Your first thickness planer will revolutionize your shop.
For the first time, you'll be able to thickness your stock at the pull of a button and I guarantee, you'll stand there and watch.
Make sure you're wearing hearing protection though, you'll need it.
Consider this though.
If you use your planer often/semi professionally/professionally, you could be spending hundreds of dollars each year buying replacement knives!
In which case it might be worth buying a planer with more stamina so here are our recomendations
If you're not going to use it regularly, be sure to work out how much you'll pay for a new set of knives and think about how often you'll need to replace them.
Perfect starter machines for the weekend warrior/hobbyist:
If you think that you're going to be spending the price of a new machine each year on new blades, you should take a look at helical cutter heads.
You have a couple of options here:
1. Replace the 2 or 3 knife cutter head in your machine with a helical head like this one.
2. Buy a machine with a helical cutter head
A helical cutter head has many (sometimes hundreds) of 4 sided, hardened steel cutter heads. They're orientated so that the wood is always in contact with the cutter so your machine will draw more current yet it'll create a much smoother surface.
If you start to see the usual signs of a chipped blade, just turn the affected blades around to the next sharp surface and carry on.