The 7 Best Benchtop Planers

Updated September 05, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

7 Best Benchtop Planers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Not only ideal for ensuring lumber is at the same thickness, benchtop planers can also be used to get square stock integrated with beadboard for thickness and reveal, and for dressing out rough stock to prepare for gluing on furniture pieces. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best benchtop planer on Amazon.

7. Wen 6550

The granite table on the Wen 6550 is as sturdy a surface as you will come by in the category, which ought to keep you from getting any unwanted nicks or scratches in the underside of your board. It comes in 12-1/2" and 13" width configurations.
  • weighted base for stability
  • tight head alignment
  • difficult blade changes
Brand WEN
Model 6550
Weight 79 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Dewalt DW734

In addition to the three year warranty that comes with the Dewalt DW734 each unit provides you with a full year of free service on the machine and a 90-day money back guarantee, effectively reducing any and all risk in your investment.
  • reversible cutters
  • 6-inch depth capacity
  • rollers gunk up quickly
Brand DEWALT
Model DW734
Weight 83.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Grizzly G0505

The Grizzly G0505 pumps 10,000 RPM out of a 2 horsepower motor. The unit's thermal overload protection will keep it from overheating. In the event of a dangerous rise in operating temperature, the power will automatically cut itself off, preventing any kind of burnout.
  • exceptionally deep maximum cuts
  • safety lock on run switch
  • insufficient dust collection options
Brand Grizzly
Model G0505
Weight 78 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Delta Power Tools 22-555

Both the infeed and the outfeed surfaces are adjustable on the Delta Power Tools 22-555, which means you can feed in longer pieces of lumber with better support and a significant reduction in snipe. Its dust port is reversible for additional cleanup.
  • disposable knife system
  • four-column height adjustment
  • inexpensive table material
Brand Delta
Model 22-555
Weight 66.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Dewalt DW735X

The Dewalt DW735X features a set of fan-assisted chip ejection vacuums designed to remove unwanted debris from the cutter head, exhausting it safely out of the machine. It boasts a 30% longer knife life than the industry average.
  • dual speed gear box
  • automatic carriage lock
  • extra large turret depth
Brand DEWALT
Model DW735X
Weight 105 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Powertec PL1251

The Powertec PL1251 prioritizes portability in its build, with a pair of side-mounted carrying handles giving you an easy grip on the 63-1/2 lb. unit. A spindle lock creates a much safer environment for changing out the sharp elements.
  • gauge-free blade replacement
  • 9400 rpm head speed
  • 800 cuts per minute
Brand POWERTEC
Model PL1251
Weight 63.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Jet JPM-13CS

With its 1-1/2 horsepower motor built into the base of the unit, the Jet JPM-13CS has a lighter, more precise cutter head fitted with three full-width knives retained by 3-part wedge-shaped gibs. Its 115-volt motor can simply be rewired to 230 volts, if required.
  • two feed rate options
  • cast iron platform
  • five-year warranty
Brand Jet
Model 708524
Weight 258 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

What To Consider When Choosing A Benchtop Planer

The goal of using a bench top planer is to produce smooth boards that require minimal finish sanding, and boards of a specific thickness to fit whatever application you have planned. Because of this, any benchtop planer that can't produce smooth boards accurately at a specific thickness won't serve its main purpose.

The first step is to identify which models will most likely produce the least amount of snipe. Snipe is a noticeably deeper cut at the beginning and end of a planed board. It results from the board moving up and down as it passes through the planer. All models will produce some snipe — it is almost inevitable — but this can usually be removed with some simple sanding. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the infeed and outfeed boards, the less snipe a machine will create and the less sanding you will have to do. Models that automatically lock the cutter head can also significantly minimize snipe.

Board scallop is another common unwanted effect that poor quality benchtop planers produce. Scallop refers to a ripple-like effect carved into a board as it works its way past the cutters. The number of rollers, knife speed, and feed speed all play a role in board scallop. Since no one wants planing their boards to take forever, we must find a compromise between feed rate and scalloping. A higher number of rollers and cuts per inch allows for a faster feed rate, without causing noticeable scalloping. Motor power will also effect how quickly a machine can smoothly cut a board. Units with weaker motors may bog down if you try and cut too deeply on a single pass. They may also have trouble on wider stock.

Next, one should look at the depth gauges and stops. A clearly marked depth gauge helps you to more accurately adjust the cut to match your specifications. You should also choose a model that allows for fine depth adjustments to the cutting depth. This can help minimize the possibility of tear-outs. An adjustable depth-stop allows the user to set a minimum thickness to ensure a board is never cut too thin.

For convenience's sake, one should also look at the dust collection options each particular model offers. Some units have a fan that blows dust and chips away from them cutter to improve its performance, but these can be messy. Units with a vacuum-assisted dust port that you can attach a collection bag to can help cut down on clean up and improve performance simultaneously.

Helpful Tips For Using A Benchtop Planer

Following a few simple tips can help ensure that you get the best results from your benchtop planer. Many people new to using a planer often wind up with tear-outs in their board. A tear-out is what happens when a planers knife catches in the wood and rips the fiber upwards rather then cutting it. The two main causes for this are trying to cut too deep on a single pass and feeding the board into the machine the wrong way. Always feed a board so that the cutter head cuts with the grain and not against it. If you are still getting tear-outs when feeding with the grain, adjust the depth to make shallower cuts.

If working on reclaimed wood, always inspect the stock first and remove any leftover metal, such as screws, nails, and staples. Passing a board into your planer with metal in it is a surefire way to damage the blades. A single encounter with a screw head can be all it takes to nick an expensive blade. You should also clean reclaimed boards with a wire brush to remove dirt and grime.

Since snipe is almost inevitable, the best way to deal with it is to leave an extra couple of inches of length on your boards. Then, after they have been planed, you can simply cut them down to size, which should also remove any snipe. Another option is to feed an unneeded sacrificial board into the planer first. You can then press your next board directly against its end and continue this process board after board. When you get to the end, follow it up with another sacrificial board. The planer will treat everything as one long board and only snipe the first and last boards. The key to doing this is to make sure all of your boards are pressed end to end as they feed into the machine.

Staying Safe When Using A Benchtop Planer

Safety should be a top priority any time you use power tools, doubly so when using a power tool that contains a blade. To help you keep all of your fingers in place, we have complied a handy list of guidelines to help you stay safe when using your new benchtop planer.

Always check to make sure your machine is switched off before plugging it in. You should also always switch off and unplug a planer when you are finished with it. This helps minimize the possibility of a child accidentally turning it on. You should also unplug a planer when changing out the blades.

When a machine is up and running, never look into the infeed or outfeed. It is possible that a chunk could come flying out, which could potentially hit you in the eye. You should keep your hands at least three inches away from the infeed and outfeed at all times. Boards that are shorter than the distance between the infeed and outfeed, or those that are less than 1/4" thick, should never be passed through a benchtop planer. If a board gets stuck for any reason, do not try and force it. Instead, switch off and unplug the machine. Then raise the cutterhead (or lower the bed) and remove the stock.

It is important to wear the proper clothing and safety equipment, as well. Always wear safety glasses, ear protection, and a dust mask. Clothing should not be too loose that it hangs down or it could potentially get caught in the rollers. One should generally refrain from wearing dangling jewelry, like bracelets and necklaces, when operating a benchtop planer.



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Last updated on September 05, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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