Handheld Planer vs Benchtop Planer - Read It Here!

Last Updated On November 14, 2021 By Elliot

Hand Planer Vs. Bench Planer: Which One Is The Best?

Choosing between a hand planer and a bench planer can be quite confusing. Both essential tools offer similar features. However, there are several key differences between these two manual planer.

There are many types of planers out there. Some are designed specifically for woodworking, while others are used for general household tasks.

The type of planer you choose depends on the type of building projects you want to complete.

In this article, I will show you some of the fundamental differences between these two high-end planer, so keep on reading!

What is Hand Planer?

Hand planer is a durable tool with a flat rectangular laterally symmetric blade that is used to smooth and straighten rough surface planed types of wood and to prepare boards for finishing.

A hand held planer works by using a rotating cutter head that cuts material in front of it. This kind of hand powered tools allows users to make smooth rough edges with minimal effort.

A hand plane also has an adjustable fence system which enables the user to create compound blade angle with no problems.

In addition, they are lightweight when compared to other full-sized power planers. They only weigh around 14 pounds.

Key Features of a Hand Planer

1. Lightweight- These planes weight less than 10 lbs.

2. Adjustable fence system- You can easily adjust your fence position according to what angle you need from your board edge. If you have multiple jobs or industrial projects going at once, then you won’t face difficulty adjusting your work space.

3. Portable- It weighs much lighter than most bench-type planers. Therefore, if you don’t own one already, you should buy one.

4. Easy to use- Their simple design makes them easy to use even for newbies who aren’t familiar with working with power tools. All you need to do is simply hold it against the board and start moving it. Most people find it easier to operate since their hands remain free during operation.

5. Easier on your hands- When sharpening blades of both your hand and bench electric planers, you might get tired after doing that task repeatedly. In contrast, hand planes require little maintenance, as all you need to do is sharpen the blade every now and again.

6. Durability- Since they comprise metal parts, they last longer than those made of plastic.

7. Versatile- Although they are primarily intended for smoothing scrap wood flat surface, they can also be used for cutting through materials like plywood, MDF, particle board, etc.

8. Safe for woodworkers- Unlike bench planers, hand planes are safe enough to be handled by woodworkers. There isn’t anything unsafe about owning such a versatile tool.

What is Bench top Planer?

Bench top Planer is a tool that allows you to simultaneously flatten and plane wood boards.

Using a bench top planer is the best way to ensure the layers of wood are accurate; the full-sized planers flatten one side of each board to ensure that when you put them together, they will be even and level of thickness.

Bench top planers are more powerful versions of handheld planers. As opposed to handheld ones, benches planers come equipped with larger motors and heavier weights.

They can handle thicker pieces of lumber. A bench top planer comes in handy, especially if you have large amounts of material lying around.

The reason they are called “bench planers” is because they feature heavy duty mechanisms that enable them to sit on a table rather than being carried manually.

Features of a Bench top Planer

Here are some of the key benefits that make them ideal for woodworking:

  • No assembly required

Once you purchase a bench top planer, there is no need to assemble it yourself. Simply remove its cover and place it where needed. Also, some models allow you to attach accessories to make tasks faster.

  • Accurate results

Because these bulky machines are designed specifically to radius cuts thick stock into thinner layers, they provide reliable results.

  • Lightweight

They weigh less compared to other types of planning devices. This means you can carry it wherever you want with no hassle.

You may choose to buy several units depending on how many woodwork project you wish to complete.

  • High quality

The high durability of these portable machines ensures you can use it for years before needing to replace it.

  • Cost effective

These gadgets are cheaper than purchasing individual ideal tools.

How to Choose Between a Hand Planer vs. Bench Planer?

Determining the right choice between a hand planer and a bench planer can be a hard decision to make. They used hand planers for minor jobs, while they used mainly bench planers for bigger jobs.

The bench planers are bigger and heavier than the handle planer, but both types of planers do their jobs well.

To choose between these portable tools, consider whether you will use the hand planer selection or bench planer primarily in your shop and in your woodworking projects.

Hand planers and bench planer types are both popular tool can help you shape imperfect wood. Below are some things to consider when choosing between the two.

  1. Size

How big is the carpentry project you intend to work on? If it is very large, then go for a bench planer since it is better suited for large-scale operations.

However, if the job at hand requires just a couple of minutes of time, then choosing a lightweight model would fit perfectly fine.

2. Weight

In most cases, smaller plans weigh less than medium-sized ones. Therefore, if weight isn’t an issue for you, opt for a lighter unit.

If you’re looking for power and speed, then get a bench planer instead. It has higher torque, which enables it to handle much larger materials than a regular handheld smooth planer.

3. Ratio

Ideally, the ratio of the manual tool needs to match the type of task you’ll be doing. For example, a handheld planer might not be suitable for cutting plywood sheets.

In such situations, look for a bench planer with a larger motor to tackle more challenging pieces.

You also need to factor in how easy it will be to move around. A portable device like a handheld planer won’t require too much effort to transport from one location to another.

However, moving a bench planer could prove laborious. Therefore, if you have limited space available in your workshop, select a handheld planer over a bench planer.

When to use a Hand Planer?

Hand planers are used to produce a flat surface with no chipping, tearing or gouging. It is used to create a flat smooth surface on a piece of wood can or other material.

You need to use a hand planer when you want to achieve a smooth, flush surface. An electric hand planer is the least powerful of the stationary planers, but it is extremely versatile.

Power hand planer are a good choice for a lot of work on soft selection of wood species or on decayed wood where a sharp edges of board are unnecessary.


It is compact and easy to use.

It's used to shape poor wood or to smooth its surface.

It is lightweight and easy to control.

It is relatively cheap.

It is used in households and by carpenters.

It is versatile.

It's used to create an aesthetically pleasing surface in preparing wood.


  • It's difficult to use it on a hard surface.
  • It uses more space.
  • It is more difficult to clean.

When to use Bench top Planer

You can use a bench-top planer to create a smooth finish on a wide variety of materials.

When cutting boards to thickness, consider using a table planner, which is useful for maintaining the original shape of boards.

This powerful bench planer has adjustable blades that shave off a thin layer of wood, creating a smooth surface for the boards.

The bench top planer can produce a flat, smooth, and parallel surface. This machine is used in the milling process of woodworking to make a piece of chunky lumber thinner.


  • The bench top planer is the best tool to plane the corners of wood.
  • It is used to plane or smooth the surface bulks of wood.
  • The planner can plane the edges on boards and face surfaces in bulk of woods.
  • It is simple and easy to use the planner.
  • It has a small and lightweight design.
  • It is inexpensive and long lasting.
  • It is easy to maneuver and operate.


  • Cannot handle very thick pieces of wood
  • Not ideal for planing wood that is already finished
  • Can be loud Bench top planers
  • Consume a lot of energy
  • Bench top planers are very heavy
  • Bench top planers have a smaller cutting surface

Final Thoughts

Specialized tools are one of the most commonly used items in any household. In the end, the most important thing is to gently and carefully cut away the area you want to work in.

Use a bench planer if you’re dealing with an enormous area, but a manual hand planer is a better choice if you’re working on a piece of furniture.

Although, if you’ve been building furniture for years, you’ve probably gotten used to using a bench quality planer.


I'm Elliot Higgins the Founder of multiple hardware stores around the UK. I love wood and wood working. Watching a fine piece of pine or cedar turn into a work of art is extremely satisfying. The one thing I love more than woodworking is the toys that we use! On HandyToolsHome.com; we bring you information and reviews on all kinds of tools.

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