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At a $300 price point, do the differences in *new* planers really matter?

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Forum topic by derrick3636 posted 06-04-2016 05:08 AM 1572 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


06-04-2016 05:08 AM

Here are the examples I could think of:

WEN 13”
http://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-15-Amp-13-in-3-Blade-Benchtop-Corded-Thickness-Planer-6552/206926960?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D25T-PowerTools%7c&gclid=CNjAp-PCjc0CFRRgfgodNccDug&gclsrc=aw.ds

WEN 12.5”
http://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-15-Amp-12-5-in-Corded-Thickness-Planer/206214836

Craftsman
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19377986&KPID=15216358&pla=pla_15216358

Porter Cable
http://www.lowes.com/pd_80882-70-PC305TP_0__?k_clickID=25fb5c8e-a780-43cd-8061-42c4464ed8c2&store_code=3095&productId=3044121&selectedLocalStoreBeanArray=%5Bcom.lowes.commerce.storelocator.beans.LocatorStoreBean%40519a519a%5D&storeNumber=3095&kpid=3044121&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-ToolsAndHardware-_-BenchtopTools-_-3044121%3APORTER-CABLE&CAWELAID=&CAWELAID=1024174791

Grizzly
http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-1-2-Planer/G0505

Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/2-1-2-half-hp-12-inch-planer-with-dust-collection-95082.html

I’m sure there are more. I think Cutech has an entry level one as well. From research on this site and others, they all seem to lack a cutterhead lock, and none of them seem to be set up “perfect” right out of the box. Snipe is expected, but can be lessened with proper setup and many other various tricks that I’ve read about. That all makes sense to me.

My budget is going to be $300. I’m aware that there are always used options out there. I see plenty of examples on craigslist and offerup on a regular basis. I have(almost)no problem with used tools. I’ve got a garage full of them. What I do worry about is the lack of a warranty. AS IS is fine when it’s a low dollar item, but spending $300 on a used DW734 in order to get something of “better” quality, only to have it break on me, is kind of hard to swallow. It would also be unpleasant to explain to my wife. Having some form of a warranty is important to me.

So if this was your $300, which route would you take? The $300 doesn’t have to include tax/shipping. Most of the examples I’ve posted can be found cheaper, or can be had utilizing a military discount. And I’m by no means limiting myself to those brands. Those are just the ones I could remember off the top of my head.

I’m open to any suggestions.

Thank you.

Derrick


16 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7215 posts in 2840 days


#1 posted 06-04-2016 11:33 AM

Features like a cutter head lock or snipe reduction of some sort and a dust chute are a notable improvement IMO. A built chip blower is bet yet, but tends to cost more. Up your budget a little, save a bit more, or find a coupon to include the DW734 and R4331 …. or buy a good used or refurbed unit for less. A 10% coupon puts the R4331 at ~ $335.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1679 days


#2 posted 06-04-2016 01:44 PM

Derrick,

I might recommend a refurbished Dewalt 734. At $350 from CPO with free shipping, it’s essentially the same price as some of the others with tax or shipping.

I understand your warranty concern, but a planer is basically a mechanical assembly and 2 electrical components. Any one of these machines can have a failure and while I didn’t check each one, I’m guessing most of them are going to be a one year warranty and you’re going to have it longer than that probably.

I’ve had a couple of lunchbox planers I got off of CL prior to getting the Dewalt 734 I have now. While you can definitely work around no cutterhead lock, having it does drastically reduce the amount of snipe. With the tables aligned, I can run small pieces through the 734 with no noticeable snipe taking light passes for the finish cuts. Essentially if your throwing away 1/3 to 1/2 of a board foot every time you run a board through your planer, the $50 (or even $100 for a brand new one) price difference won’t seem so huge once you have run 100 boards through it.

For a lot of things, I’ve actually started jointing an edge and one face, then cutting to pretty much final size and then planing at the end. Using smaller boards makes everything easier to handle in and out of the planer as I don’t need to setup my rollers or any additional support.

Trying to avoid risk is good, but if you aren’t happy with the way the machine operates, then the knowledge that the warranty is there won’t mean much. Any machine can break, but it’s likely that any of the name brand ones will work as long as you need it to.

Just my 2 cents,
Mike

http://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-reconditioned-dewalt-dw734r-12-1-2-in--thickness-planer/dewrdw734r,default,pd.html?ref=pla&zmam=31282435&zmas=47&zmac=722&zmap=dewrdw734r&gclid=COOZp8y8js0CFdcYgQod0U4AFg

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4456 posts in 3425 days


#3 posted 06-04-2016 02:47 PM

Take a good look at the Cutech. It has the spiral cutter head instead of the blades.
I have the benchtop jointer with the same style head, and it does a great job. Easy to pop out a damaged cutter rather than pull the knives and sharpen them.
I wouldn’t touch a Wen.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


#4 posted 06-04-2016 08:16 PM

All great responses. Thank you guys!!

Scott,
I had looked at and figured out the overall price of a R4331 through HD. My local store carries it in house. There are pretty good reviews on their website, but I usually take those with a grain of salt. Over here on LJ, some of the first reviews to pop up under the search function didn’t seem as favorable. I’ll definitely read through them more thoroughly today. I did like that the base price was sub $400 before any kind of coupon/discount, and that it included a cutterhead lock.

Mike,
Everything always seems to circle back to the 734/734R. Usually on forums, I try to take a step back and see if it’s just a group sort of “drinking the kool aid”, or if it is genuine praise of an outstanding product. The 734 held in high regards everywhere I look. It looks as if it’s just the best performer in that price range. I’ve seen the 734R on CPO, and thought about adding it to my maybe list. It looks like replacing the blades is the only thing I might have to worry about right off the bat.

Bill,
I just started looking at Cutech. I did notice they have an entry level model with a spiral cutter for $400. Seems like a great deal, when you look at the cutters by themselves. I don’t know the whole back story, but from what I gather, Cutech used to be Steel City. Steel City is no longer around, but the offshore plant that made their planers, started selling them under the new name Cutech? Does that sound correct? There is still info out there on Steel City. I think Amazon even still lists models on their site. The difference I noticed, other than the name is that Steel City used to have an entry level model for around or under $400 with a cutterhead lock. Cutech doesn’t seem to offer that. They do have the spiral cutter though. It seems like there are only 2 options out there for a cutterhead lock(when buying new)in the $350-400 range. The R4331 and DW734/734R.

Since you through it out there, what is the issue with WEN products. I can find almost no info on them. I look at that as one of two things are going on. No one is buying them, or the people who are buying them, aren’t ones who normally log into forums to boast or complain about products. They just buy them, use them and move on. I figured they are probably made in the same offshore factory where a bunch of other models with different names are made. No better or worse. Is there something specific to their planers that you saw as an issue, or is it more or less planers in that $300 or less price range? Again, I haven’t been able to find much info on them, so I am genuinely interested!

So right now it looks like hold out and spend more money is the best route to take?

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

294 posts in 213 days


#5 posted 06-04-2016 08:38 PM

If you spend more money, I’d suggest the Dewalt 735. Mine replaced a Delta 22-580 that died after long service. The Delta was good, but the Dewalt 735 is quite a bit better.

View derrick3636's profile

derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


#6 posted 06-04-2016 08:43 PM



If you spend more money, I d suggest the Dewalt 735. Mine replaced a Delta 22-580 that died after long service. The Delta was good, but the Dewalt 735 is quite a bit better.

- Kirk650

That would be awesome, I just know it’s not going to be in the budget for many many years.

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1679 days


#7 posted 06-04-2016 08:52 PM

Derrick,

You could send them an email, but my assumption (and we know about those) is that it will come with a new set of blades as part of the refurb.

The stock blades are of fairly good quality. After nearly two years of relatively steady usage, I’ve rotated the stock blades and am just starting to think that I may need to get a new set. But it still generates a surface that only needs 1 light touch up at 150 grit.

So if it comes with new blades, You’re good to go for a while. Obviously, the same rules apply about being careful about grain direction, knot holes, etc when planing.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

294 posts in 213 days


#8 posted 06-04-2016 08:57 PM

Derrick, if you can’t spring for the 735 Dewalt, if you can find a used Delta 22-580, go for it. I had no complaints about that Delta, and I could hook the dust collector to a shop vac. If you find one, I might still have the dust collector and would send it to you.

View derrick3636's profile

derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


#9 posted 06-04-2016 08:59 PM



Derrick,

You could send them an email, but my assumption (and we know about those) is that it will come with a new set of blades as part of the refurb.

The stock blades are of fairly good quality. After nearly two years of relatively steady usage, I ve rotated the stock blades and am just starting to think that I may need to get a new set. But it still generates a surface that only needs 1 light touch up at 150 grit.

So if it comes with new blades, You re good to go for a while. Obviously, the same rules apply about being careful about grain direction, knot holes, etc when planing.

Mike

- MikeDS

You know, I wrote that and I remembered it was only one post where a person commented on the blades in the refurb model needing immediate replacement. I’ll have to contact CPO and see what’s up.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4456 posts in 3425 days


#10 posted 06-04-2016 09:03 PM

Derrick,
If you would like, I can send you my contact at Cutech. He can answer any of your questions.
PM me if you wish.
I have no connection with Cutech.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View derrick3636's profile

derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


#11 posted 06-04-2016 09:04 PM



Derrick, if you can t spring for the 735 Dewalt, if you can find a used Delta 22-580, go for it. I had no complaints about that Delta, and I could hook the dust collector to a shop vac. If you find one, I might still have the dust collector and would send it to you.

- Kirk650

22-580??? That is one I haven’t looked at. I’ve seen some Delta models locally on CL, but that model # doesn’t ring a bell. I think the ones I’ve seen have been the TP305 or something along those lines. I had looked past those because it seems like the Porter Cable 305 is basically the same thing.

Time to do some more comparing. Thanks for the tip & offer!!!

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7215 posts in 2840 days


#12 posted 06-04-2016 09:15 PM

There was an R4330 that was out for a while just prior to the R4331….it’s easy for folks to confuse the two, so it’s very possible that some of the negative reviews really pertain the R4330. The R4330 was no where near as good IMO. I’ve owned a Delta 22-560, 22-580, R4330, and R4331….I didn’t care much for the R4330, though it worked, but the other three models were great. I would not go with a Delta or PC 305 due to the lack of a cutterhead lock. The DW734 would also be a good option. I have no exerience with the Cutech models, but understand that there are some similarities to the original Ridgid TP1300 and Steel City models.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

294 posts in 213 days


#13 posted 06-04-2016 09:35 PM

I was happy that the 22-580 Delta had a cutter head lock. Snipe was minimal.

Back when I was researching planers, there was a review in Fine Woodworking of the available bench top planers. That Delta 22-580 was top rated, as were the Rigid and the Makita. If buying a used planer, it would be time well spent to find and read that review. From that article, I decided on the Delta. The Makita was my second choice.

I should mention that the deciding factor in my buying the Delta was that it had two feed speeds, and the wood surface was said to be remarkably smooth when milled at the highest cuts per minute.

View derrick3636's profile

derrick3636

72 posts in 603 days


#14 posted 06-04-2016 11:50 PM

Thanks for all of the help everyone!

So it seems safe to assume that the $300 or less(new)planers should be avoided?

I was hoping someone would chime in who has experience with any of those models, but if it doesn’t happen, with the exception of WEN, there is plenty of info on this site alone about them.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#15 posted 06-05-2016 12:09 AM

734 was nice. 735 is even better.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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