Comparing DeWalt planers

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Blog entry by Furnitude posted 04-15-2011 11:31 PM 8629 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was just checking out the DeWalt DW734 and DeWalt DW735 planers and wondering, when all is said and done, whether the DW735 is worth the almost $200 higher cost than the DW734. They have the same powered motor and both have 3 blades. The 735 has the built-in chip extractor and has two speeds and weighs a bit more. I wonder if the chip extractor is necessary if you are using the planer with a dust collector anyway. And I’ve read that Ridgid, on their models, tested different speeds and found the surface difference negligible and therefore decided not to go to the expense of offering two speeds on their planers. Is the 735 just more accurate in terms of settings? Other than kind of looking cooler, is the 735 worth the extra $200? $200 would go a long way in buying a jointer on craigslist.

A few years back in Fine Woodworking, they ranked a bunch of benchtop planers according to all kinds of different factors. The DW735 tied with a Craftsman planer for the top spot. These rankings are helpful in some ways but I wonder how they do their testing in terms of measuring whether tables are out of parallel and that sort of stuff. Are they testing one machine or multiple examples of each model? And when they measure snipe, do they measure how much snipe there is out of the box or after the tables have been adjusted to prevent snipe?

-- Mitch, Also blog at

17 comments so far

View Moby's profile


64 posts in 2757 days

#1 posted 04-15-2011 11:38 PM

I had the same thought when I was looking for my planer. I chose the Steel City 13” portable helical planer. It works really good and is comparable to a DeWalt, but has the helical head. And it was a bit cheaper too, mine came out to be $500 + shipping.

View Moose82's profile


91 posts in 2669 days

#2 posted 04-15-2011 11:59 PM

I own the deWalt 735 and love it. I believe 734 is only 12.5” and 735 is 13”. I would spend the extra money and get the 735. I talked to someone that had the 734 and wished they would of spend the money and got the 735.

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3186 days

#3 posted 04-16-2011 12:44 AM

I have the 734, as my pops does as well. He has run over 20,000 BD feet through his and loves it. So I figured I couldn’t go wrong. My brother has the Craftsman and hates it. I have a buddy that has more expensive one and really doesn’t find him self using the 2 speed much. So if the 1/2 extra is important go that way.

One thing that you should consider is the blades. Dewalt blades have two cutting edges to them and blade changes are very easy on the 734 I just did mine today & it took only 15 min without any stress. There self aligning which is important to me… Why work hard, if you don’t have to. The one thing I do not like about mine is the dust shoot. It has a tendency to clog up once in a while. I use a dust collector as well but its the angle of the hood. There is someone on here that modified his that I read a while ago.

Hope this helps with my 2 cents worth.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View intheshop's profile


58 posts in 2836 days

#4 posted 04-16-2011 01:14 AM

The fact is, you’d be happy with any of these machines. You’d just be happier with the 735. Two speeds? the second speed allows you to start sanding at 120 grit while the single speed requires you to start at 80 grit. Either way, you’re still sanding. Much easier to change the knives on the 735. The chip extractor is a great feature if you’re planing pine or poplar or other materials that tend to clog a dust collector. They tend to come off the board in long strands and that’s what clogs the dust collector. The strands go through the blades of the extractor and it chops them up into smaller chips so there is much less clogging. There’s a reason this machine has been at the top of the heap since it was introduced about eight years ago.

-- Fast is fine, but accurate is final. The real trick is learning to take your time when you're in a hurry. - Wyatt Earp

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3352 days

#5 posted 04-16-2011 03:21 AM

Pretty happy with my 734 that I got, hrmm, back in 2005. I’ve mostly planed maple, walnut, and a lot of cherry. I do have it hooked up to a dust collector and have not had issues. I have not planed much pine and no popular so I can’t comment on the software woods. Do I wish I had the 735? When making cutting boards I’ll go right up to the limit on the width, but I can’t see myself paying the extra $200 to get 1/2” of extra capacity. If I were to ever upgrade, and honestly there are a lot of more important purchases on my wish list (like a real band saw), I’d go for a much larger capacity, like a 15” pedestal planer, but then you’re talking real money.

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3381 days

#6 posted 04-16-2011 03:35 AM

I have the 734 and I’m happy with it. I disagree with intheshop’s comment about sanding. I never have to begin below 150 grit after planing. Actually, I usually use a scraper, but it’s just not that rough to begin with. I do take light passes. Another important difference between the two is the 735 has threaded rod at all four corners rather than just two, which is supposed to help minimize snipe as well as add strength. The lock on the 734 helps with the snipe, but it still doesn’t work as towards that end as the 735.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3039 days

#7 posted 04-16-2011 09:50 AM

I can’t tell you how many times I have used the full 13 inches of my 735. The extra cash was well worth it for me. I don’t like to be limited if I don’t have to be. I rarely use the second speed since either really gives you a smooth surface. I can start with 220/150 sanding on either speed. I say it is well worth the extra cash but if you want to get a joiner then go with the 734.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3435 days

#8 posted 04-16-2011 01:39 PM

Another happy 734 owner. Tons of oak plowed through it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View ncdon's profile


220 posts in 2874 days

#9 posted 04-16-2011 01:53 PM

For the bucks I don’t think you can beat the 734. I’ve had mine for about 6 months. Out of the box virtually snipe free and leaves a great finish.

-- Don, North Carolina, Working full time at retired.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3310 days

#10 posted 04-16-2011 02:06 PM

I have the 735 and really have enjoyed it. I got it on a clearance sale at a price below the 734, but it was the one I truly wanted anyway.

It has very beefy construction and I do use the 2 speed feature. The chip extraction coupled with a DC, it gets almost everything but a few slight shavings on the table every now and then. I guess I like heavier built machinery.

It is my first planer so I haven’t used the Ridgid, 734, or any of the others but all but the cheapest of the portable planers seem to have happy owners so you will probably do well with any of the above.

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3505 days

#11 posted 04-17-2011 04:19 AM

Just got back from Lowes where I checked out both the 734 and 735 DeWalt planers side by side. Both seemed very solid. The 735, I have to say, looked very cool. I used the blade locking mechanism on the 734. It felt very solid but I’m wondering if constantly locking and unlocking it for every pass would drive me nuts. Any 734 owners who could comment on the use of the lock mechanism?

Because of the way the 735 was sitting on the shelf, i couldn’t really crank it up and down much. But the little bit I could crank it felt really good. I felt like you could get crazy accurate with it.

To totally change the subject, I saw a barely-used Delta 22-580 planer for sale on craigslist for $400 including the stand, dust port and extra blades. Man, that’s tempting. However, it is a 2.5 hour drive (each way), so the time and gas money would make it not worth it. Let’s just say I’m on the lookout.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3352 days

#12 posted 04-17-2011 05:23 PM

The locking-unlocking on the 734 is a little annoying, but honestly I do it now instinctively and don’t even notice myself doing it. You certainly learn how to use your hand on the bar correctly. Put your hand on the wrong way and it’ll slam it into the metal edge above it when unlocking. Been there, done that.

Regarding accuracy, one crank on the 734 is 1/16”. So a half turn is 1/32”and a quarter turn is 1/64”. To me 1/64” is accurate enough and I often do take very light passes in some circumstances.

In summary, I’m content with the locking/unlocking and accuracy of the 734. I built a huge infeed/outfeed table to help with snipe, although I do on ocassion still get a small amount ont he leading edge of the board. You can work that into your workflow though, since it’s a good idea not to use the last 2” of a board anyhow. I often leave that bit on there, let it get the snipe, then cut it off at the end.

So for me the only thing I wish I had was a wider capacity, and really only when cleaning up cutting boards. Some day I might get a drum sander, in which case I’ll be entirely content with my 734 as my planer.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2920 days

#13 posted 04-17-2011 10:46 PM

................. Dewalt blades have two cutting edges to them and blade changes are very easy on the 734 …....... The one thing I do not like about mine is the dust shoot. It has a tendency to clog up once in a while. I use a dust collector as well but its the angle of the hood. .........
This clogging of the chip chute, even with a dust collector, is the reason I went for the 735. The chip ejection on the 735is very good.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3763 days

#14 posted 04-17-2011 10:55 PM

You can’t beat either one of the Dewalts in my opinion. A buddy of mine has the 734 and I’ve been around when he used it a couple of times. It did great. The reason I ended up with the 735 is because I got a hell of a deal on a brand new one at Lowes. I think the others make good planers too. Some are better than others, but that’s where the research comes in.
- JJ

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3505 days

#15 posted 04-19-2011 04:29 PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ll keep an eye out for deals. Since my budget is extremely limited, I think I’ll end up going with the 734 unless I find a great 735 on craigslist or I see the 735 massively on sale somewhere. If I go with reconditioned models from ToolKing, the price is around $300 for a 734 and $450 for the 735. As great as the comments are about the 735, I don’t think I can justifiy spending $150 or more when the 734 will probably meet my needs very well. Believe me, I’m scouring craigslist every day. Ok, many times per day.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

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