Types of Wood Planers and Their Uses — Best Types for Your Project

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A wood planer is a powerful woodworking tool to smooth rough spots or uneven wooden surfaces. However, using the wrong wood planer for a specific job can cause damage to both the tool and your material.

To help you choose, our experts have written all you need to know about the different types of wood planers.

Types of Manual or Hand Planers

Hand Planer

woodworker using a hand plane

A handheld planer requires the user to exert physical effort while shaping wood. This way, the force you use propels the cutting blade through the wood.

Manual planers have a short steel strip, static blade, and sturdy frame, making quick work of trimming wood to a consistent thickness.

Hand Scraper

Hand Scrapper

This scraper can be utilized to restore hardwood floors and has a pulling motion, in contrast to the pushing motion of a standard planer.

It functions similarly to hand planers, wherein it smooths out uneven areas. Hence, this can be an excellent alternative to a planer if the pulling motion is different from what you’re after.

Two-Handed Spokeshave

Two-Handed Spokeshave

Depending on the configuration of the blade and the sole, two-handed spokeshave planers can be classified as rounded bottom, convex, flat bottom, combination, or concave spokeshaves. 

Two-handed spokeshaves excel in deeply curved edge work, concave, and planing convex, but they could also be used in flat surfaces or for shaping corners.

Japanese Planer

KAKURI Japanese Hand Plane

The Japanese planer stands out due to its unique design. In addition, there is a distinct method of operation.

Both red oak and Japanese white hardwoods are used to construct these hand planers. It has a strong iron blade and laminated steel polished to a fine sheen.

Furthermore, these manual planers feature a fixed blade that is firmly held in position using a wedge mechanism. Additionally, they are equipped with a chip breaker, which is typically a single nail, serving the purpose of breaking and controlling wood chips during planing.

Surform Planer

Surform Planer

The distinctive feature of a surform plane or a combination rasp planer is its perforated metal sheet, which resembles a cheese grater and serves in place of a fixed blade. 

As the wood is planed, the steel strip’s perforations, whose edges have been honed, remove little material shavings on soft aluminum, similar to how a cheese grater works.

In addition to being a versatile tool, a combination rasp planer may be used on flat and curved wood, fiberglass, and soft aluminum surfaces; they are simple to operate and rarely become clogged with debris.

Flat Planer Bottom Edged Planer

Flat Planer Bottom Edged Planer

Remember that you can only use this planer with one hand, so look elsewhere if you have a great deal of bulky planning to perform. 

One advantage of these wood planers is that you can quickly go under them to inspect your progress as you form it. It’s also the least expensive planer we’ve seen.

Block Planer

Block Planer

A block or short plane is a tool between three and seven inches long. A block plane’s blade is set at a shallower angle than other wood planers, removing thin shavings for a smooth finish. 

The glue lines, the end grain, and the square edges are all things that can be trimmed using a block planer.

Jointer Planer

jointer plane

The jointer planer is the best woodworking machinery to smooth a large board’s surface or for shaping corners. 

Often measuring between 20 and 24 inches, this tool is the most extended hand or manual planer available.

The length of the planer is helpful since it allows it to skim over the peaks of warped wood. Also, there are top-quality jointer planer combos you can use to accomplish more woodwork project. 

Scrub Planer

Scrub Planer

Scrub planes, like jack wood planers, are built to quickly and efficiently remove a lot of material in a small amount of time. 

To make shallow, gouging cuts, this wood planer has a short sole, a sharply curved cutting edge, and a thick blade.

Whether smoothing out curved surfaces or uneven boards and removing twists, knots, or other faults from rough stock, a scrub plane is the tool of choice.

Smoothing Planer

smoothing plane

The purpose of a smoothing plane is to provide a smooth finish on the wood’s surface. The length of this wood planer is only 7-10 inches, making it one of the smallest available. 

Jack Planer

jack plane

The jack plane, being between 12 and 18 inches long, is roughly two-thirds the size of the jointer plane. It’s the first plane most people reach for when they need to smooth out rough spots and rough edges on a workpiece. 

With slightly cambered blades, this wood planer can smooth away thick coats of rough stock with no blemishes. 

See Also: Jack Plane vs Smoothing Plane

Chamfer Planer

Chamfer Planer

You can do more with a chisel planer than with other planers. For instance, the tool has excellent control despite lacking a guard for the cutting edge.

A chisel planer is a fantastic cleanup tool, from removing dry glue and flush-cutting joints to getting into right-angle corners and joints.

Fore Planer

Fore Plane

When used with other planers, the fore planer smooths and prepares rough lumber for final planing.

A fore planer can smooth out rough-sawn lumber and level a piece before a jack planer is utilized.

Compass Planer

Compass Planer

The compass plane is a curved wood planer that smooths out convex and concave surfaces. In its earlier iterations, the compass plane consisted of two different instruments. Both the concave and convex varieties of the latter were put to use.

Concave and convex curves can be planed with the same tool thanks to the flexible sole on current compass planes.

Rabbet Planer

rabbet plane

To form a rabbet joint, a rabbet plane is used to carve stair-like grooves through the edges of the workpiece. 

This sort of plane makes a precise groove in the wood, but it may also be used to refine and polish pre-existing rabbet joints to ensure a snugger, more flush fit.

The rabbet plane’s blade protrudes above the plane’s cheeks and face to reach the sides of the wood being worked. 

Why Use a Hand Planer?

For Beginners

Planing is a skill that is best learned on manual planers; that’s where a beginner or do-it-yourselfer should begin. Before moving on to the more advanced types of wood planers, you can get a feel for their controls, methods, etc.

In other words, the manual planer is an excellent place to start learning, making mistakes, and gaining experience before going on to more advanced tools that professional woodworkers use. To opt for the best possible tool, here are our recommended planers for beginners

For Small Projects

Doing little tasks with a power planer could prove challenging. Yet, a hand planer excels due to its portability and flexibility.

woodworker using a hand plane

Less Complexity

You can start leaning about your wood through the use of a hand planer. Using a hand planer lets you know about the wood’s inherent stress pattern, complexities, grain patterns, etc.

Manual planing allows you to gain insight into the wood’s characteristics, how it performs, and what results you can expect. You can learn a lot about the feel and workability of different woods with the help of a manual planer.

Using a hand planer, you may assess your lumber’s grain, hardness, and springiness to determine its optimum applications.


Depending on the model, a manual planer can cost anywhere from $15 and above. Some are as cheap as $6, and some are as expensive as $26 or more, like the Dewalt DCP580B 20V Max

Less Dust and Noise

It’s essential to keep a distance from electric planers because they create a lot of dust. This is why some high-quality power planers have dust collectors to alleviate dust problems.

sanding wood with hand plane

Because your hand is doing the planing, a manual planer will create less dust in your workshop.

In addition to keeping the volume down in the workshop, using a manual tool has other advantages.

However, if you’re using a particularly powerful power planer, you might expect a bit of noise. 

(But if efficiency is you topmost concern, check these reliable electric hand planers next!)

Types of Electric Planers

Electric Planer

Electric Planer

The manual planer has some limitations, one of which is its slowness. Hence, you risk damaging your workpiece if you aren’t careful.

For this purpose, electric planers are a great choice due to their quick cutting speed and adaptability in achieving the desired cutting depth.

Stationary Planer

RIKON 25-210H 12 inch Planer-Jointer

A stationary planer is an excellent option if you want to work on substantial and demanding jobs.

A stationary planer has a high price tag and an exclusive target market of skilled or professional woodworkers with deep pockets.

Hand Held Planer

Hand Held Planer

In contrast to the fixed blade of an electric planer, the manual planer’s spinning blade performs the same function under the control of the user’s grip.

The blade on a handheld electric planer spins at a high rate of speed, even when set to a shallow grind, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t drift.

This electric hand planer has a shaped grip for enhanced manipulation. The handheld electric planer spinning blade is quick on a shallow grind even when coarsely ground, making a handheld planer ideal for various applications.

Benchtop Planer

Benchtop Planer

A heavy-duty electric benchtop plane with high-speed blades can work quickly on your complex material. 

To speedily and precisely trim and cut wood to a consistent size, you need to adjust the cutting height of these electric planers to the correct level and feed the material through the plane.

If you’re looking to save money over purchasing lumber cut to your exact specs, this wood planer or bench planer is an excellent choice for edge jointing, truing rougher material. It can be used as a thickness planer.

Molding Planer

Molding Planer

The molding planer rests on the flooring of your workshop, and while its primary use is molding, it may also be used with other crafts that require similar-sized pieces of wood. 

If you’re a professional or a serious amateur, you will get much use from a molding planer.

Why Use an Electric Planer?

Depth Adjustment Settings

Among the many benefits of electric planers [1] is that they come with a depth adjustment gauge. The gauge will allow you to select the desired thickness setting suitable for your purposes.

For example, if the gauge is 1/8 inch, you can remove 1/64 of an inch.


Many calculations and measurements would be required when manually planning wood to get it to the right thickness, which might be time-consuming.

However, planing wood with electric planers is a quicker process.

For Heavy-Duty Tasks

A professional craftsman needs a powerful electric planner for fine woodworking or large-scale woodworking projects.

setting up a Molding Planer

But, most manual planers must be up to the task, mainly if the lumber or hardwood being worked is exceptionally tough.

See Also: How to Use a Planer Properly

Other Types of Planers

Metal Planer

A metal planer’s principal function is to reduce, smooth, or level lumber.

The design and operation of this planer are pretty straightforward. In addition, every part of the device that isn’t a knob or a handle is metal.

Hybrid Planer

This transitional planer hybrid model is the perfect wooden and metal planer blend.

This planer has a metal blade and a wooden body held together with a metal casting which also serves to fine-tune the blade’s position. Moreover, the tool is only effective on exceptionally shaped wood.

Infill Planer

The infill planer, available in four forms (shoulder, miter, smoother, and panel), consists of a metal frame and wooden parts that snap into place within the machine’s hollow spaces.

Infill Planer

It serves a purpose analogous to contemporary and historic cast planers. As a result, it has a lot of heft and can keep going even after being hacked into pieces. This type of wood planer does a great job of taming wild grains.

Side Escapement Planer

The lengthier wooden planer is known as the side-escapement planer. A wedge in the small, slender hardwood handle securely holds the iron blade.

Unlike traditional wooden planers, which eject lumber from the top and center, side-escapement planers have a different mechanism.

Planer Machines

Open-Side Planer

This device has just one housing attached to the base at one end. The tabletop bench planer features a cross rail.

This equipment has three available tool heads. There is also only a single housing needed for the entire system. This means it is solid and sturdy enough to withstand pressure.

Open-Side Planer

Moreover, the machine’s cross rail travels vertically through the housing while it operates. Its tool heads can rotate vertically and horizontally, and a second tool head can be attached to the housing.

Pit Planer

The pit planer is considerably more significant than the average planer. The table is vast and permanently installed in a pit within the structure.

This device supports the cross-rail counters on a horizontal rail by the column. The table’s horizontal rail is secured to its underside and its ends.

Double Housing

Many skilled carpenters have adopted the use of this woodworking machine.

Double Housing Planer

A Double housing planer has a long, sturdy base and accurate guideways for its reciprocating table. This means the bed is twice as long as the tabletop bench planer.

Divide Type

The divide-type planer, known as a tandem planer, features two worktables joined separately. The efficiency of the machine is enhanced by its design.

In addition, the equipment is ideal for repetitive tasks such as heavy planing. Thus, the workpiece is placed on one table for cutting and the other for finishing touches.

Edge Type

A plate planer is an edge planer. With its several air clams—secured to the bed’s plate—this machine excels at planing the ends of hardwood.

Edge Type

This machine’s cutting tool is mounted in the center of a carriage. Also, the carriage can be moved in both directions, as the engine allows for that.


There are many types of wood planers are on the market today, so it is crucial to consider their intended use before settling on a specific plane. Think about your particular needs and the different options available. 

If you want to make dado rails, trim doors, or floorboards and create furniture or skirting, having access to multiple planes will provide you with more flexibility and control.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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