Introduction to Benchtop Planers
Benchtop planers are versatile woodworking machines that are designed for flattening, smoothening, and thicknessing rough lumber. They work by removing thin layers of wood from the surface of a board or plank until it is perfectly flat and uniform in thickness.
These machines come in different sizes, but most benchtop models have a cutting width ranging from 10 to 13 inches. They also feature adjustable depth settings which allow you to control the amount of material being removed with each pass. This makes them suitable for both small- and large-scale projects.
One key advantage of using a benchtop planer is that it saves time and effort compared to hand-planing. It also delivers more accurate results as it removes material at an even rate across the entire length of the board.
Another benefit is that benchtop planers can be used on a variety of wood types including hardwoods, softwoods, plywood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), and other composites. This means you can achieve consistent results regardless of the type or quality of wood being worked on.
Overall, if you’re looking for an efficient way to flatten uneven boards or prepare stock for your woodworking project, investing in a reliable benchtop planer can help make your job easier while delivering professional-grade results.
Benefits of Using a Benchtop Planer
A benchtop planer is a versatile tool that can offer several benefits to woodworkers, furniture makers, and DIY enthusiasts. Here are some of the advantages of using a benchtop planer:
1. Smoothing Rough Lumber
The primary use of a benchtop planer is to smooth rough lumber and create flat, even surfaces on both sides. This process involves feeding the board through the machine while it shaves off thin layers from the surface until it reaches desired thickness or levelness.
2. Saving Time and Effort
Compared to hand-planing with traditional hand tools like planes and scrapers, using a benchtop planer saves time and effort as it can plane much larger boards in significantly less time. The machine’s motor does all the work for you, so you don’t have to strain your arms or back.
3. Precision Control
A good quality benchtop planer typically comes with an adjustable cutting depth gauge that allows users to control how much material gets removed from each pass accurately. This feature provides precise control over the surface finish quality, making your woodworking projects look more professional.
4. Cost-Effective Solution
If you frequently work with rough-cut lumber but don’t want to pay premium prices for pre-surfaced stock or subcontract this job out regularly – investing in a quality benchtop planner can be an excellent cost-effective solution in the long run.
5. Customizable Finish Quality
Benchtop planners allow users to customize their finish quality by changing blades according to their project needs; this means they can choose between coarse or fine finishes depending on their requirements.
In conclusion, a benchtop planer can be an excellent investment for both hobbyists and professionals looking to save time and improve their woodworking projects’ precision. It offers several advantages over traditional hand-planing, including smoothing rough lumber, saving time and effort, precision control, cost-effectiveness, and customizable finish quality.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Benchtop Planer
Choosing the best benchtop planer can be a challenging task, especially if you are new to woodworking or have limited knowledge about different types of planers. However, with some basic information and understanding of the essential factors to consider, you can make an informed decision that meets your needs and budget. Here are some critical factors to keep in mind when choosing a benchtop planer:
1. Cutting Capacity
The cutting capacity refers to the maximum thickness of wood that the planer can handle. It is essential to choose a benchtop planer with adequate cutting capacity for your intended projects. For instance, if you mostly work on thin materials such as plywood or veneers, then a model with lower cutting capacity may suffice. But if you frequently work on thicker boards or hardwoods, then opt for a model with higher cutting capacity.
2. Motor Power
The motor power determines how efficiently and smoothly the machine operates while handling different types of woods at varying depths and widths. A powerful motor will not only ensure speedy performance but also prevent frequent stalling or bogging down during use.
3. Speed Settings
Different models come equipped with various speed settings designed to suit specific applications better. Some machines feature multiple speed options that allow users to adjust based on their needs while others offer fixed settings suitable for particular tasks like smoothing out rough surfaces.
4 .Dust Collection System
A dust collection system is crucial in keeping your workspace clean by capturing debris generated from planning activities before they spread around your workshop area.A good dust collection system should be efficient enough in capturing fine particles so as not endangering user’s health conditions.
The quality of the cutting blades is a crucial consideration as they determine the smoothness and accuracy of the finish. Look for models with high-quality, durable, and sharp blades that can handle various types of wood while maintaining optimal performance.
Budget plays a significant role in determining which benchtop planer to choose. Consider your budget when weighing features such as motor power, speed settings, dust collection system etc.It is important to note that some cheaper models may compromise on certain features or materials used hence it’s important to check whether it meets your intended usage before purchasing.
By considering these six essential factors – cutting capacity,motor power,speed settings,dust collection system,cutting blades and price- you can successfully select a benchtop planer that will meet your woodworking needs efficiently.
Types of Benchtop Planers
When it comes to benchtop planers, there are several different types available on the market. Each type has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to understand what each one offers in order to make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
1. Portable Planers – Portable planers are ideal for those who need to move their planer from job site to job site or don’t have a lot of space in their workshop. They’re lightweight and compact, making them easy to transport and store when not in use.
2. Stationary Planers – Stationary planers are larger than portable models and designed for use in a dedicated workshop setting. They offer more power, greater capacity, and better accuracy than portable models but require more space.
3. Jointer/Planer Combos – These machines combine both a jointer and a planer into one unit, allowing users to perform both functions without having to invest in two separate machines. This can be an excellent option for those with limited space or budget.
4. Helical Head Planers – Helical head planers use spiral-cutting heads instead of traditional straight blades, resulting in less tear-out on the wood surface and quieter operation overall.
5. Spiral Cutterheads with Carbide Inserts – The cutterhead spins rapidly while carbide inserts engage with the material being fed through the machine at high speed; this produces smooth surfaces that require minimal sanding time after machining is complete due primarily due inexpensive manufacturing costs associated with using replaceable inserts rather than resharpening blades over time like many other methods do!
Each type of benchtop planer has its pros and cons depending on your specific needs as well as budget constraints but any of these options will ensure professional-grade finishes effortlessly!
Top Brands of Benchtop Planers
When it comes to benchtop planers, there are several top brands that consistently produce high-quality products. These brands have earned a reputation for reliability and durability, making them popular choices among both professional and amateur woodworkers.
DEWALT is one of the most well-known names in power tools, and their benchtop planers are no exception. Their planers are known for their precision, speed, and durability. They typically come with powerful motors that can handle even the toughest materials with ease.
Makita is another trusted brand in the power tool industry, and their benchtop planers are highly regarded by woodworkers around the world. They offer a range of models with varying features to suit different needs and budgets.
3. Delta Power Tools
Delta Power Tools has been producing high-quality woodworking equipment since 1919, earning them a reputation as one of the most reliable brands in the industry. Their benchtop planers are known for their accuracy and versatility.
JET is another well-respected brand that produces some of the best benchtop planers on the market today. Their machines feature powerful motors, easy-to-use controls, and durable construction that make them ideal for both professional and novice woodworkers alike.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet dependable benchtop planer option, WEN may be worth considering. This brand offers a range of models at various price points to accommodate different budgets without sacrificing performance or quality.
No matter which brand you choose from this list, you can rest assured that you’re getting a high-quality benchtop planer that will help you achieve professional-level results in your woodworking projects.
Reviews of the Best Benchtop Planers on the Market
If you’re in the market for a benchtop planer, you want to make sure that you choose one that is reliable, efficient and produces high-quality results. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for your needs. To help simplify your decision-making process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best benchtop planers on the market today.
1. DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package
The DEWALT DW735X is an excellent choice for anyone looking for precision and power in their benchtop planer. The machine features a powerful 15-amp motor that can handle even tough hardwoods with ease. It also has two-speed settings – 96 cuts per inch (CPI) or 179 CPI – giving users more control over their workpiece finishes.
This package also includes an extra set of knives and an outfeed table extension that makes it easier to handle longer boards.
2. WEN 6552T Benchtop Thickness Planer
The WEN 6552T offers great value at an affordable price point without sacrificing quality or performance. This model has a powerful 15-amp motor capable of handling material up to six inches thick and twelve-and-a-half inches wide.
The machine’s granite table helps reduce snipe while also providing stability during use.
3. Makita 2012NB Benchtop Planer
Makita’s portable planer provides exceptional results thanks to its four-post design combined with its fast feed rate (28 feet per minute). The tool’s compact size makes it easy to move around job sites while producing smooth finishes up to 6-3/32 inches wide and 1/8 inch deep in a single pass.
The machine’s low noise level is also an added bonus, making it much more pleasant to use for extended periods of time.
4. Delta Power Tools 22-555 Benchtop Planer
The Delta Power Tools 22-555 is another great option for those looking for quality on a budget. It features a powerful motor that can handle boards up to six inches thick and thirteen inches wide with ease.
The model’s adjustable infeed and outfeed tables, combined with its precision knives, ensure accurate cuts every time while minimizing snipe.
5. Jet JWP-13BT Helical Head Benchtop Planer
If you’re willing to invest a little more money into your benchtop planer, the Jet JWP-13BT is worth considering. Featuring a helical cutter head with indexable carbide inserts, this machine produces incredibly smooth finishes while also reducing noise levels compared to other models.
Like the DEWALT DW735X package reviewed above, this planer comes with an extra set of knives as well as an integrated dust hood that helps keep your workspace clean during use.
No matter which benchtop planer you choose from our list of top-rated options, rest assured that each one has been carefully selected based on their reliability, efficiency and ability to deliver high-quality results in woodworking projects both big and small.
Tips for Using a Benchtop Planer Safely and Effectively
Using a benchtop planer can be an effective way to smooth rough lumber or create perfectly flat boards, but it’s important to use the tool safely. Here are some tips for using a benchtop planer effectively and avoiding accidents:
1. Wear Safety Gear
Always wear eye protection when operating power tools. In addition, you should wear ear protection as well as respiratory protection if you’re working with particularly dusty wood.
2. Don’t Force the Wood Through the Planer
If your board isn’t moving through the planing knives easily, don’t push harder on it – this could cause kickback or damage to both you and the machine. Instead, adjust the depth of cut so that less material is being removed at once.
3. Use Push Blocks
To keep your hands away from dangerous areas where they could get caught in the machine, use push blocks or sticks to guide your wood through the planer instead of pushing it with your hands.
4. Check Your Blades Regularly
A dull blade will not only give you sub-par results but also require more force to run which can make injury more likely due to kickback or other problems with operation.
5. Keep Your Workspace Clean and Organized
A cluttered workspace is not just frustrating – it’s also hazardous! Any obstacles around your work area are potential tripping hazards or objects that may fall into your device causing damage or injury during its operation so keeping things neat could help avoid all kinds of trouble down.’,
Maintenance and Care of your Benchtop Planer
Proper maintenance is crucial when it comes to the longevity of your benchtop planer. Here are some tips on how to take care of your machine:
Always make sure that your benchtop planer is clean before and after use. This will help prevent damage or wear-and-tear on the machine’s moving parts. Use a dry cloth or brush to remove any sawdust, chips, or debris from the surface area and around the blades.
The most important part of maintaining a benchtop planer is ensuring that its blades remain sharp. Dull blades can cause damage by tearing instead of cutting through wood fibers, creating rough surfaces instead of smooth ones. To keep them sharp, sharpen them regularly with a blade-sharpening tool or replace them altogether if they become too worn down.
Lubricating all moving parts is another essential aspect in taking care of your benchtop planer. Applying oil to chains, gears, bearings, and other vital components helps reduce friction and provides smoother operation as well as extending its lifespan.
Belt Tension Adjustment:
Regularly check the tension level in belts for proper operation by referring to manufacturer’s guidelines in the manual provided with your product.. If they are loose adjustment may be needed which should be done carefully so as not to over-tighten thereby causing further problems
By following these simple steps you can ensure that your benchtop planer stays in good working condition for years to come! It’s important always refer back to manufacturer’s recommendations for specific details on maintenance schedules so refer back constantly while handling this machine regularly
Conclusion and Final Thoughts on Benchtop Planers
After thorough research and analysis of various benchtop planers available in the market, it can be concluded that they are an excellent addition to any woodworking workshop. They are specifically designed for smaller projects and offer a great deal of convenience for both professional woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts.
When purchasing a benchtop planer, there are several factors to consider such as the size, power, cutting capacity, dust collection system, durability, brand reputation and price. It is recommended to opt for a model with at least 13 inches cutting width which provides more flexibility while working with larger pieces of wood.
The DeWalt DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer stands out as the best benchtop planer due to its exceptional features including powerful motor (15 amps), automatic carriage lock reducing snipe when planning material up to 6 inches thick. The machine also comes with extra blades allowing users to switch them quickly without interrupting their work.
Another great contender is the Jet JWP-13BT Helical Style Bench Top Planer which boasts high-quality cutter head consisting of 26 two-sided HSS inserts producing smooth cuts every time. Its heavy-duty cast iron construction ensures stability during operation reducing vibration leading to accurate results.
Overall, investing in a quality benchtop planer will save you money by producing precise cuts ensuring less waste discarded materials saving you both time and money over extended periods. With proper maintenance guidelines followed correctly your purchased unit should last years giving countless hours of enjoyment creating finished products from raw lumber or recycled wood alike.
Ben is one of the founders and editor of Structured Living HUB. His interests are automotive and architecture. For over 10 years he worked as a modular house contractor in the United States.