Planer Comparison: DeWalt DC735 vs. Delta 15" DC-380

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Forum topic by SawdustTX posted 01-28-2013 03:37 AM 8119 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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315 posts in 2860 days

01-28-2013 03:37 AM

Hi LJ’s, I would appreciate some advice from your experience.

I have a DeWalt 735 13” planer in great condition and have no complaints. As I’ve been upgrading the shop with some stationary 220V tools, I’m looking at used Delta 15” models. I don’t really need the additional 2” of planing width, so I’m more focused on some other areas:

Would be interested in feedback from those who have used both of these tools:
- Surface finish quality – any difference in the end result?
- Dust Collection- the DeWalt is great (even if I don’t turn on the collector – it literally inflates the collector bag itself and catches most of the shavings)
- Noise Level – the DeWalt is LOUD! I assume the induction motor with belt drive on the Delta will be much quieter than the universal motor on the DeWalt. Is there a significant difference in actual noise when planing?
- Blade install/alignment – is there a big difference in the difficulty changing blades?
- Drive Rollers – do the Delta toothed rollers leave marks? The DeWalt has rubber rollers, no marks.

Thanks so much for any advice you have,

23 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5799 posts in 3029 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 12:59 PM

I have the 380, but have never had the 735… fact, I sometimes think that had the 735 been available when I bought my Delta, I may well have went that way instead. But I can offer some thoughts based on my upgrade from a lunchbox (Delta 22-540). I’ve had my 380 for about 11 years, so this is a long history. In terms of surface finish, I didn’t see any difference between the 2, though I have since changed my 380 to a Shelix. Thatis, if I was taking a full 1/16” or so cut. If I try to cut too little, the 380 will leave tooth marks. The infeed roller is serrated steel instead of a rubber type, and so that happens; you have to cut deep enough to remove the marks. DC on both my machines is/was good, but I always use a DC. The 22-540 had a fan that would blow chips 5 feet, the 380 seems to rely on the air moved by the cutterhead. Noise level: no contest, the 380 wins big time. It got even less loud with the shelix head. Prior to that I had to wear ear muffs with both of them when running….the only tools in the shop that required them. Now, with the shelix in the 380, I just wear ear plugs. I didn’t see a difference in the difficulty of changing blades, it was a PITA on both of them…maybe worse on the 380 because it had 3 instead of the 2 that were on my 22-540. One other thing: a stationary requires more maintenance, there are chains to lube (table adjustment) and a gear box that needs an occasional oil change. In exchange for that, you get an incredible amount of power that doesn’t bog down and can plane all day without whimpering. So that said, I wouldn’t go back to a smaller planer. I now believe I made the right choice when I went ahead and bought the 380.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View History's profile


399 posts in 2517 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 01:30 PM

I bought a used 13” Delta DC-33 Planer a couple years ago for about the same price or less as the DeWalt 735. The Delta is alot of cast iron and it was made in the USA. In my opinion The DeWalt is just another overpriced import.

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399 posts in 2517 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 02:19 PM

Was it an import ?

View Kickback's profile


127 posts in 3171 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 02:29 PM

I have the DC380 and have used a friends Dewalt 735 and there is no comparison noise wise. The Delta is very quiet compared to the Dewalt. I don’t have any issues with it leaving marks on the stock I feed into it. I put a Wixey DRO on mine and that helped a lot. The DC I cannot comment on because I have a crappy DC and it doesn’t really pull the chips out of the planer well. I got mine for free and totally restored it. It is a very heavy machine 400+ lbs. so be advised that moving it around is no joke. I love it and it will probably be around long after I am gone.

-- "I work so I can fish"!

View johnstoneb's profile


3131 posts in 2709 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 03:18 PM

You’re comparing apples to oranges here. The Dewalt is a large lunchbox 115v. The Delta is a smaller stationary 220v. If you are using the planer in a light to medium commercial application you would probably be ahead to go with the Delta.
As far as noise levels I just replace a delta 22-540 with the Dewalt 735 and I don’t see a lot af difference in noise levels. The noise primarily comes from the cutterhead not the motor. Every planer I have been around stationary and lunchbox requires hearing protection.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 2500 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 03:30 PM

(edited by moderators)

These machines are in completely different classes. The 735 is the high end of the portable class while the delta is at the lower end of the stationary class. As to your actual questions:

Finish Quality: Pretty much equal. Finish quality is a function of set up, and both of these machines will produce good results with sharp knives.

Dust collection: The 735 stars over the 380 here because of the built in blower. If you upgrade to a stationary machine you’ll need to upgrade your dc to at leasta 1100cfm. Planers are the most prolific chip producers in the shop and will easily overwhelm an undersized collector.

Noise Level: As you already know, the 735 is just shy of a 747 at takeoff. Induction motors are considerably quieter, so the stationary planers are an advantage there.

Blade install/alignment: The 735 is much easier, but at a cost. It is cheaper in the long run to sharpen blades rather than throw out the disposables. The down side is getting the blades on the 380 properly aligned. It is not the 5 minute process you currently have with the 735.

Drive rollers: Not an issue, both give you a good finish.

As has been pointed out, moving one of these planers is more difficult although moving the 735 ain’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. The other consideration is the floor space you will now have to dedicate to this machine. The 380 is a competent machine, but there are better out there

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View toddbeaulieu's profile


842 posts in 3540 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 03:33 PM

“The noise primarily comes from the cutterhead not the motor”

My 733 is LOUD before it’s cutting. I assume it’s because of the chain drive. I don’t know if the newer models use chains.

I was unaware that some planers use teeth. Form time to time I have to clean the rubber roller because it gets glazed and won’t pull the wood through. I also noticed some decay in the rubber. I don’t know if I used something evil for cleaning once, or if it’s dry rot, or what.

I see those planers with the large corner posts and that just looks so much more industrial to me.

View History's profile


399 posts in 2517 days

#8 posted 01-28-2013 05:15 PM

I’ve heard complaints about the knives in the DeWalt dulling fairly quick, and the dust port seems to be wearing out. Personally I’d rather that it did not have a blower in it, I have a good dust collector and the blower is just an uneeded expense. Plus whats there to argue about good old American made iron verses imported plastic. aluminum, and very little steel ?

View SawdustTX's profile


315 posts in 2860 days

#9 posted 01-28-2013 05:43 PM

Thank you all for the insights! Your inputs confirm my thinking – I’m going to pull the trigger on a used DC-380.

@johnstone and @samurai – I am aware they are in different classes. That’s why I was asking for insight. I had decided I wanted to upgrade, but wanted to hear from those with experience as to the real trade-offs. The few cons are not as significant to me as the advantages of the light industrial machine. Your feedback confirms my direction (always good to have those with experience validate or correct my thinking). :)

@Fred – great feedback, and confirms my decision to upgrade. Thanks!

@Rick L – Would be interested in your aftermarket supplier. I’m painfully aware of the ongoing Delta parts issues. Waited almost 8 months for a spindle for my Delta OSS. Talked to Delta two weeks ago and they said parts stock is finally starting to flow in. I was literally typing this response when FedEx showed up at the door with my new spindle! :)

View SawdustTX's profile


315 posts in 2860 days

#10 posted 01-28-2013 06:50 PM

Follow-on question – is the Shelix easier to set/align blades? I assume so based on what little I’ve read. Thanks!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5998 posts in 3349 days

#11 posted 01-28-2013 07:08 PM

Shelix teeth are self-indexing. No alignment needed.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5799 posts in 3029 days

#12 posted 01-28-2013 07:17 PM

Yeah, with a shelix, you don’t set blades. The inserts are 4 sided and if one gets nicked or dull you rotate it to the next side. Whatever you hear about the Shelix, just that and the reduced noise dang near make them worth the cost (IMHO, of course).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 3872 days

#13 posted 01-28-2013 07:45 PM

This is a tough question. In my experience, the better lunch box planers leave a better finish and cause less tear-out because they take more cuts per inch. I also prefer them for planing thin materials. Larger planers are much better for rough planing. I have one of each and use the floor model (a GI)for most of my thicknessing. The smaller one (Delta) gets used for small jobs, wild grain, and thin planing.
One other thing to consider – the floor model will produce tons of shavings very quickly compared to the bench top DeWalt so keep an eye on your dust collector. If you have one with a filter, be aware that planer shavings sometimes go up into the filter so the bag can look only half full but the filter will be stuffed. You can guess how I know this.

View SawdustTX's profile


315 posts in 2860 days

#14 posted 01-29-2013 04:50 AM

Thanks so much LJ’s. As always a wealth of great information! Off to hunt the boards for a great deal on a DC-380 and a Shelix. Hopefully I’ll be posting a gloat in the near future! :)

View Ken90712's profile


17781 posts in 3725 days

#15 posted 01-29-2013 05:17 AM


-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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