Pros: Longer bed, depth preset, cutter head lock
Cons: Lot of plastic in construction
When I decided to retire my aging 12" delta planer, I decided to look for 13" models. I looked at Ridgid, Ryobi & Delta 13" models & finally decided to settle on Ryobi's new 13" offering. I already have Ryobi Benchtop Jointer & Ryobi BT3000 table saw. Since both these machines have offered excellent service over the years, I felt comfortable buying another Ryobi product. So far after planing about 200 boardfeet of variety of hardwoods, I feel comfortable in saying that I have made a right decision.
Planer has 15amp motor which doesn't so much as grunt even while planing hard maple. It can handle 13" wide boards & has long planer bed of 33" including infeed & outfeed tables. This is vital since it contributes to reducing snipe. In addition it boasts three neat features.
1. Depth of cut indicator: As soon as you slide the board partway on infeed table, This little indicator tells you how much you will be taking off in this pass.
2. Cutter Head Lock: Once you adjust cutting depth, with one flick of this lever cutter is locked in it's current position. This is most important feature as it makes snipe all but disappear. Snipe is where planers take of just a little more at beginning & end of the board just as board is entering or leaving the planer. my old delta used to take as much as extra 3/32" at both ends forcing me to keep boards bit longer than I needed to factor in the wasted 3" at beginning & end.
3. Depth preset: With this, you can set final thickness of board to one of preset depths. So if you set it to say 3/4" then after bringing the board down to 3/4" you won't be able to take out any more wood, making your measurements accurate. without this neato feature you have to make sure you plane all your boards at the same time to ensure uniform thickness.
Other neat features
Ryobi has opted to go for double edged disposable knives to make knife change very quick. Ryobi's Rapidset system makes knife changes as easy as just dropping new knives in slots & that's that. no more fiddling with planer knife setting jigs. knives cost just wee bit more than having to send them for resharpening & being double edged they can be just flipped over once giving you twice the life compared to planers using single edged re-sharpenable knives.
This planer is also lightest in it's class as Ryobi has opted to use plastic in body construction where it won't affect durability. Although, I must admit that there is nothing portable about this & other planers in it's class. I have no intention of moving anything weighing over 75lbs around frequently. My only concern at this time is whether plastic will affect durability of machine in any way. But only time will tell. I will naturally update this review should I have anything more to say on that.
Top of the planer opens up to reveal convenient storage for tools required for knife change as well as spare knives. another neat feature in my books.
In Actual use
This planer didn't even feel the strain while I planed hard maple boards for my workbench & walnut for our new kitchen island, boosting my confidence that I have made right choice. snipe was barely noticable & even then under light when you look at it at an angle. This compares favourably with other planers in it's class as no mechanical gizmo can completly eliminate snipe no matter how much the manufacturers tell you otherwise. You just have to choose something that will have least amount of snipe. This planer will easily tie with Ridgid & delta for least amount of snipe.
Planer comes with a dust hood that can be used with either 2 1/2" or 4" hoses. although don't even dream of using your shopvac to do dust collection. It's going to fill up so fast that you will be spending more time emptying it every 5 minutes than you would spend sweeping everything off the floor without using shopvac. Dust collection works flawlessly & I didn't find any chips floating over to infeed side. This is important as chips that float over to infeed side can cause nicks in the planed board by getting caught in the knives leaving ugly pattern of deep gashes in the wood.
I am at this stage fairly confident that I have made a right choice & I will be as happy with my purchase as I have been happy with other ryobi tools I have purchased. If you are in market for a benchtop planer, I urge you to strongly consider Ryobi. just imagine how much more wood you can buy with all the money you will save!!