7 Best Electric Hand Planers for Woodworkers
The handheld electric planer is a handy tool for resurfacing and straightening wood stock quickly and easily.
If you have been for looking for information about this power tool, you have surely seen that there are hundreds of choices available to you. But which model do you choose?
We’re glad you asked! In this handheld electric planer review, we showcase some of the best electric hand planers available on the market. We also provide you with invaluable information on how to use this power tool in the most efficient manner possible.
7 Best Electric Handheld Planers - Reviews
1. Wen 6530 Electric Hand Planer
2. Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer
3. DeWalt DW680K Hand Planer
4. Bosch PL1632 Hand Planer
5. Makita KP0810 Hand Planer
6. Bosch 1594K Planer Kit
7. DeWalt D26676 Portable Hand Planer
#1. Wen 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The Wen 6530 is an entry-level electric planer that despite its affordable price is still a performing tool. It sports a decent 6-Amp motor that is enough for any general purpose planing. The overall construction is made from a solid and durable plastic that will last.
With its cutting depth of 1/8 inch, this model is not the most versatile especially when it comes to depth adjustment versatility but it is still decent. But on the bright side, it has 6 depths stops that offer up to 1/128 inch increments. This allows you to get a very accurate and professional planing result on the cheap. In addition to the 3.25 inches cutting width and 34000 CPM speed (cuts per minute), this model can be used to straighten stock at a relatively fast pace.
Lastly, the Wen6530 has a 5/16 inch rabbeting guide that allows the user to make dados or rabbets of up to 1 inch deep. This is a lot of versatility for such an affordable electric planer. We definitely like what we see, especially for the price!
- Affordable price.
- Agile motor of 6.0-Amp. Will not stall and produce a clean finish.
- 6 depths stops with 1/128 inch increments.
- 5/16 inch rabbeting guide with 1 inch deep rabbets.
- Poor depth of cut of 1/8 inch
Who should buy?
If you are looking for a budget model that packs a punch, this model is one of the best electric power planers out there. It does not cost an arm and a leg but gets the job done quite effectively and easily.
#2. Porter-Cable PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The Porter-Cable PC60THP is another budget handheld planer that is a “little” bit better than the Wen 6530 above. It sports the same 6-Amp motor and has a more accurate depth of cut of 5/64 inch. This allows you to shave thinner surface layers with much more accuracy. Furthermore, this model has 10 positive depth stops for even more versatility.
We think that the build construction is a little bit better and feels more solid and premium in the hand. The 11.5 inches aluminum shoe has little resistance and offers great maneuverability.
The dual dust port expels wood chips very efficiently and prevents clogging. In turn, this indirectly help expand the lifetime of the device. Neat!
Furthermore, the 3 chamfering grooves at the edge allows you to make edgings more easily. Last but not least, this model allows you to make rabbets with a depth of cut of 0.47 inch on each pass. It does not shave a lot of material, and this is a very good value as it gives you a lot of control over your rabbet depth. You may require a few additional passes to get to your desired result. But at this price, it is hard to complain.
All in all, we think that the Porter-Cable PC60THP offers great value for money.
- Affordable and good value for money.
- Good depth of cut of 5/64 inch with 10 positive depth stops.
- Easy glide 11.5 inch aluminum shoe offers great maneuverability.
- Dual port dust extraction system.
- Dual blade design for more efficient cutting.
Who should buy?
Again, for those looking for in affordable and beginner electric planer, this is a good model to consider. We think that this model from Porter-Cable packs enough value, versatility, and performance for even professional work.
#3. DeWalt DW680K 7-Amp Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The DeWalt DW680K is one of the best handheld electric planers available on the market right now. It has a very rich feature set along with a powerful 7.0 Amps motor that guarantees a smooth, efficient, and fast surfacing of material. This model can be used on both softwood and hardwood with extreme ease due to its very powerful motor.
The 3/32 inch depth of cut offers great accuracy when required. This depth of cut also drastically help reduce the number of passes required for getting the desired result. Furthermore, the depth adjustment comes in presets which can be calibrated and locked in position for repetitive use. But what we like the most about this unit is definitely the reversible carbide blades that is very heavy duty and long lasting.
The front chamfering guides allow you to make and work very easy and tasks like re-sharpening straight edges and framing is is very easy with this device.
This unit is very ergonomic and has a solid build construction. It can be used for long hours without any hand fatigue. It is well-balanced and handles very well in the hand. Additionally, the fairly low weight of this device at only 6.2 lbs makes it extremely maneuverable and can even be used sideways for those who require this position.
All in all, this model definitely screams “professional” all over it.
- High quality built construction. Durable and will last.
- Lightweight at only 6.2 lbs. Very maneuverable. Handles well.
- 3/32 inch depth of cut for great accuracy.
- Two reversible carbide blades for excellent cutting efficiency.
- A little bit on the expensive side.
Who should buy?
For those looking for a dependable, versatile and powerful handheld electric planer, the DeWalt DW680K is literally a reference model that will serve you well. It can be used for any type of material resurfacing as well as rabbeting. This is definitely the best handheld electric planer in our opinion.
#4. Bosch PL1632 6.5-Amp Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
The Bosch PL1632 is an excellent professional grade electric planer that is still offered at a relatively affordable price. It still has a performing 6.5 Amps motor excellent for both softwood and hardwood resurfacing as well as a decent 16,500 RPM blade motion that will provide a smooth and clean cut.
This model comes with a stand guide that provides more versatility when working with material. It is spring-loaded and easily allows you to resurface the middle of a piece of stock without gouging. The included aluminum fence system provides a lot of accuracy and control, especially when planing material edges.
It is still a fairly lightweight model at only 6.3 lbs and along with its super flat aluminum shoe, it provides excellent maneuverability and handling on the job. All in all, we think that this model is an excellent middle ground between performance and affordability.
- Excellent value for money.
- Dual mount fence for control when doing edges or straight resurfacing work.
- Excellent 6.5 Amps motor that works easily on both softwood and hardwood.
- Spring-loaded stand allows you to work in the middle of material or at the end without causing gouging.
- Ergonomic form factor with angled handles. Additionally, the handles have a soft elastomer coating for a comfortable grip.
Who should buy?
If you mostly require straight planing like making door edges, the fence system in this unit will prove to be very handy for the job. However, we do not recommend this model for rabbet work.
#5. Makita KP0810 7.5-Amp Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
The Makita KP0810 is one of the most popular handheld electric planers out there. It has a decent and powerful 7.5 Amps motor that removes material fast while delivering a smooth and clean finish.
It is fairly lightweight at only 7.3 lbs. At this weight, it has a perfect weight to performance ratio that not only makes it very maneuverable but agile on the job. What is best, this unit can be used sideways with minimal hand fatigue.
As almost a standard feature for professional electric planers, it can resurface 5/32 inch deep and 3.25 inch wide. Additionally, the dual blades rotate at a no-load speed of 16,000 RPM. This speed and depth of cut are more than sufficient for any type of resurfacing work as it provides adequate accuracy, and does not remove too much or too little material in one single pass.
What is also a big attraction in this model is its ball bearing mechanism that not only provides higher efficiency when resurfacing but also boosts the longevity of the device.
- Powerful 7.5 Amps motor and 16,000 RPM blades for smooth and efficient work in both softwood and hardwood.
- Ball bearing for longevity and efficiency.
- The electrical cord is situated right in the middle at the back and points upwards. It can get in the way.
Who should buy?
The general form factor and lightweight of this device makes it an excellent framing handheld electric planer. However, it can still be used for general purpose resurfacing work in either softwood or hardwood with great ease.
#6. Bosch 1594K 6.5-Amp Planer Kit
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
This model from Bosch is not the most affordable handheld electric planer but it offers a lot of versatility, especially that it comes with a built-in fence. It still sports a standard 6.5 Amps motor and a decent 16,500 RPM speed for optimal efficiency when resurfacing material.
This model is equipped with a dual carbide blade. There are no alignment issues with the Bosch 1594K even after heavy duty work and long hours of use. It also hosts a dual dust port that does a great job spitting material to both sides of the device.
Additionally, the ratcheting depth knob makes it easy to adjust the height and the fence the width. All in all, this is a very versatile and accurate model that is excellent for many types of planing tasks.
- Equipped with both a fence and a ratcheting adjustment knob for maximum versatility.
- Performing 6.5 Amps motor in both softwood and hardwood.
- Dual dust port.
- This unit can be quite heavy, especially when equipped with the metal fence.
Who should buy?
This is very versatile handheld planer for a wide array of planing tasks. Therefore, we recommend this model as a general purpose electric planer for both casual and professional use.
#7. DeWalt D26676 Portable Hand Planer
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Last in our list, we have the DeWalt D26676. It has a “weaker” 5.5 Amps motor, but while smaller than most models in this electric planer review - is still quite powerful, even when resurfacing hardwood.
This model has a very ergonomic shape, ideal for horizontal resurfacing rather than vertical one. It is too heavy at 9 lbs for the latter. This model can be used with reversible carbide blades and the single chamfering groove makes it easy for working with edges.
Additionally, the 1/16 inch depth of cut of this model is not the best we have seen so far and may require an additional pass compared to other 3/32 inch models in this review.
- Great build construction. Ergonomic.
- Accepts reversible carbide blades.
- Easy to use middle depth of cut adjustment.
- Depth of cut is not the best, especially for the price.
- Single chamfering groove.
Who should buy?
Honestly, we think that there are better models in this review. Don’t get us wrong. It is a good model that gets the job done. But for the price, scroll above for models that offer better value for money.
How to Buy the Best Electric Hand Planers
Before you go ahead and purchase an electric planer, it is important to keep an eye out for some basic but vital factors. Here are a few of the most important ones.
When buying an electric planer, it is important to get a model with a power appropriate for the job you have at hand. If you plan to use your electric planer for casual use, or on small surfaces then you do not need a model with a motor higher than 5 Amps - 6 Amps. Additionally, the kind of material you are planning to work on will also decide the power of your electric planer. For softwood a small and lower powered electric planer will suffice. For hardwood, the more powerful motor you can get the better.
As an industry standard, most electric planers have a cutting width of 3.25 inches. However, you also need to take into account the depth of cut. Some electric planers have a more versatile depth of cut adjustment that is not only easier to adjust but also more accurate. Try to go with a model that offers the most versatility in terms of cutting capacity.
Many electric cleaners come with single HSS blades. Those are definitely not the best. We recommend that you go with models that sport carbide blades. Additionally, models with double edge carbide blades are much superior. They can cut through material much faster and with greater ease.
The fence provides a lot of control, accuracy and cutting speed when using an electric planer. Ideally, you’re better off with a model that provides a built-in fence. However, bear in mind is that those models generally tend to be more expensive. If this is not possible, then you can easily make a fence (guide) by yourself. It is a bit ghetto, but it will boost your accuracy by a considerable margin.
The weight of your future electric planer is also very important. This is especially true if you are planning to use this power tool on large projects for long hours. Of course, the lighter the device usually tends to be better. However, an electric planer that is too light is not necessarily a good thing. What is important is to aim for the right balance between power and weight.
#6. Chip Direction
An electric planer will spit out a lot of wood dust and debris. For the best versatility on the job, it is a good idea to pick a model that allows you to choose the direction of the dust outlet.
#7. Build Construction
Since the electric planer undergoes a lot of wear and tear by the way it works, it is important to choose a model that has a good build quality. Usually, branded electric planers undergo rigid quality control and are made from high-quality materials. Lastly, ensure that the base of the electric planer is made from a non-resistant and smooth metal alloy for better maneuverability.
Handheld Electric Planer vs. Thickness Planer
The handheld electric planer competes directly with the even more popular thickness planer. But which model do you choose? Before we answer this question, let us consider their differences first.
A thickness planer is a stationary power tool that is exclusively used to straighten and shave wood planks. It does this very quickly and easily thanks to the presence of sharp knives (cutters) and a power motor. This motor turns both the knives very rapidly as well as rotate a set of rollers than “suck” the material inside the device.
The handheld electric planer, on the other hand, is lighter and portable planer that offers more maneuverability and control over the “shaving” process. It also sports a significantly less powerful motor delivering less performance on the job.
Before choosing between the two types, take into account the type of application and amount of material you will work with. For heavy-duty planing and straightening of a large number of stock, the thickness planer has greater performance, better efficiency and superior ease of use. For other casual planing tasks in material less than 3.25 inches in width, the handheld planer works just fine.
For straightening large blocks of stock at all sides, the thickness planer is the definite choice. Both the cutting and thickness width can be adjusted to accommodate your material. Most thickness planers will easily work with material of up to 6 inches in thickness. On the other hand, if you want to straighten only one side of stock, then the handheld electric planer is ideal.
Evidently, the thickness planer is not a portable planer. If you require portability, the handheld electric planer is the way to go.
Generally, the thickness planer is bigger and more expensive than the smaller handheld electric planer. If you are on a strict budget, you can easily buy a handheld electric planer for cheaper.
Buying Advice: It will depend on your usage. If you require a planer for casual work and only need to straighten one side of material - the hand held wood planer is the best option.
For any other “heavy-duty” work that requires straightening all edges of thick and large (larger than 3.25 inches) stock, the thickness planer is the recommended purchase.
How to Use an Electric Handheld Planer
Step #1: Ensure that your blades are aligned in the right direction and rotating in a clockwise direction. It is very easy to place blades in reverse in a handheld planer.
Step #2: Firmly clamp your material and power on your device. If you need to adjust the depth of cut, most electric planers have a “depth stop” system that allows you to adjust the depth of cut and lock the blade in position.
Step #3: Gently lay the device on the surface and apply a constant forward motion. You need to apply the same force throughout so as not to gouge the material. This is especially important at the end of the stock, where gouging can easily happen.
There you have it! It’s that easy to use this power tool. Here is a helpful video that gives you a hands-on demonstration how to use the electric handheld planer effectively on the job.
We come to an end of this electric hand planer review. As we have seen, there is a model for every need and budget out there. Whether you are a beginner looking for a first budget model or a professional looking for a dependable one - you will find it here! If not, we recommend that you read it one more time to find the best hand planer for your workshop. Good luck!