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Tool review: Benchtop Planers

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Here's what we'd buy

Here's what we'd buy

Two planers stood out from the field in this test: The 13" DeWalt DW735 and 12" Makita 2012NB. Both produced exceptional cut quality that needed little sanding, and both left boards nearly snipe-free, although the DW735 needed its optional infeed and outfeed tables (an extra $50) to do this. The DW735 features two feed speeds, easy-to-use depth stops, a depth-of-cut gauge, and a built-in chip blower powerful enough to clear nearly all chips and inflate the bags on a dust collector by itself. The Makita offers few frills, but exhibited the second-longest knife wear and lowest noise level; however, a dust hood will cost an extra $25.

If you can't pay $500 or more for a planer, we recommend the Ridgid R4330. Although not the lowest-priced unit in the test, it delivers nice cut quality with manageable snipe, with accurate and easy-to-use scales and gauges. If that's still too steep, consider the Craftsman 21758. It's a bare-bones unit that thicknesses wood accurately with respectable knife wear, although you will have to sand a little more to clean up board surfaces.



Comments (9)
malleckron wrote:

lefty442 - with my limited budget, I first bought a planer that came with regular planer blades but has the option of swapping out it's existing blade head for a spiral cutter head later. When "later" comes, you can decide if the portable planer is still the right size and buy just the spiral cutter upgrade kit. But If you need something bigger by then, you can go for a floor-size model with whichever head you think will serve you. It worked for me.

4/30/2015 08:39:30 PM Report Abuse
mischka wrote:

The DeWalt 735 is outstanding and with a helical cutter cant be beat.

4/30/2015 10:56:13 AM Report Abuse
ronaldwein38214 wrote:

I have a Rigid 4331 and love it. As long as it's locked snipe is minimal. I'm new to planers and love that I can buy $3.50 2x4x8ft and mill them into quality wood for fussin around with ideas. It's like 4 cents and inch and the lumber comes out SQUARE.

2/13/2015 11:37:41 AM Report Abuse
lefty442 wrote:

I do have a limited budget, but need a surface/thickness planer. Several have piqued my interest, and I could use some advice. I am considering a 13" machine; Sears has three or four under the Craftsman name, and Home Depot has a couple made by Steel City. My dithering is whether a spiral cutter head is really worth cost vis--vis a straight cutter head.

10/24/2013 04:08:49 PM Report Abuse
chpjep893595 wrote:

My DW 735 has been a great addition to my shop. I work with cherry most of the time and the blades and chip ejector are great.

4/4/2013 11:43:43 AM Report Abuse
bob_julie1 wrote:

The Ridgid R4331 is much better than the 4330, I highly recomend it for the price and warranty.

4/4/2013 11:09:22 AM Report Abuse
wesgarcia wrote:

I agree with your finds on planers. I have a DeWalt DW-735 and it is great!

4/19/2012 10:51:03 AM Report Abuse
mrcliff wrote:

What issue of Wood Magazine was planer review in?

9/2/2011 03:26:27 PM Report Abuse

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