Powermatic 1791315 209HH 20-Inch Planer: 5HP 1PH 230V with Byrd Cutterhead

Not all planers are created equal…

If you are on the trail of a freestanding powerhouse suitable for any small workshop, you’re in for a treat today…

Before we get started, this is categorically not a planer for everyone. If you’re just starting out or a woodworking hobbyist, spending over $4000 on a power tool, however capable it might be, is probably unwise. If, however, you’re a master craftsman or you need a planer fit for commercial projects, read on…

In this Powermatic 209HH review, we’ll look at what sets this machine apart from the pack and makes it worth the $4370 investment.

Before we check out this 20-inch planer in more detail, a quick glance at the plus points and the minor snags…


  • Exceptional 5HP motor copes easily with hardcore projects
  • Massive 20-inch planing capacity lets you cut wood just under 8 inches thick
  • Byrd helical cutterhead has 99 carbide inserts for highly efficient cutting and an outstanding, smooth finish
  • Fully enclosed cabinet has casters allowing you to move it within the shop without straining yourself
  • Variable feed rate for maximum flexibility
  • Tightly spaced anti-kickback fingers puts your safety uppermost
  • 5-inch dust port allows you to connect the Powermatic to any dust collector and keep your workshop dust-free


  • Undeniably expensive
  • Lacks a digital readout

The Powermatic 209HH comes set above an enclosed welded-steel cabinet. This is rugged and gives you all the stability you need in a machine weighing over 800 pounds. A nifty, lockable caster system means you can shift the planer if you really need to.

The key selling point of this power planer is its Byrd SHELIX helical cutter head. 99 carbide knives produce an angled shear with far less rippling than you’d get with a conventional cutter head. These carbide inserts are set out in spiral-shaped rows and cut angled at 14 degrees. Resultantly, you’ll get an impeccably smooth finish without disturbing the neighbors. As an added bonus, the inserts last far longer so they’ll save you money over time.

If you’re still not sold on the advantages of helical cutters, check out this great video which runs down why this spiral cutter head revolutionizes planing.

A punchy one-phase motor kicks out all the power you need for even heavy-duty projects. This TEFC (totally enclosed fan-cooled) motor develops 5 HP and runs on 230 volts. Power transmission is silky smooth thanks to 3 V-belts running on pulleys.

The Powermatic is no one-trick pony, though. You’ll get 2 rate ranges, each with with 2 speeds. These are easily controlled for the most efficient cutting according to the application…

  • 24 and 31 feet per minute: Rough dimensioning
  • 16 and 20 feet per minute: Close finishing

The steel infeed roller is serrated while the outfeed roller is smooth. Anti-kickback fingers are closely spaced to minimize the chance of getting a chunk of wood in your face.

This 20-inch planer lets you cut wood up to almost 8 inches thick which is more than enough for most needs. The cast iron table has extensions so you’ll get a 20 x 25 ½-inch work area to accommodate even the bulkiest workpieces.

A clean working environment is a must. You can hook up the Powermatic to any dust collector using the 5-inch port and keep your workshop free of debris.

There’s very little to be said against the Powermatic 209HH…

If we were splitting hairs, a digital readout would be a nice touch. That said, installing a third-party readout is not a big deal.

It’s hard to consider the price tag a real negative since this planer is expensive but represents fantastic value for money.

The Powermatic 209HH 20-inch planer offers you a first-class planing solution even if you’re used to working with large pieces of timber.

The stellar 5-year limited warranty means you won’t have any niggling worries about what to do if things go wrong. Powermatic have you covered.

Final Words

You should think about buying the best power planer as an investment rather than a tiresome expense.

A heavy 14% discount takes this Powermatic 20-inch planer dipping below its eye-watering RRP of $5000 so it’s a much more reasonable $4370. Take advantage of this cut-throat pricing today if you want to make significant savings.

For professional woodworkers and highly proficient DIY-ers with a frequent need to plane large workpieces, the 209HH is well worth buying for the helical cutter head alone.

Be sure to checkout out our upcoming Top 10 Planer List. We’ll walk you through a diverse selection of best-selling planers to simplify your buying decision.

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