Planer comparison - Dewalt 735 vs Ridgid 4331

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Forum topic by jmartel posted 09-02-2012 03:55 AM 5877 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7800 posts in 2113 days

09-02-2012 03:55 AM

I know there’s been a lot of threads about this lately, but I have a dilemma.

I was originally planning on buying the Dewalt 735 package that comes with the infeed/outfeed tables and an extra set of knives this week. Amazon has the package for $569. However, when I went into my local Home Depot today, I saw that they were clearancing out the Ridgid R4331 for $299. That may have changed my mind a bit.

I know that the Dewalt has ranked higher in magazines comparisons than the Ridgid, but is it $270 better? Anyone use both and can compare? Seems like the biggest thing I would gain from the Dewalt is the 2 feedrates. The Ridgid has 3 knives and has the same 96 cuts per inch that the faster speed on the Dewalt has.

Thanks for the help.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

11 replies so far

View MichaelR's profile


42 posts in 2392 days

#1 posted 09-02-2012 04:17 AM

I’ve got one of each. I bought the Ridgid first and after using it for a while I didn’t particularly care for it. Couldn’t make a list of what I didn’t like but just didn’t. Then I ran across a very lightly used 735 for a very good price. Love the 735. I can’t say I would spend the extra money for a new DeWalt but I wouldn’t want to do without mine now.

A few things I like about the DeWalt.
1. The blower for the chips. I use a home built cyclone on a garbage can without any other DC. Works great.
2. The table adjustment is easy and stays put.
3. It seems quieter, maybe because I haven’t used the Ridgid in more than a year.

I’ve heard knife changes on the DeWalt can be a chore but I haven’t changed mine yet. And I only use it for 200-300 bd/ft per year so I’m not a heavy user.

Good luck with your choice.

View NormG's profile


5928 posts in 2967 days

#2 posted 09-02-2012 04:52 AM

If you are not able to justify the extra $270, go with the Rigid. I have a DeWalt 734 and love it. But then again I got a price that could not be beat. I plan on a review shortly

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View jmartel's profile


7800 posts in 2113 days

#3 posted 09-02-2012 05:49 AM

Well, I will spend the extra $270 if it’s worth it. I just don’t know if it’s worth it or not. I’ve never used a planer before, so I don’t know how much the extra features of the Dewalt help when compared to the Ridgid.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3359 days

#4 posted 09-02-2012 05:55 AM

I’ve had my Dewalt 735 for over 10 yrs now and it has held up great. Very much worth the money.
Blade changes are simple, the drum has alignment pins that aligns the blades perfectly, the only real pain is that there are so darn many screws holding each blade in place, probably not a big deal if you DON’T have arthritis.
Eventually I will be switching to the Byrd-Shelix cutter head which I’ve heard makes the 735 one of the best.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5618 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 09-02-2012 07:21 AM

The blade changes on the Dewalt are totally simple. A handy magnetic wrench is even included.
Dewalt has the blower which can function as dust collection into a bag or can, until you get a regular dust collector. The Dewalt has an automatic cutter head lock. Just set the height and cut.
The depth stops and cut depth indicators are great, and the Dewalt is built like a tank compared to most other benchtop planers.
The two speed gearbox may be overkill, but I do slow down the speed and pay attention to grain direction when planing tricky grain like quartersawn oak.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2886 days

#6 posted 09-02-2012 11:19 AM

How much do you plan on using the machine?
I have a 735 and love it. Is it worth the extra money? For me yes because I buy all my lumber rough cut.
If you are planning on only a couple of times a year it probably isn’t worth the extra 270.

-- Life is good.

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3339 days

#7 posted 09-02-2012 11:27 AM

I don’t think the R4331 has been out for a year yet, so I suspect what MichaelR had was the R4330….apologies if I’m wrong. The difference is that the R4331 has a built in chip ejector and a manual cutterhead lock….the R4330 relied solely on the threaded 4-post design to hold the cutterhead in place.

My biggest complaint with the R4330 was that the head would occasionally move, causing a depth changed and snipe. If they’ve eliminated that with the R4331, there’s no doubt I’d find it to be the better value over a DW735 at nearly twice the price. I had multiple speeds on my Delta 22-580….while a nice feature, unless the knives are brand spanking new, the finish isn’t “finish” ready even at the slower speed. The R4331 would be $240 if HD would honor a 20% HF coupon.

Guess it really boils down to what the additional $270 (or $330) means to your budget. If spending the extra doesn’t break the bank, have you considered the Steel City with the spiral head cutter? FWIW, I’m not anti-DW735 at all….just looking for the most advantages for the money.

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

View jmartel's profile


7800 posts in 2113 days

#8 posted 09-02-2012 12:52 PM

I do buy my wood rough cut. I have 2 guys that are about 20 min from me that have a sawmill on their property and mainly do flooring that I buy from. I’ve got about 70 bdft of red oak from them, but for now I’ve been doing it with a pair of hand planes. The store that I buy more exotic wood from also sells it rough cut.

I don’t do a ton of volume, yet. Just have only made a few boxes, cutting boards, wine balancers, and picture frames/shadow boxes, but I have been planning on doing a few big lots of cutting boards and other smaller items to sell at work to help offset tool costs. I would like to start building furniture as well, but I wanted to get a bit deeper in machinery first in order to finish in a reasonable amount of time.

The main problem with planer comparisons it seems is that everybody only has 1 planer, and just about everybody loves whichever one they bought. Have any of you that own the 735 experienced poor blade life? That seems to be the biggest negative review out there.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2886 days

#9 posted 09-03-2012 02:55 AM

I have the 735.Had it about 6 years and am only on the second set of knives. My next replacement will be helicoil heads which should last as long as I do.
I suspect a lot of the people with poor blade life have tried to take too much off at one time. I try to only remove 1/16 or less each pass and also brush the boards off with a wire brush(and a metal detector) before doing anything.

-- Life is good.



280 posts in 1966 days

#10 posted 12-01-2012 12:01 AM

Great thread and thank you to all who replied.

I bought the R4331 Nov 17th (my bday present), $400 @Home Depot, heavy duty beast and planed (1/64th) few passes on a 2×8x12 (#2 pine) board soon as I got home, worked fine. Week later I built the following bar-stools & bar stools (my own design on Sketchup), 3-tables & 12 stools, with this planer. It kept shutting down cutting the 30” long 2×2s I ripped from 2×4s.

So after this thread, then on woodworkingtalk and also on RIDGIDs forum, I realized I needed to spring the few extra bucks for the DEWALT 735. Just got home with it about 15 mins from this post and can’t wait to get it working.

Not knocking RIDGID, have their beast cast iron tablesaw I bought a couple months back and love it. I hate that DEWALT did lose a little bit of their infamous quality over the last few years being bought out by B&D. I hope this unit will hold up for this weekend/weeknight woodworking warrior.

Again, thanks for the intel, look forward to learning more from the folks here.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1983 days

#11 posted 12-01-2012 10:35 AM

I love my 735, hate the blades. I just changed out to a new set and they’re already knicked after 10 bd ft of rough sawn hard maple =/

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