Powermatic Table Saw Models PM2000, PM3000 and 64A
Currently, there are three basic Powermatic table saw models available in several different configurations: the much-lauded PM2000 10" cabinet saws, the larger PM3000 14" cabinet saw, and the 64A contractor table saws. Powermatic tools have been known as top-shelf woodworking tools for a long time, and their current crop of equipment lives up to the reputation. Over the years their table saws have been popular for use in schools, professional shops, and for industrial applications.
Powermatic has been in business since 1921, and after a number of mergers and acquisitions they are now part of the WMH Tool Group. This company includes Jet, Wilton, and Performax under their corporate umbrella. They have a 400,000 square foot facility in LaVergne, TN, and the Powermatic brand focuses on industrial woodworking machinery.
Powermatic 64A Contractor Table Saws
First we will take a look at the model 64A Powermatic table saw. It is a contractor saw that comes with a 1.5 HP, 115/230V motor. The center table is cast iron, and it comes with 2 cast iron wings plus a wood extension. In total, the top surface measures out at 40" wide and 27" deep, and offers a 30" rip to the right of the blade. You also have the option of adding a 50" rip fence that comes with a wider extension with legs.
The Powermatic 64A provides a 3-1/8" max depth of cut at 90 degrees and can accept a dado blade of to 13/16" wide. It has a 4" dust collection port, and comes with a standard blade insert, a dado insert, a miter gauge, and the much-acclaimed Accu-Fence system. The 30" model weighs in at a hefty 343 pounds.
Most recent reviews of this Powermatic table saw are positive, although the price is near the top of the contractor saw range. Be careful looking at the reviews on Amazon.com and Epinions; they go as far back as 2001, and a lot can change in twelve years! The ratings I found are:
Amazon (30" fence): 4.0 stars, 40 reviews
Amazon (50" fence): 4.4 stars, 37 reviews
CPO Tools (30" fence): 4.0 stars, 1 review
Rockler (50" fence): 5.0 stars, 1 review
Owners really like the heavy weight and how it helps reduce vibration. Many of these saws pass the "nickel test", which a lot of contractor table saws don't. For those of you who don't know, the nickel test is when you stand a nickel on its edge on the table surface and turn the saw on. If the nickel doesn't fall over from the vibration, the saw has passed the test.
The most common complaint for this Powermatic table saw seems to be with the low quality of the supplied miter gauge. This is easily remedied by getting a good quality aftermarket gauge. Other complaints are that the extension legs (only available on the 50" fence version) aren't attached very sturdily, and some buyers found that the wings or the extension table weren't flat, square, or didn't align properly with the main table. Some owners were not satisfied with the flatness of the surfaces on the fence. A few folks had difficulty getting bolt holes to line up during assembly, and had to enlarge the holes.
All in all, the reviews are quite positive. Some of the complaints can be easily remedied with a little tweaking here and there, and the most recent reviews I found had no complaints. The Powermatic 64A is one of the highest quality contractor table saws you can get today.
UPDATE: Powermatic has recently added a new version to their contractor saw lineup, the 64B. The Powermatic 64B has a more powerful 1.75 HP motor and they have also integrated a quick-release riving knife. I haven't found any reviews so far, but I will post what I find when I find them!
Powermatic PM2000 and PM3000 Cabinet Saws
There are 15 different versions of the PM2000 10" Powermatic table saws. First, you have three different motors available: a 3 HP single phase, a 5 HP single phase, and a 5 HP 3 phase. With each of those three motors, there are five different models available that come with a:
30" fence with a Rout-R-Lift
50" fence with a Rout-R-Lift
50" fence with a WorkBench extension
The Rout-R-Lift really comes in handy if you work with a router very much, and it saves you from having to make space for a separate router table. The WorkBench is another really neat space-saving idea. It has a wood vise on the end of the extension, and the extension table surface has bench dog holes in it.
All of the PM2000 Powermatic table saws have a number of great features that set them apart from many other cabinet saws:
A built-in, retractable caster system that is raised and lowered using the same hand wheel that controls the blade bevel angle
Cast iron base with a steel cabinet
Quick Release riving knife and blade guard system can be installed or removed in seconds
An arbor lock that allows blade changes with a single wrench
A poly-v drive belt that runs quieter, cooler, and with less vibration than conventional belts
The lightest Powermatic PM2000 weighs in at 627 lbs. All of them run on 230V, and the 3-phase motors can be wired for 460V. They all have a 4300 RPM arbor speed. Max cut depth at 90 degrees is 3-1/8", and max dado width is 13/16". All PM2000 cabinet saws also come with the Accu-Fence system.
Reviews for the PM2000 cabinet saw are very positive overall. Combining all the different variations, the numbers I come up with at the moment are:
Owners love the power that the Powermatic PM2000 table saw has. The heavy weight combined with the poly-v drive belt provides a vibration-free experience. People that have to move their equipment around in the shop also love the retractable casters. One thing that came up repeatedly in the owner reviews was the great customer service that Powermatic provided when someone had an issue.
Speaking of issues, no woodworking tool or piece of equipment is perfect all the time, so there are a few complaints out there. Like the contractor saw, the extension table legs are not attached very sturdily to the table, and some owners said the bolt holes in the fence didn't line up with the holes in the main body. The attachment bolts themselves were reportedly low-quality, and several reviewers bought higher-grade bolts to attach the fence.
A couple of owners found they had to install a hose clamp to keep the dust collection hose attached to the shroud. The power cord that is supplied needs to be a little longer on cabinet saws with the 50" fence. A few owners had warping and alignment issues with the wood extension table and with the surface of the fence. Different owners reported various quality control issues with the Powermatic table saw, but these were almost always taken care of by Powermatic sending replacement parts.
Bottom line, most if not all of the issues above are minor and are easily fixable by the owner. Most owners, even the ones that initially had issues, love the saw after they get it set up and running.
Note: If you are buying your first table saw, or need help tuning up one you already own, there are several great books out there that could be a big help. The two that seem to be recommended most often on the woodworking forums are Jim Tolpin's Table Saw Magic and Kelly Mehler's The Table Saw Book. Both of these books have good ratings on Amazon, and they cover all the basic operations, as well as safety, maintenance, and accessories.
The PM3000 14" Powermatic table saw has most of the same features as the PM2000, except for the retractable casters. It comes with a 7.5 HP, 230V 3-phase motor that can also be wired for 460V. Because this model uses a 14" blade, the arbor speed is a little slower at 3450 RPM. It will cut up to 5-1/8" deep at 90 degrees, and also will accept a 13/16" dado blade. Like all other Powermatic table saws, it comes with the Accu-Fence system, this one being the 50" version. I was not able to find any reviews of the PM3000 model at the time of this writing.
Specifications for all of the different Powermatic table saw models can be found at Powermatic.com.
If you are considering a machine in this price range, you also need to take a look at the "new" line of Delta Table Saws. The new Delta Unisaw gets excellent reviews and has a number of great features, too. If you are more interested in a value-priced cabinet saw, the Grizzly Table Saw lineup has a lot to offer and also gets good reviews.
All Powermatic models come with a 5-year warranty that is backed up by great customer service. Powermatic machinery overall has a great reputation, and there are lots of fans of the Powermatic table saw on the woodworking forums.