If you are interested in purchasing a planer but you are not very familiar with this type of tool and the numerous variants that are available on the market, then do not worry, our guide will provide you with useful information on the various types of planer and their uses.
Or you can consult the review of the eight most popular models currently on the market, listed in order of importance according to their strengths and limitations. The models most appreciated by consumers are both designed for the hobby user range: the Bosch PHO 2000 electric planer , whose performance is also suitable for non-intensive artisan use, and the Femi PF150 , a very powerful and thick planer extremely easy to use.
The 8 Best Planers – 2020 Ranking
Below we will take a close look at the best-selling models, then you can compare them and easily identify the planer that best suits your needs.
Bosch Home and Garden Planer, PHO 2000, 680 W
The most popular among the different models sold online is the PHO 2000 electric planer, produced by the German company Bosch for its series of Hobby Home and Garden power tools. According to common opinions, it is one of the best planes of 2020 among all those available in the medium-low market segment; thanks to an engine whose power is also suitable for non-intensive artisan use and a highly competitive cost compared to the average.
The primary characteristic of the PHO 2000 is to have extremely compact dimensions, in fact the Bosch company defines it as an electric plane; it is equipped with the Woodrazor cutting system, with a blade capable of reaching up to 19,500 rpm thanks to the 680 Watt electric motor.
It is an excellent plane for smoothing edges, for planing and removing material or coatings from wooden surfaces; the only flaw is that of being poorly packaged and unattended.
Cost : The price-quality ratio is nothing short of excellent, and in fact the Bosch planer is appreciated above all by hobbyists who cannot afford to spend greater amounts.
Excellent performance : Despite being a medium-low end power tool, it is characterized by a level of performance that is also suitable for craft use, as long as it is not too intensive.
Compact and handy : The compact size makes the Bosch planer very easy to use and extremely easy to handle, even for novice DIY enthusiasts.
Packaging : Really spartan, a simple cardboard box, moreover the supply of accessories is non-existent and there is not even a tool case.
Femi Pf150 Thickness Planer
If you are wondering where to buy a planer and thicknesser to be used mainly for hobby use and therefore available at low prices, then it is appropriate to take a look at the PF150 model produced by the Italian firm Femi.
It is a small and compact stationary plane, therefore ideal for being placed in small spaces; it is driven by a 1,250 Watt electric motor and the performance offered is optimal for the finishing of boards, panels and other pieces of wood, including recycled wood, up to a maximum width of 120 mm and a maximum height of 152 mm , with a planing height adjustable from 0 to 2 millimeters.
The Femi surface and thickness planer is also very easy to assemble and use, making it ideal for novice hobbyists too; the package also contains the instructions in Italian.
Compact and light : To be a stationary plane, it is decidedly compact in size and light weight, therefore suitable especially for those with limited space available.
Easy to use : The Femi planer is made in Italy, it has a good instruction manual, which is clear and easy to understand, so both installation and use are beginner-proof.
Versatile : Designed primarily for hobby use, the Femi PF150 surface and thickness planer also adapts well to not too demanding and intensive crafts and construction works.
Guide and shavings : The lateral guide flexes a bit, compromising the precision in some jobs, moreover it must be cleaned often otherwise the shavings and sawdust clog it easily.
Stanley 1-12-136 Professional Planer
An ancient and at the same time brand new tool, this is the first impression one gets when looking closely at Stanley 1-12-136; it is in fact a hand plane, in all respects identical to those used by carpenters and carpenters centuries ago.
Although it is a manual model it is characterized by a fairly high cost, but apart from the reliability of the Stanley brand, it must also be considered that it is a professional hand plane, with the main body made of a single block of stainless steel which includes both the blade holder and its adjustment mechanism. The adjustment screws are in brass with a satin finish, while the ergonomic handle and the knob are both made of solid cherry wood; it is a high quality tool in all aspects, but it is advisable to sharpen the blade well before using it.
Manual : Stanley is a classic number 4 hand planer for carpentry and carpentry. It is especially suitable for the hands of more experienced craftsmen, but at the same time it is also good for beginners.
High quality : The plane is made of stainless steel, brass and solid cherry wood, all high quality materials, resistant and durable, well assembled and finished with care.
Ergonomic : The main handle is shaped to offer good ergonomics and ensure the greatest possible comfort during use.
Blade : The only flaw of the Stanley hand planer, however it may be considered, is that the blade needs a further and good sharpening before it can be used.
DᴇWALT DW733-QS Portable Thickness Planer
Even the DW733 produced by the well-known power tool company DeWalt is a thickness planer like the Femi PF150 examined previously, but it is at the top of the range in the range of hobby power tools that can also deal with craftsmanship, which is why it is characterized by a decidedly high cost.
Its performance, however, is nothing short of excellent: the engine has a power of 1,800 watts, it is a robust, heavy and extremely efficient machine, which performs quickly and leaves the surface of the wood smooth, well cleaned and perfectly planed.
The only flaws of DeWalt are the noise emitted, due to the brush motor, and the regulation system which is somewhat approximate, due to the slight play between the mechanisms. Although expensive, however, buyers consider it the best planer among those examined in our guide, ideal for demanding craftsmen and hobbyists.
Excellent for craftsmen : Its characteristics make it the ideal plane for small carpentry and carpentry workshops: it is powerful and leaves the wood surface perfectly smooth, flat and clean.
Solid and sturdy : The structure of the DeWalt planer and thicknesser is based on a four-column frame; it is a solid and robust machine that can be easily moved if necessary, to be used directly on the construction site.
Powerful : The 1,800 watt brushed electric motor is very noisy, but ensures enough power to work even the hardest woods without effort and with the best results.
Adjustment system : It has an excellent performance in all, except for the precision: the mechanisms of the regulation system, in fact, make a little play.
Kakuri Mini Kanna Wood Block Plane 42 mm from Japan
And here we are at the cheapest of all the tools examined in this guide, but do not be fooled because it is a special planer whose primary feature is the mini format.
Kanna is the Japanese term that indicates the common hand plane for carpenters, but unlike the models built in the West, which work by pushing the tool away from you, the Japanese hand plane is used in reverse, that is, pulling the tool towards of himself.
The Mini Kanna is made by Kakuri Craft, a Japanese company specialized in the production of hand tools for carpentry and carpentry, made entirely of large oak wood and high quality steel.
It is a seemingly simple tool, therefore, but of a professional level and performance, and available at a low cost only by virtue of the mini dimensions, in fact the blade has a width of only 42 millimeters.
For fine work : The Japanese mini planer Kakuri is a tool for chisellers, apart from its small size which makes it particularly suitable for finishing edges and narrow surfaces, it has an extremely sharp blade.
Traditional plane : It is a Japanese hand plane, of the same type used centuries ago, therefore it has a way of use which, compared to the western planes, ensures comfort and a far superior mastery.
First choice materials : The Kakuri Mini Kanna has the main body entirely made of wide oak wood, while the blade is made of a superior quality steel alloy.
Adaptation period : The way of use, however more efficient and less tiring, is however different from that of the western planes, so it will be necessary to do some practice to get used to it.
Makita KP0800J Planer
The Makita planer is also made in Japan, but unlike the Kakuri, it is an electric model powered by a 620 Watt motor, capable of generating a maximum speed of 17,000 rpm.
The blade has a width of 82mm, a cutting depth of 2.5mm and a stop depth of 9mm; unlike stationary electric planes, moreover, it is compact and easy to handle, it weighs just 2.6 kilograms and is powered by current via the integrated 2.5 meter long cable, which offers the operator great freedom of movement.
It is equipped with a quick blade replacement system, ergonomic handle with soft grip coating and provision for connection to a vacuum cleaner, moreover the price is very accessible given the quality level of the tool; apart from the carrying case, however, the Makita plane is completely devoid of supplied accessories.
High quality : The Japanese company Makita is known above all for the high quality of its power tools, which also adapt to the needs of many professionals as well as those of the amateur user.
Compact and light : Its weight is only 2.6 kilograms, which makes it very light compared to similar electric planes produced by competing companies, therefore very handy and comfortable to use.
Case : Unlike many similar models produced by competing companies, the Makita planer can at least boast a practical and robust case case, useful for storing and transporting the tool.
No accessories : The equipment is practically absent, even the adapter for connection to the vacuum cleaner is missing; there are only instructions.
Reiss-Werkzeuge Tool for planing and chamfering
The one produced by the German company Reiss-Werkzeuge is a plane for plasterboard, therefore it is a model intended for specific use, which is why it is available at a decidedly low cost.
More than a real planer, therefore, it is a tool with double functionality, whose main purpose is to plan and smooth the plasterboard surfaces. Its measures are extremely compact and the tool can be easily gripped and used with one hand.
On the upper side it has a 140 mm blade which is used for planing, while on the lower part there is another trapezoidal blade, used instead for chamfering. It is a simple tool, especially recommended for professionals who work with plasterboard, as well as for DIY and DIY enthusiasts.
Being a plasterboard planer, however, the planing depth is preset and cannot be adjusted in any way.
Economic : With a price of just under 24 euros it is the cheapest article we have examined; but it is also the one intended for the most specific use, and consequently it is a “niche” product.
Versatile : The Reiss-Werkzeug is a tool with 2 in 1 functionality, with one part it can plane and with the other it can bevel. Despite the versatility, however, it is to be used only with plasterboard.
Pocket : Its small size makes it comfortable not only during use, but also for transportation. If necessary, in fact, it can safely enter a trouser pocket.
Plasterboard : Forget to use it with wood, it is a specific planer with non-adjustable cutting depth, and designed exclusively for use with plasterboard.
Valex PE2000 1420713 Electric Planer, 850 W
The Valex PE2000 electric planer is appreciated above all by the less demanding hobbyists, it is in fact a model not very different from the Bosch electric planer examined previously, but with slightly lower performance and cost.
The PE2000, in fact, mounts a motor with a higher power, 850 Watt against the 680 Watt of the Bosch planer, which however is less performing in terms of speed reached. This does not mean that Valex is a good electric planer if used exclusively for hobbies.
Its performance, in fact, is ideal especially for those who can do it yourself only occasionally and in a non-intensive way, as it is reliable and available at a very competitive price.
Its limitations, on the other hand, apart from the performance limit limited to hobby users, are the classic ones of power tools belonging to the most economic range, namely low precision and high noise.
Price : The cost is definitely accessible and places it in the most economic range, so it is recommended especially for the less demanding and beginner hobbyists, who can practice starting with an economic tool.
Compact : Like the Bosch, the Valex PE2000 is also an electric planer, therefore it has the advantage of being compact and very handy, as well as easy to use.
User comfort : The ergonomic handles and the position of the control buttons also make it very comfortable to use, despite not being designed for intensive and prolonged use.
Noise and vibrations : The motor is powerful and generates higher noise and vibrations than the models produced by companies such as Bosch or Makita.
9.Bosch Home and Garden 06032A4100 Planer, PHO 2000, 680 W, Green
The electric planer PHO 2000 is one of the most successful Bosch power tools in the Hobby line, in fact it is also very popular with many craftsmen, who use it for less demanding and intensive professional jobs. In addition to the good performance, it also has excellent value for money.
To define the Bosch planer package as spartan is an understatement, in fact it is a cardboard box that contains the tool and that’s it. There is no case or other accessories.
The Bosch electric planer is cheap and without accessories, but it is well made, reliable and enjoys a certain esteem even by professional craftsmen.
10.Femi Pf150 – Thickness Planer
The same speech made for the Bosch PHO 2000 also applies to the Femi PF150 surface and thickness planer, that is to say, to be a hobby electric tool capable of satisfying even the professional user for minimal work. The further advantage is its ease of use.
The flaw of the Femi PF150 is precision, especially the lateral guide which tends to flex a little; it is also advisable to clean it after each job, since sawdust tends to accumulate and clogs the machine.
Overall, it is a good stationary edge planer, appreciated both for its ease of installation in small spaces and for its power, which makes it very powerful.
11.STANLEY 1-12-136 Professional Planer
The main advantage of the Stanley 1-12-136 planer, on the other hand, is to be a professional manual model, identical to the old carpenter planes but manufactured with high quality materials, assembled and finished with extreme care to offer the best performance and last in time.
The Stanley manual planer is perfect in everything except in sharpening the blade, which is good to do with greater care and precision before subjecting it to intensive use. But it is an easily resolvable standard “defect”.
The Stanley planer is mainly recommended for carpenters and professional carpenters, but obviously it is also suitable for demanding hobbyists who have no expense problems.
How to choose the best planers
Attention to models and prices
To know which plane to buy, among the numerous models currently available on the market, you must first know the type of use you intend to make of it and, more importantly, if the tool will have to serve the needs of a professional, a hobbyist or a simple DIY enthusiast who only uses it sporadically in his spare time.
When it comes to planes, in fact, many immediately think of the classic manual version of the tool and, especially novice hobbyists, are mistakenly led to think that it is a simple tool, and therefore low cost; which could not be further from the truth given that the prices start from an economic base, but they can easily exceed 3,000 euros depending on the model.
To understand how to choose a good planer, then it is better to first make an overview of the different existing models, their characteristics and the type of use for which they are designed.
The manual planes and the Japanese kanna
Manual models are relatively inexpensive, but paradoxically they are the most difficult for a beginner to use; in addition to requiring considerable physical effort, in fact, in order to obtain good results in the process, you also need a mastery, a manual skill and a level of skill that can be acquired only after a long practice.
The prices, in this case, can vary from 20 euros for manual planers for plasterboard and for wood up to 150 euros for professional manual planers, such as those made by Stanley for carpenters and carpenters, just to give an example.
Among the manual specimens, then, the Japanese planers represent a category in their own right with prices that can vary from 25 to 100 euros and more, depending on the size of the tool and the size of the knife.
The kanna in fact, the original name of the Japanese planes, have a different operating principle from the western ones. While the latter work by pushing the tool away from you, the Japanese planes do the same job but in reverse, i.e. by dragging the tool towards you.
This difference is due to the fact that the Japanese, a people very attentive to detail, understood from the beginning that dragging the plane instead of pushing it not only requires less effort, but also allows for greater control of the tool.
The electric planes
The motorized models are obviously simpler to use, as they do not require particular physical efforts, but still require attention since they are cutting tools, and must be divided into three main types: the electric planer, the planer and the planer thickness, the latter two often combined in one machine with both functions.
The electric planer is very similar to the manual planer, both in design and in the way of use, with the only difference that it is driven by an electric motor and that its cost, starting from the cheapest models, can vary from 40 -50 up to 300-400 euros approximately depending on the manufacturer.
The surface planers and the thickness planers, on the other hand, are conceived as stationary machines for use in the artisan workshops and in the carpentry and carpentry workshops; depending on the type of application for which they are intended, hobby or professional, they can differ in size and price, ranging from € 250 to € 3,000 and beyond. If you remain in the market segment of the models intended for hobby and semi-professional users, however, prices rarely exceed the 1,200 euro ceiling.
How to adjust the planer knives?
The adjustment of the knives in the electric planers is a procedure that can have some small variations depending on the type of planer, that is, if it is a portable model or a stationary machine, but which in principle has a standard procedure.
The first thing to do is to cut off the power supply by disconnecting the tool cable from the power socket, or by turning off the switch directly on the general distribution panel. At this point you can proceed in complete safety by turning the shaft of the planer until you expose the housing where the knife is inserted together with the lard, that is the piece of metal that serves to keep the knife firmly in place.
The lardon screws must therefore be loosened, in order to reduce compression and allow the blade to be moved manually; once done, the aligner must be applied to the drum, which is an accessory supplied to most of the surface and thickness planers on the market.
To obtain maximum precision in adjusting the knives, however, it is advisable to use magnetic aligners . Thanks to the magnets, the aligners attach firmly to the ends of the drum and allow you to adjust the height of the knife with millimeter precision on both sides.
Once verified that the knife protrudes uniformly along the whole drum, you can proceed by tightening the screws of the lard again, so as to lock the knife firmly in its housing; at this point the aligners can be detached and the drum rotated to repeat the operation on the next knife.
How to adjust the manual planer?
As for the manual planers, on the other hand, adjusting the knife is a fairly simple operation which, however, requires a lot of attention and the help of a hammer, preferably rubberized so as not to run the risk of damaging the tool.
In the manual planer, in fact, there are no adjustment mechanisms and you cannot resort to the aid of the aligners, but you simply have to act on the knife and the wedge that holds it in place, relying on the sight and use of a millimeter ruler to check that the sharp part protrudes evenly and at the optimum distance for the job.
The knife must be inserted in the special housing with the sharpened side facing downwards and taking care, in the initial phase, to rest the sole of the plane on a flat surface so as not to make it protrude from the lower part; in this way the perfect alignment of the knife can also be obtained, avoiding any imbalances on one of the sides; immediately after, insert the wedge and push it into place with a light hammer blow, in order to keep the knife still without blocking it completely.
At this point, always with light hammer blows, you can adjust the position of the knife paying attention to sight the sole of the plane, so as to check when the protrusion reaches the desired level. Once this is done, you can give the wedge a slightly stronger hammer blow to lock the knife firmly in place.
How to use a planer
What is the planer for?
The plane is one of the oldest man-made tools, in fact the first documented specimens date back over 5,000 years ago, and it is a tool used in woodworking for roughing and finishing surfaces and edges.
Its operating principle depends first of all on the type of planer, manual or motorized, but all in all it is quite elementary. In manual models the knife has the sharp side facing downwards, so as to protrude through a slot in the base, called the sole, the bottom of which is perfectly flat; the knife can be adjusted to protrude more or less consistently according to the needs of use.
The motor planes, on the other hand, can be of different types: planer, edge planer or thickness planer. The electric plane is nothing more than the motorized version of the manual plane, which also reproduces the typical design with the knob and the handle; the electric planers and the thickness planers, on the other hand, are stationary machines where the sole is replaced by a work surface from which the knives, which are inserted in a rotating drum, protrude with the sharp side facing upwards.
Regardless of the model, therefore, as mentioned above, the planer is used along almost the entire working range of the pieces of wood, starting with the roughing of roughly sawn boards; for this specific part of the work the knives are adjusted so as to protrude fairly consistently, in order to remove a greater quantity of material.
As you proceed with the processing and the piece is refined, the protrusion of the knife is reduced; in this way it is possible to pass from the roughing phase to the finishing phase.
The planer can also be used for grinding jobs or, by replacing the type of knife used, to make grooves on the surfaces to be veneered, to work on woods with very irregular veins, to work on curved surfaces such as those of barrels, and for realization of stops, joints, moldings and doors.