Jet 20 Helical Planer Review and Impressions [2023]


The Jet 20 Helical Planer (Model JP20HH) is a heavy-duty 20-inch wide planer designed for serious woodworkers who need the extra width capacity and power that this machine provides. With its 5 HP motor and helical cutterhead, the JP20HH can handle large panels and heavy cuts with ease.

In this detailed review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Jet 20’s features, specifications, setup, use cases, cut quality, dust collection, accessories, and more. We’ll help you decide if the JP20HH is the right addition for your woodworking shop.


  • Planing Width: 20 inches
  • Planing Thickness: 8 inches
  • Cutterhead: Helical, 74 carbide inserts
  • Feed Speed: 32 FPM
  • Cutting Depth Per Pass: 1/8″
  • Cutterhead Speed: 5000 RPM
  • Dust Port: 5″
  • Motor: 5 HP, 230V, 3-phase
  • Table Length: 73 inches
  • Overall Dimensions: 30 x 39 x 56 inches
  • Noise Level: 85 dbA
  • Weight: 770 pounds

Unpacking and Setup

Unpacking and setting up the JP20HH is straightforward, but you’ll definitely need two people due to its hefty 770 lb weight.

The cast iron tables require a bit of effort to position and mount with the 3 table screws and 3 set screws underneath. Use a straightedge and feeler gauges to ensure the tables are perfectly flush with the planer bed before tightening everything down.

Take a scrap piece of hardwood and run it through to check for snags. Then wipe down the tables to remove the protective oil using WD-40 or mineral spirits.

We mounted the JP20HH on a Shop Fox mobile base rated for 1200 lbs to make it easy to move the planer around the shop. The cast iron extension tables add even more weight, so a heavy duty mobile base is highly recommended.

Helical Cutterhead

The “HH” in the model number indicates this machine has a helical cutterhead, which provides exceptional smoothness and reduces tearout.

The cutterhead uses 74 indexable carbide inserts arranged in a helical pattern. This gently shears the wood rather than chopping it like a straight knife cutterhead.

The inserts themselves are made by Byrd Shelix and measure 15x15x2mm. While the head may not be manufactured by Byrd, it uses their standard tooling.

Cut Quality

We found the cut quality from the helical cutterhead to be excellent. Unless you are milling lumber with lots of open knots or defects, tearout is minimal. We were able to take 1/8” passes in oak with almost no chipout.

The shearing action of the helical cutters leaves an exceptionally smooth, almost burnished surface. You can plane directly to final thickness without sanding needed on most woods.

Noise Level

The JP20HH runs much quieter than a typical planer thanks to the helical cutterhead and fan-cooled motor. Instead of the loud, high-pitched whine from a straight knife cutter, the helical head has more of a quiet hum.

The posted noise rating is 85 dbA, but to our ears it seems quieter than comparable 15″ planers with universal motors. The helical cutterhead makes a significant difference in noise output. Just make sure to wear hearing protection as a precaution.

Dust Collection

The JP20HH has a standard 5″ dust port located at the back of the machine. We initially found this odd since most planers have 4″ ports, but the larger size is needed to handle the volume of chips produced.

Using a 5” dust hose or reducer is mandatory for adequate dust collection. Otherwise you’ll have piles of chips coming off the planer. A long 5” hose also helps reduce noise from the fast-moving chips.

The dust collection performance itself is quite good since the port is positioned close to the cutterhead. Use a dust collector with at least 1 HP suction capacity for best results.

Cutting Width

The 20″ planing width gives you flexibility to mill wider boards up to about 18″ realistically. This allows you to surface live edge slabs or panels wider than what a 15″ or smaller planer can handle.

We found the JP20HH had no problem cutting full-width heavy cuts in 17” oak panels. The 5 HP motor provides plenty of power without bogging down. It’s great to have that extra capacity vs a 15″ or 16″ model.

Feed Speed

The feed speed of the JP20HH is 32 feet per minute, which is on the faster side for its class. Quicker feed rates allow for more efficient surfacing of lumber.

Combined with the 1/8” maximum cutting depth, you can take fairly aggressive cuts to remove material quickly. We found the feed speed smooth and consistent without any pulsing.

Infeed and Outfeed Tables

The cast iron infeed and outfeed tables are a very generous 73” long. This provides excellent support for feeding stock into the planer and catching it on the back end.

The long tables help minimize snipe and make the planer easy to use solo without needing an extra set of hands. Shorter boards don’t even drop when exiting the cutterhead thanks to the extended outfeed table.

We recommend positioning your dust collector or an auxiliary mobile table directly behind the outfeed for support handling extra long boards up to 12 feet.

Cutting Depth Scale

Unfortunately the cutting depth scale on the JP20HH leaves much to be desired. Only having a single marking at 1/8″ makes it hard to precisely set cutting depth.

We highly recommend adding an aftermarket digital scale like the Wixey WR300 for more accurate and repeatable depth measurements. This allows you to take consistent cuts to 1/1000″ precision.

Additional Features

Some other nice touches on the JP20HH include:

  • Return rollers on top of the infeed and outfeed tables to set lumber. Not motorized, but helpful for staging boards.
  • 4 column posts for stability and minimal machine vibration.
  • Metal hand crank for raising/lowering the cutterhead. Sturdy and smooth.
  • Fan cooled 5 HP motor designed for extended use without overheating.
  • Rubber feet underneath to reduce vibration transfer to the floor.

Recommended Uses

The Jet 20 Helical Planer excels at handling these common surfacing tasks:

  • Smoothing and thicknessing wide live edge slabs up to 20″ width.
  • Dimensioning thick lumber up to 8″ thickness.
  • Squaring and flattening large tabletop blanks.
  • Surfacing oversized panel glue ups after clamping.
  • Thicknessing batches of boards up to 12′ long.


Keep these capacity limits in mind:

  • Maximum Width: ~18″ realistically depending on lumber shape and grain.
  • Minimum Length: About 10-12” for safe feeding through rollers.
  • Maximum Thickness: 8 inches.
  • Minimum Thickness: Around 1/8” for final pass.

Not recommended for planing end grain or small parts. Use a sled to plane short/narrow stock.


Here are some recommended accessories for the JP20HH:

Customer Reviews

Owners of the Jet 20 Helical Planer are overall very satisfied with its performance, cut quality, and capabilities. They praise the machine’s power, width, quiet operation and dust collection.

The most common complaints relate to the poor factory depth scale and minor quality issues like rough castings or sticky pulleys. But many note that Jet has great customer service if any problems come up.

Here’s a sampling of customer comments:

“This planer is an absolute beast. The cut quality rivals my old commercial 22” planer in the cabinet shop where I used to work. Worth every penny.”

“This machine has transformed my hobby woodworking shop. Now I can surface live edge slabs up to 20″ wide with ease. It’s a beast but smooth as silk.”

“We use this planer daily in our custom furniture shop and it delivers great results. Very quiet compared to our old Delta planer.”

“The extra width capacity and removable tables are so nice for flexibility. It handles just about any surfacing task I throw at it.”

“Cuts oak and walnut without a problem. Minimal tearout. Very happy with this purchase after using an underpowered benchtop planer.”

“My only complaints are the cheap depth scale and rough castings on the tables. But otherwise it’s a great machine.”

Our Recommendation

If you are looking for a heavy-duty planer that can handle wide boards up to 20″ and need the power to surface thick lumber, the Jet 20” Helical Planer (JP20HH) is an excellent choice.

It’s wider than traditional 15” or 16” planers, providing flexibility for surfacing large slabs or panel glue ups. The helical cutterhead leaves a smooth, tearout-free cut that requires little to no sanding.

The 5 HP motor has plenty of power to cut full-width and provides quiet operation. Dust collection is very good with a proper 5” port shop vac system. The long infeed/outfeed tables help minimize snipe.

Just be prepared to deal with the 700+ lb weight during installation, and add an aftermarket thickness scale for better precision. But overall the JP20HH is built like a tank and is one of the best 20” planers on the market for woodworkers who need the extra capacity.