Hand Planer vs Bench Planer: Which is the Best One for You?

October 30, 2019

For someone who needs to get wood to achieve a particular thickness, having a planer is the best option. There are different types of planers, but the hand planer and the benchtop planers are the most prominent. The most debated topic question is which of the two is the best planer. Check out the debate between hand planer vs bench planer.

The answer to this solely depends on whether one wishes to work indoors or out in the field. This post seeks to differentiate the two planers, helping you to pick the best option which suits your needs.

Hand Planers                 

Hand planers, just as the name depicts, are portable products that can be easily used with your hands without the need to remove the element which requires a smooth surface. It might still have the same mechanism that was there years ago, but this tool sure is not outdated as there are many people who still prefer it over the other types available.

The nature of being portable makes them subject to unintended movements; hence, they are not the best for tasks that require specific accuracy. There are two types of a hand planer; manual and electric. While the electric version might seem better, it might be harder to operate without enough experience.

They both use the same concept to work, so whichever one chooses, it should not be so much different from the other.

hand planer vs bench planer

Why are Hand Planers Useful?

The fact that they are portable makes hand planers a must-have for any woodworker out there. They are used to eliminate unwanted movements in certain wood designs. Their portability is a crucial factor as it helps in the chamfering of tops, edges, bottoms, and sides of doors.

They are useful when minimal edge finish is required, and human touch is also needed. Furthermore, they are beneficial when making rabbet joints and radial cuts. While only a few Best Benchtop Planer being affordable, hand planers are generally cheaper.

Benchtop Planers

Benchtop planers, which are also known as table planers, are used to create a smooth, even surface on S2S wood. Due to its size, this product is best used for bulkier wood, which is not only larger but also quantity.

Technically, benchtop planers are made to cut the time which would have been taken while using a hand planer in half. Just as the name depicts, this tool is to be placed on a flat surface, or a bench. They are quite heavy hence cannot be held in hand, let alone lifting them. This makes benchtop planers only ideal for designated workspaces as they are not very portable.

hand planer vs bench planer

Why are Benchtop Planers Useful?

The main advantage of benchtop planers is that they help to maintain the straightness of a double surface. Furthermore, it is easier to cut wood to a preferred thickness, which can be adjusted quickly and efficiently. To avoid bends and unevenness in parallel surfaces, the benchtop planer is the best shot one has.

Picking the Best Planer

When choosing between the hand planer and the benchtop planer, various factors need to be considered. They include;

  • Costs – benchtop planers are more expensive compared to hand planers
  • Portability – will you need to work remotely or at a designated station only? 
  • Edges and surfaces – many rough surfaces and tips will take time to handle well. To save on the energy and time used, abenchtop planerwill be needed
  • Surface imperfections – to get rid of tiny surface imperfections, a hand planer would be an ideal option.


Working with wood is delicate and requires a lot of precision to achieve desirable results. Both planers may work towards achieving the same goals, but differently. The Best Benchtop Planer is necessary for the heavy lifting, while hand planers are also recommended to have in one's list of tools.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the debate between hand planer vs bench planer. Furthermore, please leave your thoughts and comments below. Finally, read some other articles like this one on our frontpage. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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