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Like many of you, I tucked my PM1300 dust collector into an out of the way corner where it happily sucks up whatever I need it to.
Click image to enlarge

POWERMATIC PM1300 Dust Collector

In goes the dust, out comes cleaner air!

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

Posted - 6-4-2008

If you have used POWERMATIC tools, you expect them to put their "touch" on whatever they build. The POWERMATIC PM1300 was so touched and combines high dust evacuating power with super-effective filtering. And, it packs those capabilities into a well-built, space-saving package with a surprisingly trim price tag.

Part of the low price is due to innovative kitting. The POWERMATIC PM1300 itself is shipped as a bare machine without a filter element or catch bags. The fabric filter and catch bag set as well as the pleated canister filter with 5 plastic catch bags are sold as individual kits. This allows the purchaser to save money by getting the POWERMATIC PM1300 with the filter style they want without paying for and then discarding an unused filter element.

Filtering Efficiency

The canister filter (left) is far more efficient than any bag. Turning the handle once a month keeps it that way! The "hands" (right) are what actually flex the pleats to knock off excess dust buildup. Simple but very efficient.
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The bag filter element is 20" in diameter and 48" high. A hook and arm is included to support the bag when the POWERMATIC PM1300 is not running. A spring steel band clamp secures the filter bag to the collector housing. The fabric collector bag has a spring retaining ring sewn into its opening that snaps into a groove in the collector housing making its installation and removal tool free.

POWERMATIC literature gives the filtering efficiency in percentages, related to particle size. This is rather brave of them as it gives a precise representation of filtering efficiency, something many other manufacturers apparently would rather not divulge in such an accurate manner. Of course, POWERMATIC can afford to be brave because they know their filtering is on par with the best in the industry.

The POWERMATIC PM1300 bag type element filters out 96% of 30-micron particles. This is right on the industry standard for the lower priced filtering option.

The catch bags used with either filter version hold 10 cubic feet of chips, which is way more than it sounds like.
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Collector (catch) bag capacity for both the fabric and plastic bags is 10 cubic feet.

The pleated canister filter element is 20" in diameter and 29" tall. The canister mounts directly to the collector housing, sealed by a factory installed foam gasket within its flange. Four finger-operated knobs secure the canister to the collector housing. Pleating the filter element within the canister produces a tremendous amount of filtering surface area within the remarkably compact physical size.

The canister filters 86% of 1-micron particles and 98% of 2-micron particles. To maintain that efficiency, a top-mounted handle operates a pair of "hands" that wipe across the interior filter pleats when turned. The hands essentially stretch or deflect the pleats to shake excess dust buildup free but leaving a light, beneficial layer of dust that enhances filtering efficiency. All dust collector filtering media depend on this light layer of dust to increase their efficiency. POWERMATIC recommends turning the top-mounted handle one full revolution per month under normal conditions, more frequently if you do lots of dusty work.

Incidentally, the oval POWERMATIC sticker on the canister exterior can be easily peeled off the wire mesh if you believe the Internet rumors that it ruins the performance of the canister. It doesn't but feel free to remove it if it makes you feel better.

The difference in height between the fabric and canister filter elements could be an important issue in shops with low ceilings or overhead obstructions. The POWERMATIC PM1300 has an overall height of just under 6 feet with the canister installed compared to 92 1/2" when equipped with the fabric filter bag and its hangar.

Power and Remote Control

Like all Powermatic motors, this 1 3/4HP version (left) is rated using a continuous duty cycle, pleasantly surprising many who are new to Powermatic tools.
The remote control (right) is standard equipment and is far more useful than I anticipated.
Click images to enlarge

The POWERMATIC PM1300 features a stout 1 3/4HP, 1Ph 115/220V (pre-wired 115V) TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor. POWERMATIC motors are rated using a continuous duty cycle rather than the "peak" or "max developed" claims other manufacturers continue to offer to an increasingly skeptical public. I frequently hear from new (to POWERMATIC) users who are surprised by the large amount of power POWERMATIC motors actually deliver.

The POWERMATIC PM1300 comes wired for 115V but can be converted to use 220V current when available. This 220V capability does not increase performance but can help reduce the load on already stressed 115V circuits in many home shops.

The motor is mounted to the blower section, directly on the base platform. This puts its considerable weight very low (center of gravity) and makes moving the POWERMATIC PM1300 on the included casters easy and virtually tip-free.

Woodworkers often install their dust collector in an out of the way place within the shop so POWERMATIC added a full-function, infrared remote control that emits an invisible light-based

signal in a 120-degree cone. That allows the small remote unit to turn the POWERMATIC PM1300 on and off from virtually anywhere (line of sight) in most shops.

The remote control also has a built-in timer that allows programming in run times between 1 and 99 minutes. The timer function allows the POWERMATIC PM1300 to run a specific amount of time to clean shop air before it shuts off automatically.

Fan System

The specially designed, all-steel impeller (left) moves lots of air consistently. The housing (right) has a 6" port, fitted with a twin 4" port adapter to make the PM1300 compatible with most shop situations.
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The POWERMATIC PM1300 is based on a high-tech 12"-diameter impeller and housing. The heavy-duty impeller was designed to move a large volume of air consistently in a wide range of usage situations. The fan section develops 1,064 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of airflow at 6" of water. Velocity, also at 6" of water is 5,374 FPM 9feet per minute. Static pressure is 11.31 inches of water.

The POWERMATIC PM1300 comes with a single 6"-diameter inlet port fitted with a dual 4"-port adapter. One of the 4" ports comes with a tethered, friction fit cover that seals it when not in use. This arrangement makes the POWERMATIC PM1300 compatible with most machines or dust plumbing configurations. The inlet ports are mounted directly to the blower housing for maximum efficiency and to keep them on an even plane with the dust outlets on many machines.

One of the most noticeable features i the smooth steel chute that replaces simple flex hose. This engineered chute seems to enhance the performance of the PM1300 dust collector in a big way.
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POWERMATIC also replaced the common (and way cheaper) flex hose connection between the fan and collector housings with a curved, smooth-walled sheet metal chute with sealing gaskets at both ends. This smoothly curved chute has a larger inside area than a hose at its large end but tapers down slightly as it flows to the collector housing. This taper helps move air efficiently, increasing the performance of the POWERMATIC PM1300.

The rigidity of the sheet metal duct adds a considerable amount of stability to the POWERMATIC PM1300. This allowed them to eliminate two of the three legs most manufacturers use to support the collector housing. Eliminating those legs clears the way to make changing collection bags much easier.

The interior shape of the collector housing creates a cyclonic airflow that helps separate particles from the air to enhance filtering and venting.

Mobility

The heavy, all-steel platform base is equipped with these full-swivel casters at each corner. Moving the PM1300 is easy.
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The POWERMATIC PM1300 is built on an all-steel base equipped with full-swivel, smooth-rolling casters at each corner. This base, along with the low center of gravity makes moving the POWERMATIC PM1300 around the shop easy. A pair of handles on the collector housing lets you get a grip when moving the POWERMATIC PM1300.

In the Shop

I used the POWERMATIC PM1300 in my shop for months, making it my primary dust collector permanently. That decision was easy after using it a few times during the initial evaluation. This thing works great!

Somewhere between the POWERMATIC motor, the specially designed impeller and the internal flow, the POWERMATIC PM1300 quite literally inhales everything I throw at it without a hint of protest. I even used it on a PM209 20" planer, taking full-width cuts and the planer and surrounding area stayed chip-free.

The Powermatic PM1300 Dust Collector is virtually tool free thanks to finger operated knobs, handles and a snap ring in the dust bag!
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Having the hose connections low on the POWERMATIC PM1300 certainly enhances performance but adds to shop safety at well by keeping more of the hose flat on the floor. The press-on adapter that sizes the single 6" port down to a pair of 4" ports is easily removed if I ever install a hard dust line system in my shop.

The quality casters included with the heavy steel base make moving the POWERMATIC PM1300 easy. There is no sensation that the machine wants to tip and it goes where you want with little coercion from you.

The canister filter element is the only way to go in my opinion. It cleans the air very well and seems to keep this already quite machine a little quieter. Despite extensive use of the POWERMATIC PM1300 in recent months, a quick turn of the exterior handle is the only filter maintenance I have done and performance has not fallen off at all.

The remote control is easy to use, easy to understand and works as promised. This is a simple idea that is well executed and comes in handy far more than I anticipated. I will never again own a dust collector that does not have a remote! Of course, that is easy to say now that I own the POWERMATIC PM1300 as it is unlikely I will ever wear this one out!

Conclusions

The POWERMATIC PM1300 is a well-built, well-designed dust collector that has plenty of power and remarkable (canister version) filtering capability. Woodworkers are waking up to the fact that we have to take care of our lungs in a dusty hobby and the POWERMATIC PM1300 goes a long way towards that goal. My shop is cleaner since I started using the POWERMATIC PM1300 and that means my lungs are cleaner as well. Put a price on that!

With a street price of $649.00 (6-4-2008) with the canister filter and $499.00 with the bag system, the POWERMATIC PM1300 is as good of a long-term value as it is effective. The traditional POWERMATIC construction means that it will last a very long time and maintain its performance with minimal maintenance.

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