Time to buy a planer - but which one

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 03-27-2015 11:12 PM 1431 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View becikeja's profile (online now)


1134 posts in 3729 days

03-27-2015 11:12 PM

It’s time to buy a planer. I have a budget of around $500 but absolutely must keep it below $800. After reading the LJ Reviews I am leaning toward the DW735. I am wandering if it’s worth it, or if I should just get a Makita, Rigid or Porter Cable for a few hundred less. The DW735 is still a bench planer, is it that much better???

What are the real features I should be thinking about in planer selection?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

16 replies so far

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3987 days

#1 posted 03-27-2015 11:28 PM

The DW735 is probably the most popular recommendation, but Steel City has a lunchbox helical planer coming out soon, if it hasn’t already. They had a similar model before, but it was discontinued.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

509 posts in 4046 days

#2 posted 03-27-2015 11:50 PM

I have the DW735 and absolutely love it. I think for the money its a great addition to a woodworker shop.

-- Dale, Ohio

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2402 days

#3 posted 03-27-2015 11:51 PM

Same 735 here.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MrUnix's profile


8281 posts in 3115 days

#4 posted 03-27-2015 11:58 PM

If you are looking at new, the Dewalt is probably the most loved benchtop planer around. If you are willing to go used, you can get some pretty nice machines for well within your price range. Around here, there currently is a nice Makita 2040 in great shape for $450 and a floor standing Jet machine that looks brand new for $600. They come and go all the time and if patient, you can find some really great deals on machines that are much better in quality and capacity (and noise level!) than a plastic benchtop screamer.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Florida_Jim's profile


83 posts in 3793 days

#5 posted 03-28-2015 02:12 AM

I’ll give another recommendation for the 735. I’ve had mine for a few months now, and I’m really happy with it.

View endgrainy's profile


251 posts in 2804 days

#6 posted 03-28-2015 02:31 AM

I’ve had the DW735 for about a year and a half. It’s a workhorse and just does its job without issues.

Features I would consider – ease of adjustability, cut quality, consistency, reliability. I am considering upgrading the straight blades to a helical cutter head to reduce noise and improve finish quality. Although the current results are super smooth.

It’s a great planer for the money, somewhere in between a lunchbox planer and a more industrial model. I got the package with the in/out feed tables and extra knives. Also the Dewalt mobile base. Highly recommend the in/out feed tables.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4233 days

#7 posted 03-28-2015 02:41 AM

I wish we could see more feedback on the Steel City that Rob mentioned (the discontinued model). I suspect the upcoming release will be similar. A helical head on anything less than $600 is pretty incredible, and I’d like to learn more based on owners’ actual experiences with it.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View BroncoBrian's profile


894 posts in 2874 days

#8 posted 03-28-2015 02:45 AM

The 735 goes on sale once or twice a year. Definitely worth it. The only one of the similarly priced planers worth upgrading to helical some day. That is why I got it. Solid, simple, reliable. accurate. Don’t forget a dust collector though, not optional.

Forgot to set it up once, whoops. I had wood chips sticking into my garage cabinets. Glad there were no kids back there.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View kdc68's profile


2992 posts in 3193 days

#9 posted 03-28-2015 12:45 PM

If you are leaning toward the DW735, then check out Rocklers. A sale on the DW735X is/was going on at Rocklers. The “X” means package. The package in the sale is a mobile stand, infeed and outfeed tables, and an extra set of knives for $649. Check it out to see if the sale is still going on

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View becikeja's profile (online now)


1134 posts in 3729 days

#10 posted 03-29-2015 01:36 AM

Appreciate all the responses. Looks like the DW735 is the way to go. Thanks kdc68 I will look into the sale.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2385 days

#11 posted 03-29-2015 01:44 AM

I was able to special order the DW735X through the service desk at my local home depot. It was cheaper that way than going through or even ordering from I’m not sure why. It shipped to the store though, and I had to go pick it up.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View B4B's profile


163 posts in 2274 days

#12 posted 03-29-2015 02:52 AM

I was able to special order the DW735X through the service desk at my local home depot. It was cheaper that way than going through or even ordering from I m not sure why. It shipped to the store though, and I had to go pick it up.

- William Shelley

How much cheaper?, and had the 735x priced at around $550 between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shortly after the new year the prices started creeping up to $650. I have a price tracker setup for some time now as this is an item on my wishlist.

I’m going to pull the trigger if they go on sale for around $500. Maybe a father’s day deal, 2015 black Friday? Maybe I’m a little too optimistic on the $500 price point.

I’m also just keeping an eye on the online classifieds for a good deal on a private sale. Time is on my side.

-- There's two routers in my vocab, one that moves data and one that removes wood, the latter being more relevant on this forum.

View jmartel's profile


9108 posts in 3066 days

#13 posted 03-29-2015 02:57 AM

Buy the 735. It’s the best of the portable planer bunch.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Robert's profile


4152 posts in 2397 days

#14 posted 03-29-2015 11:47 AM

My advice: don’t rush it. Keep checking Craigslist for a more substantial machine. I wouldn’t be scared to buy a used on there’s not a whole lot to go wrong with a planer.

My perspective might not be yours, but I prefer to wait and buy the best machine I can, even if its used.
For example, I was about to “pull the trigger” and get the Rikon XY mortiser on sale at Woodcraft and when low and behold a Powermatic floor model came up on CL I got for $520. Works perfect.

I started out with the lunchbox planers, first a DeWalt 734 (which arrived broken, but I was so underwhelmed I returned it) then a Ridgid. I was so underwhelmed with the power, I returned it.

For me, the main purpose of a planer is to be able to mill rough stock.
If I need a 1/2” board, I resaw it rather than produce a bunch of shaving like a lot of guys do.

I ended up realizing I wasn’t going to be happy until I got a stationary machine.

My first one was an old used Parks 12”. Not a piece of plastic on it. It was actually are very decent machine but dust collection was virtually absent on it.

I ended up with a 20” Grizzly and in retrospect, I should have gotten a 15” spiral head for about even money.

My advice to you is don’t get this planer if you’re planning on running a lot of rough stock.
It is just not designed for this.

If you have $800 to spend, my advice is save up a little and get a Grizzly 15” helical head.
I promise you’ll have a MUCH better machine that does a MUCH better job.

Good luck!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View kdc68's profile


2992 posts in 3193 days

#15 posted 03-29-2015 11:53 AM

Appreciate all the responses. Looks like the DW735 is the way to go. Thanks kdc68 I will look into the sale.

- becikeja

I looked at Rockler’s this a.m. and the sale is over. Their power tool sale must have ended today or yesterday. Amazon often offers good pricing with free shipping. Best of luck in your search

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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