Helical 13" or 3 blade 15"?

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Forum topic by Dabcan posted 08-15-2013 12:02 AM 1393 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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255 posts in 4128 days

08-15-2013 12:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: helical planer thickness 13 15 lunch box

So my Rigid 13” planer bit the dust, repairs will cost more than a new one. I’d like to upgrade from this planer, and am currently debating whether I go with a 15” floor type planer, or a 13” helical lunchbox planer. I understand that helical cutterheads can give a much better finish, but is there anything a 15” model will give me besides 2” more width? I can’t afford a 15” helical, so maybe the 13” is the best of both worlds, not only cheaper but I won’t have to pay for shipping/hernia operation…

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

-- @craftcollectif ,,

5 replies so far

View OhioMike's profile


89 posts in 3619 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 12:12 AM

The answer will depend on the kind of work you do (or anticipate doing in the future). I use a standard-head lunchbox planer in my hobby shop because I plane mostly small pieces (under 36”) and I don’t use the planer frequently and rarely deal with highly figured woods.

If, on the other hand, you are doing lots of pieces that are over 4 feet long and using the planer almost daily, then the big one makes a lot of sense and will last you for decades.

You can always upgrade the cutter head in a few years, although it may cost a little more doing it that way.


View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 3476 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 01:00 AM

I just got a 15” spiral head after using a 13” straight planer for years. I could go back to the 13”, it would be a struggle to leave the spiral blade. The main benefit for me is how much quieter it is. The finish is nice, but not that much better to me, unless we’re talking curly maple or the like where I get no tear out which I would get a bit of with the straight blades.

View oldwoodsale's profile


21 posts in 4431 days

#3 posted 08-15-2013 01:04 AM

I have a dewalt 735. I plane 12” oak and had to get the shelix cutter. The 3 blades would not hold up. The shelix is great. The finish is so smooth, it just needs a light sand. The planer overall is good. It is not made for continuous use. If you are going to plane a lot of wood, get the 15” This is what I just did. Got the Grizzly with the spiral cutter. I have not used it a lot yet but TWO things that set it apart….stronger motor. It does not have any problem with the oak and Steel in-feed and out-feed rollers. The rollers on the 735 are hard rubber and will slip if you do not clean them with windex every so many passes. I know the spiral cutter is more cost, but “if” you are planing a lot of wood…its worth it. Keith.

View Dabcan's profile


255 posts in 4128 days

#4 posted 08-15-2013 01:36 AM

So far I’m hearing what I expected. I found a local new 15” planer for only $100 more than the 13” helical, so I’m thinking I’ll buy the 15 and when the blades are dull I’ll replace it with a helical head. Gives me some time to save up.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

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2387 posts in 5004 days

#5 posted 08-15-2013 02:11 AM

I would go with the 15” myself over the 13”. We do a lot of planing and do a lot with wider panels. I have looked in the past and for what those Helical heads cost for a 15” planer one could almost buy a brand new 15” planer with the helical head in it already. I don’t remember exactly.

-- .

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