The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Planer: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: September 22, 2023

So, are you looking to buy a wood planer but don’t know where to start? Look no further! In this comprehensive buying guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about planers, from their types and features to tips for choosing the right one for your needs.

What is a planer?

Person using corded electric planer on wooden workpiece in workshop

A planer is a woodworking tool used to smooth and shape wood surfaces and workpieces. It consists of a cutting head with multiple blades that remove thin layers of wood with each pass. Planers are commonly used in woodworking projects to create flat, even surfaces on rough lumber. They are available in various types, each with its own unique features and applications.

Planers are popular tools in carpentry and woodworking, and they can help provide a smooth, professional finish. They’re also commonly used for trimming down lumber, removing layers of glue, shaping wood, and more. While they are usually geared more towards professional tradesmen, there are still many DIY situations where a wood planer might come in handy.

Types of wood planers

Person using a manual hand planer on a wooden workpiece in a workshop
Hand Planer
Man using a cordless electric DeWalt planer on a wooden workpiece in a workshop
Cordless Electric Planer

Most planing tools fit in to two different types: hand planers, and electric planers.

Manual hand planers have been around for a very long time and are ultimately very reliable. The lack of moving parts means that the tool will last for years to come – provided it has a solid, high-quality design. While they are certainly reliable and robust, using them does require a lot of manual labour, and you won’t see results anywhere near as quickly as an electric planer.

Electric planers are much more efficient than manual planers and can help you achieve a more consistent and clean finish. Lightweight and powerful, they allow you to get the job done faster and with significantly less arm strain. Cordless models are also widely available and very popular, offering much better mobility and flexibility.

What should I look for in an electric planer?

When choosing an electric wood planer, there are a few key factors you should take into consideration:

  • Power Supply: do you need a corded or cordless model?
  • Number of irons: the number of irons refers to how many blades the planer has
  • Cutting depth: the maximum depth that the planer can effectively cut to
  • Wood chip disposal: often planers come with integrated wood chip disposal systems for a cleaner workspace
  • Ease of use: features like soft-grip handles and low vibration help you to operate the planer more easily.
Milwaukee M12 Brushless Planer

It’s also worth checking to make sure that the planer is manufactured by a respectable brand – choosing a cheaper alternative from an unknown company might seem appealing, but it’s much more likely to be poorly constructed, which can cause you a lot more problems down the line!

What are the best electric planers?

Here are some of our top picks for the best cordless electric planers:

DeWalt DCP580N-XJ 18V XR Brushless 82mm Planer

Introduced as the world’s first brushless, cordless planer, the DeWalt DCP580N sets a high standard with it’s compact design and excellent power output. The soft-grip handle provides maximum comfort, and the accurate depth measurement allows for incredible precision. Powered by 18V XR batteries, this machine is also guaranteed to perform well for long periods of time.

  • Voltage: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 15,000rpm
  • Max. Depth of Cut: 2mm
  • Planer Width: 82mm
  • Weight: 2.5kg

Makita DKP180Z 18V LXT Cordless Planer 82mm

The Makita DKP180Z is a fantastic cordless planer packed with a variety of useful features for added convenience. Offering the same performance as corded models, the DKP180Z also includes a lock-on button for continuous operation, an integrated dust extraction port, and buttons on both sides of the machine allowing for both left and right handed use. An excellent all-rounder for professional and DIY use.

  • Voltage: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 14,000rpm
  • Max. Depth of Cut: 2mm
  • Planer Width: 82mm
  • Weight: 2.8kg

Milwaukee M18 BP-0 18V Planer

The Milwaukee M18 BP planer is very lightweight and compact, yet powerful, thanks to the high performance 4-pole brushless motor. Left and right chip ejection helps to keep all debris away from your face, while the REDLINK overload protection and speed electronics help to ensure that your batteries are working as efficiently as possible, all of the time.

  • Voltage: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 14,000rpm
  • Max. Depth of Cut: 2mm
  • Planer Width: 82mm
  • Weight: 2.7kg

Hikoki P18DSL/W4Z 18V Cordless Planer

The Hikoki P18DSL 18V cordless planer is a high-performance machine that is perfect for trade professionals that need the highest level of power in a compact form. With a no-load speed of 16,000rpm, it is powerful enough to complete any planing tasks, while providing a clean and professional finish. The integrated blade stand also protects the blade and workshop from any damage whilst you are working.

  • Voltage: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 16,000rpm
  • Max. Depth of Cut: 2mm
  • Planer Width: 82mm
  • Weight: 3.3kg

Einhell TC-PL 750 Planer 750W 240V

If you’re looking for a powerful and more affordable option, then the corded Einhell TC-PL planer is an excellent choice. Offering a maximum no-load speed of 17,000rpm, this machine is capable of providing smooth precision cuts with ease thanks to its large knife shaft. It also includes an automatic parking function for maximum comfort and safety.

  • Power Output: 750W
  • No Load Speed: 17,000rpm
  • Max. Depth of Cut: 2mm
  • Planer Width: 82mm
  • Weight: 2.4kg

Planer Blades

Over time you will eventually need to replace your planer blades, once they begin to show signs of wear and tear. If you see any dulling, inconsistent cuts, or cracks, then it’s time to buy new blades.

When purchasing new planer blades the most important factor to consider is the size – you need to make sure they fit your machine! Most planer blades are around 3mm thick, however there are many different blade lengths to match specific planer models, so always double check the dimensions before you make your purchase.

You should also take into consideration the material the blades are made from. Good blades are usually constructed from either tungsten carbide, or high speed steel (HSS). They offer similar performance, however tungsten carbide is best for tougher woods requiring more effort to smooth, while HSS is more suited to softer materials that can be smoothed more quickly.

Wood planer PPE

Before getting started with your wood planer it’s important to invest in the right protective equipment, to avoid any injuries or health hazards. Because the act of wood planing can release harmful particles into the air, you should always make sure to wear adequate eye protection to protect yourself against any flying wood chips, as well as a face mask to filter out any airborne particles. If your wood planer is particularly loud, you might also want to invest in hearing protection, especially if you’re using the tool for long periods of time.

To conclude, a planer can be a great investment for your woodworking projects, but you need to choose the right one for your needs and budget. Whether you are looking for a cordless planer or a manual hand planer, we hope that this guide has helped you narrow down your options and make an informed decision.

If you have any questions or are just looking for more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to help!