The Powermatic PM2000, the machine that replaced the legendary PM66 after its 42 year run, is a table saw built for the serious furniture maker. It mixes industrial-grade design with a bit of finesse to form a versatile tool that is as at home in a professional shop as it is in the hobbyist’s garage. The PM2000 is not intended as a beginner’s saw but rather a machine for those looking to take their craft to the next level. This Powermatic PM2000 review gets to the bottom of exactly why this cabinet saw comes in among the top-ranked table saws across the board.
Powermatic PM2000 Buying Options
Powermatic’s PM2000 is actually a lineup of saws based around a common design and sharing most major features. The key points of departure are the motor that powers the saw and rip capacity. Powermatic offers configurations with 3HP and 5HP motors. The 5HP motor is available in both one phase and three phase power. Each motor can be paired with either a 30-inch Accu-Fence or 52-inch Accu-Fence.
Further, buyers can choose to purchase a model that includes either an extended melamine worktable or a built-in router life, providing a one-two punch of table saw and router table.
This Powermatic PM2000 review focuses on what could be considered the base model: the 3HP, single phase motor configuration with 30-inch Accu-Fence.
- 10-inch max blade diameter
- 5/8-inch arbor size
- 4300 RPM arbor speed
- 13/16-inch max dado width
- Left-tilt blade; 45 degree max tilt
- 3 1/8-inch max depth of cut @ 90 degrees
- 2 1/8-inch max depth of cut @ 45 degrees
- 30-inch max rip right of blade; 13 1/2 inches left of blade
- 3HP, 13A single-phase TEFC induction motor
- 230V service @ 60Hz
- 30A recommended circuit size
- 3600 RPM
- Poly V-belt drive
- Magnetic switch with overload protection
- 540 pounds
- 34 1/2-inch table height
- 42-inch table width including extension wings
- 63 1/2-inch width with wood extension table
- 30 1/2-inch table depth
- Accu-Fence T-style fence with UHMW face plates
- 37 3/8-inch length
- 4 1/2-inch width
- 2 1/2-inch height
- 16-inch head length
- 63 1/2-inch rail length
- Square steel tube guide rail
- 3/4 x 3/8-inch T-slot mitre slot
- 10-inch, 40T blade included
- 0.100-inch riving knife thickness
- 4-inch dust collection port
- minimum 350 CFM required
Design and Build
As the successor to the flagship PM66, the Powermatic PM2000 has quite the reputation to live up to. It simultaneously honors the tradition of the PM66 while bringing the tool into the modern era with several additions and innovations.
The most notable design element is a built-in mobile base. To be clear, this is not a feature seen commonly as a standard option on a pro-grade cabinet saw (though some like SawStop offer the upgrade). It is, however, a feature that is welcome for those who need mobility or are limited in shop space. The heavy duty casters hide tucked away behind the skirt of the PM2000’s cast iron base.
Pulling out the blade angle adjustment wheel engages a mechanism that changes operation to raise and lower the saw’s casters. When the casters are lowered the entire saw lifts by a fraction of an inch and can be steered on the four independent casters. One negative of the system is the sheer amount of cranking needed to lift the saw from the floor.
The heavy iron base and fully enclosed cabinet of the Powermatic PM2000 aid in reducing vibration for smooth, quiet operation. The quality build also makes for a saw that can withstand the daily abuse of a production wood shop.
A “precision ground, high luster” table top is at the center of the Powermatic PM2000. The table features both front and rear bevels to prevent snags when passing stock or the miter gauge over the table surface.
A 30 1/2-inch table depth offers greater area before and after the blade compared to the common 27-inch depth table top found on many other saws. The included cast iron wings extend the flat, smooth surface of the PM2000 to a total width of 42 inches. A melamine extension table can be installed and increases table width to 63 1/2 inches.
Assembly and Adjustments
The Powermatic PM2000 arrives largely assembled in two packages. The table top and main cabinet ship fully assembled. The user must install the various hand wheels, fence rails, and other finishing touches. Included instructions make the process painless.
The saw comes tuned up from the factory, but should tolerances not check out with blade alignment or angle, adjustments take some care to dial in just right. The procedures are outlined in the manual, giving even those with no experience in saw setup a point from which to start.
The Powermatic PM2000, whether in its 3HP or 5HP configuration, is every bit the machine one might expect from the saw that replaced the PM66. While harder woods like oak are not effortless cuts, they won’t bog down the blade or overload the motor.
The choice between the 3HP or 5HP motor largely factors on the intended use of the saw. The 5HP motor offer a bit of extra oomph that will get it through continuous demanding operation like milling boards in a production shop. The 3HP saw isn’t much of a drop-off and is at home in the shop of a fine furniture maker.
A heavyweight trunnion assembly adds to the saws stability and accuracy when making blade adjustments. Vibration with this heavy and firmly grounded saw is of little concern.
Included Blade and Replacement Options
Even a choice tool like the Powermatic PM2000 can’t avoid the typical low quality blade included with most table saws. The good news, however, is the option to fit almost any 10-inch blade to the 5/8-inch arbor.
Out of the box, the saw includes a full kerf blade that matches its full kerf riving knife. Powermatic offers a thin kerf riving knife, which, though not included, opens up the possibility to use a lower-profile blade. A thin kerf blade isn’t necessarily an upgrade. The cutting power of the PM2000 pairs well with the typical full kerf blade. Thin kerf blades usually fare better on lower-powered hybrid and contractor saws.
The PM2000 improves upon the PM66 design once again with the inclusion of an arbor lock for one-wrench blade changes. Another nice aspect of the saw is the variety of accessories available. This includes the aforementioned thin kerf riving knife as well as zero-clearance and dado blade inserts.
The Powermatic Accu-Fence included with the PM2000 is a faithful clone of the industry benchmark Biesemeyer T-style fence. The heavy-duty steel fence body and still foot glide on a solid steel rail, allowing for virtually zero flex and plenty of accuracy.
One difference between a standard Biesemeyer and the Accu-Fence is the choice of material for the fence faces. While the Biesemeyer stays true to its roots with a laminated plywood face, the Accu-Fence takes advantage of UHMW. The slick plastic has become more and more common in the wood shop for jig construction and more, and Powermatic takes full advantage of its properties.
Fence adjustments are easily attained through four set screws strategically located on the Accu-Fence’s foot. These screws, which can toe the fence in and out as well as raise each side, allow for the user to adjust the fence parallel to the miter slot and 90 degrees to the table.
Once set, the Accu-Fence locks firmly in place and should not move or show any deflection. Should clamping pressure be too weak or too tight, this can be adjusted as well.
Included with the Powermatic PM2000 is a micro-adjust miter gauge complete with extension fence. The range of adjustment is superb and includes stops at 0, 30, and 45 degrees both left and right.
One thoughtful design feature is the ability to dial in an adjustment after placing moving the gauge to one of its indent stop positions. This reduces the hassle often associated with such stops, which sometimes make it difficult to dial in an angle in close proximity to the predetermined stops.
The aluminum excursion extension fence measure 13 inches and two lock handles make for quick and easy adjustments when shifting the fence. The fence greatly increases the usability of the miter gauge, adding additional support for longer workpieces.
Adjusting and calibrating the miter gauge is pretty straight forward. Loosen the gauge, pull out the spring loaded knob, measure, and tighten. Additionally, set screw in the miter gauge bar allow adjustments to account for any play or wiggle in the miter slot.
The Powermatic PM2000 features industry standard safety features including a blade guard and riving knife. Added safety is provided by a magnetic switch that prevents accidental motor startup. While these features may not stand out in a crowd of modern competitors, this represents a major advancement over Powermatic’s previous flagship saw of 42 years.
Riving Knife and Blade Guard
The riving knife and blade guard of the Powermatic PM2000 are a single unit when fully assembled, though the riving knife can be used independently. The operator can also utilize a set of anti-kickback pawls that attach to the riving knife.
The blade guard is sizable, but in a good way. Its size and height allow for good visibility around the guard–reducing the desire to remove it–and also allowing for a variety of stock thicknesses and cutting operations.
With the blade guard removed, the riving knife can be used during non-through cutting operations. The anti-kickback pawls add further protection against the dangerous results of a piece of rogue wood.
A quick release mechanism allows the riving knife/blade guard assembly to be quickly removed or swapped for a different riving blade. Powermatic offers a low-profile, thin kerf (0.079 inches) model.
Adding to the safe operation of the PM2000 is a magnetic power switch. The switch prevents the motor from powering on accidentally should power be cut then restored to the saw without being switched to the off position.
When the saw shuts down with the power switch in the “on” position, the magnetic switch kicks in to physically set the saw to off. Even if the switch remains in the “on” position when power is restored, the motor will not spin up until the saw is switch to the “off” position to reset the switch.
A large paddle make stopping the saw even when both hands are occupied very easy. A knee or hip can easily reach the switch and quickly disengage power from the saw.
The 4-inch dust collection of the Powermatic PM2000 is another well-designed aspect of the saw. A blade shroud directs sawdust through a 4-inch duct and out a port that can easily connect to standard 4-inch dust collectors.
Some users do report that saw dust has a tendency to accumulate within the mechanism that raises and lower’s the PM2000’s casters. This has the potential to interfere with the smooth operation of the mechanism.
Otherwise, the shroud combined with the full-enclosed cabinet of the PM200 should keep dust in the shop to a minimum provided the saw is attached to a proper dust collection system pulling at least 350CFM.
Powermatic PM2000 Review: The Verdict
When the Powermatic PM2000 replaced the classic PM66 in 2009, many were shocked at the decision. It was hard to understand why such an acclaimed saw needed to be retired (see also: the Delta Unisaw).
With the PM2000, it is apparent why it was time for Powermatic to pivot towards a new flagship. This cabinet saw retains the cutting power, accuracy, and reliability of the stalwart PM66 while bringing its design into the modern era with enhancements to mobility, safety, and versatility.
The PM2000 is a table saw for the serious woodworker. Those looking to take the next step in their furniture making, production work, or other fine woodworking tasks need look no further than Powermatic’s excellent cabinet saw.
The Powermatic PM2000 establishes itself as the next generation of Powermatic's legendary table saw lineup. Mixing years of knowledge with modern updates, Powermatic's cabinet saw is one of the best available.
- Solid cast iron construction provides smooth and stable operation
- Built-in mobile base a nice touch for a saw of this class
- Cutting power and accuracy make for versatile woodworking machine
- Dust accumulation known to affect operation of certain adjustments