Best Hand Planner Reviews 2017

Decades before now, a hand planer was a tool that performed the magic in the carpentry world. Today, hand planers are common household tools everyone should have around, whether you’re a carpenter or not. Its functions range from smoothing to shaping to straightening any piece of wood. In choosing the best hand planer, there are certain features that you cannot afford to neglect. We’ve carefully considered them before selecting these 5 products from 5 top hand planer makers. However, bear in mind that these brands have more hand planers than the ones we have featured here.
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Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Warranty
Size/Weight
Blade
Adjustment
Materials
Our Top Choice
Stanley Sweetheart Low Angle Block Plane
Stanley has been delivering powerful, efficient, and innovative tools to the world for more than 200 years.
Ductile cast iron base that’s precision-bound for accuracy. Adjustable mouth to shape any type of wood. Limited Lifetime warranty.
Some complaints exist that the sole of this plane isn’t quite flat.
Limited lifetime
9 x 3.5 x 3.2 inches;1.0 pound
0.13-inch
With lateral lock
Steel
Best Value
Shop Fox Iron Jack Plane
ShopFox has been producing top-quality tools that are used for woodworking and metalworking for over 25 years.
Has a quick release lever cap. Constructed with cast iron, making it highly durable. Highly adjustable and easy to use.
Chip breaker may need sharpening.
2 years
14.3 x 5.8 x 2.7 inches; 0.22 pounds
0.078-inch
Lateral, micro depth adjustments
Precision ground cast iron
WoodRiver #7 Jointer Plane
WoodRiver is an old and trusted supplier of quality woodworking tools, and its tools are found in more than 70 major metropolitan areas in the US.
Machine flat soles and sides make it easy to shape wood and make adjustments. 5 pound castings.
Needs a bit of work to get the blade to a mirror polish.
90-days return policy
22.5 x 6.4 x 3.3 inches; 9.8 pounds
2 3/8-inch
Lateral adjustment
High carbon steel
Record No. 04 Smooth Plane
Since 1909, Record has produced a wide range of top-quality woodworking planes, which are trusted by woodworkers worldwide.
Quite durable with a cast iron body. Brass adjusting nut helps the blade seat firmly. Ideal for general work.
The sole of this planer may need to be sharpened a bit.
Info not provided
5.9 x 2.8 x 10.6 inches; 4.1 pounds
2-inch
Mouth adjustment
Tungsten-vanadium cutter
Sheffield Mini Block Plane
For many years, Sheffield has been distributing all kinds of top-quality tools and engineering products around the world.
Easy to use and grip as it has a die-hard body. Wonderful for any type of trimming project. Limited Lifetime Warranty.
It can be a bit difficult to adjust the blade of this plane.
Limited lifetime
6 x 3 x 1.7 inches; 0.45 pounds
0.6-inch
Plane adjustment
S-2 steel

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How Do I Choose the Best Hand Planner?

(Updated )
Before the invention of power and electric planers, the hand planer served its purpose of fine tuning traditional wood works from just a piece of lumber to a masterpiece wood work.  If you’re patient, you can do anything with hand tools. If not, you could use power planers - unlike hand planers, power planers are just a way to get things done quicker (not always better).

When thinking about your wood work, getting a hand planer should be part of your budget. This is because unlike power or electric planers, hand planers are handy and their size allows easy maneuver and control.

The various kinds of hand planers serve different purposes and functions, just like nail guns and framing nailer have different purposes. Here they are:

Bench Planer: Normal bench planers range in length from 9 to 22 inches or more. They’re designed for straightening wood edges - therefore, the longer the length, the better the function. The long body is designed to go over rises and dips on the wood surface which might be the result of hitting it with a hammer, straightening it in the process. The blade of the bench planer is positioned at 45 degrees, bevel side down.

The bench plane has three different designs for different purposes:
One is the Jack planer. Its length is usually 12 to 17 inches, and it’s used to smoothen and square wood surfaces to remove twists and/or warps. It’s more versatile than the Jointer planer. The jointer planer is the largest bench planer, and the most appropriate for trimming, straightening, and squaring the edges of long boards and doors. The last one is the smooth planer. This planer is designed to flatten and smoothen boards’ faces. The 9 to 10-inch length is effective in leveling high spots and general tasks. You can make do with this planer if it’s the only planer you have.

Block Planer: The block planer is an easy-to-use planer. It’s portable and fits the hand perfectly due to its compact form. It’s best suited for trimming small areas, but can’t be used in straightening a board because of its compact nature. The blade is positioned with the bevel side up, and the width of an average block planer is less than 1 ½ inches.

They come in two varieties – the standard block planer and the low angle block planer. The standard block planers are good for general purpose tasks, while the low angle block planer is good for difficult grain and plain end grain.

Replaceable-Blade Planer: Hand planers are made to be used on wood surfaces and can be affected negatively when it comes in contact with other materials like plastics laminates, products containing adhesives like plywood, etc. This can dull the sharpness of the blade. To avoid cases like this, consider hand planers with replaceable blades.

Your choice of a hand planer should not be based on assumptions, so let’s look more deeply into the features that accompany hand planers.
Price
We agree that the price of a product is an important factor to consider when making a purchase, and it’s the same case with hand planers. Nonetheless, it’s more important that you get the best hand planer that will suit the woodwork you want done. From our research, the average cost range for hand planers is $16 to $200 - and that’s all you probably need to get that wood work done.

A hand planer is definitely not an expensive tool, but there are cheap hand planers that won’t give you your desired results and they are usually made from poor quality materials. We saw some of them during research, but we ignored them; our focus has always been to bring to you the best products at the best prices.
Features
The features of a product can influence the price of that product. As a matter of fact, the more features there are, the higher the price. Different wood works require different hand planers, and we’ve listed out the basic features of a good hand planer here:
  • Blade quality
  • Depth adjustability
  • Motor
  • Portability
  • Steel/wood quality
  • Lightweight and compact
Construction and Design
What determines how long a hand planer will last is the material. Durability and longevity are mutually inclusive - the tougher the material, the longer the hand planer will last. Hand planers that are made of metal have higher chances of a long life than other materials, but even the quality of metal materials varies. Some are more durable than others; for example, aluminum material is tough and doesn’t rust, so it can withstand negative conditions. On the downside, it’s heavier than its wood counterpart and is more likely to wear when used on abrasive woods. They also leave marks on the wood surface which may not make for a fine finish.

Wood material, on the other hand, is not a durable material. While it might give a fine finishing, its longevity cannot be guaranteed. It’s susceptible to rot, it can crack and break, and it cannot withstand harsh conditions. When using a hand planer made of wood, water must be avoided as well.

Hand planers come with two motors - the universal motor and the induction motor. The universal motor is lighter, cheaper, and more portable; the induction motor is heavier and built to last a long time. A great hand planer requires a strong motor because of the nature of the tasks it does, which is usually from 5 to 7 amps of power.
Performance and Ease of Use
The hand planer was basically designed to cut into wood surfaces. Therefore, the blade quality is quite significant; the performance of the planer is hinged on this feature. The precision of your cuts and shavings is determined, to a great extent, on how sharp and thick the blade is.

When choosing a hand planer, make inquiries about the blade materials. While some are designed for specific tasks, others are designed for any kind of task; keep in mind that a blade design that’s not sharp enough will make your woodwork look shoddy. To heighten performance, some planers have more than one blade at the head. This dual blade design increases efficiency and ease of use, while reducing work time. It also reduces hand fatigue during use.

Another must-have feature of any hand planer is depth adjustability. The depth knob is a little knob inside the hand planer that can be adjusted and used to monitor the depth and precision of your shavings and cuts. With the right adjustments, your material will come out exactly how you intended it to - and with constant practice you can master the correct usage of this feature to give you the perfect result. A good adjustable depth knob locks and maintains the setting once it has been set.

Portability of the hand planer is closely linked with the size. Smaller-sized planers are easier to move from one place to the other. Portable planers are usually lightweight; moving them over the surface of the wood is not burdensome. Seeing that hand planers are typically handheld tools, this feature is an important one to consider. The more compact and light they are, the easier it will be to work with them.

What is the Best Hand Planner?

Knowing that our buying guide has given you adequate knowledge of what a good hand planer should be, we believe you now know what to look out for when choosing your own hand planer. Armed with this knowledge, let us study the hand planers we’ve chosen for this review alongside their various features and prices.
Our Top Choice
The Stanley Block Plane is an efficient hand plane made of extra thick A2 steel, and its base and frog are cast together. This model can be adjusted for different types of wood. If what you prefer is a high-end jack planer, you could check out the Stanley No.62 Low Angle Jack Plane. It has a cherry wood handle and brass adjustments for a comfortable and convenient operation.
Stanley Sweetheart Bailey No.60-1/2 Low Angle Block Plane – Precision Machine Base for High Accuracy

Stanley Hand Planer 12-139


Features
Stanley was founded in 1843, and its operation is based on a high standard it set for itself in the tool production industry. Over the years, its fame has spread around the world simply because it has continued to live up to its commitment to produce innovative and durable tools. Its tools are used by professionals and amateurs all over the world to help build, protect, and repair objects we value the most. If you need a top-quality hand planer, Stanley is one of the best places to look.

The Stanley Block Plane is an efficient and advanced hand planer made from extremely thick A2 steel, and its blade is 1/8-inch thick. It has a twelve-degree low angle bed that’s ideal if you want to cut grain end. Its frog and base are cast as one and it has a heavy body which helps to ensure positive performance. It’s designed with a special mouth that’s able to cut through any wood, and is made with solid brass hardware so smooth adjustments can be made. And with a weigh of 1 pound and dimensions of 9 x 3.5 x 3.2 inches, this is super convenient to carry around. In the less-than-likely case of anything going wrong, this planer comes with a replacement blade and a limited lifetime warranty.

Here are some other hand planers by Stanley:
  • Stanley Contractor Grade Block Plane - It’s a fully adjustable cutter and it rests at twenty-one degrees
  • Stanley 10-inch Bullnose Rabbet Plane - It’s made out of cast iron
  • Stanley No.92 Shoulder and Chisel Plane - It has finger grips which makes it easy to use
  • Stanley Bailey No.9-1.2 Block Plane – It’s precision machine based which makes it quite accurate
Best Value
The Shop Fox Jack Plane is an advanced plane with a long flat sole. This makes it quite easy and much faster to shape all kinds of wood. If you want a smoothing plane, we recommend the Shop Fox 2-Inch by 9-3\/4-Inch Smoothing Plane. It’s constructed with top-quality cast iron, which accounts for its durability and it comes at a smaller price.
Shop Fox 2-Inch by 14-Inch Jack Plane – Cast Iron Construction, Micro Depth Adjustment

Shop Fox Hand Planner D2674


Features
Shop Fox is a brand under Woodstock that has been providing top-quality tools for over twenty-five years. It started as a small business, and today is known as one of the best producers of metalworking and woodworking tools in the world. It manufactures a very broad selection of tools; thus you can get anything you need for your woodwork from Shop Fox. Its products are safe to use and they combine style and durability. Its products are also convenient as they can either be used on-the-go or at home.

The Shop Fox Jack Plane is an efficient hand planer that has a much longer sole than conventional hand planers - this makes it easier and faster to flatten surfaces. It measures only two inches by fourteen inches, so it’s quite easy to carry around. It’s also designed to have micro depth adjustment and lateral adjustment, both of which are highly convenient.

This jack plane has a quick release cap on the lever to help with smooth and effective movement and cutting. It’s constructed with heavy-duty cast iron, thus making it a great tool for a woodworker. If you add a little elbow grease to this plane, you can complete any task you desire. Oh – and it’s super affordable!

Here are some other hand planes by Shop Fox:
  • Shop Fox Precision Shoulder Plane - It has a two-part sole and an internal screw set that’s easily adjustable
  • Shop Fox D2672 Block Plane - This hand plane is constructed solely of cast iron, making it very durable
The WoodRiver Jointer Plane features fully machined frogs and heavy castings. It’s also made with Bubinga handles that are lightly finished. If you prefer a bench type plane, you could check out the WoodRiver #6 Bench Plane. It features Bubinga handles that help to provide control and comfort.
WoodRiver Jointer Plane with 2-3/8-Inch Blade – Minimal Tune-Up Required, Fully Machined Frogs

WoodRiver Hand Planer 153104W


Features
WoodRiver is a well-known producer and distributor of woodworking and metalworking tools. It’s known throughout the United States for its top-quality products and it distributes more than eight thousand items annually around the states and to foreign countries. It was founded in 1938 and has continued to grow ever since. It started selling tools from a one-room shop, and now it’s a brand that many upcoming brands look up to.

The WoodRiver Jointer Plane is an effective hand planer that has a 2-3/8-inch blade. It features castings that are five pounds, its frogs are fully machined, and it has high carbon steel blades. Its soles and sides are made to be very flat and square, so work can be done fast. The diameter of the blade adjustment wheel is much larger than that of conventional hand planers, as well, giving you more to work with. The lateral adjustment lever is effective and allows you to have total control of the blade, and as it weighs only 9.8 pounds it’s fairly easy to handle and move about. All in all, this hand plane is quite efficient and reliable.

Here are some other hand planers by WoodRiver:
  • WoodRiver Side Rabbet Plane - This planer can be converted to a bull nose plane as it has a removable nose
  • WoodRiver Medium Shoulder Plane - It has an adjustable mouth which prevents tear out
  • WoodRiver Low Angle Jack Plane - This plane is quite effective as it has a high carbon steel blade
  • WoodRiver Low Angle Block Plane with Adjustable Plane - It has a twelve-degree bed angle
  • WoodRiver Small Chisel Hand Plane - It’s small-sized, so it’s easy to maneuver it in small places like a cabinet
The Record Smooth Plane has side and head adjustment, and a tungsten-vanadium cutter that “holds its edge” much longer than conventional cutters. If you prefer a Jointer Plane, you could check out the top-quality Record 07 Jointer Plane. This model comes with a wooden handle for enhanced comfort and control.
Irwin Record Smoothing Plane with 9-3/4 inch 2-inch Wooden Handle and Brass Adjusting Nut

Record Hand Planer 04XXX


Features
Record was founded in 1909 and is one of the largest tool making companies in the United States. It produces a wide range of tools, from pipe vices to cutters to floor cramps and jacks. An average Record tool lasts for more than five years, which reveals the fact that customer satisfaction is also a major priority for Record. When a new product is designed, it’s tested numerous times by the employees themselves to ensure it’s of good quality before it’s put out for mass production. This is because Record wants only the best for its customers. Record stands behind all of its products and has many positive customer reviews as proof.

The Record Smooth Plane is an effective and affordable hand planer that has a 9-3/4-inch 2-inch blade. Its cutter is made of tungsten vanadium, and it also features brass adjusting nuts which help the blade to seat well. It features end and side adjustment, and is constructed with cast iron. And best of all, with dimensions of 5.9 x 2.8 x 10.6 inches and a light weight of 4.1 pounds, you can take this with you just about anywhere!

Here are some other hand planers by Record:
  • Record 060-1/2 Low Angle Block Plane - It has a cast iron body and mouth adjustment for fine or coarse work
  • Irwin Record Jointer Plane - It has very flat soles, and hardened and tempered sides
  • Irwin Record SP5 Jack Plane - It’s affordable and has very flat soles and sides
  • Record 09-1/2 Block Plane - It has a cast iron body and carbon steel cutters
The Sheffield Block Plane is an effective hand plane that’s tempered and hardened for durability - it even has a chamfered drive end. Why not check out the Sheffield 7 Inch Adjustable Block Plane as well? This planer is machine polished to resist rust, making it quite durable and allows you to save a couple more bucks.
Sheffield 3 Inch Mini Block Plane – Hardened &Tempered Construction, Limited Lifetime Warranty

Sheffield Hand Planer 58452


Features
Sheffield was started in 1919 by Samuel Jacoff. Since then, it has become one of America’s top hand planer brands. Sheffield is famous for its top-quality and original metal working and woodworking tools, and its staff comprise of great engineers and professionals who think of new ways to make its products even more efficient and effective. It also offers unmatched customer service every day. Sheffield’s aim is to always satisfy its customers with high-quality tools - anybody can use its tools as they’re very easy to understand. If you’re looking for quality, Sheffield is a great place to look.

The Sheffield Block Plane is an affordable plane that’s great for smooth and accurate cutting of any type of wood. It’s hardened to make it durable and is highly effective for trimming projects. It’s designed with a contoured and die-cast body to make it easy to grip and convenient to use.

Further, it has a chamfered drive end for quick and easy attachment to your blade for cutting, and is constructed with S-2 steel which greatly re-enforces its durability. The Sheffield Block Plane is also a two-piece tool, giving it added strength and utility. With a 1-inch cutter, dimensions of 6 x 3 x 1.7 inches, and a weight of only 7.2 ounces, this is a very nifty planer. Should anything go wrong, this plane also has a limited lifetime warranty.

Here is one more hand planer by Sheffield:
  • Sheffield 9-inch Adjustable Bench Plane - It’s comfortable to use as it has an ergonomic rubber grip

Get the Best Hand Planner of 2017!

At this point, we believe you now know what the best hand planer should be, with the help of our guide, and are well on your way to making a purchase. Just in case you didn’t find the hand planer of your taste, you can check out other products from the chosen brands.

Our Top Choice
Stanley Sweetheart Low Angle Block Plane
Best Value
Shop Fox Iron Jack Plane
WoodRiver #7 Jointer Plane
Record No. 04 Smooth Plane
Sheffield Mini Block Plane