Powermatic Lathe Review 2023 – Alternatives?


Hello and many thanks in advance for taking the time to visit our Powermatic Lathe Review if you are thinking about buying a Lathe under this brand in the next few days or weeks. This review will take a look at all the technical specifications and the capabilities that it has to offer to the general public along with the power level requirements, the speed levels and also the electrical requirements.

Our research and review here will outline the main functions and features for the Powermatic 3520C Lathe but we will also take a quick look also at 2 other models under the Powermatic brand namely the Powermatic PM2020 and the Powermatic 4224B so at least you have more than just one choice when it comes to making a final decision.

In addition, we will also outline the main pros and cons that should be noted along with some frequently asked questions that hopefully will answer some of the queries that you may have.

Powermatic Lathe Review Content:

  1. Part 1: Brief Overview and FAQ’s
  2. Part 2: Powermatic 3520C Lathe Review – Main Features and Functions
  3. Part 3: Technical Specification Information
  4. Part 4: Powermatic 3520C Lathe Review – Pros and Cons
  5. Part 5: Overview: Powermatic PM2020 & 4224B Lathes
  6. Part 6: Comparison Table 3520C vs PM2020 vs 4224B
  7. Part 7: Feedback Opportunity

Please be aware that guide price ranges can only be submitted and presented at the time of this review as prices can change slightly from month to month depending on local discount activities, so please make sure to view the price checkers provided below to ensure you have the most up to date price information.

Part 1: Brief Overview and FAQ’s

Brief Overview

Product: Powermatic 3520C Lathe with Legs and 6 Inch Riser Blocks
Best Place to Buy:Amazon
Warranty:Seller dependant – Generally 12 to 24 months
Price Guide:$4000 to $5000 - View Sneak Preview Here

Frequently Asked Questions about the Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Q. What is the distance between the centers?
A. The distance between the Centers is 36 inches
Q. What speed ranges RPM’s are available?
A. The speed range is extra wide starting from 15 up to 3200 RPM
Q. Does this Lathe include the legs as many other types don’t?
A. Yes, this particular Lathe from Powermatic includes the legs as standard
Q. How heavy is this particular Powermatic 3520C Lathe?
A. The weight of this Lathe is 726 Ibs
Q. Is it height adjustable?
A. Yes, it includes the 6 inch riser blocks to offer more flexibility for working heights
Q. How many riser blocks are included?
A. It includes 2 x 6 inch riser blocks
Q. What is the recommended circuit size?
A. The recommended circuit size is 20 Amps
Q. How many indexing positions are available?
A. The number of indexing positions available is 48

Part 2: Powermatic 3520C Lathe Review – Main Features and Functions

Powermatic 3520C Wood Lathe

Main Features in Summary:

Includes Legs & 6-inch Riser Blocks
Power 2HP, 220V, 1-Phase
Moveable magnetic control box
Adjustable riser blocks
Anti-rotation tailstock key
Ergonomic spindle lock design
Speed of 15 to 3.2k RPM
Includes a set of dead centers
Upgraded banjo with non-marring
Solid tool rest clamp

Main Features in Detail:

  • This Lathe from Powermatic with reference number 3520C comes with 6-inch riser blocks for height adjustments and the 4 legs are included as standard.
  • It operates on 1 phase, 220V and with a motor power of 2HP. Included in the pack when you buy is the Powermatic 3520C 2HP Lathe, Leg castings x 2, 6 inch riser blocks x 2 and is suitable for larger type projects such as Hollow vases, large bowls, baseball bats, platters and table legs
  • This Lathe includes a moveable control box that can be moved to other locations for easier access in a variety of turning positions to suit your individual needs and the also the DRO and adjustable riser blocks
  • The main power disconnect switch is located on rear of the headstock, there is the Tailstock with anti-rotation key and Acme threads for smooth working and operation and increased longevity and it has the fully enclosed VFD for increased user protection while you work.
  • It has the extended spindle nose for better access to the workpiece, the self-locating ergonomic spindle lock for easy, one handed operation and it also has the digital indexing readout which simplifies the indexing process for added precision and accuracy for specific type projects.
  • Included also is the upgraded banjo with non-marring, pinch style clamp for solid tool rest placement and you get the increased working capacity to a full 36 inches between the centers. It weighs 726 pounds and it meets strict guidelines and electrical requirements for CSA certification for your added protection and safety.
  • In addition, you get the sliding hammer knockout rod with a brass tip, a set of dead centers, an ergonomic spindle lock design and an anti-rotation tailstock key.

Price Guide:

  • The price when last seen at the time of this review ranged anywhere from $4000 to $5000 which can be double checked below if you need to take a closer look.

Further images of the Powermatic 3520C Lathe are outlined below (8)

Part 3: Technical Specification Information

Powermatic 3520C Lathe Technical Information
Swing Over Bed = 20 inches
Swing Over Tool Rest Base = 15-3/4 inches
Distance Between Centers = 36 inches
Headstock Movement = Full Length of Bed
Spindle Speeds: = Low 15-1200
Spindle Speeds: = High 40-3200
Speed Range total = 15-3200
Number of Indexing Positions = 48
Centerline of Spindle to Floor = 40-5/8 inches
Outboard Turning = Yes
Bed Construction = Cast Iron
Size = 20 inches
Recommended Circuit Size = 20 Amps
Weight = 726 Ibs
Spindle Bore = 5/8 inches
Tailstock Bore = 3/8 inches
Spindle Taper = MT-2
Quill Taper = MT-2
Ram Travel Quill Travel = 4-1/2 inches
Spindle Threads In. x TPI = 1-1/4 x 8
Outboard External Threads (In. x TPI): 1-3/16-18UNC
Motor Power = 2HP
Motor Phase = 3 phase
Motor Voltage = 230V Only
Prewired Voltage = 230V Only
Wiring Remarks = Single Phase ONLY
Motor Current (Amps): = 6.2

View also while you are here:

Part 4: Powermatic 3520C Lathe Review – Pros and Cons

Pros for the Powermatic 3520C Lathe

  • The one thing that you will like is the magnetic control box that can be attached to almost any location on the lathe which offers very convenient access for the controls.
  • To make it easier on your back and body, it is height adjustable as it includes the riser blocks for 6 inches or more of height adjustment which makes the operation a whole lot easier
  • As it weighs over 700 Ibs, you are getting a really solid and sturdy piece of equipment with hardly any vibrations experienced whatsoever.
  • For added precision, it has the user friendly digital indexing speed readout which makes adjustments as easy as turning a dial
  • Perfect for large turnings and it can operate as low as 15 RPM up to a high of 3200 RPM
  • Included also when you buy is the anti-rotation tailstock key, a two position mount, an ergonomic spindle lock design and a sliding hammer knockout rod as added features to the overall design.

Cons for the Powermatic 3520C Lathe

  • The main problem is the high price associated with this Lathe model as it will set you back over $4k which is certainly not affordable for everyone and is certainly not for beginners
  • Many of the parts are extremely heavy so you will need an extra set of hands for unpacking and movement.
  • Limited mobility due to the overall weight of the unit, once in place it is extremely hard to relocate it so you need to think long and hard before you decide on its final position location
  • Deliveries can take as long as 14 days and in some cases even longer so you will need to plan for it in advance and be patient with the delivery

Part 5: Overview: Powermatic PM2020 & 4224B Lathes

If you are still undecided about the Powermatic 3520C Lathe, then check out 2 further options under the Powermatic brand outlined as follows:

1, Powermatic PM2020 Short Bed Lathe

Main Features to Note:

Operates as 2HP 220V
Similar to 3520C with smaller footprint
Sliding headstock & redesigned tool rest
Electronic variable speed
Digital RPM readout and 2HP TEFC motor
Tailstock has internal storage
Brass-tipped knockout bar
Designed for shorter spindle turnings
Built-in spindle indexing / 14 inch tool rest
Speed Range operates from 50 to 3200 RPM

2, Powermatic 4224B Lathe

Main Features to Note:

Operates as 3HP 220V – largest in the range
Weighs over 950 pounds, approx. 960 Ibs
Top of the range in terms of capabilities
Laser-etched quill is self ejecting
Vacuum system / Two 100W task lamps
Spindle lock and built-in spindle indexing
15-amp quad receptacle
2 position mount for optional bed extensions
Magnetic-backed remote on and off switch
Speed Range operates from 40 to 3500 RPM

Part 6: Comparison Table 3520C vs PM2020 vs 4224B

A short comparison table is outlined below for the Powermatic 3520C Lathe vs the Powermatic PM2020 Lathe vs the Powermatic 4224B Lathe

Spec:Powermatic 3520CPowermatic PM2020Powermatic 4224B
Swing Over Bed:20 inches20 inches24 inches
Swing Over Tool Rest Base:15-3/4 inches17 inches21 inches
Distance Between Centers:36 inches20 inches42 inches
Speed Range:15 - 3200 RPM50 - 3200 RPM40 - 3500 RPM
Indexing Positions:484898
Motor Power:2HP2HP3HP
Motor Phases:333
Motor Voltage:230V230V230V

Part 7: Feedback Opportunity

Have you used or tried a Powermatic Lathe yourself in the recent past? Did it perform as expected or did you come across any problems that we should know about?

If possible – please share your own feedback (good or bad) with the wider community by leaving a comment in the comment section provided below…


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  1. Hello Paul, very helpful and insightful review. I have a friend who is working with wood but he has an old machine which does not have such great features like Powermatic Wood Lathe. I will actually recommend him to buy this one as although it is a little bit expensive it can make a great return on investment with these features.

  2. Thanks for this thorough review of the Powermatic 3520C Lathe and the other two options you have included. This is a high-end tool that is super versatile and capable of handling major projects for professionals as well as hobbyists. I read carefully the specifications, the features, and your pros and cons, and must say that I am impressed with this machine. All three models are sufficient for most requirements and although the prices are high, they are within reason for what you are getting. I would imagine that people who are serious about what they are creating will gladly pay the prices because they can have confidence that they will not have tool issues as they get their work done.
    I am a hobbyist and have used lathes many times over the years. My father had a lathe and we worked together on a wide variety of projects for the family and friends. We never did the work for profit, mostly it was a favor or just helping people out in their time of need. Thanks for highlighting and reviewing these lines of lathes, they certainly are worth the money and although I am not in the market at the moment for one, I did find this review extremely helpful. It is something I can pass on to my friends that are still doing projects and need this kind of equipment!

  3. Hey Paul. I’ve got the Powermatic Lathe. Mines very solid which has helped it last a very long time and it”s so easy to use with the digital indexing speed. I use mine almost every weekend and 100% recommend it if you’re serious about wood working, as it is a smart investment 🙂 Thanks for the great review as it has covered everything that one should know

  4. My dad loves to shape his wood bats and table legs using the lathe, he is looking to buy a new product for his shop that is very effective and can last very long but he doesn’t really believe in shopping online. I can make that happen though. This powermatic lathe pm2020 looks like a very good pick and I’m sure he would like it. I’ll tell him and see what he says, hopefully he likes it

  5. Lathe is one of the most important machines in manufacturing and production. Getting one for your choice of business is a must. There are people who purchase this for personal use as it can do many things. Your review is very comprehensive not leaving a single detail about the three Powermatic Lath models. The price price point is reasonable considering its modern features, functionality and flexibility of use. The options you suggested are all great when it comes to its own specification so it’s up to the buyer which one will perform best for them. You’ve done a great job on your thorough review on Powermatic Lathes.

  6. Great information! Thank you for putting this together. You’ve done a good job by providing solutions to frequently asked questions because i never knew lathe weighted so much and the level of tech info provided is great. I think i would prefer the Powermatic pm2020 because of the portability. Useful review and picked up a few pointers and it also useful to be able to compare them all like this here

  7. Hi there, thank you for an excellent review. Also worth noting the other two models in the article, both either side of the main one. This gives me the opportunity to see what’s available for more or less expenditure. I worked in the furniture manufacturing industry for the best part of nine years. During that time I saw some major changes in the way products were produced. Today’s marketplace is so competitive, no less from mass produced imports, it’s important to invest in the right equipment.
    I agree, due to price, that the Powermatic 3520C Lathe might be outside of the beginners budget. Unless it was a big budget and they were looking at long term returns. Then, a good quality item is a must. This could be suited to a medium sized company that was maybe looking to venture into more efficient production. Let’s say they wanted to do a range of coffee tables that matched some of their ‘occasional’ ranges. This would be ideal to set up for making batches of legs, then it could be worth the investment. I have found that with ‘specialist’ equipment such as this, the most cost effective way to use then is to set them up once and then make as many items as your predicted inventory suggests. The individual items become very expensive if you are spending production time setting up the machine to exact specifications for just one item. 

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