By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews


Handheld Planers:

Carpenters have been using handheld power planes to adjust doors and plane down cabinets and other boards for years.  The portable handheld power planer has been a huge time saver on the job site.
Handheld planers typically come with a 3-1/4-inch-wide plate and use two carbide cutting blades. These blades have two sharp edges so when one side becomes dull, you can just flip it around and have a sharp edge.



First Impression:

The PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer is the same size as my existing, older planer but was lighter and more comfortable in my hands.

The planer features a 6 AMP motor with 16,500 RPM and is designed for applications which include planning wood doors, planks, rafters and joists, as well as, chamfering or profiling edges.   It has the ability and power to cut a 5/64” cut in one pass.

At first glance I immediately noticed the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer has easy to read and use controls, and a really comfortable, over molded ergonomic grip to reduce vibration.

Some of the newer features I noticed:

Dust Extraction

These tools shoot out a lot of saw dust.  Up to now collecting this dust before it gets in the air or hits the floor was difficult to do.   

Unlike older planers, the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer has a thick mesh filtered dust bag that captures wood debris and dust particles. A dual dust port with a lever that allow you to select which side port [left or right] to extract dust debris.

This lever is a huge advancement and allows the user the flexibility to hold the planer in any position and still be able to collect dust.  My old planer had only one port which meant on some applications my face and eyes were showered in saw dust and debris.

The dust extraction ports are vacuum compatible, and come with an adaptor to connect to most job site vacuum hoses.  The vac adapter fit both my HEPA and Ridgid vac hoses.

Ease of Use:

One of my biggest complaints with older planers was the lack of clear controls for cutter head micro-adjustments.   

The PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer has a real nice cutter head depth adjuster.  The front knob handle also serves as the depth adjuster; it has visual depth markings and 11 positive stops that “click” into position every 1/16 of an inch up to 5/64”.

These stops take the guess work out of how deep a cut your about to make.  I really liked this feature.

The planer cast aluminum shoe is 11-½” and is furnished with three chamfer grooves. These grooves allow users to make the most common bevel cuts with ease.

The edge guide is adjustable and able to mount on both sides of the tool.  Edge guides are super important to me, especially when trimming doHand Planerors.  I felt that all of the design work went into the tool and the edge guide was an after thought.  I found it a bit flimsy.  I’d like to see Porter-Cable to beef up this guide.


Another really nice and long overdue feature is the kickstand.   The kickstand is a small, spring-loaded foot near the back end of the tool that drops down automatically whenever the tool is lifted off the work surface. The kickstand provides clearance for the blade to spin freely, allowing you to put the tool down with the blade still turning and not gouge your work surface.

With the old planers you had to wait for the tool cutters to stop spinning, or place it on its side, to avoid damaging the surface you were placing it down on. 

Do-It-Yourself Maintenance:

PORTER-CABLE designed the new hand planer with replaceable motor brushes with the intent to extend the tool’s longevity.  They incorporated a replaceable belt drive system which can also be quickly replaced.
The PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer comes with a three-year limited warranty, one-year service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.  It will be available through independent distributors for $89.97.

Storage Box:

I’m a big fan of tool boxes verses bags and was glad to see PORTER-CABLE provides a sturdy box.  My only comment on the box is that it is huge when compared to my older planer. 

In defense of the box size the PORTEER-CABLE has a good size dust bag and vac adapter to store.
Using the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer:

We took the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer to the job site and planed some doors that were binding.  On a different job we used it to adjust smooth a floor beam.  The planer worked well but what I noticed the most was the newer features.  Gone were the days of guessing what depth I was cutting at and as well as getting showered in the face with saw dust.

The micro-adjustment not only worked like a dream but I was able to easily reduce snipe on the board

Overall Impression:

I was super impressed with the PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer.  It’s reasonably priced and worth every penny.  

The ergonomic design, light weight and newer features such as the micro adjustment and dust control make an easy tool to use and fall in love with.  Highly recommended.

How Much and Where to Buy:

The PORTER-CABLE Hand Planer is available now through independent distributors and carries a suggested retail price of $89.97

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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