A thicknesser planer is a handy machine used in the process of trimming timber boards, to ensure that they are flat, and of an even thickness. This can be useful when building a variety of structures in your home and garden.
Planing wood yourself can save you money, by allowing you to buy rough sawn timber for a cheaper price, and then trimming it to the correct thickness. It also means you can easily make two pieces of timber the same size, which is useful for jointing, and many construction projects.
Thicknesser planers generally consist of in-feed and out-feed rollers on a table, with a cutter block of 2 rotating blades in the middle, and a fence to keep everything at the right angle. You are likely to find it easier to operate one if you have a reasonable level of DIY knowledge.
To help you decide which thicknesser planer to choose, we’ve selected our 5 best thicknesser planers, based on their quality, power and speed, the size of timber they can accommodate, and their value for money. Say goodbye to wonky woodwork, and hello to professional-level carpentry!
Last update on 2021-04-17 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s start with our top pick –
Our favourite thicknesser planer is powerful yet portable
This Dewalt DW733 planer is our top pick of thicknesser planers. Its 4 column design offers stability for the powerful 1800W motor, and makes it suitable for heavy-duty planing. It can accommodate timber up to 317mm thick, has a maximum thicknesser capacity of 152mm, and a fast load rate of 8m/minute.
The headlock feature enables you to lock the cutter head in place, eliminating movement, and ensuring an accurate and snip-free finish. Large in-feed and out-feed tables make feeding in timber a smooth process, further improving the finish on larger materials.
A material removable gauge, thickness scale and graduated depth crank also ensure accurate and fast planing. Included with the machine are Allen keys, a spanner, and a blade changing guide, giving you all the tools you need to change the blades yourself. There’s even a dust shroud, to help contain the debris created.
The relatively compact size (43 x 58 x 53 cm) of this machine means that, although it is heavy (33.6kg), it can be moved around, and is suitable for those needing to transport it between workspaces or jobs.
This is the most expensive product on our list, but the price reflects the quality, and if it’s within your budget to spend a little more, we’re confident you won’t be disappointed in this top-of-the-range thicknesser planer.
- 4 column design provides stability.
- Headlock option offers a high-quality, snip-free finish.
- Large in-feed and out-feed tables for easy operation.
- Includes Allen keys, spanner, dust shroud and blade changing guide.
- The compact size makes it portable.
- Expensive compared to similar products.
- Blades not suitable for hardwood work.
Our best value thicknesser planer is well-built, solid and stable
Cost: Price not available
If you’re looking for the thicknesser planer that offers you the best bang your buck, this Titan TTB579PLN is the one we’d recommend. It has a slightly less powerful 1500W motor, and the feed rate is a slower 6m/minute – but it’s still more than sufficient for most DIY jobs.
The planer table is made from durable die-cast aluminium, and you can use it to plane timber up to 204mm wide. At 32kg, it’s a similar weight to the Dewalt, which offers excellent stability when the tool is in use.
It can be used to straighten the edges of your wooden boards, and plane them to the desired thickness. The machine comes with a vacuum adaptor to be fitted to a vacuum cleaner, to collect and minimise the spread of dust and debris, and keep your work area clean.
Although it is noisy when it runs, and runs a little slower than the Dewalt model, there’s not really a lot else to criticise about this planer – and considering the incredibly reasonable price tag, we think it’s more than deserving of a place in your workshop.
- Made from durable aluminium.
- Heavy and stable.
- Easy to assemble.
- Very loud when in use.
- Slower to plane than some competitors.
This fast thicknesser planer has long, lightweight aluminium tables
Cost: Price not available
Our next thicknesser planer, this Charnwood W588, also has a 1500W carbon brush motor, as well as a 360mm working height, and 2 knives in the cutter block.
The long 740mm table can plane timber up to 200mm wide, which is the lowest width of all the machines on our list. It does, however, have a fast speed to match the Dewalt, at 8m/minute. The thicknesser capacity is 5mm – 125mm.
Its planing beds are made from precision-ground aluminium, making them durable yet lightweight. In fact, with an overall weight of 28kg, this is also the lightest thicknesser planer in our selection.
This makes the machine easier to move around, and into storage when not in use – although it might be a little less stable when you’re working. If you want to plane larger pieces of wood, we would recommend fastening the machine in place first.
As with the other models, there is an included method of managing dust – this time consisting of a 100mm dust extraction outlet. This makes it easier to contain the mess created, and clear up afterwards. Overall, this is another good-quality and reasonably-priced thicknesser planer.
- Durable and lightweight aluminium tables.
- Extruding, tilting fence for improved accuracy.
- Comparatively lightweight (28kg), so more portable.
- Includes knives, a blade setting tool, dust extraction outlet and 4 adjustable rubber feet.
- Low maximum cutting width (200mm).
- A little time-consuming to switch from planer to thicknesser mode.
- Noisy when running.
A low-priced thicknesser planer with a large cutting width
The Triton TPT125 is a wide thicknesser planer, similar in style to our top pick, the Dewalt DW733. It has a 4 column design for accuracy and stability, large in-feed and out-feed tables, and can accommodate timber up to a width of 317mm – which matches the Dewalt.
It has a 1100W motor, which is the lowest on our list. The cutter height can be set between 3.2 – 152mm, going up by 1.58mm for every turn of the crank handle, which allows for easy adjusting of the roller case. Quick access brushes enable you to change them easily.
An included dust chute offers a method of extracting the dust created during planing. This can be set up to extract the dust to the left or right, offering you greater flexibility in your workspace. It also comes with a built-in circuit breaker, to ensure electrical safety whilst the machine is operational.
If you want to fix the thicknesser planer to your workbench for added stability, this is made easier thanks to the locating holes. The resulting wood produced by this thicknesser planer has a shiny and smooth finish.
The machine doesn’t feel as high quality as some, and is unlikely to have as long a lifespan, but all-in-all, it’s still a great budget option for occasional use. It’s pretty much a paired down version of the Dewalt model, with a similar design and timber planing abilities, but for half the price.
- 4-column design for improved stability.
- Large maximum cutting width of 317mm.
- Includes dust extraction chute, and circuit breaker for safety.
- Locating holes for easy workbench mounting.
- Comparatively low power of 1100W.
- Not as high-quality as similar designs.
This sturdy machine works best as a thicknesser, rather than a planer
Cost: Price not available
Last, but not least, on our list of the best thicknesser planers, is this Fox F22-564-250 model from Dart. This blue machine comes on a four-legged stand, with rubber feet on the ends of the legs. At 33.5kg, it’s one of the heaviest on our list, which helps to make it sturdy.
The machine has a 1280W motor, and a large cast aluminium cutting bench measuring 920mm x 262mm. It has a maximum cutting width of 250mm, which is fairly middle-of-the-road, and the maximum thicknesser capacity is 120mm.
The feed rate is 6m/minute, which is comparatively low – but shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re in a hurry. The tilting fence is also made from aluminium, and there’s a 100mm dust port, to deal with the dust and debris created during planing.
The general consensus is that this one works well as a thicknesser, but is not so effective as a jointer/planer. Some online users report that the aluminium surface is prone to moving and doesn’t sit horizontally, whilst the fence doesn’t quite sit square to the surface.
If you’re looking for a thicknesser, this is undoubtedly a great choice – but if you need a machine specifically for planing, it’s probably best to choose one of the other products featured here.
- Works well as a thicknesser.
- Easy to move between planer and thicknesser modes.
- Heavy and sturdy.
- Doesn’t function well as a planer.
- Included bolts and spanner are a little flimsy.
- Assembly instructions are not that clear.
How To Set Up A Thicknesser Planer
Before you use your new thicknesser planer, there are some steps you should take to make sure it’s set up properly (this will save you time and inconvenience later down the line). The steps you need to take will vary depending on the make and model you’ve purchased. As a general guide, follow the below procedure:
Clean it up
Your new thicknesser planer will most probably arrive with lots of the parts covered in grease, to protect them from rusting. Use a polish remover and a cloth to remove it.
It is a good idea to treat all the surfaces the wood will come into contact with with a special wax, to ensure the wood can pass smoothly through the machine, and prevent rust.
Set up the fence
Before using your thicknesser planer, you need to make sure the fence is set to the correct position. It should be at a 90° angle to the table, and at an equal distance from the edge on both the in-feed and out-feed tables.
Insert the blade
If your blades are not already installed, you will need to insert them yourself. Make sure your machine is unplugged from the power source, and remove the fence, guarding and tables. Rotate the cutter block so that one of the slots is facing upwards, then use the included spanner to loosen the clamping nuts, and remove the blade holder. Place the new blade into the holder and return it to the slot.
Set the planer blade
Set the height of the blade by pressing the included blade setting tool onto the blade, ensuring the feet are against the cutter block, and that the blade fits snugly into the setting recess. Tighten the nuts around the blade, before removing the setting tool and fully tightening the nuts.
Repeat for all blades
Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all blades on the cutter block (there are usually 2). Once you’re finished, check the blades are all at the same height using a piece of scrap timber.
How To Use A Thicknesser Planer
Different thicknesser planers may operate in slightly varying ways, so you should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before using yours. As a general rule, to use a thicknesser planer, you should follow the below steps:
Wear protective clothing
Operating a thicknesser planer is potentially dangerous, so you should always wear safety goggles, thick gloves and a dust mask.
Feed the timber through
Feed your piece of timber carefully from the in-feed to the out-feed side of the machine, where it will pass over the cutter block. Use a small piece of wood to push the last of the timber through, to keep your hands well clear of the blades.
Trying to plane a large amount of timber to your required thickness immediately can cause the planer to jump, ruining your finish. It is a better idea to plane it gradually, shaving a small amount off at a time.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.