15 Best Types of Planers | What Are They Used For?

Ever tried hanging a door on its hinges only for it not to fit?  Yep, we’ve all been there.  A little bit here and there needs shaving off and to do that quickly and neatly you will need a planer.  Only, it’s not as simple as that because there are so many types of planers to choose from, be it manual or powered, or material-specific tools.

Knowing which one you need will save you time and money and in this article, we take you on a whistle-stop tour into the world of planers. Planers are grouped according to their power source, production material, and usage. There are also other types of special planers. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll provide in this types of planers article:

  • First, we’ll share the manual types of planers
  • Then, we’ll explore the powered options
  • Then, we’ll look at planers for specific materials
  • And finally, ones for a specific use or task.

Let’s get to it!

Buy Planers on Amazon


Types of Manual Planers 

Hand plane

The manual hand planer is the oldest planer consisting of sharpened metal plates attached to steady bodies. The metal part smoothens the surface by shaving the high spots when the body is moved over a wood surface. Examples of a handheld planer include trimming planer, spoke planer, bench planer, and pocket planer.


This woodworking planer has two handles and is also a manual planer but, quite different from the hand planer since it is mostly made of metal. It allows users to exert more muscle force with both hands. You need this type of planer when working on chair legs, arrows, and bows.

Surform planes

This consists of a wood surface and form. It mostly resembles a food grater built with a perforated metal sheet. It is used as a surface planer to reduce the thickness of wood by taking out a particular surface layer by layer. You can also use it to shape the edge of wooden parts, foam, rubber, soft metals, and plastic. It is mostly referred to as a combination RASP.

Hand Scraper 

This is a long metal tool with a single sharp edge at its bottom end. Unlike the previous planes, it is used to clean stains on metal surfaces, giving them a delicate or beautiful finish. It is similar to a chisel plane.

Flat plane bottom-edged wood hand planer

This is the best tool for a DIYer. Despite its small size, it is a powerful trimming tool. It is made of a wooden block with a rectangular hole at the center. The gap has a sharp and durable blade. Keep in mind that most of the time, this blade comes devoid of handles. 


Buy Planers on Amazon

Types of Electric Planers

Hand plane

The handheld planer machine is one of the most familiar tools in big woodworking projects. It is the electric version of the hand planer. It helps you preserve your muscle power when working on wood surfaces. The electric hand planer is mostly used to smoothen wood surfaces. Traditionally you could only purchase a corded power hand planer but with the advancement in battery technology, a cordless planer model is equally as powerful and durable.

Benchtop Planer 

A visit to a random workshop will reveal a benchtop planer as it’s a very common woodworking machine. This electric tool is also called a benchtop thickness planer and is generally bigger than other types, howvever most decent models are lightweight and have carry handles making them an ideal portable planer.

This electric planer is used to trim rough, old, and uneven wood to suit given projects. You can also use it to reduce the thickness of wood or even smoothen its sides due to the high RPM of the spiral cutterhead. A bench plane is the right cutting tool if you want to one side of a piece of wood or board at a time and some brands also offer a jointer planer combo for a small amount more.

Molding planer

Certain projects require that you come up with technical shapes and designs on wood, which calls for this type of shaper machine. This machine is best used on hardwood, given that it is a moderate-duty machine.

Stationary Planer 

It would help if you had a stationary power planer for big projects, mostly involving heavy and wide pieces of large wood. Unlike the previous planer, it is considered a heavy-duty wood planer, owing to the nature of the projects it serves. The stationary planer differs in shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that you will need a large space to operate this heavy-duty device.

Buy Planers on Amazon

Planers for Different Materials

Wooden plane 

The wood plane is the commonest of all. It is only made of wood and uses a sharp metal blade to cut through wood. Most woodworkers prefer this tool since it is easy to use as opposed to other versions. The metal blade is put in place by a wooden wedge and adjusted using a hammer. The wooden plane serves a similar purpose to the other planes, and also acts as a smoothing planer for intricate work pieces.

Metal plane

You have an idea of what a metal plane looks like by now. Like the wooden plane, this tool is exclusively made of metals except in the handle and knobs. It is simpler than it sounds, even though it makes use of several metal items. You need a metal hand plane to reduce the size of a given surface, smoothen and level it. Some of the metallic parts are the blade adjuster, steel sole, iron blade, leaver cap, cutting edge, and the lever cap screw. 

Transitional plane 

This is often considered a hybrid plane. It is more of a blend of the wooden and metal plane. In case you are wondering, this plane has a wooden body held together by a metal casting that adjusts the blade. Note that you have to ensure that the wooden body that you want to work on is in good shape before using the tool. 

Infill planes 

An infill plane is made of hardwood. It has a characteristic blade that slides on the hardwood, creating space for the formation of a handle. The wooden part is often covered by a metal shape that looks filled with wood, hence the plane’s name. The infill plane is used to smoothen difficult grained woods. 

Side-escapement plane

It is accurate to say that this is an extended version of the wooden plane owing to its material and shape. This is a unique plane with a tall narrow, rigid body and an iron blade put in place by a wedge. It has a different working mechanism from other wood planers, making it even more distinct. A side escapement plane has a slit strategically placed in the side, which ejects the shavings. This is quite different from other wood planers, which expel shavings from the center of the plan and exit from the top. It is mostly used for projects which require a high level of craft and precision. 


Check Latest Price on Amazon


Planers Usage 

Planes are also grouped according to their use. Here is a common type 

Scrub plane

The scrub plane is quite impressive, thanks to its short sole and thick blade. Its edge is also deeply curved, creating room for a wide mouth. You can establish that it is relatively shorter from its description. It is narrow and robust, allowing users and ardent woodworkers to remove wood from any surface. This tool is not exclusively used on wooden surfaces. It serves both metal and wood provided that you have different blades.

Other types of blades based on usage are jointer plane, block planer, jack planer, trimming plane, and smoothing plane.

Here are some other articles you may like:

Jointer Vs Planer | Which One is Right for Your Needs?

10 Best Electric Hand Planers of 2021 | Honest Reviews & Buying Guide

DEWALT DW735 Planer Review – Affordable Excellence?

Other Planers to Consider:

CLICK any image to see Ratings & Reviews on Amazon


Walts DIY is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Walter Snyder