It depends on what you mean by "better deal".
There was a review of benchtop planers in Fine Woodworking a few years
ago which included this planer among nine others in a side by side test.
You can download it as a PDF.
There are several machines that are U.S. specific by name but can
easily be recognised as being sold under a different private label
here. The reviewer split the machines into three price groups (< $300,
$300-400 and >$400. Jet, DeWalt and some others were in the middle
price group, with Delta and Makita in the top price group.
In terms of results, the reviewer graded all of them as able to produce
good results. Not a great deal is said about the Jet either way,
other than it is relatively expensive compared to the others on the
cost of knives and has two handles to lock the cutter block rather than
one. In the mid range group, the reviewer preferred the DeWalt. He
doesn't rate any others in the mid range group apart from Ridgid (which
is Home Depot's private label brand).
I looked at portable planers as an option a few years ago and learned
the following from researching them:
- The results can be good and can be improved if you arrange good
additional support, especially on the outfeed side. The attached
tables are limited. So especially if you intend to plane long pieces,
it's pretty much essential. There have been numerous projects which
incorporate the possibility to place a portable planer in a
- There is going to be snipe. It is worse on smaller machines than the
larger cast iron jobs but can be reduced with outfeed support.
Nonetheless, it may be necessary to allow for perhaps an extra 100mm or
so on the length of material and cut this off after thicknessing.
- There is going to be a lot of noise. Hearing protection mandatory.
Early Sunday morning not popular with neighbours.
- There is going to be a lot of waste shavings and dust. Friends who
have portable thicknessers say that dust collection is necessary or
there will be a mess over a wide area. Normally a thicknesser,
especially a portable one, is run with 1-2mm cut at a time, larger
machines will do more. Even at 1mm, on wide board, there is a lot
of waste production very quickly. It's possible to just about get
away with a large shop-vac type of cleaner with a wide bore (50mm) hose
as long as passes are thin, but much more and it will block easily
which is very frustrating. Really, it is necessary to have a proper
dust extractor with at least a 100mm hose unless one is willing to put
up with the inconvenience and mess and use is occasional.
If you are going to need to do planing as well and space is available,
then a floor-standing planer-thicknesser is a better proposition.
After trying out various things, that's what I ended up doing.
Equally, I do know people who are getting good results with portable
planers, albeit with all the caveats.
Thanks very much, Andy.
I'm not really set up to handle mounds and clouds of shavings and dust.
I've had another think and I'm going to find a joiners shop that will run
the boards thru their machine.
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