Last Updated on 2021-03-15 by Harry Masterton
Saving time and energy are two of the main benefits of using power tools. The woodworking plane is a great example of this. Using a power planer vs a handheld planer or hand plane will save you huge amounts of time and energy. The electric hand planer can smooth the surface of your lumber with just a few passes across the face of the boards.
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The best electric planer designs also use blade configurations that allow you smooth rough end grain. The power planer can also taper wood.
Traditional hand planes use a single blade to remove material from the face or edge of lumber. The best electric hand planer for woodworking will make use of a pair (or more) of blades attached to a cutter head.
That cutter head spins, allowing each blade to cut into the wood grain and remove material.
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- 1 The Electric Hand Planer
- 1.1 Power Hand Planer vs Jointer
- 1.2 The Electric Plane or Bench Plane vs The Belt Sander
- 1.3 Electric Hand Planer Reviews
- 1.4 Best Budget Electric Planer
- 1.5 Best Electric Hand Planer Under $100
- 1.6 Best Electric Hand Planer Under $200
- 1.7 The Best Cordless Hand Planer
The Electric Hand Planer
The electric hand planer has a two-piece baseplate or foot. It consists of a back section that is level with the blades on the cutter head. That alignment allows the planer to be supported by the wood as it cuts.
You can adjust the height of the front section of the baseplate, exposing the cutter head. The greater the depth on the nose, the deeper that you will cut with each pass.
Even the best electric hand planer for woodworking will limit the maximum depth to 1/16-inch or so for safety (cutting deeper would make it harder to control).
You will note that these power tools list by their maximum cutting width. Smaller electric planers cut paths just over three inches. The best electric hand planer, based on size, will cut 6.5-inches.
You might be wondering, what are some things you need to look for on a model considered the best electric hand planer for woodworking?
- Motor Size – Most hobbyists find that five or six amps are sufficient. Larger projects or construction/manufacturing environments will benefit from a larger motor.
- Cutting Head – You will want at least two blades, and carbide materials are more durable. The best electric planer designs often make their improvements here.
- Guide Fence – It is the best accessory for your planer. A fence provides support and helps with alignment as you move
Power Hand Planer vs Jointer
You will often see woodworkers discussing the handheld electric planer vs a jointer. These conversations revolve around the possibility of using power planer as jointer. There are benefits to using a power hand planer vs jointer:
- Portability – In small shops, it might be easier to use an electric hand planer vs table planer. You can also take the hand-held too anywhere.
- No Width Limitations – You can operate on wider boards with an electric hand planer vs table planer. You can make multiple passes overlapping one another with an electric hand planer on lumber that is wider than the cutting width. The jointer is limited to the width of the cutting head on the table.
- Cheaper Price Point – You can find a cheaper price on an electric hand planer vs table planer. The jointer usually has a larger motor, a wider cutting path, and a table or cabinet
Are there disadvantages when using a power hand planer vs a jointer? Some woodworkers prefer the jointer for:
- Squaring One Face With One Edge – The jointer is designed to square edges and faces of lumber. Its table surface allows it to do this more effectively than an electric hand planer. That includes when using electric hand planer as jointer.
- More Stable Cutting Head – The planer can cut irregularly if you are not flat on the edge or face of your board, or due to limited base size when using electric hand planer as jointer. A true jointer has a table that helps keep the cutting head addressing the wood's surface at a constant angle.
The Electric Plane or Bench Plane vs The Belt Sander
Both the electric plane and the bench plane are modern versions of the tradition wood planer and are designed to make your life in the woodworking shop easier when your shaping, forming or reducing the thickness of your lumber. The belt sander whether hand held or a bench top belt sander is the go to woodworking power tool for finishing and edge sanding.
Electric Hand Planer Reviews
For most woodworkers, the products examined in the following electric hand planer reviews will represent a wide selection of product features, including components that make for the best cordless hand planer as well as the best budget electric planer designs.
Each electric hand planer breaks down into features that make it stand out among similar designs. The information includes potential users, component breakdowns, key features, and a couple of points that need improvement.
Readers will want to note the similarities (some of which exist in most of these electric hand planer reviews), but you should focus on the differences.
Those differences will match a particular need for your projects or shop in general, or the differences will be incompatible with them.
You will also want to keep in mind your growth in skill level and project interest. The best planer will be a power-tool that grows with you.
Best Budget Electric Planer
WEN 6534 8-Amp 4 3-8 Inch Electric Hand Planer4.5 out of 5.0 stars
The 6534 WEN Planer measures approximately 12 x 9.75 x 8.25-inches and weighs about 9.5 pounds. A typical secondary handle position and angled pistol grip allow you to operate it without it feeling bulky or imbalanced through the cut.
WEN 6534 – Features
A 8-amp electric motor powers this unit. That delivers more power than many other planers on the hobbyist market. A reversible dust chute allows you to select the side debris extracts from. It should help to prevent the dust bag or a hose attachment from getting in the way while you work.
WEN 6534 – Things We Like
- You will like the 4 3/8-inch cutting width on this planer. That allows you to take on many framing lumber or thinner boards with a single pass, with fewer passes on wider pieces of wood.
- Uses an 8.0 amp electric motor to rotate the cutter head. It can generate up to 32,000 Cuts Per Minute, which provides smooth removal in most wood materials.
- You get 16 positive stops on the depth adjustment knob, which moves in increments of 1/128-inch. You can make fine shaves with this knob, with a maximum depth of 1/8-inch per pass.
WEN 6534 – Not So Good
- Its housing is made from a high-impact plastic that forms a rough seam down the middle of the power tool. The product has minimal ergonomic considerations, and you will notice vibration transfer from the handle.
- You will notice some heat buildup when using the tool for long periods of time. It has decent heat dissipation, but it can become hot.
For those on an extremely tight shop budget, the WEN 6530 offers a smaller unit at 6.5 amps powered a cutter head at a maximum of 34,000 Rotations Per Minute. A maximum cutting width of 3.25-inches works well for building lumber and other thin pieces of wood.
You will notice the smaller width when it comes to wider boards, though, as you will need to make multiple passes to smooth it out.
TACKLIFE EPN01A 3 1-4 Inch 6Amp Electric Hand Planer
4.5 out of 5.0 stars
The other product line that dominates the best budget electric planer market is TACKLIFE, and the EPN01A represents a smaller design at 12.5 x 7.1 x 6.5-inches. That keeps the weight down to 7.05 pounds, something that hobbyists will appreciate on an occasional use power tool.
TACKLIFE EPN01A – Features
The electric hand planer uses a 6 amp electric motor that generates 16,500 Rotations Per Minute under ideal conditions. That lower speed will prevent damage in some wood species but might be slow for sheet goods. Reversible blades effectively double the lifespan of the cutter head with edges on both sides.
TACKLIFE EPN01A – Things We Like
- A 5/64-inch maximum depth is a little thicker cut than the WEN. That can be an important feature for users looking for the most material removal on each pass.
- It weighs just over seven pounds, making it lighter than an electric hand planer with a wider maximum cutting width. That promotes less fatigue during use.
- The planer base plate has a chamfer groove in it, allowing you to cut chamfers on your board's edges. It adds to the tool's versatility and saves you time while providing consistent support.
TACKLIFE EPN01A – Not So Good
- The secondary hand knob is also the location of the depth adjustment controls. It is not ergonomic in design, and care must be taken to avoid changing depth settings.
- A lower price point comes at the cost of lower build quality. The planer is built for a price range more than it is for a lifelong power tool.
Best Electric Hand Planer Under $100
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer With 5-64-Inch Cut Depth4.7 out of 5.0 stars
The PC60THP Porter Cable hand planer measures 14.63 x 7.75 x 8.25 -inches and weighs 8.4 pounds. That is bulkier than other planers with a 3.25-inch cutting width, but the weight is reasonable for the motor size.
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP – Features
The manufacturer uses a 6.0-amp electric motor on this product, which is not unheard of for a design that cuts a 3.25-inch maximum width. It generates up to 16,500 Rotations Per Minute under no-load conditions.
An 11.5-inch base plate provides you with more surface contact as you cut into the wood. That extra support provides you with a more stable planer, which translates to more consistent cuts up to 5/64-inch in depth.
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP – Things We Like
- A well-designed depth control knob. It has clear markings and feels solid as you make adjustments with it.
- Three chamfering grooves are placed on the planer's baseplate. These offer you a wider selection of chamfer options and consistency when using the planer to cut them.
- Stepping up from the budget price-range improves manufacturer coverage, represented here by a three-year limited warranty. Porter-Cable also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee as well as a one-year service on the tool.
PORTER-CABLE PC60THP – Not So Good
- You only get a 3.25-inch cutting width when stepping up from the budget-priced electric hand planer designs. Those looking for a wider cutting path under $100 will need to look in the previous budget reviews.
- The Porter Cable hand planer only comes with a six amp electric motor. That will work with light and medium workloads, but you will notice the slow down with heavier tasks, including some hardwoods.
Ryobi HPL52K 6 Amp 16,500 RPM 3 1/4″ Corded Electric Hand Planer
4.6 out of 5.0 stars
Ryobi's HPL52K measures 17.0 x 7.88 x 13.25-inches with the guide attached. It weighs only 3.25 pounds, a weight that is half that of most electric hand planers.
Ryobi HPL52K – Features
You will find the 6.0 amp electric motor on this design sufficient for light and medium workloads. The maximum 16,500 Rotations Per Minute will slow down in hardwood grains, however. A 3.25-inch cutting width represents the minimal size you will want to go on an electric planer.
Depth adjustments are at 1/96-inch increments, with a maximum depth on each pass of 1/8-inch.
Ryobi HPL52K – Things We Like
- The stand-out feature on this electric hand planer is the advertised weight. Listed at 3.25 pounds, it will represent one of the lightest models on the market.
- A rubberized texture on the pistol grip offers a secure hold with its non-slip design. That material also makes it more ergonomic, which means more comfort and less vibration transfer.
- It has a lock-off button located on the front of the handle that prevents accidental starts. The added feature increases tool safety and is critical for those new to power tools and beginning woodworkers alike.
Ryobi HPL52K – Not So Good
- Ryobi had to shave corners to achieve the lower weight on this electric hand planer. Its housing is thin, and the lightweight materials may not provide you with the most durable build.
- The dust bag that Ryobi provides feels like a gimmick. It is so small that it will fill within a couple of passes, slowing down your workflow drastically.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW300 Electric Hand Planer 6-Amp 5/64-Inch
Recommended for: The electric hand planer is the same in most ways as the Porter-Cable design we looked at previously. Both builds are from Stanley Black & Decker, bringing it down to brand loyalty or color preference for most users.4.6 out of 5.0 stars
The product measures 14.37 x 7.91 x 7.13-inches and weighs approximately 7.82 pounds. That includes the 11.5-inch cast aluminum base plate that offers plenty of contact with the wood's surface as you pass across it.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW300 – Features
The electric hand planer uses a 6.0 amp electric motor that creates up to 16,500 Rotations Per Minute under no-load conditions. It uses a control knob that has 10 positive stops for quick changes in the front shoe elevation.
A maximum cutting depth of 5/64-inch means fewer passes than a planer cutting at 1/8-inch per pass.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW300 – Things We Like
- As with the Porter-Cable design, the depth control knob has a rubberized coating. It provides a comfortable hand purchase while offering a solid engagement at each depth adjustment.
- The base plate on the Craftsman might lack the chamfer grooves on the Porter-Cable, but it does provide a smooth machined-surface. That provides even contact that will not mare your workpiece.
- You are given plenty of hose attachment clearance on the left of the planer. That is important, considering that the motor cover extends from the housing on that side.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW300 – Not So Good
- Both carbide cutting blades could move faster for better results. The 16,500 Rotations Per Minute are under no-load conditions and slows down in most materials or depths.
- The electric motor on a cordless planer can bog down when cutting into hardwoods or at a maximum depth of cut. Six amps will still power through thinner cuts and light tasks at full-speed, however.
Best Electric Hand Planer Under $200
BOSCH PL2632K 3-1/4 Inch Woodworking Electric Hand Planer with Carrying Case
4.6 out of 5.0 stars
Bosch's PL2632K measures 17.75 x 14.5 x 7.25-inches with the fence and shoe covering connected to it. It weighs only 6.3 pounds, a weight you can move over a long time without feeling tired.
BOSCH PL2632K – Features
Bosch's electric hand planer uses a slightly larger 6.5 amp electric motor. You will not notice the increase over 6.o amps, but that extra capacity improves performance and maintains consistent speeds through the cut.
You will get 16,500 Rotations Per Minute on the cutter head, and Bosch designed this planer to use both carbide and steel blades for a variety of cuts.
BOSCH PL2632K – Things We Like
- Bosch uses a 6.5 amp electric motor on this model. The power is not a big increase over 6.0 amps, but it will provide a more consistent output under load.
- It weighs only 6.3 pounds. That makes it lightweight, especially as the manufacturer did not use cheaper materials or a thinner housing to lower the overall weight.
- A dual-mounted guide fence is included that connects to either side of the power tool. That can save you setup time as you switch the fence position without having to move and re-secure your workpiece.
BOSCH PL2632K – Not So Good
- A solid carrying case is not necessary for most home woodshops. It will still get plenty of use out in the field, though.
- The aluminum used on the base plate is somewhat soft. That will not mare the surface, but it could be damaged more easily than a firmer aluminum base plate would.
The Best Cordless Hand Planer
Makita XPK02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 3-1/4″ Hand Planer
Recommended for: For many, the Makita electric hand planer reviewed here is the best cordless hand planer on the market. That makes this the go-to electric hand planer for users of battery-powered tools.4.8 out of 5.0 stars
The Makita cordless hand planer measures 8.07 x 15.32 x 8.07-inches, a smaller footprint than other designs in this class. It weighs only 9.3 pounds, which is on the lighter side for a cordless electric hand planer.
Makita XPK02Z – Features
The Makita electric hand planer uses an 18-volt LXT lithium-Ion battery pack. That will provide a consistent output as you work. It will generate 12,000 Rotations Per Minute, which can handle light or medium workloads without bogging down.
A maximum 1/8-inch depth of cut is achievable, and three chamfering grooves offer a variety of options when taking the edges down on your lumber.
Makita XPK02Z – Things We Like
- An over-molded handle provides one of the more comfortable grips on this Makita electric hand planer. You will also notice less vibration transfer between the tool and your hands.
- A less-bulky design may be easier for some users to operate. It is smaller, allowing you to store it easily as well.
- The 18-volt LXT battery platform is Makita's main battery design. It provides you with a consistent output that quickly charges and maintains throughout most of the discharge cycle on this Makita cordless hand planer.
Makita XPK02Z – Not So Good
- It has a 12,000 Rotations Per Minute rating under no-load conditions, which may be slower than some projects require without the risk of damaging the workpiece.
- The price point on this Makita cordless hand planer is higher than other electric hand planer products we have examined. That can be an issue, especially as this “tool only” requires a separate battery/charger purchase for first-time Makita buyers.
Cordless Planer vs Corded Planer
The cordless planer is now equal in power to it's corded counter part. Professional contractors power tools from DeWalt will easily keep up with any planer running from outlet power. The large and hefty Makita 1806B still runs as a corded planer
Check Our Guide – How To Use An Electric Hand Planer
The cutting blade will be carbide blade with two cutting blades that are adjustable for planing depth. Some planers feature reversible carbide blades.
Planing From The Rough
Whichever electric hand plane that you choose it will be a totally different experience to using a traditional plane such as a smoothing plane, block plane or jack plane. Be prepared to take your rough lumber to finished project in a fraction of the time.
The handheld electric planer is often compared to the thickness planer or bench planer. It's important to remember that both the thickness planer and bench planer which are really both variation of the benchtop planer and designed to be used in entirely different ways
The purpose of an electric hand planer is to provide a smooth surface on rough timber. The products we have reviewed will take a rough-grained face or edge down to a smooth-face that is easy to work.
Each one will do so quickly, especially compared to traditional hand tools. An electric hand planer also works on boards that are too wide to fit into a jointer or a full-sized planer.
They can go with you anywhere, unlike a stationary or benchtop design. Electric hand planer designs vary in size, cutting width, and power source. They take smaller cuts across the surface, a feature that allows you to sneak up on a flat surface without losing a lot of board thickness.
You will open up access to lots of unfinished wood products when you can smooth them out in your shop. You can save money by milling your boards as well. The tool will improve your hobby and level of fun, making it a must-have for most woodworking journeys