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What Type of Planer Should I Buy? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Woodworking Tool

What Type of Planer Should I Buy

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by whoisadmin

To determine the type of planer you should buy, consider the size of your project and the material you will be working with. A benchtop planer is ideal for smaller projects and limited workspace, while a larger thickness planer is best for bigger projects and heavier duty tasks.

Additionally, consider the power, cutting capacity, and overall quality of the planer to ensure it meets your specific needs. By assessing these factors, you can confidently choose the right planer for your woodworking projects. So, think about your project size and material and choose between a benchtop planer or a thickness planer accordingly.

Lastly, make sure to evaluate the power, cutting capacity, and overall quality of the planer to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Why A Planer Is Essential For Woodworking

A planer is an essential tool for woodworking, helping to flatten and smooth wooden surfaces. When deciding on the type of planer to buy, consider factors such as budget, the size of your projects, and the desired level of precision.

Research different brands and models to find the planer that best suits your woodworking needs.

A planer is an essential tool for woodworking, serving multiple purposes that make it indispensable for those working with wood. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a beginner woodworker, using a planer can greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of your projects.

In this section, we will explore the benefits of using a planer and the importance of choosing the right planer for your specific needs.

Benefits Of Using A Planer:

  • Achieve smooth and even surfaces: A planer allows you to effortlessly level out rough and uneven wood surfaces, giving you a smooth and professional finish.
  • Thickness control: With a planer, you have full control over the thickness of the wood, ensuring precision in your woodworking projects.
  • Reclaim old wood: A planer can remove old paint, dirt, and other imperfections from reclaimed wood, revealing its natural beauty and making it suitable for new projects.
  • Save money: By using a planer, you can purchase rough-cut wood, which is typically cheaper than pre-surfaced lumber, and then transform it into the desired thickness and finish.
  • Efficiency and time-saving: Instead of manually sanding or using hand planes to achieve smooth surfaces, a planer can accomplish the task quickly, saving you valuable time and effort.

Importance Of Choosing The Right Planer For Your Needs:

  • Understanding your needs: Different types of planers have varying capabilities and features. Identifying your specific woodworking requirements will help you select the planer that best suits your needs.
  • Consider the size and power: Depending on the size and scale of your woodworking projects, you should choose a planer that is the right size and has ample power to handle the workload.
  • Blades and cutting quality: The quality and sharpness of the planer blades play a crucial role in achieving clean and smooth cuts. Look for a planer with high-quality blades that are easy to adjust and replace.
  • Durability and stability: Investing in a planer that is built to last will save you money in the long run. Look for sturdy construction and stable design to ensure the longevity of your planer.
  • Ease of use and safety features: Consider user-friendly features such as a clear and intuitive interface, adjustable depth settings, and safety features like a blade guard and emergency shut-off switch.
  • Budget considerations: Planers come in a wide range of prices. Set a budget that aligns with your needs and prioritize features that are essential for your woodworking projects.

By carefully considering the benefits of using a planer and choosing the right planer for your needs, you can elevate your woodworking craftsmanship to new heights. A planer is not just a tool; it’s a game-changer that will enhance your woodworking experience and help you achieve professional results.

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Factors To Consider Before Buying A Planer

Before purchasing a planer, it is important to consider factors such as the type of planer that best suits your needs. Evaluate factors like budget, desired features, and the materials you plan on using to ensure you make the right choice.

Are you in the market for a new planer but unsure about which one to choose? Well, worry no more! We’ve got you covered with this handy guide on the factors to consider before making your purchase. From your budget to the available space in your workshop, and even the types of woodworking projects you undertake, we’ll help you make an informed decision that suits your needs perfectly.

So, let’s dive in!


  • Determine your budget: Set a clear budget range that aligns with your overall financial plan.
  • Consider the long-term investment: While you may have a specific budget in mind, it’s also important to consider the long-term benefits and durability of the planer you choose.
  • Research prices and options: Look for different planers that fit within your budget and compare their features and customer reviews.

Available Space In Your Workshop:

  • Measure your workshop dimensions: Before purchasing a planer, it’s crucial to know the available space in your workshop.
  • Plan for mobility: If you have limited space, consider a portable or compact planer that can easily be moved around when needed.
  • Assess power requirements: Ensure that your workshop’s power supply can accommodate the planer you choose.

Types Of Woodworking Projects You Undertake:

  • Evaluate your projects: Consider the kind of woodworking projects you typically work on. Are they small-scale or larger projects?
  • Surface finish requirements: Determine the quality and smoothness of surface finish you require for your projects.
  • Versatility and functionality: Decide whether you need additional features such as multiple cutter heads, adjustable feed speed, or the ability to handle different types of wood.

By carefully considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect planer for your needs. Remember to evaluate your budget, available workshop space, and the types of woodworking projects you undertake. Happy planer shopping!

Understanding Different Types Of Planers

Looking to purchase a planer but unsure which type to go for? Understanding the different types of planers can help you make an informed decision and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Handyman or DIY enthusiast, if you’re in the market for a planer, you might be overwhelmed by the variety of options available. From handheld planers to jointer/planer combo machines, each type serves a specific purpose. To help you make an informed decision for your woodworking needs, let’s take a closer look at the different types of planers, their pros and cons, as well as the ideal projects for each.

Handheld Planers

Handheld planers are versatile tools that are commonly used for smaller woodworking projects. They are lightweight, portable, and offer greater maneuverability. Here are the pros and cons of handheld planers:


  • Portability allows for easy transportation to various job sites
  • Can be used on irregular or curved surfaces with ease
  • Ideal for tasks that require small material removal


  • Limited in terms of the thickness of material that can be planed
  • May produce a rougher finish compared to other types of planers

Ideal projects for handheld planers include:

  • Smoothing rough lumber or reclaimed wood
  • Planing door edges for proper fit
  • Creating chamfers or bevels on wooden boards

Benchtop Planers

Benchtop planers are larger stationary machines designed for heavier-duty tasks. They are typically used in woodworking workshops or garages. Here are the pros and cons of benchtop planers:


  • Capable of planing larger and thicker pieces of wood
  • Provide a more consistent and smooth finish
  • Some models offer additional features like automated feeding


  • Requires a dedicated workbench or sturdy surface for stability
  • Less portable than handheld planers

Ideal projects for benchtop planers include:

  • Surfacing rough lumber to a consistent thickness
  • Creating custom-sized boards for furniture-making
  • Planing wide panels or tabletops

Thickness Planers

Thickness planers, also known as surface planers, are specialized machines used primarily for dimensional accuracy. Unlike other planers, thickness planers focus on achieving a precise thickness for woodworking projects. Here are the pros and cons of thickness planers:


  • Can handle large quantities of material with consistent thickness
  • Allows for precise dimensioning and thickness control
  • Suitable for producing smooth and even surfaces


  • Generally larger and require more workshop space
  • Less versatile compared to handheld or benchtop planers

Ideal projects for thickness planers include:

  • Ensuring all boards have the same thickness for cabinetry or flooring projects
  • Preparing materials for joinery work
  • Achieving precise thickness for making doors or drawers

Jointer/Planer Combo Machines

Jointer/planer combo machines are a convenient option for those who desire the functionalities of both jointing and planing in a single tool. These machines combine the capabilities of a jointer, used for flattening and squareing edges, with those of a planer.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Space-saving solution for smaller workshops or hobbyists
  • Offers the advantage of both jointing and planing capabilities
  • Eliminates the need for separate machines


  • May have limitations in terms of size and capacity
  • Might require additional adjustments between jointing and planing functions

Ideal projects for jointer/planer combo machines include:

  • Squaring and flattening rough lumber
  • Creating parallel surfaces for joinery work
  • Planing and jointing smaller boards or pieces

Now armed with a better understanding of different types of planers, you can confidently choose the one that best suits your specific woodworking needs. Whether it’s a handheld planer for smaller tasks or a jointer/planer combo machine for versatile functionality, these tools can greatly enhance your woodworking projects.

Happy planing!

Features To Look For In A Planer

When considering what type of planer to buy, it’s important to look for key features that cater to your needs. Features such as adjustable depth, a powerful motor, a reliable dust collection system, and a sturdy build should be at the top of your priority list.

Choose a planer that meets these criteria to ensure efficient and quality woodworking projects.

Looking to buy a planer but not sure what features to consider? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are the key features you should look for when choosing a planer:

1. Cutting Width And Depth:

  • Adjustable cutting width and depth allow you to tailor the planer to your specific project requirements.
  • A wider cutting width enables you to work with larger pieces of wood, while a deeper cutting depth allows for more aggressive material removal.

2. Motor Power And Speed:

  • A powerful motor is essential for smooth and efficient planing. Look for a planer with a high horsepower rating to ensure it can handle tough materials.
  • Variable speed options enable you to adjust the planer’s cutting speed, providing better control and accuracy.

3. Dust Collection System:

  • Planing can create a lot of dust and debris. A robust dust collection system helps keep your workspace clean and ensures better visibility during operation.
  • Look for a planer that comes with a dust port or a built-in dust collection bag for efficient chip and dust removal.

4. Cutterhead Design (Straight Knives Vs Helical Cutterheads):

  • Straight knives are the most common type of cutterhead. They are easy to sharpen and replace, but they may produce more tear-out on certain woods.
  • Helical cutterheads consist of multiple carbide inserts arranged in a spiral pattern. They provide a smoother finish and less noise during operation but can be more expensive.

5. Feed Rate And Material Removal Capacity:

  • The feed rate determines how quickly the planer moves the wood through the machine. Look for a planer with adjustable feed rates to match your project requirements.
  • Consider the material removal capacity, which indicates the maximum thickness of wood the planer can handle. Ensure it suits your needs.

6. Ease Of Use And Portability:

  • Look for a planer that is easy to operate, with intuitive controls and clear instructions. Features such as a depth adjustment handle and an easy-to-read thickness scale can make a big difference.
  • Portability is also a factor to consider if you plan to move your planer frequently. Look for compact and lightweight options with convenient carrying handles.

7. Additional Features And Accessories:

  • Some planers come with useful features like a built-in work light or an adjustable infeed and outfeed table for better support.
  • Accessories such as spare blades, blade sharpening jigs, or extension tables can enhance the versatility and functionality of your planer.

Now that you know what features to look for in a planer, you can make an informed decision when purchasing one. Keep these factors in mind to ensure the planer meets your woodworking needs and helps you achieve excellent results without breaking the bank.

How Do I Choose a Planer?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a planer.

The first is the size of the motor. The bigger the motor, the more power it will have and the faster it will remove material.

The second thing to consider is the width of the cutter head. A wider cutter head will remove more material in one pass, but it may also cause more tear-out on the workpiece. Choose a cutter head width that is appropriate for the type of wood you’ll be working with most often

The third thing to consider is the depth of cut. A deeper cut will remove more material, but it can also put more strain on the motor and cause more tear-out. Choose a depth of cut that is appropriate for your needs.

Finally, consider any extra features that might be useful to you. Some planers come with built-in dust collection systems, which can help keep your workspace clean. Others have knives that are adjustable or reversible, which can be handy if you need to change directions mid-project.

Choose a planer with features that will make your work easier and save you time and effort in the long run.

Is It Worth Buying a Thickness Planer?

A thickness planer is a tool that many woodworkers find indispensable for preparing stock for projects. The ability to plane boards to a consistent thickness opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of the types of projects you can undertake, and the level of finish you can achieve. In this article, we’ll take a look at what a thickness planer is, how it works, and whether or not it’s worth investing in one for your own shop.

What is a Thickness Planer? A thickness planer, also sometimes called a “planer-thicknesser” or simply a “thicknesser”, is a machine that’s designed to remove small amounts of material from the surface of a board in order to bring it down to an even thickness. This process is often necessary when working with rough lumber that has been milled unevenly, or when trying to salvage boards that are too warped or cupped to use as-is.

How Does It Work? A thickness planer consists of three main components: an infeed table, an outfeed table, and the cutting head assembly in between them. The infeed table is where you place the piece of lumber that you want to plane; the outfeed table provides support for the other end of the board as it exits the machine.

The cutting head assembly contains two sets of rollers which clamp the board in place and feed it through the machine; these are located above and below a large metal blade which does the actual work of removing material from the surface of the board. As the board passes through this assembly, shavings are removed from its top and bottom surfaces until it reaches the desired thickness. These shavings are then ejected out onto the floor (or into some kind of container) behind the machine.

What Size Wood Planer is Best?

If you’re looking for a wood planer, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what size machine is best for your needs. There are three basic sizes of wood planers: small, medium and large. Here’s a quick rundown of each size to help you decide which is right for you:

Small Wood Planers: These machines are typically designed for light-duty tasks and smaller projects. They’re perfect for the hobbyist or weekend warrior who doesn’t have a lot of space in their workshop. Small wood planers can handle boards up to about 6 inches wide and generally have a maximum depth of cut of around 1/8 inch.

Medium Wood Planers: Medium-sized wood planers are a good choice for most home workshops. They can accommodate boards up to about 12 inches wide and usually have a maximum depth of cut between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. This makes them ideal for thicker stock removal or creating smooth, consistent surface on larger pieces.

Large Wood Planers: Large wood planers are commercial-grade machines designed for heavy-duty use. They can handle boards up to 24 inches wide and usually have a depth of cut between 1/4 and 3/8 inch. If you routinely work with large pieces or thick stock, a large wood planer will be worth the investment.

Frequently Asked Questions On What Type Of Planer Should I Buy?

What Type Of Planer Is Best For Hardwood Flooring?

For hardwood flooring, it is recommended to use a thickness planer. This type of planer can handle the sturdy, dense nature of hardwood and create smooth surfaces. It is important to choose a planer with adjustable depth settings to achieve the desired thickness for your flooring project.

Can A Portable Planer Handle Large Woodworking Projects?

Yes, a portable planer can handle large woodworking projects. However, it is important to consider the size and power of the planer. Look for a portable planer with a wide cutting capacity and a powerful motor to ensure it can handle larger pieces of wood and produce consistent results.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Using A Planer?

When using a planer, it is crucial to wear safety goggles, ear protection, and a dust mask to protect yourself from flying debris and noise. Additionally, make sure to secure the wood properly and use push blocks to keep your hands away from the cutterhead.

Always consult the manufacturer’s safety guidelines before use.

What Is The Difference Between A Benchtop Planer And A Handheld Planer?

A benchtop planer is a stationary tool that sits on a workbench or stand, and it is designed to handle larger pieces of wood. A handheld planer, on the other hand, is portable and allows for more flexibility in terms of accessing hard-to-reach areas.

The choice depends on the specific needs of your project.


Based on the factors discussed in this blog post, it is clear that choosing the right planer requires careful consideration. The type of planer you should buy depends on your specific needs and woodworking goals. If you are a professional woodworker looking for precision and efficiency, a thickness planer may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you require portability and versatility, a handheld planer might be more suitable. It is crucial to assess the size and complexity of your projects, as well as your budget and available workspace. By understanding the differences between various types of planers and considering your specific requirements, you can make an informed decision that will enhance your woodworking experience.

Remember to prioritize factors such as power, accuracy, and ease of use when selecting the right planer for your needs. Happy planing!

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