The Best Hand Planes of 2023

The Best Hand Planes

Woodworking hand planes are a valuable tool for any woodworker, having the best hand planes at your disposal will enable you to tackle any woodworking job, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. Hand planes are used to smooth, shape, and straighten wood surfaces, and there are many different types of hand planes to choose from, each with its own specific uses.

Having a selection of different hand planes for woodworking is important because each type of hand plane is designed for a specific task and as such produce different results.

Choosing Which Hand Plane to Use

One of the most common types of hand planes is the jack plane, which is a medium-sized plane that is great for general purpose work such as straightening boards, but it’s also the best hand plane to go for when you need to remove material quickly. Being such a great all rounder hand plane, it’s a good choice for a first hand plane if you’re just starting out in woodworking.

There’s also a low angle jack plane that is a variation of the traditional jack plane that has a blade set at a lower angle, typically around 12 degrees. This lower blade angle allows the plane to cut more efficiently and leave a smoother finish, particularly on difficult grain patterns or end grain.

Low angle jack planes are useful for a variety of tasks, including smoothing and jointing rough sawn lumber, creating fine finishes on a variety of woods, and working on end grain. They are also well-suited for use on highly figured or interlocked grain, which can be challenging to work with using a standard jack plane.

Another common type of hand plane is the smoothing plane, which is smaller and more precise than the jack plane. It’s used for fine finishing work and is ideal for creating a smooth, even surface on the wood.

The block plane is a small, portable plane that is great for working in tight spaces or for making fine adjustments. It’s also a good choice for trimming end grain or for creating chamfers.

Other types of hand planes include the rabbet plane, which is used for creating rabbets (grooves) in the edge of a board, and the shoulder plane, which is used for fine trimming and chamfering the shoulders of a joint. And let’s not forget the handy, ever so useful small chisel plane, which has to be one of the most used hand planes in any workshop.

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With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your needs and budget. So let’s take a closer look at some of the top hand planes available and help you choose the one that’s right for you. Whether you’re looking for a reliable and durable option, or a more affordable option that still delivers the results you need, we’ve got you covered.

Jack Plane

WoodRiver 5-1/2 Jack Plane

The WoodRiver No. 5-1/2 Jack Plane kick’s off this review of the bast hand planes, it’s equipped with a thick, .125 inch steel blade that is designed to dampen vibrations during use, resulting in a solid planing performance. The blade is also made with a Rockwell hardness of 60-62, which makes it durable and resistant to wear. The lightly finished Bubinga handles provide a comfortable and secure grip, allowing you to have more control over the tool.

The attention to detail and quality materials used in its construction make the No. 5-1/2 a reliable and durable choice for any woodworking project.

This jack plane is 2-7/8 inches wide, 14-15/16 inches long, and has a 2-3/8 inch wide blade. It weighs slightly over 7 pounds. Its size and weight make it well-suited for a wide range of tasks, as it is able to perform the smoothing tasks of smaller planes and the jointing tasks of larger planes. Its size and weight also make it comfortable to use for extended periods of time, as it is not too heavy or cumbersome to handle.

One of the standout features of the WoodRiver No. 5-1/2 is its heavy, stress-relieved ductile iron castings. These castings provide a strong and stable base for the plane, ensuring that it remains accurate and precise in its cuts. Additionally, the fully machined adjustable frogs bedded at a 45 degree angle are a welcome feature, as they allow for fine-tuning of the blade angle and position, ensuring that it is perfectly aligned for the task at hand.

The high carbon steel blade is another notable feature. It is sharp, durable, and easy to maintain, making it well-suited for a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re smoothing rough lumber or jointing edges, the No. 5-1/2 has you covered.

One thing that I really liked about this plane when I first tried it, was the fact that it required minimal ‘tune-up’ before use. The soles and sides are machined flat and square, meaning that it is ready to go straight out of the box. This is a welcome feature for those of us who don’t want to spend a lot of time adjusting and tinkering with our tools before we can start using them.

What We Like:

  • Thick Steel Blade: The .125 inch steel blade is designed to reduce vibrations during use, resulting in a smooth and stable planing performance.
  • Durability: The blade has a Rockwell hardness of 60-62, making it resistant to wear and ensuring its durability over time.
  • Comfortable Handle: The Bubinga handle provide a secure and comfortable grip, allowing for greater control and ease of use.
  • Heavy Castings: The stress-relieved ductile iron castings provide a strong and stable base for the plane, ensuring accuracy in cuts.
  • Adjustable Frogs: The fully machined adjustable frogs, bedded at a 45-degree angle, allow for fine-tuning of the blade angle and position.

Things to Consider:

  • Blade Maintenance: The high carbon steel blade may require regular maintenance to keep it sharp and in good condition.
  • Price Range: The No. 5-1/2 is a high-quality plane, and its construction and features come at a premium price point, which may not be suitable for those with a limited budget.

Low Angle Jack Plane

Stanley 1-12-137 62-Low Angle Sweetheart Jack Plane

The Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane was always going to be included in this best hand planes review as it’s a tool that allows woodworkers to truly master their craft. Its extra thick 3/16 inch A2 steel blade provides a sharp and precise cut, making it perfect for creating smooth and even surfaces on any type of wood.

The No. 62 is 2.48 inches wide by 13.78 inches long and has a 2 inch wide blade that is installed bevel-up without a cap iron. This design allows the plane to be used in place of a jointer plane on short boards and for smoothing, making it a versatile and useful tool.

The low blade angle of 12 degrees is ideal for tackling difficult-to-cut materials such as end grain, and it also helps to reduce tear-out on figured woods and improves the plane’s ability to slice through knots and other defects. The one-piece precision ground frog and base casting add to the plane’s durability and reliability, ensuring that it will be a tool you can rely on for years to come.

In addition to its functional features, the Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 is also a beautiful tool to behold. The front knob and tote are made of genuine American cherry, adding a touch of elegance and style to the tool. The comfortable grip of the cherry wood helps to reduce hand fatigue during use, making it a pleasure to hold and use.

The adjustable throat plate and Norris type adjustment make the Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 an incredibly versatile tool, capable of tackling any woodworking project with ease. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, this plane is sure to become a valuable addition to your toolkit.

So if you’re in the market for a high-quality hand plane that combines functionality, durability, and style, look no further than the Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane. It’s a tool that you’ll turn to time and time again for all of your woodworking needs.

What We Like:

  • Thick Blade – The 3/16 inch A2 steel blade provides a sharp and precise cut, making it ideal for creating smooth and even surfaces on any type of wood.
  • Versatility – The low blade angle and bevel-up design make it a versatile tool that can be used in place of a jointer plane on short boards and for smoothing.
  • Low Blade Angle – The 12-degree low blade angle reduces tear-out on figured woods and improves the plane’s ability to cut through knots and defects.
  • Durable – The one-piece precision ground frog and base casting make the plane durable and reliable, ensuring it will last for years.
  • Elegant Design – The front knob and tote made of genuine American cherry add a touch of elegance and style to the tool, and the comfortable grip reduces hand fatigue during use.

Things to Consider:

  • High Price Tag – The Stanley Sweetheart No. 62 may be more expensive than some other hand planes, but its quality justifies the price.

Smoothing Plane

1. STANLEY Hand Planer, No.4, Smoothing Plane

When you first set eyes on this smoothing plane, you can’t help but be immediately impressed by the quality of the materials used. Measuring ‎12.7 x 6.7 x 3 inches and weighing ‎in the region of 5.5 lbs makes for a great size and weight combination, the iron of the planer is made from extra-thick 1/8-inch A2 steel, which is known for its excellent edge retention. This means that the blade stays sharp for longer periods of time, which in turn makes it easier to get a smooth finish on your projects.

One of the features I appreciate most about this wood planer is the one-piece base and frog. This virtually eliminates chatter, which as you may know can be a common problem with other planers. The beautiful cherry wood handle and knob are also a nice touch, as they provide a comfortable grip while using the tool.

The Norris-type adjuster with lateral locking feature is yet another feature that sets this tool apart. It allows for easy adjustments to the blade, and the lateral locking feature ensures that the blade stays in place during use. The adjustable throat plate is also an extremely useful feature, as it allows for use with different types of wood.

In terms of performance, it does not disappoint. I have used it on a variety of wood types, and it has consistently delivered a smooth finish with the minimal of effort.

It is a reliable high-quality tool that consistently delivers excellent results, I would definitely recommend it.

What We Like:

  • Quality Materials – The extra-thick 1/8-inch A2 steel iron is known for its excellent edge retention, allowing for longer-lasting sharpness.
  • Minimal Chatter – The one-piece base and frog eliminate chatter, which can be a common problem with other planers.
  • Comfortable Grip – The cherry wood handle and knob provide a comfortable grip while using the tool.
  • Adjustable – The Norris-type adjuster with lateral locking feature and adjustable throat plate allow for easy adjustments and use with different types of wood.
  • Excellent Performance – It consistently delivers a smooth finish with minimal effort on a variety of wood types.

Things to Consider:

  • Maintenance – Regular maintenance is required to keep the blade sharp and to ensure the plane performs at its best.

2. WoodRiver 4-1/2 Smoothing Plane

The WoodRiver 4-1/2 Smoothing Plane is a top-of-the-line tool that is built to last. Its fine-grained ductile iron castings and fully machined frogs provide a solid foundation for the plane, making it resistant to wear and tear. The soles and sides of the plane are machined flat and square, ensuring that it is ready to use right out of the box. You won’t have to spend hours adjusting and fine-tuning this plane before you can start using it – it’s ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box.

At 2-7/8″ wide and 10-3/8″ long, and weighing ‎6.38 lbs this plane is the perfect size for a variety of smoothing tasks. The 2-3/8″ wide blade is made of high-quality steel, ensuring that it will stay sharp and maintain its edge over time. The blade is also easy to sharpen, so you can quickly restore its sharpness if it becomes dull. This is especially useful for woodworkers who are working on large projects and need to maintain a clean and precise cut throughout.

The blade can be easily adjusted for depth and lateral position, allowing you to customize the plane to suit your specific needs. This is especially useful when working with different types of wood or when trying to achieve a particular finish. The blade also has a built-in chip breaker, which helps to prevent tear-out and splintering on the workpiece.

The WoodRiver 4-1/2 Smoothing Plane is a reliable and well-made tool that is perfect for woodworkers of all skill levels. Its fine-grained ductile iron castings and fully machined frogs make it both durable and precise, and the adjustability of the blade allows for maximum control and customization. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, this plane is sure to deliver excellent results.

What We Like:

  • Solid Foundation – The fine-grained ductile iron castings and fully machined frogs provide a sturdy base for the plane, making it resistant to wear and tear.
  • Ready to Use Out of the Box – The soles and sides of the plane are machined flat and square, so it’s ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box.
  • Ideal Size – At 2-7/8″ wide and 10-3/8″ long, and weighing 6.38 lbs, this plane is the perfect size for a variety of smoothing tasks.
  • High-Quality Blade – The 2-3/8″ wide blade is made of high-quality steel and stays sharp for a long time, making it ideal for large projects.
  • Blade Adjustability – The blade can be adjusted for depth and lateral position, allowing for customization to suit specific needs and achieving a desired finish.

Things to Consider:

  • Blade Maintenance – The blade may need to be sharpened regularly, which may not be suitable for woodworkers who prefer low maintenance tools.
  • Limited Uses – This plane is primarily used for smoothing, so it may not be suitable for woodworkers who require a multi-functional tool.
  • Experience Required – This plane may require a certain level of experience to use effectively, so it may not be suitable for beginner woodworkers.

Block Plane

WoodRiver Standard Block Plane with Adjustable Mouth

Continuing this review of the best hand planes, we come to the WoodRiver Standard Block Plane it’s a classic tool that is designed to help woodworkers achieve precise and smooth cuts on their workpieces. Based on a classic design, this block plane is made with high-quality materials and features an adjustable mouth that allows you to customize it to suit your specific needs.

At 2.24 pounds, this plane is an ideal weight and you’ll find it real easy to use. Its dimensions of 7.8 x 3.4 x 2.7 inches make it the perfect size for a variety of tasks, and its knuckle-style lever cap allows for easy blade adjustments. The 20-degree bed angle of the plane helps to ensure that the blade stays in contact with the workpiece, resulting in a clean and precise cut.

The blade of the WoodRiver Standard Block Plane is made of high-carbon steel and has a 25-degree blade angle. The blade measures 1-5/8″ wide by 0.125″ thick and is 2″ wide and 7″ long, providing plenty of cutting surface for most tasks. The blade is also easy to keep sharp, so you can always maintain a clean and precise cut over time.

One of the most important features of the WoodRiver block plane is its adjustable mouth. By loosening the mouth adjustment screw, you can widen or narrow the opening between the blade and the plane body to suit your specific needs. This allows you to customize the plane to suit the type of wood you are working with and the finish you are trying to achieve.

What We Like:

  • Classic Design – The WoodRiver Standard Block Plane is based on a classic design that has been proven to deliver precise and smooth cuts. Its traditional look and feel make it a staple tool in any woodworker’s collection.
  • High-Quality Materials – The plane is made with high-quality materials, including a high-carbon steel blade and knuckle-style lever cap, making it both durable and functional.
  • Perfect Weight and Size – The plane is lightweight and compact, making it easy to use and ideal for a variety of tasks. Its dimensions of 7.8 x 3.4 x 2.7 inches are perfectly suited to most woodworking projects.
  • Adjustable Mouth – The adjustable mouth feature allows you to customize the plane to suit your specific needs and the type of wood you are working with, resulting in a clean and precise cut.
  • Easy to Sharpen Blade – The high-carbon steel blade is easy to sharpen, ensuring that you can maintain its sharpness over time and achieve a clean and precise cut every time.

Things to Consider:

  • Blade Width – The 1-5/8” blade width may not be wide enough for some woodworkers’ needs, so it’s important to consider if it will meet your requirements.

Rabbet Plane

Grizzly Industrial H7567 – 8-1/2″ Duplex Rabbet Plane

The Grizzly Industrial H7567 8-1/2″ Duplex Rabbet Plane is a top-quality tool that is designed to help woodworkers quickly and easily create perfect rabbets. This plane is finely cast and precision milled, making it both durable and precise. It has two cutter positions, one for normal rabbeting work and a forward position for planing into corners, giving you maximum versatility when working on your projects.

This Rabbet plane also includes an adjustable fence that can be used on either side of the plane, providing even more control and customization. The threaded depth adjusting screw allows you to precisely control the plane iron, and the depth stop and edge spur help to create crisp and clean edges. The sole of the plane measures 8-1/2″ long by 1-1/2″ wide, providing plenty of surface area for most tasks.

At 3.65 pounds, this plane is lightweight and easy to use. Its dimensions of 8.75 x 11.25 x 4 inches make it the perfect size for a variety of tasks, and its finely cast and precision milled design ensures that it will deliver excellent results every time.

What We Like:

  • Finely Cast and Precision Milled – The Grizzly Industrial H7567 8-1/2″ Duplex Rabbet Plane is made with high-quality materials and is finely cast and precision milled, making it both durable and precise.
  • Two Cutter Positions – This plane has two cutter positions, one for normal rabbeting work and a forward position for planing into corners, providing maximum versatility for woodworkers.
  • Adjustable Fence – The included adjustable fence can be used on either side of the plane, providing even more control and customization.
  • Precise Depth Control – The threaded depth adjusting screw allows woodworkers to precisely control the plane iron, ensuring a clean and precise cut every time.
  • Large Sole Surface Area – The sole of the plane measures 8-1/2″ long by 1-1/2″ wide, providing plenty of surface area for most tasks.

Things to Consider:

  • Regular Maintenance – Regular maintenance, such as sharpening the blade, may be required to keep the plane in top condition and maintain its cutting precision.

Shoulder Plane

WoodRiver #92 Medium Shoulder Plane

The WoodRiver #92 Medium Shoulder Plane at ‎9.7 x 4.1 x 1.6 inches and 2.35 lbs is a top-quality tool that is perfect for anyone looking to add precision and accuracy to their woodworking projects.

Whether you’re tweaking tenons, rabbets, or dados, this plane is an essential tool that will make your job so much easier. One of the most important features on this shoulder plane is its square sides and sole, which allow for precise, even cuts every time. This is especially important when working on joints and other areas where a consistent width is crucial.

In terms of its appearance, well, you can see for yourself that the WoodRiver #92 has a classic look and feel that will look great on the workbench in the workshop. Its a timeless aesthetic look that is sure to impress.

When you get to work with this shoulder plane you’re sure to agree that it’s a pleasure to hold and use, with a comfortable grip that allows for long periods of use without fatigue.

Another important feature is its adjustable mouth, which allows you to customize the opening to minimize tear out on your workpieces. This is especially useful when working with soft or delicate woods that are prone to splintering.

What We Like:

  • Precise Cuts – The WoodRiver #92 Shoulder Plane is designed with square sides and sole, ensuring precise and even cuts on your workpieces. This is particularly important when working on joints where consistent width is crucial.
  • Classic Aesthetic – The plane has a timeless and classic look that will fit in with any workshop decor and impress all those who see it.
  • Comfortable to Use – The comfortable grip of the plane makes it a pleasure to hold and use for long periods without experiencing fatigue.
  • Adjustable Mouth – The adjustable mouth allows you to customize the opening between the blade and the plane body, minimizing tear out on your workpieces, especially when working with delicate woods.
  • Essential Tool – Whether you’re tweaking tenons, rabbets, or dados, this shoulder plane is an essential tool that will make your job much easier and increase your accuracy and precision.

Things to Consider:

  • Medium Size Shoulder Plane – The WoodRiver #92 Shoulder Plane is 9.7 x 4.1 x 1.6 inches, which might not be suitable for everyone. It may be too small for some woodworking jobs and possibly too large for intricate tasks.

Small Chisel Hand Plane

WoodRiver Small Chisel Hand Plane

The versatility of the WoodRiver small chisel hand plane makes it an incredibly useful tool in the workshop. Its small size and narrow blade make it perfect for working in tight spaces and for removing small amounts of material. This is especially useful when working on intricate joints, such as those found in fine furniture, or when cleaning up glue lines and other imperfections.

This small chisel hand plane just had to be included in this best hand planes review, it’s great for trimming proud dowels and pocket hole plugs. These types of fasteners can sometimes stick out slightly from the surface of the wood, and a small hand plane is the perfect tool for gently shaving them down to size. This is especially useful when working on projects where a smooth, seamless finish is important.

You’ll find that it’s a versatile and practical tool that has many applications in the woodworking workshop, this little beauty is sure to become a go-to tool in your workshop.

Its dimensions of 5.85 x 2.55 x 2.5 inches and weight of just 1.18 lbs make it easy to handle and use. The 1-3/4” width of the blade is also well-suited for a wide range of tasks. It’s perfect for cleaning up glue lines and light trimming duties, and it’s also capable of taking on more heavy-duty tasks when needed.

What We Like:

  • Versatility – The small size and narrow blade of the WoodRiver small chisel hand plane make it perfect for working in tight spaces and removing small amounts of material, making it a versatile tool in the workshop.
  • Trimming Fasteners – This hand plane is great for trimming proud dowels and pocket hole plugs, allowing for a smooth and seamless finish on your projects.
  • Multi-Purpose – With many applications in the woodworking workshop, this hand plane is sure to become a go-to tool for various tasks.
  • Lightweight and Easy to Handle – The dimensions and weight of the hand plane make it easy to handle and use, making it suitable for long periods of use without fatigue.
  • Blade Width – The 1-3/4” width of the blade is well-suited for a wide range of tasks, making it perfect for cleaning up glue lines and light trimming, as well as heavy-duty tasks when needed.

Things to Consider:

  • Not Suitable for Rougher Surfaces – The narrow blade is not suitable for working on large rough surfaces areas.


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