Compairing Benchtop planers

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by felty88 posted 01-15-2014 02:52 PM 1781 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View felty88's profile


7 posts in 1902 days

01-15-2014 02:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane planer benchtop lunchbox

I’ve been looking into buying a planer and I know a 220 would be the best route but I can’t afford one and I can’t really wait either so I’ve basically narrowed it down to two planers and I would like your opinion on them.

The first is the Dewalt 735 with the infeed outfeed tables, I like this one because its not designed like normal lunch box planers and it looks like it would be much easier to make minor adjustments on., but I heard the blades are pretty crappy.

The second is the Steel City bench top, I am looking at this one because It has a helical cutter head (and to my knowledge is the only bench top that comes stock with the helical head) but I know know very much about steel city and havent really heard anything about this planer so I am a bit hesitant.

Any feedback or stories of prior experience with either you have would be appreciated. also if there is another price comparable option (thats not craigslist because I check there everyday) feel free to inform me.

11 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2278 days

#1 posted 01-15-2014 03:20 PM

The DW735 has been discussed a lot here on LJ. I have one, I don’t have the optional infeed/outfeed tables and I don’t get any snipe. It’s a bit heavier than the other lunchbox style planers so I built a small dolly for it that it sits on so I can store it under one end of the jointer and wheel it out when I need it. Yes the included blades seem to wear very quickly for most people – me included. But they are double-sided and disposable and if you don’t run hundreds of feet through each week they will last a good while, or you can buy different replacement blades that are a better quality. (I think Infinity is one company selling them).

I can’t speak for the Steel City because I don’t have one, but if it’s at Lowes and you are military/retired military or know someone who is and can buy it for you then don’t forget their 10% discount.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1971 days

#2 posted 01-15-2014 03:58 PM

Wow, felty, that Steel City models looks like a find. I would love to get a planer with a segmented cutter head. It has been given 4.4 stars out of 5 after 21 reviews on Amazon. Link.

View felty88's profile


7 posts in 1902 days

#3 posted 01-15-2014 04:33 PM


Yea if I purchased either I would do so off Amazon because I have a prime membership so I get free two day shipping and they are cheapest there.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2676 days

#4 posted 01-15-2014 04:55 PM

Just so you are aware if you weren’t, the 40300H originally came with HSS inserts, not carbide. It now comes standard with carbide inserts. The ones listed on Amazon and Lowes say HSS inserts. These may be leftover old units or they just haven’t updated the description. I’d check to make sure which inserts the planer really comes with. Here’s a link for the 40300HC

Edit: Apparently the carbide version of the 40300H is exclusive to Highland, so the others at Lowes and Amazon are what they are.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3288 days

#5 posted 01-15-2014 04:57 PM

Be careful that the steel City does not have an helical head but a segmented head which are not the same thing.
A segmented head will not give you the cut quality of an helical head.
The reviews for the segmented head are Ok but not the best.
HSS inserts are in fact initially sharper than carbide and they give a better finish but they dull much faster.

-- Bert

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1971 days

#6 posted 01-15-2014 05:04 PM

The specs for the Steel City say helical. But I see in another post on another thread that their definition of “helical” is not the same, perhaps as other peoples. Nice pics in that post and thanks for the heads up!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5317 posts in 1960 days

#7 posted 01-15-2014 05:10 PM

Just as a side note, having owned/used several bench top and larger stationary planers, the disposable knives on most bench top planers are much easier to setup vs. the larger machines which can take much longer, especially if a particular machine requires a lot of disassembly to even get to the cutterhead.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3288 days

#8 posted 01-15-2014 05:17 PM

” The specs for the Steel City say helical” this is not correct, it is made by shin-max in Taiwan and it is not an helical head

-- Bert

View JayT's profile


6010 posts in 2451 days

#9 posted 01-15-2014 05:31 PM

Bert is correct. Despite the marketing, Steel City uses a segmented head in a staight format.

Compare that to this Byrd Shelix, where the cutters and chip extraction channels are truly helical.

I’d prefer a segmented head to straight knives for several reasons, and a true helical arragement seems to be the best performing setup of any segmented head.

Edit: Steel City can call theirs helical because if you were to draw a line through the cutters, you could form a helix, but the other features don’t really match to others’ helical heads.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1971 days

#10 posted 01-18-2014 02:10 AM

felty, I’ve been doing some more Googling. People seem to like the Steel City. Its weakness is the single speed – even with the segmented cutterhead it will produce some tearout in figured wood, but that can be fixed with a second pass – or so I am told.

I’m thinking of getting the Highland Woodworking one with the carbide inserts

Either that or the General International (what a dreadful name): because I like the idea of being able to crank in 1/16” increments. I haven’t seen any information about depth setting on the Steel City.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2816 days

#11 posted 01-18-2014 07:17 AM

I was just going to post the highland woodworking link for the steel city with carbide inserts. :)

That’s where my money would go. I’d not let single speed be a deciding factor when buying.

A lot of woodworkers love it, but based on my experience with how well the dewalt 734 performs for $200+ less than the 735, I really see no advantage to the 735 other than the built in chip blower. They’re both great planers, I just think the better value lies with the 734.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics