Editor's Review: Tool Test: Benchtop Thickness Planers
review date: December 1, 2007
The Makita is a good performer with a lot of power. Blade changes are simple. Unlike the rest of the machines, one revolution of the crank handle does not move the cutterhead 1/16 in., making it awkward to intuitively change the depth of cut. The planer leaves a good surface.
Photo: Anissa Kapsales
January 2003 (Issue #160) Review by Lon Schleining
Today's thickness planers vary in price from less than $300 to nearly $500. In an effort to learn whether the price differences reflect the quality and features of the machines, I put nine of them through a hands-on test. To begin with, it's important that the infeed and outfeed tables be flush with the bed, and I found that all of these machines made it easy to adjust the tables up and down. In addition, I tested how accurately and smoothly the planers cut (all produced amazingly smooth cuts). I also measured the noise level of the machines, checked to see how easy it was to change knives, and gauged the effectiveness of the dust collection.
The expensive Makita had more snipe than most of the other planers, and its dust port is an odd size (3-in-dia.). On the other hand, it's lightweight and compact, had very good carriage parallelism, and changing knives was faster and easier than on most others in the test.
April 2001 (Issue #148) Review by Anatole Burkin:
I’ve owned a Makita model No. 2012 benchtop planer for 10 years, and it’s one of the best power-tool purchases I’ve ever made. When I heard the company had redesigned its 12-in. planer, I wondered why. I’ve yet to find a flaw with the original. Well, I got a chance to try the new No. 2012NB, and to Makita’s credit, the company did improve an already good machine.
The most obvious change is that the machine has a flat top, which makes a handy place to rest stock temporarily. Of the more substantial changes, Makita redesigned the planer so that the cutterhead moves up and down while the table remains stationary. The stationary table allows you to build a permanent extended bed for handling long stock. For rigidity, the machine has four posts in addition to a pair of threaded rods, all of which pass through the cutterhead/motor assembly.
Other key features include a bigger motor, rated at 15 amps, a micro-adjustable depth stop and a depth-adjusting scale in the crank handle. For safety, there’s a switch lock and a pilot light that indicates whether the machine is plugged in.
Inside, the cutterhead appears much like the original. The knife-changing procedure is a breeze. Simply remove two thumbscrews to access the cutterhead, which contains a pair of double-sided, disposable knives. The machine comes with a toolbox containing a socket wrench and magnetic knife holders. The box is stored above the dust deflector.
As far as performance, I noticed a bit more oomph from the beefed-up motor. With new knives, stock fresh out of the machine requires very little sanding or scraping. Snipe, a slightly dished cut, shows up mostly on the front end of stock and measures only about 0.008 in., which is the best you can expect from anything on the market, even those with cutterhead locks. The dust chute, for hookup to a vacuum, is an option but should be included.
The Makita 2012NB sells for more than the competition. But when and if my first machine bites the dust, I’ll replace it with another Makita.
Editor Test Results:
||0.002 out of parallel
||0.003 infeed snipe, less than 0.001 outfeed snipe
|Time to Change Knives
|Knives Can Be Sharpened
||99 dB (load)