The Erbauer planer thicknesser from ScrewFix is a popular option for consumers who are looking to buy a planer thicknesser for the home workshop. It has a number of good features but also a couple of caveats. First and foremost, it does an excellent job of planing and thicknessing a variety of different soft and hard woods (including Oak, Beech, Mahogany, American Black Walnut, and American Hard Maple just to name a few) producing very nice cuts often obviating the need for sanding, and giving more professional machines a run for their money. The machine itself is very solidly built and weighs very similar to other competitor planer thicknessers in its price category, making it heavy enough to be a sturdy machine while operating, but light enough to be moved around the workshop. Setting up the machine is a little fiddly and the operating manual is not as clear as it could be, however if you are the patient DIY-er type this should present very little trouble and you should have the machine up and running in 20 minutes or so.
The Erbauer ERB052BTE planer thicknesser is reasonably well powered with a 1280W motor running on 230V, it can take up to 204mm wide workpieces removing up to 3mm on the planer and up to 2mm on the thicknesser with each pass through the machine. The maximum thickness of wood that can be passed through the thicknesser is 120mm, typical for this class of planer thicknesser. One of the nice features of the ERB052BTE is that the cutting blades are easily replaceable and readily available, although if you are not too heavy a user of the machine the ones that come with it should last a couple of years at least.
A couple of points to note are that one needs to do a little bit of fiddling around when changing from planing mode to thicknessing mode, as the dust extraction port needs to be unhooked and reattached in a different location for each mode taking up a couple of minutes to do so each time. In addition, the dust extraction port is best used with a vacuum system particularly when in planing mode as the port projects upwards allowing sawdust to collect within it if the debris is not quickly aspirated away.
One particular dislike of the machine is that the fence is a little bit on the flimsy side but this is easily rectified with a little bit of DIY hacking by making one's own more sturdy fence (see towards the bottom of this page for a couple of suggestions on how to do this on these types of machines). In addition, there is no mechanism to move the fence across the blades as with more expensive machines therefore blades will tend to wear out faster closest to the fence and they will need resharpening or replacing earlier than would have otherwise been the case if the fence was movable.
More recently in 2017, the Erbauer ERB052BTE has suffered from what seems to be a quality-control issue where the motor housing appears to be quite fragile and with prolonged use of the planer thicknesser can result in cracking at the mounting points for the motor - so this is something currently to watch out for. Fortunately with ScrewFix’s two-year warranty and their excellent customer service, getting a faulty machine replaced is a cinch (just remember to hold on to your purchase correspondence and / or invoice).
Erbauer UK is a dormant company that is wholly-owned by ScrewFix (whose parent company, incidentally, is Kingfisher which also owns B&Q). In other words, Erbauer tools are made abroad for ScrewFix and then are imported and sold in the UK. This may raise eyebrows for some, however apart from the occasional quality-control issue, ScrewFix seems to pride itself on providing good own-brand tools to tradesmen and consumers alike, and so Erbauer tools tend to have a reputation for being good quality while at the same time being quite economical to purchase.