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9 Best Cordless and Electric Planers (2021 Review)

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The best cordless and electric planers should be powerful yet precise enough to shave fine slithers off a piece of wood with minimum vibration and noise, so you should look for a no-load speed of at least 16,000rpm for corded models. You can certainly go for a cordless electric planer too, although speed can be somewhat slower for these (10,000-15,000rpm). Cordless electric planers are more versatile but they are also more expensive, not least thanks to the cost of a battery and charger.

Planing and rebate depths are features you should definitely factor in when choosing an electric planer. The best cordless and electric planers have a planning depth per pass of around 2-3mm and a maximum rebate depth of 9-12mm. Planing width is very consistent at 82 mm for most models. Also look for reversible planer blades with a sharp edge on both sides that can be flipped through 180° for longer life.

Any power planer should also feel comfortable to hold and use. It typically weighs between 2.5 and 3kg. A dust or chip extraction facility is a very important feature on woodworking tools that generate a lot of sawdust like this one – look for a dual-sided dust port so a hose or bag does not get in the way.

You can snag a quality budget electric planer or splash out on a cordless planer, because I’ve thoroughly reviewed them all. Read on and see what I found out…

What is the Best Cordless or Electric Planer For You?

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Comparing the Best Cordless and Electric Planers

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Power
  • No-Load Speed
  • Planing Width
  • Planing Depth
  • Max Rebate Depth
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Cordless and Electric Planers

Makita KP0800 Electric PlanerMakita KP0800 Electric Planer

Best for low vibration levels

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Makita KP0800 Electric Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 620W
  • No-Load Speed: 17,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 2.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 9.0mm
  • Weight: 2.5kg

The Makita KP0800 is probably the best electric planer because it’s a dependable workhorse that is packed with useful features. Japanese tool masters Makita make some of the best rated and most reliable power tools. They’re found on jobsites and in workshops around the world, and this planer doesn’t let them down.

Starting with the build quality. It’s a nicely put together bit of kit that’s heavy enough at 2.8 kg to feel solid in the hand. But it’s not so weighty that it’ll slow you down. The handle is at the best angle and rubberised for a positive, comfortable grip. The trigger and safety button work smoothly, and the depth adjuster is easy to read and turn.

The 620 Watt motor spins up the twin cutting blades up to 34,000 cuts per minute (CPM) at 17,000 rpm. You can adjust the planing depth down to 2mm. The adjustable front shoe has a neat “V” groove for chamfer cuts. And the rear fixed shoe features a spring-loaded catch to help avoid damaging the workpiece.

Overall, this is a professional-level electric plane that boasts low vibration levels, and the double insulated body ensures extra safety. It’s made from the sort of build quality that fills me full of confidence. I love it.

Pros

  • Effective dust extraction is the key to quality electric planing. The standard 50mm dust port will fit most extractors and works well to remove almost everything ejected.
  • The solid and dependable construction that Makita users have come to expect is here in spades. From the comfortable low vibration handle to the positive stops on the fine adjustment knob, it’s a joy to use!
  • The carbide blades are double edged. This means you can switch them round and get double the working life before you need to re-sharpen them.
  • Thanks to the smooth motor operation and overmoulded handle, the vibrations are kept down to just 2.5 m/sec².

Cons

  • I’m disappointed this isn’t supplied with a dust bag. Love them or loathe them, it’s an extra I’d expect to get with a premium electric planer.
  • You’re unable to change the side that the chips eject from. Compare it to the Bosch GHO 26-82D and it feels limited, especially if you’re left handed.
  • You’re going to need to find your own way to keep this planer safe between jobs. It comes in a cardboard box, not a hard case.
  • Compared with the Bosch GHO 26-82D, the planing depth per pass is 0.6mm less. You can remove a lot more material per pass with the Bosch.
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Bosch Professional GHO 26-82 Corded PlanerBosch Professional GHO 26-82 Corded Planer

Best all-round corded option

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Bosch Professional GHO 26-82 Corded Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 710W
  • No-Load Speed: 18,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 2.6mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 9.0mm
  • Weight: 2.8kg

Forming part of Bosch’s “blue” line of professional quality tools, the GHO 26-82 D is one of the best electric planers you can get.

As you’d expect from a Bosch Professional tool, this 2.8 kg tool is built to last the knocks and drops expected on a building site. It comes with some brilliant ergonomic features too. Favouring both left and right handed users, the lock off switch can be operated from both sides.

The ergonomic features don’t stop there though. One of the most useful bits of design by Bosch is the switchable sawdust port. You can change which side the chips eject from with the flick of a lever. It means the bag or vacuum hose can always be positioned out of the way.

The large 710 Watt motor spins up the single cutting blade to an impressive 18,000 rpm. You can adjust the planing depth down to 2.6mm. The spring loaded “parking foot” keeps the fixed rear shoe up off the workpiece. This helps to avoid taking chunks out of your workbench when you put it down.

All Bosch electric planers feature a single blade cutting system. It might seem counterintuitive, but Bosch reckon their blade is the sharpest in the industry. It’s also much simpler to adjust than a multi-blade system.

Bosch have even given you three choices of chamfer in the adjustable front shoe. A shallow, medium, and deep groove to work with. It’s the user-friendly touches like this that make it one of the best electric wood planers available right now.

Pros

  • The hard case the planer comes in is brilliant. Compared to the cardboard box supplied with the Makita KP0800, I know which one I’d like to own. It’s smart, robust and will keep the planer safe.
  • The two-sided chip ejection is great for left-handed users, or when your vacuum system is on the other side of the tool.
  • The lock-off feature is a smart safety device. The last thing you want is an accidental start up when working with finish materials.
  • The generous 4 metre power cable is ideal for a corded tool. It’s long enough to not need an extension cord every time.

Cons

  • Even if Bosch’s wood razor system is simple to replace, all the work is being done by a single cutting edge. Surely the blade will become duller more quickly than in a multi-blade system.
  • Several users have complained about the quality of the sole. It’s easily scratched and can mark the surface you’re working on.
  • Users have noted that the dust bag is not great. Wood chips get stuck in the fabric and make cleaning a real pain.
  • Compared with the Ryobi R18PL’s 12.5mm, the 9mm rebate depth isn’t class leading.
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Makita DKP180Z LXT 18V Cordless PlanerMakita DKP180Z LXT 18V Cordless Planer

Best cordless

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Makita DKP180Z LXT 18V Cordless Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • No-Load Speed: 14,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 2.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 9.0mm
  • Weight: 3.2kg (excl battery)

If you want to spend a bit extra for a planer without annoying power cables, the Makita DKP180Z is for you. Making use of the Japanese tool masters’ brilliant LXT 18V technology, you can go “off grid” when you need to. It performs as well as most corded planers too.

The DKP180Z looks like the KP0800. It features the same comfortable anti-vibration grip and accurate depth adjustment. The build quality is what you’d expect from Makita: tough, refined, and easy to use.

The brushed motor delivers 14,000 rpm and can cut to a maximum depth of 2mm per pass. It has a maximum rebate depth of 9mm and can cut up to 82mm wide. Thanks to a pair of quality double edged carbide blades, it cuts smooth. It even performs well when you drop the depth down past a few tenths of a millimetre.

The only downsides I can think of when it comes to the DKP180Z are the weight and battery life. Coming in at a formidable 3.2 kg without the battery, it’s not exactly light. And as anyone who’s familiar with battery powered planers will tell you, they eat batteries! I’d recommend using a high Ah battery, but it will only add to the heft. Apart from that, it’s the best cordless electric planer.

Pros

  • You get all the refined qualities of the excellent Makita KP0800, but without the cord. Ideal for working away from the mains or when you’re fed up with trailing cables.
  • The double edged carbide blades let you work for longer without needing to re-sharpen. When one side gets blunt or chipped, just switch it around.
  • The electric brake is a brilliant safety feature. It does away with dangerous run-on that can cause accidents and gouge the workpiece.
  • The lock-off safety switch can be safely operated by both left and right handed operators.
  • Makita have included a solid-feeling side fence with the planer. You can use it to follow an edge or for creating accurate rebates.

Cons

  • Compared with the clever Bosch GHO 26-82 D, you’re stuck with the chips ejecting on the right only. Once you’ve had the luxury of a switchable ejection port you never want to go back.
  • The maximum rpm of 14,000 isn’t that fast compared with the cordless DeWalt DCP580N. Usually, the faster a planer blade spins, the less it causes tear-out.
  • This is a “naked” power tool. Don’t expect to get batteries, a case, or a dust bag. You’ve probably got the batteries already, but the lack of dust bag is annoying.
  • Like most cordless planers, this is a power hungry bit of kit. High Ah batteries are a necessary evil. They’re heavy but mean you’re not swapping over quite so often.
  • If you want to get the most out of a corded planer, you’ll need one with a brushless motor. Makita make one, the DKP181Z, but it’s a lot more expensive!
BUY HERE →

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DeWalt DCP580N 18V XR Li-Ion Brushless Cordless PlanerDeWalt DCP580N 18V XR Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Planer

Best with brushless motor

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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DeWalt DCP580N 18V XR Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • No-Load Speed: 15,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 2.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 9.0mm
  • Weight: 2.5kg (excl battery)

US tool heroes DeWalt are the go-to brand for tradespeople and keen DIYers all over the world. The DeWalt DCP580N is a brilliant addition to their popular series of 18V XR cordless power tools. It’s a mighty yet lightweight cordless planer that packs a serious punch.

Making use of a powerful brushless motor, you can get up to 15,000 rpm from the cutting blades. It really squeezes out every last drop of torque, and all without needing to change brushes. The rubberised handle is comfortable and helps to keep your hand at the optimum working angle.

It can cut up to 2mm per pass in softwood and up to 1mm in hardwood. There’s a cutting width of 82mm and a maximum rebate depth of 9mm. It also has 0.1mm increment depth adjustment, controlled by a chunky front dial that doubles up as a grippy handle.

One of my favourite features on this planer is the blade and tool storage compartment. Simply twist the black dial on the side and there’s room for spare blades. This is ideal if you happen to snag on a bit of metal and need to quickly change blades on the job.

Pros

  • As far as I’m concerned, the best cordless electric planers have brushless motors. They’re more powerful, efficient and you never need to change brushes.
  • Not everyone’s a fan of the foot lock-off on planers that keeps the sole away from the workpiece. DeWalt have included a clever cut out that means you can hold it out of the way. Genius!
  • It weighs just 2.5kg without the battery. Compared to the heavyweight cordless Makita DKP180Z it’s noticeably light and portable. Even with a high Ah battery installed.
  • The overall build quality is what you’d expect from a professional brand like DeWalt. Users have praised it for its rugged design and tough exterior.

Cons

  • Several users have complained that the dust port gets clogged too easily. It needs regular cleaning out, which wastes time and effort.
  • Compared with the brilliant Bosch GHO 26-82 D, the chips can only eject from one side. Now that I’ve tried the switchable ejection ports I don’t want to go back.
  • Make sure you’ve stocked up on high Ah XR batteries. This is a “naked” power tool that will chew through batteries quickly. Don’t expect a charger or dust bag either.
  • Some users have found that you can accidentally change the depth of cut with the adjustment handle. It doubles up as the front handle and is quite sensitive.
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Bosch PHO 1500 PlanerBosch PHO 1500 Planer

Best for no-load speed

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Bosch PHO 1500 Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 550W
  • No-Load Speed: 19,500rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 1.5mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 8.0mm
  • Weight: 2.4kg

Forming part of Bosch’s “green” line of DIY level tools, the PHO 1500 is a formidable bit of kit. It won’t take as much of a bite out of your wallet either.

I was excited about getting my hands on this planer to see how it stacked up against the “blue” professional series. I was rather impressed by the build quality and comfortable handle setup. Compared with the GHO 26-82 D, you can’t change the chip ejection direction or plane off as much material per pass. However, for the price it’s one of the best electric planes out there right now.

Surprisingly, the adjustable front shoe comes complete with the three different depth V shaped chamfer grooves. You might think this is on the best electric planer out there, but here it is on a relatively inexpensive tool. And at just 2.4kg, it’s a lightweight power tool to use as well.

The 550 Watt motor spins up the single cutting blade to an impressive 19,500 rpm and you can plane up to 1.5mm per pass. There’s a “parking rest” on the rear shoe to avoid damaging the workbench as well. Just like the “blue” professional Bosch planer, there’s just one Woodrazor cutting blade to worry about. Adjusting it with the included hex key is a simple operation.

Unless you’re doing a lot of planing or you need a professional tool, this is a contender for best electric planer. it’s lightweight, easy to use and comfortable. It’s everything you want from a woodworking power tool.

Pros

  • An incredible no-load speed of 19,500 rpm. Compared to the Bosch Professional GHO 26-82D it’s 1,500 rpm faster. It does it all with a smaller motor than the Makita KP0800 as well.
  • It’s one of the best electric planers for chamfering. You get three “V” grooves in the foot for different sized chamfer cuts. It’s a good thing to see on an inexpensive planer.
  • Weighing in at just 2.4kg, it’s not too heavy for any user. Corded power tools need to be lightweight, and this one is just that.
  • I like the fact that replacement blades are readily available. Compared with more budget brands, you can find wood razor spares easily.

Cons

  • The maximum cutting depth of 1mm is poor compared to the Makita KP0800. It’s not the ideal tool for removing large amounts of material.
  • Like the Bosch GHO 26-82D, it uses the wood razor single blade system. I’m sure it will get blunt quicker than a multi-blade system.
  • You can only cut a rebate depth of 8mm. That’s 1mm less compared with the Makita DKP180Z or DeWalt DCP580N.
  • Compared with the Makita DKP180Z, this planer doesn’t come with a guide fence. You can get one, but it’s an extra expense.
BUY HERE →

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Ryobi R18PL-0 18V ONE+ Cordless PlanerRyobi R18PL-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Planer

Best value cordless

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Ryobi R18PL-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • No-Load Speed: 11,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 1.6mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 12.5mm
  • Weight: 2.4kg (excl battery)

The other big Japanese tool brand, Ryobi, make one of the best DIY level electric planers I’ve tried out. Famous for their ONE+ series of tools that all share the same battery, it’s a great system to invest in.

I’ve always been a fan of Ryobi’s GripZone technology, the rubber overmoulding won’t slip out of your hand easily. It’s always comfortable to hold and helps to keep some of the vibration down as well.

Ryobi’s 18V battery powers the cutting head up to a reasonable 11,000 rpm. It’s not the fastest but should be adequate for most DIY jobs. The tool has an adjustable depth cut from 0 – 1.6 mm and a planing width of 82mm.

Where this planer really comes into its own is the rebate depth. You can cut down to an impressive 12.5mm with the handy guide. That’s a lot deeper than any of the professional-level competition. It’s the best rebate plane I’ve tried out so far.

Pros

  • You can set the blade depth to “P” for “protect” on the front dial. This lifts the blade up above the line of the foot, keeping it out of trouble. No more scratched workpieces too!
  • Like the Bosch GHO 26-82D, you can choose which side the chips eject from. It’s a premium feature you might only expect to see on more expensive tools.
  • Compared with the Makita KP0800, Ryobi include a dust bag with the price. It means you can get to work straight away without ruining the carpets.
  • It’s nice and light and easy to work with. Weighing just 2.4kg without the battery installed, it’s easy enough for anyone to get the hang of.

Cons

  • Cordless electric planers aren’t usually as fast as corded versions, but this one is slow. Compared with the lightning fast Bosch PHO 1500, I doubt it will cut as smoothly.
  • Even compared with the power hungry DeWalt DCP580N, this planer eats batteries fast. The brushed motor is less efficient, so make sure you have plenty of backup
  • Compared with the Makita KP0800’s metal motor housing, the Ryobi feels quite plastic. It’s tough plastic, but I prefer the durability that comes with steel.
  • It can only cut a maximum of 1.6mm per pass. That’s 1mm less than the Bosch GHO 26-82D.
BUY HERE →

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Einhell TE-PL TE-PL 18/82 Cordless PlanerEinhell TE-PL TE-PL 18/82 Cordless Planer

Best light weight cordless

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Einhell TE-PL TE-PL 18/82 Cordless Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • No-Load Speed: 15,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 2.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 9.0mm
  • Weight: 2.4kg

German brand Einhell have been making tools since 1964, but only recently got into the cordless tool market. Their Power X-Change 18V system means you can power a whole range of tools with just the one type of battery. I tried out the TE-PL cordless planer and think it’s one of the best budget planers for the money.

Starting with the ergonomics, Einhell have done a good job with the handle. It’s built at a comfortable angle and has plenty of soft rubberised plastic to help keep vibrations to a minimum. The front handle is rubberised as well and doubles up as the fine adjustment dial.

The motor spins up the cutting blades to a 15,000rpm, and you can take of up to 2mm with each pass. The blades are 82mm wide, and you can cut 9mm rebates with the fence included in the set. It’s one of the best budget cordless planers available right now.

Pros

  • This must be one of the best affordable cordless electric planers available right now. Compared with the DeWalt DCP580N it’s affordable for even casual DIYers.
  • At 2.4kg it’s one of the lighter electric planers on my list. That makes it easy to use, even with one of Einhell’s high Ah batteries plugged in.
  • Einhell use reversible TCT planer blades. This means you can swap them round when they’re getting blunt. If you take a chunk out of a blade, just turn it round and get back to work.
  • It’s not difficult to get hold of replacement 82mm blades. Compared to some budget brands, this is a good sign.

Cons

  • Just like the other cordless planers on my list, this tool doesn’t come with batteries or a charger.
  • 15,000rpm is fast for a cordless planer but compared to the Bosch PHO 1500’s 19,500rpm it’s slow.
  • The overall build quality, compared to the DeWalt DCP580N or Makita DKP180Z, isn’t as good. There’s a lot of plastic, so I’m not sure how long it would last with heavy use.
BUY HERE →

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Jellas 850W Electric Hand PlanerJellas 850W Electric Hand Planer

Best budget electric planer

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Jellas 850W Electric Hand Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 850W
  • No-Load Speed: 16,500rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 3.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 12.0mm
  • Weight: 2.3kg

For a budget tool brand, Jellas do seem to make some quality bits of kit. Their electric planer is one good example that includes a few extra features not found on the competition.

Weighing in at just 2.3kg, this is a lightweight and portable planer that still has a good heft to it. The rubber overmoulded handle isn’t the most ergonomic but it’s non-slip for added grip.

Jellas claim that their drive belt is made from a superior material and have even thrown in a spare. It should last for a long time no matter what you throw at it. There’s even a spare set of brushes for the motor, which is a handy thing to have in reserve.

The 850 Watt motor spins the blades up to 16,500rpm that makes 33,000 cuts per minute (cpm). You can drop the blade depth down to an impressive 3mm and rebate down to 12mm. I like the fact you can choose which side the chips eject from with a simple twist and push motion as well. What sets this planer apart is the extra front handle though. It helps you avoid changing the cutting depth during use, and it really works.

The aluminium foot has been polished to a mirror shine, which should help give a smooth planing action. There’s even three different size V shaped chamfer grooves cut in. The foot won’t rust over time, but I hope it’s as durable as a steel plate. Jellas have included the expected spring loaded kickstand and even a parallel fence for step cuts.  It’s one of the best electric planers for a low price.

Pros

  • This planer leads the pack in motor size and puts out 33,000cpm, not much less than the Makita KP0800. Not bad for a budget brand.
  • I’m surprised to see selectable side chip ejection. Compared to the much more expensive Makita DKP180Z it’s an impressive advantage to have.
  • The extra handle might look like a gimmick, but it’s genuinely handy to have. It solves the problems that users have with front handles that double as height adjusters. You can’t accidentally change the cutting depth.
  • The 3mm cutting depth is class leading in my list. You’ll be able to remove a huge amount of material with every pass.
  • It’s the lightest electric planer I’ve had a chance to try out. At just 2.3kg it’s easy to handle and very portable.

Cons

  • Some users have found the dust ejection port to be too big to fit most vacuum systems. You might need to buy an adapter or make one yourself.
  • The quality of the components is nothing compared to the Makita KP0800. It’s a tool designed for light jobs and DIY use; it can’t replace a professional level planer.
  • I like that this planer comes with a dust bag, but I can’t say it’s the best quality. It’s small and I’m not sure how long it’s going to last.
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Ryobi RPN-780-S PlanerRyobi RPN-780-S Planer

Best affordable planer option

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Ryobi RPN-780-S Planer Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 780W
  • No-Load Speed: 17,000rpm
  • Planing Width: 82mm
  • Planing Depth: 3.0mm
  • Max Rebate Depth: 12.0mm
  • Weight: 3.1kg

Although they’re probably better known for their battery operated power tools, Japan’s Ryobi make one of the best corded planers, the RPN780-S. It’s a powerful tool that can remove a serious amount of material when it needs to.

The first thing to note about this planer is the handle. It’s comfortable and uses Ryobi’s signature rubberised GripZone found on most of their tools. It makes up for the fact that this is a heavier planer than some on my list at 3.1kg. It’s not too heavy, but you can feel the difference over longer sessions.

The big 780 Watt motor spins the pair of blades up to 17,000rpm, but the real surprise is the cutting depth. You can take off up to 3mm per pass, which is one of the deepest I’ve come across on my list. The single chamfer “V” groove is of a reasonable size, and there’s a kickstand to help protect the workpiece.

Surprisingly for an electric planer in this price bracket, there’s a reversible chip ejection port and the trigger lock-off works on both sides. You can use it in both directions without blasting yourself with shavings. It’s a nice touch that makes this one of the best planers for the price.

Another handy inclusion is the side fence. Normally it’s an added extra but Ryobi have included one here for when you need to cut a rabbet or step into the workpiece. It’s of a decent quality. I’m impressed!

Pros

  • For a relatively inexpensive planer, the cutting depth is impressive. It can cut 0.4 mm more per pass compared to the Bosch GHO 26-82D. It’s a powerful bit of kit.
  • The adjustable fence is sturdy and will help you cut rebates accurately. You can cut them down to an impressive 12mm as well, which is impressive.
  • Ryobi’s dust bag does a good job of collecting up the chips, whatever side you need it on. I’m always happy to see one included in the purchase price.

Cons

  • I’m surprised by the weight of this planer. It’s not got the biggest motor but still weighs in at more than 3kg. Compared to the lightweight Jellas EP01 it’s a bit of a tank.
  • Like almost all Ryobi tools, the construction is almost all plastic. I’m sure it’ll last well but compared with the metal parts on the DeWalt DCP580N it feels a bit cheap.
  • The 2.5m power cable length is not generous enough. Corded tools like planers need longer cables, so you don’t have to get out the extension cord all the time.
  • Unfortunately, this planer doesn’t come with a carry case.
BUY HERE →

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Things to Know Before Buying a Cordless or Electric Planer

Planing wood is the secret to tight fitting joinery, glass-like wood surfaces and getting your doors to fit properly after having new carpets fitted. Let’s see how they can do what they do:

Mains Operated and Battery Powered Planers

More and more power tools are becoming battery powered. Thanks to powerful 18V battery systems, even hard working tools such as planers can be used “off grid”. Cutting annoying cords has set professional carpenters and savvy DIYers free to plane wherever they want. Cutting speeds are generally slower and they’re heavy when high Ah batteries are installed, however.

Planing Depth

Removing a controllable amount of material is what the best planer does. They’re all controlled in a similar way- an adjustment knob on the front of the tool can be turned to move the spinning blade in relation to the front plate or “shoe” up or down in tiny increments- usually by 0.1 or 0.2 mm per turn.

Planing Width

You’ll have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the knife width when discussing the best electric planers. This is because they’re all 82 mm wide, a sort of industry standard when it comes to planing. It’s wide enough to take off the bottom of a tight fitting door and joint the edge of the most common timbers. Other sizes are available, of course, especially when you get into standalone planer thicknessers.

Planer Blades

Whether your planer had multiple blades that spin round the shaft or just one like the Woodrazor on Bosch’s PHO 1500, they need to be durable, easy to fit and incredibly sharp. More affordable planer blades are made from HSS, or high speed steel. They’re fine for most DIY applications but can become dull quite quickly. Tungsten carbide tipped, or TCT, blades are usually more expensive than HSS but they’re more durable and found in the best electric planers for the most part. A lot of planer blades are reversible, with a sharp edge on both sides hat can be flipped through 180° for a longer life.

Chip Ejection

There’s one thing you can count in in woodworking- if the tool is loud, spins fast and removes a lot of material, there’s going to be a lot of sawdust. It goes everywhere and gets into everything, so having an effective way to remove this stuff is vital.

A power planer will have a dust port on it somewhere that you hope will attach to a dust bag, in a pinch, or more effectively a vacuum system. The problem of which side trails hoses or bags has been defeated by clever dual sided dust port systems on the best electric planers, but they won’t remove 100% of the chippings.

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Cordless and Electric Planer FAQs

What’s the best depth setting to use?

Although the best electric plane will remove up to 3 mm of material on a single pass, I don’t recommend setting the maximum depth unless you want to dull your blades quickly and risk tearing out material on the ends of the workpiece.

For smooth, effortless planing, the best approach is to take off small amounts of material at a time but make more passes. If your target depth for removal is 3 mm, take 0.5 mm off per pass. It’ll take longer but you’ll have an easier job and time to improve your technique.

What kind of batteries do I need for my cordless planer?

You’ll find out soon enough that cordless planers are some of the hungriest battery-powered tools out there. Thanks to high rpm and massive amounts of friction, they eat through even high Ah batteries quickly. I always try to use the highest Ah batteries available, whether that’s 5.0 or 6.0 where available. Always keep spares on charge unless you like waiting around for them juice up.

Are brushless motors the best for cordless planing?

In a word, yes. Brushless motors are the ideal for any cordless power tool because they’re more efficient. They’re also more expensive, so think hard about how much you’re going to need to use the tool first.

What’s the best technique for electric planing?

Just like any other power tool, practise makes perfect when it comes to the correct technique. To avoid gouging the workpiece at the start or finish of a pass, try to approach the workpiece with the front toe down, and lift off the end with the front toe coming up. Think of it like a plane landing and taking off. For the best results, clamp some scrap wood to the front and back of your workpiece- it will take the fear out of planing.

Why is there a fence on my planer?

Planing pieces of timber free-hand comes with practise- if you want a neat 90° corner then use the fence, it will help keep things square until you’re confident you can plane with a steady hand. The fence isn’t just there to keep things true though, you can use it to cut an accurate step into the edge of the workpiece, a rabbet or even make your own shiplap boards with a bit of practice.

Are electric planers safe?

Just like any power tool, if you read and follow the safety instructions and wear the correct level of personal protective equipment, or PPE, during use then a power planer is as safe as you like. They’re loud so make sure you’re wearing ear defenders, and messy so ensure your eyes are protected. Avoid gloves and make sure any loose clothing or hair is tied back, tucked in and away from the spinning blades.

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