Good budget planers are few and far between nowadays, since most models are carrying an expensive price tag. The WEN 6534 8-Amp Electric Hand Planer, though, is a good example of what I consider a well-rounded tool that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It is the perfect addition to any small workshop and will deliver the needed performance to finish your task.
My Verdict: If you are looking for a powerful corded hand planer in the budget class, the Wen 6534 should be on your shortlist. It packs a strong motor and has a variety of features that will make woodworking much easier. With its chamfer grooves and 16 depth adjustment settings, it is equipped to deal with a variety of situations. One of its major downsides is the overall build quality but other than that it is a solid option if you are on a tight budget.
In this review, I will focus on its features, main strengths, and also show you a few of its disadvantages, as well as how it stacks up to the rest of its competition. In case you want to learn more about planers and see other top models on the market, head over to my detailed Buyer’s Guide on the topic.
Overview & Features
As is the case with all other electric hand planers, this one is primarily focused on handling splinters, chips, and misshapen door edges. With its two-way dust chute, it will keep your workshop clean of sawdust and the retractable kickstand will help you keep its blades away from delicate surfaces.
This planer packs an 8-amp motor which is potent enough even for harder wood pieces. Once it reaches its operational speed, it spins the blades at 16,000 RPMs, which results in 32,000 cuts per minute.
Even though the tool is covered by a 2-year warranty, there are numerous complains that the motor sometimes struggles and significantly slows the RPMs upon contact. Sparks are a known defect, so if your tool has any of these symptoms, make sure you swap it while it is still under warranty.
The shoes are 4 and 3/8 inches wide which is good for cutting 2x4s and 4x4s. On the front shoe, there are two V-shaped chamfer grooves, which help you with shaping up the edges of doors or other wooden sharp edges. They guide well throughout your pass but the shoes often need some alignment before they are perfectly parallel to each other. Once that’s done, the tool lays pretty flat and you can start cutting away at the various depth settings.
The maximum depth of cutting here is 1/8th of an inch and you can adjust it anywhere from 0 to 1/8 inch in 1/128 inch increments, making the total number of adjustments 16.
The adjustment knob has a clunky feel to it, though, and if you’re working with gloves, there is a good chance you won’t know at what depth exactly you’ve set the tool. That is my main issue with this.
Design & Build Quality
Out of all the hand planers I’ve reviewed on this site, this is the only one that has a front-handle right in front of the top handle. This significantly improves stability when you’re making a pass. While other models rely on you grabbing the big adjustment knob, this leaves the knob out of the equation and gives you a third option of grabbing it while working.
On the main handle, there are the power switch and a safety switch, followed by the power cord attached on the back of the handle.
The overall material quality and feel of the tool aren’t great and that is one of the most visible price cuts across the whole construction.
At each side of the planer, there are two dust vents which can have a chute or a shop vac attached to them to eliminate any saw dust coming out.
If you want to check out a similarily built tool with comparable performance, I suggest taking a look at the Porter-cable PC60THP which has a slightly weaker motor but has a significantly better build quality.
One of the main additional features here is the retractable kickstand which does allow you to leave it upright in order to protect the surfaces of your workshop stands and tables.
In terms of accessories, you get a parallel fence and a rabbeting guide to diversify the functionality of the tool, although none of those can be attached steadily to the planer, making working with them a little tricky.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Powerful 8-Amp motor
- Adjustable from 0 to 1/8 inches of depth
- 1/128 inch adjustment increments
- Has two-way dust ports
- Comes with parallel fence and rabbeting guide
- Two chamfer grooves on the shoes
- Very good price to value ratio
- Backed by a two-year warranty
- Comes with a blade adjustment tool
- Build quality isn’t excellent
- There are often front and back shoe misalignments
- The motor isn’t as reliable as some of the motors on more expensive planers
If you want to learn how to use an electric hand planer, I suggest checking out my full article on the topic, where I’ve discussed some of the main dos and don’ts about these tools.
Conclusion and Rating
Despite the few flaws in the design and some budget cuts in the construction here and there, the WEN 6534 8-Amp Electric Hand Planer is worth your consideration as it brings excellent value to the table. You can bypass the common complains by just checking your tool in-depth before you start using it, making sure that there are no defects in it since the quality control isn’t quite great here. Still, in terms of planning it gets the job done and is relatively easy to work with, especially at bigger depths. For its affordable price tag and overall ease of use, I’ve given it 5 out of five stars.