The Electric Hand Planer for Wood: A Beginners Guide

The Electric Hand Planer for Wood - A Beginners Guide

This is a beginners guide that will highlight what an Electric Plane is used for, its benefits and how to choose one.

An electric planer is a powerful tool used to flatten surfaces and reduce the thickness of wood whether that is a board or a panel.

Every woodworker knows that using a hand plane is the best way to make surfaces smooth, but it can be very hard on your hands. If you’re looking for a quicker and easier solution, an electric planer may be just what you need.

These machines are designed to do all of the work for you and they come in many different specifications so there’s one that will fit any budget, skill level or workshop size.

I’m going to show you how to choose the right machine for your needs so read on!

What is an electric planer?

An electric planer is a power tool used to smooth surfaces and reduce the thickness of wooden boards. They’re often called “hand planes” although this is a description more akin to a hand-powered plane rather than an electric planer which is very different in terms of speed, versatility and ability.

Electric planers work by spinning their blades at high speeds to take off a layer of wood in one pass. You can adjust the height of the blades to affect how much wood is removed on each pass of the plane.

An electric planer is also an important tool to have in your workshop because it can be used more quickly than a hand plane and with much less effort, so if you’re going to invest in any power tools then this should probably be one of them as electric planers are relatively affordable, easy to use and pretty handy around the workshop.

Why use an electric planer?

An electric planer is typically used to perform the following tasks:

  • Straightening Boards
  • Paring down uneven surfaces
  • Creating a level surface on an uneven board
  • Trimming doors down so that they fit better into the door frame
  • Removing old finishes
  • An electric planer can be used as an alternative to heavy sanding when the surface is damaged by rot, mould or chemical contamination, where sandpaper may clog quickly
  • Making boards and planks of wood thinner to fit into tight spaces or deduce their depth

How to use an electric planer

Using an electric planer the first time can be intimidating as they make a lot of noise when cutting, they can remove a lot of material quickly and it can be difficult to control. Once you get used to using one then it becomes a lot less intimidating and easier to use, which is why we are going to go through how you should start with an electric planer so that you know what you’re doing before attempting anything else more complicated.

  1. Firstly ensure that the planer is turned off and unplugged from any outlet.
  2. Next, ensure that you read all of the instructions that came with your planer as they may contain important safety instructions that are specific to your model.
  3. Make sure you are wearing safety gear such as goggles or glasses (or both) because this will help protect your eyes from sawdust, plus a good pair of gloves to protect your hands from any splinters of wood that may come from the planer.
  4. Then, plug in the planer and ensure that it is set to a low setting.
  5. Ensure that the piece of wood that you are planing has no obstructions or nails poking out that might damage your blades.
  6. Turn on the electric hand planer and work with whatever speed you feel most comfortable with in order to obtain an even layer of wood to be removed.
  7. If you are going for a really smooth finish, work slowly and carefully to avoid creating any bumps.
  8. Take more shallow passes rather than trying to remove a lot of wood on each pass.
  9. Continue planing until the wood is level with your desired thickness.
  10. Turn off the electric hand planer and use a brush or vacuum cleaner to remove all sawdust so that it doesn’t fly onto other surfaces.
  11. If using an electric hand planer has made dust on your clothes, remove them or brush them off because this can also lead to dangerous particles being inhaled.
  12. Once you’re finished using your electric hand planer unplug it from any outlet before moving onto another task or shutting it down for storage.
  13. Put it away in its designated place (if space allows) as well as ensuring blades have been properly removed from it before putting it away. Follow all instructions provided by your model’s manufacturer.

The benefits of using an electric planer

Electric planers are very popular in the woodworking world because they offer some significant benefits over hand planes. They’re quicker and easier to use than hand planes, which is great for those who work with large pieces of lumber where every second counts; they have a greater capacity for taking off more material per pass, and there’s no need to worry about getting your hands dirty or dealing with tear-out from improperly sharpened blades like you would when using a manual plane.

That being said, the biggest disadvantage of an electric planer is that it makes a lot of noise – so if you’re working in close quarters near others, this might not be the best tool to choose.

Safety precautions when using the electric planer

When using an electric planer, safety is paramount due to the fact that this machine can be dangerous if not used properly. The Planer has spinning blades that are designed to remove large amounts of material, so it could easily hurt someone if it was used incorrectly.

Therefore, we suggest that you take the following precautions when using an electric plane:

  • Stay clear of the blade, do not attempt to use it if you are too close
  • Never put your hands near the spinning blades
  • Always wear safety glasses when using an electric planer.
  • If you have a lot of dust in the air then we recommend that you also wear some sort of mask for protection.
  • Wear earplugs as well – as we mentioned earlier, this tool can be very loud and create a high pitched whining when in use, so ear protection is essential.
  • Do not attempt to use an electric planer near electricity cables as accidentally cutting through a power cable could prove fatal.
  • If at all possible never work alone and make sure someone else knows what you’re doing before getting started with a project for maximum safety.

The best brands of electric planers

I have found that the best brands of electric planer are the Dewalt, Bosch and Makita.

This is because they are robustly built with a durable body that can withstand the pressure of planing wood for long periods of time without any damage to the machine or its operability.

They are also able to be used on almost any type of surface thanks to their strong blades which cut through even hard materials like metal as well as softer surfaces such as plastics and rubber.

Your budget is also a big factor in what brand of electric planer you might want to go for.

The more expensive brands tend to be of better quality, have a longer life span and come with warranties that cover them in case there is any damage or malfunctioning due to everyday use of the machine throughout its lifetime.

However, if you are on a budget then it will not hurt your chances of getting an electric planer that lasts just as long and works at least as well as one from the higher-priced range – just make sure you do some research into what type of warranty each brand offers before purchasing, so that you can keep yourself covered should anything happen during normal usage.

How to choose the right one for you

The Triton TPL180 has a 7″ planing width!

An electric planer will have different speeds, sizes and abilities depending on what kind you purchase.

The two most popular electric planers are the corded and cordless types – we’ll discuss these further down but it’s worth knowing that they both have their pros and cons, you just need to research which will be most suitable for the type of work that you think you will be doing.

Other things to look for when choosing an electric planer are the blade size and the depth of cut to make sure that it suits your needs (most will cut up to 4mm maximum with each pass).

The width of the cutting plane can differ as well with some being up to 4 inches wide while others can plane much wider widths such as the Triton TPL180 which has 3 blades and can plane a width of up to 7″ wide! This will depend on how much wood you need to work through at once. These dimensions should give you a good idea if this tool will suit your needs.

Now we’ll go into detail about each type:

Corded Electric Planer:

This is the most common type of electric planer. The power cord provides power to the motor which drives the blades and cutting plane.

The benefit of this tool is that it can work continuously without needing a break like a battery-powered option would need! You are also not restricted by how long your batteries last or when you have access to an outlet, making this very convenient if you’re working on site.

Cordless Electric Planers:

These tools operate with either rechargeable lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium cells (some models use both). They offer portability as they don’t require being plugged in but for that convenience, there will be more frequent breaks required during operation while recharging takes place.

Where to buy the best quality, most affordable electric planer

If you are looking to buy a brand new electric planer, then you could try the local DIY store such as B&Q or places like Screwfix. If you prefer to shop online, then Amazon might be a good place to look.

If you are on a tight budget and you feel that a second-hand electric plane or used electric plane would be best, then you could try your local Facebook Marketplace or buy and sell groups or even eBay.

When buying a second-hand machine, I would recommend that you take the following precautions:

  • Make sure the electric planer is in good condition, and check that all of its parts are intact.
  • Take a look at any previous reviews to see how well it has been looked after by previous owners.
  • Inspect for damage or rust on metal surfaces before buying.
  • Check for damaged wires.
  • Ensure the electric planer will be compatible with the voltage in your country.
  • Ensure that it is still covered by a warranty or guarantee, and if not, then consider whether you want to pay for extra cover or look at second-hand electric planes which come with a warranty and guarantee included in the price, such as those sold from businesses.

So choose wisely!


If you’ve been considering an electric plane for your workshop, now is the time to buy. There are many different models out there and it can be tough to find one that meets all of your needs without breaking the bank.

But what should you look for when buying an electric plane? Hopefully our guide has proved helpful?

There are many different brands on the market today that offer their own unique set of specifications and prices so make sure to do some research before making a purchase. We recommend going through reviews by other customers or product testing sites to find the perfect match for your needs – don’t forget there are plenty of affordable options as well!

Which model has piqued your interest?

The Electric Hand Planer for Wood: A Beginners Guide

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