The Best Hand Planes for Woodworking

Hand planes are a tool of choice for smoothing wood. If you are planning to add one to your collection, start here with our roundup of top favorites.

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The Best Hand Plane Options

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For shaving down the side of a wood door that’s sticking or smoothing the surface of a wavy board, the humble hand plane works extraordinary well. These simple hand tools have been around for hundreds of years but remain as useful as ever.

Though broadly similar in design, different hand planes perform slightly different functions. In other words, some are better than others for certain applications. Which is the right one for you? That depends on the project you are planning to do.

Continue now to see our top-pick favorites for common needs as well as some special situations.

Our Top Picks

The Best Hand Plane Option: WoodRiver Bench Hand Plane

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BEST OVERALL: WoodRiver Bench Plane

Designed with craftsmen in mind, the WoodRiver Bench Plane is a high-quality tool that can smooth both softwoods and hardwoods. This full-size plane measures 17-3/4 inches long and 2-7/8 inches wide and comes with a knob in the front that can serve as a second handle, making this a two-hand plane. Manufactured from high-quality steel and polished wood, the WoodRiver proves a good choice for shaving away high spots on large wood projects.

The Best Hand Plane Option: YOGEON Woodworking Hand Plane

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RUNNER-UP: YOGEON Woodworking Plane

Trim away high areas and shape your wood project with the YOGEON Woodworking Plane without spending a lot of money. The plane features double handles for two-hand control and measures 11 inches long by 2-1/2 inches wide. Designed to offer superior trimming ability, the hand plane comes with a high-quality blade made from sharpened, 1/8-inch steel. If it dulls, the blade re-sharpens with a standard sharpening stone, and users can adjust blade height with a flathead screwdriver. The rosewood that makes up this block-type hand plane features durability and a soft hand feel, and the block base protects the blade from gouging the wood while planing.

The Best Hand Plane Option: Stanley Small Trimming Plane

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COMPACT PICK: Stanley Hand Tools 3-1/2″ Small Trimming Plane

Measuring just 3-1/2 inches long and 1-1/4 inches wide, the SStanley Small Trimming Plane can shave away uneven wood in tight spots where a larger plane won’t fit. This block-type plane is made from steel, and its high-quality blade adjusts with a thumb knob or removes for hand-sharpening when necessary. This mini but durable hand plane delivers clean cuts for sculpting wood and modeling, or for many other types of light woodworking.

The Best Hand Plane Option: Stanley Sweetheart Jack Hand Plane

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ALSO CONSIDER: Stanley Low Angle Sweetheart Jack Plane

For smoothing rough lumber, the Stanley Low Angle Sweetheart Jack Plane is a worthy option. Like a typical jack hand plane, the Stanley plane measures larger than a standard bench plane, at nearly 15-3/4 inches long and 7 inches wide, and it’s designed to smooth the surface of rough-sawn boards and timbers. The Stanley jack plane is made from iron castings, weighs in at a beefy 6-plus pounds, and comes with two handles for controlled planing. Its low-angle, one-piece base helps it glide uniformly over the wood as it removes rough grain.