If you don’t have the funds or space for a full-sized planer, then a benchtop planer is a great alternative. They take up much less space and cost only a fraction of a large planer, but at the cost of board capacity. This won’t be a huge problem, even for professional woodworkers, since boards can your work can be pre-dimensioned prior to passing below a benchtop planers cutter head.
The biggest problem you’ll have regarding benchtop planers is which make and model to get. From the high number of benchtop models available, choosing the right one to fit your woodworking needs can be a challenge in and of itself. Of course, you could just go with the planer with the most likes and highest ratings, but then you’ll still need to filter through them all.
In this article, we’re going to compare to highly rated models – the WEN 6552T and the DEWALT DW734 – to see which of the two is the better option. We’ll go over their various specs, and how well they perform so, you won’t regret your purchase decision.-
WEN 6552T and DEWALT DW734
A planet’s motor is an important indicator of how well it will perform on various types of wood. It’s advised that you get the stronger motor available if you plan on dimensioning hardwoods like rosewood or pine. Both the WEN and DEWALT come with large 15-amp motors – the largest size available in benchtop planers – for heavy-duty, efficient planing.
WEN 6552T and DEWALT DW734
Benchtop planer cutterhead’s typically come with two or three knives. Generally speaking, more knives translate into more cuts packs per inch and per inch and per second, resulting in a smoother finish with fewer passes. Both of these benchtop planers feature 3-knife cutterheads for maximum cutting efficiency.
WEN 6552T and DEWALT DW734
The type of blades installed in the cutterhead plays a role in how well it cuts and how long before it needs to be replaced. Both of these tools use straight, HSS knives, which aren’t as great as helical blades but still do a great job. Straight HSS blade replacements are also much less costly than their spiral counterparts.
These HSS knives are not reusable, meaning that when they become dull, you cannot re-sharpen them to get a few extra hundred feet of additional planing. However, they are reversible, so each blade offers twice as much planing capacity before being disposed of.
Even though both of these tools come with the same-sized motor, they deliver different cutting speeds. The WEN’s can reach a maximum speed of 25,500 cuts per minute, which is less than what you’d expect from a planer with a 3-knife cutterhead that spins at a speed of 10,000 RPM.
As for the DEWALT, its 10,000-RPM cutterhead with triple-knife design delivers up to 30,000 cuts per minute. In general, more cuts mean smoother finishes and efficient material removal with fewer passes.
Conclusion: The difference of 500 cuts per minute isn’t that significant when looking at the larger picture, but if you’re going to spend about the same amount of money for either of these tools, the slightest advantage can be crucial. The DEWALT is better than the WEN in terms of finish quality, but only by a very thin margin.
The width capacity refers to how wide a board can pass through the planer. Benchtop planers don’t have extremely wide mouths, but they’re wide enough to handle most project pieces you might have on hand. The WEN can chew on boards as wide as 13 inches. This is the largest width available in benchtop planers.
The DEWALT has a maximum width capacity of 12-1/2 inches. The ½-inch disparity between the two probably won’t mean much in the end. Heck, you might even be able to plane all of your material in a machine with a 12-inch capacity.
Conclusion: Once again, when choosing between two benchtop planers with very similar spec and features, even the smallest difference could mean a lot. As for the ½-inch difference in width, we feel inclined to ignore this entirely since you probably won’t be kicking yourself in the behind for losing out on half an inch. However, technically, the wider WEN would be the better option since it can handles wider pieces than the DEWALT. Technically.
Maximum Length Support
One area where inches actually do mean a lot in a benchtop planer is the size of its infeed and outfeed tables. These tables are where you’ll rest your material before the planer’s rollers grab hold of your board and pass it under the cutterhead. Longer boards require longer infeed-outfeed tables which offer more stability and reduce the risk of snipe. The WEN’s infeed, outfeed, and worktables can support pieces as long as 22-1/2 inches.
The DEWALT’s tables can support boards up to 33-1/2 inches long. According to our calculations, this planer can dimension boards that are up to 11 inches longer than the WEN. That’s almost a foot of additional surface per pass, making this machine much more efficient than the WEN.
Conclusion: The length of the support tables is a secondary factor to consider when shopping for a planer. Although longer supports mean more material removal per pass, the main thing to take into account is the length of your workpieces that you use regularly. There’s really no point investing more on idle capacity. Nonetheless, if you need to plane longer boards, the DEWALT is for you.
So between the WEN 6552T and the DEWALT DW734 – two benchtop planer models that seem to be doing extremely well in terms of sales and reviews – which of them would be the better option to get? Well, from a technical standpoint, we feel that the DEWALT is the superior model, simply because it has longer support tables. Sure, you could argue that it has a smaller width capacity, but let’s be honest: how much of a difference will half an inch make? Right, fellas? This isn’t to take anything away from the WEN since it is indeed a great benchtop planer. In fact, as a DIY woodworker, either of these benchtop planers would serve you well.