Ridgid is a brand we know and love for their ability to make quality tools that won't kill your wallet. If you're a hobbyist or a woodworker that is just starting to take advantage of planing your own lumber, this model is an excellent choice. With smart features like Repeat-A-Cut and Ind-I-Cut and a user-friendly design, the Ridgid Planer gives you superior results without bleeding your pocketbook.
If you're a DIY builder, you know the options for purchasing different species of wood is limited at big box stores. Specialty stores have a larger selection, but pre-processed wood is pricey. For a hobbyist or beginning woodworker, your profit margin is slim if you're paying a premium for processed wood. Jointers and Planers come into the picture to allow you to buy your rough cut lumber directly from the mill and while you have to put a bit of time into it, your cost savings can be huge. Thickness planers are essentially responsible for smoothing and evening the wood to a specific thickness. Today we are going to talk about a popular benchtop planer by Ridgid. Most hobbyists don't have a huge amount of space to work with so being able to have a machine like this without the huge footprint, is a huge bonus. Read on to see how this classic tool performs in the Ridgid Planer Review.
Ridgid Planer Review Overview
Ridgid has been making a version of this planer for quite some time. Small adjustments have been made over the years but overall its remained pretty close to the original. Planers in some form have been around for centuries, and have varied greatly in design. Modern thickness planers work by rotating blades passing over a piece of wood to remove uneven spots to leave a board ultra smooth and to an exact thickness. Their size and function still vary quite a bit. There are large industrial planers you could see in an actual lumber mill, production planers seen in professional woodshops, or benchtop planers like the one we are reviewing today.
For some people a planer is overkill, but if you build a fair share of furniture or work with wood, a planer can afford you benefits that are hard to recreate any other way. Handplaning with a block plane is an option, but the time and effort can be intense. The next option is sanding, and that can take an incredible amount of time, and produce quite a mess. When you consider all of that, it comes down to need. If you want to save time and money and have enough invested in your shop that it makes sense, then a planer may be a great option to consider. For me, I build a lot of furniture. A planer affords me to use less expensive woods with a better result, or as I mentioned before use higher quality woods at a lower cost because I am doing the planing myself. This can make a considerable difference in the cost of a finished piece. The small amount of time I spend running wood through the planer is well worth it in the end.
Ridgid Planer Review Features
The Ridgid Corded Thickness Planer features a 15 Amp, 120 Volt motor putting out 9000 RPMs.
The capacity of this Planer is 13 inches wide and 6 1/8 inch tall.
The cutter head features 3 blades that are dual-edged making them reversible with a maximum cut depth of 1/8 inch. Additionally, the blades are designed for quick changes and are self-aligning.
The Power Switch has a locking feature to prevent unintended use, always a great safety feature with small kids.
The top mounted handle allows for precise adjustments of as little as 1/16th inch per revolution.
The infeed and outfeed tables are secure and stable and are designed to prevent snipe by providing support to the workpiece.
The stop screws on each side of the table allow for adjustments to be made to level the outfeed tables to the inner surface when needed. The small metal levers found in the center underneath the tables allow them to stay closed when not in use.
The blade carriage features a lock designed to minimize snipe by keeping the cutter head secure.
The 6-inch (really it's 6-3/8) thickness indicator on the front right of the unit, and will show the setting of the cutter head which will be the thickness when finished planing. The indicator allows for adjustments to keep the machine accurate by adjusting the indicator.
Ridgid included the Ind-I-Cut system, a gauge that gives you a measurement of the stock that will be removed based on the wood and cutter head setting. The Ind-I-Cut relies on a ball bearing that rests against the wood to gauge the thickness that is to be removed.
Repeat-A-Cut is an ingenious design to help keep stock uniform. Once the knob is set, it will not allow the wood to plane beyond that depth. There are 8 stops built into the knob, from a 1/8th of aninch to 1-3/4 of an inch.
The knobs on the planer feature sof-touch controls for improved comfort and grip.
Ridgid included a steel top with built-in glides for durability and easy set up of the workpiece.
The dust removal system allows you to attach a 2.5-inch shop vac or dust collection unit directly to the planer. This collection system was one of the more effective systems I have seen to date, simple but effective.
The blade wrench is included and has a storage compartment on the left side of the unit.
Included overload protector to prevent overheating during intense use. Once cooled, you can reset the machine by pressing the reset button. In all of my use, I never had the planer trip, but useful to have in a machine like this.
Ridgid Planer Review Performance
So, to start, this planer is awesome. To be honest, one of the reasons I wanted to review this particular model was because people had such strong opinions about this planer. Sometimes a tool just isn't good, but I am glad we took a look at this tool because it is really an incredible piece of equipment. One of the common concerns addressed in reviews was snipe, which exists on all planers. To me, even out of the box, it wasn't excessive on this model. I will be writing a separate article that will detail ways to overcome the common planer problem, as well as a few other tips I have learned since owning this tool.
The dust and debris collection on this unit is impressive. I borrowed a standard issue shop vac, actually by Craftsman from my father in law to see how it would do and I was pretty shocked at how little was left behind on the table itself. It wasn't 100%, but it was impressive for a tool like this. This was the tub about halfway through testing.
The cutter head rotates smoothly and evenly, pulling the wood in at a steady pace. For someone new to planers, this allowed a lot of comfort during use. I ran a lot of different woods and combinations through this planer to give a good perspective on how it performed. Even when buying pre-planed wood, transport and storage tend to give dings and some damage, this was the case in most of the wood I purchased.
Perhaps a hobbyist's most pressing question on planing wood would be how it worked on palette wood. This fad that has swept the DIY community and is an amazing way to repurpose wood otherwise laid to waste after use. The wood was completely transformed after one pass through the planer. Odds are this was yellow pine, and it planed beautifully.
A lot of people love making cutting boards, John recently walked us through his entire process here. Without a planer though, it's pretty difficult. To give a good idea of how to recreate that testing I attached 6 1X2 boards. These were standard furring strips and have a very rough finish as well as rounded edges. I ran this through the planer at 1/8 inch removal at a time and it handled it incredibly well. I made several passes to remove enough material to make it level, and it was beautifully smooth once done. There was very little slowing from the planer despite the pretty hefty demand.
Next, I tested two common 1X4 scrap boards that were attached using wood glue, and biscuits similar to how you would attach table top boards. I planed it with some glue squeeze out, and after you can see it come out quite well. Here you can see some snipe, which after a second pass was removed.
When it comes to rough wood, one of the common woods I think of is cedar. I used some scrap boards to initially see how it would work and I was blown away. I love working with cedar, and its a wood that is a lot more water resistant than pine. Finished cedar is costly, and honestly still has a lot of splinter potential which eliminates it pretty often for me. Rather than buying expensive cedar boards, you can simply use fence pickets when practical and save a significant amount of money. Running a full board through at max removal as well barely slowed the planer at all, and the smell in the shop was amazing!
Poplar is another commonly available species of wood, so I joined together 3- 1/2 inch by 4-inch boards that are 2 feet long to see how it would perform close to its max width. This ended up about 10.5 inches wide. The Planer didn't disappoint, giving glass smooth seams and even with significant glue squeeze out, the end result was amazing.
One of the largest tests is a wood like Red Oak. I wasn't able to find a rough mill locally to use, but a quick trip to Home Depot and we were in business. Now Oak is different than some woods because its open grain doesn't really allow for perfectly smooth surfaces. I actually noticed some snipe on the boards straight from the store, as well as some slight irregularities so I knew it needed some work to make it ready for use. I was in love with this wood after planing it. You can see I wrote with a pencil to see how it would remove, and after two passes at 1/32 inch, it was gone. This Red Oak board is a 1X8 and 8 foot in length.
Ridgid Planer Review Value
This Ridgid Planer is an incredible value. The retail price on this model, #R4331, is $369.00 at The Home Depot. There are very few planers that are less expensive as most similarly equipped models are priced quite a bit above this model. To me, for a hobbyist, or someone just starting out in woodworking, a model like this is a really great addition to a shop. A professional or production shop will likely have an industrial planer. Those are designed for larger pieces and to be run for hours at a time. For everyone else, a model like this is more than sufficient.
The planer easily pays for itself in a few builds by being able to save money by buying rough lumber. This model allows the benefits of portability and a small footprint, while also remaining reasonably accessible from a cost standpoint. As always, Ridgid stands out as a manufacturer that prices their tools well but doesn't skimp on quality.
Ridgid Planer Review Final Thoughts
Ridgid made an amazing planer with this model. The end results are impressive, and the small footprint makes it less cumbersome in a small shop and allows for easy storage when not in use. Ridgid included innovative features, such as the Repeat-A-Cut, or stops to produce consistent board thickness, while the Ind-I-Cut depth gauge makes it easy to see how much material will be removed at a time. This is an incredible tool. One that adds a ton of benefits to my shop and without a doubt will get a lot of use. If you're considering adding a planer to your shop, consider this one from Ridgid.