Pros: Tough, accurate, durable, portable, well designed, simple.
Cons: expensive replacement knives, rollers slip unless very clean
I have owned and heavily used my Makita 2012 for 5 or 6 years now, mostly for finish carpentry tasks. I have subjected it to long hours of MDF thicknessing, plywood, and even abrasive tropical hardwoods, and it has always performed like an industrial-quality shop tool despite its light weight and disposable knives. I don't know how Makita has managed to produce such a trouble-free tool. All the competitors I'm aware of, except Powermatic, require frequent maintenance, parts replacement, even complete overhauls. As a finish carpenter I have used most of the big-brand competitors, including DeWalt, Jet. Delta, Grizzly, even Inca, and not one of them compares to this simple planer for accuracy, ease of use, reliability, and endurance on the job site. I believe the only comparable planer is the Powermatic 12.5". I wish only that the knives were cheaper and that the feed rollers were somehow more dust- and resin-resistant. The knives cost $29.95 for a pair of double-sided. They are sharp and straight, unlike the Delta knives I've used, but it is pretty easy to completely wear-out a pair of knives in a long work day. It gets pretty expensive. I wish carbide knives were available. The depth-of-cut guage is simple and accurate, and allows you to preview the cut before feeding the wood. The adjustment crank is easy to use and can be locked in place against vibration, though the little locking screw will come out as it's vibrated under the stress of heavy planing. I routinely plane oak, maple and other tough woods at full bed width without problems. Of course, you'll want to avoid a deep cut or you could stall the motor and do some damage. This is not a quiet tool. Wear earplugs. The power cord is long and durable. The tables fold up and out of the way, and I have often appreciated the relatively light construction, especially when I was renovating old rowhouses in Boston and had to carry the machine up and down six flights of stairs every day. I recommend this tool without reservations for professionals and hobbyists alike. It is now set up in my home shop as a stationary tool and has never let me down.