Planer vs Router: A Complete Guide For Beginners

Are you a beginner woodworker wondering which tool to use for your next project? Planer or router? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll break down the differences between the two and help you decide which one is right for your needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • A planer is used to create smooth, even surfaces on pieces of lumber.
  • A router is used to cut intricate shapes and designs into wood.
  • If you’re working with rough lumber, a planer is essential to create a level surface before using a router.
  • If you need to create curved edges or decorative details in your woodworking project, a router is the way to go.
  • The choice between a planer and router ultimately depends on the specific needs of your project.

Planer vs Router: Which is Better for Beginners?

When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right tool can make all the difference. Planers and routers are both essential for creating smooth and precise cuts in your materials, but which one is better for beginners? Let’s break it down.

The Planer: This tool is perfect for flattening rough lumber or creating a consistent thickness throughout your project. It works by removing small amounts of material with each pass, leaving you with a perfectly smooth surface. While this might seem like a simple task, it requires some skill to operate correctly.

The Router: This versatile tool allows you to create intricate designs and shapes in your woodwork. With its various bits, you can create decorative edges, joints, and even carve out designs. The router takes some practice to master but can be an incredibly rewarding tool once you get the hang of it.

So which one is better for beginners? Well, that depends on what kind of projects you plan on tackling. If you’re starting with rough lumber or need consistent thickness throughout your project, go for the planer. But if you want to add some unique design elements to your workpiece or create intricate joints, then the router is the way to go.

In summary: both tools are essential for any woodworking project but serve different purposes. As a beginner, consider what kind of projects you want to tackle before investing in either tool. With practice and patience, both tools can produce beautiful results and take your woodworking skills to the next level.

Flattens rough lumber
Creates consistent thickness
Creates intricate designs
Decorative edges & joints
Requires skill to operate correctlyTakes practice to master
Best for rough lumber or consistent thickness projectsIdeal for unique design elements and intricate joints

Remember: Whatever tool you choose, always prioritize safety and take your time. Happy woodworking!

What are the Differences Between Planer and Router for Beginners?

If you’re a beginner in woodworking, you might be wondering what the differences are between a planer and router. Well, let’s break it down for you!

Planer: This tool is designed to smooth out rough lumber and make it flat. It has rotating blades that shave off thin layers of wood until the surface is even. Planers come in two types: hand-held and benchtop. Hand-held planers are great for smaller projects while benchtops are more suitable for larger ones.

Router: Unlike the planer, this tool is used to create intricate designs on wood by cutting out specific shapes or patterns. It has a spinning bit which can be adjusted to different depths and widths, allowing for precise cuts. There are three types of routers: fixed base, plunge base, and combo kits.

In summary, a planer is used to make rough lumber smooth while a router is used to create detailed designs. Both tools have their own unique uses and advantages depending on your project needs. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Planer:
    • Cuts thin layers of wood
    • Makes surfaces flat
    • Two types: hand-held & benchtop
  • Router:
    • Cuts specific shapes & patterns
    • Precise cuts with adjustable depth & width
    • Three types: fixed base, plunge base, & combo kits
Smooths rough lumberCreates intricate designs
Two types: hand-held & benchtopThree types: fixed base, plunge base, & combo kits
Makes surfaces flatAdjustable depth & width for precise cuts
Both tools have their own unique uses and advantages depending on your project needs.

Ultimately, the choice between a planer and router depends on what you’re looking to achieve with your woodworking project. Whether you need to smooth out rough edges or create intricate designs, both tools can help bring your vision to life with precision and ease!

How to Choose Between Planer and Router as a Beginner?

As a beginner, choosing between a planer and router can be overwhelming. Both tools have their uses and advantages, but it ultimately depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. Here are some factors to consider:


  • Best for smoothing rough lumber or creating uniform thickness
  • Can handle wider boards than most routers
  • Creates less dust and noise than a router


  • Ideal for shaping edges, cutting grooves, and making intricate designs
  • Offers more versatility in terms of the types of cuts you can make
  • Generally easier to use for beginners

When deciding between the two, ask yourself what kind of projects you’ll be working on. If you’re primarily interested in furniture-making or need to smooth out rough lumber, a planer is likely your best bet. On the other hand, if you want to create decorative edges or make precise cuts in smaller pieces of wood, a router will be more useful.

Of course, there’s no right answer when it comes to choosing between these tools – it all depends on your personal preferences and needs. But hopefully these tips will help guide you in making an informed decision!

In summary, both planers and routers have their own unique benefits and applications. Consider what kind of work you’ll be doing before making a decision. And remember: as with any new skill, practice makes perfect!

Can a Beginner Use a Planer or Router Safely?

Yes, a beginner can use a planer or router safely with some precautions. Safety is the utmost priority when using these tools. Firstly, always wear protective gear such as safety goggles, earplugs, and gloves to avoid any accidents. Secondly, read the manual thoroughly before operating the tool to understand its features and how it works.

Additionally, make sure that the blade guard is in place and the workpiece is securely fastened to avoid it from moving around while working on it. Always keep your fingers away from the cutting edges of the blades. With a bit of practice and patience, anyone can easily learn how to use these tools safely.

In conclusion, using a planer or router for woodworking can be safe if proper measures are taken. Remembering to put safety first at all times is essential for both beginners and professionals alike. So don’t hesitate to try out these tools for your next DIY project!

Some key takeaways:

  • Wear appropriate protective gear
  • Thoroughly read the manual before operation
  • Securely fasten your workpiece in place
  • Keep fingers away from cutting edges
  • Practice makes perfect

What Kind of Projects Can You Make with a Planer or Router as a Beginner?

If you’re a beginner, using a planer or router can be intimidating. But fear not! These tools are incredibly versatile and can help you create some amazing projects. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Projects with a Planer:
Cutting Boards: A planer is great for smoothing out wooden cutting boards and making them look professional.
Furniture: With a planer, you can create custom furniture pieces that fit your space perfectly.
Picture Frames: A planer can give your picture frames a polished finish and make them look expensive.

Projects with a Router:
Cabinet Doors: A router can help you create beautiful cabinet doors with intricate designs.
Molding: Use a router to create decorative molding for your walls or ceilings.
Jewelry Boxes: The precision of a router makes it perfect for creating small, detailed jewelry boxes.

Now that you have some project ideas in mind, it’s time to get creative! Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Remember, the more practice you get with these tools, the more confident you’ll become in your woodworking skills. So go forth and create something amazing!

Which is More Versatile for Beginners: Planer or Router?

When it comes to woodworking, beginners often wonder which tool is more versatile: the planer or the router? Both tools have their unique strengths and weaknesses, but for beginners, the router is a better choice as it offers greater versatility in terms of functionality and ease of use.

Firstly, routers can be used for a variety of purposes including routing edges, creating grooves and slots, cutting mortises and dadoes, and even carving decorative patterns. On the other hand, planers are primarily used for flattening rough lumber and creating parallel surfaces. While planers are essential for certain woodworking tasks like making tabletops or doors, they lack the versatility that routers provide.

Secondly, routers are easier to control than planers. Routers have adjustable speed settings which allow users to work at their own pace. Additionally, routers come with different sizes of bits which can be easily swapped out depending on the desired cut. Planers require more skill to operate as they have a fixed blade that must be set precisely to avoid damaging the wood.

Lastly, routers are typically less expensive than planers which makes them an attractive option for beginners who may not want to invest too much money in a tool they’re not sure they’ll use frequently.

In summary, while both tools have their uses in woodworking projects, routers offer greater versatility and ease of use for beginners. With its ability to handle multiple functions such as edging and carving decorative patterns along with being significantly cheaper than a planer makes it worth considering investing in a router for novice woodworkers starting out.

Some additional points about both tools:


  • Used primarily for flattening rough lumber
  • Creates parallel surfaces
  • Essential tool when making tabletops or doors
  • Requires more skill to operate


  • Versatile tool that can be used for multiple functions
  • Can route edges
  • Create grooves & slots
  • Cut mortises & dadoes
  • Carve decorative patterns
  • Adjustable speed settings
  • Comes with different sizes of bits for different cuts
  • Easier to control than planers
  • Typically less expensive than planers

What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Planer vs Router for Beginners?

Using a planer or router is an essential tool for woodworkers, especially beginners. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks that can affect the quality of your work. Here are some pros and cons of using a planer vs router:


It’s great for flattening rough lumber and creating uniform thickness.
You can make precise cuts to create smooth surfaces with no tear-out.
It’s time-efficient as it can handle large pieces of wood quickly.


  • Planers are generally expensive, so it may not be feasible for everyone to invest in one right away.
  • The blades need frequent sharpening, which adds to the cost and maintenance time.
  • It’s not ideal for intricate designs or patterns.



  • Routers are versatile and can create various shapes and designs in wood.
  • They’re great for creating decorative edges on furniture or cabinetry.
  • It doesn’t require much space, making it perfect for small workshops.


  • They tend to be noisy and dusty, so proper safety precautions should be taken while working with them.
  • Routers require precision handling; otherwise, you risk ruining your piece of wood.
  • The bits need frequent replacement if used frequently.

In summary, both planers and routers have their unique features that make them useful tools in woodworking projects. Beginners should consider their project requirements before deciding which tool to use. If you’re looking for uniform thickness with clean cuts, then a planer might be your best bet. However, if you’re interested in adding creative details to your workpiece, then a router could be the way to go!

Where Can You Find Beginner-Friendly Tutorials for Using a Planer or Router?

Looking to learn how to use a planer or router? Don’t worry, there are plenty of beginner-friendly tutorials out there! First off, YouTube is an amazing resource for finding step-by-step guides on just about anything. Simply search “planer/router tutorial for beginners” and you’ll be met with a plethora of colorful and engaging videos to choose from.

Another great option is to check out woodworking blogs and forums. These online communities are filled with experienced woodworkers who love sharing their knowledge with others. They often post detailed articles with helpful tips, tricks, and even product recommendations that can make using a planer or router much easier.

If you’re looking for something more structured, many local community colleges offer woodworking classes that cover the basics of using different tools. Not only will you get hands-on experience under the guidance of an expert instructor, but you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with other aspiring woodworkers in your area.

So don’t let the idea of using a planer or router intimidate you – with these resources at your fingertips, you’ll be mastering these tools in no time!

Some examples of recommended resources:

  1. YouTube tutorials: “The Ultimate Guide to Using a Planer for Beginners”, “Router Basics: How to Use a Router for Woodworking”
  2. Woodworking blogs/forums: “Woodworking Basics: Using a Planer”, “The Beginner’s Guide to Routers”
  3. Community college classes: “Woodworking 101: Introduction to Tools

Wrapping Up

So, whether you’re just starting out in woodworking or looking to expand your skills, understanding the difference between a planer and a router is key. In a nutshell, while both tools can be used for similar tasks, they have different strengths and weaknesses. The planer is great for thicknessing boards and creating smooth surfaces, while routers excel at creating intricate shapes and edges. Remember the old adage: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Don’t fall into that trap! By adding both a planer and router to your tool arsenal, you’ll be able to tackle any project that comes your way with ease.