Tools & DIY

Best Hand Planer

DIYers, today is your lucky day. You get to finally get the tool that helps you give those projects that beautiful and smooth finish ready for painting. Hand planers have been around for some time and are one of the most essential tools you should have as a professional carpenter or as an avid DIYer.

Of course with the advent of technology, there are power options that are available but those are best used in large applications and sometimes, getting your hands dirty is more satisfying. So, what do you need to know about your most awaited member of your toolbox? Let’s start with how a hand planer works.

Best Hand Planer 2018

When it comes to hand planers, the diversity is as much as you can think of. There are so many hand planers on the market getting the right one could feel like an impossible task. With that said, we got our overalls on and started testing to get you the best reviews based on what we and other people who had bought similar products thought. After extensive research, here are the products we came up with.

Stanely 12-404 No.4 Adjustable Bench Plane


The Stanley 12-404 is the perfect workhorse that doesn’t take much room in your toolbox but makes a resounding presence with its ability to deliver. It is perfect for smaller projects and comes with a 9 3/4 –inch adjustable bench with a 2-inch blade that ensures quality and smooth finishes

The high impact polymer handle gives the tool authenticity and makes it much easier to use. For durability and better results, the steel is hardened and tempered and capable of producing precision-ground cutter edge durability.

Since the planer will be subjected to some harsh times, it also has an epoxy finish to protect itself from corrosion and get this, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. That is the best way to guarantee that you are buying a tool that is up for the job and one that will be able to offer you quality results.

This Stanley No.4 is perfect for smooth finishes most of which are superior to sandpaper finishes. It is also q very forgiving bench plane that is versatile and can be easily used by novices without much of a problem.

PROS
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Good quality
  • Sturdy sharp
CONS
  • Working in small areas could be a problem because of its width.

PORTER-CABLE PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer


Technology has made things a lot easier, and the PORTER-CABLE is a testament to this. Unlike the manual bench planers, this little bundle of joy has features that will have that rough edge converted into a smooth finish in no time. And that is not all.

Other than its heavy-duty 6-amp motor, which drives the planer, it also has dual side dust extraction. No more sneezing or struggling to find your way along the surface of the wood. It remains super clean as you plane away.

The Portable-Cable is an all-rounder and even caters to the sides of the wood. This saves you from having to fall back on the sandpaper which can be brutal. With its three chamfering grooves, you have enough options for edge chamfering for the perfect finish.

The overmold depth knob is armed with ten positive steps to help you gradually achieve the finish you prefer. We thought this would be a great second entrant on our hierarchy because it is compact and has enough features for you to use without being confusing especially if you are just starting out.

PROS
  • Durable cast aluminum shoe
  • The handle is comfortable
  • Dust extraction features
CONS
  • It is slightly chunky.

Stanley 12-220 Block Plane


Back to the sweat breaking but utterly rewarding block planes and this is yet another stand out from Stanley.

The 12-220 is perfect for deeper total depth of cut and is quite adjustable in-terms of alignment. With a 210 angle, the block plane is perfect for cross grain planning and the cast iron base with precision ground bottom and sides ensures you get nothing less.

There is no question that the 12-220 is a fan favorite and its heavy-duty build resonates very well with most users. The most impressive and perhaps what most woodworkers love about this little gem is how easy the cutter and iron are. It features a cam-lock and a lever cap that allow for quick release and adjustment. Once the cutter is sharpened, the plane shines into the limelight.

PROS
  • Easy to use, hold and adjust
  • Is heavy duty
  • Offers great results
CONS
  • The plane does not hold an edge well
  • the plane does not hold an edge well

Jack Plane #4 – Bench Hand Smoothing Plane


When considering what tools to buy, it is always a nice idea to invest in tools that can offer a little more than that you need at the moment. That way they can scale with you. The jack plane #4 is a finishing jack plane with some neat features under its sleeve that make it a must-have tool and improve is the scope of applications.

It has a beautiful rosewood handle and knob that offer the perfect grip and control of the plane and the high quality cast iron steel body ground on the sides and bottom ensures that all imperfections are taken care of in your work of art.

The cutter is made from high carbon steel and is fitted with an adjustable screw which makes it a lot easier for you to set the depth of the cut. The frogs are fully machined and the castings weight up to 4lbs which allows easier working and maneuvering of the tool. It is a pretty broad plane, and that makes it even easier to get those surfaces smoother in no time.

PROS
  • >High-quality build
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Pretty heavy (weighs about 1.6Kgs)
CONS
  • Working on smaller pieces could be a challenge

Grizzly H7566 14-Inch Smoothing Jack Plane


Is a great finish all you care about? Then the Grizzly H7566 is the tool for you. It is designed to iron out any discrepancies in your work in the final finishing work. It has a long 14-inch base made out of cast iron to make sure everything is even and well balanced out.

Its other features include the Rosewood knob and handle and the full plane cast iron adjustments. To maximize its results, the Grizzly has a serrated sole that improves the sliding action by reducing resistance. That also means you sweat less but still get better results.

There is no doubt that the Grizzly is a loved piece of work that is engineered to create the perfect finishes. It is comfortable to use and has a fair price tag to match its quality and something you should be thinking about when you want to improve the quality of your finishes. It is also worth noting that it is pretty heavy and in the world of hand planers, that is a good thing.

PROS
  • Heavy build with improved sliding motion
  • Reasonable price
  • Perfect for finishes
  • Comfortable use
CONS
  • The adjustment mechanism might be a little hard to understand at first

Endpoint Woodworking Fully Adjustable Bench Plane Wood Hand Planer


Who said a planer couldn’t be provocative, alluring to the eye and downright attractive? The Endpoint bench planer is proof that if you are willing to deviate slightly from the woody and metallic finish, you can have a product that looks stunning.

But, the beauty of this hand planer is not only about how it looks but how it feels and even how it works. It features a cutter resting at 40 degrees which makes it perfect for all-grain planning and an adjustable bench plane with a 2-inch blade.

The handles and knob are made from a high impact polymer, and the two are designed to help the plane cuddle up in your hands comfortable to reduce fatigue caused by long-term use of the plane. Unlike the other models we have reviewed, this one comes with a Manganese steel blade cutter with precise adjustability using double adjusting screws. Adjusting the depth and alignment of the cutter is a breeze. The icing on the cake is the rust and wear resistant finish and coating. With such a neat and great looking planer, the last thing you want is for father time to come and destroy the party. The premium metal finish will help keep the good looks for as long as possible.

PROS
  • Premium build and unique finish
  • Diverse applications
  • Comfortable use
  • Durable
CONS
  • The adjustment screws are a bit hard to use.

1PCS Metal Woodworking Blade Spoke Shave Manual Planer


For a DIYer that is just starting, your workload is not immense and you have not perfected the art of finishing, investing in high-end products can be counterproductive. Instead, you want something simple that allows you to be diverse without draining your finances. The 1PCS Metal Woodworking blade spoke is exactly that.

It is a simple yet effective tool that will form the basis of your woodwork projects and provide you with a forgiving experience. The best thing about this tool is that you don’t have to worry about so many features and getting things right. It is all about getting into the job, getting going and learning more as you go. It is a great tool for you to use as you start and it provides amazing results especially after you have honed your skill.

Other than having minimal features, this little gadget will prove to be handy even after you have bought more advanced equipment. It is perfect for use on ultra-small projects, getting rid of imperfections and can also be used in wood shaping.

Being a smaller product, you have more control of the tool, and even though it might take a bit of getting used to, there is no question that improved control will reduce the number of mistakes you make. Even though more affordable than some of our other options, this hand tool is made from quality materials and even comes with an adjustable cutter for the best results.

PROS
  • Diverse
  • Quality build and durable
  • Offers more control
CONS
  • Requires a little bit of getting used to.

Stanley 21-399 6-Inch Surform Pocket Plane


In woodworking, different applications call for different tools. Even though hand planers work well most of the time, sometimes, something small enough to fit in the pocket of your overall is all you need to pull out the perfect job. That is what the Stanley 21-399 is all about.

It is a pocket planer with a die-cast alloy body and has a thumbscrew blade tension which makes it easier to replace the blade once it has been worn out. Don’t be fooled by the size, this little workhorse is incredibly durable and able to put in hours of work at a go.it as a lifetime warranty and comes ready to get to work.

PROS
  • Highly portable size
  • Limited warranty
  • Durable die-cast alloy body
CONS
  • Limited applications

SE TP70300 3-1/2 Trimming Plane


It is astounding how small these tools can get but remain very useful. This trimming plane proves that size doesn’t matter. The miniature wood trimming place features a 1-inch blade housed in a heavy duty body.

The tool can be used for trimming and even in providing fine finishes on wood surfaces. The blade is adjustable according to your desired results, and it can also be sharpened.

We were shocked at the size of this trimming blade but what was even more astounding is how easy it is to use it and the results it is capable of providing. Of course, it might not apply to large projects, but it is just perfect for making sure the big guns like the Grizzly didn’t leave anything behind.

PROS
  • Small size
  • Durable body
  • Adjustable and easily sharpened blade
CONS
  • Only suited for fine finishes and minor trimming

Great Neck C4 Bench-Jack Plane


To close out our prestigious countdown of the best hand planer is the Great Neck C4 which is a near-legendary jack plane with plenty of useful features.

The Great Neck C4 is a medium sized jack plane that is 9 inches long and can be used in most applications ranging from home DIY projects to professional heavy duty application. In the world of jack planes, this is your jack of all trades (pun intended).

It has a machined and polished body with ground sides and base to guarantee the best and ultra-smooth finishes. Its 2-inch cutter can be resharpened to guarantee continued quality performance.

PROS
  • Great buy for the price
  • Very effective
  • Works marvelously
CONS
  • The handle is made out plastic

The Great Neck closes out an impressive countdown of the best hand planers, and we believe we did our homework, so you don’t have to do it. Whether you want to have some tune-ups to your aging dining set chairs or start a carpentry shop, you will have a hand planer that will keep your finishes smooth and impressive.

Best Hand Planer Buying Guide

The tool world is a complex and personal one. It is the one place where having enough features might never really cut it. The tool has to have a certain persona that attracts the buyer. Hand planers are not immune from this cruel trend which can sabotage great products that lack the preferred persona.

Whether you are looking for your next baby or the best planer that you can buy with a given budget, there are features you should never sacrifice to make sure you get the best possible results.

  • Type of planer – different planers exist for different reasons and purposes and getting the right one is very important. If you are just starting up, a bevel down planer should help, but as you grow, you will need planers that are built for more specific purposes.
  • Manual or powered – for some, this is a case of preference, but we found that some woodworkers believe that using an electric wood planer takes away the authenticity of the wood. Nonetheless, an electric option can be time-saving and have great results. But, you also have the option of using both planers if your budget allows.
  • Cutting depth, blades, and accessories – again when considering this, you have to go back the reason for buying the planer. The cutting depth refers the amount of wood the blade cuts out in a single pass. As for the blade, the most recommended ones are made from carbide and are more durable.
  • Cost – you will find all types of planers. The only limiting factor to what you get will be the cost and your requirements. Typically, the higher the cost, the higher quality the product. However, you shouldn’t go for the most expensive tool on the market. It is best to go for the best tool in your price range. This calls for proper understanding of the features and materials used in making the tool.
  • Efficiency and convenience – the planer you choose to buy should be able to perform the duties you require of it easily and conveniently. The final product should be pristine, and the process of getting there should not be daunting. However, the ability to achieve this will depend on you being able to choose the right planer for the right job.
  • Safety – planers can be dangerous tools. The blade can slice through your finger like a knife through butter. This is especially the case for powered planes which have an exposed cutter. You might want to opt for designs that reduce the chances of your finger or any other body part being caught by the cutter.

There is no reason why you should mess up your best hand planer purchase now. We have listed great products that you can use, and we have also provided you with a comprehensive buying guide pointing out the must-have features that your new planner should have.

How does a hand planer work?

To help you understand how a planer works, we are going to have to decimate it first but worry not, and we will neatly put it back once we are done.

The hand planer features three main parts. It has the rear table, the cutter block, and the in-feed table. The cutter block and the rear table are level while the height of the in-feed can be adjusted.

Because the tables are long so every time you move the planer along the surface of the wood, they span in discrepancies to the cutting block which eliminates the high spots until the surface of the board is flat.

You think it is a lot of work? Well, it is! But the results are very satisfactory we must say. If you love touching up your furniture or coming up with entirely new creations, this is going to be a tool that you should consider having.

But, considering how important it is going to be in helping you come up with the perfect surface, you don’t want to take any chances on your purchases. There is no doubt you will have plenty of options to choose from, and we are here to help you go through the different features, what you should look for and as always our much-anticipated review of the best hand planers that will take your carpentry and DIY skills to the next level. Are you ready?

Conclusion

Getting the perfect finish on your DIY project is a must. Your project depends on. It is usually a very scary sight to have put in hours and hours of work on to find an awkwardly erecting grain of the wood when painting.

We thought we should save you from this scarring and offer you a list of the best hand planers that will give you the best results. We even threw in a couple that will help you get read of that taunting grain without affecting the quality of the rest of your work.

If that is not enough, we also put together a simple buyer’s guide that you can use to help you get to the planer of your dreams. With that, we believe our job is done here. It is now all up to you to make the choice that you feel will get you the best results.

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