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5 Best Molding Planers of 2023 to Consider

The JET JPM 13 CS is the best silent molding planer, and the Grizzly Industrial G1021Z is a close second, featuring an impressive design and a strong build. You may also consider going for Shop Fox W1812 for its powerful motor. 

Best Molding Planers

A molding planer also known as a molding machine or molder, is a woodworking machine specifically designed for shaping and cutting intricate profiles and patterns onto the edges or surfaces of wooden boards and pieces. It is a precision tool utilized in the fields of carpentry, woodworking, and furniture production. It employs rotating knives and stationary guides to cut patterns onto the wood's edges or surfaces. Adjustable knife heads enable customization for various profiles, ensuring precise and consistent results in carpentry and furniture production

However, how should you decide which ones are worthy of your investment? And what are some crucial factors to remember as you search for the best molding planer options on the market today? I have compiled the top 5 molding planers in this blog post based on my experiences. Let us check them out! 

Here is a concise summary of the best molding planers for DIY woodworking at home:

  • JET JPM-13CS: The JET JPM-13CS stands out as the perfect choice for those in search of a quiet molder planer. Boasting reduced noise and vibrations, this planer's 1 ½ HP motor guarantees efficient operation. Precision and control are enhanced by the three-knife structure and slow feed rate, all wrapped up in a user-friendly design.
  • Grizzly Industrial G1021Z: The Grizzly Industrial G1021Z planer, equipped with a stand, delivers powerful and reliable performance with its 3 HP motor. Its wide 15-inch cutting width, two feed rate speeds, and thermal overload protection make it suitable for spacious workspaces.
  • Shop Fox W1812: The Shop Fox W1812 planer boasts a powerful 2 HP motor, operating at 7,000 RPM, ensuring efficient performance. Its user-friendly design, decent dust collection, and easy maintenance make it an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals.
  • Grizzly Industrial G1033X: The Grizzly Industrial G1033X planer offers a perfect balance of power and durability. Stability is ensured by its solid cast iron extension tables, large handwheel setup, and heavy-duty welded steel base. The helical cutter head guarantees precise cuts, but it's worth noting that replacement components can be on the pricey side.
  • Shop Fox W1863: The Shop Fox W1863 stands out for its user-friendly design, featuring infeed and outfeed roller springs for consistent workpiece movement. Equipped with V-belts for power transmission and anti-kickback fingers for safety, it's an excellent choice for both professionals and hobbyists.

1. JET JPM-13CS - Best silent molding planer

If you want a molder to create planed boards but hate noisy applications, I recommend trying out the JET JPM-13CS. Based on my experience, this is one of the best molding planers with reduced noise emissions and vibrations that produce great efficiency with a 1 ½ HP motor. 

I found the cutter head of this molding planer smooth to work with. It goes up to the speed of 4,500 RPM, which helped me produce smooth cuts on my custom molding project. 

One of the best things about this quiet planer molder is its design. While the three-knives structure helps create cuts precisely, the slow feed rate of the planer gave me immense control over the stock. 

If you hate adjusting planer molder components like feed rollers and knives, the user-friendly design of this product will give you satisfaction. I could easily lock the casters, too, so stability was never a question for me while using the single-phase JET JPM-13CS. 

With over 40 molding cutter sets, I got to work with different finishes and enjoyed several opportunities to get creative while working with my equipment. However, even though it is a great machine - beginners might find it difficult to check how much board they are taking off while making the initial cuts. 

Motor Power: 1.5 HP | Maximum Cutting Width: 13" | Maximum Depth of Cut: .062" | Cutterhead Type and Speed: Straight knife, 4,500 RPM | Number of Knives: 3 | Feed Rate: 20 FPM | Dust Collection: Exclusive angled 4" dust port

2. Grizzly Industrial G1021Z - Best molder planer with stand

People with a spacious workspace should consider going for molding planers with a stand. In this case, I recommend the Grizzly Industrial G12021Z. It delivers a powerful and reliable performance during its application. 

One of the best aspects of using this planer molder is its impressive power. The cutter head region is driven by a 3 HP single-phase motor at a speed of 5,000 RPM - enough for most wood projects. 

Since the standard cutting width of a molder planing device is about 13 inches, I found the wide 15-inch width of this product efficient to work with. It also comes with two feed rate speeds and is quite stable in the application. 

I also recommend this planer to beginners who have yet to become accustomed to knowing when to stop as their machine overheats. The thermal overload protection feature of this planer molder by Grizzly makes the device stop smoothly when it is triggered. However, being 540 pounds - it is a very heavy device and cannot be carried around too much. 

Motor Power: 3 HP | Maximum Cutting Width: 15" | Maximum Depth of Cut: .125" | Cutterhead Type and Speed: 3-knife, 5,000 RPM | Number of Knives: 3 | Feed Rate: 16, 20 FPM | Dust Collection: 4" dust port

3. Shop Fox W1812 - Best planer molder with powerful motor

Shop Fox is one of the most reputed names for molder planer machine equipment. Hence, I suggest its W1812 variant to anyone who wants to work efficiently with a powerful motor and is easy to maintain. 

The 2 HP motor of this product enables the cutter headsets to rotate at an impressive speed of 7,000 RPM. If you don’t like investing much effort in maintaining your machinery, you should consider this product since tasks like changing the blade of your knives are easy. 

I also found the feed rate options of this planning machine to be decent, which ranges from 0 to 18 FPM. It gave me great control over my tools, so I suggest the W1812 to beginners and professionals. 

This product also has a good dust collection system, including a dust port of close to 4 inches. I could easily attach this dust collector to my planing machine, and my workspace became way cleaner than it was while working with other models. However, you might take some time to get used to adjusting the distance between the lowest point of the knife and the feed rolls. 

Motor Power: 2 HP | Maximum Cutting Width: 7" | Maximum Depth of Cut: .75" | Cutterhead Type and Speed: Square, 7,000 RPM | Number of Knives: 2 | Feed Rate: 0 to 18 FPM | Dust Collection: 4" dust port

4. Grizzly Industrial G1033X - Best durable molding planer

If you want a molder planer machine that balances power and durability decently, I recommend the Grizzly Industrial G1033X. This can be a useful addition to any serious woodworker’s carpentry tools due to its various features. 

One of the best things about this planer is its solid cast iron extension tables. They provide ample support and a smooth surface that is about 5 feet in length. Drawing from experience, I found this molder planing machine quite stable because of its build. 

As I am someone who is not too keen when it comes to adjustments, the large handwheel of this setup was a good feature to work with. It helped me with an effortless table movement, as the strong pedestal design held the power controls at a reasonable height. This molding plane machine also comes with heavy-duty welded steel, which adds to the overall stability of the base material. 

The helical cutter head of this planer by Grizzly helps create precise cuts, and safety measures like magnetic switches eliminate the scope of potential accidents. However, I found the replacement components to be quite expensive. 

Motor Power: 5 HP | Maximum Cutting Width: 20" | Maximum Depth of Cut: .125" | Cutterhead Type and Speed: Helical, 5,000 RPM | Number of Knives: 92 | Feed Rate: 16, 20 FPM | Dust Collection: Dust exhaust hood, 5" dust port

5. Shop Fox W1863 - Best user-friendly molding planer

Whether you are a professional woodworker or a dedicated hobbyist, I recommend trying out the Shop Fox W1863. It has a strong build and a thoughtful design, which is why it is very user-friendly too. 

The W1863 models come with infeed and outfeed roller strings. After putting it to the test, I found out that these springs exert downward pressure on the feed rollers of the planer. This ensured a consistent movement of the workpiece through the edge of the planer. I could also adjust the tension of the spring to work with different kinds of wood. 

This planer has three V-belts that, through the drive chain system, transmit power from the motor to the infeed and outfeed tables and the cutter head. It also has a good quality built-in dust port to clean your workspace. 

I was happy with several safety features of this equipment, including the anti-kickback fingers. They are suspended before the infeed roller to prevent kickback by engaging with the workpiece. However, based on my observations, I found the instruction manual vague and not as helpful as I thought it would be. 

Motor Power: 3 HP | Maximum Cutting Width: 15" | Maximum Depth of Cut: .125" | Cutterhead Type and Speed: Helical, 5,000 RPM | Number of Knives: 52 | Feed Rate: 16, 20 FPM | Dust Collection: 4" dust port

Which molding planers are ideal for home woodworking projects?

In this comparison chart, we'll explore a selection of molding planers designed for home woodworking projects. These planers vary in motor power, cutting width and depth, cutterhead type, and feed rate. Whether you're seeking precision, power, or versatility, this overview will help you choose the right molding planer to suit your needs.

Molding PlanersMotor PowerMaximum Cutting WidthMaximum Depth of CutCutterhead Type and SpeedNumber of KnivesFeed RateDust Collection
JET JPM-13CS1.5 HP13".062"Straight knife, 4,500 RPM320 FPMExclusive angled 4" dust port
Grizzly Industrial G1021Z3 HP15".125"3-knife, 5,000 RPM316, 20 FPM4" dust port
Shop Fox W18122 HP7".75"Square, 7,000 PRM20 to 18 FPM4" dust port
Grizzly Industrial G1033X5 HP20".125"Helical, 5,000 RPM9216, 20 FPMDust exhaust hood, 5" dust port
Shop Fox W18633 HP15".125"Helical, 5,000 RPM5216, 20 FPM4" dust port

Molding planers buyer’s guide

1. Cutterhead type

There are several kinds of molding planer cutter head options on the market, and you should choose one based on your preferences and needs. You may go for straight-knives cutter heads, helical cutter heads, or spiral cutter heads. 

While there are many ways through which you can choose the perfect kind of cutter head for your planer equipment, you should always pay attention to the main ones. These include cut quality, noise level, maintenance, etc. You can try out different options based on your experiments or research online before purchasing. 

2. Cutting width and thickness

You need to be aware of the cutting width and thickness of your molding planer equipment to ensure that your pro-pack is worth the investment. No matter how good the quality of your machines and other items is, if they are incompatible with your wood stocks - they are not worth the money. 

To check the compatibility, measure the maximum width and thickness of the stock material you usually work on within your projects. Next, when you browse through your options, make sure that the planer can efficiently accommodate the material of your boards. 

3. Feed speed

It is important to consider the feed speed of any molding planer before purchasing it because it tells us how quickly we can pass and plane our boards through it. Additionally, you should ensure that this feature is adjustable in your planer. 

Since different kinds of wood material require varying speeds, a molding planer should not limit your options while creating decorative cuts. Hence, it is crucial to keep this point in mind. 

4. Durability and construction

The durability factor in any planer - including molding planers - should always be noticed while purchasing one. This is especially important if you require this device for heavy use and long periods. To ensure stability and durability, you can consider looking for materials like steel or iron in constructing such planers. 

A planer with a high-quality design, strong and sharp knives, and so on will likely be more durable. As a result, it lasts longer than cheap alternatives with low-quality materials like blunt knives. 

5. Price

Finally, it is crucial to consider the price range that you are comfortable with as you browse for molding planers. You may find a shop that sells expensive planers in, say, Kansas City. But you will also find companies that offer affordable alternatives without compromising their features. 

All you have to do is research well. I suggest you map out all your preferences and needs in the order of priority and then decide on a price range that won’t blow a hole in your pocket. Then, you can find an option that fits all your needs. 

What is the difference between a molding planer, router, and jointer?

The difference between a molding planer, router, and jointer lies in their distinct functionalities in woodworking. A molding planer is primarily used to create decorative designs on wood, enhancing its visual appeal. A router, such as a trim router, is employed for tasks like edge profiling and detailing.

In contrast, a jointer (stationary or benchtop) is designed to flatten or straighten the faces and edges of rough lumbers, enhancing their usability in various projects.

Which is the best planer for working with wood?

The best planer for working with wood depends on the specific tasks you need to perform. Another factor you should also consider is the type. Your ideal type of equipment would depend on your aim. For instance, lightweight options like the best electric hand planers might be best if you want a planer to build projects in your spare time but travel a lot. 

However, if you need a more powerful and larger alternative, you can consider checking out the best benchtop planer options on the market. 

Similarly, you can check out the best stationary planer options for working with large quantities of wood and the best molding planers for creative decorative cuts. 

Are budget jointers as good as molding planers?

Budget jointers are not generally considered as good as molding planers in terms of versatility and precision. While they can create simple profiles and edges, making them a cost-effective alternative for less complex tasks, they can't match the comprehensive capabilities of molding planers.

As we conclude this article, it's time to unveil the winner - the JET JPM-13CS! With its powerful yet silent performance, it stands out as one of the best options available today. For those with ample workspace, the Grizzly Industrial G1021Z is my second recommendation. If you're in search of a robust, heavy-duty motor, my third suggestion would be the Shop Fox W1812.

If you reside in the United States, it's worth considering one of the planers featured here. That wraps up today's discussion. Goodbye!