We’ve all been there before, you finish a project, and just as you’re about to install it, you find that it’s too thick to fit smoothly. Usually, this happens when you’re trying to put up a poplar door or laying down some nice red cedar boards for your porch.
Of course, these are just some of the problems you’ll face when working on a woodwork project. That’s why you can always get a hand planer to help you mill the wood in the correct dimensions.
However, a hand planer is more than an easy fix. It’s a versatile woodworking tool that allows you to smooth, shape, and fix cupped wood.
So if you’re an aspiring woodworker, it’s never too late to invest in a quality hand planer – you’ll thank us later! In this article, we have a round-up of the eight best hand planers that can make your life easier.
1. Great Neck C4 Bench-Jack Plane
The Great Neck C4 is both a bench and jack plane that’s around 11-inches in length. Since the standard measurement for a bench plane is 9 to 22 inches, the Great Neck C4 comes somewhere in the middle.
However, it barely meets the standard criteria of 12 to 17 inches for a jack plane.
Regardless, the Great Neck C4 can smooth and square up rough lumber like any other jack. In addition, it’s pretty efficient at leveling longboards by removing their cups and twists.
The Great Neck is also more versatile than most standard jack planes, and of course, it’s more flexible than the larger jointer planer. Although it’s short by one inch, that actually adds to its versatility. Not to mention its dual wood handles that can help you pare off slices of wood from your projects with great precision.
Speaking of precision, one of the most significant advantages of the Great Neck C4 is its lateral and adjustable blade. Pair that with the aforementioned dual handles, and you’ll have a planer that easily adjusts to your needs.
One note of complaint we have about the Great Neck is its condition – particularly its blade. We noticed that you would end up with less than a smooth finish if you don’t prep the edge by sharpening it. This is why we recommend you sharpen the blade first – we did, and it turned out great, although it did take us a few hours. Plus, it seemed to maintain the sharpness for quite some time.
- It has great versatility
- Good at removing cups and twists from wood
- It has excellent depth and lateral adjustment
- The planer comes with a dull blade
- It needs decent tuning
2. JELLAS 7.5Amp Power Planer
When it comes to electric planers, the JELLAS Power Planer is probably the best you’ll get. Its high-power motor allows it to trim wood to your desired thickness in seconds. This can save you a significant amount of time on large-scale projects such as building tables and door frames.
On top of that, the planer is equipped with three different chamfer grooves. These provide you with a smooth and stylish finish for your wood projects without having to sacrifice detail or efficiency.
Aside from the chamfer grooves and high-power motor, the JELLAS Power Planer has various other intuitive features that make it easy to use for hardworking artisans.
For starters, it boasts an ergonomic handle with a push lever, both of which allow for a firm grip on the planer. With the vacuum bag in the package, you’ll also have better control over the JELLAS and won’t have to worry about sweeping sawdust.
The JELLAS Power Planer has a safety feature in the shape of a lock-off button, which prevents it from accidentally turning on. A fence is also included with the planer, which you may use to keep your tool straight while running it through a long sweep.
Finally, there’s the depth gauge, which lets you adjust the cutting depth from 0 to ⅛ of an inch. We would caution you, however, that you must slow down once it passes 0.06 inches.
To avoid damaging the power tool, you’ll need to lessen the speed while also pushing at a consistent pace. Regardless, if you damage your JELLAS Power Planer, spare parts are included in the package to help you out.
The JELLAS Power Planer’s only criticism is that, with the recent trend of cordless power planers, it would have been ideal to incorporate this functionality in the JELLAS.
- The planer is versatile
- It is efficient and easy to use
- Offers an ergonomic and intuitive design
- It is a corded power planer
- It comes with a limited warranty
3. WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
The WEN 6530 is a valuable electric planer for smoothing and flattening any uneven boards you might have. Its blade can pare away chips and splinters from your boards while also flushing them. As a result, it’s an excellent corded-electric alternative to a manual jack planer.
However, referring to the WEN as a replacement for anything would be a disservice to its features.
Similar to the JELLAS, it includes a reversible dust bag that collects sawdust, making cleaning more straightforward and efficient. Like most other power planers, it also features a fence bracket to make long sweeps easier.
The WEN also has chamfer grooves like the JELLAS, but in addition to that, it comes with a rabbeting guide. This allows you to make rabbet grooves easier than before, which is especially useful for building a table frame or bookcase.
Since you have two blades to choose from – as well as a blade adjustment wrench to help you swap them out – you’ll never get enough of the WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer. Furthermore, the 2-year warranty on this power tool alleviates any concerns you may have.
Overall, the WEN 6530 is a reliable power planer that can save you a significant amount of time.
However, it is not without its flaws.
Since there is no push handle, most artisans would have to grip the adjustment knob instead. Moreover, the lack of a way to lock the knob in place causes unevenness on the board.
To get around this issue, we recommend getting a supplementary push handle with the WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer.
- It features chamfer grooves and rabbeting guides
- The planer is fast and easy to use
- It comes with a 2-year warranty
- The planer doesn’t come with a push handle
- There’s no way to lock the knob in place
4. STANLEY Hand Planer
We have a soft spot in our hearts for manual bench planes since they’re satisfying and straightforward to operate. Compared to their electric counterparts, they also have the unique feeling of having greater control over how you use the planer.
The STANLEY is another excellent manual bench planer, which we picked because of its long-lasting steel blade and intuitive push handle. This ergonomically designed resin grip and push handle make it particularly easy to use the STANLEY.
This planer is 13 inches long, which is comparable to the length of an average bench plane (9 to 22 inches). This is beneficial if you’re looking to score long sweeps with ease. You also have precise control over the depth and alignment of the blade, allowing you to fine-tune the STANLEY to your liking.
Furthermore, STANLEY’s epoxy coated cast iron body ensures that it is built to last and strong enough to handle hickory. You can also use it to treat softwoods, such as western red cedar.
Having said that, the STANLEY does require some attention. In particular, you will need to sharpen its tempered blade. In this case, we recommend running it through a 1000/6000 grit whetstone.
Besides that, you may need to use sandpaper to flatten the sole and align the blade. Once you’ve worked that out, the STANLEY will work its magic on any wood projects you choose.
- It is an excellent bench planer
- It is durable and comfortable to use
- The planer is relatively affordable
- The blade needs sharpening
- You will need to fine-tune it for best results
5. PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer
The PORTER-CABLE is a high-performance planer that can compete with many of the other planers on this list. It boasts a heavy-duty 6-amp motor similar to the WEN 6530 but is 1.5-amps less than the JELLAS power planer.
What it lacks in power, it makes up for in durability. In addition, PORTER-CABLE offers a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on their power planer to show their confidence in the quality of their products. Regardless, the 3-year warranty is a pretty good deal since you can replace any damaged parts of the PORTER-CABLE planer at a moment’s notice.
In terms of components, the PORTER-CABLE has a 3 ¼ inch wide double blade similar to the JELLAS and WEN 6530. This translates to a power planer that can efficiently perform long passes on boards as wide as 3 inches. However, in our experience, anything wider than 3 inches requires some level of fine-tuning to get right – else, you’ll wind up with an uneven board.
Essentially, the power planer has an excellent feel to it. The hard plastic used for the body is smooth and seamless, making the ergonomic handle easy to hold and operate. In terms of design, it shares the same dual-sided extraction as the two previous power planers.
Unfortunately, what it’s missing is a dust bag to collect the sawdust. It also doesn’t have any spare blades, making it less generous than the cheaper JALLAS power planer. However, these are minor quibbles that can be mitigated by simply purchasing a dust bag for the PORTER-CABLE. Also, in our opinion, having spare parts included with the purchase is unnecessary given the 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Overall, the PORTER-CABLE is a reliable power planer with a guarantee that it will serve you well for several years.
- It is a solid power planer
- It has an ergonomic and durable build
- Comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- There is no dust bag included in the package
- It doesn’t come with any spare parts
6. KAKURI Block Plane Pull Plane
If you’re looking for something slightly different with your hand planer, then the Japanese-made KAKURI block plane is a great option. Based on its name alone, this hand planer operates differently than other comparable planers. Rather than making forward passes on wood, you pull on the block plane instead. The rationale behind this unusual approach is that it requires less effort on the part of the artisan, enabling the tool to accomplish most of the job.
The KAKURI pull plane’s superbly honed blade, sharpened by high-quality carbon steel, also contributes to its simplicity of use. The KAKURI’s blade is just one example of the exquisite artistry that went into its creation. Even the body is crafted by a team of skilled craftsmen.
The end product is a sturdy and easy-to-use block plane that can pare off everything from the thinnest layer of wood on your board to the thickest hardwood shavings. In addition, the sharpness of the KAKURI’s blade will last even after extensive use, eliminating the need for touch-ups. The hollow grind of the KAKURI’s relatively thick blade is why it retains its sharpness.
Its compact size will not only amaze you with how strong it is, but you’ll also appreciate how simple it is to store in a toolbox in case you need to bring it with you.
The only nitpick we have with the KAKURI is the level of skill required to use it. For example, doing long pull passes is more usual compared to forward passes. This is why the KAKURI needs a bit of adjustment on the part of the craftsman, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to use than other planes.
- It offers great versatility
- Comes with a durable blade
- It offers long-lasting sharpness
- The planer requires a certain skill level for efficient use
- The block body is uncomfortable to use
7.BOSCH PL1632 Power Planer
The Bosch PL 1632 is a powerful and versatile power planer. These qualities, along with the 6.5-amp motor, come through in its performance, allowing it to remove stock and provide a flawless finish on any of your wood projects. But, of course, it also produces a consistent finish, thanks to its dual-mount guide fence bracket and counterbalanced blade design.
The PL 1632 includes a machined groove for chamfering, allowing artisans to produce sloping edges at the corners of doors and doorframes. Outside of its machined groove, it also features a reversible wood razor micro grain carbide blade, which you may use to handle wood boards with nails and staples.
It can also withstand fracture from nails and staples thanks to its tungsten-carbide blade, which is sharper than regular blades.
In terms of durability, the PL 1632 has a poly micro-V drive belt that enhances its longevity. Simply put, it enables longer passes without overheating or taxing the system. Bosch also wanted to provide some level of luxury to its loyal customers, which is why they included a dust bag (which they refer to as a shaving bag) and opted for a ball-joint cord design for the PL 1632’s power cable.
This ball-joint cord allows it to swivel freely, which is essential since you can use the PL 1632 may be used horizontally, and a ball-joint cord prevents the power cable from becoming strained due to twisting.
Even though it only comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, which pales in comparison to the 3-year warranty offered by the PORTER-CABLE, we must also keep in mind that Bosch has already provided accessories that PORTER-CABLE did not.
- It offers excellent versatility with equal power
- Equipped with a tungsten-carbide blade & chamfered groove
- It comes with a shavings bag
- It has a single-side dust outlet
- There is no auxiliary push handle
8. DEWALT DCP580B Brushless Electric Planer
We, too, wanted to see how the DCP580B held up compared to its competitors. In our experience, the overall performance of the DEWALT DCP580B is pretty decent. It can complete numerous long passes without the need to recharge its battery. It can also shave stocks off wood surfaces and smooth them out.
With its finely machined groove on the front shoe, it also allows for chamfering corners.
Like any decent power planer, the DEWALT DCP580B also comes with a kickstand that allows the craftsman to rest the planer on any surface without fear of it chiseling the wood it’s on.
The DEWALT DCP580B should have been the best middle ground between a manual and power planer, but unfortunately, it isn’t without its flaws.
For starters, it has a lot of negative feedback from unsatisfied customers who complain about its poor adjustment knob. Although the product also garnered some outstanding reviews, we can’t deny that the depth adjustment knob caused us some issues as well.
Aside from the adjustment knob, there is also the matter of the battery not being included with the purchase and having to be bought separately. It also didn’t come with a charger, which was somewhat understandable.
However, the DEWALT DCP580B came with a fence bracket, a user’s guide, and a blade wrench. These are just some of the necessities that a power planer needs. On top of that, it also has a 3-year limited warranty.
- Offers great versatility
- It is a cordless power plane
- It comes with a 3-Year warranty
- The adjustment knob could use some work
- Its batteries are sold separately
Now that you’ve read about the best hand planers available in the market, here are some factors you must consider when looking for the ideal product.
Amp & Voltage
The average power planer features a 6-amp, 120-volt motor. This is the benchmark for us when looking for a decent power planer since the lower we go, the slower it becomes.
Naturally, we’d like something with a high ampacity, such as the JELLAS with its 7.5-amp motor, but anything in the 6-amp range does a reasonably good job.
Spare parts are uncommon when purchasing a power planer or even a manual planer. If the blade on your planer turns dull, the most you can hope for is a spare replaceable blade.
However, as we’ve seen with the JELLAS and some other power planers we’ve looked at, they include some replacement parts and even specialized blade wrenches that you can use when replacing the blades on your planer.
For us, the standard power cord length that a power planer should have is at least 10ft, and anything less than 6ft is criminally short. This is because if you ever want to tackle larger wood projects, you will need a fairly lengthy power cord.
Unfortunately, the WEN 6530 and the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer have just that, a 6ft short cord. On the other hand, the JELLAS Power Planer and the Bosch PL 1632 feature a 10-foot long power cord.
But then again, why settle for a corded power planer when you can invest in a cordless power planer like the DEWALT DCP580B?
Sharpness, endurance, and versatility are the three properties of an excellent planer blade. As a result, choosing the best hand planer means picking one with a good blade. Just think of the KAKURI with its thick and hollow grind blade.
Alternatively, several of the power planers on this list have machine grooves for chamfering. The versatile WEN 6530 with its added rabbeting guide or the durable Bosch PL 1632 with its robust tungsten-carbide blade were our picks for the best hand planers with a decent blade.
The inclusion of miscellaneous items in the purchase of any planer can have a significant influence on quality. Take, for example, the JELLAS power planer that comes with a dust bag and a slew of other accessories to make tackling wood projects a lot easier for artisans.
This is why we were somewhat disappointed with the lack of accessories in the PORTER-CABLE Hand planer and the DEWALT DCP580B.
1. What should you do before using a planer?
Before you start any operations or projects, make sure you know and understand the nature of the power tool you’re using. For this purpose, we strongly advise you to read the manual since it will also inform you of the limitations of the hand planer.
2. What is the difference between a jointer and a hand planer?
Jointers are designed to be used to square a single edge and flatten a single face to perfection. Planers are used to ensure a consistent thickness and create parallel surfaces.
3. What should you do before you turn on your power planer?
There are a couple of things to double-check before you start using your power planer. First, are the blades adjusted to the proper cutting depth? Second, is the blade correctly aligned? Third, is the fence bracket anchored in the appropriate position? And lastly, are the parts in good working condition?
4. What should you avoid when using a hand planer?
You should avoid planing any wood that has nails, staples, or other foreign objects. Even if the kickstand is popped up, do not leave your power planer running unattended. Also, try not to overstress/overheat your power planer by continuously making long passes without breaks.
We hope that this information helped assist you in choosing a suitable power or manual planer. And, if any of these items pique your attention, they’re all available on Amazon.
If you’re still uncertain, our best pick would have to be the JELLAS Power Planer. Not only is it a high-quality power planer that works well in all areas, but it also comes with a plethora of useful accessories that make woodworking a breeze.
However, if you’re looking for the ultimate reliable brand, our alternative pick would be the Bosch PL 1632 Power Planer. Though it doesn’t come with as many attachments as the JELLAS, it’s equal in terms of performance despite having a 6.5-amp motor.
Moreover, its tungsten-carbide blade is already pretty convincing. The blade is strong enough to handle nails and staples, while simultaneously being sharp enough to cut through them.