metal | Amperage capacity: 15 amps | RPM: 20000 | Weight: 80 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.8 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

3 knife system

Automatic lock system

4-column carriage lock for stability

Turret depth system

REASONS TO AVOID

Single-speed

We are already familiar with the Dewalt, as we have discussed DW735X, a bigger brother of this model DW734. It only lacks a 2-speed gearbox as it has a single speed. Its three-knife cutter head has up to 96 CPI for its speed. Three reversible knives in the cutter head also increase the blades’ life duration by 30 percent.

It comes with the same amperage of 15AMP and 20,000 revolutions per minute. It is small in size and also weighs less. It is a semi-professional planer used by professionals and hobbyists in their workshops.

When we talk about the quality, it is so good that you may not have to use the 3-year warranty that comes with it. Even if needed, Dewalt has one of the best after-sale services, and they strive to satisfy you.

It has a depth stop feature that helps make the cuts easily, and you do not have to set the correct depth for each pass. This feature is aided by the material removal gauge, which helps you to have the same thickness being cut every pass.

If you never bought a planer before, then you must be worried by the complex controls that come with it, but we can assure you that it is pretty user-friendly and in no time you will get used to it.

It has only two cons. One being too noisy and the other having a single speed. But when we look at the features, it is the best Dewalt benchtop planer, and you can go with it without any hesitation if you are looking for a durable and trustworthy tool.


Craftsman Benchtop Planer

Craftsman Benchtop Planer

Best Benchtop Planer for Home

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Planer Only | Voltage: 120V | Material: Metal | Amperage capacity: 15 amps | RPM: 8000 | Weight: 61 Lbs | Amazon Rating: 4.7 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

Reversible knives

Adjustable dust collection system

Motor powerful enough to work on any kind of wood

REASONS TO AVOID

Only 2 blades instead of 3

No depth of cut indicator

Like all the other benchtop planers we looked at Craftsman Benchtop Planer, it also comes equipped with a 15AMP motor potent enough to perform most of your tasks of plaining the surface of the wood, both soft and hard.

Another thing we liked during testing was the vacuum port which can be applied on either side of the machine and comes in handy in keeping things clean and tidy.

It has two blades of high carbon steel instead of three, which is a downgrade compared to the other competitors. Yet, these two blades are helpful; if we look at it this way, these will save you money when there is a need for replacement.

The problem is it does the snipes as for the first two inches and the last two, which results in a lot of wood loss. It is because of the two-blade system, as the distance between them is more prominent than three blades. But we adjusted it, placing a wedge at the exit table level.

It is less expensive than most of the benchtop planers out there, and if you are a beginner and want an economical product, then it is the best benchtop planer for home usage for the beginner.


JET 13-Inch Benchtop Planer

JET 13-Inch Benchtop Planer

Best High-value Benchtop Planer

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Benchtop Planer | Voltage: 120V | Material: Alloy steel, Iron | Amperage capacity: 15 amps | RPM: 10000 | Weight: 75 pounds | Amazon Rating: 4.2 / 5 |

REASONS TO BUY

2-speed gearbox

Modern Helical cutter head

Amazing build quality with a smooth finish

Dest collection is good

REASONS TO AVOID

Loud

Snipe can be decreased

Jet JWP-13BT has the same 15Amp motor power, but what makes it unique from the rest of the benchtop planer is its helical cutter head instead of straight knife cutter heads.

This Helical cutter head features six rows of cutters making their number 24. The advantage of having individual knives is that you do not have to replace or sharpen the whole blade. As the cutter head completes each rotation, these blades, which are rectangularly inserted, make two cutting passes.

It features the 2-speed option, just like DW735X. Having the choice of two speeds gives you an advantage as cutting some woods at a lower speed is sometimes easier.

It also comes with a 3-year warranty, though the most probable thing is you will not use it as the build quality is that good.

Seel cover and cast iron bed help keep the snipe to a minimum by keeping the boards flat. This gets you a smooth finish with minimum to no material being lost.

When we look at the price, it is a bit more expensive than the rest of the benchtop planers. If you want an upgrade or something in the helical cutter head category, you should get this one, as this is the best high-value benchtop planer.


Buying Guide for Best Planers For Beginners

Planers are the blessings when it comes to leveling the surface of the timber. You can either spend hours leveling the surface by hand or save your time by using a planer and use that time in actually building something.

But there are certain things you should look into before jumping into the market and buying one. After reading this article, your mind will be crystal clear. You will know what to look for in a planer and what it should cost you.

We will be discussing the following characteristics in a planer:

  • Width capacity
  • Type of cutter heads
  • Motor
  • Material design
  • Ease of making depth adjustment
  • Dust collection
  • Precision
  • Price

Width Capacity

From the name you have probably guessed, it simply means what maximum width of wood a planer can handle.

When we talk about benchtop planers, they have a limit of 13inches which means that if you are looking to build furniture with woods of larger size, then you should get the larger thickness planer as those can handle woods with a width of up to 16 inches.

 If you still want a benchtop planer as they occupy a small space, get a jointer and a benchtop planer.

Type of cutter heads

Planers come with two cutter heads: the Straight Knife Cutter head and the Helical Cutter head.

Straight knife cutter heads are old and conventional, while Helical cutter heads have been recently introduced in the market. In straight knife cutter heads, two to four knives are placed along the axis of the cutter head. This is not the case with the Helical cutter head, which constitutes various rows with many small cutters that are often arranged in a spiral fashion.

The helical cutter head has the upper hand being less noisy, reducing the cost of blade replacement, and a better dust collection system.

Motor

The motor is just as important as any other component. Small motors are used with less amperage in hand planers if they are corded electric and not operated on a battery.

In benchtop planers, the standard motor amperage is 15amp, used by almost every brand, and it is enough for usual tasks.

Material design

Planers can have a plastic base or a mixture of metals like alloy steel and cast iron. Of course, a metal base is preferred over a plastic one as it keeps the boards flat and prevents sniping.

Ease of making depth adjustment

Most of the planers are equipped with the depth of the cut indicator, which shows how much material will be taken off with each pass.

You can keep it anywhere between 0 to 1/8th of an inch. This is time-saving as you don’t have to worry about how much material is lost each time.

So a planer with a depth of the cut indicator is preferred over the one without it.

Dust collection

If you are into woodworking, your workshop is supposed to get dusty, but don,t worry; almost all planers come with an effective dust collection unit. It does the perfect job of collecting dust and lets you keep your little workspace tidy.

Precision

The precision of a planer depends on what kind of cutter head it has and how effective its depth cut indicator is. It would be best if you got a helical head planer with a depth cut indicator as those are more precise.

Price

Planers vary in price as per their type. Hand planers can be bought for as low as 300 dollars, while large planers can go up to 3000 dollars. If you are looking for a planer for routine tasks, you can get a decent one in the price range of 500$-900$.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is a thickness planer worth it?

Thickness planers tend to be pricy and bulky. But considering the powerful motor and the high speeds some of them can produce, it would be safe to say they are the best. They can make a completely flat surface with the exact thickness you need.

Considering all these points, we can say they are worth the cost.

What is the difference between a surface planer and a thickness planer?

A thickness planer is different from a surface planer in several respects. The first of these is the position of the cutter head. In a surface planer, the cutter head is located on the bed surface, while in a thickness planer, the cutter is above the bed surface and above the wood fed into the cutter.

A surface cutter can give a very flat surface in a single pass, but the thickness is not always consistent. The thickness planer takes several passes to provide a flat surface, but the thickness is always uniform. A surface planer can produce a tapered board, but the thickness planer doesn’t.

What size thickness planer is recommended?

The ideal thickness planers allow board sizes between 15-16 inches. If you work in a limited space, a thickness planer with a 12-13 inch capacity will work just fine. But if you want an ideal planning job, a 16-inch planer will be perfect.

Conclusion:

Now you know the dos and don’ts when buying the best planers for beginners. Whether you are beginning to work as a professional woodworker or just trying to fix the doors of your own house, you will know how to choose from the vast list of the best wood planers for beginners. We hope that your woodworking journey will be a smooth and dust-free one.

Bahram Shahab
Bahram here! A certified Electrical Engineer who knows his way around using power tools like a professional. My journey of using these robust tools started back when I graduated. Since then, I have finished almost a dozen DIY woodworking jobs. Apart from that, I have developed this habit of jotting down my personal experience about using a specific tool. So, I write on them to help the community in the best possible way.