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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.