Powermatic Planer Review

Powermatic planers are designed with your precision woodworking needs in mind.

Equipped with robust 3-5HP motors and cutting-edge helical cutterheads, they ensure smooth, fast cuts and minimal tear-out on wide boards. These machines stand out for their durable construction and exceptional finish, capable of handling both small and large projects with ease.

With features like precise thickness adjustments and efficient dust collection, they’re built for rigorous use and longevity. They’re a higher investment, but their superior performance and durability make them worth it. For serious woodworkers, Powermatic offers an undeniable advantage in quality and efficiency.

Discover how Powermatic can elevate your projects to professional standards.

Introduction to Powermatic

Diving into the history of Powermatic, it’s clear this company has built its reputation on the pillars of precision, durability, and innovative design.

Founded in 1921 by Leonard F. Smith, Sr. in McMinnville, Tennessee, Powermatic emerged from humble beginnings. Smith, initially a seller of timber and rough-cut lumber, was motivated by the belief that he could produce a superior product by planing the wood himself. This drive led him to construct his planing machine, a decision that set the stage for the birth of a legacy.

By 1928, the company, now officially named Powermatic, had relocated to an old blacksmith shop, signaling the start of an era of innovation and expansion.

It was during these early years that Powermatic introduced groundbreaking products such as the Tilting Arbor Table Saw, alongside other woodworking essentials like sanding machines and drill presses. The establishment of a 50,000 square foot foundry in 1958 marked Powermatic’s commitment to quality, allowing for unparalleled precision in its manufacturing process.

Ownership changes, including acquisition by Houdaille Industries in 1966 and later transitions, didn’t deter Powermatic’s growth or its adherence to community values.

Today, under the umbrella of JPW Industries Inc., Powermatic stands as a testament to American ingenuity, maintaining its status as a trusted name in high-end woodworking machinery.

Understanding Planers

Planers, essential tools in woodworking, enable precise thickness and smoothness across wood surfaces for various projects. You’ll find them indispensable for creating uniform thickness in wood, crucial for tasks like furniture building and panel glue-ups. By shaving wood from the surface, planers transform rough lumber into smooth, flat boards, saving you time and money by allowing the purchase of rough lumber and customizing it to your project needs.

There are several types of planers, each designed for specific tasks:

  • The surface planer, equipped with a large cutting blade on a table, focuses on producing smooth surfaces.
  • For more advanced thickness control, the thickness planer, featuring two cutting blades on an adjustable bed, is your go-to. It’s adept at ensuring boards are uniformly thick.
  • Meanwhile, the jointer-planer combo merges the capabilities of flattening faces and squaring edges, making it a versatile choice for comprehensive woodworking.

Understanding the function and variety of planers is vital. They’re not just about smoothing; they’re about precision and uniformity, providing a foundation for high-quality, professional-grade woodworking projects.

The Powermatic Planer Range

Powermatic’s array of planers, designed to cater to diverse woodworking requirements, showcases models like the 15HH, a 15-Inch Planer equipped with a helical cutterhead, and a robust 3 HP motor for exceptionally smooth finishes.

  • For instance, the 15HH, 15-Inch Planer is equipped with a helical cutterhead and a 3 HP motor. This model is known for its smooth cutting and fine finish. The helical cutterhead provides a superior finish, and the 74 four-sided indexable carbide knife inserts do not require adjustment after installation.
  • Another notable model is the 201HH Planer, which operates at 7.5HP and is available in both single and three-phase versions. Powermatic’s planers are equipped with advanced features and are built to withstand the test of time.

Powermatic planers stand out for their:

  • Helical cutterhead: Ensures superior finish with minimal tear-out, thanks to its design and the use of 74 four-sided indexable carbide knife inserts that remain consistent without the need for post-installation adjustments.
  • Power options: The 201HH Planer, for example, boasts a 7.5HP motor available in both single and three-phase versions, accommodating various workshop power setups.
  • Construction quality: Built to endure rigorous use over time, reflecting Powermatic’s commitment to reliability and longevity.
  • User-friendly operation: Features such as the no-adjustment-required blades make these planers remarkably convenient and accessible for woodworkers of all skill levels.
  • Diverse model range: From the compact 15HH to the more powerful 201HH, there’s a planer for every woodworking project scale and complexity.

Powermatic’s planer range exemplifies the company’s dedication to delivering high-quality, reliable woodworking tools, designed with the user’s needs in mind.

Key Features of Powermatic Planers

Why should you consider Powermatic planers for your workshop? If you’re looking for a combination of power, precision, and durability, these planers have got you covered.

  • Powerful Motor: Each Powermatic planer is equipped with a strong 3-5HP motor, ensuring smooth, fast cuts across a wide range of materials.
  • Precision-Engineered: These planers are precision-engineered for accuracy, resulting in smooth, precise thickness adjustments with each pass of the board.
  • Durable Construction: The all-metal construction stands up to rigorous use in any workshop environment, making Powermatic planers a reliable choice for both professionals and hobbyists.
  • Large Capacity: With the ability to plane boards over 24 inches wide, these planers offer a large capacity for handling big projects with ease.
  • Quiet Operation: Despite their powerful operation, Powermatic planers are designed to work quietly, minimizing noise in your workspace.
  • Advanced Cutterheads: What sets Powermatic planers apart are the advanced cutterheads, including helical and carbide options, which provide an exceptionally smooth finish without the need for post-installation adjustments.
  • User-Friendly Features: Convenient features like digital readouts for precise thickness control and mobile bases for easy movement around the shop make these planers exceptionally user-friendly.

Powermatic planers are built to last, designed for precision, and capable of producing flawless results.

Comparing Powermatic with Other Brands

When comparing Powermatic planers to those of competing brands, it’s crucial to delve into the specifics to discern what sets them apart in terms of quality, performance, and value.

  • Powermatic vs Laguna: When comparing the Powermatic 15HH Planer to the Laguna 20” ShearTecII planers, the Laguna 20” MPLAN2010-130 is about $1,000 less than the Powermatic 15HH.

Both appear to have great cutterheads and the 5” extra capacity and digital readout of the Laguna would be great if the planing performance was comparable. However, some users have reported better customer service with Powermatic.

  • Powermatic vs Grizzly: Grizzly is another popular brand in the woodworking industry. The basic difference between Powermatic and Grizzly is that Powermatic has a much higher standard of quality control.

They accept only parts that meet or exceed the standards. Anything below that is rejected. Some of the Taiwanese factories make the same machine under several labels. The Powermatic parts are probably the top 20% they make, the rejects get used for other brands.

  • Price and Value: Powermatic’s 15HH planer is priced higher than Laguna’s 20” ShearTecII (MPLAN2010-130), reflecting Powermatic’s emphasis on premium quality and precision. While Laguna offers a larger capacity and digital readout for less, Powermatic’s reputation for durability and customer service adds significant value.
  • Quality Control: Powermatic distinguishes itself with stringent quality control standards. They accept only components that meet or surpass their high criteria, ensuring that each planer is of the highest quality. This contrasts with brands like Grizzly, where the quality variance might be wider due to different sourcing standards.
  • Customer Service: Users have noted better customer service experiences with Powermatic, suggesting a more reliable support system for their products.
  • Performance: Despite the higher cost, Powermatic planers are lauded for their superior precision and durability, making them a worthwhile investment for serious woodworkers.
  • Brand Reputation: Powermatic enjoys a reputation for excellence in the woodworking community, bolstered by its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Final Verdict

After evaluating the comparative analysis, it’s evident that Powermatic planers represent a significant investment for both professional and hobbyist woodworkers seeking unmatched quality and performance. Equipped with robust motors and engineered for precision, these machines stand out for their durability, large capacity, and quiet operation. The inclusion of advanced cutterheads, alongside features such as digital readouts and mobile bases, significantly enhances the woodworking experience.

Despite their higher price point compared to some competitors, the value of Powermatic planers is justified by their superior performance, longevity, and the precision of work they enable. Moreover, the brand’s commitment to excellent customer service bolsters its reliability as a choice for woodworkers.

However, your final decision should weigh your specific needs, budget, and preferences.
If you’re in pursuit of a top-quality, dependable planer capable of delivering outstanding results, Powermatic planers are undoubtedly worth your consideration.


You’ll find that Powermatic planers stand out for their robust construction, precision, and reliability. Compared to other brands, they offer superior performance and durability, making them a wise investment for serious woodworkers.

Their range of features, including powerful motors and innovative design, ensures a smooth, efficient planning experience. While they may come at a premium, the quality and consistency of results justify the investment.

Ultimately, choosing a Powermatic planer means opting for excellence in woodworking.

About the author 

Aerial Machine and Tool

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