Hand planes and planers come in all shapes and sizes.
In this article, we discuss the different types of plane available and recommend the best. We also cover the best electric ones out there, not only manual planes, just in case you want to make life a bit easier for yourself.
At a Glance: Our Choice of the Best Hand Planes for Woodworking
Manual Hand Planes
- GreatNeck C4 Bench-Jack Plane (Best Overall)
- Stanley 12-404 Adjustable Bench Plane (Best Budget)
- ECE Scrub Plane
- Grizzly Industrial H7566-14″ Smoothing Plane
- Senkichi Kanna 65mm Japanese Wood Block Plane
- Stanley 12-220 Block Plane
Electric Hand Planers
- Porter-Cable Hand Planer
- WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
- Dewalt DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer (Best Electric Choice)
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Product Round-up and Reviews – Best Hand Planes For Woodworking
ECE Scrub Plane
The ECE can be used for distressing wood, but its primary focus is the pre-treatment of wood. It removes wood fast and efficiently. It is not the smoothest, so you will need to plane wood further if you require it. This is an expensive tool; it is aimed at professionals and high budget hobbyists.
The convex cutting edge removes material quickly and the iron is adjusted by a wooden wedge. It is a wooden hand plane with a red beech body and a white beech sole, wooden planes are easier to tune and maintain than their metal counterparts.
- Ready to use straight out of the box.
- The iron is easily adjusted.
- Fast and efficient at removing wood.
- Aimed at professional woodworkers.
The Stanley bottom bench plane is from Black and Decker. You know you will be getting a quality tool from these big boys of DIY.
The plane is made from hardened, tempered steel, making it pretty durable. It measures in at 14” long with a 2” cutter. This is used primarily for fast wood removal. It is a heavy-duty tool; professionals can use this tool with ease.
It is slightly more expensive than the others on this list; however, you know the brand is of good quality, therefore you pay more. The cutter is fully adjustable for depth of cut and alignment and it has a quick-release cam-lock for easy blade removal.
- Versatile and durable planer that works efficiently and easily with your bench-top projects.
- Cutter adjusts easily which gives you complete control over your project, no matter how hard or uneven the piece.
- Polished, high-impact polymer handles give a great grip that allows for long use without fatigue.
Grizzly Industrial H7566-14″
The Grizzly Industrial smoothing plane has a flat sole that can smooth any wood surface. The sole improves the slide action by reducing resistance. The features of this great little planer include rosewood handles and knobs, full plane iron adjustments, cast iron bases, frog, lever caps, chip breakers and knurled brass adjusting nuts.
It is great for final finishing work and weighs in at roughly 5.5lbs.
- The ground serrated sole reduces resistance and improves the slide action.
- Plenty of features.
Senkichi Kanna 65mm
The Senkichi Kanna is a Japanese made block plane ideal for both reducing wood thickness and smoothing projects. It is made of durable oak wood, meaning it will last some years if well taken care of. It is targeted towards beginner woodworkers due to its quick set up.
This planer is small and compact, but this does not hinder it in its purpose. It gives a great finish and features a mechanism that allows the blade depth to be adjusted.
- Blade depth adjustability.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Small and compact.
GreatNeck C4 Bench-Jack Plane
Bench jack planes are versatile and extremely easy to use. The GreatNeck is a 9” bench plane, which comes with adjustable blades to allow you to work with fine or coarse material. The 2” cutter can be re-sharpened, making this a durable tool to use for years.
This bench plane is ideal for those professionals needing a tool for heavy-duty applications. It is made from cast-iron giving it strength and durability and has dual wooden handles for extra control. This woodworking tool is great for just about any job you can think of.
- Adjustable blade for working with fine or course materials.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Versatile and easy to use.
Stanley 12-220 Block Plane
The Stanley block plane is a manually adjustable, general-purpose planer, ideal for all light-duty jobs. The cutter rests at a 21° angle, making it perfect for cross-grain planing, it is also fully adjustable for depth of cut and movement.
It has a gray, cast-iron base with precision-ground sides and bottom making it a long-lasting and durable little machine. The planer comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Made from long-lasting and durable materials.
- Adjustable cutter.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
Electric Hand Planers
Porter-Cable Hand Planer
The Porter-Cable Hand Planer is the perfect combination of performance and value for money.
Featuring a heavy-duty 6 amp motor that provides smooth cutting in hard materials and an 11.5″ cast aluminum shoe for superior control and finish.
It has a max no-load speed at 16,500 rpm for smooth material removal and a dual side dust extraction that allows for flexibility (so you can place the dust extraction on either side of the tool as required).
The over-mold knob provides 10 steps giving you a variety of cutting depths.
- Heavy-duty 6 amp motor for increased control
- Dual side dust extraction
- 3 grooves for edge chamfering
WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer
The WEN is ideal for planing away splinters and misshapen edged, as well as sanding down uneven boards, making them flush.
It has a 6-amp motor and can provide up to 34,000 cuts per minute. It has a variety of cutting depths, with 16 stops increasing in increments of 1/128 inch (anywhere from 0 all the way up to 1/8 inches) so it’s superb for fitting and squaring boards.
The base plate shoe includes a v-shaped groove for chamfering, so it can easily flatten sharp post corners and it has a kickstand that helps to protect both the blade and the workpiece between uses (keeping the blade elevated and away from the surface of your project).
You get a kickstand for added protection, plus a handy reversible dust chute. It weighs practically nothing too, at only 6 pounds, making this the ideal portable hand plane.
- Variety of cutting depths (16 stops)
- Lightweight and portable
- Two directions (left or right)
- Superb value
Dewalt DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer
Featuring a brushless motor that provides power and runtime of 32,000 cuts per minute, the Dewalt DCP580B 20V MAX Brushless Planer is a beast of a machine. It can achieve a super fast removal rate with 5/64″ (2 mm approximately) maximum depth of cut.
The parallelism of cut is ensured thanks to the precision-machined front and back aluminum shoes. Equally, the kickstand allows you to rest the planer on any work surface without damaging or gouging the material you’re working on.
Edge chamfering is possible too, thanks to the precision-machined groove in the front shoe.
It’s ergonomically designed handle is a nice touch too, providing greater comfort.
- High-quality planer with runtime of 32,000 cuts per minute
- Precision-machined front and back aluminum shoes
- Edge chamfering thanks to precision-machined groove in the front shoe
- Ergonomically designed handle
Types of Hand Plane
Manual Vs. Electric
Until fairly recently, all planers were manual. Then came the electric ones and made the process much easier, but arguably takes the ‘art’ out of things.
There are four different types of bench planes: jack, fore, jointer, and smoothing.
- A jack plane is a general-purpose plane. It is usually the first plane to be used on a project but can be preceded by the scrub plane if your wood is especially rough.
- A fore plane is used for the initial smoothing of your project. It is intermediate in size between a jack plane and a jointer plane.
- A jointer plane is used to straighten the edges of boards (this is called jointing). It may also be used to flatten the face of the board, creating a flat surface.
- A smoothing plane is usually the last plane used in the woodworking process. When used correctly it can produce a finish to your product that surpasses that made by sandpaper. The finish is created by planning the wood off in strips, rather than by scratching and buffing.
These are the smallest hand planes and are designed to be used with one hand. These can be used without a workbench and are handy for a host of smaller projects. Block planes are designed to plane end grain and chamfering (planing a corner length) wood, so useful when you’re turning wood too.
A scrub hand plane is a short and narrow tool with a thicker blade. It can complete deep, gouging cuts and is often considered the aggressive hand plane. They are used for quickly reducing the size or boards or pieces of wood.
There are various types of planes that are made specially to solve woodworking issues. These can be to make special designs, grooves, and moldings (a molding plane is often used for making complex shapes). Anything which is made for a specific purpose is called a specialized plane. Other examples include rabbit and shoulder planes.
Japanese planes are like planes from elsewhere in the world in most aspects, however, they differ on one or two points, most significantly they cut on the pull stroke rather than the push stroke. They also have a slightly flatter body profile.