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Powermatic quality vs. more power

854 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Unknowncraftsman
I'm considering two 8" helical head jointers.
Grizzly G0495X and Powermatic 60HH.
The biggest difference in the specs is that the Grizzly has a 3HP motor, where the PM has a 2HP motor.
Back in the day the Grizzly would have been quite a bit less expensive and the Powermatic would have been much more of a quality machine.
I'm hearing that Grizzly has improved quality, while I'm also hearing the opposite about Powermatic.
My question is, with the current generation of machines, do you feel the Powermatic would be significant enough of a quality increase to give up the extra HP in the motor?
I want this to be a one time purchase and not have to buy another jointer.
The prices are so close they may as well be exactly the same.
I would love to hear from people with these machines.
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I can share my experience with PM, but not recent Griz. Ordered 60HH jointer, 15" HH planer, and PM mobile base for the jointer. Jointer and planer were ~3 months lead time (about 18 months ago) from overseas and the mobile base shipped same day from Tennessee. The mobile base arrived with box intact; however, the base was dented and had significant paint loss. The base sported a "Made in America" decal, and in my judgement lacked proper prep which led to paint loss from rubbing against box during shipment. Submitted a claim through dealer which then went to PM. The response I got was that PM would replace the base only after I provided proof the first base was destroyed. So I took MY TIME to cut it up and sent a photo … and the new base came that afternoon anyway. Virtually a carbon copy of the issues with the first one. Submitted another claim and canceled the entire order based on the fact PM cannot control their quality for items made in America giving me zero confidence anything from overseas would have been better. PM wanted the second base returned and paid freight. Horribly disappointing and frustrating experience, which frankly has made me think seriously about spending the extra money to go European. Have considered Griz, but hate to have to pay tax (because I live in MO) and freight.
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Just a comment on the HP part: don't worry about the 2 HP motor, it's more than sufficient for a 8" jointer. I have a Jet 8" (2 HP) that I've had for 20+ years, and it plows through all kinds of wood without breaking a sweat. I'd probably pick one based on which one was available.
Those two comments both have me leaning toward the Grizzly. PowerMatic doesn't sound like they have the same high standards they used to be know for and the Grizzly is in stock and ready to ship.

Any one else with anything to add please don't hesitate.
I have a Grizzly G0858, from day 1 the motor is underpowered. I have replaced the run capacitor and switch on my dime because my shop was not finished as soon as I had hoped and had to store the jointer for a year. According to the specs my jointer has a 3HP motor too.
Hmm, MrSkills first post is to rant about PM issues?
Ok, thanks for sharing. IMHO shipping issues are widespread. Have never received a mobile base package that didn't have at least a little paint missing due rubbing, or box damage.

Have no experience with these two jointer models.

Am a fan of Grizzly machines. Most of their tools are mode in Taiwan these days, thanks to China tariffs a few years ago. Taiwan suppliers they use, have been making the same WW machines for 40 years. They get minor updates, tweaks and cost reductions; but they have making them so long; they also know what NOT to change. Grizzly parts support is phenomenal. When a tool is subpar, it goes out of stock and just disappears.

Many years back when I was touring mfg plant in Taiwan, saw both green and yellow jointers sitting in same holding area, waiting to be boxed for shipping. So I have never believed that PM was significantly better?
The key difference has always been PM uses Baldor motors. But since these are often made in same factories as motors used by Grizzly. The key motor difference is minimal, usually related to fit/finish, or Taiwan made bearings .vs. Chinese bearings. If you use a tool 24/7, the PM motor and head bearings should last longer than Grizzly.

Since Covid has reduce international travel; have to believe everyone is suffering when it comes to quality. When the OEM rep visits every month, to inspect machines before shipment; the quality is improved, even in an ISO9000 facility. BTDTGTTS Combine overseas shipping shortages, with trucking shortages in USA, and it's a wonder anyone can a machine without damage due all the pent up rage in supply chain.

All that said, there is two key differences between these machines you didn't mention:

1) Grizzly has fewer inserts or cutting edges than PM. The PM should offer a higher feed rate compared to Grizzly, or smoother surface at same feed rate. If you work with mainly figured wood, then more inserts/less HP would be better compromise. If not working burl everyday, then doubt you see much difference.

2) The PM machine has dovetail ways. The Grizzly has parallelogram tables. Parallelogram jointer table is superior design, and is much easier to keep tables aligned.

Have a 8" jointer with straight knives and 2HP is more than enough. Have used a friends Byrd converted 8" jointer with 2HP motor on some figured wood giving me issues; and it would bog down slightly when attempting to machine a full width board face. The power issue was not a problem, as you just feed a little slower. If I was running production with segmented carbide head, would prefer 3HP if all things were equal.

IMHO, the design comes down to type of wood processed, choice of cutting head, and table design choice; not 2HP .vs. 3 HP and who has best quality.
My choice would be Grizzly for parallelogram tables and more power.

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Thank you to everyone for the input. I believe I will go with the Grizzly.
Companies today will establish (or try to), a good reputation or they will just go out and buy a company with a good reputation. Then they will get on that horse and ride it to death. Cutting cost until the quality suffer. I think this is what Powermatic, Delta, and some others have done. And they certainly don't give a crap about customer service. This is true in all aspects of our lives today, insurance, hospitals, everything.
Grizzly started out with no name and has had to build their reputation. The tools of the 90s were a good example of this. Their QC was suspect and their castings were sometimes soft. The tools of the 90s were fine but you had better understand what you were getting and be prepared to do some shimming and adjusting. Grizzly was 1 of my main brands that I used back then. I think if I had to buy new today I'd probably go with Grizzly. If I was going to go used I would go with Powermatic or Jet.
Powermatic/Jet customer service today, yeah good luck wit dat. I've spoken with Grizzly customer service in the past couple of weeks about planers and the guy was very helpful and talked with me for a while until I got my questions answered. I ended up buying a 2011 Jet 15" planer.
I'm not sure if Grizzly's customer service is all that much better, but at least they are trying to make it look good.
If Delta offered me one of their new tools I wouldn't even go pick it up.
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I would not judge a jointers quality by the thickness of the paint on the mobile base. The seen and unseen parts that make a difference are the tables and bearing even the motor parts.
Everything is a crap shoot coming from Asia.
Jointers are best bought used. Jointers with long beds and seasoned casting inspected with a reliable straight edge.

Good Luck
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