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Electric Planer: The Complete Buying Guide

Electric Planer: The Complete Buying Guide

An electric planer is used to cut wood from a surface to make it flat. If you plan to do a lot of planing for a large project, use a stationary planer that is also designed to handle larger, denser materials.

On the other hand, if you need to take your planing ability with you on multiple job sites or just need a planer for small projects, a hand-held electric planer will do the job. This article is designed to help you choose the right hand-held electric planer.

What should be considered when buying an electric planer?


You can choose between wired and cordless electric leveling models. Wireless models give you the flexibility to work without access to electrical power while wired models are generally more powerful.

How much power you need will depend on the material you plan on and the size of your project. A lightweight cordless model may be fine for smaller projects in a less dense wood material, while you should probably choose a cordless model with plenty of strength to complete a large project like a deck or one that uses denser materials.

Wireless models are also more expensive, so if you’re watching your budget, a wired model would be a better option.

Despite the successes of cordless models, the electric planer landscape is still dominated by corded models. So, when thinking about power, you’re generally looking at the Amps rating.

For most applications, an amp rating of 7 amps or greater should be adequate. If you plan to do heavy-duty planing in dense material for large, recurring projects, you can purchase an electric planer rated at 10 amps or more.

The larger the motor, the heavier the electric planer, so keep this in mind when choosing.

round per minute

An electric planer uses a cutting wheel that rotates at high speed to cut the wood from the surface you’re working with. Higher speeds usually translate to more consistent and even cuts. You should choose a model with an RPM of 15,000 or more.

maximum cutting depth

The maximum depth of cut determines the amount of material you can remove with each pass. A deeper cut will allow you to finish faster, but only if your planer is up to the task. If you have the right amount of power and the right RPM, you can cut more material per pass if the electric planer has the right extreme depth capacity.

Cutting depths are available from 2/32″ to 5/32″ or more. Levelers also come in different widths to achieve faster passes by removing more physical area than depth. In general, shallower wider planing widths mean maximum depth of cut, but more material may end up being removed faster overall.

cutting width max

The combined maximum cutting width of the electric planer is 3-1/4 in. If you need to remove more material, larger offers are available. Wider power amplifiers are usually more powerful and more expensive.

cutting blades

Most portable electric planers have dual blades that remove material. The blades take a lot of abuse when spinning at over 15,000rpm which means each blade strikes the material 15,000 times per minute. Depending on the material, the blades can get dull very quickly. The light to medium duty blades are made of high strength steel (HSS). If you will be using your planer for frequent heavy-duty use, carbide blades are the best option if they are available.

Some blades are reversible for double use before needing to be replaced. Other blades can also still be sharpened so you can use them many times before having to replace them with new ones.

Depth control

The depth of cut you use to remove material is one of the most important factors in effective planing. Most models come with some type of depth adjustment.

They usually include a depth control knob that allows you to set the depth of cut to the maximum depth of cut.

An important consideration is whether depth adjustment is calculated. If you need to remove high-precision material, be sure to calibrate the depth gauge or adjustment knob.

Some models come with tap stops in standard increments that provide more positive control over depth if the tap stops are properly calibrated.

power cord

Since you are tied to a power outlet, it is a good idea to have a long power cord that will prevent you from having to carry an extension cord around. The length of the power cords provided by flatbed manufacturers varies like the wind. Suffice it to say that a longer cord is more appropriate.


Some common included accessories that can be very useful are a flat guide/fence and some kind of dust control capability.

If you work with wood, you must level the wood. Wood is an imperfect material with only rough dimensions from the mill. If your project requires final dimensions, you will need to level the wood to achieve the excellent results you are looking for. I sincerely hope this guide has provided you with valuable information that will help you choose the best electric hob for your needs.

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