which planer to buy

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Forum topic by dbw posted 12-09-2013 12:57 AM 1339 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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201 posts in 1601 days

12-09-2013 12:57 AM

I’m a newbie at woodworking and I have decided my next piece of equipment will be a power planer. I have been doing research on planers and I have it narrowed down to 7 planers in 2 classes. In the portable I like Dewalt 734, Dewalt 735, Steel City 40100, and Steel City 40300H. In the floor standing I like Shopsmith Pro (used), Grizzly 1021 (used), and Powermatic 100 (used). I would appreciate your opinion on (first of all) portable vs. floor standing and then which of the above in their respective class. I have a limited budget and can spend up to $500 on a planer. Am I overlooking a better machine than the 7 I’ve chosen? Is the extra effort of messing around with knife setting, etc. on a floor standing worth it? Thanks for all your help.

-- measure 3 times, cut once

9 replies so far

View GT350's profile


362 posts in 1946 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 01:06 AM

I don’t have a floor standing model, although I think I would like one, I have an older Delta portable that I bought years ago and it has worked great. If you are not using it professionally I think you would be happy with the portable.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2778 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 01:06 AM

I like the 735 over the 734 because of the automatic cutterhead lock. With the older Dewalts, you must manually lock the cutterhead with each pass. The 735 locks automatically. Also the 735 is pretty robust for a portable planer. I think you would have to spend a lot more to do better than the 735.
It features depth stops for common board thicknesses, so all your workpieces mill up the same.
Also the dust blower really helps with effective dust collection.

The cons are the high noise level, and the blades need to be flipped every 250-300 b.f.

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

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 02:00 AM

Portable planers work well these days but they are unpleasantly
loud (high frequency) and the better ones are actually pretty
heavy. Stationary planers will last longer and run quieter.

Finish quality off portable planers is often really high because
the cutterhead spins so fast it makes a lot of cuts. This
probably does dull the knives faster though.

I recommend stationary if you have the electricity and
space for it. My experience with stationary planers
is parts come out thicknessed more consistently. For
hobby use variations in part thickness is not a big
deal, but when you’re on the clock, sanding out
variations on face frame and door corners is a drag.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1984 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 02:15 AM

In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a dw735, mine served me well until I bought a grizzly 15”. I don’t know that I get any better cut with the floor stander, but it’s a pleasure to use and gets the job done more efficiently.

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1868 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 02:21 AM

Powermatic 100, if in good trim makes all the others a sick joke-really! $500 would be a great deal on one of those.

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1694 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 02:25 AM

A used floor model will outlast a new 735 beacause they are built to last a long time IMO, I had a table top, had owith it running long peroids and taking big cuts with a floor model you can plane all day hard and it will never know it, and if you buy a floor model then upgrade to a spiral cutterhead you will be in high cotton, but I like a table top for cutting small stuff and taking it down thin without using a sled both have advantges, but if you want to flip a switch and start planing the floor model is the way to go

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

View Andre's profile


1785 posts in 1771 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 02:26 AM

I just picked up a General Int. 13” Helical head planner, so far love it, it replaced an old Master craft 2 blade so which was okay, but tough on blades. Have run some maple, cedar and birch through it with great results. It is a $600 touch here in Canada, but well worth it.’

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3331 days

#8 posted 12-09-2013 02:36 AM

I bought an older Powermatic Model 15. It replaced an older 12 Delta portable. I find it much easier to use especially with the good dust collection.

I paid $600 which is about the same as a new Delta 735 but I think is a lot heavier duty and should last as long as I do.

There are lots of good options.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#9 posted 12-09-2013 02:48 AM

The power available from the floor standing models is definitely a consideration. I have a DW734 at my home shop, where I used to work we had a few floor standing models, the knife replacement wasn’t bad once you got used to it. I will get a floor standing model at some point, but won’t get rid of my little planer. It’s handy and has it’s place, but big wood can be very taxing. With your budget, depending on your time frame you could end up with a very nice floor standing planer, or you could go out right now and get one of a number of different portable planers complete with a warranty.

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