Electric hand planers are magnificent tools with a wide range of different applications. They’re an essential tool for performing simple tasks such as putting up stud-work. They can also save the lives of discolored, misshapen wood by stripping the thin wood layer by thin layer. The best thing about them is that they’re lightweight enough that you can climb ladders with them without the risk of toppling over due to bearing too much weight.
Looking for the Best Hand Planer
Like every other type of power tool on the planet, electric hand planers come in all shapes, sizes, and with different features and specs. The following portion of this article will give you a brief rundown of the most important features to pay attention to when looking for an electric hand planer.
Corded or Cordless
The first thing to decide is whether you want to go cordless or not. Cordless obviously has its benefits, such as supreme portability. The main drawback of cordless models is that planer’s motors use a lot of energy, meaning that you’ll have to invest in several backup batteries to reduce downtime. We highly recommend going cordless. It’s more cost-efficient to invest in an extension cord than additional battery packs.
If you’re not a professional tradesperson who makes wooden furniture and fixtures, then you probably won’t need to worry too much about the amperage of a planer’s motor. Any planer with an amp rating of around 5 or 6 would work well for woodworking hobbyists, but professional workers looking to strip layers off of hard, dirty lumber definitely require a workhorse with a considerably more powerful motor.
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Electric planers use two types of blades: double-sided carbide blades and reusable high-speed steel blades. Functionality-wise, these two blades are identical. The main difference is how much you’ll end up spending on replacements. You’ll have to do the calculations yourself, but if you’re a frequent, more serious woodworker, high-speed steel blades might be the better alternative.
Although electric planers are designed to be naturally lightweight, it’s important that you feel a little bit of weight when handling the tool. Using a planer requires applying even pressure to ensure even results across the surface of your board.
If the tool is too light, you need to manually apply more pressure, resulting in an increased risk of applying uneven pressure. We recommend looking for a planer that weighs in between 5 and 10 pounds.
Planers produce a heck of a lot of wood dust. Wood dust is hazardous to your workshop and your health. Stray sawdust left on the ground is a slipping hazard and a fire hazard. Sawdust is also a known carcinogen when inhaled. Find a planer model that has a dust port to attach either a shop vac hose or a bag.
Top 5 Hand Planers
Because of the seemingly infinite number of hand planer models on the market, it’ll be quite difficult to research them one-by-one to see which would best suit you. To help you in your journey of finding the right-hand planer, we’ve compiled a list of our picks of the top five hand planers.
5 Ryobi HPL52K Corded Hand Planer
The first-hand planer model on our list is the Japanese-made HPL52K from Ryobi. It’s by no means a top-of-the-line model, and it’s almost free of any bells and whistles. However, if you’re looking for performance and simplicity, the HPL52K is definitely for you.
It comes with a 6.0-amp motor that can slice thin layers off the surface of lumber by up to 1/8 of an inch at 1/96-inch increments. There are two exhaust ports on both sides of the unit which can be activated depending on where you are standing in respect to the planer. The unit weighs around 7.75 pounds, so there’s very little risk of the HPL52K weighing you down.
4 DEWALT D26677K Portable Hand Planer
The D26677K from DEWALT is regarded as an excellent, compact hand planer for DIY work around the home. The limited 6.0-amp motor makes it somewhat unreliable for stripping rough stock of decomposed layers, but for home repairs – e.g., stripping layers off of doors or fixtures – this is where the tool shines.
The D26677K weighs around 9 pounds which is by no means the lightest model out there, but it’s still easy to control and glide across lumber and produce even results. The motor provides an astounding 34,000 cuts-per-minute, making it one of the quickest home-use planers out there. The maximum cutting depth can be adjusted to up to 1/16 of an inch.
3 Bosch PL1632 6.5 Amp Planer
The PL1632 from Bosch is an impressive 6.5-amp hand planer that cuts at a width of 3-1/4 inches. Setting the depth of the cut is much easier thanks to the imperial and metric blade-adjustment gauge. The weight of the unit is 6.3 pounds which is super lightweight but still provides enough weight to apply even pressure when flattening out stock or boards.
One thing we like about the PL1632 is its ergonomic design which offers extreme comfort, even when using for extended periods of time. It’s not the fastest cutting tool out there with its 16,500 RPM rating, but for the average DIY hobbyist, this won’t be a problem.
2 PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer
The PC60THP from PORTER-CABLE has been consistently regarded as one of the most reliable home-use planers out there. It has a maximum cutting depth of up to 5/64 of an inch while the 6.0-amp motor generates up to 16,500 RPM to produce smooth, clean finishes.
It features two dust ports – one on each side of the unit – that let you choose where to place the dust bag depending on your position in respect to the planer. Unfortunately, the dust bag that comes with this tool is rather small and fills up extremely quickly. The power behind this unit is packaged in a lightweight case that weighs around 9 pounds in total.
1 WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
The final hand planer model on our list is the amazing 6530 from WEN. Despite this company’s focus on making budget-friendly power tools, this tool provides awesome power and comfort. Its 6.0-amp motor generates up to 34,000 cuts-per-minute.
The blades can reach all the way down to 1/8 of an inch into the surface of the wood. Although the motor is designed for light-duty work, this tool can also be used to strip thin layers of off dense, rough stock. This unit also comes with a tremendous amount of added features such as a rabbeting guide and chamfer groove. The features and power of this model are contained in a lightweight 6.5-pound package.
Hand planers are remarkable tools that smooth the surface of wood boards. However, this tool is in no way a perfect replacement for jointers and planers, but it is a great way to smooth surfaces of finished furniture and wooden fixtures without having to disassemble them beforehand.
Electric hand planers can come in all sorts of sizes and with a wide assortment of different features. The most important specs and feature to consider are whether the unit is corded or cordless, how powerful the motor is, whether they use two-sided carbide blades or reusable high-speed steel blades, how comfortable the unit is in your hand, and their dust ports to prevent wood dust from going airborne.
Choosing the right-hand planer can be difficult due to a large number of different makes and models. To help you eliminate some of the guesswork in choosing which model would work best for the average DIY-er, we’ve given you our picks of the top five planers.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with famous brands like DEWALT, PORTER-CABLE, Bosch, or Ryobi, but we feel that the model that offers the best bang for your buck is definitely the 6530 from WEN. Don’t underestimate this Chinese-made and -designed planer; it’s extremely efficient, versatile, lightweight, and easy to master by first-time users.
Good luck on choosing and using the best hand planer model. This tool will absolutely help you get easy sanding and smoothing jobs done in no time.