Before you even found this article, you probably already knew that corded and cordless (that is, battery-operated) planers each have their advantages and disadvantages. The same can be said of power tools in general.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of corded and battery-operated options, so you have a better idea of which choice you should make for your situation.
The Advantages of Corded Planers
A corded planer’s biggest plus is that it is more powerful than its cordless counterpart. A close second is that you will get consistent power from the tool – a feature that is especially important if you’re doing detailed or fine work with your planer.
As long as you have a powered outlet handy, you’ll be able to use your planer. This outlet might be found as a wall socket, or you might find one in a portable generator. In either case, until there’s a rare power failure, you’re good to go.
The Disadvantages of Corded Planers
The greatest hindrance to using a corded planer is found in the name itself – the cord. While a portable generator and an extension cord will mitigate this problem to some extent, the fact remains that you will always be attached to a cord and thus limited to where you can use your planer.
Storage of a corded planer is going to be more of a hassle too. This is especially true if your place of work has lots of corded tools. All those cords can seem to have a mind of their own sometimes, twisting and turning back upon themselves creating the dreaded cord knot.
The Advantages of Battery-Operated Planers
Generally, the advantages of battery-operated (cordless) planers will be the opposite of their corded brethren. These will give you complete freedom of movement, so you can approach your work wherever it’s located, instead of bringing your work to your tool.
Cordless tools are usually easier to store, often coming in their own compact cases. There’s nothing to get tangled up here.
If you have the option of getting several cordless tools from the same maker and they can share batteries, this can save both time and money in the long run.
The Disadvantages of Battery-Operated Planers
While cordless planers aren’t as powerful as corded models, the gap between the two versions is narrowing. Even the professionals today use many cordless tools, such as your planer, because they do the job well enough.
The biggest challenge is keeping batteries charged. While having multiple batteries available, eventually each one needs to be recharged, and sooner or later each will have to be replaced.
Which Style of Planer Should I Use?
The answer to the question above depends largely on who you are. If you’re a hobbyist, then a cordless, battery-powered planer should suit you just fine. You’re most likely not working at this every day, five days a week, eight hours per day. Having a spare battery will take you a long way.
If you’re a professional who uses a planer a lot, it will depend on where you do most of your work. Will you have access to powered outlets? If so, go with the corded version for the powerful and consistent output of your planer. If you travel a lot to different worksites, you might find the cordless planer more to your liking.
Note that we haven’t even mentioned price in this comparison. If that matters to you at all, it should be your last consideration. The other factors listed above are really the items you need to think about most.