“Heft or Power?”
This is a commonly asked question by consumers when buying a planer. That’s because people immediately assume that this is an either-or scenario, even if there are variants perfectly capable of offering both qualities. One such example is the portable planer – an ergonomic power tool with sufficient cutting strength too.
Portable planers are designed specifically for consumers constantly on the go. This includes professional carpenters, contractors, and craftsmen that frequently travel from one jobsite to another. Repair specialists are another of its primary target audience. These tools aren’t usually built with a particular specialization, but to be jacks-of-all-trade, making them an ideal principal tool to target.
In this article, we’ll be enumerating the best options currently on the market. If you’re thinking of buying one soon, then you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we take a stroll down the wonderful world of portable planers.
Portable Planer Comparison Table
1. POWERTEC PL1251 Portable Benchtop Thickness Planer
- A powerful 15-AMP motor can cut through boards as thick as 6-inches with no problems
- Weighs only 63-lbs, which is relatively compact and easy to transport
2. Delta Power Tools 22-555 Portable Thickness Planer
- Constructed with larger infeed and outfeed tables to better support longer workpieces
- Comes with a limited 5-year warranty, one of the longest in its category
3. WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
- Produces 25,000-cuts-per-minute at a 26-feet-per-minute rate for faster material removal
- Its three-blade design improves precision, while guaranteeing a smooth finish always
4. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
- The quietest unit on the market; produces only 83-dB of noise when being used
- Built using a 4-post design and diagonal cross beams to maintain stability while working
5. Bosch PL2632K Woodworking Hand Planer with Carrying Case
- Fitted with a 6.5-AMP motor and 16,500-RPM of speed for speedy material removal
- A spring-loaded stand keeps the machine from suddenly falling off and ruining your progress
6. Makita KP0800K Planer Kit
- Double-edged carbide blades are ideal for creating even textures at an efficient speed
- Capable of creating insertions as deep as 3/32-inch; perfect for professional applications
7. WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer
- An 8-AMP motor delivers 32,000-cuts-per-minute of power despite only weighing 10-lbs; superb strength-to-size ratio
- Very compactly designed for easy mobilization; fits in most tools boxes or carrying cases
8. Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer with Kickstand
- At just 3.25-lbs, it weighs the least among portable planers in this category
- Comes with 12 pre-installed depth settings so you can customize it for every task
9. TACKLIFE RES002 Electric Hand Planer
- Rubberized handles help alleviate pressure, allowing you to work longer with less breaks in between
- The power cord is made so that it reaches a maximum length of 10-feet; offers greater motion while working
10. Makita KP0810 3.25-Inch Planer
- The ball-bearing construction helps eliminate shaking so you can concentrate better
- Two dust ports expel dirt on either side, helping to abolish the bag as a distraction
Portable Planer Reviews
The POWERTEC PL1251 is what we would consider a hybrid model that combines the best features of two kinds of planers. For instance, it is relatively compact at just 63-lbs, yet comes with a heavy-duty base that widely limits vibrations. Users won’t have to worry about excessive shaking, even when ripping workpieces as wide as 12.5-inches.Another unique thing about the POWERTEC PL1251 Portable Benchtop Thickness Planer is that it’s ideal for repurposing old and otherwise dilapidated wood. Its 15-AMP motor pairs well with a stainless steel cutterhead to produce cleanly accurate incisions at a speed of 9,400-RPM. Even thick boards with a maximum 6-inch thickness are no match for this tool’s cutting ability.
Users working with a tighter-than-usual budget should be very pleased with the amount of value received at such an affordable price. And even though the 1-year limited warranty included leaves a lot to be desired, the POWERTEC PL1251 Portable Benchtop Thickness Planer remains one of the most sought after tools today.
Have you ever experienced needing to force a piece of plywood through your planer, only to realize that its sizes aren’t even at all? Well, the Delta Power Tools 22-555’s larger – and adjustable – infeed and outfeed table eliminates this problem totally, while providing better support for longer workpieces. This setup also allows it to slide across naturally with minimal resistance.
Not only that, but the Delta Power Tools 22-555 Portable Thickness Planer is fashioned with reversible dust port too. So when the dual-edge knives rip through wood and make a mess, you’ll be able to collect the residue from either side of the instrument. This means less time is needed to clean up, give you more time to rest after a hard day’s work.
User convenience is really at the top of this portable planer’s priority list. Every aspect beginning from the price, blade replacement, and construction are all designed to provide you with the most hassle-free work conditions possible. And even if the Delta Power Tools 22-555 comes with a few, this is certainly a strong selling point to at least sample its capabilities.
Even though the WEN 6552T is more known as a benchtop planer than a portable one, transporting it can still be done. What’s so special about this machine, though, is its ability to slice through even the toughest hardwoods. Its dominant 15-AMP motor produces 25,000-cuts-per-minute at a rate of 26-feet-per-minute, while a three-blade design latches on to workpieces until fully leveled. Needless to say, there are only a few thickness planers capable of delivering as much power as this.
Still, it’s surprising that a power tool with such a long list of credentials can be bought for such a price. The WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer only has an average retail price of just below $400. Even if this isn’t by any means cheap, we also can’t ignore the amount of value and advantages that come with buying one.
Given its wide-ranging functions, we would definitely recommend it to both seasoned and casual woodworkers alike. Just be sure you’re fully invested in this craft so you can fully maximize everything the WEN 6552T has to offer.
Working in a confined space isn’t only restricting, but it can also be deafening. Most planers, after all, are known to make a lot of noise. But what if we told you there’s a better way to work? That we know of a model that’s ideal for these situations?
Out of all our choices, the Makita 2012NB is by far the quietest. It has been designed to produce only 83-dB of sound when being used. Additionally, this tool is compact and relatively lightweight, too, which means it takes up very little space in your workshop. Even mobilization is made more effortless.
Still, this doesn’t mean the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer is flimsy in any way, especially since it is constructed with a 4-post setup and numerous diagonal cross supports. This improves stability considerably, particularly for larger and longer workpieces, while a wider table extension helps you support them better.
There’s a lot more to know about this tool, really, but we’ll summarize it in one statement: The Makita 2012NB is one of the best portable planers you could ask for.
Unlike portable benchtop models, handheld planers can be held with literally one arm. And one of the best in this category is the Bosch PL2632K. It comes equipped with a 6-5-AMP motor that yields approximately 16,500-RPM of speed for quick stock removal. Users have also raved about how easy this tool is to control, weighing only 6.3-lbs and fashioned with aluminum shoes. This improved accuracy goes a long way in upholding the quality of your work.
Despite this wide range of functions, the Bosch PL2632K Woodworking Hand Planer with Carrying Case is a perfectly suitable option for beginners. A spring-loaded stand, an ambidextrous lock-off release button, and its ergonomic shape guarantee their safety, so accidents are severely minimized.
You can own the Bosch PL2632K for a minimal average amount of just under $200. Consumers, though, will be glad to know that there are several promotional deals available that you’ll want to take advantage of. This only sweetens the pot of an already amazing piece of equipment.
Makita has long been a go-to option for woodworkers everywhere. Products like the KP0800K Planer Kit are designed not only with practical but also easy-to-use functions, so consumers get acclimated to the tool very quickly. This is perhaps the best reason to invest in this brand.
Armed with a 6.5-AMP motor 17,000-RPM maximum speed capacity, the Makita KP0800K Planer Kit is swift and stress-free material removal. It is also furnished with double-edge carbide blades that latch on to wood firmly, while a control knob allows cuts as deep as 3/32-inch. With these in tow, you can easily get that perfect finish you've always wanted.
We would recommend this model to seasoned woodworkers, seeing as it is engineered for professional applications. But even up-and-coming apprentices looking to buy something long-term are possible clients, particularly since the Makita KP0800K Planer Kit doesn’t cost much.
Calling all newbies out there looking for a quality portable planer that won’t break the bank, because the WEN 6534 is here and it means business.
Just like others on this list, it, too, is travel-sized and perfectly suitable for those always on the go. But what sets the WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer apart is that despite weighing only 9.5-lbs, it still manages to deliver exceptional cutting strength, thanks to its formidable 8-AMP motor with a 32,000-cuts-per-minute ability. There are only a handful of portable planers, really, efficient enough to achieve this feat.
Apart from those, the WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer likewise comes with a two-way dust port shoot, 16 positive stop for cutting depth, and a comprehensive two-year warranty package. And if those weren’t enough, owning one would barely cost you $60. That’s a lot of value packed into such an affordable deal.
What use is a portable planer that looks good, yet doesn't offer you the necessities? Thankfully, the Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer serves as a practical alternative for consumers seeking that perfect balance of stylishness and inexpensiveness.
Glazed in its trademark neon green color, the Ryobi HPL52K is designed to turn heads. However, what people don’t notice initially is that it comes with improvements to enhance overall user experience. One example is the depth adjustment system, which offers 12 predetermined settings ranging from 0 to 1/8-inch. This versatility serves as an effective way of getting that ideal texture in wooden boards.
Other than that, the inclusion of rubberized molding, a lock-off button, and dual exhaust ports, have all helped dramatically despite being very commonsensical. Manufacturers of the Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer have once again done it, coming up with a pragmatic solution to the world's woodworking problems, or at least a portion of it.
Flexibility is perhaps the most valuable benefit the TACKLIFE RES002 Electric Hand Planer affords. Loyal customers can enjoy smooth and accurate lacerations, thanks to its 7.5-AMP motor with a 16,000-RPM maximum speed and 32,000-cuts-per-minute capability. The 65 Manganese steel blades likewise aid with consistency, ensuring every stroke is just like the last one.
Another feature we personally love is the extra-long 3-meter power cord. Having a 10-foot cable brings forth better mobility while working, even when far from a socket. Of course, we can't forget the rubberized handles, which alleviates pressure on your arms and wrist. You'll hardly feel any stress, even after working straight for several hours.
Workers, especially those new to this craft, may want something simple to learn, and the TACKLIFE RES002 imparts exactly that. This is yet another why it remains one of the best portable hand planers available on the market.
Now that we’ve reached the final item on our best portable planer review, are we really surprised that Makita produces it? Not at all. That's why even though it costs over $200, we'd still recommend the KP0810 3.25-Inch Planer to professionals willing to spend for performance.
Its build is one of the main reasons for its success. The Makita KP0810 3.25-Inch Planer is made with a rigorous die-cast aluminum housing and ball-bearing construction for prolonged durability. This tool aims to sustain stability, even while ripping through hardwood as thick as 5/32-inch. Nevertheless, you are given full freedom to adjust the depth in increments of 0.1-mm for other types of workpieces.
And as if those aren't enough, debris can be dislodged through either side of the machine. Even though it may seem insignificant, long-time woodworkers can tell how much comfort a refinement like this brings. The dust bag becomes less of an obstruction, allowing you to focus solely on the task at hand.
Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Planer
Right now, you may be wondering what other factors need to be pondered before making a purchase? Well, fear no more, because we’ve compiled a few more tips to help minimize the risk of entering into a bad deal.
1. Size and Compactness
Mobility is perhaps the primary reason why users prefer a portable model to others. That’s why your planer must be something you can carry around and fit in your workspace. It also mustn’t be too heavy, big, or bulky. Otherwise, it just defeats the whole purpose of having this tool.
Storage is another potential issue that could arise later on. Portable planers should be easily kept in a closet or drawer. If it doesn’t, then maybe you need to look elsewhere.
2. Dust Collection
We’ve noticed that portable planers, in general, do not facilitate dust removal well. This has been a problem area for many of the products reviewed today. Nevertheless, woodworking is a messy task, so having this feature is imperative to save time and energy after.
First thing you’ll need to consider is the dust bag size. Larger containers, obviously, take longer to fill up, while smaller one do the opposite. Dual ports are likewise more efficient, and offer a better range of movement too.
Does your preferred option use Manganese, stainless steel, or just plain aluminum blades? You’d be surprised at how big of an effect the blades have on your cutting abilities. Most just look at the motor strength – and that’s perfectly logical – but the knife-edges need to match that power as well.
This part is arguably the one that’s most commonly in contact with your body. Thus, it needs to be both comfortable and ergonomically designed. Although very basic, the amount and type of rubber used could spell the different between aches and relaxation.
Like we’ve always said in our previous articles, never overlook the warranty. In times of need, particularly when deficiencies and wear-and-tear rear their ugly head, this serves as your insurance policy against sky-high bills. It may seem impractical to spend more at the onset, but trust us – doing so will save you a ton of time, energy, and resources later on.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to decide between a hand and benchtop portable planer?
The main difference between these two is size. So if your lifestyle entails constant movement, then a hand planer is best. On the other hand, benchtop models relatively provide better stability and cutting power. Therefore, those who often work with larger workpieces may want to go that direction.
2. Warranty is subjective, but how long is long enough?
In our experience, having a warranty package that spans two years is good. Just make sure it includes defective parts replacement, service, and a money-back guarantee after a certain period. Don’t forget also to check the number of accredited service center a particular brand has, especially in and around your area.
3. What part of woodworking process do these tools come in? Are they really needed?
If you want smooth and perfectly textured wooden planks, then yes. Planers, in general, help level wood prior to production or construction, and even come in after when finishing touches are required. Since surface consistency is a prime indicator of quality, having your own portable planer is a necessity when working.
By now you’ve probably already seen, there are several quality brands and models to choose from. And while the best portable planer relies primarily on your personal needs, we have our own objective opinion too.
Based on our findings, both the WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer and WEN 6534 Electric Hand Planer are atop their respective categories. In a nutshell, these tools just offer what most consumers look for, including value for money, cutting power, dust collection, and stability while being used. If you’re seeking something reliable, then these two options must be at the forefront of any serious user’s list.