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To trim a board, to adjust a door, to soften an edge, to make a rabbet to fit two pieces... so many easy operations to realize without particular know-how with the electric plane.

test of six electric planes

Using a manual plane requires patience and a good knack. With an electric model, even a novice handyman can tackle large-scale work.

Adjustable depth of cut

The tool cylinder passes through two cast aluminum soles that facilitate sliding on the piece of wood. The outsole allows you to adjust the cutting height via a graduated wheel located on the front of the plane. The setting is scaled in tenths of a millimeter from 0 to 3 mm depending on the model. On the zero, the two soles are perfectly aligned.
By turning the wheel to the desired dimension, the front flange rises and creates a shift with the cylinder and the rear sole which they remain fixed. The soles of the machines of our test have a width of 82 mm which makes it possible to machine correctly and without guide parts up to 75 mm of width. Beyond this, a parallel guide, generally provided, is necessary to make rectilinear passes.

Effective blades

The engine rotates at a high speed (about 15 000 rpm) a tool cylinder equipped with blades that remove a thicker layer (up to 3 mm) at each pass of the plane. The six machines tested here are equipped with motors with a power between 600 and 750 W, which allows for occasional work. The cylinders have one to three blades, tungsten carbide, resistant but disposable because they do not sharpen. They are reversible, mount quite easily via a blade holder and are held in place in the groove of the cylinder by screws. Note that the blades produce a lot of chips. It is therefore desirable to connect the device to a vacuum cleaner. The six machines can receive a hose and three of them (Black + Decker, Skil and Triton) are equipped with a collection bag.

Settings and accessories for electric planes

The depth adjustment knob

The depth adjustment knob cutter also acts as an auxiliary handle (except on the Triton plane).
The wheel locks on the selected side more or less firmly.
On the Dewalt, however, the blocking is a little vague.

Three triangular grooves

Three triangular grooves of different width under the front pad serve as a guide for making the chamfers.
There are two on the Skil and one on the Makita

A hold of rest

A hold of rest located on the rear soleplate allows to put the plane without risk of damaging the iron.

ejection nozzle

By closing one side of the ejection nozzle, it is possible to eject chips on the right or left side depending on the job configuration.
The Makita and Dewalt only eject one side

The dust bag

The dust bag Skil is delivered as a kit.
It takes dexterity to mount it.
That of the Triton is a little small.

The parallel guide

The parallel guide mounts more or less easily.
On the Dewalt and Makita, it's a breeze because their design is simple and in one piece.
The others are composed of several elements and require a little more thought.

Iron change

iron holder

The principle of fixing the carrier in the groove of the cylinder is identical on four machines (Black + Decker, Dewalt, Skil and Triton).
The iron holder is held against the wall of the groove by three hexagonal screws.
Once loosened, simply slide the blade holder out of the groove.

makita electric plane

On the Makita, the blades are held by a plate fixed on the cylinder by three screws.

Bosch electric planer

On the Bosch, two grub screws hold a concave plate that presses the blade onto the cylinder.

Some essential accessories for an electric plane

A rigid transport case facilitates storage of the device and accessories. That of the Makita is transformed into a stackable box, compatible with all the other suitcases of the brand.
A removable parallel guide comes with each machine. It allows to work on a large width and facilitates the realization of rabbets. The Skil is the only one to offer a depth guide to make the rebates as accurately as possible.
In order to dismount irons Easily, each manufacturer provides a flat key or Allen (Bosch). On the Bosch and the Skil, it sits directly on the back of the machine.
Triton can become occasionally a troubleshooting sander. It is supplied with an abrasive paper roll that mounts in place of the tool roll. It is also the only brand to provide a replacement drive belt.

Vigilance!

The planes are not equipped with a cylinder brake. It is therefore necessary to wait for the total stop of the rotation before putting them down. Any intervention on the roller is done machine disconnected.
Finally, if you work indoors, protect your ears with headphones or ear plugs.

Getting started

unlocking the trigger

To unlock the start trigger, press the button on the main handle.

Triton electric plane

The Triton is the only one with an auxiliary handle that offers a good grip.

electric plane

To make rabbets, the parallel guide is essential. That of Dewalt is a little small while that of Black + Decker lacks rigidity. The Triton with its remote engine can make rabbets of unlimited depth.

make chamfers

To make chamfers, compact machines have advantages, such as Bosch or Skil.

Check points

access to coal

On the Black + Decker and Makita, it is easy to access the coal: just unscrew a screw cap to access it.

drive belt

The drive belt is an element that must be checked regularly. It is easy to access on Black + Decker, Bosch, Dewalt and Makita. The guard is just held by a screw.

speed regulator

It's the only one with a cruise control on the back of the main handle. Very practical!

Test procedure

The efficiency of planing allows to check the maximum capacities of each machine according to the data provided by the manufacturers and the precision of the work. This test also takes into account the handling and handling in vertical and horizontal section.
Ergonomics and settings concern the practical aspects of the machine and its general appearance. The ease of operation of the start buttons, the cladding of the main handle and the depth adjustment knob. The accuracy of the settings is also checked.
The accessories are essential and make life easier for the user. This test makes it possible to check the reliability of the supplied accessories and the ease of disassembly and reassembly of the irons.
The comfort of use (in other words the feeling of the user) takes into account the sound level, the vibrations and the flexibility of the various controls

Effective planing

The planes were tested with their maximum and minimum cutting level in horizontal and vertical position on pine rafters and oak beams. These tests made it possible to check their maneuverability and speed of execution. The pieces of wood were measured with calipers before and after cutting. Rebates were made at the maximum dimension of each machine to test the parallel guides and the good heading of the planes. Before the tests, the flatness of the soles was checked. Nothing to report on this side. All these tests allowed to verify the accessories of connection to a vacuum cleaner, the good evacuation of the chips, the noise and the vibrations emitted by each machine.

What to remember from the test?

The plane Triton comes in the lead and it is rather a pleasant surprise, because with this machine, one touches the professional world.
In second place, the Makita is a semi-pro machine, precise and fast with a correct quality of work.
In third place, tied, it's still a good surprise with the Dewalt and the Skil. For the first, it is efficiency and with the second, the comfort of work. Too bad the Dewalt is so expensive.
The Black + Decker arrives fourth and loses points on some practical sides and the finish of the work. But its price can be a criterion of choice.
Finally, Bosch close the march. The work is well done, but slowly.

The favorite of System D: Planer Skil, model 1565

Very good value for money, this planer has all the necessary accessories to cope with a wide range of work. It is manageable, light and its two irons are very effective. The wide depth adjustment knob allows a good grip to steer the machine. Its setting is fairly accurate and the rating, once chosen, remains well calibrated. Thick soles provide good working comfort without too much vibration. This machine is perfect for anyone looking for a plane not too expensive to perform occasional work.

Test of six electric planes: summary table

Presentation of 6 electric planes and test results (in pdf)

comparative table of six electric planes


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