A hand planer is a must-have tool for any beginner woodworker. It can help you smooth out rough edges, create a uniform thickness, and add intricate details to your workpiece. With so many options available, it can be not easy to choose the best one for your needs.
To make things easier, we have researched the top 7 planers that offer great working experience. We will also share our experience with using each hand planer. We tried out plenty of other choices, but these are the ones that made it some promising options for beginner woodworkers.
So, if you are planning to start your woodworking journey, you might find the perfect tool for your job right here in this list. Without wasting any more time, let’s get into it.
What’s the Purpose of a Hand Planer?
Simply put, the purpose of a hand planer is to create a smooth finish on the wooden pieces for woodworking. You can use the tool to shape the wooden piece according to your needs.
The tool can flatten and thin a wooden piece to suit the requirements of a woodworking project. Usually, a blade is attached to the bottom part of the planer, which will shave the wooden pieces to bring the shape to it.
For any woodworking project these days, hand planers have become a must-have tool for woodworkers. With a hand planer, you can expect to have a decent woodworking piece going on.
How Do You Maintain a Hand Planer?
Every tool needs maintenance, and the hand planer is no different. However, you can spend fewer hours maintaining the tool for top performance. You can follow some simple measures to ensure your hand planer is working properly.
Here are some maintenance tips for better performance out of your hand planer:
- Always sharpen the hand planer blade for proper shaving and cutting.
- Avoiding using the hand planer at a higher cutting depth at the beginning.
- Make sure to clean the dust or shavings stuck inside the plane.
- Use some oil and clean the machine surfaces to prevent any rusting issues.
- Wipe the whole planer with some oil to keep it clean for longer.
- You can put some oil on the adjuster threads to keep them lubricated.
- Doing everything should take at most 5 minutes of your time. But the results can help your planer last for years.
Review of the 7 Best Hand Planers for Beginners
The following 7 options we have for you performed the best out of the hundred planers we initially tested. We kept the beginner-friendly factor a priority here so that you may need more than these choices for professional purposes.
1. WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
Woodworking at home will become much more fun with the WEN 6530 hand planer. That’s the first impression we got from it. It has features convincing us that beginners will love DIY projects with it.
Right off the bat, we loved the weight of this hand planer. When we picked it up and started using it, we could feel that it was just 6.8 lbs. Because of its lighter weight, we had the luxury to move the hand planer around whenever we wished.
While the machine itself was lightweight, the built quality was strong. With its hard plastic body and steel blade construction, it didn’t have any fragile ends at all. We specifically loved the finishing on the planer as it made the tool look quite premium.
One issue we always faced with beginner planers was the need for more power. However, the WEN 6530 planer is different. We got to experience its high-performing 6-amp power motor with 17,000 RPM blade rotation. The cuts came out clean and super smooth.
We couldn’t stop praising one factor on the planer: the variety in cutting depth. It let us go from a 0-inch measurement to 1/8 inch with 16 different stops. The fine-tuning adjustment let us have a difference of 1/128 inch in between each stop.
What We Liked About the Planer
- A lot of cutting-depth options
- Kickstand option for extra safety
- It’s a value-for-money choice
- Easy to use and adjust
- The blades included aren’t that good
- Dust chute is a bit small
Overall, we recommend this planer to anyone who wants versatility in their DIY woodworking purposes. And with the level of power and quality, you might get by with some professional lightweight woodworking.
2. BOSCH 3-1/4 Inch Woodworking Hand Planer with Carrying Case
We didn’t just go for the value factor here, we searched for quality, and nothing tops quality than the BOSCH 3-1/4-inch planer. It is expensive for beginners, but it also allows users to exceed the beginner level with its features.
With the Bosch PL2632K, we had one of the most accurate cutting results in our woodworking pieces. All the precision came from the precise machining on its front and rear shoes made of aluminum. We had a great time sanding and chamfering with the groove in the tool.
We also loved how versatile this planer can be. It has a double-bladed plane system, but we could also use it with a large steel blade system running at high speed. So, aside from the conventional planer functionality, it also served the jointing purpose.
Something that made us a fan of the planer is its safety features. The lock-off release button they set in an ambidextrous way is unique. It helps us avoid starting the planer accidentally.
Another factor that makes the planer a strong candidate in this list is its build quality. The planer has a very durable construction on the body. But more than that, the drive belt has a Poly micro-V which adds up to the durability.
What We Liked About the Planer
- Lock on and lock off buttons for convenience
- Very durable construction overall
- Easy and versatile to use
- Powerful electric planer with precise cuts
- The knob designs are difficult to use
- Carrying case could be a bit better
This is a great option if you are willing to go beyond the beginner level with the same planer. It’s expensive, but its durability and quality should compensate for the extra price.
3. STANLEY Hand Planer 12-220
Here is a hand planer that we thought was something we could label beginner-friendly without any second thoughts. Whether it’s the price, ease, or quality, the features of the planer support the label quite well.
Starting with the feature that convinced us to try is the manual adjustment feature on the planer. We could precisely adjust the cutting depth and alignment to our liking with a manual adjustment.
One of the unique aspects we found in this planer is that it’s very small. Along with the compact size, it was also lightweight. Because of these two features, we could control the planer with ease.
While using the planer for shaving wood, we noticed the shavings had a nice thinness. They didn’t seem tissue-thin, but we are satisfied with the shavings we got with this planer. The blade surely is quite effective.
What made the planer even more exciting for us was the affordability factor. It comes at a very low price, and anyone considering getting into woodworking can get this one. It’s a great choice for beginners in that aspect.
What We Liked About the Planer
- It’s very affordable
- Creates good shavings
- Easy to use and control
- Adjustments are pretty accurate
- Not the best build quality
- Looks a bit cheap
When you are looking for a hand planer to do some woodworking out of a hobby, then this can be it. It’s one of the cheapest hand planers you can find out there. And it provides you with good quality as well.
4. YOGEON Hand Planer
When it comes to woodworking, it’s not just about the electric planer. Sometimes old school can be quite good too. We tried out this wooden hand planer, and the quality and features had something special to offer in our experience.
First, the hand planer is wooden, so it already has an advantage in terms of durability and resistance to rusting. Along with that, we also got the premium feel on the wooden construction of the planer. That’s what we loved the most about it.
Here’s the thing, manual hand planers will always give the best accuracy in shavings and cuts. With this one, we could adjust the blades for our needs to get the results we wanted from our woodworking.
Something we also experienced while using the planers was the comfort factor. The handle on the planer had a contoured design that was comfortable. So, we could use the planer for quite a long time without aching our hands.
With its compact and slim size, we had a great time shaping the wooden pieces. We could shave the edges and corners of wood pieces and shape the wood based on the different projects we did. It was quite easy to do as well.
What We Liked About the Planer
- It has an impressive construction
- The planer is very comfortable to use
- It’s affordable for everyone
- Provides good control as a planer
- It needs some setup out of the box
- Only good for lightweight DIY woodworking
If you like authentic tools and want to get the old-school feel of hand planers, we recommend getting this one. It’s a manual hand planer with no power source requirement. Just pick up the planer and start working on wood where you want.
5. PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer PC60THP
Regarding woodworking tools, porter cable is a renowned name for everyone. This planer from a porter cable planer came as a testament to that. We had to include this planer because of its pricing and features.
One of the best things about getting the Porter Cable hand planer is that it’s an electric planer with a powerful motor. We didn’t need too much pressure from our hands to use the planer on the wooden pieces. With its 6-amp powerful motor working on the wood was a breeze.
As for the build quality, there is nothing to question with Porter cable. We got a very smooth finishing that shows high-quality exterior construction. Aside from the looks, the build felt quite sturdy, even with the plastic body.
While the planer is powerful, it also works on wood rapidly. We were cutting excessive wooden parts on our pieces without breaking any sweat within moments. Credit for all that speed goes to the 5/64-inch cutting depth it has.
Things got even better when we started tweaking the settings on the planer. It has got impressive settings for controlling the cutting depth. We could use those settings to get the perfect control from the hand planer. And the results were accurate.
What We Liked About the Planer
- Results inaccurate cuts every time
- Great build quality
- Value for money
- It’s very easy to use
- The discharge port is problematic
- Dust extraction system is a bit confusing
Straight up, we recommend a thin planer to anyone looking for a quality planer under $100. It’s the best electric hand planer you can get for any hobby or DIY woodworking project. Even as a beginner, it is worth a shot.
6. STANLEY Hand Planer 12-404
If you want to avoid the hassles of cable and electric sources, check out this old-school hand planer from Stanley. We tried out the hand planer because of the amazing features it has to offer.
We don’t see the traditional designs of hand planers these days, but with this one, we got that. Tradition plays a huge role in the usability of the planer as we got to use the planer easily without going through any complicated process or needing any power source.
Adding to the functionality comes the polymer handles with an ergonomic shape. While they are easy to hold, they also felt very comfortable to us. Pushing the planer front and back didn’t affect our hands badly.
What we loved was the finish on the planer. Even with a traditional design, the planer had this amazing metal construction for added durability. The cutter edge is tempered steel, making it even more durable and appealing to us.
Since the hand planer is manual, we were concerned with the power and accuracy. However, right after using it, we got to experience extreme precision in the depth and alignment of the planer. Well, that took all our doubts away, and we got to see some fantastic results.
What We Liked About the Planer
- Heavy-duty build
- Worth the money
- Great accuracy from manual adjustments
- Handles are very comfortable
- It might need a bit of practice to use
- Needs some tuning and tinkering
Honestly, it’s a great choice for any woodworker with experience working with traditional hand planers. Or someone who wants to go towards that road. It’s a perfect hand planer for beginners who want to learn how to use hand planers properly.
7. DEWALT Hand Planer D26676
When we tried out the Dewalt D26676 hand planer, all we got was a touch of excellence with great craftsmanship and design. Aside from being a beginner-friendly hand planer, it surely leaves a mark of a professional tool with its features.
Starting with the handle, we were in love with it from the moment we held it. Even after holding the handle for a long time, we never felt any fatigue on our hands.
When we dove into using the planer, all we could see was how fast it was shaving the wood. The planer had a rate of 34,000 cuts in sixty seconds on the wooden piece we worked on. We finished shaping our wood within moments using this planer.
It doesn’t just stop with a fast-cutting rate; it simply elevates to the next level with a smooth finish. We got a perfectly smooth finish on each piece we used the planer. With its 5.5-amp power motor, getting that kind of result never felt difficult.
Last but not least, it has high-quality blades that we only got to see a little in our search. We saw industry-standard high-quality blades that we could resharpen as often as we liked. And the sharpening quality was consistent throughout.
What We Liked About the Planer
- Professional grade build and functionality
- High-quality and performing blades
- Precision ensuring cuts
- Ergonomic, comfortable handles
- There is no dust extraction system
- It doesn’t have any case
In our opinion, this planer is a perfect choice for both DIY projects and professional lightweight jobs. So, it’s a great pick with reasonable pricing if you want anything like that.
Related: Difference Between Jointer And Planer (Jointer Vs. Planer)
Things to Consider When Buying a Hand Planer for Beginners
Getting a quality hand planer always comes down to considering the basic factors. When we got these hand planers, we had to consider several factors before choosing the top 7 picks. These factors may help you get the perfect pick for your needs.
Types of hand planers
For the very basic part, you have to consider what kind of hand planer you want to get. There are several different types of planers. While all of them shave wood with their blades, different ones suit particular woodworking needs.
A bench plane is great for working on a bench using both hands. The blade angle on the bench plane is about 45 degrees. You can adjust the blade depth on the bench plane.
Then there is the block plane with a 20-degree angle on the blade. It’s perfect when you take off any mark or thinner wood shavings. Usually, these are the primary planers who shave off wood for a similar purpose.
As for other choices, you get a joinery plane for making grooves to join wooden pieces. Then there is a molding plane you can use to create various contours and shapes on your wooden pieces.
Which one you get out of all these choices comes down to your needs and what function you want from the planer.
Electric vs. Manual
In terms of power, you have two choices, you can go with an electric hand planer, or you can choose a manual one. A manual planer may require some time, but you get great control and precision in the cuts of the planer.
As for the electric ones, they are convenient, easy to use, and don’t require too much effort. However, you will need an electric outlet, and you can only use the planers about anywhere.
It’s always about your preferences and which one you want. All that is about your personal needs.
Material of the body
The next thing you need to consider is the planer’s body material. There are three typical choices. There are wooden planers, metal planers, and plastic planers. While metal planers are the most durable and strong ones, they are prone to rust.
With wooden planers, you don’t get too many issues with durability. However, you must take care of the wooden planers for different weather conditions. Plastic is the most common choice as it is durable and doesn’t require much maintenance.
So, overall, plastic as the body material would always be a preferable option. But if you are up for maintenance, you can try going for one of the other choices.
If you plan to use the hand planer for long hours, then comfortability factors are a very crucial thing to consider. Typically, you have to see the handle quality and material. If it has an ergonomic design, you can expect it to be comfortable for the most part.
You also need a handle material that’s soft to hold on to. Something that absorbs the impact is a great feature for extreme comfortability.
Ease of use
Ease of use has to be a key factor when considering hand planers for beginners. You can find plenty of options that are very easy to use with automatic features on them.
Especially if you can get an electric hand planer, you won’t have to worry too much about the technique or power. So, that makes using the hand planer already easy.
We discussed everything about hand planers for beginners. However, you still may have some queries, so here we answer them regarding planers for beginners. Let’s get going.
Yes, hand planers are extremely effective when you want to shape a wooden piece for woodworking projects. A planer shaves off wood in thin slices to give it the shape you desire to get. Almost every carpenter has a hand planer tool in their arsenal.
There is no clear answer here, which comes down to your purpose. Choose a sander if you think about removing stains or marks from the wood without losing too much of it. But if you need to shape wood, then go for a planer.
Yes, this is something you have to constantly worry about using hand planers. Every pass you take with the hand planers on your wooden piece will leave lots of chips and dust. That’s why many hand planers come with a dust extractor.
Even though many people interchange the two tools, they are different in functionality. A planer is great for giving shape to wood and thinning it out. In contrast, a jointer works well for shaping edges for joining them.
Summing up, choosing the best hand planer for beginners isn’t going to be easy with all the options. However, if you know what you are looking for, you can easily pick one from our list and share your experience.
Still, if you ask us, we would go for the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer PC60THP. It’s one of the best overall picks considering its price and functionality. Most of all, an affordable hand planer’s quality is exceptionally good.
Other than that, you can try out any of the seven choices from the list based on your needs. All of them should be good enough to satisfy your needs as a beginner woodworker.
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