Thinking of buying my first portable planer and seeing good reviews of Wen 12.5 inch, think it is the 6220. Anyone have one and have any review or opinion about its performance and reliability given its relatively low cost ($289 at Home Depot)?
As for performance the DW735 has come out on top of every tool test for several years now. The DW734 and a Ridgid have come out tied for second. Everyone else is an also ran who had comparable results. I read a tool test in FWW magazine a few years ago that showed pictures of all of them next to each other and the 735 is unique in appearance to the others. The 734 and the Ridgid were also unique to the others but appeared to be essentially the same machine. All the others as best I remember were variations of the same machine. They all had the same motor mounted in the same way with minor differences in its casing, and the planer housing was the same or similar and their differences were also minor. The Wen probably won't be much different in performance or reliability than any one of the others in that class.
Just for an FYI, the same is sometimes true of the better brands too. When I was looking for a cheaper source of blades for my Makita 3 1/8" power planer I found out that 23 brands used those blades and 6 looked identical to my Makita. In fact my Makita and the Hitachi even shared the same model numbers, i.e. 1900 B.
Check out the Cutech Planer with spiral cutters. I bought one and like it a lot, it gives the smoothest cut I have ever had in a thickness planer, and to replace the cutters is a snap,self locating,can be turned if nicked. Be sure to look at the one with carbide cutters.
I have had good experience with WEN products. They are repackaging standard tools. Their larger bench drill press for example, is identical to the JET, down to the casting marks, and their 12 inch band saw is identical to the Rikon. I have heard that they inspect their machines to select the best from each batch. Their pricing is pretty good too, and I think they are serious about supplying good gear.
You can order them through Home Depot, have it delivered freight free to a local store, which means you can set it up and if it's faulty, return it. I don't know about the blades, but it looks to be a direct comparable to the Makita lunchbox I had before buying the DW735.
The only thing I would do is contact WEN about replacement blades. Someone there probably knows what other brand blades might be available
Performance wise, the 735 finish requires only minimal sanding to be baby butt smooth. The Makita only has two blades, the DW three, which explains the difference. The Makita had fair sawdust removal, so I suspect the WEN is about the same. You will need a good Dust Collection for the lunchbox models whichever one you get.
But I would most certainly go with the WEN if budget is limited.
I have the WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade and bought the extra blades on Amazon. It looks like the price has gone up (but what hasn't lately) since I bought mine a couple of years ago. I am definitely happy with it for what I need. If you are doing lots of boards all the time then I might go with the Dewalt.
I have the WEN planer, and it works well for my needs. I only need to use occasionally, so I can't say it is a work horse for daily use. If you need to plane a lot of material, you're probably better off going with the Dewalt or Ridgid. For my infrequent needs, the lower price was the deciding factor. I don't regret the purchase.
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