We were fortunate to get our hands on Delta’s brand-new 22-790X model, an updated version of the 22-780X in the X5® tool line. It’s a standout machine from the rest of the test group in several ways. First, this planer has its motor mounted on top instead of in the base. That means the cutterhead and motor move up and down to change depth settings instead of the bed and extension tables. You’ll like this design if you build work tables to use as extra outfeed support, because the tool’s working height from the floor never changes. The three drive belts between the motor and cutterhead are much shorter than the other planers, improving power transfer. The only potential drawback here is that working around the cutterhead and motor will be more cramped when servicing the knives.
Delta adds 21"-long roller support tables to this machine, giving it an impressive 63" workpiece platform. And, they’re the only ones that fold down ... ideal for a smaller shop.
The 22-790X has 16 and 30 FPM feed speeds. The faster setting leaves larger knife marks, as you’d expect, but it will knock stock down to size in no time. Each turn of the depth crank winds the head up or down a full 1/8"; I liked the finer 1/16"-per-crank adjustments better on the other planers, because I think those final cleanup passes will be easier to set more carefully.
Delta is also the only machine that comes wired with a 220-volt wall plug — very helpful. A dust hood is also standard. There are no built-in casters in the stand, but it fits into a rolling base, sold separately. Final verdict: the 22-790X is a worthy choice for the professional shop.