As we’ve written about before in our previous articles, a hand planer is a portable device used to level wood and other similar materials. However, not everyone knows that there are two primary kinds – manual and electric. Their differences are pretty self-explanatory, but that’s not what our discussion will revolve around. Instead, our goal is to help you decide which among them best fits your needs.
Remember also not to be overwhelmed with the number of choices at your disposal. Simply dissect every aspect while keeping an open mind. Most importantly, reflect on your lifestyle and what things you need to prioritize. That should be the focal pain of every decision. Of course, we’ll be here to guide every step of the way.
So without further adieu, let’s jump into our best hand planer review and get the ball rolling!
Hand Planer Comparison Table
1. Bosch PL2632K Hand Planer
- A 6.5-AMP motor delivers a maximum speed of 16,500-RPM for faster wood removal
- Weighing only 6.3-lbs, it is easy to control and carry from one place to another; built for those always on the go
2. WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer
- Extremely powerful and produces over 34,000-cuts-per-minute
- Users select any of the 16 positive stops when managing the cutting depth
3. WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer
- The frame is made larger at 11.5-lbs to take on tougher jobs with less issues
- Wider cutting capacity means your work time is lessened, especially on larger kinds of workpieces
4. TACKLIFE RES002 Electric Hand Planer
- Equipped with a strong 7.5-AMP motor with a 32,000-cuts-per-minute capability; offers supreme efficiency
- A longer cord of 10-feet gives better mobility, especially around cramped spaces
5. Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer
- Adjusting the cutting depth can simply be done by twisting the control knob
- Durably built that almost eliminates any unnecessary shaking as you work
6. Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer
- Includes several safety precautions like a kickstand and lock-on button to keep you away from harm’s way
- Weighs only 3.25-lbs to significantly reduces stress on your arms while working
7. Triton TPL180 Triple-Blade Planer
- Constructed with a magnesium frame for greater resistance on those hard-to-do jobs
- Delivers approximately 45,000-cuts-per-minute; the strongest in its entire class
8. Grizzly Industrial H7568 Smoothing Plane
- Made from steel so it is quite durable and intended to last several years
- Solid rosewood handles are easy to hold and provide enough friction so you maintain control
9. Taytools 469591 Fore Bench Hand Plane
- Extremely durable and is damn near indestructible because of its ductile cast iron frame
- The knob is made from hand-rubbed Sapele, which significantly improves the gripping power
10. Caliastro No. 4 Smoothing Bench Plane
- Engineered with a sturdy frame and solid natural wood handle for better maneuverability
- Its blade can be re-sharpened so it maintains cutting quality at all times
Electric Hand Planers
An electric hand planer, as its name suggests, requires a steady supply of electricity to work. Whether corded or cordless, these tools offer unrelenting power and accuracy that cuts not only thick wooden boards, but also your work time. If you’re a professional or seasoned woodworker, then the following examples of hand planers could be just what you’ve been searching for.
Even though it costs slightly more than your average electric hand planer, the PL2632K model from Bosch is still a high quality option to target. It comes with a 6.5-AMP motor that produces a maximum speed of 16,500-RPM. Quick and fast stock removal is its main specialty. And because it weighs only 6.3-lbs, maneuvering it around even thicker pieces of wood won’t be too difficult.
Besides the power, user protection is another aspect the Bosch PL2632K Hand Planer with Carrying Case has put a premium on. Since a device like this is so compact, people often write-off the risks that come with using it. The truth is, a hand planer without any safety measures in place could potentially cause severe injuries to operations. So having a lock-off release button and spring-loaded stand can go a long way in keeping you safe.
Those who are serious about woodworking must consider a model as extensive as the Bosch PL2632K. Its accuracy, reliability, and practicality all play an integral role in providing consumers with the best work experience possible.
There’s an old saying never judge a tool from its appearance, and the WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer is a prime example. It clocks in at only 6-lbs but still manages to deliver an astonishing over 34,000-cuts-per-minute. Potential users could now possess the convenience of hashing out excess wood at an incredibly efficient rate. But what exactly is the reason?
Well, at its heart is a 6-AMP motor that is strong enough to power the entire device. The presence of 16 positive stops and two double-sided blades has allowed users to manage the cutting depth and produce accurate strokes always. Simply twist a gauge to set the planer’s setting by increments of 1/128-inch.
Still, perhaps the most appealing aspect of the 6530 Electric Hand Planer is its user-centeredness. Not only can it be bought at an incredibly affordable price, but the inclusion of a 6-foot power cord, a retractable kickstand, and a 2-year warranty package also highlights how much the consumer experience means to WEN. As such, this is an attractive choice for beginners and newbies looking to make a mark in this industry.
Much like our previous feature, the 6534 model is another one of WEN’s best electric hand planers ever. It exhibits the same level of power, portability, and value for money – if not more – as those in this list. What sets it apart, though, is it was made more compact at 12 by 9.8 by 8.2-inches and 11.5-lbs. The larger size meant only one thing: that it could take on tougher tasks while showing minimal signs of wear-and-tear.
To complement those qualities, the WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer was also equipped with a broader width capacity at 4.38-inches and a maximum depth of 1/8-inch. This means that ripping through larger and thicker workpieces has now become a possibility. Users likewise won’t need to exert extra effort and time when completing these types of projects.
Even though the 6-foot extension remains to be its primary flaw, it has not stopped the WEN 6534 from being a beloved power tool all over the world. So if you can give up working outdoors – at least for the time being – then hurry and check this planer out.
When you see that a particular item is sold out everywhere, then it’s probably a good sign. And such is the fate of our next item. The TACKLIFE RES002 Electric Hand Planer is part of a select group of electronics currently impossible to find anywhere. That’s why when you’re ever given a chance to take home a tool of this caliber, don’t flinch because you may not be given another opportunity.
Just like many of the examples on our best hand planer review article, this model is quite compact, too, at just 7.7-lbs. It also comes with a 10-foot long cord for better mobility and rubberized gripping handles that significantly reduce stress even after working for several hours. These improvements have helped improve user experience vastly since it allows them to focus on their work rather than feeling uneasy.
But of course, the TACKLIFE RES002 Electric Hand Planer will still be best known for its cutting power. An enhanced 7.5-AMP motor with a 32,000-cuts-per-minute capacity suits the two 65-Manganese steel blades perfectly with ripping through any workpiece that comes in its way. This added power is a great convenience when leveling hardwood and other thick materials.
Serious hobbyists or woodworking enthusiasts should find this as a viable alternative. Its price is reasonable, offers strong features, and will undoubtedly make your job so much easier.
Durability is one of the primary qualities customers look for when buying a hand planer. Thankfully, this is right up the Porter-Cable PC60THP‘s alley.
Besides a hardwearing 6-AMP motor, this tool is also ergonomically designed and comes with an 11.5-inch aluminum shoe for better control. One thing in particular that we love about is that it seldom shakes, providing smooth operation as you work. Moreover, the dual-side dust extraction ports expel residue at a faster rate, too, keeping your workstation clean and sediment-free. If only the waste bag was made bigger, then it would have been already perfect.
Even beginners won’t find it too difficult to operate the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer. For instance, adjusting the cutting depth or chamfering an edge can now both be done by simply twisting a knob, all thanks to its user-friendly control setup. This tool is easy to learn, manage, and won’t give you any headaches. Plus, a three-year limited warranty package will cover any potential issues that may arise during that time frame.
Without a doubt, the Porter-Cable PC60THP is one of the best hand planers you can ever ask for.
Through seventy-six years of existence, Ryobi has established a reputation for providing excellent power tools at a reasonable price. And even though it isn’t as sought-after as WEN, Bosch, or Makita, users have still developed a deep affinity towards its products such as the HPL52K Corded Hand Planer.
Among all the choices on our list, this tool is perhaps the most lightweight. Weighing only 3.25-lbs, it’s easy to navigate around wooden planks – even corners and edges – and won’t require expelling any additional force. Having a rubberized molding over the grip also relieves stress so you can work longer hours with fewer stops in between.
Furthermore, safety is another aspect the Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer has clearly prioritized. Adding a lock-on button almost eliminates the risk of accidental start-ups, while the rear-mounted kickstand keeps the machine from falling down and potentially damaging your work surface.
Even though these features may seem modest, it perfectly answers some serious issues faced by countless users. It’s no wonder the Ryobi HPL52K is considered by many as a true value-for-money find.
A fair warning to those with a faint heart – the Triton TPL180 Triple-Blade model is at least double the price of any other electric hand planer on this list. But with it come a variety of several unique features that suit professional contractors, carpenters, woodworkers, and their more complex needs.
Even just from its tank-like appearance, you know this tool is ready for business. Fabricated using magnesium material and tipping the scales at 18.7-lbs, the Triton TPL180 Triple-Blade Planer can take on even the most hard-hitting while coming out of it unscathed. A fully cast base likewise provides stability and evenness for more accurate cuts.
Of course, it delivers considerable cutting power, too. A mighty 1500W motor delivers speeds of up to 15,000-RPM and an astounding 45,000-cuts-per-minute rate. Add this to an already formidable three-blade drum design for more superior results. It won’t matter whether you’re working on the thickest types of wood; the Triton TPL180 will easily make mincemeat out of it.
We could go on and on about the advantages it offers, but it all boils down to this: If you can afford to invest in a machine of this caliber – and price – do it because the Triton TPL180 Triple-Blade Planer will most definitely change the way you approach this craft forever.
Manual Hand Planers
On the other hand, manual hand planers use force generated by your body’s own power. Their capability makes them better suited for simple projects or DIY endeavors at home. We wouldn’t suggest using them on complicated tasks because the amount of strength needed may lead to pain or injuries.
Made predominantly from steel, the Grizzly Industrial H7568 Smoothing Plane with Serrated Sole is a unique tool that specializes in final finishing works. Its elongated shape provides smooth strokes, while the rosewood handles and knobs are easy to grip. This is the perfect companion for projects in locations that don’t have a stable source of electricity.
Its price, though, isn’t so far off from an electric model, which means it is more of a luxurious secondary tool for professionals. Nevertheless, one can’t question results and the smooth finish the Grizzly Industrial H7568 delivers.
The Taytools 469591 Fore Bench Hand Plane is a high-end option with a virtually indestructible frame. Both its body and frog are manufactured from ductile cast iron, while the tote and knob are made using hand-rubbed Sapele. This planer doesn’t just look elegant, but is also incredibly functional especially when used on tougher materials.
Even the cutting depth, width, and space over the sole have been precisely engineered to achieve greater results. All in all, the Taytools 469591 seems like an instrument designed to make everyone’s life easier, particularly those people who plan on making a living out of it.
We’ve spoke of two premium models so far. So those seeking a more affordable option should see the Caliastro No. 4 Smoothing Bench Plane. It won’t cost you more than $40, yet is sturdy enough to last several years without issue. Even the 2-inch tempered steel blade can be re-sharpened, which helps maintain its effectivity before and after work.
Additionally, the Caliastro No. 4 Smoothing Bench Plane is slightly larger than those in the same category. This tool measures 9.75-inches long and 2-inches wide, allowing it to cover a larger area in a shorter period of time. Users have found great value knowing that despite its reasonable price tag, it can truly make a significant impact on how you work.
Things to Consider When Buying a Hand Planer
To really make an informed decision, it’s always best to reflect on certain aspects before making a purchase. That’s why when buying a hand planer, there are some factors that need to be considered. After all, it’s not always about flashiness and pizzazz, but also practicality.
1. Cutting Power
Try matching your required cutting ability with the needs of each project. For instance, ripping through hardwoods would need at least 20,000-cuts-per-minute of power, while mid-sized projects can make do with an average of 16,000-cuts-per-minute. Simple tasks, on the other hand, are ideal for manual hand planers.
Following our theme of prioritizing the essentials over desires, hardiness is another aspect to look out for. But of course, it never hurts to go for a long-lasting option. Just make sure, though, that it’s made from stainless steel, magnesium, or similar materials. The brand’s image and history are important, too, as it can provide clues whether your hand planer is really one of the best.
As we’ve always shared, you need to establish a solid budget first before venturing into any transaction. This should help you avoid overspending or experiencing buyer’s remorse. Just remember that your price allocation must match the end product. It would be fine spending more for a model that you’ll be using for work. However, it’s also acceptable to go for a cheaper model if you’re not yet serious about this craft.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a good budget to have for either an electric or manual hand planer?
Regardless of which one you prefer, apportion $100 for this purchase. This should be more than enough to fetch you a quality model with the proper benefits.
2. Is space something to consider also?
Yes, of course! Working indoors gives you more options because there’s a working electric socket, a sturdy tabletop, and fewer issues to think about. However, spending time outdoors offers a whole new experience, too, so it’s also something we would suggest, so as long as the opportunity allows it. In this case, a cordless electric tool or a manual hand planer should do the trick.
Owning a hand planer, particularly if you’re serious about woodworking, is an essential tool to own. Its ability to even out and produce a fine finish in wood can make a difference in upholding the quality of each creation. Just remember that when choosing among the wide range of quality options available, it’s all about matching it to your needs. This way, you’ll be able to maximize its uses more, while making the most of ever benefit.