The lathes in my list are selected on the basis of performance, speed, control, efficiency, and user reviews. Before wasting any time, let us move on to the description of exceptional wood lathes.
- 1 Our Recommendations
- 2 Product Reviews
- 2.1 JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe
- 2.2 WEN 3420T 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe
- 2.3 Delta Industrial 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
- 2.4 RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe
- 2.5 Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe
- 2.6 Nova 71118 Comet II – Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System
- 2.7 Shop Fox W1820 3 HP 10-Inch Table Saw
- 2.8 WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8″ by 12″ Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
- 2.9 Excelsior Mini Wood Lathe
- 2.10 Grizzly Industrial G0462-16″ x 46″ Wood Lathe
- 3 How to Zero on the Best Wood Lathe?
- 4 Final Verdict
Even though it is smaller in size, WEN 3420T gives a powerful performance without damaging its components or your time.Check on Amazon
An affordable midi lathe, this product can make you think why did you consider buying expensive equipment. But of course there are some minor trade offs.Check on Amazon
Jet manufacturers and engineers have been able to create a remarkable machinery that trumps all the other models in terms of quality.Check on Amazon
- 1 HP motor
- The speed dial can be adjusted between 60 to 3600 RPM
- Smooth reverse transition system
- Ratchet system belt tension system makes it easy to change the belt
- The cord is four feet long
- There is no chromium plating on handwheels
With its exemplary design and easy-to-use features, even you can’t resist praising this machinery once you lay your eyes on it.
First, let us talk about its motor. Its 1 HP motor only requires 745 W to become functional. To make it easy for you to select the precise speed for your project, it has introduced an easy-to-turn speed dial. The speed dial gives you the liberty to make a choice between 60 to 3600 RPM.
If you want to describe JET JWL-1221VS in one word then it will be convenience. Manufacturers know how much time-consuming wood-crafting can be. That is why they have introduced reverse transition so you can cut appealing patterns on the back without removing the block from the machine.
No one likes to perform a hectic disassembling process especially when you just need to change the belt. This product allows you to change the belt in no time because of its ratchet system belt tension system. Another benefit of this product is that manufacturers have introduced a larger bed in this model as compared to its predecessors.
Overall, due to above mentioned features, this is an exceptional piece of equipment that trumps all other models in terms of quality
- Gradually increases its speed
- Can reach the speed between 750 to 3200 RPM
- MT1 and tailstock taper keeps the object in place
- Adjustable tailstock Comes with two tail rests
- Not intended for profesisonal use
Being smaller in size than JET JWL-1221VS doesn’t mean that you should underestimate the working of this bench lathe. This mini wood lathe, WEN 3420T is a perfect match for DIY projects or for individuals who have just adopted wood crafting as a hobby. Why don’t you go ahead and make a wooden pen you always wanted.
A 2 amp motor makes sure that the engine doesn’t get damaged midway through work. The reason is that the motor won’t start working on maximum speed as soon as you turn on the power switch. It will slowly reach the speed that you have selected by adjusting the dial between 750 to 3200 RPM.
The MT1 spindle and solid tailstock taper introduce a firm grip on the wood pieces. As a result, the wooden block will remain in place the whole time. By moving a turnable knob you can make tailstock to make room for 12 inches by 8 inches wooden piece.
The product also features two tail rests for your extra chisels and screwdrivers. Overall, the cast iron construction enables it to handle the toughest work conditions.
- Faceplate makes it easy to place a wooden piece on the machine
- Knockout bar removes the object easily
- Three-ranges of speed
- Patent belt tensioning system makes it convenient to adjust the belt
- A bit bulky than other medi-lathes
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could travel to the 18th century and have your favorite soup in a wooden bowl? Time-machines can be expensive as well as inaccurate. Why don’t you buy a Delta Industrial 46-460 to create amazing bowls for you and your friends?
Delta 46-460 knows how to deal with stubborn wooden blocks. If your wooden piece refuses to be fixed on the spindle just utilize the product’s 3-inch chromium faceplate. If you are afraid to damage the piece when removing it from lathe then gently remove the equipment with a heavy-duty knockout bar which is included in the package.
Even though the standard speed at which motor runs is 1725 RPM but you have the option of setting the speed range by tucking on the pulley. You have the choice between 250 to 750 RPM, 600 to 1800 RPM, and 1350 to 4000 RPM. Talking about convenience, the patented belt tensioning system decreases the time you waste on setting the belt at the right tension.
All in all, if you can handle a little bulkier model, then this can be a your potential dream lathe.
- Various Speed Ranges
- Easy to access the speed-changing system
- 12-position indexing head gives accurate results
- Self-ejecting tailstock makes ejecting process convenient
- Extension bed has to be brought separately
Usually, I don’t recommend mini-lathe for heavy-duty tasks but sometimes I do make an exception. Rikon 70-100 features have convinced me that even mini-lathes can make you question your concept about them.
Whenever I think about diversity, the first thing that comes to my mind is RIKON 70-100. You can change the speed of the machinery from 430 to 810, 1,230, 1,810, 2,670, and 3,900 RPM. Moreover, the speed changing mechanism is easy to access. In other words, you can make the machine reach a desired speed during the carving process.
I know how you love to add details to your piece of art. The more minute patterns you make, the more your decorative piece looks attractive. The 12-position indexing head introduces accuracy to your task.
Don’t want your wooden piece to break into splinters then just use self-ejecting tailstock to remove it from the machine. No problem if you want to work with larger pieces. Add an extension to increase the space of the mini-lathe
In general this is a small package. But in terms of features and uselfulness? Not at all.
- 2 HP powerful motor In-built inverter
- Sliding headstock
- Digital RPM readout
- Iron castings prevent unnecessary vibrations
- Decolors after some time
Now I may have reached halfway through the article but that doesn’t mean that I am done with amazing products. The experts can’t even stop themselves from appreciating the working of Powermatic 1352001.
Powermatic 1352001 is the combination of classic as well as modern lathes. First, its 2 HP motor will never let you question its power. Furthermore, the motor comes with a fan-cooled feature which prevents any overheating. An in-built inverter ensures that the machine works perfectly on single-phase input.
A sliding headstock and tailstock with iron-casting construction let you work on heavier wood pieces without any worry. The iron castings also play a vital role in controlling the vibrations so you don’t leave any ugly marking on the wood.
Tired of always worrying about RPM. Instead of keeping an eye on the speed, why don’t you use its digital RPM readout? This way you can solely focus on the task right in front of you.
- Very Compact size
- Solid cast iron construction
- Improved on and off switch
- Forward and reverse mechanism
- Eye safety shield with grinding wheel
- The belt slips sometimes
Manufacturers usually ignore small businesses. You rarely find products that cater to the needs of small shop owners. This is why Nova 71118 Comet II manufacturers have created this product which offers exceptional characteristics under a reasonable budget.
The compact size of the machinery provides you ease when you are selecting a workplace for the device. To introduce rigidity and rigidity in its construction, the manufacturers rely on the cast iron material instead of the flimsy plastic.
One of the aims of the product is to prevent you from suffering from a headache. In this model, the manufacturers have improved the on and off switch. As a result, the machine will only take a second to start and stop.
Talking about switches, I will never forget its forward and reverse attributes. The machinery will make your product feature superior finish due to its exceptional feature. Your safety is its first priority. That is why an eye safety shield has been included with the grinding wheel.
- Doesn’t create much sound
- Includes table extension with 50-inch rip capacity
- Miter fence provides assistance while handling larger pieces
- The flip flop is ideal for accurate multiple cuts
- Riving knife adjusts the height of the blade
- Needs 220 V to work
Wooden tables have always been able to hold a special place in our hearts. You can’t compliment the finish of plastic ones when you have its wooden counterpart right in beside it. Shop Fox W1820 will let you make designs on the wooden surface which you haven’t even imagined.
Having 3 HP powerful motor doesn’t mean that the machine will make you deaf throughout the task. It is one of the quietest wood lathes that I can find on the market. Another feature that makes me drool over the machine is its 50-inch rip capacity table extension. With adjustment legs and a square steel tubing frame, the product can cut through the center of plywood without facing any difficulty.
Talking about longer pieces, let us talk about its amazing miter fence and flip flop. The miter fence will give you additional support while handling wooden blocks with larger length while flip flop gives you accurate multiple cutting results.
If you want to adjust the depth of the cuts then just rely on the riving knife. The mechanism will adjust the blade according to your desired height. Moreover, it also comes with a quick-release mechanism which makes your life easier.
- 3.2 Amp motor
- Lever clamping system for easier adjustment of tool rest and tailstock
- Includes headstock spur center
- 720 to 3200 RPM speed
- Not ideal for larger projects
- This machine creates a lot of noise
I couldn’t stop myself from mentioning another product from WEN. The product may be smaller in size but that doesn’t mean it cannot pack a power punch. You will also appreciate its working when turn on its switch.
First of all, it includes 3.2 Amp motor which is known for giving the best results without overheating. Mostly, a machine this size doesn’t include such a robust mechanism. Moreover, if you have difficulty in setting the tailstock and table rest in the right position then don’t need to sweat anymore. Just use the lever clamping system for convenient adjustment.
I believe the headstock spur center is the greatest man-made invention regarding woodturning. To enforce a firm grip between the spindle and the workpiece. Furthermore, the mechanism also prevents any splinter from developing in the wooden piece as tailstock pressure applied.
- Durable construction
- Can work on objects with 10-inches diameter or 17-inches length
- Removable key
- Non-slip rubber feet
- Extension bed has to be bought separately
- Power cord needs to be properly adjusted
Excelsior mini-lathe takes on a project which mini-lathes tend to avoid. From the largest suppliers of wood lathes, Excelsior has been able to achieve a remarkable reputation in a short amount of time due to its performance.
First, let us talk about its construction. The durable cast-iron material reduces vibration. Consequently, you don’t have to face any hindrance while working on your project. On the other hand, the ½ HP motor is sturdy enough to turn bowls with 10-inches diameter and spindles with length more than 17-inches.
The machine was designed while keeping you and your’s family safety in mind. Everyone knows how much children can be nosy and love to play with risky types of equipment. With the removable key, your children will have no way to turn on the machine. Furthermore, non-slip rubber feet provide support to the machine. The support is a requirement when you are putting pressure on the machinery.
Usually, mini-lathes become unstable when working on higher speeds but no this one. Its performance will remain smooth no matter at what speed it is working on.
- 10-speed ranges
- Outboard turning system
- Spindle tachometer includes a digital readout
- Weighs more than 300 pounds
- Banjo holding tool rest is not of fine quality
Well, no wonder this product is named Grizzly. Just like a grizzly bear, the product will take a swipe on the wooden blocks turning it into a masterpiece. A brilliant option for amateurs individuals who don’t want to spend a hefty amount on wood lathes.
Requiring only single-phase, the admirable 2 HP motor gives you a choice between 10-speed ranges. To say it in other words, you can select the rotation speed of the machinery from 600 to 2400 RPM. Having a variety of options, you don’t have to worry about equipment working on the turtle speed.
To increase the mobility of the device, just rely on its outboard turning feature. By loosening the headstock, you can make it flexible as it can turn at a 360-degree angle. With digital readout, the spindle tachometer will give you an accurate reading on the speed.
How to Zero on the Best Wood Lathe?
I know how much the process of buying a wood lathe is confusing when you are an amateur. As I was a beginner once in this field, I know how bewitching the manufacturers’ promises can be. That’s why you need to learn from the expert. Learn how to peel off the illusion created by scammers to focus on the best wood lathe for beginners. Below are some features to look out for:
The support base can be considered as the foundation of the machinery. If the base isn’t stable enough, you will only be able to build crooked wooden stands. Before buying a wood lathe, always keep your tasks in mind. Are you using to create a decorative bear or to giving finishing touches to table legs?
Your task will decide the length of the base. If you are only making small wooden pieces, then you don’t need to spend extra bucks on bulky equipment. Moreover, the base should be sturdy enough to handle the vibration produced by vibrations. Otherwise, your masterpiece will only get membership in the trash can.
Usually, the lathes come with motors whose power is ranging from 1/8 to 3 HP. Ideally, a motor that produces 50 to 4000 RPM should be preferred. To summarize, more powerful the motor, the more likely it is ready to handle tougher projects. If you are working on simpler tasks, then you compromise on the motor which doesn’t much RPM.
Still, the motor should let you have overall control. Most machinery will come with speed dial so you can adjust the lathe according to the power you require.
Another feature you have to consider is the height of the wood lathe. If you ignore this characteristic like most people, chances are that you may strain your back or hurt your arms by bending all the time.
Mostly, larger lathes come with adjustable features. Medi and mini-lathes usually don’t comprise of such amazing components. To see if these lathes suit you, measure the height of the bench or of the place where you want to place them. Then measure the height of the equipment. Buy the one which makes the wood crafting process as easy as ABC without injuring you.
During the woodworking process, you need to stop the machine several times to examine your craft. Sometimes you may need to stop to change the tools or just to take a coffee break. As wood crafting is a really sensitive process, you can’t compromise on even a minute mistake.
The minute you think that you need to take a break, you need to stop the machine immediately. Otherwise, there will be cracks on the wooden piece that you can’t hide. That is why an easily accessible power switch is essential.
A lathe can cost between below $200 to thousands of dollars. The heavier the machinery, the higher the price. If you have years of experience in using this device under your belt, you can go for expensive models. If you are a newbie, I recommend that you can go for cheaper ones as they are ideal for practicing your skills. In other words, it all depends on your experience and the nature of the task.
Whether it is mini, medi or regular lathes, all of them come with their unique features. The products that I have mentioned above have been able to prove their worth. Their durable structures and easy-to-use features have become the talk of the town. In other words, you can trust their mechanism with your eyes closed. I hope that after reading my buyer’s guide, you would have learned a thing or two about the best wood lathes. Before settling on one product, though, you should have a clear idea about what you will be using your equipment for. Have a nice day!