The importance of using high-quality hardware and tools cannot be ignored in our daily life. Stanley planes made within the last +/- 30 years may require a lot of work to set up (similar but not that much as the Anants), but in the end you get at least a decent blade (good steel, but not as thick as it could/should be), and you can make them work just fine (I have such a not-old Stanley Nr.4 which is not a block plane, just to speak about quality and setup).
However, for those who have occasional needs for a jointer plane, this Anant #7 will do the job. Hartville Hardware sells an Anant low angle block plane with an adjustable mouth; an apparent copy of the Stanley 60 1/2. Until then, beginners like myself in the UK have very few options to obtain good quality kit at affordable prices. Don’t forget the Aussie’s HNT Gordon Doesn’t have an adjustable mouth, but the planes I have are just superb.
If your looking for a decent new plane at a cheap price I’d advise Faithfull, they do a series of planes at reasonable prices. As you can probably guess, the vintage Stanley planes blew the doors off most of the new planes (except the Lie-Nielsen and, to some degree, the Clifton). Since the advent of machines, many longer planes are now obsolete except when you want perfect edges for meeting edges of boards.
According to the reviews I have found on the Internet and online wood working forum discussions, the Quangsheng planes are very good (albeit made in China) both in terms of construction, finish and performance, with some people stating there is very little difference between their Quangsheng planes and their Lie Nielsen planes. Customer reviews help you at the decision stage, once you’ve chosen a few hand planes you are interested in buying.
Where as I hate rip of artists with regards to copying designs, I in no way can afford the beauties of Lie Neilson or Veritas, and although they may be ‘the mustard’ so to speak, in their own way their pricing creates the opportunity for the Chinese brands to prosper, especially if they are doing a good job of reproduction. This Record plane is no longer manufactured but modern copies exist, such as the Anant (India) and Faithful (UK) Review of Faithful copy They are not machined to the same Record standard. Putting the irons back on reveals a more significant difference between the two planes.