A benchtop planer is beneficial in any wood shop to accurately plane a plank of wood to a desired, consistent thickness. It’s important to note that when it comes to the benchtop planers that are on the market, you should be more concerned with the quality of the final product rather than the strength of the planer’s motor.
High Quality Means Consistency
Clean-up work is an inevitable consequence of planing, but you can limit the amount of sanding you have to do if you purchase a quality machine. The two things you have to watch out for is scalloping and snipe. Scalloping looks like a wavy pattern on your planed surface and snipe is when a planer cuts a bit deeper at the beginning of a board, causing a step in your plank.
Consider getting a planer with self-indexing knives and an automatic cutter head lock. Both of these features lend more consistency to your machine. Also, infeed and outfeed tables elongate the platform you run your lumber through to increase your chance of a consistent feed.
You Should Have A Variety Of Options
A planer should give you options. The more gauges and stops you have the better. You want a machine that will accurately plane a specific depth per pass, from 0 to 3/32 inches. A bench planer works best when taking off 1/16 of an inch per pass. A depth stop is a handy feature that will keep you from cutting a board thinner than you intended.
Reduce Dust And Debris
Lastly, planers cause a lot of dust and debris. Get a planer with a blower and either a dust bag or a hose port to connect your shop vac to. You’ll save yourself a lot of cleanup time.
The Best Planers On Amazon
DEWALT 13-Inch Planer
Estimated Price: $629
Tests have shown that when the infeed and outfeed tables have been added to this planer, it produces an exceptionally clean plane, with no scalloping and little to no snipe. Part of the reason why is because of the tool’s three-knife cutter head system, and also because it’s a DeWalt, and DeWalt products are the jam.
This planer also comes with a very accurate depth gauge, maxing out at a ⅛-inch cut depth. The depth capacity of the planer is 6 inches and the width is 13 inches. The unit has a two-speed gearbox to change feeder speed.
Lastly, the planer has a fan assisted chip blower to quickly remove debris and keep chips off the blades.
Makita 12-Inch Planer
Estimated Price: $549
The Makita has a two knife cutter head system, but the results are spectacular. You’ll have virtually no scalloping and minimal snipe meaning easy cleanup to your surface.
The Makita’s large, built-in extension tables lend for a consistent feed, and the planer’s depth stop gauge is a great feature for repeat cuts.
This benchtop planer is the quietest on the market, and with the additional purchase of the dust hood, extremely clean. This Makita is a good alternative to the DeWalt because it is also accurate and efficient, and the blades are long lasting.
Grizzly Portable 12 ½-Inch Planer
Estimated Price: $345
This planer has an old school look to it but is a relevant contender for the best affordable benchtop planer. The Grizzly is a woodworker’s favorite and this model is light, portable, and produces high-quality results, which require only moderate cleanup.
The cutter head holds two double edge ⅛-inch knifes for swift, consistent, and clean cutting. The extra-large table extensions promote a successful plane, as do the top mounted return rollers.
The Grizzly also has a max cut depth of 3/32-inch to speed up your work.
Delta 13-Inch Planer
Estimated Price: $333
This Delta planer is lightweight but is as strong and reliable as the rest of the top models. Its four-column design provides excellent stability and its adjustable infeed and outfeed tables nip snipe in the bud.
The Delta also has a convenient quick-change knife system that doesn’t require a difficult to use jig, and the planer has a max cut depth of 3/32-inch.
The reversible dust port is also a handy feature. If you’re looking for an affordable planer, this is a good start.
Wen 13-Inch Planer
Estimated Price: $255
The Wen is the most affordable on our list and is rated very highly by the consumer. The finished product of this unit leaves only moderate post-plane clean up.
The granite table provides a sturdy and non-marring surface, and the cast iron base limits the planer’s wobble. The Wen is also quick, turning out 26 feet of lumber per minute.
It also comes with a fan assist dust port and a 2-year warranty. This is by far the best bang for your buck!