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Advice on used planers pm vs jet

697 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  wapakfred
I am searching for some advice on which machine may be best. Both machines have knives and the cost for shelix heads are similar.
Between a used powermatic model 15 and a jet jwp 15ho, which machine would you choose and why?

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I have the PM Model 15 with knives. I bought it lightly used about five months ago.

After I got it home, I stepped through tuning and alignment procedures per the manual. Very easy to do. My test run showed that the knives were OK, so I haven't moved those at all. I need to do that now, as I have a nick in the blade on one side.

I have no experience with the Jet.

If there's no difference in the condition of two machines being compared, my choice would be the PM.
Thanks for the reply. Im leaning PM but theres a nagging for me not to pull the trigger. I have a tendency to overthink things and miss opportunities.
You're not going to find any difference in performance.

Look closely at them you may find they are identical machines except for minor differences. Many brands come from the same foundry. Roller table vs, solid, and of course the yellow paint, which appears to be worth $1000 a gallon LOL.

I would go with whatever one is cheaper/newer.
Robert pretty much said it all. I've got mostly Jet tools and they've never let me down. I think they're QC has improved over the years. I'd go with the tool that looks like it is in the best condition.
Robert pretty much said it all. I've got mostly Jet tools and they've never let me down. I think they're QC has improved over the years. I'd go with the tool that looks like it is in the best condition.
Thanks for the comments. Can anyone determine manufacture date from this Pm serial? Ive looked but cant seem to find what im looking for…

0015085. There maybe a 2 after the 5 i cant really tell.
While I do not have a Jet or PM planer, But I do have both brands in my shop.
Jet Lathe, Drill Press, and Air Cleaner.
PM Dust Collector.
Both are Made by the same parent Company. Jet I feel is the lower end of the two, and the new prices used to reflect that.

Now Jet has served me well, but if that PM is affordable. And in good shape, I would grab it.

So I am not sure of how to date them. But Just looking at features. Do both have infeed/outfeed tables?
On some PM machines the tables are solid cast iron, and some have 3 rollers. Some of the newer Jets are the same. Older ones had a single roller for a table.
Just and observation of mine is that the PM will have a few better parts in it. Better electrics, metal vs plastic parts.
I think you would like both machines. And often my budget has made the PM brand to costly for me.
I think if the PM was affordable I would buy it. But The Jet is worth giving real consideration too.

The PM Dust Collector is the newest of the bunch in my shop. Jet has been the go too tool for me, and my budget.
And has served me well. I was set of the Jet version. But checking both machines out. The Jet, (this time). Felt cheap, flimsy. PM was most defiantly the better made machine. And was in my budget this time.
Was only a couple hundred extra. When I bought my Lathe, Jet was 2k, and the PM, (Bigger lathe) was 4k.
Bigger lathe would have been nice, but not at X2 the price.

I would still consider Jet in the future. Actually looking at a used 6"X48" Jet belt sander now.

Good luck.

Oh, Photos of the two machines may help date them
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Would the extra $1500 between a new 15hh and this with a shelix be worth it simply for the warranty?
For used machines the primary difference would be the amount of abuse inflicted by the previous owner. We have no way of knowing that about machines you may be considering. That's for you to judge.
Just trying to justify the cost of the new machine, warranty and no elbow grease for helical conversion. Ive never owned a machine with a warranty and thus never had to use one. Is it worth that much more.
Any idea on how old this is?
I've refurbished/used/flipped both The PM15 and Jet JWP 15HO.

I'd choose the PM if price is near same.
Both will mill wood the same.

The differences are relatively minor, here are the ones I remember:

- Jet weighs less, due partial cabinet.

- Jet feed roller tables are single roller, PM has 3 rollers. Both use same easily damaged stamped metal roller frame.

- Some of the Jet 15" models had extendable 2" casters inside the stamped leg corners. The are wobbly, but OK for short move in shop on perfect smooth floors; but if tool is moved often you want a mobile base. Had to remove them as they were cheap stamped metal rusted beyond repair.

- The Jet 4 leg post's and top heavy cast iron make it hard to scoot around the floor, so you want a mobile base if need to move it. Will want to use a base plate on mobile base and attach the legs to base, or the the metal on metal combination can vibrate with heavy cut milling. This is simply due less mass down low.

- Some of the PM15 models had internal (2) fixed single direction castors, and (2) swivel inside the cabinet. They are practically useless due small ~1.5" size, and have to lock them down one corner at a time with bolt against the wheel from outside. They rust easily if exposed to moisture. Don't plan on using them unless your floor is as smooth as baby's butt. Nice idea, poor execution.

- PM15 uses a name brand US motor (Baldor) made in Taiwan, while the Jet uses a top rated Taiwan motor mfg. The look same, perform same and use the same motor bearings.

- PM15 uses longer belts, and is slightly more difficult to adjust for perfect tension to avoid belt slap on start up. I prefer to set the belt tension on loose side, as excess tension accelerates wear on the outer side cutter head hearing.

- The are both a PITA to color match. PM only sells the 2000+ metallic mustard spray paint, and Jet only sells the off white spray paint. If the PM machine is old school mustard, or gold; no of shelf paint matches. Same for the early Blue-Green-Grey from Jet.

There was a lot of commonality between spare parts, but they appeared to be mfg by different factories. The tell signs for me were the minor difference in slow/fast feed speeds; which also means different gear ratios and chain lengths on feed rollers. The gear box used same gasket, bearings, and seals. Both machines are clones of the Delta 15" planer, likely using same licensed drawings in the beginning. Which is why the castings, gear boxes, cutter head, and all expensive stuff to change is same.

Did not own these machines at same time, so subtle differences may exist I didn't notice as they didn't need fix up. There can be a difference tooth TPI in the helical drive gear on the end of cutter head, hiding in the gear box.

With inflation these 15" four post planers are very expensive now. Used prices are wildly variable. The PM was not that much expensive than PM when new. So don't get sucked into paying a high PM premium. Straight blade machine of those vintage have sold recently in my area and were less than $1000. Three years ago, I paid no more than $300 for rusted mess needed refurbished. Now folks want $500-$600 for same junk.

On both machines pay attention the bronze feed roller bushings, and oil leaks from gear box. These planers are hard to kill, and will run even when poorly maintained, or with worn out bushings. Have had to replace the bronze bushings on every machine I have touched, due excess wear and lack of regular oiling.

Another possible problem is the feed change lever. It is very easy to bend, and it becomes hard to change. A bent shaft will damage the oil ring seal, and/or damage the cast iron; needing a new gear box cover. Used a grizzly cover on PM15, so it was reparable, but not cheap with matching paint.

These planers are relatively quiet, unless milling wood. If you hear any growling, and gear box is full of oil; likely need new cutter head outer bearing (belt side). The outer cutter head bearing needs replacing every 10-15 years IME. You should use new bearings if you add a segmented cutter head, so this is not a concern unless you want to delay segmented head installation.

Best Luck.
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Thats what i needed to hear. I appreciate all the responses. In gonna check out the PM and bypass the jet. Push comes to shove I'll just deal and purchase a new 15hh.
Just got an offer for $1500 for the jet, is it worth that if it wasn't abused?
Just got an offer for $1500 for the jet, is it worth that if it wasn t abused? - Watercolor
IMHO and regional area - If straight knives, it's way too expensive. When new the machine was ~$1800. Inflation has pushed replacement machines to nearly $3000; so I can understand why greedy seller might ask $1500. :(

If it has helical head, the $1500 price is top of current range for an older used tool, I.E. not a bargain.
Another LJ just posted about a spiral head Grizzly for $900 which is the bargain range I like to see helical head 15" planers advertised (in perfect working order).

Prices vary by area

Well CaptKlutz mentioned how similar the design is among all the brands.
A brand new Jet is $2450, and they run 15% of sales.
The Grizzly version is $1955.
So for me $1500 is still a bit high.
I would be thinking $1000 max.
What was the asking price on the PM?
I have not shopped for a planer, so I have no idea what they are actually going for used. Still feels high.
Oh, and finding the age of the PM. Others may know the facts. But how long has it been since they started making them in Taiwan?
That new DC I bought had the remote fail almost right away. Customer service needed serial number, and replaced it no questions asked. I bet if you call PM customer service, parts section. They can look up that serial number and tell you the manufacture date.
And how old is the Jet?
Thanks for the comments. Can anyone determine manufacture date from this Pm serial? Ive looked but cant seem to find what im looking for…

0015085. There maybe a 2 after the 5 i cant really tell.

- Watercolor
The normal Powermatic serial number decoder doesn't seem to include the model 15 planer… but that serial number does fit the pattern for newer machines, where the first two digits are the year, the next two are the model ("15") and the last digits are the sequential number of the machine off the line (ie: NN15-nnnn). So my guestimate is that it is a 2000 model. To further validate the date, that does seem to fit the timeline based on the Powermatic web site. The model 15 did not show up on their web site until August 2000.

Font Number Parallel Rectangle Screenshot

(Screenshot from Powermatic web site: August 16, 2000)

That also puts it just after Powermatic was purchased by Jet, although Powermatic had been slowly transitioning to manufacturing in Taiwan for a while by then anyway.



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