Hand planers and bench planers are two types of power planers. Many people are curious whether they should buy a hand planer or bench planer, and it depends on their specific projects.
Are you equipped to tackle today’s toughest projects? Do you have the right planer for the job? Understanding the differences between a hand planer vs bench planer gives you the power to make smart decisions fast.
Hand and bench planers make the perfect woodworking combination. However, there is a big difference between the two models. We will help you decide which one you need for your next project.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to choose the best planer, whether the hand planer vs bench planer, is what’s right for your woodworking projects. You’ll be sure to find the perfect planer to fit all of your needs.
Short Version / TL;DR
Don’t have time to read through the article? Don’t worry, we get you – here’s a brief rundown on our Hand Planer vs Bench Planer guide:
The hand planer vs bench planer are similar tools. Both are useful in leveling off lumber to give craftsmanship or woodworking projects a clean, smooth finish. If you’re just starting out with woodworking, save yourself some cash—a good hand planer will often last you longer than a bench planer. You can also decide whether the extra features in a bench planer are worth the expense or not.
Hand planers and bench planers are affordable and perfect for first-time woodworkers. Every home and work shop requires these tools, so the advantages are countless, especially for people who do woodworking as a hobby. Using them, you can spend less time making adjustments and all your products will be uniformed and smooth.
The right planer is an investment. It matters for your production. It matters for your clients. At the end of the day, you need a planer that fits into your professional setup and a planer that endures time.
Hand Planers are lighter and easier to set up. They are not as hard to work with for beginners and can be more convenient to use if the workshop is small.
Bench Planers are the heart of woodworking for professional craftsmen. A bench planer is the one that is used by professional and expert woodworkers and carpenters. It has some features that the hand planer doesn’t have. It’s used in place of a hand planer or even a power planer because it can handle larger boards as well as finer woodworking tasks.
Carpentry, furniture making, and carving are specialties that require a big investment of time and money. Those who are capable of handling these jobs need an essential tool like the bench planer.
Don’t have time To read? No worries!
Below are our top picks for your convenience
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Manual Hand Planer in the Market
Caliastro Bench Plane No. 5
- Perfect Finish In Just One Pass
- High Quality Beachwood Frame
- Ergonomic Grip
- High Quality Iron Blade
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Power Hand Planer in the Market
DeWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Planer
- 32,000 Cuts Per Minute
- Brushless Motor
- 20V Max Cordless Planer
- Ergonomic Grip
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Bench Planer in the Market
DeWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer
- 15 Amp Motor
- 20,000 RPM
- 4,000 Strokes Per Minute
- LED Worklight
What Is A Hand Planer?
A Hand Planer is a woodworking tool that is made to reduce the amount of time it takes to make detailed work. It is often a manual tool or a power tool, but it can be used for a lot of tasks. It’s a versatile piece of equipment that is ideal for metalworking and woodworking. It can handle jobs that range from sharpening tools to making precise cuts in a variety of materials.
You can use a power hand Planer to re-shape wood or smooth. It has an irregular cutting motion, allowing it to quickly remove large amounts of material. If you need to sand down an entire surface, a hand Planer will work best.
When choosing between a manual and an electric planer, you have to keep a couple things in mind. The electric model provides more power and more precision, so many users find it easier to use for intricate details.
With Hand Planers, they come in handy when you have to get rid of nails or roots from the landscaping area. They also come in handy when you want to flatten an area of the wood for a nice smooth surface.
Hand Planer Benefits
Versatile Uses: Hand planers are an incredibly unique type of tool that allows users to get out every bit of detail in headboards and cabinets alike. They come in both manual and electric varieties, making them a great pick for those who need a little extra oomph.
Hand planers are tools that you should seriously consider adding to your arsenal of shaping tools. Users can effectively shape woodwork or remove irregularities to the top layers of a wood surface using this machine.
Fine Woodworking: In fine woodworking, a tool is essential for smoothing pieces of wood and oak prior to assembly. It also takes lots of experience with working with multiple planers to achieve Fine Woodworking. A hand Planer is one such device that can be used to get the job done right. It is also not as expensive as electric ones. Plus, it can be carried around easily.
Bench Planers are bulky, and not designed for intricate carving and cutting. They can’t hold the intricate pieces with their bulk. And while they may be able to get a flat surface, it is nowhere close to the precision of a hand plane. Instead, a hand Planer does it all. From sculpting your vision out of wood to getting a flat surface on any project, the hand Planer can complete it without hassle.
Affordable: This is a great tool for the DIY’er or professional woodworker. If you’re not ready to shell out hundreds of dollars on an electric bench Planer, the good news is that manual hand planers are surprisingly affordable. For less than $12 , you can purchase a manual hand Planer that will get the job done in no time.
When it comes to power hand planers, they’re also significantly affordable compared to Bench Planers in general.
Hand Planer Pros & Cons
- Cost-effective for Woodwork
- Compact & Versatile
- Can be used on material other than wood
- Power hand planers can be difficult to control
- Messy Work Environment
- Not for larger pieces of wood
Manual Hand Planer Recommendation –
Caliastro Bench Plane No. 5
The Caliastro Bench Plane No. 5 stands strong under a heavy load. It helps smoothen a rough wooden surface, giving a perfect finish in just one pass. It’s the ideal plane for shaping the outside of a long board or the edges of a piece of furniture, preparing it for staining and finishing.
The Caliastro Bench Plane No. 5 is a must-have for professional and DIY woodworkers. The tool is made from high-quality beechwood, and it’s fitted with a comfortable grip for a smooth, comforting use.
With its long 14-inch body and 2-inch width, it can deliver the needed results fast and with ease. The solid wooden handle further enhances its functionality while keeping it easy to hold in spite of long hours of operation.
Not only does it come with a sharp iron blade but it also comes with an antique finish that not only enhances the look but also helps in smoothing out the surface.
Using the best tools will give you the best result. The Caliastro Bench Plane No. 5 – Iron Jack Plane, is an essential for woodworker and is designed into the most user-friendly bench planes that you can find in the market.
Manual Hand Planer Tutorial for Beginners
Power Hand Planer Recommendation –
DeWALT DCP580B 20V MAX Planer
DeWALT is a supremely powerful, cordless planer that stands above the rest. The DeWALT DCP580B Brushless Planer’s brushless motor provides the speed and power you need to cut through any type of material. It’s easy to carry and use anywhere, making it ideal for any professional carpentry job.
It’s 3-1/4” in width and 5/64” in depth and offers 32,000 cuts per minute. The brushless motor ensures a clean cut, especially if you are working with soft woods like pine or balsa.
When DeWALT engineers designed the DCP580B, they focused on ergonomics. They engineered it to be comfortable and reduce user fatigue to make planing faster and more efficient. Extensive testing in the field has proven that the DeWALT brushless planer is a highly dependable, durable power tool built to withstand harsh job site conditions.
This cordless power planer provides ultimate control and comfort while using. The top-handle is designed to have an offset ergonomic grip that reduces the amount of lateral tension on the wrist. This design feature has let DeWALT create a tool that is much safer to use, as well as more comfortable to operate.
Its twin blade drum ensures smooth planed surfaces on all your projects. The adjustment knob makes it easy to change the settings on the tool.
With dual-speed gearboxes for fast cutting or fine tuning, you can get the job done. The torx wrench storage is made of high quality plastic and is covered by a rubber lid.
If you are looking for a planer that is built to last, check out the DeWALT DCP580B brushless planer. Not only will this planer stand up to years of use, it also has an on-board blade storage feature, making it easier than ever to stash your blades away until you need them again.
The ideal tool for removing material in one pass. The Brushless DCP580B Planer is cordless and battery-powered, so you have the convenience of a compact size that’s always ready when you need it. Its brushless planer design combined with high performance makes this the perfect tool for home improvement applications.
The DeWALT DCP580B is a 20-Volt MAX Brushless cordless planer that takes smaller jobs to new heights. The DCP580B is perfect for finishing the edges of furniture, chamfering door frames and building stairways. It can also be used to clean up rough millwork, clean out the edges of your fence posts, or anything else that requires smooth and consistent planning.
Power Hand Planer Tutorial for Beginners
What Is A Bench Planer?
If you’re looking for a way to get the most out of the wood that you work with, a Bench Planer is an easy and painless way to give your wood more than just a smooth face. It removes the need to use any other heavy machinery under your bench which can allow you to make faster and cleaner cuts.
A bench planer, also known as a “thickness planer” is used to flatten, smooth, and straighten rough lumber. The tool does this using a set of rollers that can be adjusted to meet specific needs. Bench planers make it easy to use salvaged wood or to deal with surfaces that other tools simply cannot handle.
A bench planer is a fantastic tool that will make your projects go faster. With a bench Planer, you can turn big pieces of wood into smaller chunks to work with, which makes the job easier on your hands.
However it is to note that Bench Planers are bigger and bulkier than hand Planers. They come with larger planer blades that give them the power to cut through any type of wood, whether it’s soft or hard.
For contractors and remodelers, a bench Planer is an essential tool. It speeds up the process of planing (slicing hair-thin strips of wood off) and lets you get more done in less time. The result – a flawless finished product for your customer’s property.
Bench Planer Benefits
Easy to Resurface Wood: Using a bench Planer is one of the best ways to level and smooth your surface wood. It creates a flat, natural looking surface that’s ready to finish. It’s also a great way to salvage old materials and give them new life.
Dust Collection: The bench Planer is not only a worth it investment, but it’s also much more efficient to use. The dust collection system allows you to easily clean up after each cut. It saves you time and energy, making it ideal for large projects.
Bench Planer Pros & Cons
- Best for Large Pieces of Wood
- Designed for Efficiency
- Extraordinarily Fast
- Sawdust collection system
- Worthy Investment
- Definitely Needs A Budget
- Takes Up Large Space
- Not Portable
Bench Planer Recommendation –
DeWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer
Based on its features and its performance, the DeWalt DW734 also happens to be one of the most popular — if not the most sought after – bench planer among today’s woodworkers. Its outstanding performance and user-friendly design make it one of the best investments you can make if you’re planning to purchase a new benchtop planer.
The DeWALT DW734 is a powerhouse of a benchtop planer that has the capabilities of competing with larger models but in a more compact size. Its precision and power are unmatched by any comparable models.
The DW734 isn’t your average benchtop planer. In fact, it’s much more than that. To start with, 80 pounds is an impressively low weight for this kind of equipment. Measuring 24 x 17 x 21 inches (58 x 43 x 53 cm), the DeWalt is not large either. However, its dimensions make sense too, as you can see in the picture.
This benchtop planer is powerful. We’re talkin’ serious power here! Inside, there’s a 15 amp motor that starts at 20,000 RPMs and moves to 10,000 RPMs, all while the cutter heads cut at a maximum of 4,000 strokes per minute. Purpose-built to be the ultimate wood planer, it has all of the capabilities that you would expect from a professional wood planer.
Designed for both softwood and hardwood, you can turn your favourite logs into smooth, quality finishes. Not only does it come with a manual control option, but an integrated LED worklight makes it easy to see the wood as you’re planing.
If you’ve never used a planer, terms such as “width capacity” and “thickness capacity” may be confusing. However, it is quite easy to understand what they mean.
What is width capacity? It’s the measure of a planer’s ability to remove a certain amount of wood. It measures how much stock you can put into the machine’s cutters.
The thickness capacity of a planer determines how thick the wood can be that is going through the planer.
See why this is important here.
You need to have the right thickness planer for your woodworking business. A DeWALT DW734 will give you professional results with the perfect thickness every time – all while saving you hours of labor.
Built to handle stock of up to 12.5 inches wide and containing a three knife cutter head, Its depth of cut measures 6 inches, making it ideal for most heavy DIY projects, the DW734 is perfect for creating factory-surface finishes being the the ideal solution for home and DIY renovations.
The DeWALT DW734 is a solid tool that delivers. The three knife cutter head delivers 96 cuts per inch, resulting in a deep, clean, and accurate cuts that polishes the end grain to a smooth finish. You won’t have to worry about any sandpaper for further polish, as this baby will save you a lot of time.
It’s not uncommon to find industrial-level projects in homes these days. This is because people are continually adding upgrades to their homes to fit their families’ needs. With that said, finding a machine that can handle both residential and commercial grade work should be your top priority. The DW734 fulfills this need easily.
Whether you’re a contractor who needs to produce smoother surfaces or an avid DIYer, the DeWalt DW734 Benchtop Planer will not disappoint.
Bench Planer Tutorial for Beginners
Dweller Power’s Buying Guide
As we discussed above, hand planers are ideal for more intricate projects or tasks in which you want a lot of control. There has been a lot of innovation recently to make this type of tool more user friendly and efficient.
Bench top Planers are bigger and can be used for bigger projects, providing more comfort while using it. They also have a small size that makes them easy to carry around and store in small corners.
Each Planer has its own benefits, so which Planer works best for you will depend on what you need it for and what your work requirements are.
When looking at which planer to purchase you will want to consider the wood finish, the types of edges and surfaces, the flatness of the surfaces, the types of wood measurements you will be working with, and the parallelism of surfaces. Each of these details will be covered below.
Knowing the type of wood your tool will be used on is an important consideration when choosing the best planers, especially with the hand planer vs bench planer.
Commonly, there are two types of wood: S2S (surfaced on all four sides) refers to lumber that has been planed or sanded on all four edges. Conversely, S4S (surfaced on all four sides) lumber has had one side planed and then re-sawn to produce a rectangular shaped board. S4S wood tends to be more visually appealing than S2S due to the naturally flatter profile of the board.
Edges and Surfaces
As a board has more outward and inward faces, it will take more time to achieve the desired smoothness. So if you require an extremely smooth surface, then a planer is your best bet.
Wood needs regular maintenance to maintain its appearance and integrity. Planers are useful for getting rid of excess material on the surface of a piece of wood.
When it comes to wood, moisture is a crucial component to de-flattening and clearing up the design. If you need to bring out the best wood in your woodwork, and fix what too much moisture has destroyed in the piece, then using the right planer can be helpful for you.
Surface imperfections are very difficult to remove and may take a lot of sanding time if you opt to remove them by hand. If you don’t have the patience for that, then we recommend purchasing a bench planer first as it will allow you to remove high-frequency edge damage much faster.
You can remove surface imperfections on lumber more easily and effectively using a hand planer or bench planer. More importantly, you will avoid discarding boards with significant imperfections, like holes, scratches and dings, as these will be removed by the planer.
Power Planer Maintenance Guide
Though both Hand Planer vs Bench Planer serve the same purpose that all other industrial tools do, they are designed differently. This can be due to the machine’s functionality or size. The maintenance of a planer usually consist of the following:
To take good care of both hand planer vs bench planer, you should have an appropriate storage system. This will ensure the wood planner is out of reach of children and pets and also prevent it from unnecessary damages.
Regardless of how well an artisan takes care of their tool, at some point, they will need to start taking precautionary measures to prevent any damage from occurring. A wood planer’s blades can cause serious injuries if not maintained and stored correctly.
This is a problem that a lot of planers, like the hand planer vs bench planer have. Rust tends to attach to various parts of the machine making it weak and inefficient, which wastes a lot of energy. To avoid repair costs, the maintenance must be done on a regular basis.
Unless rust is addressed on a regular basis, the regions affected will either break or bend while the tool is being used. Additionally, it increases friction in most moving parts of the machine, which wastes a lot of energy overcoming the additional friction caused by rust.
It is always a good idea to store the planer vertically in order to prevent it from rusting over time. There are other ways to combat rust too, including scrapping it off with an abrasive material or using penetrating oil or anti-rust solution. A helpful tip is to sprinkle table salt on the rusty area. The solution will bubble as the rust breaks down. It will continue to bubble until all rust is gone.
After all, a rusty tool is nothing but a waste of money. And unless you’re okay with throwing away your money and getting terrible results each time you use your tool, then the best course of action would be proper periodic maintenance.
Keeping your both of your hand planer vs bench planer ‘s moving parts well-oiled will ensure smooth operation. Give them a light coating of machine oil, and you’ll have many years of happy wood planing ahead of you.
Lubrication is a must to extend the life of these parts, but it is also important for proper operation. Without proper lubrication, wear and tear can become worse and pieces may even fall off.
Because of the high friction, a lot of energy is required for the motor to overcome it. Electrical cables and systems must be inspected so that no leaks will occur.
Sharpening Cutting Edges
For both the hand planer vs bench planer, or any planing tools for that matter, should always have sharp blades to make the surface as smooth as possible. Woodworkers should be aware of sharpening devices and how to care for their tools.
Orienting the blade’s angles properly assists in efficiency, precision, and safety. By avoiding damage to materials or surfaces, a smoother cutting surface can be achieved. This ensures that less material is wasted and productivity increases.
Careful maintenance of planers is essential, especially with dealing with the hand planer vs bench planer. This includes replacing certain parts as needed. Cutting edges and moving parts should be replaced every so often to ensure longevity in wood planers.
It is important to note that when it comes to replacing these parts, only the manufacturer’s recommended spare parts should be used and only by a specialist to ensure that the wood planer will still function properly after replacement.
Hand Planer vs Bench Planer
Now that you have read this informative guide, you should have a better understanding of the hand planer vs bench planer topic. The first thing about bench planer vs hand planer is that they both serve the same purpose. Each planner might have its own unique function, but pay attention to their strengths.
In order to choose the right one, you’ll need to take your time and make sure you don’t rush.
So in the end, which one should you get?
Hand planers are great for a small workshop and easy to carry out the task. They are lightweight and easy to carry around. You can use them easily in tight spaces like between the cabinets and walls. They are inexpensive and ideal woodworking tools for amateurs. But if you are a carpenter, then both of the tools can be used to make some adjustments. It may not be suitable for folk with arthritis who need a lot of help.
A bench planer is best for significant larger woodworking projects and best for a workshop. It has been in use for a long period of time by woodworker, carpenters, furniture maker, and carvers. Carpentry, furniture making, and carving are specialties that require a big investment of time and money. Those who are capable of handling these jobs require the right tools such as the bench planer.
To remember, the truth about bench planer vs hand planer is that they both serve the same purpose. Going for a hand planer, you stand to save money over a bench planer. It’s is an investment that will earn you more in the long-run.
Coming back to what we said earlier, the hand planer is your best bet for jobs where space is limited and where corners need to be smoothened out.
So, go on and hit that purchase button!
This ends our Hand Planer vs Bench Planer Discussion.
With that, please always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’, a properly organized set of power tools, including power planers, will see you through the best projects. Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right power planer.
We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!