A good power hand planer is a must in any timber frame shop. Even if you prefer your timber in the rough, a power planer can smooth out the area for your joinery faster than any other tool. They can also magically make doors and windows fit seamlessly. While a professional shop may require much larger versions of these tools, these 3-¼ inch power hand planers are designed for specific jobs that homeowners and professional timber framers will appreciate the help on. You may not need them to pull an 8-hour shift, but choosing a good one means considering power, precision and user-friendliness.
This Makita power planer brings a strong 7.5 AMPs to the table and can shave 5/32 of an inch off of material up to 3-¼ inches wide. The dual-blade cutter head reaches 16,000 RPM and features a front-loaded adjustable knob that allows for 0.1mm setting for precision passes. The tool also comes with a guide fence.
Makita does a nice job with several key design elements. It ejects chips from either side. The lock on or off button can be worked from both sides of the trigger handle as well. These things make the tool wonderful for lefties or righties. Also, the handle has ergonomically-friendly rubberized grips. That’s a subtle, but important asset because power planers can really buzz your hands.
Tool owners give this power planer reasonably high marks and a good deal of the pluses point to its user-friendly design, precision shoe and excellent blades. The negatives about this planer include the difficulty in hooking up a dust collector and that it didn’t include a carrying bag.
In terms of getting the job done, professional timber framers will probably take a liking to the Makita KP0810. It gets the job done and features a particularly smart design.
DeWalt’s signature black and yellow tools are mainstays in the construction industry. This 7-AMP, 3-¼ inch planer may not be a best-in-class product, but it certainly makes a good additional to any tool arsenal. It easily manages clean passes of up to 3/32 of an inch on soft or hard materials and features an accurate depth knob.
For a “buzzer” that hits 15,000 RPM, rubberizing the trigger handle would have made it more ergonomically friendly, like the front knob. It’s not the best design choice. On the other hand, small power planers seldom get long hours of continual use. The chip ejection port is located on the right side, making it more of a righty tool than ambidextrous.
This DeWalt features a precision designed shoe and three finely crafted machine guides that provide three beveling channels. Unlike the Makita, it comes with a sturdy carrying case for easy transport.
Tool owners also give this product reasonably high marks that tend to point to its durability and power. Homeowners applaud its ability to trim the bottom of a dragging door and the cleanliness a dust bag affords. Some users look unfavorably on the rubberized adjustment knob because it tends to knock them off setting.
While DIY folks find this power planer to be a terrific tool for small uses, it also more than adequately performs the duties a timber framer requires of a small power planer.
Bosch gets a lot of design items right with its 6.5-AMP hand planer. The power tool delivers an excellent 16,500 RPM and the spring-loaded stand helps protect the blades. Its dual-mount guide fence and over shoe are terrific for safety and protecting materials from scuff marks. Like others in this class, it features a precision front knob for adjustments and manages a max planing depth of 3/32 and comes with a shavings bag.
Like the Makita, the trigger handle gets excellent attention from the manufacturer with lock on and off buttons and an ergonomically designed grip to reduce hand fatigue. It also has a nifty ball-joint cord that swivels so that it won’t get in your way. This model’s chip ejection dispenses to the right.
Tool owners give the Bosch very high marks. Much of the praise goes to it being a single-blade planer, having a respectable weight and tremendous speed and power. It glides through tough materials with ease and produces precision cuts. The only negative seems to be that Bosch has a step-up version of this tool that is even better for commercial work.
The Bosch PL1632 ranks among the better tools in this class and delivers everything a homeowner or timber framer requires, with excellence.
This Porter-Cable, 6-AMP planer hits a wonderful 16,500 RPM and features an 11.5-inch cast aluminum shoe. It appears sleek and firm and manages a depth cut of 5/64. Like the Makita, it enjoys chip ejection from either side or a well-designed trigger handle that sports an ergonomically-friendly grip and two-finger lock system. The thick forward adjustment knob has 10 steps for precision depths and it comes with an edge guide and sturdy carrying case.
Users give the Porter-Cable reasonably high marks and enjoy its power, cutting ease and dust-free capability. The negative points tend to be about the safety under the plate and some tool owners recommend just removing it. On the other hand, plenty of folks had no issue at all with it. A nit-picky point is that tool case may be a tad snug.
The Porter-Cable has its share of pros and cons. But, at the end of the day, it manages door planing and spot work well. For this class of power tool, many consider it a good bang for your buck.
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2 thoughts on “Tool Review: Power Hand Planers”
We also love the Makita cordless planer Brice, it is really spoiling us on making our end cuts nice and flat for our drop cut tenon cuts.
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