Best Power Benchtop Planers in 2020



WEN 6550T 15 Amp 12.5 in. Corded Benchtop Thickness Planer Review:


I have wanted a bench-top planer for quite a while but could not seem to find a good one in my price range.

While browsing through Amazon I came across the WEN 6550 for $219.42. The price was cheaper than comparable used planers advertised on Craigslist.

After reading the reviews both on Amazon and other sites, I purchased one. I was told it would arrive in five days but was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in two (Prime membership).

The box arrived in good condition with no visible damage. It should be noted that this tool weighs 73 lbs., so with packing material the whole box weighs in at about 80 lbs.

The tool appeared well packaged using form fitting foam blocks reinforced by a cardboard sleeve. When removing the packing be careful as the instructions are sandwiched between one of the cardboard sleeves and foam blocking.

Flipping down the in-feed/out-feed tables you will find a plastic bag containing parts and three foam blocks which protect the blades and roller mechanism.

In the bag are the following items.
-Depth adjusting handle
-Bolt with Lock Washer (to secure the handle)
-Plug (covers the handle screw)
-2 Magnets (used when changing blades)
-T-handle Hex Wrench
There is also a dust chute that needs to be installed.

The magnets and T-handle wrench has an on-board storage area just above where the dust chute is mounted.

Along with the bag of parts I also found a small plastic box. At first I was not sure of its use but a careful look at the parts diagram in the manual revealed it to be a cover for the chain drive mechanism. Apparently it fell out during shipment but was easily snapped back into place.

The three foam blocks are wedged securely. To remove them you need to first install the depth adjusting handle using the included screw and T-handle hex wrench and raise the roller-case.

Upon removing the blocks I found the granite table had some sort of residue on it. This was easily cleaned off using a de-greaser followed by glass cleaner.

The blades are already installed and are reversible and therefore should not need replacing for quite some time.

I next installed the dust chute which can be oriented for either left or right discharge. There are two thumb screws (pre-installed) that secure it to the planer.

This is all the assembly required.

I connected the dust chute to my shop vacuum and then went through my scrap pile looking for the worst piece of wood I could find.

With the planer off, I placed the board on the infeed granite table and lowered the roller-head until it just touch the wood. I then backed it off a full turn (One full turn of the handle equals 1/16").

I turned on the vacuum and the planer and fed the board through. Being cautious, I lowered the handle one-half turn passing the board through each time until the blades contacted board. The board fed easily with no evidence of binding.
I made about 4-5 passes lowering the roller-case by one-half turn (I was being overcautious) each time. The result was an extremely clean and finished board with no snipe. The lack of snipe may have been because the board is only about two feet long.

The infeed/outfeed tables are independently adjustable but so far I have not had any need to make adjustments.

The planer remained quite stable. Even though I did not have it clamped down during testing, it never moved. I attributed this to the heavy weight of the construction and solid granite table.

I have since run pallet wood through the planer and ended up with wood nice enough to make gift boxes out of (which I did).

So far I have been very pleased with this planer. It seems to be solidly built and performs well. I would have liked for it to have a roller-head lock. I have not as yet had any issues with the head moving but would have liked the assurance.

The vacuum system worked great, just be sure to check the vacuum container often as the planer will fill it substantially quicker than say a table saw.

The included manual is not the best. It is clearly a translation but provides adequate information in setting up and using the tool. This and the lack of a roller-head lock is why I gave it 4 stars.

The price along with the 2-year warranty makes this planer a good value for the home workshop.



Bosch 12V Max Planer (Bare Tool) GHO12V-08N Review:


This tool is precisely what I have been looking for, for a long time, but no one made it. More agile than a corded or 18v power planer, which is heavy and cumbersome, this little guy is truly great. There are few moments as a finish carpenter where a tool had given me such satisfaction, my last experience like this was the first time I had access to a multi tool /vibratory saw. I realized that it was a game changer. The Bosch GHO12V-08N is a game changer -need to scribe a blind valence to a concrete ceiling or scribe base to a floor? BOOM GHO12V-08N, do two beveling passes to establish about a 1/4 inch bevel landing, then dial this thing out to max depth roll it in and out off your bevel landing to get every bit of that funky floor scribed in one, maybe two passes after establishing your 1/4 bevel landing. This thing, can back bevel and scribe at the same time, no need to run stock through a table saw for back bevel. Have to cut drywall to make door casings flat and running base next to it? BOOM GHO12V-08N can plane that base piece down in about 5 seconds -no more dangerous table saw cuts removing 3/16 on a tiny piece, set the piece on a soft rubber mat and you guessed it, BOOM GHO12V-08N you're done. This thing makes PERFECT scribes without the need to follow up with a belt sander period. For larger scribes, you will still need to use a jigsaw just to remove 1/2 inch or more material. less than half inch you can remove material more accurately and more quickly while establishing a nice back bevel with the GHO12V-08N. the kit I recommend is compiled of ONE GHO12V-08N. ONE Bosch SKC120-102 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Starter Kit with (1) 2.0 Ah Battery and Charger. ONE Bosch 12V Max Lithium-Ion 6.0 Ah Battery GBA12V60 ***the 6 ah battery counter balances this top heavy tool almost perfectly*** (in the long run it's of course still, very light weight). ONE Bosch L-BOXX-2 6 In. x 14 In. x 17.5 In. Stackable Tool Storage Case -you're a pro, don't look like a scrub, and of course ONE
Bosch Foam-201 Pre-Cut Foam Insert 136 for use with L-Boxx2, Part of Click and Go Mobile Transport System -Bust out your fillet knife and sharpy and show the world what a tool nerd you really are. I also used some contact cement to attach the 1/2 layer of foam to the top of my box...maybe I need help. If you are a quality carpenter who is accustomed to doing things the right way every time, get this tool, it's a game changer, my tool is currently at the job site or I would take a picture, if I find the time maybe I can upload a few pic to document the full nerdery (with foam).



Mophorn Thickness Planer 12.5 inch Thickness Planer Woodworking 1800W Double Cutter Benchtop Thickness Planer With Stand Heavy Duty Dust Exhaust for Woodworking Review:


First thing was the assembly instructions was not included. I was not familiar with any planer. My son and I finally figured out what went where. I must admit it was a learning experience. I have only had this planer for a week, it has worked out quite well so far. The tool has been doing a good job with what we have asked of it. The only other negative we found with this tool is the knob used to raise and lower the blade was made of plastic and broke off after several uses. Found a replacement at the home inprovement store. (this one is made of wood)



13" JET Helical Style Bench Top Planer, Jwp-13Bt Review:


As per normal, I will give the short and sweet review and then I will expand a little more for those that may want more detail below...

Short and sweet - If you don't have a ton of space and you want to get a good solid planer, this seems like it will be a good fit for you. I have been using mine for about two weeks and I have to say that I am very pleased overall. I am surprised by the amount of snipe that I am still getting on my boards, but I haven't done any adjustments yet. The overall quality of the finish out of this machine is extremely impressive... When I run wood through it, I barely need to sand the finished boards.

More Detailed Version -

I purchased this because my Dewalt was starting to have some issues and was actually catching/ejecting boards. I tried to fix it and was unsuccessful. After looking at options, I found this little planer out there and decided to give it a try since it is from Jet and came with helical head blades already installed out of the box. I had also heard that the maintenance should be pretty easy on this machine in comparison to some of the others (Dewalt). It was more that I wanted to spend, but I decided to pull the trigger and get this. So far, I am extremely pleased for the most part.

1) It tends to run quieter than the Dewalt did. Not quiet enough to run it without hearing protection, but definitely quieter.

2) The boards come through with a much nicer finish than my previous planer. In fact, there have been several occasions in which I have done nothing more than just a quick sanding before using the planed boards out of this.

3) I love the positive stop system that is employed here. It takes the guess work out of prepping boards. So, if you are working on a project, and you know that you want your boards to be 3/8" thick, you can easily set the positive stop for 3/8" and then work your boards down to that thickness. It's a feature that most nicer planers have, but is typically absent from cheaper planers.

4) The dust collection on this unit is pretty spectacular. I have mine hooked up to a 4" hose that pipes to my small wall mounted dust collection system and it runs perfectly. Hardly anything gets ejected out of the front or back at all. Very clean operation.

5) It's small. It's almost the exact same size as my previous Dewalt lunchbox planer. I have mine fixed to a mobile cart that I can easily put back under my mitre station when I am not using it. It folds up nicely and has been working perfectly.

So, to summarize... If you have a ton of space and extra money to spend, you may be better off going with a bigger planer. Jet offers several larger options as does pretty much every other manufacturer. But, if you have a smaller shop and need things to be mobile, this is a good option. As I said before, I built a small mobile cart and attached this unit to that cart. It works perfectly in this capacity.



DEWALT Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch (DW734) Review:


My Powermatic planer after 15 years needs to go in for servicing, so in the several weeks it will be out, I decided to fill in with this, which would also be good for work on the site. Had about 300 board feet of hard maple and 200 bf of white oak to mill.

First the good. The finish on the boards is fabulous. That's what 30,000 cut per minute does! Second, I hooked the dust hood into my 2hp cyclone dust collector, and very few shavings were not collected. Worked perfect. I also put rolling tables for the infeed and outfeed, and little or no snipe.

Now the not so good. With my Powermatic I can get to 13/16" thickness in 5 passes from 4/4. It is taking 15 to 20 passes on the hard maple, and even then it blows the breaker every 10 to 15 minutes, which really slows down the process (it is plug into a dedicated 20 amp circuit). Any bow or warp in a board will strain the motor, often blowing the fuse. In 3 hours this afternoon, I only made it thru about 50 bf instead of 200 bf.

Other issues. Do check the infeed and outfeed fold outs. Mine where out of level, but easy to change. Second, others noted that the screw to attach the height control know was short. Mine is also short, and will pick up a longer bolt next trip to the lumber yard.

All in all, for $400, I feel it is a fabulous deal. I have been milling very hard wood, which shows its limitations. For site work out of the shop, I feel it will be a great tool. As a production tool, it does not replace the heavy equipment.



Cutech 40200H-CT 13" Spiral Cutterhead Planer - Professional Model Review:


Let me start by saying I ended up purchasing this item from Cutech since it was a bit cheaper than on Amazon $575. I've been working with and around woodworking tools like planers for many years and have had several different brands over the years - I have a Dewalt 735 that this planer is replacing. Initially, I was going to upgrade the 735 with the helical blades and happened to stumble upon this one (I'm very glad I did). The cost of this model is about the same as the upgrade to the 735. When I first found this, I tried to do some research on it but it was tough - very few reviews are out there and (at least in my area) even fewer people that actually have this. I did speak with one person that had "seen" it in a demo somewhere and thought it was a "good" machine for the money - that kind of verbiage usually makes me run but for some reason I didn't. I finally called Cutech and spoke with an extremely knowledgeable salesman, who believe it or not, wasn't as interested in "making the sale" as he was in explaining the features and the advantage/disadvantages between what I currently had and this model (biggest disadvantage to this model in his view was the lack of two speeds - which for me wasn't a deal breaker). This "sales" experience was most delightful. I was also looking at the Jet 12" combo jointer/planer (~$2K) but was very pleased to find out Cutech also carries a 6" bench jointer (<$300 with the same spiral/ "almost" helical blade setup). I ended up ordering both the planer and the jointer earlier this week with a total cost of around $950 including shipping etc. Both items arrived 2 business days after I ordered them (using standard shipping!)

Now the guts of the review: Setup for the planer included putting the spinning handle on the depth adjustment wheel and attaching the dust collection attachment - that's it except for cleaning some light oil off the cutter heads and waxing the table. Everything took less than 15 mins. The jointer was similar but had a few other items to put on (fence system - not at all difficult) Everything was coplaner right out of the box!

Operating the unit: This planer is a no brainer, push the board to the planing head, drop the head and determine how much you want to take off, lock the anti snipe lock and push in the board. I ran 100-150 feet of both soft and hard wood 12/4 (4 or 6" width) rough lumber, about 25 ft of green 6" planks and didn't get extremely aggressive (a pass or two were at an 1/8th or better) but the unit just wanted more - no bogging down and the wood came out the other end baby bottom smooth. I only found 1 board (probably the first one through) that had even the slightest hint of snipe on one end but it was very minor and may have just been a flaw in the wood. The unit is QUIET compared to the dewalt and although I wouldn't recommend it, you could probably get away without using hearing protection - again, I WOULDN'T recommend doing this!

Chip evacuation: I ran the first few boards through the unit WITHOUT the DC hooked up to see how well it would do - the unit was blowing the waste out 8-10 feet and completely clearing the port that the DC would hook up to - I took off the DC port after finishing those first boards and couldn't find but just a trace of material anywhere around (the floor was sure a mess though!).

Highly recommend this unit for anyone that has need for a really nice planer!



Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp Review:


I looked at this and the two DeWalts...bad reviews of the larger DeWalt and a friends experience with blade life and quality issues convinced me to go with this one. I like ability to square up virtually every possible thing if necessary although right from factory it is perfectly aligned. I pulled out a blade to check difficulty...really a well thought out system and easy to do. Ran soft wood and than some Michigan Hard Maple, and what I consider a real test...figured Padauk. Came out perfect. I figured out the way to minimize snipe is to keep square to the table and feed it in fast at beginning by pushing...and when coming out the other end slightly lift the last few inches. Was able to virtually eliminate snipe that way. Also found if you run at a slight angle for narrower boards it seems to feed and eliminate snipe well. I like that you can run boards as short as 5 1/8" and I did run some short pieces to test...worked fine. Earlier posts mentioned getting the optional ejection chute was fraught with backorder problems. Evidently they fixed that as I actually had the chute two days sooner than the planer. The chute is an odd size but you can get adaptors for it at Wood Smith shops or do as I did...made a adaptor from a piece of ABS plumbing pipe turned on my metal lathe. You could also just put a few wraps of tape or sticky back velcro to fill the small gap. I made mine to fit a large Rigid shop vac although I only use it for small runs. If you run larger board feet you will quickly fill up the vacuum. For that I just let it blow on the floor and clean up later. These things do make a lot of material though....probably three times as much volume as the board once it gets fluffed up. One other REALLY good thing...it is NOT loud as all the others I have heard. About same volume as my skill saw. Don't even have to use hearing protection. It is a two blade, one speed unit. I don't see any need to go with a three blade. The finish is glass smooth. And one more blade would just run the operating cost up. The blade appears to be long lived...something that the DeWalt reviews said was a real problem on that machine. And I hear that the two speed DeWalt is useless for anything wider than 6" on hard wood....so it is really just a one speed. I would have given 5 stars but need to see what the long term reliability is...but from reviews I read it should be OK. Finally, it is relatively light....something I was concerned with...the 98# of the big DeWalt meant it would be a fixed tool whereas the Makita is really a portable tool. For a stand I used a larger Stanley folding work vice/stand. It holds it fine and makes for a portable easily stored setup. I mostly use it for planning hard woods for fine furniture and cabinets, and scroll work stock.



WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer Review:


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 First thickness planer I have owned or used. It was working great until...it shot a board out across the room. I don't know if it was user error or product defect. Wen/Great Lakes Technologies was great and sent replacement parts immediately.



Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer Review:


This is a delightful machine. It's everything one could hope for at a giveaway price. For a small shop, where planing is not an everyday event, it's unbeatable. It's much larger than one would expect; actually, it's larger than most higher powered, higher priced planers. It is quite solidly built. The outer housing uses Lexan (a tough plastic form) instead of metal, but you'd never know it, it's so tough, and the housing is rust proof, to boot.

The innards are solid as a rock. It is a four-post model, and the castings are so tight and solid that there is virtually no play in the cutterhead-feeder mechanisms. The blade changes are amazingly simple, the tools to do so are provided and stored in the machine, and while there are only two blades, they are reasonably priced (average $40 pair for Delta Brand, less for third party brands). The head makes 9400 RPM, for 18,800 cuts per minute.

I tested it starting with soft Pine, then standard American Walnut, each at 1/16" cuts (one full revolution of the handle). The motor did not slow, there were virtually NO planer marks, and NO snipe. The pieces were about 6" wide and 2' long. I then tried the same with white rock maple, expecting a motor overload and freeze. The motor slowed only slightly, but did not falter. Testing it to the extreme, I tried Purpleheart (with a respirator mask, which you MUST wear when making dust with this wood). This is about the hardest wood available. The motor strained too much to suit me at 1/16" cuts, so I reduced the cut to 1/32 (1/2 turn of the handle). There was not slowing, and again, no snipe.

With 13" blades, an extremely rapid cut, and effective dust collector (I just connected it directly to my Shop Vac) and NO snipe whatsoever, the occasional user in a home or hobby shop cannot find a better machine at this price anywhere. I love it!

I make TONS of small fretworked boxes, and am sick of buying exotics for fretwork in 1/4 thicknesses. I can now buy 3/4 thicknesses, rip them with my bandsaw, and quickly plane them to 1/4 or thicker, at half the price.

Pros:
- extremely accurate (I had perfect results down to 1/8"; did not try further)
- solid, tight build of the 4-post cutterhead assembly/support columns
- reversible blades, giving you two very sharp shots with the same set
- EXTREMELY attractive price
- Five year warranty (but if you're not within driving distance of a major city, you must ship it in at your own cost)
- Perfect for hobbyists or small shop.

Cons:
- The motor could be more powerful. The in/out feed rate is perfectly appropriate and dependable, but a larger capacity motor would help with hardwoods.
- It is single speed feed. It is a compromised speed between the two speeds found on higher price machines, but it is a well-thought speed to do a remarkable job with two straight (not spiral cut) blades.

These "cons" about this machine are really not pertinent, because these features are found only on machines costing twice as much. This one is a steal. You may read about the virtues of a "chain drive" (e.g, "Steelex" brand). Don't buy into that. This machine appears to be direct (geared) drive (I've not looked at the parts sheet), and has a motor overload reset button. It'll do what you need doing.

This is a SMALL SHOP planer, not designed for 8-hour/day use seven days a week, or in commercial cabinet shops. That in view, I'd do it again in a second, and recommend it even faster.

Follow up: I've now planed all four surfaces of eight 8-foot x 6" sq. hardwood posts (32 8-foot x 6-inch surfaces). Aside from the trouble of rigging in and out feed tables, it was a breeze. No strain, no signs of blade dulling. The more I use this machine, the more impressed I become with its bang-for-the-buck.