Hand Planer vs Table Planer

If you are someone who cherishes the art of woodwork, we are sure you know the importance of picking the right planer. This write-up is all about the great debate surrounding a hand planer vs table planer and which one should we use.

There are many advantages of fixing and building your own furniture at home. First and foremost, it gives you a great flexibility and choice, you can simply gather all sorts of ideas and combine them into your very own masterpiece. Secondly, you have the option of choosing your materials, which is amazing in terms of durability and of course your budget. Last but not the least, the furniture you make will be as per your requirements. It would fit in your rooms easily as it’s you who are building it. Similarly, the choice of fixing your furniture at home has its unique advantages too.

If you are reading this post, chances are you already have made up your mind of doing it yourself. So, we think that you don’t need an introduction to the tools but some differences and which one is ideal for what purpose. Read this article further as we will discuss pertinent points of hand planer vs table planer and some information about these tools.

Hand Planer VS Table Planer: What’s The Difference?

A hand planer is used in cutting woods into pieces as per the specifications. The proof of the usage of this tool dates back to medieval times, and it is still widely used by artiseans from all around the world. Some have shifted to electric planers; however, the professionals still trust the manual hand planer when it comes to pure quality and precision.

A Bench planer is a tool that helps in creating flat surfaces using wood’s surfaces and edges. When bulkier wood is cut into several small pieces, the surface is usually uneven. To flatten this surface and give it a better, smoother shape, the table planer is used.

Which One Should You Go For?

Some woodworkers have this hypothesis that a hand planer and a table planer are similar tools and can be used interchangeably. That, however, is not the case. Please read on for more information.

Type of Wood Finish

The type of wood you’re working with will primarily decide your tools. Before that, let’s explain briefly the two main types of wood. The S2S is wood that has two sides already surfaced up, but the other two are kind of rough. So, work is required. S4S is wood that has all four sides worked up and smoothened, which means there is no work required. If you are working on an S2S and aiming to join big pieces together – a table planer should be your number one choice.

Here are some of the most popular on Amazon if you are going to find yourself working with a lot of S2S types of woods.

The Edges And Surfaces

The volume of work required will entirely depend on the type of surface of the wood. If it’s a rough one with lots of edges, the work required will be more and vice versa. In case you’re working on a rougher surface, we recommend using a table planer. If the surface is smooth and you just need to shave a little off, you should ideally go for hand planer.


A piece of wood can lose its flatness due to a variety of reasons such as storing it the wrong way, being exposed to humidity, etc. If the piece of wood you are working on is out of shape and badly needs smoothening, we recommend using a table planer.

Wood Measurement

Any good carpenter will plan his or her work before commencing it. Some work requires extra attention to detail as they include working on smaller pieces of wood. If that’s the case, we recommend using the hand planer as it is built for precision and gives quality output.

Parallel Surfaces

If you are a woodworker, you would ideally want a smooth surface on all your pieces. This is a wish that hardly ever comes true. The good thing here is that carpenters can leave some work unfinished and it would still be counted as a job well done. We are talking about woodworks that don’t need parallel surfaces. Some good examples are the undersides of bed, support beams, etc. These are all hidden and can be left rough. However, parallel surfaces like window frames, tables, and doors, require more work, which we think is better handled by using a hand planer.

Surface Imperfections

It is very important to check the surface of the wood for imperfections. Many imperfections like holes, scratches, and dings can be removed with the help of a hand planer. Now, why would the surface contain imperfections? It is because they are much cheaper to get and many lumber stores would offer a discount on all such pieces of wood. Getting cheaper material would ultimately lower the cost incurred. So yes, it’s worth trying, especially when you have a reliable tool like a powered hand planer.

Checking For Wood Twist

Wood twisting refers to two parts of a wood board not laying flat and are twisting away from each other. This happens quite a lot. Depending upon the degree of the twist, a table planer can be used to correct this issue. Generally speaking, it is easier to fix smaller pieces of wood, as they tend to have smaller twists.


Woodworking is a delicate art that holds great importance for tools. We have tried our best at explaining the hand planer vs table planer and the importance of each and when to use them. Whichever is ideal for you, it is always best to keep in mind that while the hand planer and the table planer might seem alike, using them the right way, on the right type of wood for the exact purpose they were built for, will help you deliver quality results that you have always been aiming for.

The truth of the matter is, if you plan on making your own furniture or you are remolding a house, we really recommend you get yourself both types of planers. While your at it, get yourself some manual hand planes as well, just for the finer details instead of having to use your electric planer.

Here’s a few to consider

In the end having all 3 types it will save you a lot of time and frustrations but your projects will be constructed with a lot more precision. Meaning? Your workmanship will show in the end result!!

We hope this article has helped you in some way and feel free to contact us or leave a comment.

All the best in your woodworking adventures!


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