Drum Sander VS Thickness Planer: an Unbiased Compare

Are you looking for suitable tools for woodworking? When you are thinking of woodworking, it is easy to get confused about using tools. For sanding or removing off material from the wood surface, you can use some different tools. A drum sander or thickness planer is among them.

Now the first question will be which one is suitable for work? Which tool do you need to purchase? These two tools are different from each other. You can not do similar work with these two. That’s why you need to read carefully about drum sander vs. thickness planer.

drum sander vs thickness planer

Drum Sander

A drum sander is used for both wood and plastic sanding. This powerful tool provides a smooth, splinter-free surface, which helps to build buildings and frame.

The size of the drum sander varies with the drum’s number. The larger drum sander consists of multiple drums, which is used for the industry-grade purpose. On the other hand, the small type drum sander, like a simple benchtop, consists of a single drum used for home and garage workshops.

The sanding process will be much quicker with a different-sized grit drum. But the exchange between sheets of sandpaper on a single drum unit suits most hobbyist woodworkers.

Removing material quickly and cleanly, you can change the sandpaper with increasingly higher grits of sandpaper. For easy changing, some drum sander has mechanisms to clamp and unclamp the sandpaper.

Advantages of Drum Sander

Everyone prefers hand sanding, but it is a tiring job. To reduce hard work, you need to consider a drum sander. Drum sander provides faster finishes than hand sander.

Some drum sanders have crucial advantages to sense the load on the motor. After sensing, if the load crosses a certain point, it will indicate a more challenging section of wood or a knot.

That’s why allowing the drum to have longer sanding harder wood and the drum sander reduces the conveyor speed automatically. After lowering the conveyor, it automatically returns to normal speed as selected.

Disadvantages of Drum Sander

Though a drum sander’s rotating drum can increase several hundreds of RPMs, it has no quick dimensioning boards. For example: trying to produce a flat surface with a parallel surface makes it possible to do it thoroughly. But it is not the most efficient way of doing it.

Though drum sander works excellent for removing very thin layers off, it is tough to work on a large workpiece. To do this work across the entire surface, you need to steady your hands and apply pressure from end to end. In this process, you cannot achieve smoothness on a whole surface without a few bumps.


As drum sander produces a lot of sawdust, it is essential to manage dust. You need to wear the proper PPE to prevent accidents. Most importantly, you need to wear safety goggles, earplugs, a respirator, and gloves.

If you set the conveyor feed rate faster and take light cuts, you can complete the job most quickly in this process. You can use a dust collector because it produces a lot of dust. If you do not use the dust collector, then the drum is loaded with dust. That’s why it causes a vibration and balance problem.

Thickness Planer

The thickness planer or a thicknesser is a large woodworking tool that works to plane or reduce workpiece thickness by shaving off thin layers.

Freestanding and benchtop are two main types of thickness planers. A benchtop planer is suitable to place on both floors and a table. As they have smaller metal infeed and outfeed tables, they can support smaller boards. On the other hand, freestanding planers need huge floor space and clearance on both the machine’s front and back ends. That’s why a benchtop planer is suitable because it does not need clearance space as a freestanding planer.

Advantages of Thickness Planer

The most important advantage of a thickness planer is the adjustment of the board’s thickness quickly and accurately.

Some thickness planers are portable. You can quickly move it according to the requirements because of the lightness. On the other hand, an industrial thickness planer is much heavier.

If you need to cut wood surfaces as your requirement, then a thickness planer is the right choice.

Using a thickness planer, you can easily create boards with parallel surfaces.

You can easily maintain equality and straightness for a double surface with the thickness planer.

Disadvantages of Thickness Planer

One of the crucial disadvantages of thickness planers is snipe. Cutting a deeper cut on a short section of the board causes misalignment of the in-feed or out-feed tables. If you set the rollers’ high setting unnecessarily, it can be recessed in the in-feed table’s surface.


As a thickness planer produces dust, it is important to wear a mask, earplug, and safety glasses before using the machine. Before setting the board into the planer, check that the board is on the right side.

It is vital to check that all screws and nails are removed from the wood piece before putting it into the planer. You can apply mineral spirits and a clean rag for having a good grip.

Comparison Between Drum Sander and Thickness Planer

Sometimes it is quite impossible to purchase both tools at a time. In this situation, we need to compare these two tools. This comparison becomes difficult. That’s why we need to consider a few things, and you can understand from drum sander vs. thickness planer.

A thickness planer is suitable for milling own boards. It will make the faces parallel to each other. After that, you can use the board for furniture or sale. Then you can use a regular sandpaper sheet for sanding.

A drum sander is preferable for light sanding or removing a few parts of the workpiece. It also makes all the faces parallel to the opposite. A drum sander makes the surface splinter-free and smooth. The thickness planer does not prefer this type of work.

Final Words

I hope that you can understand the difference between these two tools after reading this article. If you can purchase both the tools, then it would be great. But if you want to purchase one of them for specific work, you can easily make decisions.

You can not choose an alternative one from both of them. So you can not use the planer for sanding and a drum sander for reducing the thickness of a board.

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About This Writer

Author Eric Devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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