The 10 Best Planers

Updated June 20, 2018 by Richard Lynch

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
By letting you produce straight edging, perfectly square rabbet joints, and accomplishing tasks necessary for other framing applications, among a myriad of woodworking uses, planers are an essential tool for recreational and professional carpenters. Find the perfect one for your home workshop or business from our selection that includes budget models through to industrial-grade tools. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best planer on Amazon.

10. Wen 6530

The Wen 6530 is not the most powerful or durable model, but at roughly the price of a one-day tool rental, it can certainly fit the bill if you don't need to do a lot of planing. It is very lightweight, however, and comes with a handy rabbeting guide.
  • can flatten sharp post corners
  • integrated kickstand
  • depth gauge numbers are hard to read
Brand WEN
Model 6530
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Bosch PL2632K

With its micro-grain carbide blades, easy to adjust bevel guide fence, and 16,500 no-load RPMs, among other things, the Bosch PL2632K will get you an even, smooth finish every time. Plus, it has an ambidextrous lock-off release button to help avoid accidental starts.
  • backed by 1 year warranty
  • includes numerous accessories
  • heavier than other models
Brand Bosch
Model PL2632K
Weight 15.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Hitachi P20ST

At just 5.5 pounds, the Hitachi P20ST is one of the lightest models on the market, which helps to reduce hand fatigue and makes it an ideal choice if you're expecting long jobs. It also makes it easier to maneuver, so it's great for delicate detailing.
  • blades can be resharpened
  • accepts dust bag or vacuum
  • doesn't work well on uneven surfaces
Brand Hitachi
Model P20ST
Weight 12.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. DeWalt DW680K

From a leading name in power tools, the DeWalt DW680K is perfect for professional woodworkers who require precision and performance. It's powerful, well engineered, and accepts large resharpenable high speed steel blades for straight edging or framing applications.
  • also uses reversible carbide blades
  • includes a sturdy carrying case
  • does not include dust collector
Model DW680K
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Black & Decker 7698K

The Black & Decker 7698K is a decent residential model that will handle most jobs, but would probably be out of place on a commercial job site. It has a lock-on button that allows for extended use plus a 5/16" rabbeting depth capacity and chamfering groove for finish work.
  • high-torque motor
  • 4 reversible carbide blades
  • included dust bag is too small
Model 7698K
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Festool 574690 HL

Extremely well made and durable enough to last a lifetime, the Festool 574690 HL has a single knife cutter head with a spiral design, plus a replaceable cutting knife for smooth and quiet operation. Its a widely-respected industry standard-bearer that won't let you down.
  • dust collection ports on either side
  • unlimited rabbeting depth
  • a little pricey
Brand Festool
Model 574690
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. DeWalt DW734

The powerful DeWalt DW734 can be fed large sections of hardwood while placed on top of a table and the three knife cutter-head makes 96 cuts per inch for an incredible finish. If you're someone who has always wanted to make furniture at home, this is the option for you.
  • knives are easy to replace
  • locks to prevent snipe
  • dust hood clogs easily
Model DW734
Weight 83.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Triton TPL180

The Triton TPL180 is an industrial-grade tool with a unique triple blade head that results in smooth, accurate cutting during many different applications. Its extra wide, 7-inch planing width allows for material removal in a single pass, so you get the job done quicker.
  • 10-position depth control dial
  • adjustable bail handle
  • high 15000 rpm no-load speed
Brand Triton
Model TPL180
Weight 23.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Porter-Cable PC60THP

The Porter-Cable PC60THP is a good choice for home DIYers on a budget, but can also serve as a backup tool for professional carpenters. It has a large, over-molded control knob, so you can adjust cutting depth without having to take off your construction gloves.
  • heavy-duty 6 amp motor
  • can use any of 3 chamfering grooves
  • durable cast aluminum shoe
Model PC60THP
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Makita KP0810

The Makita KP0810 runs on a powerful 7.5 amp motor capable of planing a 3.25-inch strip of the densest wood without bogging down, so you know you'll always get a clean cut. The large front control knob features click stops in 0.1 mm increments for precise depth adjustment.
  • operable from both sides
  • double blade cutter head
  • includes guide rule and depth guide
Brand Makita
Model KP0810
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Choosing Your Perfect Planer

You could spend less than fifty dollars on a planer that many DIY enthusiasts might call an excellent, capable machine. You could also spend around $650 on a planer that professional carpenters will call a fine choice.

First, let's discuss high end planers. The more you pay for a planer, the more durability and versatility you can expect from the tool. That latter point is the more operative: a great handheld planer can be used with a variety of attachments to create a patterned "architectural" look on a floor or wall, enhancing the aesthetics of a space or even a piece of furniture long after it has been completed. So too can such planers be used to smooth an entire hardwood floor after installation or prior to refinishing. A powerful handheld planer will keep up its operating speed even when under full load, making it a viable option for flooring, framing, and other large scale projects. Pricier planers also tend to have excellent dust extraction capabilities, making them a fine choice for use in renovation projects.

The lower priced handheld planers are more than adequate for simple projects such as smoothing lumber before you build yourself a porch or a treehouse, or for resizing a few boards you will use to repair an old piece of furniture or to reframe a door. In short, if you are working with raw wood yet to be used in a project rather than repairing or refinishing a surface, then a cheaper planer is likely a fine choice.

Ultimately, the choice of which planer is right for you is predicated on the projects for which you will use it. If you work on professional jobs or you are refinishing an entire floor in your home, spend the cash on a tool that will let you work quickly and will minimize the risk of damaging wood that's hard to replace. If you're shaping lumber before a minor or recreational project, there's no reason to spend top dollar. If you will be making rabbet cuts, primarily used in furniture making or cabinetry, make sure the planer can make cuts of the size you need; any decent planer should be able to handle said type of cut and can save you time compared to using a table saw or other shaping method.

Safe And Proper Planing

Planing is one of those activities wherein everything can go wrong fast. If you are shaping a board to fit snugly into a piece of furniture, removing just one millimeter more material than intended can render the board useless. When working with pricier woods like walnut or ebony, that can be both a financial setback and a drain of time. The same can be true when you are preparing a piece of lumber to fit into a carefully designed frame, such as the woodwork that will support a staircase; when a board is going to play an important structural role, it has to be crafted perfectly.

Planing can seem easy once you have grown comfortable using your tools, but even if you are an experienced woodworker, it's a good idea to go about any planing project with the old carpenter's approach of: "Measure twice, cut once."

It's imperative that you keep your planer as clean as possible and that your sharpen or replace the blade as needed. Any bits of wood (or other dirt or grit) caught around the blade or adhering to the bottom of your planer can prevent the tool from sitting flush against the surface of the wood you are trying to shave, creating an uneven surface. A dull or damaged blade may create irregular planing patterns and may require more effort .

As with any power tool -- especially those with razor sharp blades often operating at tens of thousands of cuts per minute -- a person using a planer should be wearing work gloves. Eye protection is also advisable, as is a mask worn over the nose and mouth. The fine particulate matter a planer creates can be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, and can lead to serious health issues with prolonged unprotected exposure. And while a handheld planer usually won't produce decibel levels high enough to damage hearing, ear protection is still a fine idea for personal comfort and to hedge against the possibility of hearing issues.

A Look At Planers Past

A 21st Century carpenter should be thankful he or she is working today and not in centuries past. Modern tools make shaping wood easier than ever and open up new possibilities of design and craftsmanship. They also save a massive amount of time and effort.

Traditionally, planing wood was one of the most intense, thankless tasks a woodworker undertook. Shaping a piece of wood into a workable piece of lumber began with the laborious process of hewing the raw wood with an axe. Once it the log had been roughly shaped into a board, it would then be smoothed using a hand plane that consisted of an angled blade set into a housing made usually of wood, metal, or a combination of both.

Hand planes have been found in ruins dating from thousands of years ago, with examples turning up in Ancient Rome, Northern Europe, and beyond. The plane remained largely unchanged well into the modern era, save for innovations such as removable blades and angle adjustments.

Powered planers that used pressured air or electric motors to move blades housed within the plane were not seen until the early 20th Century. For most of human history, wood was smoothed thanks to the effort of a person leaning into their plane and hauling it back and forth across the surface of the wood they wished to work into shape.

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Last updated on June 20, 2018 by Richard Lynch

Richard grew up in the part of New York state that doesn’t have any tall buildings. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time reading and playing video games. A massive fan all things sci-fi, he’ll happily talk with you for hours about everything from the deserts of Arrakis to the forests of Endor.

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