In this guide we’ll look at the best wood planers.
We’ve compared construction material, weight, cutting width and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Wood Planer?
More Detailed Wood Planer Reviews
Stanley 1-12-137 62-Low Angle Sweetheart Jack Plane Review
When it comes to the best wood planers, the Stanley No. 62 SweetHeart is one of our favourites. It’s a jack plane suitable for smoothing, rough work and even difficult grain structures due to its shallow blade angle.
The solid A2 grade steel construction on this Stanley wood plane is rock solid and the cherry wood handles are perfectly turned and finished. We really liked the fact that the bench plane we tested was ready to go out of the box, after removing the protective oil. It was incredibly easy to make fine adjustments to the blade, and the locking feature made sure it stayed exactly where you needed it.
Irwin Record 14-inch – 2-inch Jack Plane Review
The Irwin Record brand is one of the most well-known for wood planes, and their 05 Jack Plane is a true classic. Made of quality cast iron, this workhorse is the best hand held planer for rough work and stock removal.
We really liked the ABS plastic handles and brass fittings on the Irwin Jack plane; they adjusted the cutting iron pitch and length accurately. You might expect wooden handles, but these ones were comfortable and won’t split or chip.
Even though the Irwin Jack plane needed a little bit of fine tuning out of the box, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. We’re confident this smoothing plane will last for a long time as a valued hand planer.
Faithfull No.10 Rebate Plane 2.1/8-inch Review
This Faithfull No. 10 Rebate Plane is the ultimate solution for cutting rabbets into timber. With a high carbon steel cutting blade that stretches across the foot, you can plane the full width of the iron for rebates up to 35 mm wide.
The precision ground base we tested on the Faithfull plane was nice and flat with no hollow to be corrected, and the brass depth adjustment knob was oiled and ready to go straight from the box. The blade needs honing before use, but that’s to be expected with most smoothing planes you purchase.
The hardwood handles have a nicely lacquered finish, and the rebate plane is light enough to be used for long periods of time without excessive fatigue. For the price, this is the best rebate plane we’ve ever reviewed.
Draper Heavy Duty Adjustable Smoothing Plane Review
Draper are a well-known and respected tool brand in the UK and Draper’s D206 Hobbyist Plane is the best smoothing plane in the price range available on the UK market.
The pressed steel body might not have the heft of cast iron, but it’s more than made up for in durability and how easy it is to adjust the cutting iron’s pitch depending on what you need to do.
As the lightest wood planer on the list, it should be easy to work with for long periods, but might need a bit more of steady hand to keep things smooth. Overall, this is the best wood planer for beginners or for rough work on a budget.
Wood Planer Buyer’s Guide
Carpenters have been using hand planes for hundreds of years to smooth out rough sawn timber and create specific finishes with a sharp blade and a fair amount of muscle power. The materials, cutting irons and techniques haven’t changed all that much, so it comes down to build quality and attention to detail when you’re looking for the best wood planer.
Wood planers and bench planers are synonymous and are effectively smoothing planes, working with the grain and with a downward facing bevel edge. There are different types of wood or bench planers, characterised by a name or number that corresponds to its length. For example a shorter 9″ plane is a number 4 and a longer 14″ plane is a number 5, typically called a “Jack” plane.
There is also the block plane which is used to work against the grain. This is smaller than a wood planer or bench planer and the bevel edge faces upwards.
The best wood planer like Stanley’s No. 4 bench plane has a cast iron body, for strength and weight. The heavier the wood plane, the smoother the action. It might take more effort, but the results will speak for themselves.
High carbon steel cutting irons are essential parts of the planing process, and most need sharpening somewhat to get them cutting properly.
The choice between hard wood handles, cherry wood in the case of the Stanley SweetHeart range, or ABS plastic in some of its rivals, is a personal choice and down to the user to decide.
Types of Plane
The jack as in the Irwin Record Jack Plane is what it sounds like, a “jack of all trades” wood plane. This is the best wood plane when you need to cut with or across the grain, or carry out just about any smoothing task that a hand plane does so well.
A smoothing plane like Draper’s D206 Hobbyist Plane is the last one you’ll use on a woodworking project. Usually designed with a low angle, it works to finish off the job with a silky appearance that surpasses sandpaper.
Rebate planes like the Faithfull No.10 are used when you need the cutting iron to stretch across the width of the sole. It’s used to cut a rabbet or clean up wood for joinery.
How do you use a wood plane?
In the right hands, the best wood plane is a versatile and effective tool. Set the depth of the cutting iron with the adjustment screw, remembering that the more iron that shows, the more material you’ll remove. Take hold of the hand planer firmly and push it smoothly across the timber, keeping in line with the grain if you can.
How do I adjust a wood plane?
Not all hand planes are the same, but generally the cutting iron is held in place by a lever. Once this is secure, you can make fine adjustments with the large brass wheel facing towards you. Turning this wheel will make the wood planer extend or retract inside the hand plane body.
How can I sharpen a wood planer blade?
The best hand held wood planer blade is a sharp one. It should come sharpened from the factory, but will need honing. The best angle for cutting is usually 30°, and can be achieved with a decent set of sharpening stones. Start with a coarse grit, and work towards a smoother grit stone until the angle is correct.
After testing all of these woodworking planes looking for the best bench plane, the gold medal has to go to the Stanley No. 62 SweetHeart. The precision cast and ground sole is immaculate, straight out of the box, and the hardware was a cut above the competition.
We can see this wood plane becoming an heirloom tool for any respectable woodworker to enjoy and even leave for the next generation.