May 14, 2022

Difference between Powermatic 45 and 90 | How these Lathes Compare

Choosing between the Powermatic 45 and 90 can be tough since there are a lot of similarities. There is a need for scrutiny of the projects and their construction. That way, you come up with Differences that will attract you to one power tool over the other. Compare speed, power, weight, price, and functionality. Below is a review of both lathe tools.

Overview of the Powermatic 45

Powermatic 45 comes with accessories in a separate carton. Mount the lathe on a solid foundation and lag to the floor through the four holes provided in the machine base. Connect the machine to its power source.

The rotation of the spindle should be counterclockwise, facing the spindle from the tailstock end. Move the speed dial slowly to the start position. The start button on the control station is on the front of the bed and must be held depressed until the drive motor starts. Run the lathe through its complete speed range to check for proper operation. 

Regular maintenance on the lathe ensures that the machine is working. It Features a 3/4hp and  12 inches over straight lathe bed.


  • Value for money
  • Speed control
  • Ease of use
  • No vibration


  • Heavy

Overview of the Powermatic 90

It is a heavy-duty lathe that runs at a variable speed of 500 to 4000 RPM. It is ideal for bigger jobs. The harder this tool works, the more you get precision and maximum performance. It meets every shop and production requirement.

The price range is flexible. It is for woodturning, metal spinning, or a combination of each. It gives you years of dependable, accurate service even under extreme operating conditions. It features a vibration-Free Head-stock.


  • Precise
  • Maximum performance 
  • Dependable
  • No vibration 


  • Heavy


Powermatic 45


The lathe has a 3/4 HP, 1800 RPM motor, single or 3 PH mounted to a motor mounting

bracket. Service the motor regularly and check by opening the cabinet door for access. Inspect the lathe motor for sawdust accumulation in the motor and surrounding area. Sawdust reduces performance.

Use the jackscrew and jam nuts for tensioning the belt between the motor and the jackshaft

assembly. The direction of the lathe motor is clockwise, facing the shaft end of the lather motor. From the tailstock end, it gives you a counterclockwise rotation to the lathe spindle.

Motor switch

Mount the motor switch in the headstock cabinet base on the right front upper corner. On a slow start, the motor switch mounts inside the bed casting. It operates through a switch arm and a cam behind the variable speed cam mounted on the variable speed camshaft rotating in a hole in the bed.

Make it through the front door cover and up inside the bed, casting to use the switch. Start by disconnecting the power before working on the lathe switch. The rotational direction of the lathe is counterclockwise, facing the spindle. Start the spindle and check the direction of rotation. 

To change the direction, switch two of the three incoming leads to change the lathe direction. On single-phase, models, check the wiring diagram on the motor to reverse the lathe direction.


Swing 12 inches over a straight lathe bed and 16 inches over Morse Taper. Remove the center using a gap bed. There is a 39-inch between the center’s large hand-wheel to back out the tailstock screw.


The Powermatic 45 features a one-piece grey iron casting and rib.

Motor drive

The motor mounts in a lathe cabinet are reinforced for permanent alignment and maximum wide V-belt and two-variable sheaves. The standard bed length is 59inch. 


It is available with a built-in variable speed drive model. Drive fully accessible through a snap-up drive guard from 350 to 2800 RPM or a four-speed drive of 915 on top of the lathe head. The speed ranges from 1380, 2150 to 3260 RPM. 

Lathe base

The bed is the base of the lathe machine that provides the necessary working height for the lathe. It features a drive pulley spindle-mounted lathe base built of heavy-gauge, reinforced between extra-large sealed-for-life ball bearings for steel. The lathe base is for complete vibration-free operation and smoother operation at any speed, whether the machine is anchored.


Powermatic 45 features a 60-stop type with a steel plunger-type index wheel. It is from special carbon steel and deflector apron for running alignment and balance. It gives you quick access to the motor and tool storage area.

Powermatic 50

Speed variance

The speed ranges from 500 to 4000 RPM, depending on the toughness and size of the project. No matter how hard the job is, you still get precision performance. It meets every shop and production requirement.

Powermatic  90 is the most flexible 12inch lathe available in its price for woodturning and metal spinning. It is dependable and accurate under extreme operating conditions.

Vibration-Free Headstock 

It runs in sealed-for-life ball bearings. The drive pulley is outside the headstock housing for easy access.


The Powermatic 90 features a swing 12 inches over a straight bed and a 17 inches over a gap bed. The standard bed affords a full 38 inches between centers.


It is a one-piece construction from the grey iron casting, rib-reinforced for alignment and maximum rigidity. The standard length is 60 inches. It is also available in longer or shorter lengths on order. 


It has a built-in variable speed drive from 500 to 4000 RPM. Variable speed drive pulley spindle-mounted

between extra-large sealed-for-life ball bearings for smooth operation at any speed.


It is from carbon steel and precision ground for running alignment and balance. The spindle nose is threaded 19inch and bored for No. 2 Morse Taper.


The outboard end is threaded 1 %” for the outboard faceplate, and the locking pin holds the spindle rigid for easy faceplate removal. The spindle cannot lock while the machine is in operation. The speed range control and switch must be “Off.”


The 19inch tailstock spindle is bored for No. 2 Morse Taper. Remove the center using the large hand wheel to back out the tailstock screw.

Motor drive

The motor is in a lathe bed with a wide V-belt driving the two variable sheaves. Outboard drive makes V-belt removal simple without removing any part. The drive and lathe motor is accessible through the drive guard.

Lathe base

It comes as a wide-stance pedestal base with a streamlined design with no sharp corners. It is from extra-heavy gauge reinforced steel for rigid operation in a permanent or temporary installation.

Motor switch

 The motor switch is there for driving at a constant speed ( It is activated only by a variable speed control switch. The lathe starts only at a slow speed.

How do the products compare


Powermatic runs from 500 to 4000rpm, while Powermatic 45. runs from 350 to 2800 RPM.


Both tools feature heavy construction on the base, but Powermatic 90 is heavier than 45.


Powermatic 90 has a bigger spindle than its competitor.

What could be better

Powermatic 45

  • It could have been more affordable.

Powermatic 90

  • It could have been lighter.

Similar Features

  • They are both the same hp motor.
  • They both have informative manuals.
  • They are heavy.

Key Differences

  • Powermatic 90 is more affordable than 45.
  • Powermatic 90 is heavier than 45.
  • Powermatic 45 operates at a slower speed than 90.

The verdict

If you are a beginner, Powermatic 45 makes woodwork easier for you. For a workshop, you would need a heavy machine like Powermatic 90. You have seen all the differences and similarities. The choice is now yours.

David D. Hughes

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