It seems like RYOBI tools are everywhere. Your garage, your neighbor’s yard, in the house, and even on the jobsite. The RYOBI brand is known for making great homeowner and hobbyist tools. However, some professionals think they are well made and for the cost, it’s hard to pass up. The other thing that RYOBI is known for is making tools that the hobbyists and DIY’ers have wished they could own but thought were only for the “professionals”. This 12-1/2″ RYOBI Planer is just that, a robust and compact planer that is easy to use and priced for the DIY’er. Let’s see if this RYOBI Planer is worth adding to your workshop.
RYOBI Planer Overview
Having a thickness planer opens up a lot of options for many carpentry projects. So I was excited to see how this “entry-level” planer would perform on a variety of scrap wood from around the shop.
The setup was pretty straightforward. I used the provided 7mm hex wrench and two bolts to attach the dust collection manifold. I stowed the two blade-removal magnets into their storage slots and installed the depth-adjustment crank. I completed the setup by using a level and a feeler gauge to make sure the infeed and outfeed tables were on the same plane as the inside table. It weighs almost 70 lbs., so it felt stable and secure enough to try it out without bolting it down.
Its overall build quality, 70 lb. weight, and even weight distribution onto its base give it a very sturdy feel on the workbench.
The dust collection output manifold easily attached to my 2″ shop vac hose. The manifold can be mounted to exhaust to the left or right side of the planer.
This planer has a 120-Volt, 15-amp motor, and a standard grounded plug. (You do need at least a 15-amp circuit.)
The on/off switch (orange) is wide and well placed. You flip it up/out for on and down/in for off. The (yellow) lock-out key is a great safety feature. If you remove it, the planer will not power on (so don’t lose it). And in case you need it, the motor/circuit reset button is on top of the blade assembly, just above the on/off switch.
According to RYOBI the planer’s specified range of depth is from 6-1/8″ down to 5/16″. The depth gauge displayed on the sideshows inches (in 1/20″ increments) and centimeters. The depth is adjusted manually with a crank handle. Each full revolution is a 1/16″ adjustment. The recommended maximum planing depth per pass is 1/8″ or two revolutions of the crank.
RYOBI Planer Features
The planer offers good material support with an extra-long total feed surface of over 31″. The infeed and outfeed tables fold up for storage. However, to fold up the outfeed table you must remove the dust collection manifold.
The RYOBI planer keeps the blade assembly stable, square, and level with a stainless steel, four-column frame. When you turn the depth adjustment crank, the blade assembly is evenly raised and lowered via two threaded rods (one at each end).
The base was molded with a bolt hole at each corner if you choose to secure the planer to a workbench.
RYOBI provides two magnets to lift the knives for changing, and a hex wrench for removing the blade cover, vacuum diverter, knob, etc. The top has handy, integrated storage for both.
The planer utilizes two blades and once the cover is off, it’s easy to clean, maintain and change the knives.
RYOBI Planer Performance
Overall, this planer impressed me. The 15-amp brushless motor powered through a variety of wood and didn’t have much chatter if any.
We ran some hardwood and softwood through the planer. Here is just a quick example. The oak, which I thought I might have an issue with, did an awesome job. The machine didn’t bog down even when we took off a lot at each pass.
For the soft wood, again, no issues and you can see how it cleaned up the gray wood.
While it’s hard to show the true performance with pictures, we tried to use the gray wood so you can at least see how well it ran through the machine.
The integrated dust management system was great and did an exceptional job. While it doesn’t catch everything, it does catch a majority. The only issue is once you have the dust chute on, you can not close the back table.
RYOBI Planer Value
You can pick this planer up for $349 at The Home Depot. My go-to planer was always the DeWALT but it is almost double the price of the RYOBI. So if you need a planer but don’t want to pay the hefty price tag, this is a great value as it has all the power you need.
RYOBI Planer Wrap Up
The bottom line, this is a great planer for the price. Sure it doesn’t have the DeWALT or Makita name but it does have the power. For someone who needs a planer but doesn’t want to pay a lot or sacrifice power, this is a great option. To be honest, this exceeded my expectations for quality and power, and I would have no problem recommending this to anyone looking for a planer.