Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine Review


Throughout my woodworking journey, I’ve navigated a broad spectrum of tools, ranging from the basic chisel, essential for fine detailing, to the highly sophisticated CNC machines, which revolutionize precision and efficiency in woodworking projects. Within this arsenal of tools, one that stands out for its critical role in executing joinery with impeccable accuracy is the mortising machine.

Powermatic PM701 Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Powermatic
  • Model: PM701
  • Style: Mortiser
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Amperage: 15 Amps
  • Maximum Power: 0.75 Horsepower
  • Speed: 1725 RPM
  • Maximum Rotational Speed: 1725 RPM
  • Maximum Chuck Size: 0.5 Inches
  • Material: Cast Iron, Steel
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2″L x 19.2″W x 17.4″H
  • Item Weight: 84 Pounds

For anyone deeply invested in crafting joints that are both strong and aesthetically pleasing, a reliable mortising machine is non-negotiable. In this context, the Powermatic PM701 has emerged as my trusted companion over recent months.

This piece is dedicated to a thorough evaluation of this benchtop wonder, offering insights and reflections from my personal experience as a user. I aim to dissect its features, performance, and overall value to provide a detailed analysis that could serve as a guide for fellow woodworkers considering this machine.

Primary Attributes:

The Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine boasts several key attributes that distinguish it as a top choice for woodworking professionals and enthusiasts alike:

  1. 3/4 Horsepower Motor: Provides ample power for cutting through various types of wood, including both softwoods and hardwoods, with ease.
  2. Heavy-Duty Construction: Made from cast iron and steel, ensuring stability, durability, and a long service life.
  3. User-Friendly Design: Features straightforward setup and intuitive adjustments, making it accessible for woodworkers of all skill levels.
  4. Minimal Vibration and Noise: Engineered to operate quietly and with little vibration, improving the user experience and comfort.
  5. Precision Performance: Delivers clean, precise mortises, essential for high-quality joinery work.
  6. Adjustable Depth Stop and Fence: Allows for accurate and repeatable cuts, enhancing work efficiency and quality.
  7. Easy Chisel and Bit Changes: Equipped with a chuck key and bit storage for hassle-free tool changes.
  8. Portability: Despite its robust build, the design considers ease of movement within the workshop, although its weight may limit portability between different locations.

Performance Accuracy and Power Efficiency

The Powermatic PM701 is equipped with a motor rated at 3/4 horsepower, a specification that may appear modest at first glance but significantly exceeds expectations in operational performance. This robust engine empowers the PM701 to tackle a wide array of mortising tasks effortlessly, making it adept at processing everything from the softest woods to the most resilient hardwoods like maple and oak.

A Powermatic PM701 - 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine in use

As it powers through these materials, it consistently produces cuts that are not only clean but remarkably precise. This high level of accuracy is complemented by the machine’s ability to operate with a surprisingly low level of noise, alongside minimal vibration, showcasing the exceptional quality of its design and build. Such performance characteristics underscore the PM701’s engineering excellence, making it a reliable tool for delivering efficiency and precision in woodworking projects.

Ease of Use and User Experience

The Powermatic PM701 distinguishes itself through its remarkable ease of use, offering an exceptionally user-friendly experience right from the outset. The process of assembling and preparing the machine for its first use is remarkably simple, facilitated by lucid, easy-to-follow instructions that ensure users can swiftly move from unboxing to operation.

Close-up of a Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortising Machine on a wood piece

This accessibility is further enhanced by the intuitive design of the machine’s controls, such as the depth stop and the fence, which are engineered for easy adjustment. This allows users of all skill levels, from novices to seasoned woodworkers, to achieve accurate and consistent cuts with minimal effort.

person operates a Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortising Machine, guiding a wood piece beneath the chisel.

Moreover, the task of swapping out chisels and bits is notably straightforward, a convenience amplified by the thoughtful inclusion of a chuck key and dedicated bit storage directly on the machine. Such design considerations significantly streamline the woodworking process, making the PM701 an inviting tool for anyone looking to engage in woodworking, whether for professional projects or hobbyist endeavors.

Durability and Build Quality

Powermatic’s commitment to producing durable, superior-quality machinery is vividly embodied in the PM701 model. Crafted from heavy-duty cast iron, the PM701 is designed to offer unmatched stability throughout its operation, a feature that directly contributes to its longevity.

Close-up of the motor and upper mechanism of a Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortising Machine

This robust construction guarantees that the machine will stand the test of time, continuing to serve its purpose for years without faltering. Further testament to its build quality is the solidity and precision of its moving components.

Even after extensive use over several months, there has been no perceptible decrease in either its operational performance or the accuracy of its outputs.

chisel and workpiece holder of a Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortising Machine with a wood piece clamped in place.

Such enduring reliability not only speaks to Powermatic’s dedication to excellence but also assures users of a mortising machine that remains consistently dependable, maintaining its efficacy and precision over long periods of regular use.

Review of Visual Assessment

The visual assessment of the Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine immediately conveys a sense of robustness and quality, attributes synonymous with the Powermatic brand. The machine’s heavy-duty cast iron and steel construction not only contribute to its sturdy appearance but also promise durability and stability during use.

Its signature yellow color scheme enhances visibility and adds an aesthetic appeal to the workshop environment. The design is both functional and thoughtful, with easily accessible adjustment controls and clearly marked guides that simplify operation and setup.

Additionally, the compact and efficient layout of the machine maximizes workspace efficiency while maintaining a professional appearance. Overall, the visual assessment of the PM701 underscores its status as a high-quality, professional-grade tool designed to meet the demands of serious woodworkers who prioritize both function and form in their equipment choices.

Setting It Apart

What sets the Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine apart from its competitors is its unparalleled blend of power, precision, and durability, wrapped in a user-friendly package. Unlike many other mortising machines on the market, the PM701 features a powerful 3/4 HP motor capable of handling both soft and hard woods with remarkable ease, ensuring clean and accurate mortises every time.

A person's hands adjusting the hold-down mechanism on a Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortising Machine.

Its heavy-duty cast iron and steel construction not only promises years of reliable service but also provides the stability needed for precision work.

Additionally, the machine’s design emphasizes ease of use, with intuitive adjustments and straightforward setup processes that cater to woodworkers of all skill levels. This focus on combining high performance with accessibility, without compromising on build quality or operational efficiency, truly sets the PM701 apart as a top choice for professionals and hobbyists seeking a superior mortising solution.

Powermatic PM701 Pros and Cons


  • Powerful Performance: The machine delivers robust and efficient cutting across various wood types, ensuring tasks are completed with precision and ease.
  • User-Friendly Design: Its intuitive setup and adjustment mechanisms make it accessible even to those new to woodworking, enhancing the overall user experience.
  • Durability: Built with heavy-duty materials, it promises extended durability and reliability, standing up to rigorous use over time.
  • Quiet Operation: Engineered to operate quietly with minimal vibration, it provides a more comfortable working environment.


  • Higher Price Point: Its cost may be somewhat prohibitive for hobbyists or those who engage in woodworking on a more casual basis, making it a significant investment.
  • Weight: While its heft contributes to operational stability, this aspect also affects its portability, potentially limiting flexibility in workshop arrangement or transport.

Maintenance and Safety Management

Maintaining the Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine involves regular checks and care to ensure its longevity and safe operation. It is essential to keep the machine clean, removing wood chips and dust after each use to prevent buildup that could affect performance. Lubricating the moving parts according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will help maintain smooth operation and prevent wear. Safety management includes wearing appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and hearing protection during use.

Always ensure that adjustments and bit changes are made with the machine powered off to avoid accidental starts. Regular inspection for any signs of wear or damage, particularly to the power cord and moving parts, is crucial for preventing accidents. By adhering to these maintenance and safety guidelines, users can enjoy the full capabilities of the PM701 while minimizing the risk of injury and machine downtime.

Recommendation of Powermatic PM701

For anyone passionate about woodworking, seeking a machine that combines power, precision, and durability, the Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine comes highly recommended. Its robust 3/4 HP motor is capable of handling both softwoods and hardwoods with ease, ensuring clean, precise mortises every time.

The user-friendly design simplifies setup and adjustments, making it accessible to woodworkers of all skill levels. Constructed from heavy-duty materials, it promises long-lasting reliability, while its quiet operation and minimal vibration enhance the user experience. Though its price point and weight might be considerations for some, the PM701’s performance and build quality make it a worthwhile investment for serious woodworkers looking to elevate their craft.

Final Verdict

For serious woodworkers looking for a reliable, powerful, and user-friendly benchtop mortising machine, the Powermatic PM701 is an excellent choice. Its performance, coupled with Powermatic’s attention to detail in design and construction, makes it a standout in its category. Although its price may be on the higher side, the investment is justified by its superior performance and durability. Whether you’re a professional looking to upgrade your shop’s capabilities or an enthusiast seeking precision and reliability, the PM701 is a machine that won’t disappoint.

In my experience, the key decision-making factors for choosing a mortising machine are power, precision, durability, and ease of use. The Powermatic PM701 excels in all these areas, making it my top recommendation for anyone in the market for a benchtop mortiser.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the horsepower of the Powermatic PM701 motor?
    The Powermatic PM701 features a 3/4 horsepower motor, designed to provide ample power for all your mortising needs.
  2. Can the PM701 handle hardwoods like oak and maple?
    Yes, the PM701 is well-equipped to handle various types of wood, including hardwoods such as oak and maple, with ease and precision.
  3. Is the PM701 easy to set up for first-time users?
    Absolutely, the PM701 boasts a user-friendly design with straightforward instructions, making it simple to set up and start working quickly, even for beginners.
  4. How does the PM701 manage vibration and noise during operation?
    The PM701 is designed to operate with minimal vibration and noise, enhancing the user’s comfort and making it suitable for use in various settings.
  5. What kind of construction is the PM701 made of?
    It is built with heavy-duty cast iron and steel, ensuring durability and stability during operation.
  6. What is included with the purchase of a PM701?
    The machine comes with a mortiser, 3/4″ chisel bushing, chuck extension adaptor, chuck key, operating handle, and chisels are available for purchase separately.
  7. How does the PM701’s price compare to other mortising machines on the market?
    The PM701 may be priced higher than some entry-level models, reflecting its superior build quality, performance, and durability, making it a worthwhile investment for serious woodworkers.
  8. Is the PM701 portable?
    While the PM701’s heavy-duty construction contributes to its stability, its weight may limit its portability compared to lighter models.
  9. Can the depth stop and fence be easily adjusted?
    Yes, adjustments to the depth stop and fence are intuitive, allowing for precise, repeatable cuts with minimal effort.
  10. Does Powermatic offer a warranty for the PM701?
    Yes, Powermatic typically offers a warranty for their products, including the PM701. It’s advisable to check the specific warranty details at the time of purchase for accurate information.

We’d love to hear from you! If you’ve had the chance to use the Powermatic PM701 – 3/4 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine, please share your personal experiences and insights in the comments section below. Your feedback could be invaluable to fellow woodworkers and enthusiasts looking to make informed decisions about their next workshop addition!

Edward Smith
Edward Smith
Forestry Author

Woodworking is about more than crafting; it's a harmonious connection with nature, mastering tools, and preserving our environment. I'm here to share my knowledge and experiences with you, forging a future where we can embrace wood's beauty and utility while safeguarding our forests' health and diversity.


Leave your comment

Please enter your name.
Please provide a valid email address.
Please type your comment.