Last Updated on 2021-02-01 by Harry Masterton
If you’re looking to add to your inventory of power woodworking tools the best benchtop planer you can afford is a must buy. This is our top five rundown.
Trust us when we say buying the best benchtop planer you can afford for your workshop and you'll wonder how you managed without one!
Table Of Contents
- 1 The Best Benchtop Planer – Why You Need One
- 1.1 The best Benchtop Planer Reviews
- 1.2 DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer – Three Knife, Two speed, DW735X model
- 1.3 DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch
- 1.4 Porter Cable Pc305tpr Planer Review
- 1.5 CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer, 15-Amp CMEW320
- 1.6 WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
- 1.7 The Best Benchtop Thickness Planer – Recommended Buys
- 1.8 Best Buy For The Serious Woodworker – DEWALT Dw735x 13 Two Speed Thickness Planer Review
- 1.9 Best Mid Price Benchtop Thickness Planer – CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer
- 1.10 Best Budget Benchtop Thickness Planer – WEN 6552t Benchtop Thickness Planer
The Best Benchtop Planer – Why You Need One
Although relatively expensive the best benchtop planer will pay for itself time and again.
A benchtop thickness planer is a stationary power tool used in woodworking and carpentry to shape lumber to a constant thickness along its entire length ensuring it is flat and smooth on both sides.
The satisfaction you’ll derive from being able to produce wood stock to a consistent smooth thickness is priceless and will add much to your enjoyment of the woodworking hobby.
If you have some rough unfinished stock you want to use for a new woodworking project turn the wood a couple of times, running it through the planer and you’ll have a beautifully prepared piece of lumber planed to a uniformly consistent thickness
The best benchtop planer will have three main components: a rotating head which contains the cutting blades. Rollers which feed the timber through the planer and thickness adjustment which brings the table height to the required depth.
Alternatively the cutting head is lowered to adjust the thickness as in the DEWALT Two Speed 13 Inch DW735
The best benchtop thickness planers for the small home woodworking shop will have 2 or 3 cutting blades, at least a 15 AMP motor, a dust and wood chip ejection system to keep the cutting surface clear and the option of a planer stand.
The best Benchtop Planer Reviews
Woodworking Power tool reviews are a very subjective thing and none more so than when we are talking about a relatively expensive purchase like a benchtop thickness planer.
Our reviews and recommended choices are based not just on price alone although that obviously is a deciding factor. The following recommendations for best benchtop planer are based on the number of reviews, the positive level of user experience and the percentage of those reviewers who give a positive 5 star rating. The higher the better.
DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer – Three Knife, Two speed, DW735X model
The DEWALT DW735X is a top of the range thickness planer. It’s well made, sturdy and is backed by DEWALT’s superb warranty which includes 90 days money back, one year of free servicing and a 3 year limited warranty.
A cutter head with 3 knives and a 10,000 revs per min cutter speed means your DEWALT DW735X will deliver accurate consistent planer cuts on all wood types with minimal snipe.
Wood chips are handled with a fan driven chute that clears chips and shavings away from the cutter head into either a 2.5” or 4” ejector.
The DEWALT thickness planer dw735x excels at fine cuts and providing you keep the blades in good condition you’ll be making smooth fine finished cuts like a woodworking pro. Changing the blades is also a simple enough process, just watch those fingers!
The extension tables included are a real bonus and really do help when handling longer pieces of wood stock and reducing the dreaded snipe to virtually zero.
Recommended Best Buy
Things We Like:
- Accurate smooth cuts
- Handles wider wood stock well
- Blades easy to change
- Solid cast aluminum base
- Come with in and out feeder tables and an additional set of blades
- Superb chip and dust removal straight into your dust collector
- Includes in/out feed tables and an extra set of knives
Things We Don’t Like:
- It is quite loud. Not for late night woodworking!
- The dw735x is fairly heavy at stated 105 lbs although it is still reasonably ‘portable’
- Replacing the knives can be expensive
DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch
When we compare the DEWALT planer dw735 vs. the dw734 we find a few significant differences between the two thickness planer models.
Let’s take a look and compare both the dw735 and the dw734.
The first thing you’ll notice about the dw734 is the big difference in price. It’s about a third less than the dw745, particularly the dw735x.
First of all this model is a single speed planer and has a width capacity of 12 1/2” compared to 13”. So not much to lose any sleep about here then.
The single speed however does make a difference because the DW734 only cuts at 96 CPI (or cuts per minute). While the finish you’ll achieve at this slower speed is pretty good it’s not quite as smooth as the more expensive DW735x.
The DW734 is a much lighter machine than the DW735 coming in at 80 lbs which makes it much more of a portable benchtop thickness planer.
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”] Best Buy Alternative
Things We Like:
- Simple and Accurate depth of Cut
- In And Out Feed Tables To Support Your Work (Only available as standard on the DW735x)
- Reasonably Portable at 80 lbs
- Easy Setup
- Take 1/16 to 1/8 cuts and your knives will last a long time.
Things We Don’t Like:
- It’s noisy, but not to the level it will spoil your enjoyment.
- Take it slowly with very hard woods to avoid blowing the breaker.
- No Built In Dust Extraction.
Porter Cable Pc305tpr Planer Review5.0 out of 5.0 stars
The Porter Cable Pc305tp is a great hobbyist woodworking starter thickness planer. Because it’s fairly light it needs to be fixed to your bench either bolted or fixed to a base and clamped if it’s not staying in position permanently and needs to be stored.
The cutting head is mounted on 4 precision columns to ensure the cut is precise and smooth.
The Doubled edged twin knives are easily reversible to ensure a longer cutting life.
Porter Cable Pc305tpr Features:
- 15 AMP Motor
- Twin Knife fast change head with strong gearbox and chain and sprocket feed roller
- Precise Cutter Head Elevation
- Folding table feeds
Things we like.
- Light weight and portable
- Great cutter head design
- Plenty of power for hardwoods
- Great starter benchtop thickness planer for the hobbyist woodworker
Things we don’t like.
- You’ll be knee deep in shavings
CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer, 15-Amp CMEW320
If you compare the Craftsman CMEW320 with the Porter Cable Pc305tpr you basically have the same machine with almost identical specifications. There is a slight difference in size and the Craftsman CMEW320 is lighter by approximately 3 lbs.
What you do have is the same specification motor, cutting head and drive mechanism and of course the 4 pillar design with folding in and out feed tables.
The big difference between the Craftsman CMEW320 Benchtop Planer and the Porter Cable Pc305tpr is the dust and chip vacuum port on the Craftsman Planer allowing you to connect your shop vac.
Craftsman CMEW320 Benchtop Planer Features
- Powerful 15 AMP Motor outputting 16,000 cuts per minute.
- Reversible Knives for convenient switching
- Four Column design
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”] Recommended Mid Price And Features
Things We Like
- Cheaper than the Porter Cable Pc305tpr
- Lightweight and portable
- Vacuum Port for chip removal
Things we don’t like.
- Cut to deep and you’ll suffer from snipe
- Cutting gauge not as good as it could be.
WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
The WEN 6552T Benchtop Thickness Planer is a surprise entrant to our list. This planer is not a professional grade woodworking machine and is more suited to the hobbyist woodworker who spends a few hours every weekend in his or her woodshop.
If that’s you then the WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer could be for you and is well worth considering.
The WEN 6552T is designed to handle wood up to 6” thick and 13” wide. The 3 blade cutting head is unique amongst budget thickness planers and will handle hardwoods with ease.
The infeed and outfeed tables are height adjustable to give you the correct depth of cut. The cutting gauge is well marked staring at 1/64th and going up in 1/64th increments to 1/8 of an inch.
Dust and chips can be kept clear of the work surface by connecting your shop vacuum or dust extraction unit up to the fan assisted port. The dust connector will accept 2”, 2 ½” and 4” hoses.
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”] Recommended Best Budget Buy
WEN 6552T Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer Specifications:
- Powerful 15 AMP motor running at 25,500 cuts per minute
- 3 Knife Cutting Head. Unusual in a budget thickness planer
- Fan assisted dust port
Things we like.
- Some features normally only found on much more expensive thickness planers
- Great capacity and accurate cutting depth
- Lightweight portability
- That fan assisted dust and wood chip port.
- The Price.
Things we don’t like
- Has had some gear breakage problems
Best Buy For The Serious Woodworker – DEWALT Dw735x 13 Two Speed Thickness Planer Review
If you’re serious about your woodworking hobby and spend a lot of time in the wood shop or indeed if you’re a professional woodworker then there is absolutely no doubt that the DEWALT Dw735x Thickness Planer is the one to buy. In fact in our opinion the DEWALT DW735 is the best benchtop planer money can buy for the woodworking hobby shop.
Quality like this doesn’t come cheap but the DEWALT is a benchtop thickness planer that has all the professional woodworker and serious hobby woodworking features you’ll ever need.
If you’re looking for years of reliable service with a great warranty and awesome dealer network then the DEWALT Dw735x is the one to buy.
Alternative – DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer, Single Speed, 15-Amp, 12-1/2-Inch
Best Mid Price Benchtop Thickness Planer – CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer
Our recommendation here has to be the CRAFTSMAN CMEW320 Benchtop Planer. The Porter Cable Pc305tpr comes a close second and gets great reviews but the Craftsman thickness planer pips it to the post with the cheaper price, virtually same mechanical specification and the addition of a wood chip and dust extractor chute.
Best Budget Benchtop Thickness Planer – WEN 6552t Benchtop Thickness Planer
Without a doubt the WEN6552T is a great buy. With reservations.
The WEN 6552t Thickness Planer has great features, some that match the more expensive professional machines such as 3 blades, fan assisted chip and dust extraction, three roller feed and great depth gauging.
That’s without mentioning the lighter weight for workshop portability.
And the reservations? Whilst the WEN 6552T is a great machine for the price it’s not a pro grade thickness planer. This is a machine for occasional use by the hobbyist woodworker. Don’t try and take too much off at once when you’re planning and as always check your long term requirements before you buy.
If you like our best benchtop planer reviews then checkout our complete coverage (constantly updated) of the essential woodworking power tools for your shop with links to reviews for each category.
So our recommendation is when you’re looking for the best benchtop planer for your specific needs always consider how much and how often you’re going to use your thickness planer. Consider the type of woodworking you’ll be doing and how much your usage will increase the more you get into the hobby.
As with any woodworking power tool always buy the best benchtop planer you can reasonably afford even if you have to stretch a little. It will pay dividends in the future.