Bench Top Planer Reviews
Our Top Pick is the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
A bench top planer is a power machine tool used to resize, and precisely determine the thickness and width of wooden boards. For example; if you were building something out of wood such as a book shelf or table, and needed several boards to be the same thickness or width, you would use the bench top planer to measure and mark your desired level, then send it through the bench top planer which would shave off all access wood to acquire the thickness or new width of your board. Another common use for a benchtop planer is to fix and mend warped boards. This is done in the same procedure mentioned above, by first marking your desired measurements and following this procedure, the warped board is then run through the planer to create a slimmer, and straighter piece of wood, repairing the warp.
Bench top planers include key components which are the cutter head, feed direction, feed rolls, and measurement settings. The cutter head is the internal blade/cutting device that will shave your boards to the appropriate size. The feed direction is the direction in which you insert wooden boards into the cutter. The in and out feed rolls are the mechanisms controlling the process of pulling in and exiting out the boards. The measurement settings accurately measure the boards and sends the information to the machine to cut and shave off the appropriate amounts of wood.
Bench top planers can be extremely helpful and useful machines in the wood working industry. After thorough testing and research, the Makita 2012 NB 12-inch planer rose to the top as the best in its class. It ranked highest in every category including function ability, durability, control and customer satisfaction. The 15-amp motor gives the planer the power and speed to work with various types of wood. The construction is made to last even with regular use and the company has a strong reputation for standing behind their products.
Who Should Buy This
Bench Top Planers are used by those who frequently work with wood. Those who will benefit most from owning a planer include craftsman, furniture makers, wood working professional, DIYers, builders, construction workers, and others who enjoy wood projects. If you work with wood and want a professional look and wood that meets exact measurements, then you will benefit from owning a benchtop planer. It offers a high level of portability and are more affordable than floor models.
What Makes a Good Bench Top Planer?
When identifying the best bench top planers there are several components that make up the best one, the first being the size of the motor. This will determine the types of woods you are able to work with and the size of projects. Smaller motors cannot handle harder woods or operate as long.
The width and depth of maximum cuts will also play a factor in the size of projects you can complete. The depth setting allows you to choose the exact measurements you need your wooden boards to become and then by feeding the wood through the bench top planer the blades will trim your wood down to the settings applied. Machines with smaller range of depths will limit the wood size you are able to trim. Having depth stops is also a convenient way to cut several pieces at the exact same measurements.
Blade changes is another consideration when choosing a planer. Easy blade change will save time and create a more efficient work operation. If you use the planer regularly blades will need to be changed frequently. Having a quick change mechanism, and perhaps even tool free, will allow you to safely and with optimum control remove, and replace blades as needed. Working with blades that are worn will have less than optimal results.
Table extensions are a great addition and provides extra support and a smooth transition for the wood being fed into the planer. The table extension also allows you to more easily handle and contour larger pieces of wood. Another thing the table extension does is keep all debris or loose wood particles on top of the table instead of the debris falling or getting trapped underneath the machine, which can be more difficult to clean.
How We Tested
We began our research by first conducting a general search for bench top planers. In doing this we were able to determine what features and qualities are found in the best bench top planers such as durability, control, cutting ability, depth functions, speed control, and several others. Following this we reviewed tool blogs, forums, magazines, and received expert advice which allowed us to determine the best brands and models of the currently available bench top planers. We then studied confirmed customers and customer reviews for their opinions on the best planers for day to day operations and long term usage. We looked at real world performance and the ability to take on heavy duty jobs.
|Maximum Cutting Width||12 inches|
|Maximum Thickness||6 3/32 inches|
|Feed Rate||28 feet per minute|
|Noise level||83 decibels|
|Table Extensions Included||Yes|
|Item Weight||62 Pounds|
|Product Dimensions||19 x 30.4 x 15.8 Inches|
|Satisfaction Guarantee||30 Days|
Makita 2012 NB Twelve Inch Planer is equipped with a 120-volt 15-amp motor that offers a maximum of 8500 RPMs. This gives you the power you need to work with both soft and hard woods to get the job done quickly and efficiently. It also includes a four post design with diagonal cross supports for maximum stability. This bench top planer is built to last and support even the heaviest and roughest pieces of wood. Its compact design also significantly reduced its weight compared to traditional bench top planers making it easy to transport and adjust whenever necessary. You will also notice its low noise feature for a quiet and efficient performance as well as an optional dust hood to enable dust collection systems to be added to your machine. This bench top planer includes an easy blade change mechanism to make switching out and replacing blades safe and easy.
It features a large table extensions and can tackle wood as wide as 12 inches and up to 6 3/32 inches in thickness. This unit caters to larger and heavier wood pieces to increase the variety of projects you can perform. It features a built in LED light that indicates when the tool is plugged in so you can always be aware if your machine is on or off. This planer also has double edge planer blades which will create a smoother and more efficient cut as boards are fed through. It has full depth adjustment settings that will allow you to precisely determine the width you desire.
Who Else Likes It
The guys at Bestplaners.com wrote “The Makita 2012NB 12-inch planer is small but powerful enough to easily take with you to any jobsite no matter what type of materials you may be working with. It’s also an extremely quiet planer, has a plane width of 12 inches wide and 1/8 inches deep. It also features a powerful 15-amp motor and anti-sniping system that will allow you to plane the perfect piece of wood just about every time”
At Finehomebuilding.com the guys write “This tool is the best of the small models. It’s the most compact and portable, and the only model ready to use right out of the box. The plastic covered, gear-driven depth adjustment allows for precise fine-tuning, the simple drop-down depth stop made it easy to achieve repeatable thicknesses.”
Amazon reviewers give the Makita 2012NB 12-inch planer a 4.8 out of 5 from 194 reviewers. One 5 star reviewer writes “This planer is excellent, giving both reliable service with new features. No cutter head lock to worry about, higher RPM than the old planer, and beefed up to 15-amps. The Makita has on-board storage, for tools, generous infeed & outfeed trays, and is truly lighter than the rest. It also has powerful and extremely smooth finishes. Popular Woodworking lists it as snipe equal to that of a floor model, best of the benchtops. I agree!”
The Step Up
If you are looking for a larger bench top planer with even more cutting features and abilities the step up is the Dewalt DW735 13 Inch benchtop planer. This benchtop planer has a powerful 15 Amp motor and a maximum rpm of 20,000. It also includes a cutter speed of 10,000 rpms that allow for better and more accurate cuts with larger pieces of wood. This planer also has three readily available knife cutter heads that provides 30 percent longer knife life and makes changing the blades faster and easier.
You will also find this planer is equipped with a two speed gear box that allows users to change the feed speed to optimize cuts per inch. Lastly this machine includes a fan assisted chip ejection vacuum which exhausts the debris out of the machine to give you a cleaner work space.
Top Bench Top Planer Comparison
|Position||Visual||Tool||Planer Size (Inches)||RPM||Warranty (Years)
Care Use & Maintenance
Caring properly for your Planer will not only produce safe operations but will also enable the planer to last a long time. With any tool investment both safety and maintenance should be high priorities. We have provided a short list of safety and maintenance tips to help keep yourself safe while using your new bench top planer as well as to keep your machine running properly for as long as possible.
- Read the planers manual before beginning use. Each tool works differently.
- When switching or replacing blades be sure the machine is in the off position
- Keep your hands and all loose items away from the blades and all moving parts of the machine
- Wear safety goggle and gloves to protect yourself from loose particles and debris
- Do not try to pull back on wood that has already begun feeding into your planer
- Store the Bench Top planer in a cool dry place
- Inspect the machine regularly for damage
- Repair any damage promptly before continuing use
- Clean the planer after each use.
- Oil according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have it services annually if used regularly.
Wrapping It Up
Benchtop planers increase the quality of the work you can achieve when working with wood. A benchtop planer, unlike floor models, easily be transported, take up minimal amounts of space, and are an excellent choice for small workshops, hobbyists, or homeowners. A bench top planer can assist a wide variety of people and job tasks and can create professional results when building furniture, framing for houses, windows or construction. This very versatile tool increases the work quality, speeds up the job, and has multiple applications, making it a sound investment for those who work with wood on an ongoing basis.