best small planer thicknesser

5 Best Small Planer Thicknessers – UK Reviews (2020 Edition)

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If you want to work with raw timber, then you’re going to need a planer thicknesser. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what a planer thicknesser is, give you some handy hints on how to set one up, and also recommend five of the very best small planer thicknessers available in the UK. 

In a Hurry? Here’s our Top Pick:

DeWalt Dw733 230V Portable Thicknesser 1800W
12 Reviews
DeWalt Dw733 230V Portable Thicknesser 1800W

  • Head lock facility locks the cutter head into place to eliminate any movement in the cutter, providing a high quality surface finish
  • Large infeed and outfeed tables provide added material support when cutting large materials to improve the surface finish
  • 4 post column design allows the cutter head to move up and down smoothly and accurately
  • Designed for portability on the job site and in small workshops
  • Powerful 1800 Watt motor makes large surface planing easy
  • Holes located in the base enable the machine to be fitted to work bench
  • Thickness scale, material removal gauge and graduated depth crank make accurate planing quick and easy

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What is a Planer Thicknesser?

Planer thicknessers are highly practical woodworking machines designed specifically to plane and smooth timber. 

As the name suggests, a planer thicknesser actually combines the work of two separate machines: a planer and a thicknesser, into one unit. It planes back your wood and then trims it down to your required thickness. 

Small planer thicknessers are specially designed compact models that are aimed at the DIY market or professionals who work with small volumes of timber.


Reasons to Invest in a Planer Thicknesser

Apart from your trusty table saw, your planer thicknesser is possibly the most important woodworking tool that you’ll own. Not only will it get a lot of use, but it could also save you money, by allowing you to work with timber in its raw state. Be it raw timber you have purchased, or wood from trees that you have cut down yourself.  

As planer thicknessers do the work of two machines, they can help save you space in your crowded workshop. Generally speaking, it is often much cheaper to invest in one planer thicknesser, rather than in two separate machines. 

Smaller models are also more portable. While it’s unlikely that you’ll need to transport your planer thicknesser frequently, it’s possible to move them from one job to another relatively easily.


What to Look for When Choosing a Planer Thicknesser

To make sure that you choose the best planer thicknesser for your needs, it is important to bear in mind the following essential features. 

Power

If your planer thicknesser doesn’t have a powerful motor, then you won’t be able to get much done, especially if you are looking for a high-quality finish or to take on extensive projects that include planing large surface areas or hardwoods.

Look for models that have motors with a minimum of 1KW, ideally 1.5KW plus for better performance levels. 

Planing Width

If you intend on using your planer thicknesser for a variety of different projects, it makes sense to opt for a model with a large planing width so that you can plane larger pieces of timber when necessary. 

If, on the other hand, you tend to always work with the same widths, then you can choose a more compact model that is suitable for your typical project. 

Thicknessing Capacity

Make sure that your planer thicknesser can adequately accommodate your timbers’ width. 

When you’re considering its thicknessing capacity, be sure to take a good look at what the minimum and maximum values are, as well as what adjustable increments are available. 

Speed 

Look for a model that has a high maximum blade speed, measured in rpm, and a decent feed rate measured in metres per minute. 

Feeding too slowly will reduce the life of your cutters through rubbing and overheating. Blunt cutters will ruin your finish and you will need to replace them or sharpen them more often.  

Dust Hood/Extraction Connection

Without a reliable dust extraction system, you won’t be able to work. Your machine will soon clog up and cease to function, so it’s important to take a good look at the dust hood and extraction connector. Be sure to check the sizes of any connections for compatibility with your existing extraction system.  

Blades

When choosing your planer thicknesser, be sure to double-check what type of blades it comes with and how easy they are to replace. 

Some blades are double-sided and can be turned and used again when one side is blunt. Other types of blades may be resharpenable, saving you money over time.

Most models come complete with all the accessories you’ll need to fit your blades such as guides and tools; however, it does no harm to take a quick look at any instruction manuals or user guides before making your purchase. Checking these manuals/guides will let you know how easy, or complex, your particular model is to set up.

Extension Tables

Your infeed and outfeed tables provide valuable support for your timber and will help to provide a smoother finish. The larger the tables, the better the level of support. However, if you are stuck for working space and do not regularly use large pieces of timber, then you may prefer a more compact, space-saving model. 

Construction Materials

Most professional planer thicknessers will feature cast iron beds for rigidity and strength. In smaller compact models, you will find that various parts are often made from aluminium to reduce weight. For better longevity and increased durability, look for all-metal models where possible. 

Overall Dimensions

Don’t forget to double-check the overall dimensions of your planer thicknesser before making up your mind. If your workshop is particularly cramped, you may wish to measure out exactly where you will locate your planer thicknesser. 

Some models came complete with leg stands, which can be useful if your workbench is already at full capacity.  


How to Set up Your Planer Thicknesser 

When you receive your planer thicknesser, don’t expect to use it straight out of the box. At the very least it will need some cleaning and light calibration, although some models require a more extensive set-up procedure than others.

We strongly recommend that you always follow the setup guidelines specific to your planer thicknesser, as set out by the manufacturer. However, in order to give you a rough idea of what to expect, here’s what you’d typically need to do to get your average small planer thicknesser ready for its first use.

Step One: Cleaning

When your thicknesser is delivered, you’ll find it’s most likely to be covered with protective grease to protect any cast iron parts from rusting. 

If you don’t remove this coating before use, you’ll end up ruining your timber. For fast and effective removal, use a special cleaner for wax and polish removal and rub down your machine with a lint-free cloth. 

Step Two: Wax

Now that you’ve got your thicknesser all cleaned up, you can move on to waxing any areas that will come into direct contact with your wood. 

Not only will this ensure that your timber passes smoothly, but it will also help to protect your machine, keeping the tables clean and rust-free. Re-wax when necessary as part of your routine maintenance.

Step Three: Set up Your Fence

Firstly, make sure that your fence is set to 90 degrees. This is easily checked by holding a 90 degree square between the output table and your fence. If it’s out, you should be able to easily adjust it at the back of the fence assembly.

Secondly, check that your fence is parallel by using a ruler to verify that it is at the same distance on both the input and output tables. 

Step Four: Set Your Blades, Jig and Cutter Block

Following the instructions that come with your machine, set your planer blades as explained, followed by the jig and cutter block. If you are having difficulty, take a look at this handy video on getting your planer thicknesser set up for use. 

Now your machine should be all set up and ready for use. To help you to get the most out of your planer thicknesser, take a look at our handy hints below before getting started. 


Tips for Using Your Planer Thicknesser

Here are some tried and tested tips for using your planer thicknesser.

  • Always wear appropriate safety glasses and ear protectors.
  • Avoid snipe by pushing through one section of timber with another, this way you’ll only get snipe on the very last piece, rather than each and every one.
  • Gang planing – plane the sides of multiple wood pieces by the same amount by attaching two or more boards together with tape so they are stable enough to pass through your planer thicknesser as one. 
  • Planing small pieces of timber – like gang planing, you can tape a small piece of timber to two larger boards and pass them all through your planer thicknesser for better control and a smoother finish.
  • For a better finish, it is better to pass your timber through several times, removing only a small amount each time, rather than a large amount all in one go. 

To see these tips in action and to discover a few more handy ways to get the most out of your planer thicknesser, take a look at this useful YouTube video


Small Planer Thicknesser Reviews – The Top 5 in 2020

Wondering which is the best small planer thicknesser for your needs? 

We’ve reviewed five of the very best models, so whatever your priorities are, you’re sure to find the ideal planer thicknesser for your workshop here.  

1. Triton TPT125 Thicknesser

Triton TPT125 Thicknesser, 317 mm
398 Reviews
Triton TPT125 Thicknesser, 317 mm
  • 317 mm (12.5 inch) cutting width, 17500 cuts per minute
  • Max depth of cut in single pass: 2.4 mm (3/32 inch)
  • Easy, accurate setting of depth of cut in 1.5 mm increments. Sound power is 103.9dB(A)
  • Large infeed and outfeed tables for additional material support
  • Includes circuit breaker and dust extraction chute. Circuit breaker for electrical safety

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Triton TPT125 Thicknesser is a solid, mid-range model. With a respectable 1.1KW motor, producing 17,500 cuts per minute, it has plenty of power for your average DIY project. 

The four-post column design allows for smooth and accurate movement, while the large tables help to support long pieces of timber.

Thanks to its generous 317mm cutting width, the Triton has one of the widest cutting widths in our selection, making it a good choice if you tend to work with wide pieces of timber.

Cuts can be easily and accurately set to 1.6mm increments, while the cutter height is a maximum of 152mm. The blades are double-sided, so when blunt you can remove, turn and replace them. They’re also readily available to re-order. 

Other useful features of this model include easy-access brushes for hassle-free changes when they become worn out, a circuit breaker for electrical safety and a dust chute for enhanced dust extraction. 

On the downside, it is very noisy, quite a bit more so than most of the other machines that we’ve reviewed. Furthermore, while this is a good quality machine, you should be aware that the sides are plastic, making it slightly less durable. 

However, on the whole, the Triton is an excellent mid-price small planer thicknesser that you can rely upon to get your timber smoothly planed. It makes a great choice for the occasional DIYer, especially if you tend to use larger wood, as this is one of the widest portable models available.

ProsCons
• 1.1KW – 17,500 cuts per minute
• Cutting width: 317mm/Cutter height: 152mm
• Increments 1.6mm depth
• Quick access brushes
• Dust chute for extraction
• Electrical circuit breaker
• Very noisy
• Plastic sides

2. Makita 2012NB/2 Thicknesser

Makita 2012NB/2 Thicknesser, 220 V, 1650 W, 304 mm
314 Reviews
Makita 2012NB/2 Thicknesser, 220 V, 1650 W, 304 mm
  • Easy adjustment for an accurate and even finish. AMPS : 15
  • Fine depth adjustment
  • Large material capacity
  • Downward pressure system when feeding in materials, stops sniping of the timber
  • Planning width 304 mm

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Makita 2012NB/2 features a high-performance 1.65KW motor with blade speeds up to 8,500 rpm, making it suitable for all types of woodworking projects. This model also has an impressive 8.5 metres per minute feed rate, but bear in mind that this speed is not adjustable, unlike some other models. 

Easy to adjust and highly accurate, this model can plane widths up to 304mm with a depth stop from 3-100mm thick. Furthermore, the unique feeding mechanism ensures superior finish levels with minimal snipe. 

The Makita 2012NB/2 is fairly easy to set up and you’ll have it ready for use in no time. Despite its higher price tag, this model represents good value for money thanks to its premium build quality and power. 

Double insulated, this machine is also relatively quiet when compared to most other models. It comes complete with a dust extraction hood for effective dust removal, wrenches and a magnetic holder. 

So if you are looking for a small planer thicknesser for maximum accuracy and smoothness of finish combined, then this model is the one to go for. An excellent choice for beginners and experienced users alike. 

ProsCons
• 1.65KW motor – up to 8,500 rpm
• 304mm max planing width
• Depth stop: 3-100mm 
• Unique smooth-feeding mechanism
• Includes dust extraction hood, wrenches and magnetic holder
• Non-adjustable feed speed
• Expensive

3. DeWalt Dw733 Portable Thicknesser

DeWalt Dw733 230V Portable Thicknesser 1800W
12 Reviews
DeWalt Dw733 230V Portable Thicknesser 1800W

  • Head lock facility locks the cutter head into place to eliminate any movement in the cutter, providing a high quality surface finish
  • Large infeed and outfeed tables provide added material support when cutting large materials to improve the surface finish
  • 4 post column design allows the cutter head to move up and down smoothly and accurately
  • Designed for portability on the job site and in small workshops
  • Powerful 1800 Watt motor makes large surface planing easy
  • Holes located in the base enable the machine to be fitted to work bench
  • Thickness scale, material removal gauge and graduated depth crank make accurate planing quick and easy

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a professional-quality portable planer thicknesser, you can’t go wrong with the DeWalt Dw733. 

Its high performance 1.8KW motor takes on hard and softwoods alike, with a high no-load speed of 10,000 rpm and an eight metre per minute feed rate. These impressive specifications make large surface planing quick and easy, in spite of this model’s compact size and portability.

Featuring large in and out feed tables for extra support, this model has a generous 317mm width, one of the largest in our selection. 

With its maximum thicknesser capacity of 152mm, this model is the best choice if you are looking for a planer thicknesser that can handle high volumes of timber while also fitting into tight workspaces. Just be aware that at 37kg, it is the heaviest model in our selection.

Its head lock facility ensures that it provides an excellent snipe-free finish by eliminating any possible movement in the cutter. Combined with its thickness gauge and graduated depth crank, this model is a good choice for precision work as well as high volume, heavy-duty projects. 

Complete with dust shroud, spanner, allen keys and blade changing guides, this planer thicknesser comes with everything you need to get started. 

ProsCons
• 1.8KW motor – up to 10,000 rpm
• 317 mm max planing width
• Thicknesser capacity: 152mm
• Head lock facility and
graduated depth crank
• Includes dust shroud, allen keys,
spanner and blade guides
• Heavy
• Expensive

4. Charnwood W588 Planer Thicknesser

Charnwood W588 8'' x 5'' Bench Top Planer Thicknesser
16 Reviews
Charnwood W588 8'' x 5'' Bench Top Planer Thicknesser
  • 8'' Planing Capacity
  • 8'' x 5'' Thicknessing Capacity
  • Aluminium Tables To Minimise Weight
  • Extruded Guide Fence For Accuracy
  • Tilting Fence With Twin Guides

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Charnwood W588 Planer Thicknesser is a compact, portable model that is also the lowest-priced model in our selection. In spite of its low price, it features a substantial 1.5KW motor with a high-performance maximum speed of 8,000 rpm, making it suitable for tackling most projects. 

With a maximum width of 200mm and a thicknesser capacity between 5-125mm, this model is more size restrictive than the others in our selection. That said, provided these dimensions are compatible with your project scope, this shouldn’t prove an inconvenience. This model is, however, a little fiddly switching between planing and thicknessing. It is also fairly noisy when compared to some of the more expensive models.

A good choice for precision work, this model has an extended tilting fence that can be locked at any angle up to 45 degrees, for bevelled edges and improved accuracy. The dust hood adapts to thicknessing or planing and as an added safety feature, the machine will not start until the location sensor detects the correct deployment of the dust hood. 

The Charnwood W588 planer thicknesser is sold with re-grindable knives, so you can save yourself money in the long run by sharpening your knives rather than having to purchase new ones. 

A 100mm dust extraction outlet is also provided and the unit comes complete with four adjustable rubber feet for improved stability and more precise cutting on your workbench. All in all, a fantastic budget choice.

ProsCons
• 1.5KW motor – 8,000 rpm
• 200mm max planing width
• Thicknessing capacity: 5-125mm
• Re-grindable knives
• Dust hood safety sensor 
• Tilting fence with twin guides
• Fairly noisy
• Fiddly to change from planing to thicknessing

5. Lumberjack PT1000 Planer Thicknesser

Lumberjack PT1000 254mm Planer Thicknesser 10'X 5' with Legstand 230V
8 Reviews
Lumberjack PT1000 254mm Planer Thicknesser 10"X 5" with Legstand 230V
  • Large cast aluminium planer bench measuring 946 x 263mm
  • Strong tilting aluminium fence
  • 2 blade cutter block
  • Re-sharpenable HSS blades
  • Dust extraction outlet port

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Lumberjack PT1000 Planer Thicknesser is another good choice if you are looking for a low-cost model that is still capable of providing high levels of performance. Although it has a fairly average 1.28KW motor, it has a maximum speed of 9,000 rpm, enabling you to take on a wide variety of projects.

With its maximum planing width of 250mm and thicknesser capacity between 2-120mm, this model, like the Charnwood, is more suitable for projects with smaller dimensions. 

While it has an aluminium planer bench to support your materials, it is still rather heavy, weighing in at 36kg. It does, however, come complete with its own leg stand, so it won’t take up any space on your workbench.

Like the Charnwood model, this version also features resharpenable blades and a tilting fence for bevelling. The crank handle makes height adjustments simple and accurate for ease of use. 

While there are other more powerful and precise models out there, this model does nonetheless represent good value for money and with a little trial and error, you’ll soon get the hang of using it.  

ProsCons
• 1.28KW motor – 9,000 rpm
• Max planing width: 250mm
• Cutting depth range: 2-120mm
• Resharpenable blades
• Tilting aluminium fence
• The instruction manual isn’t very clear
• Heavy


Planer Thicknesser – 2020 Comparison Table

NameMain FeaturesPriceScore
Triton TPT125• 1.1KW motor – 17,500 cuts per minute
• 317mm cutting width
• Cutter height: 152mm/ increments 1.6mm depth
• Quick access brushes
• Dust chute for extraction
• Electrical circuit breaker
£££7/10
Makita 2012NB/2• 1.65KW motor – up to 8,500 rpm
• 304mm max planing width
• Depth stop: 3-100mm
• Unique smooth-feeding mechanism
• Includes dust extraction hood, wrenches and magnetic holder
££££8/10
DeWalt Dw733 • 1.8KW motor – up to 10,000 rpm
• 317 mm max planing width
• Thicknesser capacity: 152mm
• Head lock facility and graduated depth crank
• Includes dust shroud, allen keys, spanner and blade guides
££££9/10
Charnwood W588 • 1.5KW motor – 8,000 rpm
• 200mm max planing width
• Thicknessing capacity: 5-125mm
• Re-grindable knives
• Dust hood safety sensor
• Tilting fence with twin guides
££7/10
Lumberjack PT1000 • 1.28KW motor – 9,000 rpm
• Max planing width: 250mm
• Cutting depth range: 2-120mm
• Resharpenable blades
• Tilting aluminium fence
££7/10

Final Thoughts

All things considered, our top pick for the best small planer thicknesser is the DeWalt Dw733. While it doesn’t come cheap, this high-performance model will take on any project with ease, thanks to its powerful 1.8KW motor. 

With a maximum blade speed of 10,00rpm and its head lock facility, you are almost guaranteed a smooth finish, no matter which type of timber you are working with. Its generous dimensions allow you to work with larger pieces of wood than most other small models, making it ideal for large surface planing.

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