Real Reasons To Pay More for a Planer?

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Forum topic by seabiscuit posted 02-26-2012 02:08 PM 1895 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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95 posts in 2388 days

02-26-2012 02:08 PM


I am looking at buying a planer. This topic has come up a million times, but I have yet to see a good explanation of the pros and cons of say, a Porter Cable PC305TP ($250 at Lowes) or the Dewalt/Ridgids for $399 at Lowes/Home Depot.

I am only comparing portable as I don’t have the room (or floor support structure) for the stationary ones (or the money).

I don’t know enough about the features that are different and what that translates to in real world performance. For example, I was reading a review of the PC305TP on here and in the comments, everyone was saying, the main difference is the amount of snipe because almost all planers snipe.

But that can’t possibly be the only real world difference in these?

22 replies so far

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3599 posts in 2451 days

#1 posted 02-26-2012 02:14 PM

From what I’ve experienced that pretty much sums it up.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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51457 posts in 3445 days

#2 posted 02-26-2012 02:16 PM

There can be quite a few reasons for the difference in price. I’m sure others on here will have other ideas too. Some differences can be the number of blades the planer has (3 vs 2,) variable speeds, stock capacity, (both thickness and width,) motor size, and of course quality of the parts used to build the planer. I am not familiar with the two that you mention but I am sure others on the site will know them. I use a Dewalt 735 which has been an excellent planer and works well, but its price range is around $500. Snipe can be had with any planer and often is caused by setup of the planer rather than some deficiencies.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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47 posts in 2247 days

#3 posted 02-26-2012 02:16 PM

I have a portable Ryobi and it has always got the job done for me. I have always used it in field applications but am finding out shop applications are a lot different

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3323 days

#4 posted 02-26-2012 02:19 PM

I would recommend the Ridgid because (a) I have one and the snipe is too little to worry about, (b) Ridgid will give you a lifetime service agreement, and© PC quality has really gone downhill over the last few years. I haven’t used the PC planer, but my Ridgid has pretty good dust control when I hook the ShopVac up to it and the boards come out nice and smooth. To be fair, I prefer to take several light passes rather than try to take everything off in one pass. HTH

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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Mainiac Matt

7937 posts in 2293 days

#5 posted 02-26-2012 02:35 PM

Consider the cost of replacement blades….. They can be pricey.

You want a planer that locks firmly o the posts, so the head doesn’t rock on entry and exit.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8164 posts in 2541 days

#6 posted 02-26-2012 02:39 PM

Found a Dewalt on Craigslist and it works well and the price was right.

Sikrap has it right with taking light passes as this reduces snipe and makes for a better appearance.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10260 posts in 3612 days

#7 posted 02-26-2012 04:37 PM

It’s not just snipe, it’s consistency of thicknessing across
the board and more important, from end to end. An
industrial planer can turn out boards consistent to
within a couple of 1000s of an inch, while a benchtop
will have greater range in the thickness consistency
from board to board and within the boards.

View seabiscuit's profile


95 posts in 2388 days

#8 posted 02-26-2012 04:38 PM

I have been looking for 6 months, daily on craigslist. Planers are rare and I live in a state that you would expect wood workers.

Here are some of the differences (from the spec sheets) between the Ridgid and the Porter Cable. Can someone help explain what these differences mean to the end product/ease of use?

One is 12.5 inch, the other is 13 inch. (I’m assuming this doesn’t make much of a difference)
Both are 15 amp.
Ridgid 3 blades vs 2 blades PC – I assume this means a smoother cut?
Blades are $32 (for 3) for the Ridgid and $28 (for 2) for the PC (prices from amazon)
Both seem to have infeed and outfeed tables
Both have “quick change” blades

I guess my real question is, what makes the Ridgids/Dewalts worth an extra $150? I’m willing to pay it, I just need to know why.

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95 posts in 2388 days

#9 posted 02-26-2012 04:40 PM

@ Loren

It’s already decided it will be a portable – the industrial ones are well beyond something I need and will probably crash through my floor due to weight…

View poopiekat's profile


4349 posts in 3699 days

#10 posted 02-26-2012 05:07 PM

Some planers are designed to be portable so that you can bring them back to the store where you bought ‘em. Just sayin’.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Loren's profile (online now)


10260 posts in 3612 days

#11 posted 02-26-2012 05:20 PM

Read between the lines and buy a heavier model if you want
more consistent quality cuts. Lightly built machines flex more
than heavier ones.

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2847 days

#12 posted 02-26-2012 05:50 PM

You can ask the same questions about any tool that you buy; ie. what makes a Bosch router $300 and a “Jobmate” router from a discount center $40? Sometimes it comes down to features/ease of use, etc. Other times you are simply paying for the name. I have had some luck with cheap tools, but generally speaking, you get what you pay for. After agonizing over what planer to buy, I bought the Dewalt 735 on the strength of the many, many positive things I’d read about it on LJ’s. I could have saved $200 and gone with Rigid, or saved $300 and gone with the Ryobi planer, but it seemed like more of a gamble that I’d still be happy with them after 10 years.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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124 posts in 2455 days

#13 posted 02-26-2012 06:01 PM

Have you considered the Makita planer ? Look at Amazon and read the reviews then search the web for a cheaper price. I’m not financially able to buy it quite yet but it’s on my buy list.

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5688 posts in 3273 days

#14 posted 02-26-2012 06:07 PM

I would consider a benchtop planer that has spiral carbide cutterheads available. There is a tremendous difference in the cut quality and longevity of the cutters. Cost more? yes but worth every penny…

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95 posts in 2388 days

#15 posted 02-26-2012 06:10 PM

@Greg – worth every penny because you are purchasing less blades and it will pay for itself. Or worth every penny because the cut quality?

I just wish some of these planers would show up on craigslist

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