The 13″ Ridgid thickness planer is a new addition to the OPC workshop, and it fills a huge void in our tool arsenal. This planer enables me to process rough-cut boards and true-up lumber before starting a woodworking project. It can handle stock up to 13″ wide and 6-1/8″ thick, and the resulting finish requires very little sanding afterward. Best of all, it’s about $100 – $200 cheaper than comparable models!
Ridgid provided the R4331 Thickness planer for review, and I’ve already put it to good use for some small projects. So far I really like this planer, and I wish I had it when I was building my Pottery Barn knock-off dining table. If you’re looking for a planer, this is a great choice. You can find the R4331 at Home Depot for $399.00 and a pack of extra blades costs about $30.
The Ridgid R4331 features a three-blade cutter head with high-speed steel (HSS) blades. The blades are self-indexing for easy alignment, and they are reversible which means replacing the blade less frequently. There’s some debate over HSS blades versus carbide blades. From my research online, carbide blades are more expensive because they are stiffer, making them a good choice for very hard woods like Teak or Ipe. For other species (walnut, cherry, maple), the HSS blades result in a better finish.
The R4331 is equipped with a 15 amp, 9,000 RPM motor, and this is right in-line with competitors products. This planer cuts 96 cuts per inch (CPI) and a moves material through at 23.5 feet per minute (FPM).
Ridgid positioned a 2-1/2″ dust port above the out-feed table. There’s no need for an adapter for connecting to a shop vac like some competitors’ models, and the chip impeller helps keep the cutter head clear for better cut quality.
The depth adjustment handle is on top of the planer and 1/4 turn results in 1/64″ height change so you can dial it in to the exact height required.
The R4331 Ridgid thickness planer features the Sure-Cut carriage lock to securely lock the cutter head in place. This is an expected feature on bench top planers to eliminate movement and thereby snipe (more on snipe below).
The Repeat-A-Cut feature is an 8-position preset to set the plane to an exact height. It’s really helpful for planing multiple workpieces down to the same height, and it ranges from 1/8″ to 1-3/4″.
Using the Planer
I’ve had this planer for about a month, and I’ve used it for a few small projects. I was pleasantly surprised with the easy setup, and the quality of the finish. After running boards through the planner, they only require minimal sanding.
The Ind-I-Cut is a gauge that reveals how much material will be removed from a workpiece before sending it through. It’s helpful when you know the difference between two boards, and it prevents me from trying to plane off too much in one pass.
Ind-I-Cut works when a small ball bearing comes in contact with the board. Unfortunately, that only occurs in the middle of the planer. I would have preferred a full-width gauge that would have allowed me to position my workpiece anywhere across the planer.
Snipe is a term commonly used when discussing planers and jointers, and it refers to a slightly deeper cut usually found at the beginning or end of a workpiece. Snipe usually occurs when a board isn’t fully supported and the weight puts additional pressure against the cutter head. You can see a very faint line on the board pictured below, and that is snipe.
To eliminate snipe with the R4331, Ridgid makes it easy to adjust the in-feed and out-feed table supports. After a few tries, I was able to run boards through without any noticeable snipe. The tables measure 13-1/4″ wide x 12″ deep, and I may build a mobile workstation with bigger supports in the future.
If you’re experiencing problems with snipe, check for dull cutter blades and try to butt workpieces end-to-end as they are fed into the planer. Alternatively, you can cut boards longer than necessary and trim the snipe after planing.
Ridgid provides convenient, on-board storage for the magnetic blade wrench.
To change or rotate blades, all you have to do is remove the dust hood (2 screws), make sure the cutter head is locked and remove the screws securing the blade. It’s very simple and only takes about 5 minutes.
Overall, I’m really excited about this planer. It has a powerful motor and can handle large stock. Ridgid included a great feature-set, and the planer works intuitively. I haven’t had any problems with the planer. It does come lubed up with lots of shipping grease so it needed a good cleaning. Whenever I get around to making that workstation, I’ll update this review.
- Motor: 120 V, AC only, 15 Amps
- No Load Speed: 9,000 r/min. (RPM) 27,000 CPM
- Cuts per Inch: 96 CPI
- Feed Rate: 23.5 FPM
- Capacity (W x H): 13 in. and 6-1/8 in.
- Maximum Depth of Cut: 1/8 in.
- Weight: 73 lbs.
- Assembled Dimensions: 21″h x 24″w x 18″d
I am slightly confused about your statement that comparable models are $100-200 more… Is the DEWALT DW734 15 less powerful? Or is the DW735X its competition?
I’m saying this is on par with more expensive models like the $600 Steel City and $529 Makita (HD prices). The DeWalt DW734 is almost exactly the same as the R4331, and they are priced the same too.
Ohhhh okay. Thanks for the clarification.
I have this same planer and I really like it as well. It has very minimal assembly and has a very quality feel to it. I’m still working on the snipe issue. I know I have to adjust the tables a little more because I still get snipe when I lead and trail with scrap boards.
Always wanted one of these…. Just haven’t been able to justify it yet….
I’m in the same situation. A price tag of $400 puts a lot of other items in front of this purchase.
Awesome review. I was blessed to find a new, sealed-in-the-box Rigid Planer on Craigslist for $200. It had sat in an old guy’s garage for years. It’s an earlier model than this one, but shares most of the features. It’s a great tool and has held up really well.
Thanks for the review. I am sort of waiting for a used one to show up on Craigslist. I wouldn’t mind this one or the DeWalt 734 or 735. Thanks for writing!
It was a toss up for me between this one and one of the DeWalts. I ultimately went with the DeWalt 734, but have yet to put it to use. If you are ever in need of rough lumber for a larger project it’s worth the drive to the Hicksville Planing Mill in Clear Springs, MD. It’s a bit of a drive from Baltimore, but their prices are insanely low. It’s a Mennonite operation so the hours are weird. Make sure to call and make sure they are open. I don’t think they take credit either. https://plus.google.com/113382628635276489528/about?hl=en
So glad you reviewed this. I’ve been keeping my eye on Craigslist for a planer and I’ve seen this model come up a couple of times. Just been waiting to pull the trigger until I can justify the purchase immediately with a project 🙂
Unless you want to put your planer up on the Rewards Center, Ethan… 😛
thanks for the review. im new to woodworking and wonder how you fell about a jointer. Is a planner good enough or do you feel you need both.
I have been meaning to get a new one after moving across the country and away from my dad’s shop. They are great for cutting boards as well… as long as you eliminate that snipe!
Thanks for the great review Ethan It is very helpful information since my hubby has wanted a planner for some now, but since I didn’t know much about them I haven’t really known whether or not to encourage him to go ahead and get one. Which is rare because I’m always the one talking him into getting a new “toy” for the wood work shop.
Great information – so much so mine is supposed to be arriving on the doorstep this coming Monday!
In addition to reading your review and a hundred others – I also wore out my keyboard searching Youtube on snipe – I think the best idea is at “Eliminate Snipe” on a site called “Half-Inch Shy” is really classic and probably the best is by a guy at Rock-n H Woodshop “Planer Bed fixture” – plan to us one or the other of these when I set this up permanently in my woodshop on a 10-12′ long bench attached to the stud wall.
I downloaded the owner’s manual – what a let down! Not even one single drawing or sketch depicting what you should be doing/need to do!!!
I purchased my first Rigid Planer a couple weeks ago.. Doing a small job using Rough Sawn Easter Red Cedar. On the 14th board, 1 1/8 X 8 1/4 X 10 is sounded as if a screw came loose inside,, the feed rollers stopped immediately and refused to move again. Not wanting to get too in depth i just R&R the dust cover and could not see anything,,, I returned it to Depot and without any hassle they replaced it with display and being as switch was broken on it, but still functional they will replace with new as soon as shipment arrives. Other than that, its GREAT. Feeds the Cedar without even slowing rpm in the least. It does a beautiful job and without too many passes. My old one would not handle this nearly as well. Overall very well pleased. Anything man made, assembled can and will fail eventually.
I bout that ridgid planer and it a pice of junck it in the shop getting fixed moor then I get to use it
Robert: if you can’t even come close to completing one full sentence correctly in English, there’s no way you are knowledgeable enough in real life to carry out operating machinery according to manufactures (and common) directions. I had to stop and reply to your incoherent and misspelled incomplete sentence. As for the rest of the posts, thanks for your assistance, as I’m looking at a new R4331.
Ha! I spelled manufacturers incorrectly. A taste of my own medicine! And bitter it is…
The Assembled Dimensions: 21″h x 24″w x 18″d is that with the handle installed? thanks
Great review. thanks for sharing this informative post. Such kinds of information you share.