Best Hand Planes in 2021 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Every woodworker needs to have a hand plane as part of their tool box. If you’ve been in woodworking for any length of time, you already know the value of a hand plane. These are essential and there are a lot of options out there. You might see terms like hand planes, bench planes, jack plane, block plane, or even something else.

Each of these falls into the best hand planes categories and has a unique purpose. If it’s time to replace your hand plane or simply add a new one, we’ve got you covered these top rated hand plane reviews. We’ve narrowed down the market to the very best wood plane options on the market and we are here to share them with you.

In this guide, you will see the top hand planes reviews, complete with every detail about just what it is that makes these the best wood planes out there.

Top Rated Hand Planes Review

antique hand plane
Image by Jean van der Meulena from Pixabay

In these reviews, we will share everything about the best handle plan details, among other details. These hand planes for wood are all great options and we hope you can find the best hand plane for your needs here!

1. Best Overall: Stanley Hand Planer 12-220

Stanley Hand Planer 12-220

This first hand plane from Stanley is what we feel is the best overall option on the market and we bet Lie Nielsen would agree it’s a high quality option from one of the most reliable brands out there. This low angle block plane has an adjustable mouth that is manually adjustable and adds to the quality of the hand tool.

This top pick is one of the best selling options on the market. It’s a general purpose smoothing plane that is perfect for crafting and light duty with a reliable plane blade that every hand planer should have. The bed angle rests at 21 degrees but is adjustable. This tool has machined sides as many block planes do.

These hand tools are made with a low angle cutter but it is fully adjustable to 45 degrees or the depth and alignment you need for your blade when using the jointer plane tool. These jack planes are durable and sturdy, made with a cast iron base and perfect for cross grain and end grain planes.

The Stanley hand planes are covered by a limited lifetime warranty, which just another reason this pick is a top choice in our post. Keep in mind, handplanes are mean to be efficient and lasting and the posts should stand behind that.

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Why We Like It

This low angle block plane is a high quality option among hand tools and one that you can certainly rely on. The brand is reliable and Lie Nielsen has also mentioned these winners among quality jack plane options. Built to last plane tool that is simple and reliable.

2. Budget Pick: Yogeon Tiny Woodworking Plane

Yogeon Tiny Woodworking Plane

This next article is a mini size bench plane that is really great. Yogeon Tiny Woodworking Plane is a high quality wood plane that is a budget friendly option and yet another smoothing plane that Lie Nielsen would approve of. It’s a low angle jack plane that is perfect for woodworking. It only weighs about 1-4 ounces and is made with wood and other reliable materials.

This is a tiny size pick and it will fit smoothly and easily in your hand. It makes a very good smoothing plane bench plane tools. If you went looking for old board options from flea markets, they might have a knob design similar to this. This option has a knob and an adjustment lever cap so you can try the plane with all of the control your mind could possibly need.

Check out the photo but this size of handplane is really impressive. It’s not bulky like some shoulder planes but it can certainly handle any board wood work you throw at it. This one has surface accuracy and is made with quality steel blade materials that can adjust for your side cutting depth needs.

Don’t let the small articles fool you. These types of jack planes can still pack some power and work with various edges and grains to get the work done that you need it to. These handplanes give you a choice for your surface and work really well as a smoothing plane tool as well.

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Why We Like It

This pick is a unique one for a block plane but it’s one that we feel deserves recognition. Every worker needs a small hand plane at some time. A 5 jack plane, jointer plane, or bench plane cannot always be the solution. Whether you test it with a photo or the sweetheart design, this mini handplane is a good option to have on hand.

3. Taytools 469614 Smooth Bench Hand Plane

Taytools 469614 Smooth Bench Hand Plane

Hurry up and snap a photo because you don’t want to miss this beautiful bench plane that is another of the best hand planes out there. Taytools 469614 is a premium model that costs quite a bit more than some jack plane, jointer plane, bench planes, or block planes but the overall design is well worth it and it is stunning with a woodriver finish that makes a perfect photo option.

This smoothing plane hand plane is a low angle bench planes solution that measures well. It’s 9 1/4 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide, giving you a block planes design and size. The jointer plane weighs about 4 pounds in your hand.

These bench planes are very durable with 1-2 layers of cast iron and a sturdy blade that can tackle any wood board. This smooth woodriver option has sturdy blades and side edges as well. It really stands out against others in many ways. The knuckle cap is also well designed to protect your hand.

With a knob and jack design, you get precision and control over any type of grain on the wood. Your Veritas photo could never outdo this plane tool. With low angle capabilities and plenty of adjustability, this block plane is well worth the money for the quality.

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Why We Like It

This wood plane option is one for the books. With a 2 1/2 inch width and a solid blade and plane design, you really can’t go wrong. This is a quality tool and the price reflects that. Whether you’re after a jack plane or you just need a good blade for wood, this one will always cover you.

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Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to choosing a hand plane, there are some things to consider. The blade and the wood are all important but what else might you want to consider before you just jump in and buy a plane. You will notice that we showed 3 very different options here. They are all great planes in their own way and hopefully one (or all) of them will work nicely for your plane needs.

Blade

The blade is an essential part of your plane. It has to be able to handle the wood you are going to pit it against, right? The nice thing about most planes is that you can adjust the blade and sharpen it to meet your preferences. It can often take quite a bit of work to get a plane set up exactly how you like it.

Plane Type

Another important factor might be the type of plan you need or want to use. This could vary depending on your work. Some planes are made for bigger jobs and require two hands to operate, while other options you might be able to control in the palm of your hands.

Some are large and intuitive while others are small and simple. These can all be great in their own way and their own time. It really depends on the project you are working on and what you specifically need at the time. We meant it when we said you might need each of these at some point in time.

It’s a good idea to have several options for your needs on hand. Whether you start with 1 or 2 and build to your collection or you just find a couple of versatile options that you can use for just about anything.

Durability

Another quality factor is the durability. The materials that these planes are made with can vary greatly. You will notice that a lot of options out there are cast iron but there are some options that are just made with wood as well.

These can all be durable materials. They are suited to different types of projects and uses so keep that in mind when you set your expectations for the use of your planer. You want something that will be durable and will last for years. You shouldn’t have to replace your planer every year or two. The materials and the durability really should hold up for extended periods of time, even with regular use.

Comfort

Another very important factor is comfort. Here is the thing, you’re probably going to be handling your plane a lot and it will be in your hands. You’re going to be handling it and putting pressure on it over and over again. It makes sense that it would be comfortable to wield, right?

Many planes have a knob for added comfort. Not only does this give more control and precision but it makes it far more comfortable to handle overall as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Hand Planes Should I Start With?

A #4 hand plane is a good versatile and universal option that works well for a lot of different projects. This is a simple hand plane that is great to start with. Another good option might be the #5 jack plane as well. You can always build from there.

Are WoodRiver Planes Any Good?

WoodRiver is an extensively premium brand of planes. They are very good and also can get pretty expensive. They are typically prepped and ready to get to work but even WoodRiver sometimes requires sharpening and honing before using.

What is the Rarest Stanley Plane?

One of the hardest Stanley options to find is the Stanley #164 low angled plane. This came out in the 1920s and was only built for about 17 years. There are still many out there but they are very rare.

Conclusion

Finding the best hand plane doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with a reliable and quality option and then you can always build on your collection from there. We provided three very different options here and they are all great and reliable choices in their own way.

Which one do you plan to start with?

Expert Tip

Get a #4 or #5 style hand plane to start with. These will handle the majority of tasks and are great for beginners. As you build skill, you can start testing out more specialized options.

Did You Know?

Some of the antique hand planes out there are the best ones ever made. It can be very fun and exciting to find an old, specialized plane. If you come across one, hold it dear.

Amazon Recommends:

Bestseller No. 1
STANLEY Hand Planer, Black/Red (12-220)
  • Manually adjustable
  • General purpose, ideal for 1-12-220 Makers, craft and all light duty jobs
  • Cutter rests at a 21° angle, ideal for cross-grain planing
  • Both the 12-247 and 12-220 have machined sides
  • Cutter rests at a 21° angle, ideal for cross-grain planing
SaleBestseller No. 2
KAKURI Woodworking Japanese Block Plane 42mm, Manual Hand Size Mini Kanna Wood Planer, 1.6 × 5.9 ×2.1 inches (41931)
  • JAPANESE WOODEN PULL PLANE KANNA: Ideal Japanese type woodworking hand planer for surface finishing of wood. You can make smooth chamfers by polishing the wood with this handtool. Because it is used by pulling instead of pushing, it is easy to apply force evenly, and accurate and efficient straight carpentry work is possible. It can be used not only for professional carpenters but also for a home DIY woodworkers.
  • EASY TO HANDLE MINI SIZE: A small handy size wood planer. Ideal for chamfering corner of the wood. Angled shave is possible. Because it can be operated with one hand, it is also useful for precision work. The portable size is convenient for carrying around.
  • TOP QUALITY JAPANESE TOOL: Only Japanese high-grade materials are used. The plane blade is razor-sharp and durable, it is possible to restore the sharpness by sharpening the blade with a whetstone. Also, the wooden body is heavy duty and excellent wear resistance. All KAKURI brand products are manufactured in Japan and handcrafted by Japanese craftsmen.
  • OFFICIAL ENGLISH INSTRUCTION: KAKURI Official English instruction is included. The length of the blade is adjustable by hitting with a hammer. Fine adjustment of the blade is necessary when using a Japanese plane.
  • PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS: Made in Japan / Body: Oak wood / Blade: Japanese high carbon steel / Size: 2.2×5.9×1.6 inches
Bestseller No. 3
Amazon Basics No.4 Bench Hand Plane - 2-Inch Blade
  • Universal bench hand plane for precision woodworking
  • Durable steel alloy blade makes quality cuts
  • Impact-resistant plastic handle with contoured grip
  • Durable cast iron body provides stability and strength
  • Adjustable gear that allows you to achieve precise results