What does a Planer do? -Uses of a Planer in Details

Last Updated on January 3, 2022 by Naomi Nimu

A planer is a woodworking tool that everybody, not only a carpenter, should have in their toolbox. This is a machine that has come up with the changing needs and requirements of a carpenter or wood-based person.

Although it was always there for use, it was always very tough to access due to its weight and volume. But now it has been manufactured in various sizes and lightweight structures so that you can bring a thickness planer anywhere. Learning more about planers and their uses will help you to make the right decision.

What is a Planer?

It is also called a thickness planer. A planer is a woodworking tool used to even out rough edges of a piece of lumber or to shave it down to size. Some are designed for fine finishing work, while others are made for rougher shaping jobs.

Wood planes come in 3 basic categories: bench planes, hand planes, and floor models. Bench planes require a steady surface to work on, such as a workbench or table. Hand planes are lighter and easier to use, but they must be held in both hands at all times and floor models have a stand of their own.

What Is a Planer Used for?

Flattens or Levels

The wood planer machine is an essential piece of equipment for anyone who works with wood. It’s a tool used to even out the thickness of a piece of wood by shaving off excess wood and creating an even surface on all sides of the board. This can be done on both sides of a board, creating a perfectly flat surface.

A wood planer can help you create pieces that are ready for finishing and will give you a professional look. When you need to transform rough, uneven boards into smooth, usable pieces, a wood planer is a must-have tool.

The blades are usually made of high-quality steel that stays sharp longer than standard steel blades. When the blades become dull they can be replaced with new ones, which can be purchased at any hardware store or online

This machine is used by carpenters and builders for the construction of houses and furniture. The machine is also utilized by people who do woodworking as a hobby or even for their own home.

What Is a Planer Jointer Used for?

a planer jointer
best planer jointer combo

A planer jointer’s primary function is to smooth rough lumber so it can be made into furniture or cabinets. You can also use this machine to trim excess material from a board or block of wood after you’ve already jointed one side. This way, you’ll have one good surface on each end of the board instead of having one rough edge next to another.

What are the Different Types of Wood Planers?

There are various types of planers available in the market and each type has its own uses and benefits. Here are the different types of wood planers that are available for woodworkers.

Benchtop planers

Wood Planer Buying Guide

They are easy to use and store. Benchtop wood planers come in different sizes and cuts. Some have more features than others. If you already own a larger stationary planer and are looking for a small portable model, consider a benchtop one. The biggest difference between the stationary or floor planer and benchtop planer is that the benchtop one doesn’t have stands while the floor model does.

Stationary or Floor planer

best floor standing planer

Floor model wood planers are large, powerful machines that are extremely useful when working with large pieces of lumber. Some models can handle a thickness of over 20 inches and have a maximum width of around 20 inches as well. As you work with larger boards, you will find that using this type of planer is much more effective than using a small one.

Benchtop units are lighter and easier to move. However, floor models are bulkier and not easy to move and that’s why they are called stationary planers.

Hand Planer

best hand planer
electric hand planer

The hand planer was the first type of planer developed and also the cheapest one. This tool is manually operated by a woodworker and has very basic features. The main advantage of using this tool is its portability, making it really easy to carry from one location to another.

However, this tool can only be used for home small projects since it takes a lot of time to work with it. Furthermore, it is not recommended for industrial use due to its low-performance level.

What Does a Hand Planer Do?

The hand planer can be used when applying the first pass of an even finish to material or creating moldings on countertops where you need to remove just enough material without overdoing it.

A Jointer Planer Combo

A jointer planer combo is a combination of a thickness planer and jointer. It can be used to straighten or flatten wood or to create edges that are perfectly perpendicular to the wood’s surface for further woodworking.

Woodworkers use this machine to level the surfaces of rough lumber so that it can then be cut into smaller pieces and smoothed out for the final product. These machines can also be used in fine-tuning and leveling any uneven edges that might appear after a cut has been made with a saw blade.

How to Choose a Planer?

Choosing the right wood planer can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. There are many different brands and models on the market and each one has its own features and pros and cons. We will try to cover as much information as possible here to help you choose the best wood planer for your home workshop or needs.

Type of Wood Planer for Home

The type of planer you choose depends on how much work you plan on doing with it. Both have advantages over the other which should be taken into consideration when purchasing one.

If you’re just going to use it once in a while or for small projects, a benchtop wood planer should do the trick. If you’re planning on using it frequently or working with larger pieces of material, a full-size machine will give you more options.

Benchtop wood planers are much smaller than floor models which makes them easier to transport and store in your house or home. Floor models on the other hand allow you to plane larger pieces of wood with ease, but they are normally quite heavy and often require additional space for storage.

Type of Wood

To determine which thickness planer to buy, figure out what you’ll be using it for most often. If you’ll primarily be working with softwood lumber, such as pine or fir, you can get away with a benchtop model. However, if you’re dealing with hardwood lumber, such as oak or maple, then a floor-standing planer is the best option because it has a larger capacity and more power.

Electric or Manual Wood Planer

Another important factor is whether you want a manual or electric model. Manual machines get the job done but take time and energy to do so. Electric wood planers on the other hand save time but require electricity to run. They also tend to be more expensive than manual machines but often last longer as well.

A Dust Collection System

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up a dust collection system on your own, look for a wood planer that comes with its own dust collection accessory or can hook up to your shop’s central dust system.

Dust collection is essential when running wood through any power tool, but it’s especially crucial when using a machine that creates fine wood dust particles as part of its normal operation.

Decide on Your Budget

Every woodworker will eventually have to face the reality of purchasing a new thickness planer. The first step in choosing a wood planer is to decide on a budget. Wood planers can range anywhere from $200 to $2,000 depending on their size, power and brand. The larger the machine, the more expensive it will be.

Choose The Motor Power

Most handheld planers have 2-4 horsepower motors. This is an important specification because it determines how much material can be worked on at once. A small motor won’t have enough power to work with larger pieces of wood, while a bigger one will work on large pieces quickly. Professional woodworkers usually look for a thickness planer with 3-5 horsepower motors, while entry-level woodworkers do just fine with smaller ones.

Evaluate The Type of Adjustments That the Machine Offers

The best wood planers for a home workshop will have some type of adjustable fence, which is important for keeping material at a consistent width as it passes through the cutter head. Some machines also have adjustable knives that allow you to make your own blade angles. This can be helpful if you work with a variety of different types of wood and need to change your blade angles accordingly.

Extra Features

Some thickness planers come equipped with extra safety features like anti-kickback pawls or infeed/outfeed tables that help you keep your fingers safe from injury by catching kickbacks or helping guide longer pieces through the planer safely. These features add to the price of the machine, but they can be well worth the expenses.


Lumber Mill Worker Job Description”. Career Information Center (9th ed.). Visual Education Corporation. January 1, 2007

Joyce, Ernest (1987) [1970]. Peters, Alan (ed.). The Technique of Furniture Making (4th ed.). London: Batsford. ISBN 0 7134 4407 X.

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