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Thickness Planers on a budget - WEN vs Bauer vs Triton?

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Forum topic by IdeasYouSpark posted 04-25-2020 12:36 AM 2795 views 0 times favorited 64 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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IdeasYouSpark

16 posts in 85 days


04-25-2020 12:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question alder oak purpleheart ash cedar mahogany padauk cherry maple pine walnut zebrawood plane planer milling joining sanding traditional arts and crafts rustic modern

Looking to buy my first thickness planer but I’m on a tight budget. I don’t have money to burn, so I need to get the most bang for my buck while avoiding the junk. The reviews seems to pretty tight between WEN and Bauer. But Rockler’s Triton seems promising. What are your experiences and recommendations?

-- IdeasYouSpark


64 replies so far

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Walker

385 posts in 1244 days


#1 posted 04-25-2020 02:01 AM

I’m sure the vast majority of replies are going to say that buying used will give you the most bang for your buck. The Dewalt 734 and Dewalt 735 are very popular and can be found relatively cheap on craiglist. It would help to know what your budget is.

-- ~Walker

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IdeasYouSpark

16 posts in 85 days


#2 posted 04-25-2020 02:57 AM

Thanks Walker! I hadn’t really thought about going used. Good point! As for budget… between $300-$400 for now. It would be nice to have a cheap one last a few years, but let’s face it… you get what ya pay for. I’m looking to get a solid year or two out of one till I get a trickle of a second income coming in. Then I’ll revisit a higher quality one.

-- IdeasYouSpark

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SMP

2110 posts in 678 days


#3 posted 04-25-2020 03:23 AM



I m sure the vast majority of replies are going to say that buying used will give you the most bang for your buck. The Dewalt 734 and Dewalt 735 are very popular and can be found relatively cheap on craiglist. It would help to know what your budget is.

- Walker

That must depend on where you live. Where I live those used are almost as much as new. If lucky maybe $100 off new. But sometimes when you buy new you may get spare blades etc.

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Walker

385 posts in 1244 days


#4 posted 04-25-2020 03:30 AM

These two sites sell refurbished tools. If you’re patient the right one might show up.

https://www.factoryauthorizedoutlet.com
https://www.cpooutlets.com/

I bought a DW734 a couple of years ago, brand new on sale for $325. I just googled them now and a little shocked to see they’re up to $450. Those tariffs are really hitting power tools hard.

Bauer looks to be a Harbor Freight brand. I’m one of those ‘avoid harbor freight at all costs” people. Lot’s of folks on LJ seem to like the Wen brand for bargain tools, but it seems to be hit or miss on certain products. So hopefully someone will chime in who has experience with those. Grizzly is a step as a brand, they have a planer on sale for $400 +$25 shipping.

-- ~Walker

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corelz125

1341 posts in 1748 days


#5 posted 04-25-2020 04:50 AM

I bought some of my tools by cashing in my credit card points for gift cards. It can increase your budget a little more but that doesn’t always work for everyone. The used market down here in this part of the state never really turns up good machines for a reasonable price.

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nickbatz

488 posts in 852 days


#6 posted 04-25-2020 08:43 PM

I’m interested in this too, because I’m still looking for a thickness planer and don’t want to spend DeWalt 735X money.

Wen and Bauer are two I’ve ruled out.

Yes, Bauer is a Harbor Freight tool – which doesn’t automatically disqualify it for me, but it certainly raises both eyebrows

Wen is a budget brand. I have nothing against that per se, but in this case it’ll be the most expensive machine I own, and if I’m spending $300+ on anything I want it to be really good. It’s not a question of whether the price is fair for what I’m getting, it’s that this is a lot of money.

*

Some of the ones I’m considering are (in random order):

1. Used Ridgid 4331 in the $275 range.

2. Craftsman CMEW 320? It’s $289 on Amazon. I don’t know whether this one is any good, but I like the price.

3. These guys like the Triton: https://www.toolboxbuzz.com/head-to-head/best-benchtop-thickness-planers-head-to-head/

If I wanted to spend $450, this Grizzly one looks like the best deal going, at least until 4/30/20 when the sale ends: https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-13-2-HP-Benchtop-Planer/G0889

Toolboxbuzz.com doesn’t like the DeWalt 734X (but they rate the 735X at the top).

What I really want is a 735X that comes with a pony for $350. But alas.

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RichS

5 posts in 3718 days


#7 posted 04-28-2020 06:54 AM

I was given a 12-1/2” Ryobi some years back. It is heavy! (good) and deafening (bad). He said it didn’t do a very good job and replaced it with a DeWalt. I replaced the worn-out, and chipped blades with new after-market blades—works beautifully now. His loss, my grins.

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bandit571

25893 posts in 3455 days


#8 posted 04-28-2020 07:59 AM

Used to own a Delta 12”....friend of mine still uses it. Double edged blades…Might look into one of those..NEW.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View PeteStaehling's profile

PeteStaehling

133 posts in 1892 days


#9 posted 04-28-2020 10:36 AM

I am not sure how useful this is since I have no experience with the specific items you are asking about, but…

Of the brands you are mentioning my very limited experience with various items I would give Triton the edge between the three brands in general. My Triton router seems very impressive and my spindle sander is nice.

I may be wrong but Wen look like another company that rebadges the same stuff as 4 or 5 other companies sometimes at a lower quality spec to hit a low price point think porter cable et al.

I really don’t have any experience with Bauer, but they seem like HF is trying to sell a better tool at a bit higher price than their usual stuff. I don’t see it as a niche they are likely to do well value wise, but I may be wrong.

That may or may not say anything about any of their planers. So take that for what it is worth (maybe not much).

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stevejack

77 posts in 92 days


#10 posted 04-28-2020 10:53 AM

I have bought a WEN tool thinking it would be total crap like hit or miss Harbor Freight BUT its a great tool use it at least once week for the last 4 years…

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tvrgeek

988 posts in 2421 days


#11 posted 04-28-2020 01:34 PM

The problem with the Delta clones is as the board first feeds, the head kicks up causing snipe. Some have slightly better locking, but an inherent problem. Only with the 4-lead screw designs is it really solid. I modified mine so for my last cuts I use split collars to lock the head. A real pain, but it works.

I’ve had good luck with WEN on the bottom end and am very happy with my Tridon router. Paid a bit for it, but the plunge base works like a lift saving me big bucks in total.

Yes WEN buys tools to spec, same as everyone. Only about four companies actually make all of them. They seem to buy in a batch and when it sells out, bid for a new tool. Even in the spec market, each company makes their own decisions on the spec. For instance, almost all the benchtop spindle sanders look identical, but the stroke differs, some aluminum, some iron. Some of the 12 inch planers have 3 blades, a couple with carbides ( but very few bits) .

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Craftsman on the lake

3336 posts in 4210 days


#12 posted 04-28-2020 01:45 PM

Dewalt’s 734 is $449 at rocklers right now online. I’ve had one for 10 years, three sets of new blades and thousands of board feet of oak, cherry, and maple, and it’s still going strong. It does a nice job too.

It’s interesting though…. I’ve got a triton router. The big one in the router table and am impressed with the durability, power, and very different take on how it’s made and the features on it. They are a company that originated in Australia and seem to have their own spin on designs. I don’t know if I’d get their planer as I’ve just had such good experiences with the Dewalt but I’d be wondering if it’s a good machine too.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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KelleyCrafts

4218 posts in 1511 days


#13 posted 04-28-2020 02:44 PM

There’s a reason DeWalt wins the lunchbox planer battle every year. I would put a CL or FB marketplace alert out for a used one and go that route.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1112 posts in 1875 days


#14 posted 04-28-2020 06:24 PM

Just my 2 cents. I agree that you will likely get the biggest bang with good used equipment. A number of good ones have been mentioned above. I just wanted to vouch for the DW733 which is an older Dewalt single speed two bladed model. I have used one for maybe 10 years and I have run lots of cherry and oak through it. I’ve never had an issue with it. If you find one that hasn’t been abused for a good price, don’t be afraid because it is an older model.

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tvrgeek

988 posts in 2421 days


#15 posted 04-28-2020 06:57 PM

In pictures of shops and in the background of most videos is not a big old iron planer, but a DeWalt.
I saved enough on my band saw I can spring for one. Then save up for a good carbide head. Used? HA. Only one I saw on CL was like $10 under street price. My best bet is Lowe’s as my credit card gives me 5%.


There s a reason DeWalt wins the lunchbox planer battle every year. I would put a CL or FB marketplace alert out for a used one and go that route.

- KelleyCrafts


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