Being new to the woodworking world does not mean that you are necessarily naïve because you will need a good planer. With so many options, it can be tough to choose. However, there are several that stand out among the rest.
You should separate hand and bench planers when trying to determine which is best for beginners. Depending on what you are looking for, you can find high-quality products from Dewalt, Porter-Cable, Craftsman, Powertec, Wen, and Makita. To choose, look for power, thickness, width, portability, and blade type.
To make this a little easier for you, we have broken down our top reviews of the 3 best hand planers for beginners as well as the 8 best benchtop planers for beginners. If you are looking for a high-quality planer to get started, these lists will encompass what you should look for. Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look.
3 Best Hand Planers for Beginners
Before you can get started choosing the right type of planer for your beginning woodworking adventures, it is important to recognize the different types of planers available. These include hand, portable, thickness, jointer/planer combinations, and benchtop planers. Realistically, if you are looking for a simple planer to get started, you will want to choose between a hand planer and a benchtop planer.
While hand planers run parallel to the edge of the wood and are, as made clear by their name, held in your hand, benchtop planers remain stationary and perform more powerful cuts at a larger depth. Both should be used by being placed on a flat surface.
Still, hand planers can be incredibly helpful when you are working with a project that requires portability from your hand planer. They are most often lightweight and easier to maneuver than other types of planers. They can be used for doing trim work in your home or other types of projects that require a less deep planing job.
Let’s look at the 3 best hand planers for beginners:
The Dewalt Hand Planer, 7-Amp, 3 ¼” DW680K is consistently ranked as one of the top-performing hand planers for beginners. Its powerful 7-Amp rating provides 15,000 RPM allowing for an efficient planing process. Additionally, it has a depth capacity of 3/32” allowing for fewer passes typically required by this planer.
This hand planer option uses steel straight blades that are resharpenable, but it also accepts new blades. Its blades are also reversible, meaning you can move both forward and backward with this planer, allowing for an even more efficient planing experience.
Additionally, it has a depth adjustment knob that allows more precision and accuracy in its overall performance. This, among its lightweight portability, enhances this hand planer as a top pick among professional and amateur woodworkers alike.
If you are looking for a perfect hand planer for framing, trim work, or edging projects, this hand planer is sure to satisfy your desires. Regardless of your needs as a beginner woodworker, the Dewalt Hand Planer is a powerful, portable option that can pack a punch with its 3 ¼” width.
The Porter-Cable Hand Planer, 6-Amp, 5/64” PC60THP option is another powerful hand planer that can provide a deep cut for your hand-planing needs. Its 6-Amp power system (optimal for moderate to high-power jobs) provides you with 16,500 RPM.
This is a great hand planer if you are planning to work on edging or other types of planing needs that require portability. Considering this hand planer only weighs 8.28 pounds, you are sure to be able to transport it from your workshop to your worksite as long as you have a plug available.
Along with that, this tool is particularly well-known (and beloved) because of its dust port. When you are working with a planer, you are sure to kick up a lot of dust. Trying to keep your work site clean, safe, and consequently operational requires you to get rid of the dust created by your planer. With this hand planer, you can watch as the planer does the cleanup work for you.
Finally, the two carbide cutting blades provide an efficient job, particularly when working with the 10 positive step adjustment knob allowing for greater precision on the job. This, along with the 3 chamfering grooves, will allow you to achieve your desired results in no time.
The Makita KP0800 3 1/14” Planer is another outstanding option in terms of reliability, performance, and endurance when it comes to hand planers. This machine operates on 6.5-Amps providing you with 17,000 RPM for a consistently smooth finish that is sure to be pleased with.
Along with its ability to plane a width of 3 ¼”, it is also capable of cutting 3/32” deep with one pass over your wood. This is done with its two knife cutting blades which are replaceable, although some users have reported a bit of finagling required for the switch- something that will just take a few extra moments.
Notably, one of the most frequently reported favorite parts about this hand planer was how quiet it performs. Of course, like any power tool, it still makes a bit of noise. However, since it is a Makita brand, a high-quality brand known for its less noisy tools, this runs true for this particular model.
You can also find its upgraded counterpart (the Makita KP0810) with just a few additional features along with this hand planer. With either of these hand planers, you are sure to be set for cutting down hardwoods with moderate to heavy amounts of cutting on a variety of types of wood.
8 Best Benchtop Planers for Beginners
Benchtop planers are another type of planer that is common among beginners. This makes sense considering the approach that they have to level out the unevenness in your woodworking projects.
Specifically, benchtop planers work with straight or spiral blades to perform a wider and deeper cut than hand planers. You will also find benchtop thickness planers that are specifically designed to level out wood to a certain thickness- much more in-depth than a hand planer is capable of achieving.
Benchtop planers are perfect for beginners looking to get a little more serious with their woodworking projects. If you are tired of spending hours on hours of sanding without end, it is time to upgrade to a planer- and a benchtop planer can successfully ramp up your woodworking game. Let’s take a look at the 8 best benchtop planers on the market.
The Dewalt Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12 ½” (DW734) is one of the most powerful and well-versed planers on the market. This benchtop planer, with its 15-Amp power system, can provide you with 20,000 RPM for an ultra-fine cut on even the hardest of woods. Along with this, its 12 ½” width capacity, ⅛” maximum cut depth, and 6” depth capacity, provide for an efficient planing project.
Along with the power and dimensions, this planer has a long feeder table at 33 ½”, providing the ultimate support for long lumber pieces. So, if you are sending several long planks through your planer, you can rest assured that this machine can do the job well.
This machine also has a high accuracy and depth perception as it uses a material-removal gauge and an extra-large thickness scale. These help to ensure that the cut you are intending is the cut you receive. While its three-knife cutter head (with disposable blades) provides an efficient cut, these features (among others) help to ensure its high level of accuracy and achievement.
The WEN 6550T 15-Amp 12 ½” Corded Benchtop Thickness Planer is another reliable option if you are looking to take off a considerable amount of thickness on your hardwoods. Specifically, this machine has a maximum depth capacity sitting of 6”, so you should be good to go when it comes to cutting your wood to a smooth, even depth.
Plus, it can get the job done with high efficiency. The WEN 6550T running on its 15-Amp system can provide 18,000 RPM, meaning you will achieve a fine cut on your wood in no time. Plus, with the use of its two-knife cutter head system, you can rest assured that your lumber will come out looking how you want it to.
Along with this, it also has installation magnets and index pins to provide you with enhanced accuracy and performance- something highly desirable when you are spending time, money, and energy on sanding down a beautiful piece of wood.
Another interesting feature of this benchtop thickness planer is its dust port combined with the granite feeder table. Both of these features work together to provide you with a dust-free machine in which you can safely plane your lumber.
A step up from the previous Dewalt thickness planer mentioned, the Dewalt 13-inch Thickness Planer, Three-Knife, Two-Speed (DW735X). Running on 15-Amps, this planer will provide you with 20,000 RPM motor capacity (a 10,000 RPM cutter speed), leaving your planing projects completed in no time.
In addition to its power, this machine can provide you with speed as it has a 2-speed gearbox allowing you to choose if you would like to work slower or quicker. This can be particularly helpful when you are running a new type of lumber through your machine in that it tests the performance at a slower rate before you decide to ramp it up.
This planer uses a three-knife cutter head, which extends the life of the knives in your planer. This, consequently, means less sharpening or replacing, so you can stick to what you do best instead of wasting your time on this hassle. But, even when it is time to change the blades, you will find that this particular planer is incredibly user-friendly, and the blade changing process does not take very much work or time.
Another incredible benchtop thickness planer from WEN, the WEN 6552 3-blade, 15-Amp, 13-inch Benchtop Thickness Planer, is an upgrade from the previous WEN product that made this list the best benchtop planers for beginners. If you are looking for a product that will help elevate your woodworking from the start, this option is a solid choice.
The WEN 6552 13-inch Benchtop Thickness Planer raises the bar by an additional half inch from the WEN 6550T option. Along with this, it also provides a powerful job well done at 15-Amps providing 25,000 RPM- one of the most powerful benchtop thickness planers on the market.
This planer for beginners is also incredibly easy to use. It has a depth adjustment knob that allows for precision and accuracy on your planing jobs as it adjusts up to 3/32” depth capacity. But, you can rely on its precision through this knob as you make adjustments within that range.
In addition to this, this planer is also well known for its efficiency as its three-blade cutter head allows for a quickly achieved cut with one pass on your lumber.
You will also find a dust port that uses a fan to remove the sawdust that your product kicks up completely. Keep in mind, though, that this product should be used carefully to avoid snipe that it might cause otherwise. All in all, this is a highly regarded planer that can help you to achieve almost any beginner project (and beyond) in your woodworking workshop.
Powertec has another reliable model for a benchtop thickness planer that is particularly noted for its portability. The Powertec PL1251 15-Amp, two-blade, 12 ½” benchtop thickness planer meets the mark for a high-quality benchtop thickness planer for beginners- especially those working with small to medium-sized projects.
The Powertec PL1251 benchtop thickness planer uses its 15-Amp system to provide 18,800 RPM with a two-knife cutting head with relatively simple replacement blades. Along with its power and efficiency, this benchtop thickness planer is also well-known for its support that provides an option to input various types and sizes of wood.
Using its 6” depth capacity and 3/32” cutting depth capacity, you can cut down a pretty sizable piece of wood using this portable planer. And, speaking of portability, this is likely the reason that this benchtop planer has become more popular. It has handles incorporated onto the sides for the sole purpose of making it easier to transport.
Keep in mind with this option, though. You will need to purchase your own dust port as the collection dust port is not built into this model. Still, if you have this accompanying piece, it can stir up another reason why this option is a great planer for a beginner woodworker.
The Craftsman Benchtop Planer 15-Amp (CMEW320) is another impressive option to add to the list of best planers for beginners. This machine packs a punch with its 8,000 RPM and 16,000 cuts per minute- perfect for achieving an efficient cut on various types of lumber. It will do this cleanly with its two-knife cutter head with easily replaceable blades.
Craftsman is considered a staple in the world of power tools, and its benchtop planer does not fall short. Its carbon blades that are double-edged and reversible are sure to do the trick on various hard and softwoods, depending on which you are using for your woodworking project.
This machine operates uniquely in that it has a foldable feeder table. So, if you are someone who does not use their planer more than a few occasional times, you can keep the machine protected and out of the way of your other tools when you are done using it for your immediate woodworking task. This can go a long way in preventing it from gathering sawdust and becoming unclean, ineffective, and unsafe in this way.
With a maximum cut depth of 3/32” in a 6” depth capacity for the piece of wood, this machine is built to keep up with all of the other planers, and it exceeds the mark on many areas of performance.
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp steals the show with its width capacity, slightly exceeding many other planer options- something that might not seem like a critical difference to inexperienced woodworkers but something that beginners will soon find out.
The Makita 2012NB planer uses its 15-Amp system to power an 8,500 RPM system for efficient cuts on wider lumber pieces. This machine uses disposable double-edged cutter blades that are interchangeable- perfect for when your blade begins to become dull (or preventing this from happening in the first place).
Additionally, its unique Interna-Lok automated head clamp is an innovative solution to the age-old problem with planers: it is there to prevent snipe that can often ruin the hard work and dedication you have put into your woodworking project.
As you use the Makita 2012NB, you will also likely be impressed by the decreased noise level with this planer compared to many other machines. While it still makes noise well recognized enough to be a power tool, it will pleasantly surprise you at its quietness compared to most- something that all of the people in your household will appreciate.
The Porter-Cable 15-Amp, 12-Inch Benchtop Planer (PC305TP) is the last on the list but certainly not the least in impressive planers for beginner woodworkers. This machine is an impressive one considering its 8,000 RPM providing 16,000 cuts per minute with its two-knife cutter head system.
Considering these two-knife cutter blades are double-edged and reversible, you are sure to see an extended life on your blades and system, too. And, since they are easily replaceable, you should not have any issues there. This, along with the 1/16” cutting depth capacity, helps you achieve the ideal cut you are looking for on various types of wood.
However, likely one of the most impressive features of this benchtop planer is the feeder that it uses- not just because of the high-quality materials but because of the speed at which it can feed wood through the planer.
Whether you intend to do the project quickly or not, this machine can feed your lumber through the machine effectively and efficiently while the blades provide a smooth finish on your beautiful lumber. We all know how much productivity matters, and this planer can help you achieve that in your beginner woodworking shop.