In this guide we’ll take a look at the best thickness planers.
I've compared performance, features, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the best thickness planers.
What Is The Best Thickness Planer?
More Detailed Thickness Planer Reviews
The DeWalt portable thicknesser is a professional tool that has the power and spec to do all you will need from a workshop planer.
The machine has a 1800 watt motor and a no-load speed of 10,000 rpm. The infeed and outfeed tables are large and sturdy. It has a cutting width of 317 mm and a thicknesser capacity of 152 mm. The thicknesser is supplied with a dust shroud and adaptor, allen keys, spanner and blade changing guides.
This thicknesser does an excellent job of planing timber. The headlock facility locks the head in place to minimise any movement in the cutter and this provides a smooth finish. The thickness scale, material removal gauge and graduated depth crank make this machine quick to set up and easy to use. The planer produces smooth cuts that are accurate to a depth of 1/10th of a millimetre. This makes this one of the best tools on the market at this price range. It is also not too noisy considering the way it powers through the timber.
This thicknesser is well built, easy to use and produces an excellent finish on both hard and softwood.
The Triton thicknesser has a 1100-watt motor that provides 17,500 cuts per minute. The machine has a 317 mm cutting width and can cut wood up to 152 mm thick. It has large infeed and outfeed tables, a dust extraction chute and a circuit breaker for safety.
The thicknesser is easy to set up and use and produces a very good finish. However, it is a little tricky to use on wood that is less than 150mm thick. Occasionally the machine does produce a minor amount of snipe at the end but with careful adjustment, this can be greatly minimised. The finisher is also a little slower than the Dewalt, especially on hardwood, but it does still get through the timber pretty quickly. This machine is a little lighter than other tools in this guide but still feels strong and sturdy.
The Triton thicknesser does the job well and is excellent value for money.
The 2012NB has a 1,650-watt motor to deliver up to 8,500 rpm. It has a 304 mm cutting width and a 150mm cutting depth.
The machine feels very sturdy and stable and has large infeed and outfeed tables. Setting and adjusting the thicknesser is simple and the results achieved are excellent – very smooth and accurate. The head clamp reduces the risk of snipe and helps you produce finished timber that is perfect from end to end.
The kit includes a wrench, magnetic holder and dust extraction hood.
Overall this tool is simple to use and easy to adjust, produces excellent results and is relatively quiet.
Thickness Planer Buying Guide
If you are creating a serious woodworking shop, then a thickness planer is a very useful addition to your machines.
A thickness planer, also knows as a thicknesser or benchtop planer, allows you to turn rough timber into smooth and to reduce the thickness of the wood to the exact specification you need.
While industrial sized thickness planers are of course available, they are usually too big and expensive for the average DIY enthusiast, hobbyist or small-scale cabinet maker or craftsperson. Luckily, portable or benchtop designs are available which provide plenty of power to get the job done but are small enough to fit in a garage or workshop and affordable enough for the enthusiastic amateur or smaller craft business.
A thickness planer consists of a powerful motor which is connected to a heavy-duty cutter head and roller assembly. The motor spins the cutter head which cuts away the wood. The board is fed into the cutter head on the roller assembly.
When choosing a thickness planer, you should consider the motor power, quality of construction and the thickness allowance as well as the width of timber it will take.
The motor will determine the power of the machine. This is particularly important if you want to cut through hardwoods. Look for a machine with at least 10,000 rpm if you plan on planing thick hardwoods. A lower rotation per minute, such as 8000, will be adequate for softwoods and smaller timbers.
You should also look for a planer that is well built of good quality materials and sturdy. It has to withstand a lot of vibration so needs to have a heavy-duty body.
Thicknessers have a thickness allowance – this is the maximum thickness of the piece of wood that will fit into the machine. Most thicknessers can cope with wood up to 150mm thick.
A planer will also only take a certain width of wood so check this number meets your needs, too.
Precision in Depth Adjustment
You will also want a planer that is easy to adjust and accurate so that you can remove exactly the amount of wood you need. This will save a lot of frustration and wastage. Most have gauges and liners scales to make this easy.
Snipe happens when the weight of the board pulls downwards at the free end, pushing the opposite end into the cutterhead. This can create a dip at the ends of the board.
Many machines have mechanisms to reduce this. You can also help prevent it by supporting the weight of the free ends. When planing a long length of timber, you can use rolling supports to support the plank on its entry and exit from the machine which reduces the risk of snipe as well as making this process safer.
What safety precautions should I take when using a planer/thicknesser?
Thicknessers are heavy duty machines with very sharp blades so should always be treated with respect. Firstly, you should read the manual carefully and ensure you understand exactly how the machine works and are familiar with all the safety precautions you should take.
You should also wear a dust mask, safety goggles and ear defenders when using your planer. Never wear loose clothing such as ties or scarves, or jewellery, when using the machine as these can get caught in the rollers.
Keep your hands well away from the cutting area and never reach under the cutters.
Ensure that the machine is switched off and unplugged before doing any maintenance. You should never touch the blades, they can be removed using a magnet.
When using my thicknesser I am getting rather a bumpy finish. How can I plane my timber more smoothly?
It is advisable to remove timber gradually rather than trying to cut a piece of wood to the correct thickness in one pass. Plane off small amounts of timber until you achieve the thickness you require – this should give you an even, smooth finish. If the bumps are at the end this may be snipe. You can reduce the risk of snipe by using rolling support at each side of the machine. Alternatively, have a friend or colleague help you feed the timber in and out of the machine to keep it supported.