Planing can be a tough job, so why not let an electric hand planer take the strain? If you’ve started browsing but aren’t sure which model to choose, you’ve come to the right place!
We’re going to review seven of the best electric hand planers available today. And then we’ll check out the features to look for before making your final choice.
Ready? Let’s go!
The Best electric hand planer of 2020
1. SKIL PWRCore Brushless Cordless Electric Hand Planer
Its 20 Volt lithium battery will go from drained to fully charged in only 50 minutes. And you can jump charge it for a little extra juice in just five minutes. LED lights show much charge is left on the battery, so you won’t be taken by surprise. And both the battery and charger come as part of the package.
The brushless motor allows the motor speed to be adjusted depending on the resistance it’s facing. That means it’s very efficient. As well as providing a longer battery life, it will deliver high performance of up to 14,000 revolutions per minute.
The battery technology here is also pretty smart. Every cell is encased in a cooling substance to improve efficiency and extend battery life. The result is a 25 percent longer runtime than standard batteries, and double the lifetime.
The planing depth is adjusted with a simple knob. It will go down to a maximum of 5/64ths of an inch in a single pass. If you’re looking for a deeper cut, there are better planers out there. It does, though, come with a fence for rabbets, and a parallel fence guide.
Woodchips are expelled through exhausts on either side of the planer. Attach a dust bag to your preferred side to catch the worst of the mess. A smooth kickstand avoids any risk of damage to finished surfaces. And it comes complete with a wrench which slots into the body of the planer for easy storage.
Other than the limited cutting depth, the main downside here is the weight. With the battery, this weighs over eight pounds. If you have arthritis or aching hands, other options will suit you better.
- Cordless operation makes it very easy to maneuver
- Fast-charging and long-life battery
- Simple to adjust the planing depth
- The maximum cut depth is only 5/64ths of an inch
- This is heavy, so prolonged use is hard work.
2. Porter-Cable PC60THP Electric Hand Planer (Best for the Money)
First up is the chamfering feature. It comes with no fewer than three different chamfering grooves to give you different options.
The knob to select the planing depth allows you to choose between ten positive stops. It’s nice and easy to use too.
It has a maximum planing depth of 5/64ths of an inch. And there’s a rabbet function, which allows you to remove almost half an inch of material with every pass.
The plate on the bottom – known as the “shoe” to planing experts – is 11.5 inches long. It’s made of cast aluminum. The smooth surface gives you greater control and improves the quality of the finish.
The dual side exhaust allows material to be evacuated from either side of the tool. Just flick a switch when you need to change over.
One thing to bear in mind, though, is that the woodchips have a tendency to clog up. Fitting the dust bag that’s included with the package will help. But – as with all such bags, apparently – be prepared to empty it often.
And this is another case where the instruction manual could usefully be far clearer. If you find yourself running into difficulties, take a look at the numerous planing instruction videos available online. A few minutes of viewing could save you a lot of time in the long run.
Set aside these minor grumbles though, and this is a genuinely feature-packed planer. And you won’t have to spend a fortune to get your hands on it.
- Smooth cast aluminum shoe gives a high-quality finish
- Dual side exhaust stops you – and your workshop – getting covered in woodchips
- Three different grooves for a range of chamfering options.
- You’ll need to keep emptying the dust bag regularly
- The instruction manual really isn’t as clear as it should be.
3. WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer (Our Top Recommended)
It’s powered by a 6-Amp motor which delivers an impressive 34,000 cuts per minute. The maximum planing depth is a best-in-class eighth of an inch. And you can select from sixteen different depth options.
If you’re making picture or window frames, it’s a good option. It comes with a rabbeting guide and will cut rabbets up to seven-tenths of an inch.
Turn it over and you’ll see a v-shaped groove cut into the base. This is to hold the planer in position while you’re chamfering the edges of the wood.
There is a range of handy accessories too, all included as part of the package. There’s a parallel fence guide to keep your cuts in line with the edge of the board. And a kickstand keeps the blade away from the surface of your workbench when it’s not in use.
A dust bag also comes as standard. It can be attached on either side of the tool, so it will catch the woodchips whatever direction you’re working in. As with other planers, however, it’s not big enough to be used for long before emptying.
There’s also a wrench, which you’ll need for making adjustments to the blades. It slots neatly into its own compartment onboard the planer. We’d recommend checking the blades before you get started. You might find they need some fine-tuning before they’re completely level.
This is a great little planer, but it suffers from the curse of a short power cord. This is a common enough problem with electric planers, and it’s easily solved with an extension cable. It’s just a pity WEN (and other manufacturers) can’t seem to make them with longer cords in the first place.
- Choice of sixteen different planing depths
- Powerful motor delivers a maximum planing depth of an eighth of an inch
- Range of handy accessories included as standard
- The dust bag could usefully be bigger…
- …and the power cord could be longer.
4. Goplus Electric Wood Hand Planer
The Goplus electric wood planer is a corded model. The cord means you’ll be more constrained in your movement than with the SKIL planer. But on the plus side, it’s a lot lighter – just six and a half pounds. And the handle on top is contoured, so it’s comfortable to hold as you work.
The trigger is conveniently located. There’s also a locking switch so you can use it continuously without having to hold in the trigger. That’s good news if you suffer with aching hands.
The body is made of sturdy die-cast aluminum so you won’t have to worry about corrosion. The foot – that’s the bit on the bottom – is solidly constructed too. You’ll be able to plane width of three and a quarter inches with each pass.
There aren’t lots of accessories here. It simply comes with a blade sharpener and an instruction manual.
This is a very inexpensive planer, and it works well for lighter jobs. But it does have some limitations.
The first is the maximum planing depth. At just one twenty-fifth of an inch, it’s about a third that of more expensive hand planers. If you need to plane off more than this, you’ll have to take your time. On the plus side, you won’t need to stop and recharge a battery as you do it.
The second issue to be aware of is the length of the power cord. It’s only 79 inches long. If you want to be able to move the planer any distance at all, you’ll need an extension cable.
To be fair, a short power cable is a perennial issue with corded planers, even when they’re more expensive. And for the price you’re paying here, it would be churlish to grumble too much.
Overall, then, this is a decent, keenly-priced planer that will work well for occasional use on softer woods. But if you’ve got a more demanding project in mind, invest in something with more power.
- Light weight and contoured handle make this comfortable to use
- Handy locking switch for continuous use without holding in the trigger
- Good value
- The maximum planing depth is just one twenty-fifth of an inch
- Will struggle with tougher planing tasks.
5. Makita XPK01Z Cordless Electric Hand Planer
This is fairly light for a cordless planer, weighing in at 7.4 pounds. There are lighter planers out there, but in most cases, you’ll have to negotiate a cord to use them.
The battery here is 18 Volts, and it drives the motor at 14,000 revolutions per minute. That’s enough power to clear away the stock as you plane, keeping the tool moving smoothly. You will, though need to buy both the battery and charger separately.
The knob to adjust the planing depth goes from zero right up to 5/64ths of an inch. It gives a satisfying click at each setting, so you know it’s in the right position. There are, though, better planers out there if you want to shave more wood in a single pass.
The cutting head has two carbide blades. They’re double-edged to give a smooth finish and effective performance. But they’re not as strong as steel blades. If you’ve got a knotty piece of hardwood, they may struggle, or even shatter.
A range of optional accessories are available for an additional cost. Makita makes a compatible bevel guide and straight rule guide. And while this doesn’t come with a dustbag, you can attach one if you want to minimize clean-up time.
Unlike some other electric planers, the motor here isn’t brushless. A brushless update from Makita would be very welcome, and would really enhance the motor efficiency.
And be aware that, unlike earlier models from Makita, there’s no lock button to keep the planer running. You’ll need to keep the trigger engaged at all times for it to work. As a safety feature, it makes sense, but if you’re working for long periods it can be tiring.
- Well-made tool that will last for years
- Double edged carbide blades will give a smooth finish on softwoods
- Range of accessories available
- The motor isn’t as efficient as brushless versions
- No lock button – so you’ll need to hold down the trigger to keep it running.
6. Ryobi HPL52K Corded Electric Hand Planer
The first thing you’ll notice about Ryobi’s corded hand planer is it’s bright green color! It’s characteristic of all Ryobi’s tools, and you’ll either like it or loathe it. But don’t let it distract you from the features on offer.
One of the most impressive of these is the range of planing depths. You can select from zero to a maximum of an eighth of an inch. The increments are 1/96th of an inch, meaning you have twelve different settings to choose from.
The grip is molded rubber, so it’s comfortable to hold and minimizes vibrations. And if you’re working in warm weather and have sweaty palms, it won’t slip.
If you need to pause or stop, a lock-off button will prevent the planer from being started by accident. And there’s a handy plastic kickstand so you can keep the blade away from the surface and avoid scratching.
A particularly nice feature is the screw on the base plates. These allow you to make fine adjustments to the blades so they’re completely level.
There are dual exhaust ports, one on either side of the planer. A switch allows you to choose from which side the wood shavings will be expelled. That means you can plane in both directions without getting covered in sawdust.
There’s a dust bag with this one, but it’s small. You’ll find you need to empty it fairly often. You can, though, attach a shop hose instead if you want to. Ones with a smaller diameter will fit best. If yours is bigger, though, don’t despair: you can always use duct tape to secure it in place.
This weighs in at about seven pounds, which makes it middle-of-the-road for a hand-held planer. It’s not expensive, and it doesn’t have such a quality feel as a tool like the Makita. But it’s a robust enough construction, and you get a lot for your money.
- Choice of twelve planing depths up to a maximum of an eighth of an inch
- Lock-off button prevents accidental start-up
- Adjustable screws on the base allow you to fine-tune the position of the blades
- The dust bag is small, so you’ll need to empty it regularly
- Doesn’t have the quality feel of more expensive planers.
7. TACKLIFE Electric Hand Planer
This is another planer with a maximum planing depth of an eighth of an inch. And in this case, you can choose from ten different depth settings. That should be more than enough for most DIY enthusiasts.
The blades are replaceable, so you can keep using this for years. And the blades it comes with are made of manganese steel, so they’ll stand up to harder woods.
Like the WEN, it comes with a rabbeting guide, but this is one area where Tacklife’s planer is superior. Its maximum rabbet size is four-fifths of an inch, bigger than its rival. If you’re planning on making frames, it’s a good option.
Be aware, though, that the instruction manual isn’t as clear as it could be. If you’re cutting a rabbet for the first time, save yourself a headache and view some how-to videos online.
A range of other features and accessories are provided as standard. This is another planer with a v-shaped groove at the bottom to help with chamfering. It comes with a hex key, a small dust bag, and an open-end wrench. And there’s also a fence guide to keep your cuts parallel with the edge of the board.
You can plane width of up to 3.25 inches in a single pass. And the base plates are made of sleek aluminum to give you a smooth finish.
The main downsides are weight and noise. At 7.8 pounds this is too heavy for anyone with painful wrists or hands to use comfortably. And you may want to purchase some ear defenders to cope with the noise when it’s in full flow.
- Resilient manganese steel blades
- Capable of cutting rabbets up to four-fifths of an inch
- Sleek aluminum base plates for smooth operation
- The instruction manual is downright unhelpful in places
- Pretty heavy and loud.
That brings us to the end of our product reviews! Still not sure which electric hand planer to choose? Read on as we take you through the questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision.
Cord or cordless?
Start by considering whether a corded or cordless planer will suit you better.
Corded models will generally benefit from more power. They’re usually lighter too, as they don’t have the extra weight of a battery.
At the risk of stating the obvious, however, remember that they need a power supply! If you’re going to be working in the middle of an outdoor building site, that could cause a problem.
The other disadvantage is the cord itself. They’re frequently short, to prevent accidents. But that does mean you’ll need an extension lead.
With a corded version, on the other hand, you can take it anywhere. But you’ll have to remember to make sure the battery is charged. The runtime will be limited. And you’ll have to compromise to some extent on power.
What features do you need?
Are you going to be working with pine or other softwoods? Or do you need a more powerful motor to cope with harder woods?
Do you need a guide for straight cutting? A groove for chamfering? How about a rabbeting feature for frame-making? What about a dust bag to collect the wood shavings?
Think about the features that are priorities for you before you head to the shops. And try not to be distracted by bells and whistles you don’t really need.
How will the planer work with you – and your family?
That might seem like an odd question, but we’re all individuals. If you’ve got arthritis or aching hands or wrists, a lighter weight planer will be much easier to use.
Some planers are also noisier than others. If you’re sensitive to noise, check out the reviews before you buy.
And if you’re asthmatic, make sure you invest in a planer with a dust bag. You may want to use a face mask when you’re working too.
Finally, consider safety features – especially if there are children around. The sharp blades mean planers are potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. Look for ones with a lock-off function to avoid little fingers accidentally starting them running.
Ready to go shopping?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the seven best electric hand planers on the market today. Whether you’re looking for an electric or corded option, we’re sure you’ll agree there’s plenty to choose from!
Our top pick is the 6530 hand planer from WEN. It offers excellent value and a range of planing depths. And it manages to combine lightweight operation with plenty of power. We love it.
But whichever planer you decide is right for you, we hope you have fun using it. And we’re sure it will help make that next woodworking project go like a dream!