drum sander vs planer

Drum Sanders vs. Planers: Which Is Better For Sanding And Shaving?

Woodworking, whether as a profession or a hobby, is an incredibly satisfying activity that calls for extreme care, stamina, and creativity on the part of its practitioners. The process is not, however, without obstacles. Picking the right tool for the job is still a constant cause of stress for woodworkers. Drum sanders and planers are two of the most used power tools, and their similarities and differences are often discussed. To help you determine which of these options is most suitable for your situation, we’ll compare and contrast them in detail here.

Describe Drum Sander

JET JWDS-1632 Drum Sander with Stand

An industrial device known as a “drum sander” has a rotating sanding drum as part of its design. This tool is effective for shaving off previously worked-on layers of wood since it allows you to operate on huge volumes of wood in greater areas.

Despite its efficiency, utilizing a drum sander raises serious safety issues. The amount of heat generated during operation is one major problem, which can be dangerous if the right safeguards are not taken. Both the machine itself and the wood could catch fire as a result of the heat produced.

It is vital that users utilize caution and monitoring in order to reduce these dangers. One approach to lessen the chance of a fire starting is to wait until the machine has cooled before attempting to change the sandpaper.

The speed at which a drum sander operates, which can be fairly quick, is another possible risk linked with using one. It is crucial for users to be aware of their fingers, hair, and any loose clothes that can become caught in the machine’s parts.

Even though these are two of the most important safety issues, it is crucial to adhere to the right safety procedures when using a drum sander. Using safety equipment like goggles and a mask to prevent dust inhalation is part of this.

Describe Planer

DEWALT Thickness Planer

A planer is a tool used in the craft of woodworking that specializes in removing thick layers of wood using a strong steel blade that penetrates the wood’s surface at an accelerated speed, leaving a uniform and impeccable finish.

These gadgets come in a variety of sizes and designs, each with a specific purpose in mind. There are industrial-sized planers that can cut through heavier layers of wood while providing the flexibility of customization based on the user’s requirements, as well as handheld planers that are utilized for smaller projects.

With using a planner, safety must always come first, just like with any other gadget. The equipment operates at a rapid speed, so there’s a chance that clothing, body parts, or other objects could become caught and hurt someone. As a result, using the planner requires appropriate caution and attentiveness.

The existence of nails, screws, and staples in the wood being worked on is another aspect to take into account. If they are not taken off before use, these could hurt or damage someone. To guarantee a secure and safe working environment, protective gear and clothing are a must.

Differences Between Drum Sanders and Planers

Now that we have a fundamental idea of what each tool performs, let’s examine the distinctions between drum sanders and planers in further detail.


The function is the primary distinction between drum sanders and planers. Drum sanders are used to smooth rough or uneven wood surfaces, whereas planers are intended to reduce the thickness of the wood. Although it is feasible to use a drum sander to reduce the thickness of wood, it is not advised due to the risk involved.

Surface Grade

The quality of the surfaces produced by drum sanders and planers is another distinction between the two machines. Drum sanders are renowned for providing an exceptionally smooth and uniform surface. This is due to their ability to sand the wood in a homogeneous manner. In contrast, planers might produce a surface that is not as smooth or uniform. This is due to the fact that the blade might occasionally leave behind minor ridges or lumps.

Depth of Section

Another element to consider when choosing between a drum sander and a planer is the depth of cut. Drum sanders have a maximum cut depth of around 1/16 of an inch. In contrast, planers may remove significantly more wood at once. This makes planers the superior choice when a large quantity of material must be removed rapidly.

The Gathering of Dust

Dust collection is an additional factor to consider. Both drum sanders and planers generate a substantial amount of sawdust and trash. However, drum sanders often capture dust and debris more effectively. They are typically connected to a dust collector and have a bigger surface area for dust collection.

Tabular comparison of drum sanders and planers

Features Drum Sander Planer
Purpose Smooth the surface of wood, sand curves, and contours Shave down the thickness of wood, create a uniform thickness
Material Removal Removes small amounts of material with each pass Removes larger amounts of material with each pass
Surface Finish Produces a smooth surface Can leave behind small ridges or bumps
Sandpaper Grit Uses finer grit sandpaper for finishing Uses coarser grit sandpaper for material removal
Capacity Typically has a narrower width capacity Typically has a wider width capacity
Cost Generally more expensive than planers Generally less expensive than drum sanders
Safety Considerations Can be dangerous if not used properly, and produces a lot of sawdust Can be dangerous if not used properly, and produces a lot of sawdust
Common Uses Fine woodworking, cabinetry, instrument-making Fine woodworking, carpentry, construction

Why is a drum sander superior?

The drum sander comes in handy when you need to level wood that is somewhat twisted or deformed. Sandpaper is first introduced to the machine by the planer’s sanding drum. Users can choose the finest grit that is most appropriate for the project they are working on at the moment.

However how abrasive the sandpaper should directly depend on the grit size available. Hence, the sandpaper should be more abrasive the finer the grain. The drum sander may produce smooth sand as required, depending on the grit. The timber is leveled and cut at the same time.

You, the user, are expected to swiftly adjust the sander to fit the wood that is being adjusted in order to choose the height for the initial pass. Users can use this to remove a little more extra wood from the top and then sand it to a smooth finish.

What Enhances a Planer?

The primary purpose of this planer is to simplify woodworking considerably. You may automatically produce wood pieces based on the thickness you want with the aid of this tool. They are claimed to aid in making the wood more even, flatter, and smoother. The planer is engineered to operate at a higher rate of speed and with more horsepower.

This equipment is simple enough to use because all that is required is to feed the wooden boards into the appropriate spot on the planer. You can run the device straight over the wood board if it’s a smaller one or a handheld planner.

The planer also includes an adjustable feature that you activate by turning a knob. This enables you to penetrate the wood and reach the necessary depth.

What are the causes of these variations?

Below are some examples of what distinguishes the drum sanders and planers:

  • While the planer may chop through wood, the drum sander is superior at smoothing out the finishing.
  • The planer is appropriate for heavy-duty work since it has more horsepower than a drum sander.
  • Old furniture can be cut into new pieces with planers, and finished goods are produced with sanders.
  • Motorized rollers assist the drum sanders in their work, and tough knife steel is used in the planers.

Which Should You Select?

Which one should you choose now that we’ve discussed the distinctions between drum sanders and planers? The solution ultimately depends on how you plan to use the tool.

A drum sander is preferable if your main goal is to smooth out rough or uneven surfaces on wood. It will provide a surface that is flat and smooth, ideal for finishing.

A planer, on the other hand, is a preferable option if you need to swiftly remove a large amount of material or reduce the thickness of the wood. It’s also a wonderful tool for ensuring that the thickness of your wood pieces is consistent.

It’s important to note that many woodworkers have a planer and a drum sander in their shop. Although they have different functions, both are necessary tools for every serious carpenter.

Useful Drum Sanding and Planing Techniques

The following guidelines are crucial to remember while using either a planer or a drum sander:

Security First

If not used properly, planers and drum sanders can also be deadly. Always use protective gear for your eyes and ears, and before using any product, review the manufacturer’s instructions.

Employ Sandpaper with the Proper Grit

Use the proper grit sandpaper for the project if you’re using a drum sander. While finer sandpaper is preferable for finishing, coarser sandpaper is better for swiftly removing large amounts of material.

Verify the Cut’s Depth

Make sure to verify the depth of the cut before you begin if you’re using a planer. Make the necessary adjustments to the blade to ensure that the appropriate amount of wood is being removed.

Employ a dust collector

Drum sanders and planers can generate a lot of sawdust and other waste. To keep your workspace tidy and lower the risk of fire, utilize a dust collector.

Finally, knowing when and where to use each tool is made easier by the wood planer vs. drum sander comparison. The wood planer is used to reduce thick, unprocessed wood into thin, usable pieces. At the same time, the drum sander is more of a finishing touch added to wood that has already been cut out. In this comparison, a planer and a drum sander were used.


Can the thickness of the wood be reduced using a drum sander?

No, it is not advised to reduce the thickness of the wood with a drum sander. It’s a risky method that may lead to someone getting hurt or the machine getting damaged.

Can a planer provide a surface that is smooth?

Despite the fact that a planer can provide a smooth surface, it is not as smooth as the one created by a drum sander. Little ridges or bumps may be left on the wood’s surface by planers.

Can I use a drum sander without wearing ear protection?

Indeed, utilizing a drum sander requires wearing ear protection. They can make a lot of noise, which over time may harm your hearing.

Can you sand down rough surfaces using a planer?

The purpose of a planer is not to sand down rough surfaces. It is used to reduce the wood’s thickness.

Is a dust collector required while using a drum sander or planer?

Indeed, using a dust collection with a drum sander and a planer is strongly advised. They generate a lot of sawdust and debris, which, if improperly collected, can provide a fire risk.