The Dewalt DW 735 thickness planer is one of the most popular woodworking power tools. Its combination of capabilities, size, and price make it an attractive tool to buy for woodworkers of almost any skill level. I purchased this tool just over 3 years ago now and wanted to post my full DW735 planer review.
- Purchase includes one stationary 13" Planer, in/out feed tables with fasteners (attached to the base of the Planer base), extra blades and dust hose adapter. Stand is not included.
- Three knife cutter head of the thickness planer delivers 30% longer knife life and makes knife change faster and easier
- Two-speed gear box of the wood planer allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
- Fan-assisted chip ejection vacuums chip off of the cutter head and exhausts them out of the machine
- 19-3/4-inch cast aluminum base is 2 times more rigid than a standard 10-inch base and folding tables
DW734 vs DW735 vs DW735x
There are three models of Dewalt thickness planers that all have a similar footprint and planing capacity.
The DW734 is Dewalt’s lowest price option. This lunchbox-style planer is similar to models sold by WEN, Craftsman, Grizzly, and Triton. It offers 12 1/2 inches of planing capacity and runs on just a single speed.
This planer comes equipped with a motor that runs at 10,000 RPM and weighs right at 80 pounds.
Next up is the DW735. The DW735 and DW735x are actually the same planers, with the only difference being the DW735x come with infeed and outfeed tables and an extra set of knives. The knives will be needed eventually but weren’t a huge deal at first for me. The infeed and outfeed tables are essential, though, so I highly recommend them.
The biggest difference between the DW 734 vs. DW735 is the lunchbox vs. pillar style is unique to Dewalt the DW735. This model has been in production for almost 20 years now, so you know they are doing something very right.
The DW735 and DW735x offer 13 inches of planing capacity, a blower for great chip and dust control even without a dust collector, dual speeds for quick material removal and finish quality cuts, and a high-powered 20,000 RPM motor. This model also comes in at around 92 pounds so it is a bit heavier than the DW734.
I keep mine on a furniture dolly so I can roll it under the wing of my table saw when not in use. I used to pick it up on my outfeed table each time I needed it, but this solution is much easier on the back!
Dewalt DW735 Planer Review
DW735 Features and Specs
- 13″ Planing Capacity
- 3 Knife Cutterhead
- 15 Amp, 20,000 RPM Motor
- 2 Feed Rate Options
- Fan Assisted Chip Ejection
- 19 3/4″ Deep Solid Aluminum Base
- Automatic Depth Lock
- Turret Depth Stop for Repeatable Cuts
DW735 Pros and Cons
- Easy setup
- Excellent cut quality
- Small footprint
- Chip and dust control
- Build quality
- Ease of knife changes
- Machine is LOUD
- Prone to snipe on thin boards
- Knives can not be sharpened
- Outfeed table can’t be raised completely due to placement of dust port
Overall Impression of the Dewalt DW735 Thickness Planer
I have been pleased with my planer and would happily buy it again. It is hard to think of another tool in the shop that can pack so much into a tool with such a small footprint and come in at a pretty affordable price. Despite the knives not being sharpenable, they have provided a ton of life and are reversible, so I don’t feel quite as bad about having to replace them on occasion.
I’m going off of memory here as I have used this planer for a number of years now, but out of the box, there was almost zero setup to get the planer up and running. I purchased the DW735x, so I had to attach the infeed and outfeed tables, which was a breeze.
The crank handle and dust ports also had to be attached, but those took, in total, less than 5 minutes. And with that, the planer was ready to fire up and start using. There aren’t many tools that can be pulled out of the box and used this quickly!
Ease of Use
I’m not sure there is an easier tool to use than the DW735. With a little bit of basic information and safety precautions the machine basically runs itself.
To adjust the height of the cut there is a large crank on the left side of the machine. I typically give it a half to a full turn for each pass depending if I’m trying to quickly remove material or am making near finish cuts. The planer automatically locks the height so there is nothing else to do there and the four pillar design keeps everything rock solid.
When setting up a cut there is a dial on the front of the planer that indicates how deep the pass will be. With the planer off adjust the height of the cut and slide your wood into the planer. You’ll see the dial move based on the height of the cutter head and the thickness of your wood.
The planer also has a dial with preset depth stops at commonly used intervals. This is great when working on projects where multiple pieces need to the be the same thickness but will be planed at different times.
On the left, there is the speed switch. With the planer running, you can switch between 96 CPI, material removal, and 179 CPI, finishing. This switch adjusts the speed at which the wood is fed through the machine, with position 1 taking approximately twice as long as position 2.
The cut quality off the planer has been excellent. I run 95% of my material through at the higher feed rate setting, and I rarely end up with tear out or snipe at the end of boards. The only time I really run into issues with snipe is if I’m running thin (<3/8″) boards through. In those cases, I try to run the boards back to back and keep a waste board to run last.
Running boards through on the fine finish speed setting results in a surface that hardly needs any sanding at all. For a straight knife planer, it really leaves a nice surface.
This setting is also excellent for highly figured wood like curly maple. I have also found that some exotic species do better with this setting as well. Whenever I work with purpleheart, I run it through on the fine finish speed as it can be prone to tear out.
Over the years I have run a whole range of woods from cedar to sapele through the planer and is has never once bogged down.
Another cool feature is that, since the planer offers such a stable base and 6-inch deep cutting capacity, is you can run boards on their side to bring everything to a final uniform width. I wouldn’t try this with thin boards but if you’re working with at least 8/4 boards then I have never run into any issues.
The DW735 and DW735x come with a built in blower to eject the chips and dust through the dust collection port. For anyone who has used this planer and let the chips self eject you will know what I’m talking about when I say that this blower does not lack for power.
On a few occasions my dust collector hose has fallen off the port on the planer and within 30 seconds the entire side of my shop was coated in wood chips. It is really impressive to see how much power is behind the built in dust collection on the Dewalt planer.
So, if you’re in a situation where you don’t have a dust collector then just running a hose from the planer to a garbage can is probably going to collect 99% of the dust ejected from the machine.
Overall, the Dewalt planer is probably one of my cleanest machines in the shop as very little dust escapes its grasp.
The biggest con for this machine is the noise, hands down. The Dewalt planer is LOUD.
There are some tools that I may run for a second to make a quick cut and don’t bother putting on my hearing protection. This tool is not one of them. My shop is underneath one of the kid’s rooms, and I can’t run it during nap time or after they go to bed as it will usually wake them up.
Other than upgrading the cutter head to a Shelix head, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about the noise either. Put on some hearing protection, and don’t wake the kids!
Changing the Blades
Changing the blades on the DW735 is a fairly painless process. All you need to do is remove the 4 screws on the top of the planer and remove the top cover. There are then 3 hand screws to remove and the dust shroud can be removed.
Each blade then has 8 screws to remove. Once the blade is removed, you can either flip it or replace it with a new blade if both sides of the blades have been used. Note that these blades are not sharpenable as you can not set the depth on each blade independently.
This video gives a good overview on how to change the blade on the DW735.
The straight knives can also be swapped out for a Shelix head which have carbine teeth. The benefits of making this change are quieter operation, longer life on the cutter heads, and the ability to rotate the cutter heads rather than replace them in the event they are dulled or chipped.
Note that, if you replace your cutter head with a Shelix head your depth stops will all be off slightly.
Is the DW735 Worth it?
Whether you are a beginner woodworker looking for your first planer or the owner of a large shop and need a backup machine the Dewalt DW735 planer is a solid choice. We hope our DW735 planer review has been helpful in getting to know the capabilities of this machine.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.