We tested Craftsman’s new 13-in. benchtop planer (model # 21743; $440) with built-in dust collection. We were impressed; using only the planer’s on-board dust-collection system, nearly every speck was collected.
A fabric dust shroud allows you to connect the planer to a 30-gallon trash can or bag that you provide. The shroud also works as a filter. A fan in the planer’s dust hood propels shavings directly into the can or bag and the dust shroud works as a filter.
Along with built-in dust collection, this planer has powered height adjustment, so you can quickly raise or lower the cutterhead. You make fine adjustments with the hand crank.
Like most benchtop planers these days, this machine has a lock lever on the cutterhead that effectively reduces snipe. Snipe was barely detectable on the boards we ran through this machine. This planer uses indexed double-edged knives, the easiest style of knife to change.
The Craftsman 21743 has features found on many other 13-in. benchtop planers, with the added benefit of a very useful built-in dust-control system. If you need a planer and don’t have a dust collector, this machine is worth a look. Another new Craftsman planer, the 12-in. #21722 ($300), includes the dust collection system but not the powered height adjustment or cutterhead lock.
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