Getting the right tool for the job is always critical to any workshop project. Whether you’re doing weekend hobbies or serious carpentry, the right planer will make your work that much easier. How do you find the best planer, though, and what exactly does “best” even mean? Luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to round up the best benchtop planers on the market for 2020 and review them. You’ll be able to look at all of the features and see a detailed explanation of each, along with the biggest pros and cons. You’ll be able to choose from portable machines and larger benchtop planers, as well as models with a variety of features. Plus, at the end of the reviews, there’s a handy buying guide to help you choose. First, for a quick comparison, check out the table below.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Benchtop Planer
- 2 Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
- 3 Grizzly Industrial G0505-12-1/2" 2 HP Benchtop Planer
- 4 DEWALT Benchtop Planer
- 5 CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer
- 6 DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer
- 7 WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
- 8 PORTER-CABLE Thickness Planer
- 9 Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
- 10 POWERTEC PL1252 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer
- 11 Your In-Depth Guide to Buying Benchtop Planers in 2020
- 12 Final Considerations
The Best Benchtop Planer
|Name||Best Feature(s)||Size (Width)|
|Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer|
Low noise output at 83dB; compact, foldable design
|12 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Grizzly Industrial G0505-12-1/2″ 2 HP Benchtop Planer|
15-amp motor and portable design
|12.5 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DEWALT Benchtop Planer|
96 cuts per inch with three knife cutterhead
|12.5 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer|
16,000 cuts per minute with a 15-amp motor
|12 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer|
Stationary design with two speeds and three knife cutterhead
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer|
26 feet per minute feed rate; fan-assisted dust port
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|PORTER-CABLE Thickness Planer|
SPROCKET feed roller drive offers maximum power
|12 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer|
Adjustable infeed and outfeed tables; reversible dust port
|13 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|POWERTEC PL1252 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer|
18,800 cuts per minute
|12.5 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
The Makita 12-inch Planer delivers a compact design that is lightweight and easy to take to the job site, along with a powerful motor for better quality results with less effort. Engineered with cutterhead technology that makes blade changes easy, you’ll never spend hours making adjustments and swapping blades when you choose this model. Plus, there is an LED power indicator to let you know the device is plugged in and ready for use.
The four-post design ensures stability and steadiness in all planing jobs and the larger extension pieces ensure that the lumber gets all the support that it needs. It can handle lumber with a maximum thickness of just over six inches and is primarily designed for finishing and ease-of-use by all who choose it. In the box, you’ll find the planer, two magnetic holders, the blade set, toolbox, and wrenches needed for adjustments.
The 15-amp motor features powerful operation for best results every time and the optional dust hood ensures that all dust is collected and won’t clog up your machine. With an adjustable depth stop, you can ensure that repeat cuts are a breeze. Plus, it comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a one-year warranty on any defects or damage.
- Offers Interna-Lok automated head clamp
- 83dB noise rating
- Larger table extensions and adjustable depth stop
- One of the most expensive models on the list
Grizzly Industrial G0505-12-1/2" 2 HP Benchtop Planer
The Grizzly Industrial Benchtop Planer features a 12.5-inch width capacity so that you can handle the larger projects with ease. It also has a single-phase 2 HP motor that delivers plenty of power and a maximum cutting height of six inches. Convenient carrying handles make this portable benchtop planer easy to take along, too.
This planer cuts better and faster without compromising on quality, offering impressive power for the compact size. Double-sided blades and an easy-read height gauge ensure that you get the perfect cut every time. Plus, the 10,000 RPM cutterhead can make 52 cuts per inch with a feed rate of 32 feet per minute, meaning you can get plenty of work done with ease.
You will enjoy the power of this planer as well as its many safety features and built-in details. It also includes top-mounted return rollers and larger extension tables to ensure the stability of every piece that you are planing. From its compact size to its affordable price, this model offers a nice middle ground for anyone who needs a quality planer without breaking the bank. While some models include a third blade for premium cutting, this model seems to be rather impressive with just two blades in the cutterhead.
- This portable planer features a lightweight design that is still sturdy enough for the job at hand
- Offers powerful 15-Amp motor
- Includes protection from thermal overloads
- Safety switch near the power supply
- Only two blades in cutterhead instead of three
DEWALT Benchtop Planer
The DeWalt Benchtop Planer packs a powerful punch in a small package. Featuring a 20,000 RPM motor and a 10,000 RPM Cutterhead that delivers 96 cuts per inch, this portable planer ensures the finest finish for every project. The knives are also disposable and reversible, offering as much as 30% more life than traditional blades. It also has an easy knife replacement system, so you don’t spend hours changing blades.
The planer includes a four-column carriage lock to offer stability and reduce the risk of movement during cutting, with infeed and outfeed tables that offer extra-long support for all of your planing projects. The 15-Amp motor is ideal for deeper, larger hardwood cuts and the entire device comes from DeWalt, a leader in power tools and woodworking accessories.
With quick depth adjustments and easy cleanup and storage, this planer will be ready to take on the go or set up anywhere that you need to work. It also has a material removal gauge and a 12.5-inch width to tackle even the biggest jobs. For those who want something that has all of the best features but isn’t the most expensive model on the market, this planer delivers everything you want and more.
- 20,000 RPM, 15-Amp motor
- Steel blades provide durable years of use
- Limited 3-year warranty
- 90-day satisfaction guarantee
- One year of free service included
- Heavier than some other models
CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer
You will be able to plane all of your projects with ease when you choose the CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Planer, which offers a powerful motor at 15 amps and a four-column design that offers sturdiness and stability while you work. The solid steel cutterhead features two blades with a quick-change feature so that you don’t have to spend forever fiddling with a blade change between cuts or jobs.
This tool also has a cutter head mounted on ball bearings to ensure a smooth cut every single time and high carbon steel is going to guarantee that you get more cutting life out of your blades. The cutter head rotates at 8,000 RPM, offering over 16,000 cuts per minute, and the capable machine can even cut glued and gunked-up material. Forget about having to sand down boards or remove adhesive because this planer will do the work for you.
From CRAFTSMAN, this planer has everything that you need for dimensioning lumber for any project, and it’s still compact enough to take on the go. The engine gears are all metal and the dust collection ensures that nothing gets caught up in your machine while you’re taking care of your projects. The gauge is easy to read and ensures the perfect cut every time, and its user-friendly operation is one reason people keep coming back.
- Affordable price with near-professional results
- Carbon steel blades offer durability and longer lifespan
- Limited warranty from Craftsman
- Only two blades in the cutterhead instead of three
DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer
The DeWalt 13-inch Thickness Planer is another great model from DeWalt, offering a step up from the model reviewed a little earlier. This planer includes two speeds for powerful performance options, along with extended infeed and outfeed tables for easy planing. There is also a dust hose adapter to keep things clean while you work and an optional stand is available for purchase (sold separately) to make work even easier.
This benchtop planer features three blades in the cutterhead for premium cutting results, with a depth capacity of six inches and a max width of 13 inches for all project lumber and materials that you will be cutting. There are an easy-read cutting gauge and a material removal gauge that will keep your projects looking perfect every single time. There are also more than 60 factory service centers around the country that will honor the DeWalt warranty and service guarantee.
Speaking of, this company gives you an impressive three-year limited warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked. Plus, you also enjoy one year of free service on your planer, giving it an even longer lifespan when you take care of it. Although it’s one of the highest-priced models on the list, its features make it worth every penny.
- Automatic carriage lock
- Two-speed gearbox for optimal cutting power
- Handy material cutting gauge is easy to read and makes measuring a breeze
- Not convertible to 220V
Not compatible with Bluetooth or WiFi
WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer
Wen has one of the more popular models on this list for 2020, with a 13-inch thickness planer that’s perfectly portable and still includes three powerful blades in the cutting head for the best results every single time. It also comes with an onboard removal gauge that advises on cutting depth and ensures that you have the ideal setting before you cut. You can fine-tune the depth down to the 1/64th of an inch, as well.
This planer is portable but it also includes mounting holes if you choose to mount it to your benchtop. It also has a safety key built into the power switch to ensure no errant power ups when you aren’t using the planer and the carrying handles on the side make it easy to move around. The cutter is adjusted with the handy crank handle on the top and the dust port ensures that your planer isn’t filled with sawdust.
The folding infeed and outfeed tables provide support for all sizes of lumber and project wood, with a tri-roller system that also includes three dual-edged, reversible blades to ensure sharper cutting and a longer lifespan. With 25,500 cuts per minute, this premium planer is going to deliver the performance that you want with its 15-Amp motor and other features.
- Three reversible cutting blades
- Depth gauge measures to 3/32 inches
- Handles even the hardest woods
- Two-year warranty
- Some users don’t like the plastic gears
PORTER-CABLE Thickness Planer
PORTER-CABLE has been making power tools and shop tools for decades, including thickness planers and other woodworking tools. This particular bench planer features a 15-amp motor along with a two knife cutterhead that is made from solid steel. Plus, the head is mounted on ball bearings to ensure smooth operation. The knives are made of high-quality carbon steel and double-edged for reversible use and twice the lifespan.
This thickness planer will handle pieces up to 12 inches wide and as much as 16,000 cuts per minute. The unique SPROCKET feed roller drive offers a better power transfer than many similar products on the market today and the patented elevation feature ensures premium cutting stability with every single use. It measures 23 x 15 x 17.7 inches total, making it the perfect size for portability or a low-profile installation.
This is a portable planer that features a Poly V Belt cutterhead drive and the powerful motor will help with all kinds of dimensioning and stock removal on even the most stubborn pieces. Although it takes a little adjusting and trial to learn out of the box, this will quickly become one of your favorite and most useful tools.
- Solid steel cutter
- Superior stability for a portable benchtop planer
- Quick change blade system
- Blade may take a minute to reach full speed
Delta Power Tools 22-555 13 In Portable Thickness Planer
The Delta Portable Thickness Planer offers a standard four-column design for stability and a quick-change knife system so that you can swap blades without having to realign or reconfigure the machine when you’re done. It also has adjustable tables for infeed and outfeed that offer added support and still fold up easily for storage and transport. Plus, it can cut pieces up to 13 inches wide and six inches thick.
Not only does this planer include a proper dust port, but the feature is reversible so that you can collect the chips and dust from whichever side you prefer. It features a 15-Amp motor and dual-edge disposable knives in the cutterhead, and includes a toggle power switch with a security key for added protection. This planer cuts at 18,800 cuts per minute and the premium rollers are made from synthetic rubber for easy feeding.
Delta also offers a five-year limited warranty on this benchtop planer, giving you the peace of mind that you’re investing in a tool that is going to stand the test of time. The belt-driven planer ensures smooth cuts every time and comes from Delta, who has been leading the industry in power tools for over 90 years. Two blades give you all the cutting power that you need and this planer can handle about 28 feet per minute.
- Infeed and outfeed tables can be adjusted for various sizes of wood
- Quick-change knife system for easy adjustments
- Reversible dust port
- Portable design may not be as sturdy as other models.
POWERTEC PL1252 15 Amp 2-Blade Benchtop Thickness Planer
This thickness planer from POWERTEC includes everything that you need for DIY and professional projects, featuring an extra-sturdy base that won’t wobble on the job. This tool can handle boards up to six inches thick and 12.5 inches wide, with an impressive 15-Amp motor and a cutter that delivers 9,400 RPM and over 18,800 cuts per minute. If you need a high-powered planer with a budget-friendly price, this could be the model for you.
This POWERTEC planer includes a precision cutting depth gauge so that you can ensure the perfect cut every single time. It also offers two cutting blades made from high carbon steel and the comfortable grip on the crank handle makes adjustments a breeze. This planer includes side handles and foldable infeed and outfeed tables for easy portability and still stays in place thanks to the heavy-duty base.
The EZ Blade Replacement feature makes it easy to swap blades with no gauges or adjustments required. There is also a one-year warranty on this planer from the manufacturer, giving you even more peace of mind. Although it’s at the bottom of the list it certainly offers some top features that make this planer one that is worth considering for your next project.
- Heavy-duty, sturdy base
- Impressive 9,400 RPM for almost 19,000 cuts per minute
- 1-year limited warranty
- Only has two blades in the cutterhead
- LIMITED one-year warranty
Your In-Depth Guide to Buying Benchtop Planers in 2020
When you are in the market for a new benchtop planer, any of the models on this list will do you justice. There are several factors to consider in buying your new planer, of course, as you can see in the reviews above. To make sure that you get the most out of your investment, the guide below will help you understand what features matter and what you should be considering in your purchase. Although many different features should be on your list, the items below are the ones that will have the biggest impact.
Planer Capacity (Width)
One of the most important factors in choosing your planer is the capacity of project lumber that it can hold. The width of the boards that you are planing is going to vary depending on the work that you’re doing. Most models will hold up to 12 inches of width, while some on this list offer 12.5 or 13 inches of width for a little extra space. If you only plan on working with smaller pieces, this may not be as big of a factor. However, you do need to ensure that your materials will fit inside the machine if you are going to use it properly and effectively.
In addition to the width, people often also look at the depth of wood that these machines will accept. The standard is around six inches, although again some may offer slightly more or less space for trimming, planing, and dimensioning the wood that you are working on. Again, the capacity only matters for those who are looking to do bigger projects and may need additional space for their materials, but it can have an impact. Always know the measurements of the planer that you consider so that you know it will get the job done.
Planer Power (Motor)
The motor on your planer is also important to think about. The majority of the models that we reviewed feature a powerful 15-Amp motor that is designed to get the job done. Some models may only have a 12-Amp motor, but that is much rarer to find. You don’t have to know mechanics or understand the details of how the motor works. Just check the power rating, the RPM, and related features.
Some motors and planer gears are made from composite or plastic pieces on some of the planers that are available today. However, many models include solid metal and steel construction, including the gears, motor, and other working parts. You should always choose steel, or whatever the more durable option is, for the construction of your planer. That includes when you’re trying to choose a motor.
Dust Ports are a Must
When you buy a planer, you have to get a model that includes a dust port. Otherwise, the planer itself will become clogged and jammed up with sawdust and debris, making your work that much harder and probably reducing the lifespan of your planer significantly. There are different types of dust ports available, but the biggest concern is that you choose a benchtop planer that has one.
Ease of Use
A portable benchtop planer is supposed to make your life easier. If you are going to buy one, you should make sure that it is designed to be easy to use every step of the way. From convenient carrying handles like those included on many models we reviewed to extra details like high-performance motors and cutter heads,
You will want to choose a planer that is easy to set up and use. Look at how it comes packaged and read up on how long it will take you to get it from the box to working on your projects. Fortunately, many of the best planers available are ready to be up and running in less than 10 minutes so it has never been easier to get the most user-friendly tools available today.
Other ease-of-use features include things like the dust control port, easy measuring gauges, user-friendly adjustments, and more. It is about getting the job done quickly and right, and about not wasting time because you don’t have the right tools for the job. If a planer isn’t easy to use, regardless of how powerful it might be, it’s not going to be worth your time.
Type of Cutterhead
This includes the number of cutters, the speed, and the option for multiple speeds. You’ll typically get a smoother finish with more cutters and a slower speed, but faster speeds are often useful for the initial planing that you’ll want to do before you get into the detail work. Check out the cutterhead on any model that you’re considering and see what it offers compared to what you intend to use your planer for.
How many blades are included in the cutterhead? Do you have the option for multiple speeds or reversible blades? There are models out there with several configurations. You should also look for high-quality blades that are made from durable carbon steel or an equally heavy-duty metal that will give you the smoothest cuts every single time.
Many of the models listed above have quick-change blade systems that feature either two or three blades. They also have easy change-outs so that you don’t have to stop, readjust, and get the tools every time that you need to switch blades. The cutterhead is where you will be getting most of the benefits, so make sure that you consider this carefully. Check out the cuts per minute and whether variable or dual speeds are available, as these could be important to your projects.
*A note on the blades: Although most models fare pretty well in this department, some may only offer basic blades. You can buy new blades for your planer that are available in various sizes and capabilities, and that are made from sturdy, reliable steel materials for better cuts and a longer lifespan.
Like any power tool, benchtop planers can be dangerous if they are left unattended or plugged in somewhere that they could create a liability. Fortunately, most of the models available include a host of safety features to ensure that this never actually happens. These include power switches with built-in safety keys so that you have to consciously power-up the planer rather than just bumping a switch.
There are also many models with carriage locks to help reduce movement on the cutterhead and the device itself, and there may be other safety features on the benchtop planers discussed here, as well. When dealing with machines that are moving at between 15,000 and 2,000 RPM, it’s always better to be proactive and choose a model that has the most comprehensive selection of safety features.
Every Woodworking Shop Requires One
The planer is the must-have tool for woodworking. This tool is designed to help reduce the thickness of the wood and smooth the surface to create new project wood that meets your exact specifications. It is easily among the most important tools in the shop because it has so many important uses. Primarily, it is the starting point for any project when you have oversized wood that needs cut down and smoothed out for the next big project.
You can use a planer to turn tough, worn out wood into something that looks brand new. You can use it to repurpose old items, or even just to create custom projects that have the perfect wood thickness every single time. This diverse tool is a must-have, and when you choose the benchtop option, you can also enjoy the added benefit of it being portable and easy to move around the shop when you’re working.
Regardless of the pros and cons or the various features out there, the bottom line is that this is a very basic staple for woodworking. It’s less about whether you need a planer (you do) and more about which one is right for the job.
Related: Best Benchtop Jointer
When you’re in the market for a good planer, you have to do more than just go out and buy the most expensive model or your favorite brand. You must take the time to look at the specifications and product review guides like this one to learn all about the features and how to choose the right benchtop planer for your projects.
Evaluate your projects and consider what you expect from a planer before you start shopping if you have any prior knowledge to go from. Think of where you will be working, how you will be working, and whether the various features of each planer will be impacted by those considerations. It’s all about getting the tools that you need, so focus on what matters by keeping this guide in mind.
The “Plane” Truth
If you’re looking to get the most out of your investment in a benchtop planer, the information contained in this guide should help you learn what you need to know. Of course, our top pick is the first item on the list—the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer. This model features a compact, lightweight design that makes it great for transporting to the job site. It also has one of the lowest noise ratings for user safety and the sturdy four-post base ensures stability when planing your lumber.
If that planer doesn’t suit your needs, check out the others on this list and see what they have to offer. If nothing else, you can at least use the information here to help you choose another planer that works better for your needs. Remember to factor in all of the important considerations and look specifically for planers designed for your intended uses and you will be off to a great start.