Hand planers are used to shape wood. You can use it to smooth, flatten, or shape the wood. For example, it could be used to unstick a warped door. This makes a hand planer much more versatile than a sander. Yet planers have been overlooked by modern DIY enthusiasts in favor of tools like routers and power planers. Here are some of the best hand planers on the market today.
01. Dewalt Model DW680K Hand Planer
This hand planer by Dewalt is 3.25 inches across. It can remove up to 3/32” in a single pass. You can adjust the depth with an adjustment knob, so it will only remove what you want it to remove. The planer is easy to use. It is lightweight and ergonomic. And the motor won’t wear out in just a few months.
With the 7 amp motor, you won’t have to scrape again and again to remove material. The motor does all the work. You can use this hand planer to do everything from creating a smooth surface finish to accurate square rabbet joints.
This planer is sold with a single built-in blade. The manufacturer also allows you to buy it in combination with a full blade set. It can accept reversible carbide blades. Dewalt offers a number of blades sold separately, so there is no problem finding replacement parts. This is the best hand planer for those who expect to use the hand planer for years.
This Dewalt hand planer does not come with a dust bag. Nor can you fit it with one. The planer exhaust blows them toward the user and on the right side. This means you need to wear long sleeves, a breathing mask, and protective glasses when using this hand planer. Or you can jerry-rig one of the dust collector adapters and bags used on other Dewalt tools to fit this one. The dust port has a one-inch inner diameter and 1.5-inch outer diameter, so the dust collectors used on other Dewalt tools may not fit this hand planer.
The manufacturer says you don’t need to realign it, but it can get misaligned. If that happens, it can be difficult to correct. Sometimes the planer is slightly misaligned front to back, so the wood gets cut on one side even when you’re smoothing things out. You can’t adjust it or fix this, because the problem may appear even when the setting is zero (no cutting). However, that’s not unique to this hand planer.
- Can do a variety of tasks in addition to planning
- Abundant replacement / alternate parts
- Badly designed exhaust
- Not always aligned
2. Porter-Cable Brand Model PC60THP Hand Planer
This Porter-Cable hand planer can cut to 5/64”. This is similar to the cutting depth of other hand planers. The knob allows you to raise and lower the cutting blade in 5/128” steps. There are also three chamfering grooves, allowing you to use the planer for edge chamfering or the creation of transitional edges.
This hand planer is driven by a 6 amp motor. It is better than the Dewalt when it comes to dust removal. You can arrange for extraction on either side of the too. If you’re cutting channels, it can remove up to 0.47” in a single pass.
The unit comes with the dust bag. It also comes with an edge guide, wrench, and two carbide cutting blades. The manufacturer says it comes with a tote bag to carry all of this, but it isn’t always included. It sometimes ships without the other accessories, including spare blades.
This unit is unusual for the manufacturer allowing you to buy it with a compatible Bluetooth speaker. That’s a nice to have, and it may be cheaper to bring your own music player than rely on one built into the planer.
Like other budget hand planers, the plates won’t always stay in place or stay parallel. A different issue is its durability. The motor can get hot and warp the plastic shell. The entire thing can die after just a few months of use. This is typically due to electrical shorts that kill the motor.
- Multi-purpose tool
- Excellent debris removal
- Doesn’t always ship with all the accessories
- Short operational life
3. Bosch Model PL1632 Hand Planer
We’re recommending the 3.25” hand planer by Bosch, though this same hand planer can be sold along with a kit that includes additional accessories.
Bosch offers a number of related items like carbide blades and blade leveling fixtures if you don’t want to buy the planner kit. This planer comes with a single reversible wood razor blade and a wrench used to mount and dismount the blade. A direct replacement blade is model PA1202 razor.
The hand planer model we’re recommending has a dust collecting bag, but it doesn’t catch all the debris. Expect to sweep up or vacuum up the dust and wood chips when you’re done. The motor has a comparable operational life to others on our list.
Dewalt’s hand planer has a dual mount guide fence. This is ideal for planning the edges of doors. A big problem is a guide that you can attach to the planer. It takes a long time to assemble, and you have to go through as much effort to remove it as you did to attach it.
Like other planers, you can set the blade depth. You can set the depth in either fraction of an inch or centimeters. The motor can spin at up to 16,500 RPM. This may be the best hand planer for those who want high-speed action.
This hand planer is heavier than the others on our list. That can make it heavy and hard to work with unless you’re just smoothing out large boards. On the other hand, the spring-loaded stand means blades cut smoothly into the wood, and there is little risk of the piece jacking up.
This model of hand planer by Bosch has problems with pitting on the sole. This can affect its performance because it can mean the planer isn’t flat.
- Has a dust collector
- Comes with a dual mount guide
- Manufacturing issues commonplace
04. Tacklife Brand Model EPN02A Hand Planer
This hand planer is 3.25” wide. It can cut depths from 1/96 to 1/8th of an inch. The unit has two double-edge carbide blades.
The motor is a powerful 7.5 amp motor. It can rotate at up to 29000 RPM. At six pounds, it is about as heavy as average. It has average handling, as well. Its durability is roughly on par for this product class. It is ideal for light usage, not regular, professional use. That’s because it takes more effort to push it across and into the wood than professional models.
It has a rabbeting guide and a spring-loaded kickstand. This hand planer comes with a parallel fence bracket. Like some of the other hand planers on this list, it sometimes needs adjustment to get to zero. Unlike other models, the zero levels may not be level. The foot may not be flat, too, though that’s not unique to this hand planer. Check it before you use it.
The hand planer can blow debris to either side of the planer. You switch between them by hitting a single switch. The problem is the debris bag sometimes breaks, and now debris flies everywhere. The blades themselves wear out quickly. You can replace the blades. It is harder than average to find replacement blades. We’ll say this is one of the best hand planers for those on a budget; buy it so you have a planer on hand for the few occasions when the rest of your tools aren’t good enough.
- Dual blower
- Powerful motor
- Debris bag often breaks
- Blades wear quickly and are hard to replace
05. Dewalt Model DCP580B Hand Planer
This is a massive hand planer. It has a seven-inch front edge, making it much larger than others on our list. Note that this means it may not fit in tight corners.
The brushless motor can run at up to 32,000 RPM. It can cut as much as 5/64”. Unlike other hand planers on our list, it has a kickstand so you can set it aside without wearing down the material. It runs off a poly-V drive and has a durable belt.
This unit has a truly smooth metal sole and straight guide fence. (There’s only one guide with this hand planer.) It isn’t going to leave you with an uneven surface at the end of the job. It is easy to find replacement blades and belts.
This is also a battery-powered hand planer. It runs off of DeWalt 20 volt batteries. This is a good hand planer if you already have several Dewalt lithium ion batteries and a charger. Note that this planer does not come with a battery. Be careful of the battery running out of power mid-job or the motor overheating. A different issue is the lack of a collector bag. It will blow debris everywhere.
- Cordless hand planer
- Large surface area
- Level guides and a flat sole
- Does not come with a battery
- No dust bag
The best hand planer is the one that will do the jobs you need it for without costing you a lot of time and money. Compare the projects you periodically face to the capabilities of the planers we’ve recommended so that you find the right one for you.