Anyone with an audience online gets sooooo many offers for products in exchange for exposure. I normally say no but not this time. This is one of those arrangements. My nearest woodworking friend is in the market for a planer and a company wanted to send me a planer for review. I agreed to do a “first impressions” article and not a full review as I don’t like reviews immediately after getting something. It’s a win-win-win situation. I get to write an article for my website, my friend gets a planer, and the company gets exposure, be it good or bad.. After a few days with the planer, I passed it along to my friend who will report back after some long-term use. With transparency out of the way, let’s get started.
This is the Vevor 12.5” thickness planer (model M1B-LS-3302). At the time of writing this, it is listed for $379.98, which is the least expensive 12.5” planer with a stand that I could find. The same thing in a 12” model is only $299. Vevor did provide a coupon code. Use the code 1026D7G8 at checkout on Amazon for 10% off the 12.5” model and also look for an additional coupon on the sales page to take $30 off.
The planer with a stand arrives in a single box. The packaging is good.
On the bottom of the planer, you can see the gears that connect the left and right elevation screws. They are fully exposed so there is a risk of dust gumming up the gears but, then again, it’s on the bottom and will likely only see small floating dust.
On the back of the machine is the dust port. Four Allen screws hold it in place. Part of me would like to see these as integrated knobs to make the removal toolless but then again, how often will this be removed? Only to change the blades. In that regard, I’m OK with the needle pointing toward a lower cost vs increased cost with knobs. The dust port has a connection for the standard large shopvac hose.
With the four screws removed the dust port can be removed.
If dust collection isn’t a concern the dust collection port can be removed and replaced with a shroud. This will throw the dust out the exit side of the planer. We didn’t let it run in this configuration, though, as I only used it with the dust collection port. Two Allen screws hold the shroud in place.
The planer is a two blade straight knife configuration. I’ve been a long-time advocate of replaceable carbide insert cutter heads but fully understand the increased cost is not always in the cards for everyone. So I was interested to get some experience with this two knife setup. One benefit of straight knife setups though is the ease of sharpening and keeping an extra set on hand. There is a lot of straight knife planer blade sharpening jigs out there. When replacing the knives the included knife height jig is used to get the blades at a specified height.
Here you can see the jig on top of the cutter head. The room is tight but we were able to get a wrench on every bolt. Basic knife tightening mechanism so nothing out of the ordinary here. The instructions have a good, but tiny, diagram to show how it is used. There’s no sense in taking the good blades out just to reset them so we didn’t mess with the blades.
I will recommend a flashlight to see what you’re doing in there. It’s a dark space.
The planer does come with a generic stand. Nothing fancy but it does get the job done. Instructions are easy to follow.
Four bolts are used to connect the planer to the stand.
Here you can see the only defect we found on the product. The planer bed has a ding that you can see in the reflection. It does not affect use but it’s there so I need to bring it up. The infeed and outfeed tables both have a roller on them.
I contemplated putting locking casters on the bottom for greater portability but I don’t think that’s necessary. No casters on the bottom will be more stable and it’s super easy to move around. I’m 5’6 and it was the perfect height to just grab and lean back slightly to move it around. It’s not too heavy coming in at 78 pounds. That’s a bit heavy if it were just the thickness planer and you had to lift it from the ground. But with the stand included you don’t have to bend far to pick it up. I’d say it’s very manageable for the majority of people and light enough for me to consider it portable.
Time to actually use it. I started with some walnut and maple cutting board blanks. I used a bungie to keep the power cord and dust collection hose out of the way.
Then planed both sides of a cedar board quite a bit. Here I was really just focusing on dust collection and if I could run both a shopvac and this planer on a single 15 amp circuit. Nope. They probably would both run on a 20 amp circuit but I didn’t have any wall space close to an outlet to test that. So I did what I think a lot of people will do and try to run them both off a heavy-duty extension cord. The cord reel I was using had a 10ga cord but the internal thermal overload circuit breaker (probably has a technical name) was only rated for 15A. So that was the weakest link. I include this information because I’m sure its a common scenario. I kept the planer on that cord reel and used another extension cord on a different circuit for the shopvac.
So you basically need two circuits if you plan on running this with a shopvac. That’s expected with two high-current drawing machines. The machine is rated at 1800W.
Dust collection isn’t great with a shopvac. I’d say it’s acceptable. It gets most of the mess but after a dozen or so passes of the cedar board you can clearly see it doesn’t get it all.
With fresh blades, the cut quality is better than I thought it would be for a two knife setup. It’s hard to see but this cedar board has a decent sheen to it. In some of the softer spots, the planer rollers left some marks that are visible to the eye but hard for my camera to pick up. I could argue that my helical head Hammer planer produces a better finish off the knives, which it does, but that’s pretty irrelevant, as they would both require some finish prep in the sanding department.
Next up, we ran some old poplar. This was salvaged wood that was full of dirt. It was brushed a few times to clean the surface dirt and then ran through. Again, we passed it through about a dozen times on both faces.
To my surprise that last dirty board didn’t dull the blades. My very first planer was a Dewalt DW735 benchtop planer and its weakest link by far was the blades, so I was expecting that here. Those blades would dull just by looking at them the wrong way. It was frustrating how fast they dulled and how expensive they were to replace. They were dual-sided so you had two cutting edges with each blade change but they never lasted long. The abuse we put this two knife setup through was impressive comparatively speaking. The indexed blades of the DW735 have the advantage of being easier to replace while the straight knife setup of this Vevor haves the advantage of being resharpened and reused.
We kept going with a few more rough boards. More rough walnut. About this time we were having some feeding problems. We were making passes at ½ of a crank of the depth handle for a while until the rollers stopped grabbing the lumber. Just not enough grip with the steel rollers. So we backed off to ¼ turn of the depth handle per pass and never had any more feeding issues. With ¼ of a turn to the depth handle, 0.015” of an inch was removed per pass. That isn’t much and would likely take a while to remove any significant thickness.
But with such a small amount being removed per pass the finished surface was great. These two boards cleaned up great. You can see the board on the bottom has some internal bug holes and tunnels filled with dirt. Dirt is the #1 enemy of planer blades, or any sharp edge for that matter. We were surprised to continue to see great results after passing this board through several times. Again, my old Dewalt knives would dull on the first pass with this board. An instant dull knife streak would be present.
A few more final thoughts. I have a 5-gallon bucket cyclone separator which I think is almost a necessity for using a shopvac as dust collection. Some type of two-stage separation at least. But that’s going to be the same regardless of what planer you use. Planer shavings are rather large compared to other woodworking machines. I’ll say dust collection is acceptable. It’s not dust free but it makes the mess very manageable. Again, we didn’t use the dust shroud as I just didn’t want to clean up the mess. That’s definitely for a “use it in the driveway” situation.
There is a scale on the right side but I find these mostly pointless. Just for fast adjustments to get it close to the starting size. I prefer to use cheap calipers for material measuring.
The top has the depth handle and two rollers. This was the first planer I’ve ever used with rollers on top. Using the rollers with another person to pass the material back was definitely nice but of course, you can only get the benefit of the roller for one board. Once you put the second board on top the rollers are useless. That said, I like the use of the rollers when possible. I can see them being super handy when a large board or glue-up is being passed through with two people.
Here’s my only complaint about the machine. The tables don’t stay up on their own. The back table does but a slight bump causes it to fall. The front table doesn’t stay up at all. It would be nice to see some magnets or catches of some kind to lock the tables in the up position for smaller space consumption when not in use. That said, a small bungie cord solves that concern. I had an extra laying around that was perfect to go over the machine and hook on both table rollers.
While we’re looking at the top, the height adjustment handle is on the right. The elevation movement is definitely on the fine side. One quarter turn is only 0.015” so you would need to make 8 passes at ¼ turn to remove around 1/8” in thickness.
One thing I forgot to photograph was snipe. Snipe is something you get with virtually all planers. It’s where the board lifts up the infeed and outfeed rollers as the board passes through. The result is a deeper cut when the board is only under one of the feed rollers. You’ll generally see an elevation change around 2” in from each end of the board. Snipe wasn’t horrible from this machine. In all the passes we made I only noticed it on one of the smaller boards. Definitely on par with my large Hammer planer.
My final overall thoughts about this Vevor planer are to give it a thumbs up. it does what it’s supposed to do at a competitive price point. We will report back if anything negative happens with long term use. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t pay out of pocket for this machine but I don’t think I would be disappointed if I did.
- Blade Quality: While we didn’t run hundreds and hundreds of board feet through it, we ran enough junky wood through it to determine the blades aren’t bad quality. I’d take this blade life over the DW735 blade life any day.
- Accessories: The top rollers, infeed and outfeed table rollers, the fact that it has infeed and outfeed tables, and the stand are all welcomed accessories. The folding tables on my DW735 were not included with the machine and it didn’t have any table or top rollers. It also didn’t come with a stand.
- Power: The machine didn’t bog down on any of our cuts. Nearly full width cutting boards and narrow rough sawn stock all planed without issue. I didn’t try to stress it harder than I would normally use a planer just for the sake of testing. I’m not a fan of tests that don’t use the product as it is intended to be used.
- Depth Per Pass: Due to the rollers, we were limited to a depth of 0.015” after a few boards. The manual says it has a max cutting depth of 3mm which equals 0.118” at 100mm wide.
- Rollers: This was the weakest area for the machine. The rollers felt clean of any shipping grease but they just weren’t pulling the material through at the end of our tests. This is likely a dirt issue. My DW735 had rubber rollers and there were a few species of wood that would never pull through after the rough surface was removed. Hickory in particular. So while the rollers were disappointing they were equally as disappointing with my DW735 which cost $635 at the time of writing this.
- Portability: Of course, it can be used without a stand in benchtop configuration. It’s not crazy heavy at only 78 pounds, including the stand. With it mounted to the stand I think it’s portability increases. No need to bend down to pick it up and it’s light enough to move easily for the majority of people. I don’t think it needs a mobile base of any kind. However, that would technically make it more portable. The handles on each side are comfortable to use.