Easy to Buy, but Hard to Rent
Most power planers have blade widths of 3-1/4 in. Some are equipped with blades 6-1/8 in. or wider. Planers differ in cost because of blade width, quality of construction, amp power and standard accessories—like a carrying case.
Light-duty models will handle 90 percent of your tasks and cost less than $100. Contractor grade planers are more rugged, have more accurate and easier-to-work depth gauges, include standard accessories and cost $130 or more.
Select tools or buy accessories with:
- Cast metal sole plates, which warp less than stamped metal plates.
- Power cords longer than 6 ft., because they're less likely to hang up on the workpiece and interrupt a smooth pass with the tool.
- Adjustable fences (Photo 3) that allow you to work accurately on door edges, wood trim and boards.
- Chip deflectors (see Photo 1), which direct waste instead of “broadcasting” it.
Power planers rent for about $25 a day, but they're tough to find. Many rental centers are dropping planers from their tool inventory because of customers who abuse the tools by running the blades over old paint and hidden metal fasteners in the wood.