Electric planers are woodworkers’ best friend. They require much less effort in handling wood than those old-fashioned manual planers, and they are certainly must-haves if you work with wood frequently.
Looking for an electric planer? Let us present you with three models on our WEN planer reviews! Apart from examining WEN 6552, 6550, and 6530, we are also going to provide you with a handy buying guide to help you with choosing the right model.
Let’s get started!
WEN 6552 is the most functional and powerful planer we will be reviewing today. While it is designed for specific uses as you will see later on, it does what it is created for well. Let’s see what it has got!
- WEN 6552 boasts a heavy-duty cast iron frame, which is designed to reduce wobbling during operation.
- Powered by a 15A motor delivering 25,500 cuts per minute. Its feed rate is also quite nice – 26 feet per minute.
- Accepts up to 6-inch thick and 13-inch wide wood. You can precisely set up the necessary height of the cutter head with the planer thickness gauge and the convenient rubber adjustment handle. You could set up the machine to slice off anywhere between 0 and 3/32 inches for each pass.
- Speaking of blades, WEN 6552 is equipped with three durable blades to support the powerful motor in helping you with reforming your worn wood pieces.
- WEN 6552 has a fan-assisted dust port, which removes sawdust from your workpiece as well as the job site. To avoid debris all over the place, you could attach a dust extraction device or a vac to the dust hose connection port.
- With the onboard material removal gauge, you can quickly check on the cutting depth after each pass.
- The granite non-marring table offers you a number of advantages. Firstly, the roller feed system smoothly slides the workpiece along the table’s surface. Additionally, the granite surface surely won’t scratch the wood. Lastly, you can easily clean the nonstick table after the work is done.
- The infeed and outfeed tables allow longer workpieces to slide through the planer smoother. The angle of both tables can be easily adjusted to the workpiece. Additionally, bigger support surface combined with the tri-roller system allows the machine to reduce sniping.
- WEN 6553 features side handles for easy transportation.
- Comes backed up by a 2-year warranty as well as a nationwide support from skilled service technicians.
WEN 6550 is quite similar to 6552, but as you will see in a bit on the WEN 6550 planer review, 6550 is slightly less functional.
- WEN 6550 has a heavy-duty cast iron table, which allows for elimination of wobbling and walking.
- The 15A motor of 6550 delivers 18,800 cuts per minute, quite a bit less than 6552. However, the feed rate remains the same at 26 feet per minute.
- In terms of workpiece compatibility, 6550 takes 6-inch thick and 12.5-inch wide boards, slightly narrower than WEN 6552. The height of the cutting mechanism can be adjusted between 0 and 3/32 inches with the rubber rotating handle, each rotation of which adjusts the height by 1/16 of an inch.
- WEN 6550 features a two-blade cutting mechanism, which should be just enough to fully reveal the power of the 18,800 cut-per-minute motors.
- WEN 6550 also has a fan-assisted dust port. Just like with 6552, you could attach your dust extraction device or a dry/wet vac to be able to easily dispose of debris.
- This model has a granite table as well. Its non-marring surface allows the roller feed system to smoothly slide the workpiece without damaging it. And as you would already expect, it is easy to clean.
- The already-familiar infeed and outfeed tables are also here to provide the workpieces with additional support. Angle adjustments will allow you to regulate feeding more flexible.
- Reduced snipe thanks to the tri-roller system and the large surface of the table.
- This thickness planer can be easily transported thanks to its side handles.
- Comes backed up by a2-year warranty and skilled technicians always ready to help you.
Thickness planers are designed to help you easily level out workpieces. But if you want to have more control over the material, a thickness planer like 6550 and 6552 will probably be of no use because they have clear workpiece size constraints. That’s when planers like WEN 6530 come into play.
While 6552 and 6550 were thickness planers, WEN6350is a hand planer. We will be examining the differences between those two types a little bit later. Now, let’s move on to WEN 6530 hand planer review!
- 6530 boasts a powerful 6A motor generating up to 34,000 cuts per minute. Two blades each working at 17,000 RMP make sure that you get clean and refined cuts.
- The sharp HSS reversible blades are greatly suitable for finishing tasks.
- The inbuilt retractable kickstand allows you to protect the blades from accidental contact with the surface during rest.
- WEN 6530 features a widely adjustable cutting depth between 0 and 1/8 inches, making this model a little bit less precise than 6550 and 6552. The depth can be regulated via the convenient rotating handle.
- Features a rabbeting guide to help you make rabbets with a size of up to 7/10 of an inch.
- WEN 6530 comes with a parallel fence bracket to help you make perfectly straight cuts.
- The V-shaped groove in the middle of the base plate allows you to chamfer the corners of your workpiece with ease.
- WEN 6530 weighs only around 6 pounds, making it is useless exhausting.
- The multi-directional dust chute allows you to attach a dust extraction device or vac. WEN 6530 comes with a dust bag that can be attached to either side of the planer.
- WEN offers the same support for 6530 as for the two other models we examined.
WEN 6530’s purposes slightly differ from the ones of 6550 and 6552. While 6530 won’t be as good at finishing wider planks, it certainly is a much more flexible device. For example, it can chamfer corners, unlike thickness planers. It also allows you to work on more precise and delicate projects. However, if you only need to just level out a piece of wood, nothing can beat thickness planers.
WEN 6552 vs WEN 6550
|Features||WEN 6552||WEN 6550|
|Motor power||25,500 cuts per minute @ 26 feet per minute||18,800 cuts per minute @ 26 feet per minute|
|Workpiece capacity||13 (W) x 6 (H) inches||12.5 (W) x 6 (H) inches|
|Onboard material removal gauge||Yes||No|
|Number of blades||3||2|
While WEN 6552 and 6550 are quite similar, there are some serious differences you should consider before choosing one of them. The most important distinguishing feature is the speed of the motor. WEN 6552 processes wood more precisely than 6550. Although the cuts per minute for each separate blade is lower with WEN 6552, the greater number of blades allows it to do more cuts per minute than 6550.
Apart from the motor, what also differs is the maximum supported width of a workpiece. 6552 takes a bit more than 6550 – 13 to 12.5 inches. If you know that you will be working with 12.5 – 13-inch planks, go for the 6552.
And the last difference is the onboard material removal gauge. It allows you to know precisely how much material the thickness planer planed with each pass, though you shouldn’t expect it to be 100% accurate. If you need the machine to be as precise as possible, the right thing to do would be to choose a thickness planer with a material removal gauge like WEN 6552.
Because thickness and hand planers are different, we will approach their important features separately. Let’s begin with hand planers.
Things To Look For In Hand Planers
The length & width of the base are the fundamental features of hand planers. Generally, the bigger a hand planer is, the larger projects it can handle. Smaller hand planers are ideal for small home applications like adjusting cupboard doors or making shelves. To pick the best length & width of the planer, you will need to know the size of the workpieces you will be working with.
Hand planers come with either carbide blades (sometimes called “knives” by professionals) and high-speed steel (HSS) blades.
In general, carbide blades last much longer than HSS blades, but they won’t deliver as good finish. On the other hand, sharp HSS blades are perfect if you want to handle the wood as best as possible. HSS blades can also be sharpened with a sharpening jig to make them even better.
WEN 6530 Comes With HSS Blades
Apart from the regular flat-base hand planers, there are curved-base planers available. They are designed to create arches or attach “rough-hewn” finish to the workpiece. If that’s something you need, a hand planer with a curved base would be the right choice.
If you do not really need mobility, there is no point in going for a cordless model. On the other hand, cordless models will allow you to not worry about the cord tangling and getting in your way. Besides, you won’t be limited by the length of the cord.
Fences are attached to the hand planer to allow for perfectly straight cuts.If you want to handle planks and boards more precisely, a fence is a must. The majority of available hand planers come with adjustable fences, including WEN 6530.
Things to Look For In Thickness Planers
The cutter head hugely impacts the quality of the finish you get. It also affects the noise level produced by the machine.
There are two main types of cutter heads – helical and straight-knife. Helical cutter heads deliver better finishes and are less noisy. However, they consume more power and are more expensive. Helical cutter heads are equipped with carbide blades that are quite difficult to sharpen.
On the other hand, straight-knife cutter heads are equipped with HSS blades that can be repeatedly sharpened. Straight-knife cutter heads are cheaper and are easier to slide boards through, but they also are less durable.
The capacity of a thickness planer is the maximum workpiece size the machine can accommodate. Although you should choose a thickness planer with the required capacity, we would recommend you to go as big as possible in order to have room for possible future larger projects.
Some thickness planers are capable of handling board snipe. Snipe is a defect occurring due to the weight of the board and results in undesirable dips at its ends. Although snipe can’t be eliminated completely, thickness planers, including WEN 6550 and 6552, come with roller mechanisms reducing snipe.
Another feature contributing to snipe handling is the infeed and outfeed tables that support the wood. Furthermore, you can also try to support the board from both ends to reduce snipe as much as possible.
Table materials are exceptionally important as well. Granite tables, like the ones of WEN 6552 and 6550, allow the workpieces to slide smoothly through the machine without scratching. Such tables are also easy to clean, so make sure to pick a table with a smooth surface.
To avoid wobbling and ensure stability during work, thickness planers need to have a sturdy design. One of the best choices would be getting a machine with a heavy, cast iron base, like 6552 and 6550.
Planers are mostly equipped with either induction or universal motors. Induction motors are typically stronger and more durable but also heavier than universal units. Planers with induction motors are much more suitable for workshops, while the lightweight planers with universal motors are ideal for more general applications.Thickness planers usually come with induction units while hand planers have universal motors.
Generally, the harder the materials you will be working with, the more powerful motor you will need. We would advise you to never go below 8,000-10,000 RPM.
These days, almost all planers come with dust extraction systems. Those mechanisms draw away dust, debris, and whatnot from your material and the job site. You could further enhance the machine by attaching a dust extraction device or a dust bag to it.
Did our WEN planer reviews help you with making the final choice? If so, go buy the best model! Otherwise, continue your research, look into different kinds of models, and you will surely find the one you are looking for!