Any woodworker or woodshop should have a good thickness planer. What is even more important is that these thickness planers are portable, so they can be moved easily around the shop. They are effective for planning a wide range of wood types and will help a woodworker have the exact needed dimensions for the project at hand.
If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what is the Best Portable Thickness Planers, then I recommend below As the best ones.
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What Does a Portable Thickness Planer Do?
Thickness planers are an essential piece of equipment for every woodworker. They will help the woodworker with three crucial tasks:
- They smoothen the rough stock.
- They will help you make the faces of the wood parallel.
- And they will bring the wood to a consistent thickness level that you need.
Sometimes, thickness planers are used for making finishing touches to wood, such as trimming and smooth finishes. They help us make smooth enough surfaces that are then ready for painting or for further modifications.
Working without a thickness planer would be an almost impossible job. This tool will help you turn rough and old wood into fine and smooth wood, ready for your project or for further wood treatments.
However, thickness planers sometimes come in big sizes and heavy weights. That’s why it might be hard to take them around the shop and use it on a benchtop. That’s where the portability level comes into play.
The good news is that there are many great portable thickness planers out there that will allow you a good level of portability and ease of use. The main difference is perhaps in the capacity: the bigger, non-portable planers will plane lumber that’s as wide as 20 inches, while portable planers will only plane wood that’s 13” wide at most.
How to Choose a Portable Thickness Planer?
What are the features you should look out for when choosing a portable thickness planer? The field of portable thickness planers can be somewhat complicated for a beginner, while a seasoned expert will know exactly what to look for. These are some features you need to consider when choosing your thickness planer.
1. Is it Powerful?
Arguably the most important thing when choosing your portable thickness planer. While there is some truth when people say that portable thickness planers are not as powerful as stationary planers, you can still get a good level of power with these planers, too.
You should look for higher rotations per minute if you want a powerful thickness planer. The more powerful portable planers will come with speeds of even up to 20.000RPM, although most of them will be below that mark.
Another useful feature in terms of the engine is the two-speed transmission. High speed is great for cutting thicker types of wood, while a slower speed is perfect for glass-smooth final touches. This might cost you some more money, but it’s certainly worth the investment if you’re looking for that additional level of quality.
2. Is it Easy to Use?
You should always look for a machine that’s easy to use and won’t cause you headaches, even if you’re a beginner. A very important aspect or feature that you should look for is the ability to change knives easily. You will find that with extensive use, the knives will wear out, and you’ll either need to sharpen them or replace them altogether.
We have found that replacing the knives is easier than adjusting the height of the knives, which can result in small and unnecessary changes to how the wood is cut.
Another factor that adds to the ease of use is the ability to easily move the planer around your shop. They shouldn’t require a great deal of adjustments before you start using them. And a good planer should have several functions that increase the ease of use, too.
3. Is it Accurate?
Of course, you want to have a planer with a high depth of cut accuracy. A good planer will remove a specific layer of wood to the desired depths accurately in just a single pass.
This also includes the ability to set up the planer easily so that it removes the depths we desire. The snipe length and depth is also crucial when we look at portable thickness planers – some snipe is normal, but too much of it is never good.
Snipe is the amount of wood that gets cut off by the planer at the beginning and at the end of the cutting process. Most planers will, inevitably, produce some snipe. The best way to counteract snipe is to lift the piece of wood as it enters the planer, and lift it again is it comes out.
The quality of the surface when it is finished is also a factor to consider.
4. Does it Have a Dust Collection System?
You might not be aware of it if you have never used a planer before, but most portable thickness planers will produce a substantial amount of dust. The good news is that most of these portable thickness planers come with special features that allow you to connect the planer to a dust collector, such as a dust shroud.
You want to look for a model that doesn’t require you to clean the dust after you have used the machine for lengthy periods of time. As we have already said, an important feature is the dust shroud, which allows you to collect dust in a dust collector.
5. How Much Does it Cost and Does it Have Warranty?
You can expect to pay anywhere between $400 and $700 on a portable thickness planer, depending on the quality of the product and the features you’re getting. Of course, the price doesn’t always have to dictate the quality of the product, but it is like that in most cases.
If you really want a quality thickness planer, then you might have to spend slightly more. But don’t worry, we’ve picked the absolute best products that you can get right now for the money. Even the budget options are great.
How to Use a Portable Thickness Planer?
Here’s a useful video showing you how a thickness planer works.
If you’re a complete beginner, then you might want to read the instructions first and try the planer out before you move onto serious projects.
What is the Best Portable Thickness Planer? Top 5 Best Options
We have gone through dozens of portable thickness planers and we’ve analyzed the features in-depth. After this analysis, we have come to the conclusion that the absolute best portable thickness planer is the DeWalt DW735X planer and for many reasons which we will state later on. However, there are some other great options to consider, too. Here are the 5 best portable thickness planers.
1. DeWalt Benchtop Planer DW734
DeWalt is a giant when it comes to woodworking tools, and the DW734 certainly delivers on quality. It will provide you with a three-knife cutter head with 10.000RPM, which is enough to make 96 cuts per inch. That’s a great rate per minute, especially considering the size of this product.
And the great news about this product is that it has disposable knives that will last you for more 30% longer than some other knives. They can be changed easily and quickly, which is a crucial feature as we considered before. Another impressive feature of the product is the 12 ½” thickness infeed, which is at a higher level among portable thickness planers.
At the same time, you’re getting a dust hood that will attach straight to your dust collector, which will help you avoid the mess around the planer. The infeed and outfeed tables will support up to 33 ½” of material. The maximum cut capacity is 1/8”, and the depth capacity is 6”.
The planer weighs only 80lbs, which will allow you to move the device around your workshop easily and without a fuss.
2. Makita 2012NB Portable Thickness Planer – Most Compact Thickness Planer
The Makita planer is certainly a great option to consider. Makita is known for bringing top-quality products on the market, and this one is no different. It’s certainly a compact planer, as it weighs only around 60lbs.
Arguably the best feature in terms of performance is the Interna-Lok automated head clamp, which will help you make more accurate cuts and will eliminate snipe effectively. It holds the piece of wood in such a way that it doesn’t make too much snipe, which some planers tend to do. With 8.500RPM at your disposal, you’ll be able to process even tougher pieces of wood.
Makita pride themselves on providing a relatively silent product – they say it is the quietest in this class at 83DB. Replacing and changing the blades is very easy, which is crucial with planers. There’s also an optional dust hood included, allowing you to connect the planer to your dust collection feed easily.
And with 12” of thickness, the infeed is more than enough to handle even larger pieces of wood. The maximum thickness in terms of depth is 6-3/32”. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee and one year of warranty included.
3. Delta Power Tools 22-555 13” Portable Thickness Planer – Best For Low Budget
The Delta portable thickness planer is arguably the most lightweight and portable product on this list. It weighs only 58lbs, allowing you to carry it around easily. With its 15A motor, the planer will allow you to make accurate and powerful cuts nonetheless.
It has a two-blade design, which is easily replaceable, making the device easy to use and maintain in the long-term. The max stock dimensions are 13” wide and 6” high, which is among the highest dimensions of all the portable thickness planers. You will be able to plan your projects easily and smoothly with several ease-of-use features on the device itself.
It also has adjustable infeed and outfeed tables, so you will be able to work both long and short pieces of wood. For the price asked, this product brings an impressive amount of quality to the market, and it’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a good budget option.
4. WEN 6552T Corded Thickness Planer
If you’re considering another product for a great price, then the Wen portable thickness planer is certainly a great option to consider. This machine has a 15-amp motor, which will help you generate about 25.500 cuts per minute and 13” of width on the infeed table and 6” of depth.
It has a 3-blade design, which will help you work even the toughest and most complicated pieces of wood. These blades are reversible, which can elongate the life cycle of the blades. At the same time, these blades are replaceable, which only increases the ease of use of this product. And the device lets you make pretty accurate cuts, especially with the adjustment knob which turns the accuracy to 1/64”.
There’s also a dust hose on the planer, which will allow you to connect the planer to a dust collection device, which will minimize the amount of mess produces by the planer. This product weighs 66lbs, which is not a lot, but at the same time, there are other planers that will weigh less. But the differences in weight are not huge, so this product is certainly a great one you should consider.
5. DeWalt DW735X Portable Thickness Planer – Best Overall
After going through all the products and their specifications, we have identified the DeWalt as the clear winner among all the portable planers. Sure, you might have to spend slightly more to get this product, but it produces unparalleled levels of power and accuracy. And it also has a two-speed transmission option, allowing you to make large-scale cuts as well as more delicate ones.
Mind you, this product is slightly more substantial than some other planers (92lbs). However, for that, you are trading an immense amount of power – this can produce up to 20.000RPM with the help of the 15A motor. It has a three-knife cutter board, where the knife will give you 30% more life than some other knives.
These knives are also easily replaceable, too. With the fan-assisted ejection vacuum, the chip and dust ejection system is more efficient and powerful than some other products on the market. And the build quality is also on a much higher level compared to some other products. It has an aluminum base.
The automatic carriage lock reduces the snipe that the planer produces. Overall, this product is the best in terms of quality and power it produces.
Should I buy a jointer or a planer first?
If you’re looking to start with woodworking, there is no going around the fact that you will need both a planer and a jointer for your woodworking efforts. We would recommend that you purchase a portable planer first, as you will be able to accomplish much more with a planer than you would with a jointer. Some planers even allow you to use them as jointers.
Does a planer make wood flat?
Yes, planers are designed to make the wood as flat as possible, and as smooth as possible in order for us to be able to treat the wood further later on. It turns rough wood boards into flat, smooth boards, which makes a planer an unmissable piece of machinery in every woodworking shop.
Do you have to sand after using a planer?
No, most of the planers will smooth out the surface of the wood so you won’t need to sand it after. However, you can still sand it if you’re looking to achieve a different sort of finish or if you’re not satisfied with how the planer did its job.
A good portable thickness planer is a necessary piece of equipment for every woodworker out there. There is no going around the fact that you’ll need to get one at some stage if you’re looking for quality products.
After analyzing many thickness planers, we have come to the conclusion that the DeWalt DW735X thickness planer is the best portable thickness planer. It produces the most power, it has a two-speed transmission and several ease-of-use capabilities that some other products just don’t have.