DIY can be very cathartic but also highly productive.
In order to get the best results out of our handiwork though, we have to ensure that we have the right tools and the highest quality.
When it comes to a power tool, a wood planer is no exception.
If you’re in the market for a bench top planer, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best, the most durable and the most accurate that your money can buy.
We’ve been perusing a variety of planer models and recently tried and tested a WEN planer and decided to give you all a share of our findings.
This review will show you all the ins and outs of this power planer, including the design, the appearance, the durability and overall use – along with some pros and cons for the potential customer to think about.
So, pour yourself a cup of coffee and get comfortable as we guide you through our review of a WEN planer.
WEN At A Glance
WEN have been producing some of the best quality woodwork tools for many years and have had some very positive user reviews across a broad range of their products.
As a result, we thought about looking at WEN for a wood planer. WEN have provided us with a highly powerful and reliable wood planer for us to use and review.
Due to WEN having so many wood planers available on the market, we’ve decided to focus on one of their most popular wood planer products – the WEN 1303 – for the purposes of this review.
Why plane your wood by hand when WEN has delivered such a powerful and simple product that can make your DIY life much easier?
The cut and feed rate of this planer is difficult to match with other products on the market and can plane most, if not all, types of woods.
Got a difficult and stubborn type of mahogany? Not a problem for the WEN wood planer!
It can handle very large tasks with minimal effort from the user, and surprisingly it does not leave too much leftover sawdust or other debris.
Granted, there is some – but it’s nothing compared to what some other planers have done before!
Let’s take a look at the basic specifications for this model of planer:
- Motor = 120v/15a
- CPM (Cuts Per Minute) = 30,000
- Stock width (Max) = 13″
- Stock thickness (Max) = 6″
- Feed rate per minute (26ft)
- Weight (Gross) = 79lbs
As you can see, even before use – this wood planer has some very competitive specifications.
For those who are familiar with wood planers, you’ll know that the cut rate here is very high, and you’ll struggle to find another planer that can offer these kinds of figures.
It’s important that we next move onto the overall design and make-up of the planer and what we thought about that!
Design And Appearance
Similar to most other WEN products, the WEN 1303 bench top planer is made with some of the most durable and reliable materials you can hope for with any DIY product.
It has the duality of being tough and stable whilst also not being so heavy that you cannot move it to a different area.
This light weight of the planer made it incredibly simple to shift around the workspace and made cleaning up a breeze.
It’s also simple to move around due to its onboard rubber grip handles.
This is something that anybody in the market for a new bench top planer should be looking for.
Don’t be fooled by planers that are heavier in the thought process that they must be the most sturdy – the WEN planer is one of the most sturdy you can try.
In terms of general appearance, it definitely plays its part. It’s pleasing to the eye and can make any work station look professional, clean and tidy.
In fact, we found the color scheme made it much easier to see the wood, as it didn’t blend into a lighter color.
The planer is designed to allow you to move parts and pieces around with little trouble and at a serious pace.
If you needed to disassemble the mechanism for example, perhaps to flip the blades, you can do this in a matter of minutes.
The best part of that is how it has safety in mind – you’ll be able to disassemble the planer without fear of injuring yourself – giving you the confidence you need to get the job done!
When in use, it does have a bit of a noise problem, but it’s difficult to find a quiet planer if we’re being honest.
Its loudness though, does not detract from all of its benefits.
It’s designed to fight back against vibrations while it’s in use – so it’s more about practicality rather than being pleasing to your ears.
We’ve found this much better when weighing it up as the resistance to vibration makes the planer suitable for easy use.
How Stable Is This Planer?
Due to its sturdy base, it doesn’t matter too much what sort of bench top table you’ve placed it on.
Luckily, this particular model comes with a granite table to assist in its stability and sturdy base.
Ideally, you’ll be placing this onto a workbench and bolting it in. This will give you the peace of mind that is crucial when dealing with bladed tools.
Due to its stability and assisted design, this particular model is becoming increasingly more popular with shop enthusiasts and those who want to start projects from the comfort of their garage.
We found that during planing, there was little kickback, and it was an entirely smooth process.
We ensured that the planer was fixed into place prior to use and during use – there was no worry of the planer falling off or failing to work.
Is It Easy To Use?
It is difficult to search the market for a planer that is so easy to use and with so many handy features.
It’s a highly advanced tool that aims to allow the user to move through their work with ease.
The high RPM and easy-to-use handles allow you to plane your wood to your own specifications. It really personalizes and eases the process.
We found that people with little experience and lack of shop skills were able to use this planer with as much ease as those who were staunch veterans to the game.
Does The Planer Leave Lots Of Mess?
This particular model is designed with two built in dust ports.
What this means is that your off-shavings and sawdust debris will go in one direction, and you know exactly where that will be going.
If you wish, you can add a dust hose to it which makes the cleaning process even easier!
If you have something that the sawdust can chute right into, simply add your dust hose and aim it at your chosen container during the planing process.
If you’re extremely lucky, you’ll have absolutely no debris left over, but the likelihood is there will be some – it just won’t be overwhelming.
In our experience, we simply needed to brush up once post-planing, and it took less than 5 minutes to have the work area completely clean once again.
What About Blade Removal?
The fantastic design of the WEN planer means that blade removal is as easy as pie.
Removing blades is essential to the longevity of your planer and keeping the tool clean and unclogged.
Blade swapping can be done very easily and in a matter of minutes, but you might have to get used to it first.
We found that it took a minute to work it all out, but once we’d got to grips with it, it was quick and easy to do it again.
How Safe Is The WEN Planer?
WEN has your safety in mind and its design supports this with safety handles and a strong durability and stability.
However, it’s crucial that anybody who is dealing with bladed tools understands that extra safety precautions always need to be taken, including:
- Wear safety equipment (glasses, apron, gloves)
- Keep children and pets out of the workstation
- Ensure the machine is switched off before putting your hands near the blades
- Keep the planer out of reach when not in use, or lock the workstation up
Summary: What We Think
Overall, this WEN planer was so easy to use and incredibly durable.
It holds up against many others in the market, and we’ve found that it can be used with experienced and inexperienced users.
It’s recommended that if you are inexperienced, you always have someone with experience nearby though for safety reasons.
The price is agreeable, and it’s definitely worth its tag. If you’re in the market for a wood planer, we’d seriously urge you to consider this model!
We hope this review has been of use to you. Have fun with your wood projects!