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20 inch planers all look alike....
I am a hobbyist woodworker and have a small shop in my basement. I am looking at upgrading my planer. Currently I have a portable Delta 12 inch planer that I have installed on a stand with dust collection. It works well and has always done a good job except for snip, which I usually deal with by planning the lumber before cutting it to length. However, I am in the middle of a project that requires wider panels and I have a couple more projects coming up also requiring wide panels. I have looked at 15-inch planers but there was not enough additional capacity to justify the extra expense. When I started looking at 20-inch machines I found I can buy what looks like the exact same machine painted a different color, from different vendors. Looking at the Grizzly, General, Jet, Shop fox, Powermatic, Sears, Steel City … they all have 20-inch planers that look exactly alike. They must have to have come out of the same casting. I am wondering if they are all being produced by the same manufacture and resold in different colors. They come in three and five HP motors and either cast iron or roller in and out feed tables. Some have a spiral head but you can buy a spiral head for any of them. I have ask both General and Grizzly about the similar machines and received marketing replays about quality, how they are inspected and how Grizzly is a direct marketer without dealer mark up. However, I have no real answer about the technical differences. Do you know if the internal parts are different? Would a Powermatic be better built than the identical Grizzly? Does one company use better bearings or different steel in the parts? Do you know if there is any real difference at all? If there is why do they all look alike, I would think vendors would want do something to make there product at least look different from everyone else’s.
Thanks for any information you can provide about this.