Should you get the WEN 6550 or the 6552 bench planer? Find out the differences between WEN 6550 vs 6552 to make sure you have the right tool for your project.
If you’re thinking about setting up a wood shop for your DIY projects, one of the most crucial tools you need is a bench planer. You can opt with WEN as it’s a well-known brand noted for its affordable price tags, and the 6550 and 6552 models have their own sets of fans. But which one’s for you?
Bench planers are great for 3 main jobs. You can use it on any shape and size of wood to create a uniform thickness. You can also use for the rough surfaces of the wood and turn them smoother. You can also use a bench planer to even up both sides of a board.
The 6550T works on boards that measure up to 12.5 inches wide. The 6552T can accommodate a width of up to 13 inches. That may be a small difference, but there are other differences you need to consider as well.
6 Factors Analysis for Choosing Wen 6550 vs 6552
Motor and Speed
The typical planer for home use is a 15-amp motor, and that’s what you find in the WEN 6550. This gives you a speed of 18,800 cuts per minute. That’s very fast, especially when you take into account that the WEN 6550T is considered an entry-level planer. With this model, you can move the passing board up to 26 feet per minute and you can get very even results.
There’s also a 15-amp motor in the WEN 6552T, yet you have a faster speed for the knives at 25,500 cuts per minute. The faster speed provides you with smoother and more even finishes, and you can still move the wood under the blade at a rate of 26 feet per minute to get the best results.
So in this regard, the WEN 6552T is better, as you get smoother finishes and cuts with higher quality. The motor is just more optimized.
The WEN 6550T uses 2 blades to smooth and level boards. That’s unsurprising for an entry-level planer. Normally, it’s better to have more blades but the 2 blades here tend to give you great results when you’re smoothing your wood surfaces.
In the WEN 6552T, you upgrade to a 3-blade system. Many DIY enthusiasts tend to get a minimum of 3 blades for their home-use planers, especially when going with less famous and more affordable brands like WEN. The planer offers more efficient cuts in comparison to having just 2 blades, though there are still some issues regarding the quality of the cuts.
The experts at WEN say that the 6550T model can accommodate a board height of up to 6 inches. The adjustable cutting depth is set to stop at intervals at a maximum of 3/32 of an inch. This interval doesn’t make your planer strain, and it also doesn’t lead to uneven cuts. On the other hand, you do tend to have problems with longer snipes and unwanted streaks in the end.
The 6552T model also can support board heights up to 6 inches. Again, you can adjust the blade lower at intervals of 3/32 of an inch at the most. However, you get much fewer snipe and scalloped marks, even though the same tri-roller system is found in both models. The better results may be because of the build of the table.
So the 6552T is definitely better with much fewer scalloped edges and shorter snipes. Still, you may want to put a sacrificial board placed in the front and back of the board you’re working if you’re using the 6552T.
It’s true that the blades in both the WEN 6550T and 6552T are very similar in design and construction. But their blade lengths vary to suit the cutting widths they’re designed for.
You’ll find 12.5-inch blades in the 6550, and since it’s a 2-blade system the replacements are also available in 2-blade sets. The high cutting speed of the 6550 means these blades can get dull very quickly, and they can get chipped as well. Many users have noted how they buy replacement blades a bit too frequently for their tastes.
In the 6552, you have a 3-blade system so the replacements come with 3 blades as well. However, the higher number of blades matches the cutting speed nicely, so you have less pressure per cut for each blade and the pressure is more evenly balanced.
The tables used for the 6550T and the 6552T are quite different as well. We’ve already mentioned the capacity of the 6550 for boards up to 12.5 inches wide, while in the 6552 you’re able to get to 13 inches wide. But that’s not the only difference.
In the 6550, you have a granite table that’s very sturdy and comes with a nice smooth finish. This is so durable that you can probably count on it to last longer than the planer itself.
In the 6552, the table is metallic and the coating on it is quite slick. The wood feels like it’s gliding under the 3 blades, so you have no trouble pushing the wood through. However, the metallic table isn’t as durable as the granite and it’s more like to get damaged and wear down more quickly. It’s just more prone to bending.
Admittedly, you have very smooth tables for both machines, and the wood moves very well under their blades. But if you’re not going to use 13-inch boards exclusively, then the granite is the better option due to how long it lasts.
With the granite table on the 6550, this model is certainly heavy. It weighs 79 pounds, so you better be careful moving this from one spot to another. This can mess up your back and it can strain your vehicle when you transport it.
But it’s not completely a bad thing that it’s heavy, as the weight stabilizes the machine when you use it and you get fewer problems with vibrations.
In comparison, the 6552 machine is a bit lighter, as it weighs in at just 66 pounds. That’s mainly because the table is so much lighter here. That means it’s easier to bring to a work site and it’s not as dangerous for your back.
You do need to be sure that you’ve installed the machine securely on your workbench. You have to secure it in place with the corner mounts on the base of the machine. If you get this done right, even too much vibration may not end up ruining your work wood. That can be a problem especially when you’re using delicate wood.
For the most part, a heavier weight is actually a good thing especially for home use. The weight secures the machine in place, and you don’t usually need to move it around anyway. But you should still take measures to bolt down the machine, even if you’re going with the 6550 model with its heavy table.
WEN 6550 vs 6552 Summary
If you’re a fan of the WEN 6550, then there’s also a high likelihood that you’ll find lots of reasons to give the WEN 6552 planer a shot. With the shared similarities of the two, you’ll only really find yourself torn between them as both offer pretty much the same things except for a few differences here and there. Here are the most notable things that set them apart from each other:
- The 6550 only has a 12.5” maximum cutting width while the 6552 has a rounded 13” cutting width.
- The 6550 has granite tables, the 6552 doesn’t. Its infeed table is made from metal.
- The 6550 has rubberized handles while the 6552 has plastic ones. It’s more pronounced, however, so you won’t have a hard time holding on to them.
- The 6552 has a built-in depth adjustment dial so it promises more precise cuts than the 6550.
- The 6550 has adjustable width settings while the 6552 doesn’t.
- The 6552 is heavier at 77 lbs while the 6550 only weighs 70 lbs. It’s understandable, however, as the former is also a slightly bigger model.
It’s quite apparent from WEN 6552 vs 6550, that the WEN 6552T is a much better option, although the heavy and longer-lasting granite table in the 6550T seems to be better. You just get smoother finishes with the 6552T and you have fewer problems in the end. But if the 6550T’s capacity and quality of the results are okay with you, then you can save money with the WEN 6550T.