A professional woodworker knows the importance of a good quality woodturning lathe. Without a wood lathe machine, you are not able to make beautiful and creative woodworks. So, if you are serious in making money through woodworking, then the first thing you need is to purchase a good wood lathe machine.
But selecting a good lathe machine is not easy as there are many companies out there that claim that they produce the best machines. But in reality, not every manufacturer creates the best ones. So, in order to make the selection process simpler for you, we have reviewed the ten best wood lathes down under. Also, you will find different factors that required your consideration before the purchase in the buyer’s guide section.
Before spending your money on a particular wood lathe machine, it is necessary to look at various things to ensure that you are purchasing the right product according to your needs. So, here in this section, we are going to highlight those factors that must be considered before the purchase.
Type/Size of Wood Lathe
First, it is essential to focus on the type/size of the wood lathe machine. You can either go for a benchtop lathe or a full-size lathe machine. It all depends on the space available in your workshop.
Many woodworkers prefer benchtop lathe machines. The reason for this is that they are lighter in weight and portable. But the full-size lathe machine comes with more swing capacity as well as offer more center-to-center distance.
But no matter whether you have decided to place your wood lathe on a countertop or have it stand on the floor, the space available around the surroundings must be enough so that you can easily and safely work on your different projects.
Type of Work
The nature of your work will also determine the type of machine you should buy. First of all, it is crucial to consider the maximum thickness and length of the wood you decide to turn. The maximum thickness will help you to know the swing over bed and tool rest base. And the maximum length will guide you to know the distance between the centers. Also, it will let you know whether you need a bed extension or not.
Weight of the wood lathe machine also needs to be considered. As we have discussed above that the benchtop lathe machines are lighter in weight as compared to the full-size machines. So, if you want a lighter wood lathe, you should go for a benchtop; otherwise, full-size heavyweight machines are also available for you.
Most of the wood lathes come with variable speed motors that help you to select different speeds for different types of projects. For large turnings, your speed must be less, and for small turnings, your speed must be higher.
In a nutshell, if you are aware of the size of the wood stock you plan to turn, then you are near to calculate the RMP range required for your wood lathe.
Wood lathe machines come with different prices. If you are a beginner, then you must go for a basic wood lathe to learn the art of turning. Low-cost machines are available in between $200 to $400. But if you are a professional one and want to buy a lathe to use at your home, then a mid-range machine is suitable for you. The price range for the mid-range lathe is $400 to $800. But for commercial purposes, a high-end lathe machine would be perfect that costs thousands of dollars.
Warranty is also necessary to look at. Many wood lathes come with a 5-year warranty whereas some machines are backed with 2 or 3 years warranty. So, it is recommended to go for a wood lathe that comes with a 5-year warranty.
Best Wood Lathe Reviews
1. Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable Speed Midi Lathe – For Large Bowls
- Product Dimensions: 36 x 11 x 17.8 inches
- Item Weight: 97 pounds
- Motor: 1 HP, 1725 RPM
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
One of the best wood lathes available in the market is from Delta Industrial that is made up of all cast-iron. This all cast-iron construction provides strength, durability, and stability to the product. Many professional woodworkers prefer to buy this product due to its fast and optimal results. The machine is featured with solid-steel knockout bar, ball-bearing live center, and onboard storage. The overall bed length is extendable up to 42 inches.
It can handle both heavy-duty and straightforward jobs without any problem. No matter whether you are a professional woodworker or a newbie, this wood lathe will help you to complete your projects on time.
It comes with a 12-1/2-inch swing capacity and a one horsepower, 1725 RPM motor. Three pulley-speed ranges help you to select a particular speed level according to the type of project or wood piece you are working on. The machine promises best results at every speed level without a need of changing the belt position.
A patented belt-tensioning system helps to change the speed quickly. Also, it ensures longer tool life and maximum power transfer every time.
There are also forward and reverse functions available to provide high-quality finish to your woodworks. To get more accuracy and precision, these two functions play the best part. When the wooden piece moves in the both forward and reverses direction, it gets a superior finish. Also, forward to reverse changeover is smooth and straightforward.
In the end, if we talk about the things included in the package, then there is a 6-inch, and 10-inch tool rest; tool rest base, and a 3-inch faceplate along with with with with with a 12-1/2-inch midi lathe, live center, and a knockout bar. Also, the machine is backed with a 5-year warranty that makes the product reliable.
2. NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe – Best Wood Lathe Under $1000
- Product Dimensions: 33 x 9 x 18 inches
- Item Weight: 82.4 pounds
- Motor: ¾ HP, 250 – 4000 RPM
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
This mini lathe from Nova is the best and cheapest machine that is available under $500. It is constructed with solid cast iron for strength and durability. It is designed to absorb any kind of vibration with ease.
It comes with a ¾ horsepower motor with variable speed feature. The lathe machine has a 3 step pulley system that features low, medium, and high-speed range so that you can easily transfer from low to high speed. You can start from 250 RPM to do a simple project and for large turnings, and can reach up to 4000 RPM for hard and unique designs and sharp and small turnings.
The forward and reverse functions help you to get the most out of this machine. You can achieve a superior finish with the forward and reverse direction movements.
Other than this, the machine has a 12-inch swing over bed, and 16.5-inch is the distance between the centers. If the spindle length is sufficient for you, then it is ok. Otherwise, you can add an extension to add 23.4 inches in length.
The on/off switch of the machine has also significantly improved. You can quickly turn the machine on and off without any safety risk.
3. JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe – Best Wood Lathe Under $999
- Product Dimensions: 32.8 x 14.6 x 21.2 inches
- Item Weight: 129.8 pounds
- Motor: 1 HP, 60 – 3600 RPM
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
Another excellent quality wood lathe is the JET JWL-1221VS. It is ideal for expert and intermediate level woodworkers, but its price doesn’t make it suitable for the beginners. It is a heavy-duty machine weighing 130 pounds.
The best thing about this wood lathe is its incomparable speed control. The machine offers variable speed from 60 to 3600 RPM to get any work done perfectly. It comes with both the discrete and continuous speed control.
The machine also offers smooth transformation from forward to reverse direction. This effortless transition helps you to get a high-quality finish. Also, it has a contemporary ratchet style belt tension system. Other features include spindle lock loaded with spring and 24 integrated indexing positions.
The center to center distance for this model is 21 inches. If you work on heavy-duty projects, then you may need a bed extension.
This wood lathe model works quietly at every speed level. It will never disturb your partner or any other person when you are on work. Also, the machine is backed by a 5-year limited time warranty.
4. RIKON Power Tools 70-100 Mini Lathe – Features ½ Horsepower Motor
- Product Dimensions: 33.8 x 18 x 11.5 inches
- Item Weight: 88.5 pounds
- Motor: ½ HP, 430 – 3900 RPM
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
This RIKON 70-100 is the largest mini lathe machine in the market that comes with multiple extension options. Originally its length between the centers is 16 inches and is 12 inches over the bed. You can work on both small and large wood pieces with ease on this machine.
It comes with some user-friendly features that make this machine easy to use. You have a nylon faceplate washer that keeps the accessories away from the spindle. Also, you have a flip-up handle for portability.
The best thing about this lathe machine is that you can easily and quickly change the motor speed. The drive belt is easy to adjust. Also, you can quickly determine the spindle speed through a handy chart. Moreover, tension-release lever and locking arm are easy to use and located at the right place for easy access when adjusting the speed.
This lathe machine from RIKON Power Tools also features a 12-position indexing head so that you can lock the wooden pieces for detailed work. Also, there is a self-ejecting tailstock to save your time.
5. Powermatic 3520C, 20″ x 36″ Lathe, 2HP, 220V 1PH (1353001) – Heaviest & Most Expensive Wood Lathe
- Product Dimensions: 69.5 x 36.5 x 47 inches
- Item Weight: 726 pounds
- Motor: 2 HP
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
Powermatic offers a powerful wood lathe machine that comes with a two horsepower, variable speed motor. It is constructed with heavy-duty cast iron, and that’s why it weighs 682 pounds. Also, it is resistant to any vibration.
It comes with a 20-inch swing capacity, and the length between its centers is 34-1/2-inches. It can easily accommodate most of the project sizes. Also, the machine offers 24 indexing positions for detailed work.
This wood lathe from Powermatic allows you to turn the wooden pieces within two-speed ranges. One is from 50 to 1500 RPM, and the second one is from 125 to 3500 RPM. The variable-speed controls allow you to change the motor speed. Also, the machine is featured with a digital readout to let you know at what speed you are working.
Also, installing and removing accessories is quite easy. The headstock front features a spring-loaded button for easy installation and removal of the accessories. Other than this, the tailstock features a built-in storage unit where you can place your mostly used equipment and tools.
6. JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe – Best Wood Lathe Under $2000
- Product Dimensions: 87 x 57 x 38 inches
- Item Weight: 400 pounds
- Motor: 1 HP, 400 – 3000 RPM
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
This JWL-1440VSK from JET comes with a one horsepower, variable speed motor. It is a CSA certified product that has been independently tested to meet the set standards for safety and performance.
The variable-speed control allows you to alter the speed of the motor according to your needs. You can start from 400 RPM for simple projects and large turnings and can reach up to 3000 RPM for demanding projects and sharp turnings.
The best thing about this lathe machine is that the sliding headstock gives you the 360-degree access to complete your work with ease. Also, it offers seven different locking positions so that your wood pieces won’t slide or move. Moreover, there is an acme thread in the tailstock.
The machine also offers optimal length extension of the bed up to 60 inches between the centers. Other than this, an easy-to-read RPM display helps you to know at what speed the motor is running.
But one feature that is not available in this machine is that it doesn’t have a reverse switch.
7. RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR Midi Lathe – Best Wood Lathe Under $700
- Product Dimensions: 12 x 40.8 x 18 inches
- Item Weight: 124 pounds
- Motor: 1 HP, 250 – 2850 RPM
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
This RIKON Power Tools midi lathe machine comes with one horsepower motor that gives you the required power to complete your different wood projects with ease. It is best for making large bowls or platters.
You can change the motor speed with ease from 250 to 3850 RPM according to the type of project you are working on. Moreover, LED display shows at what speed you are running the motor.
The machine also features forward and reverse functions for more accuracy and precision. It has a big swing capacity of 12-1/2-inch, and 20 inch is the distance between the centers.
Another appealing feature of this wood lathe machine is the 24-position index head that helps you to do detailed designing work on the wooden pieces.
Moreover, it has a self-ejecting tailstock. Also, if we talk about the included things in the package, then there is a live center, knock-out bar, spur center, 3-inch faceplate, wrenches, and tool rest and holder.
8. Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe – Best Wood Lathe Under $500
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
- Item Weight: 48.5 pounds
- Motor: 1/3 HP, 700 – 3200 RPM
- Warranty: 2-year warranty
It is the cheapest wood lathe machine available that you can purchase under $300. It features a 1/3 horsepower motor with variable speed feature. From 700 to 3200 RPM, you can set the spindle speed according to your needs.
The machine is constructed with cast iron that offers durability and resistance to vibration. It has an 8-inch swing capacity, and the distance between its centers is 12-inches.
It includes two tool rests to support different turning applications. One is of 4-1/2 inch and the second one is of 7-inch. The outboard turning capabilities ensure that you can easily work on large pieces of wood.
Other than this, a 5-3/4-inch faceplate is also included for making bowls and other things that are not possible to make with the tailstock.
The machine is only backed by a 2-year warranty, which is a downside to this product.
9. PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turncrafter Commander 10″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe
- Product Dimensions: 32 x 9 x 17 inches
- Item Weight: 82 pounds
- Motor: ¾ HP, 500 – 3600 RPM
- Warranty: 3-year warranty
Another excellent quality wood lathe machine that you can purchase for your wood projects is the PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS . It features a powerful ¾ horsepower motor that gives you the necessary power with a variable speed option to complete your projects with perfection and accuracy.
You can start from 150 RPM for finishing wood pieces and can go for maximum speed that is 4100 RPM for shaping those pieces. The belt installed is easy to access. Also, it can be removed easily.
The machine is featured with SBC microprocessor technology for delivering pinpoint control and accuracy.
There is also a tool storage rack where you can store your most-used tools. Other than this, the machine also features carrying handles for mobility.
The unit is also backed up by 3-years warranty which is also a plus. But there is no reverse function available. Also, it doesn’t come with a mandrel.
10. Grizzly G0462 Wood Lathe with Digital Readout – Best Wood Lathe Under $1000
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 63.2 x 20 inches
- Item Weight: 354 pounds
- Motor: 2 HP, 600 – 2400 RPM
The last but not the least wood lathe machine on the list is the Grizzly G0462. It comes with a robust two horsepower motor with variable speed ranging from 600 RPM to 2400 RPM. Its cast-iron construction provides stability and durability.
The machine has a swing capacity of 16 inches, and the distance between its centers is 46 inches. The shift-on-the-fly handle helps you to change the speed with ease. There is no need to interact with the belt. Also, a digital readout displays at what speed your motor is running.
Other features include easy outboard turning, instantaneous lock and release levers for headstock and tailstock, 6-inch faceplate, supercenter, and cup live center.
But if we focus on the cons of this machine then first, there is no tool rest option. Second, there is no spindle lock, and third, it sometimes vibrates.