Fine planer for the money

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Review by ferstler posted 12-04-2008 10:34 PM 14211 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fine planer for the money Fine planer for the money No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Ryobi has recently replaced this discontinued AP1300 model with the AP1301. The new version has two deficiencies, compared to the older-design unit reviewed here.

First, the new unit does not have a cutter lock. OK, with good planers a cutter lock may not be necessary, but with a budget model it is not a bad idea. One look at the operation of the lock on the AP1300 shows that it is a very good way, indeed, to make sure that the cutter assembly is not going to shift upward or downward during a planing procedure. The lock works quite well.

Second, the new unit does not have a depth-of-cut gauge on the front edge. For me, this is an outrageous omission, because using the gauge tells you at a glance just how deep the cut will be in the workpiece you are feeding into the machine. No, a gauge like that may not give you exact information as to precisely how much wood will be removed, because the workpiece is not going to be uniform to begin with. That is one reason you might be planing it in the first place. However, the gauge does get you into the ball park when it comes to knowing just how much work the cutters wiill be doing.

Third, the new unit does not have infeed and outfeed extensions. Leaving them off increases the chance of snipe considerably.

OK, so I think this AP1300 model is better than then new one, which costs more. (I paid $199 for mine.) As best I can tell, Ryobi is on a budget tear, and has contracted with their Chinese supplier/builder to cut corners. OK, they are cut. To combat this, workers on a budget should keep a lookout for used versions of the AP1300.

This particular unit is a decently quality product. It has a 25 foot per minute feed rate, a 15-amp universal motor, a no-load speed of 9,900 rpm (with two blades, this adds up to 19,800 cuts per minute, or 66 cuts per inch), a maximum planing height of 6 inches, a maximum planing width of 13 inches, and a maximum safe cutting depth limit of 1/8 inch. There is a 2.5-iinch dust chute on the backside that can be hooked up to an appropriate dust-grabbing machine. The left side of the machine includes a replane indicator. The weight is a manageable 77 pounds, which, along with handles on top, makes the device decently portable. There is a storage tray on top, under a flip-up cover, that is not much good for storing anything, including spare blades in their protective packages. Well, the cover looks good.

In addition to doing basic adjustments (which this unit only needed to a modest degree with the outfeed and infeed tables) I modify nearly all of my tools, but in the case of this one the mod was slight. Two tapped screws are along each side of the infeed and outfeed tables, and those can be adjusted to level the surfaces and then lock them down tight. However, there were also additional holes in the braces, and so I installed additional machine screws and nuts into those holes to further stabilize the tables. End of mods.

The blades on this planer are supposedly not user sharpenable (you might try a blade sharpening service, however, but the blades are probably too skinny) and are no longer available at Home Depot stores (at least at the two in my area), and so yoiu must purchase them directly from Ryobi. The cost is about $41 for a pair, which I consider steep, but then again, I am rather cheap. Most competing blades cost as much or more. The blades themselves are double edged, so you get two for the price of one, at least. The blades are only available in two-blade packages.

One feature I heard of concerning the later AP1301 model is that the blades it uses are the same as in the Ridgid TP1300 model. Those are still available at Home Depot, although now that the Ridgid version has been superseded by still another model, all bets are off concerning blade availability for discontinued models in local stores. Hopefully, the mail-order versions will be available for a long time.

I read somewhere that some people who own the AP1300 have had problems with dust building up on the retainers that hold the drive rollers in place. This causes problems with snipe at best and can cause worse problems if the build up gets serious. It may be possible that the AP1301 replacement version solved this problem, but one way I found to solve it is to simply take time to thoroughly blow out even small amounts of dust after using the unit. It pays to keep tools clean.

All in all I like this planer. If I had had the funds I no doubt would have purchased the somewhat heavier duty Ridgid TP1300 version, but for the amount of planing work I do this little Ryobi model does just fine. No doubt a more upscale model would offer more in the way of durability (although mine is holding up OK), but those who want a more robust tool should probably be willing to spend a bit more money.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4295 days

15 comments so far

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4455 days

#1 posted 12-05-2008 02:57 AM

My Brother has the 1301 and the lack of cutter lock as you call it, is the worst thing in my mind about it. While it doesn’t have the depth guage on the very front, his has the guage on the blade riser, which is just off to the right side. It does cut fairly well for the price, but I hate watching the handle/dial for the depth guage spinning while it’s cutting, that makes me very nervous.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Emeralds's profile


143 posts in 4338 days

#2 posted 12-05-2008 06:52 AM

I bought a used AP1300 in January of 08. I’ve used it quite extensively and have been very pleased with it’s preformance. Sometimes you just get lucky. :)

-- JMP

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4668 days

#3 posted 12-05-2008 07:44 PM

I dont mean this as any kind of “slight” but without exception and including the Ryobi table saw, both bench top and the portable one, the biscuit cutter, the router, the mini rototiller….............what a total waste of money. Sure, if you only plan on using once a year for a few minutes then perfect but

My 2 cents…..........take the money you would have spent on the new ryobi and put it towards a used model of a better saw/planer….

I wonder if its possible to make something cheaper then they do

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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802 posts in 4455 days

#4 posted 12-05-2008 08:11 PM

Ryobi does in fact have some decent products, but they also to have some total crap products. Some of the higher priced machines aren’t much better in quality. And in fact many are now made by the same company in China, from cheap brands to Dewalt. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and sometimes you get lucky with the cheaper priced products. When I was growing up My Family insisted only on Craftsman products, but over the years, they’ve become just as bad as some of the much cheaper products.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4295 days

#5 posted 12-05-2008 08:54 PM

RE: Roman’s comments, above. Please do not take my comments, below, as any kind of “slight.”

Yes, one can purchase some pretty super-duty tools these days (used and new), and no doubt many of those items utterly outclass the mid- and low-priced Ryobi versions. Of course, in many cases Ryobi simply does not make “versions” of those superior tools at all. For example, they do not make a cabinet saw, or even a valid contractor’s saw in the size we usually consider normal for items of that kind. And of course, their planer, drill press, and, well, some other items are not in the heavy-duty categories, either. They obviously are aiming at customers who are quite different in outlook than roman.

On the other hand, some of the reactions I have seen to reviews of Ryobi tools, as well as many of the reviews themselves, indicated that at least some users are quite satisfied, even if those tools are not able to do assembly-line grade heavy-duty work or are not able to be as precise as some of the cast-iron, and certainly much more expensive competition. (To be frank, items like that are not really “competition” for Ryobi at all.) The fact is that many woodworkers, especially those involved in the practice as not much more than a hobby, and certainly that has to include some of those who are members of the lumberjocks family, get results with Ryob and similarly priced other-brandi tools that are more than satisfactory.

I had been an audio magazine and book writer for years before getting out of the business, and had to put up with all sorts of high—end-audio claptrap when it came to the assorted “elitists” in the busness looking down on the low ballers who could not afford megabuck gear. Ironically, in many cases those big spenders were really not owning gear that was all that effective at being high in fidelity, but that did not keep the owners from sometimes trying to make those with minimalist attitudes look like bush-league losers who should go find another hobby.

Roman’s comments kind of smack of this attitude. Sure, he has some superb tools (at least I assume he has them) and he has posted pictures of what appears to be a monumentally superb woodworking shop, and I assume he has done extensive testing of Ryobi (and maybe other “popular” brand) tools enough to be able to give a “Consumer Reports Magazine” grade summary of the entire product line. Good for him. I for one would like to hear of his experiences with those tools he auditioned were found to be a “total waste of money.” The fact is that many hobby enthusiasts do not have the shop space roman has, nor have they the bank account that would let them pick up super-grade tools (even used) that would be worth the money to them. Many here probably are more than happy to have some small-scale tools that allow them to build some interesting items, and I can assume that they wouild be more than pleased with even some “waste of money” Ryobi versions. I think that roman needs to chill out and realize that not everyone here is inclined to build a megabuck workshop out back and then fill it with megabuck, massive-weight tools that defy mobility.

PS: go visit a Harbor Freight store if you want to find certain power tools that are more cheaply made than some Ryobi products.

Howard Ferstler

View TNBodger's profile


7 posts in 4234 days

#6 posted 12-06-2008 08:55 AM

I purchased my AP 1300 almost 3 years ago. It remained unopen until I settled in my new home in TN. Had I known then what I know now, I would have either returned it or visited every Home Depot I drove by to buy more blades. I sold my AP 10 when I bought the newer model. I loved it except for the limited width of only 10 inches, so, in comparison, my disappointment with the 1300 is considerable. Carbide insert blades were available for the AP10. No such blades are available for the 1300, only high speed steel. They can dull rather quickly depending on the wood being planed. This is something to be aware of if you are planing for precise thickness. I was planing oak for flooring and as the blade dulled, the thickness of the wood changed – nothing I was aware of until I started laying the flooring and saw how much the boards differed in height. At first I thought the blades were rising, but I know I had everything locked down. Then I compare the width of the used blades to a new one. Quite a difference! Don’t expect precise thickness from board to board unless you are only passing a few through the planer.
Next problem (and this only applies if you plan on buying your AP1301 from Home Depot) they are still selling the planer (1301 – definitely an inferior model to the 1300 – WHY DID THEY CHANGE IT????) but they don’t sell the replacement blades. You can order them at the service desk (as of the last time I asked five months ago) but expect a two or three week wait for them to arrive. Remember, they dull fast and if you hit something to cause a nick in the blade, you’re going to go through blades like cheap sand paper and then have your project stalled while waiting for new blades.
I guess if I was to do it over, I would take a closer look at the Dewalt. The blades are more expensive, but they are beefier and can be resharpened (not something that can be done with the Ryobi’s). The Delta is a more expensive planer in comparison to the Ryobi and so are the blades (by the way, they are the same type of cheap blades as the Ryobi but not interchangeable, the same is true of Rigid).
One more interesting observation. I don’t know what’s happening with Ryobi, but once upon a time they were pretty good about customer service and being out there. I went to the IWF show this past August in Atlanta and every tool manufacturer was represented there but not a hint of Ryobi anywhere. I’m wondering if they are going the way of the Dodo bird.

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4590 days

#7 posted 12-12-2008 10:32 PM

I have the 1300, bought it back in 03 or 04. Mine works great, i keep it maintained, but the only problem i’ve found with it is the lack of knives. You have to order directly from ryobi, and they are about $40.
There is a cheaper alternative, Lowe’s sells a 12 inch knife set for the dewalt, which has the same alignment holes that the ryobi has. They’re only $25, but don’t last very long and you do loose an inch.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4448 days

#8 posted 02-09-2009 02:26 AM

If you is hobbiest then the planer is problay ok. But I pefer my Delta 22-580 13’’ planer with the cutterhead lock.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4295 days

#9 posted 02-09-2009 08:37 PM

Note that the Ryob AP1300 I reviewedi has a cutterhead lock, too. The later AP1301 does not, which I think shows it to be an inferior replacement. I have looked at some of the Delta models that are in the same price category as the Ryobi and they do not look any more robust. (One budget model lacks a cutter lock, by the way.) Delta no doubt has some more expensive, and heavy-duty models, but it is not fair to compare them to mid-level models like the Ryobi 1300, or even the cheaper Delta units.

What matters with tools is not what they cost or if they are refurbished “classic” models that supposedly outclass the budget models of today, but what the user does with them. Some people collect tools. Others use them.

Howard Ferstler

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5075 days

#10 posted 05-10-2009 11:24 PM

I have this model, & I’m very satisfied with it.

I modified the dust collector outlet shoot, & I’ll post some images when I get a chance.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4352 days

#11 posted 05-11-2009 12:12 AM

since it fits your budget and has your approval and other LJers it must be good. Thanks for the review.


View TNBodger's profile


7 posts in 4234 days

#12 posted 05-23-2009 03:14 AM

Well, it has been several months since I posted my comments about the 1300. Here’s the latest …
Parts are starting to dropout of it! I was adjusting the height and a set screw dropped onto the base plate. I opened up the machine and can’t find where it came from. Guess I’ll have to wait until the machine gives me more clues. Also, one of the dust chute screws dropped out today – the threads are stripped on the machine and not on the screw. I am very careful when I reattach the chute so I assure you that I didn’t force the threads out. I have another Ryobi tool that I just discovered another interesting defect. I’m posting my comments about the BD4600 belt sander next. As for me, I’m not buying anymore Ryobi anything.

View gregb's profile


38 posts in 4065 days

#13 posted 05-27-2009 12:04 AM

I purchased the AP1301 a few months ago and right out of the box I wasn’t pleased with the results it gave me… mainly because of no cutter lock. Yes I agree that there should be some sort of infeed/ outfeed support but that is easily remedied. As far as the cutter lock goes, in my opinion, Ryobi really screwed up by not have a lock. I’m going to try to fab a locking device for mine… i’ll post my results later. On the other hand I can relate to what others have said. This is a perfect “hobbiest” planer. It is relatively inexpensive with decient results. But again, you do in fact get what you pay for. I abuse mine daily like it owes me money (haha) and the machine is beginning to show. I am also in agreeance with TNBodger, I’m not buying anymore Ryobi tools.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5075 days

#14 posted 05-27-2009 12:35 AM

Ryobi seems to do that with all of their tools. I bought a 10” table saw with the sliding table,

which I like very much. I later bought one of their newer models on ebay,

& it was like a different saw altogether. I bought this newer one for my lake place.

My older model has a belt drive, & the newer one is a direct drive. The crank mechanism

on the newer one is harder to raise the blade up, down, & tilt. The case is plastic which cracked already.

Just about everything is apiece of crap.

I can’t figure out why they keep downgrading themselves.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View PTH's profile


2 posts in 163 days

#15 posted 01-28-2020 07:37 PM

I bought a cosmetically beat up Ryobi AP1300 a few months ago. It works great but the thickness scale indicator is badly damaged and I’m looking for a replacement. It’s a small piece of clear plastic w a red guide line on it. It’s attached to the planer with 2 screws, on the front right panel. Of course the part has been discontinued so I’m throwing out an SOS on this site to see if anyone has one lying around. Pretty please and thank you!

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