Nov 08, 2022

Makita 2012NB Review – Excellent Woodworking Tool (2020)

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9.6Editor's Score

This portable planer delivers productivity in a compact package. Its proprietary Interna-Lok automated head clamp gets rid of the problem of snipe to make planning an efficient process. The 15-amp motor can operate at high speeds and still stay one of the quietest motors on the market. The ease with which this planer operates makes it an excellent entry-level tool for woodworkers.

  • Durable: Sturdy cast-aluminum construction
  • Powerful: 15-amp motor/8,500 RPM
  • Efficient: Interna-Lok technology


When you need to find a new planer to add to your woodworking shop, it’s important to do your homework and make sure you get the best one for your operation the first time. Otherwise, you may find yourself grumbling for years about that one “feature” you could do without. Even worse, you may end up buying a second planer to work boards your first choice wasn’t designed to handle. We’ve put together this Makita’s 2012NB review with these concerns in mind. We’ve noted its strengths and weaknesses, and we’ve pointed out the scenarios in which its likely to make a good addition to a workshop. Like any other tool, you have to know exactly what you need before you can choose the right one.




Do you need a solid entry-level planer to get your woodworking operation off the ground?

Makita’s 2012NB is a great way for a DIY or entry-level woodworker to add a high-quality planer to their toolkit. Its aluminum build makes it light enough to move between work sites, whether that’s between workbenches in a small workshop or from one carpentry job site to the next.

Anu other convenient features? 

Its exclusive Interna-Lok head clamp gets rid of most of the snipe you would normally have to remove with a belt sander after planning a board. It’s also a quiet planer, which is surprising given the power of its 15-amp motor. That makes it great for planning boards at a residential remodeling site where you don’t want to disturb the neighbors.

Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp


• This planer comes with a LED light display that indicates whether the machine is plugged into the outlet or not. You can use this feature to establish the status of the machine.

• The Makita 2012NB comes with extra accessories that enhance productivity and deliver superior performance. These accessories include a socket wrench, two magnetic holders, a hex wrench and a blade set.

• Comes with a fully adjustable depth stop that allows for precise repeated cuts. You can adjust the stop to return to your most frequently used depth with relative ease.

4-corner column design for enhanced stability and increased flexibility. It allows you to adjust the cutting heads to the depth you desire to have.

The Design

Makita 2012NB Review - Excellent Woodworking Tool (2020)The two most impressive design features that sell this planer are the Interna-Lok clamping system and its lightweight, sturdy aluminum construction.

The clamping system that Makita has devised for this planer goes a long way towards eliminating the waste caused by snipe at the end of a board.

They’ve also catered to the mobile woodworker or carpenter who’s looking for a planer they can load in their truck and take to a work site.


Safety Features

The simplicity of this planer leaves it thin on safety features. It does come with an indicator light that lets you know when the machine is powered. This helps avoid situations when you are unaware that the machine can start up accidentally like during cleaning and blade changes.

Given that these are situations where the most danger exists, this is a welcome addition for added safety.

Pro Tip

If you need to run short boards through a planer, you can use another board to push them through.


Precision and Performance

Makita 2012NB Review - Excellent Woodworking Tool (2020)We’ve already mentioned the snipe-reducing design, which certainly helps reduce waste, but it’s also got an excellent 15-amp motor that can produce a finish that looks like you’ve already sanded down the board with a belt sander.

You just need to keep the blades sharp, and this planer will produce high-quality surfaces.

Going as fast as 8,500 RPM without a load, the motor also allows a good production pace at the same time.

You’ll be able to push through up to 28 feet of board per minute with this planer. So in the end, all you have is a perfectly smooth wood which is ready to be finished.


  • Interna-Lok clamp system
  • Light enough to move from place to place
  • Sturdy cast-aluminum build
  • Blades are easy to change
  • Noise level of 83dB

  • Overheating can be a problem
  • Snipe isn’t eliminated completely


Things we liked about it

The Interna-Lok clamp certainly makes the touch-up that we’d normally have to do after running boards through a planer less of a hassle. If you keep the blades in the 2012NB sharp, the finish will be great. You’ll just need to get rid of a little snipe, but not nearly as much as other planers. This planer is easy to set up and run as well. Makita did a good job of making the process of changing blades quick and easy. The large foot paddle for switching the planer on and off makes running it a breeze once you get the hang of it. It’s also portable if you need to take it to a work site outside of the shop.

Things we didn’t like

We’ve heard stories about the armature burning out within the warranty period, which gives us pause about the longevity of this planer when you run large volumes of board through it every day. Lacking a thermal sensor might be the cause of this, as overheating eventually damages its components.


General User Experience

Makita 2012NB Review - Excellent Woodworking Tool (2020)Reviews of the 2012NB have been very positive. Busy workshops that plane large quantities of wood boards and smaller shops alike agree that the 2012NB is a well-built planning tool. A common refrain is a high-quality finish this Makita makes on soft and hard woods like pine, hard maple, oak, and walnut.

Other reviews appreciate the ease of use of this Makita planer. Changing blades is a breeze, it runs boards through at a good clip, and it produces accurate cuts. One reviewer even said it was fun to use. The snipe-eliminating clamp holds boards securely even when wood knots snap out of boards as they run through the 2012NB.

Portability is also a selling point for many of its satisfied buyers. It’s designed to be light enough for two people to move and has well-placed handles for carrying it. That makes it a true table-top planer than can go to a worksite instead of staying behind in the shop.

One complaint we noticed repeated a couple times is that the 2012NB lacks a thermal sensor to shut it down when it runs too hot. You’ll have to monitor it when running it continuous to make sure it does damage itself.

The Makita 2012NB vs DeWalt DW734

Makita 2012NB Review - Excellent Woodworking Tool (2020)

Comparing Makita’s 2012NB to DeWalt’s DW734, we noticed right away some performance differences. The DW734 has a 15-amp motor that runs at a maximum speed of 20,000 RPM, which is over twice the speed of the 2012NB.

It’s also able to load boards that are a little wider than the Makita at 12-1/2 inches. Makita’s clamping system handles snipe without the need of longer in and outfeed tables, which is one reason it’s a more portable machine than the DW734.

Blade Replacement Makita 2012NB Planer


How should I choose a thickness planer?

It can be a challenge to pick a planer when there are so many different makes and models on the market. One thing to keep in mind is that the cutting mechanism on planers is nearly identical in design from one planer to the next because the most efficient way to design it has been found, and everyone uses it. The real difference between planers is found in how fast they can feed boards, the size of board stock they can handle, how much snipe they produce, and other niceties like dust control.

How do you deal with boards getting stuck in a planer?

No, any sort of damage or deformation to a jack stand is a warning sign that it’s about to fail. Continuing to use a damaged jack stand is dangerous. You should discard it and buy a new one of the same model.

What is “snipe?

Snipe is the word we use in woodworking to describe a problem with planers. Often, you’ll run a board through and discover it has slightly deeper cuts on the final few inches. It’s a common issue with many planers, though some planer designers have begun to find ways to reduce or eliminate it altogether. It can be a hassle to rework boards or always cut a few inches from the ends of them when the snipe is too deep.


Makita’s 2012NB is a great choice for DIY home woodworkers or entry-level carpenters who need a planer that is portable and easy to setup. Its 15-amp motor is fast enough to push boards through at a steady pace, yet it’s patented Interna-Lok clamp greatly reduces the amount of snipe you’ll have to deal with. Just be careful about running this planer non-stop. It has a tendency to overheat.

As far as we are concerned, it’s worth checking out.


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