One of the most beneficial tools you could ever have in your woodshop is a planer. But perhaps you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars or the floor space in your shop to dedicate to a single tool. Instead of getting a full-sized planer, consider investing in a benchtop model – a compact model that sits on a workbench or on the floor for easy dimensioning. Granted, they have limited capacities, but it just means you’re not spending more on what you don’t need.
Of the numerous benchtop planers available on the market, theirs is one model that stands out from the rest – The WEN 6552T.
If there’s one thing you need to know about WEN power tools, it’s their surprisingly great quality at super-affordable prices. So what makes the WEN 6552T so awesome in the minds of all its customersThat’s what we’re going to find out in this article.
Powerful 15-Amp Motor
First of all, we notice that this WEN planer comes equipped with a 15-amp motor. This is the largest motor available in benchtop planers. The motor will spin the cutter head at a rate of 10,000 RPM with enough power to shave thin layers off of any type of lumber.
Now, even though it features a large 15-amp motor, we found that this tool does not do that well in all hardwoods. Perhaps professional workers who work regularly with hardwood may need to search for another planer elsewhere.
Triple-Knife Cutterhead for Maximum Cutting Efficiency
Three knives are better than two, at least in benchtop planers. The more knives the cutter head has, the more cuts it’ll produce per rotation. The 10,000-RPM cutterhead combined with the tripe-knife setup lets this WEN machine deliver up to 25,500 cuts per minute.
Easy-to-use and Accurate Depth Gauge
Planers are designed to remove thin layers off your work material with each pass under the cutterhead. With the WEN, you can adjust the height of the cutterhead from between 0 and 3/32 of an inch. Locking the depth gauge is easy to do so you can make repeated cuts across numerous boards without any additional tampering with the depth gauge’s handle.
Feed Rate (fpm) and Cuts per Inch (CPI)
Feed rate is the speed at which the planer’s rollers move your material from the front, under the cutterhead, and out the back end. The feed rate also determines how many cuts the planer will deliver for every inch of the board’s surface. This WEN planer has a feed rate of 26 fpm (feet per minute) and delivers up to 96 CPI.
Dust Port with Fan
Since planers produce chips and dust by the tons, it’s a good idea to find a model that has a working dust port. Many bench planers’ ports are designed in such a way that it waits for falling debris to gather near the port. Not the 6552T from WEN.
This tool features a fan-assisted dust port that suctions a majority of the produced dust and chips into the port. Simply connect your shop vac or dust extractor to the 2-, 2-1/2-, or 4-inch dust port, and you can maintain a clean workspace while you dimension hundreds of feet of wood.
13-inch Width Capacity
Remember how we spoke of benchtop planer’s limited capacity compared to full-sized modelsThe WEN can swallow up boards as wide as 13 inches and as thick as 6 inches. Granted, this is far from what a floor model can do, but as a compact machine, this is more than enough to pass most of your boards through. If you’re dealing with larger boards, simply tear them down to size with a table saw, or circular saw before passing it under the WEN 6552T’s cutterhead.
Foldable Support Tables for Easy Transport and Storage
The WEN 6552T comes with both an infeed table and an outfeed table that attached to the central worktable found beneath the cutterhead. Unlike many portable planers out there, this unit doesn’t require you to screw and unscrew the tables on. Instead, when it comes time to transport the 6552T or put it in storage, simply lift the tables up. It saves space and makes cleanup a breeze.
Supports 22-1/2-inch-long Boards
The infeed and outfeed tables’ main role is to support longer pieces of boards that pass under the cutterhead. Without these tables, you’re most likely left working with shorted pieces up to 10 inches or so. With these tables in place, you can pass boards as long as 22-1/2 inches comfortable and with a reduced risk of snipe.
These tables are not the longest and don’t offer the most support, but this is partly due to the fact that these are foldable tables and not ones you need to attach every time you need them.
One of the more amazing things about the 6552T is its sturdy design. Made almost entirely of cast iron, this unit will not dent or warp in shape as you transport it from job site to job site. Plus, it’s a compact unit that won’t take up too much space in your truck.
Reliable Rollers for Snipe Control
Another great thing that we found in this tool is that it handles snipe extremely well. Most of the time, our boards are perfect, and in the times that it does produce snipe, it’s only about 3 millimeters max. The infeed and outfeed rollers grasp the board, keeping it in place, ensuring that your boards will be affected by only a minimal amount of snipe.
Basically, this is a nice benchtop planer for hobbyists, but even professionals can get a ton of value from this tool if they don’t work regularly with hardwood. It has the capacity (13 inches wide, 6 inches thick, and 22-1/2 inches long) to get a ton of work done.
The somewhat stubbiness of the tables can be tolerated since they fold up rather than detach from the base. If you’re looking for an inexpensive benchtop planer to for simple dimensioning tasks, the WEN 6552T is definitely the tool to get.