People normally perceive woodworking as an innate talent, although many experts will disagree. It actually takes several years of meticulous practice before truly mastering this skill – not to mention a ton of blood, sweat, and tears. Of course, having the right tools at your disposal will be a big boost. Therefore, aside from a jointer and planer, you may also want to consider investing in a wood lathe.
This instrument serves a very specific purpose in carpentry. It is primarily used to sculpt wood into various shapes and sizes, particularly those that have to be customized. This includes bowls, vases, and other forms of decorative items. Just attach the wood to a spinning arm and mold it according to your liking, with the help of other sharp tools. A wood lathe may still seem quite complicated now, but it’s guaranteed to cut work time in half and create more precise finishes than manual jobs.
If you’re in the market for an implement similar to this, try reading our best wood lathe review. We’ll be enumerating the top 11 options on the market and determine which one best fits your needs. Please read further to learn more.
Wood Lathe Comparison Table
- A 2-horsepower variable speed motor offers enough power for all types of projects
- Its digital RPM reader displays the speed as it changes
- The sliding headstock can move in any angle within a 360-degree radius
- Produces speeds from 400 to 3000 RPM with the turn of a dial
- Speed adjustments can be made either manually (through a pulley) or automatically, using a control knob
- It take on work pieces with up to 12.5 inches in length; the bed can also be extended up to 25.5 inches
- Offers 24 different headstock positions to match your needs
- An LED display screen perfectly exhibits the rate you are going
- An all-black, solid-steel exterior is both stylish and sturdy at the same time
- Users can choose between two speed settings depending on
- Its motor speed ranges from 250 all the way to 4000-RPM
- Functionally designed so that all key features are found in a single area
- The 0.5-horsepower motor reaches a maximum speed of 3800-RPM for each use
- Both its spindle and turning radius can both be extended until 16.75-inches and 10-inch respectively
- A digital readout screen accurately displays the exact speed you choose
- Its 1-horsepower motor comes equipped with two setting you can access depending on the job
- 5 settings found on its 0.5-horsepower motor allows you to customize the strength for every task’s requirements
- The cast-iron body and rubber feet are there to keep the wood lathe firmly in its place
- Provides enough might and spinning speed for its 0.33-horsepower motor
- Sports a frame that is ergonomically designed for easy mobilization, transport, and storage at home
- A 4.5-AMP motor, cast-iron frame, and illustrious design makes woodworking more simple and efficient
- Almost all of its parts have been made compatible with other accessories currently on the market
Wood Lathe Reviews
Not all consumers prefer complicated models. Some just want a unit that’s efficient and no-nonsense. This simple selling point is enough to keep users happy and loyal towards a particular brand. If this is what you seek, then the Powermatic 3520B Wood Lathe could be a perfect fit.
There are several reasons why this option is so popular. For one, its body is made out of heavy-duty cast iron, while the other parts have been fortified further. This setup aims to minimize vibration and all forms of shaking, offering better control as you work. The only downside is its bulkiness, which at 682-pounds, can be very difficult to move around.
At its core, this wood lathe is equipped with a potent 2-horsepower speed variable motor. Besides being high-powered, it has also been fully enclosed inside a casing to prevent injuries. Additionally, a specialized inverter allows this machine to be used either as a single-phrase or triple-phase input. This feature is instrumental in conserving electricity by adjusting the settings according to your requirement.
Finally, a digital RPM readout helps you keep track of the speed. This is important so you can better manage each working session while making proper modifications. A moveable headstock is likewise present for easy tweaking of this tool’s angle, to perfectly fit your preference.
All these qualities help create a wonderful working environment for you or whoever decides to purchase this product. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best wood lathes available to consumers.
Arguably the best thing about the Jet JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe is its flexibility. It comes armed with a sliding headstock that moves anywhere in a 360-degree angle. You are even given the liberty to lock it in one of seven distinct positions for maximum variability and optimal user comfort. As such, it puts you in your most favorable positions when creating wonderful wood fixtures.
A reinforced motor has been included to help meet the growing demands of sculpting wood. Currently, the Jet JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe can now reach speeds of 3000-RPM, which is at par with the majority of top-tier models. This is especially remarkable considering the large difference in cost between them. As a result, you’ll be spending far less for an item that offers the same spinning strength.
Furthermore, this model also delivers a 14-inch swing with a maximum length of 40 inches. Having this reach allows you to take part in a wider range of tasks, such as crafting furniture pieces or stair railings. Those who consider themselves professionals will greatly appreciate the versatility this wood lathe brings.
These three features are just some of the reasons to love this product. Its ease of use and various safety precautions only show how in-tune the company Jet is with your needs. So if you’re looking for a model that not only understands but also simplifies the rigors of woodworking, then you should strongly consider the JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe.
Users looking to add a bit more muscle to their woodturning projects will be very pleased with the Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe. Despite being relatively bulky, it conveys enough power to make even the most difficult tasks seem easy. This alone is enough to catapult it as one of the best wood lathes probably ever.
A 1-horsepower max motor may not seem impressive on paper, but it really is quite dominant. You won’t feel its might until actually using it! Its rotation speed, by default, is set at 1725-RPM. However, you can adjust it to anywhere from 250 all the way up to 4000-RPM. Just tug on the pulley to manage how fast it runs or fidget with an electronic control knob to access its 10 additional speed settings.
Hitting a switch will also cause the spindle to change directions. This means it goes from rotating forward to reverse almost instantly, offering more flexibility in the tasks you do. Best of all, this can be done without having to manually remove the work-piece and turning it around yourself.
Lastly, the Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe probably boasts the largest swing capacity in its category. Thus, it can grasp wood up to 12.5-inches. Even the bed is extendable to as much as 25.5-inches in length, so you can work on more complicated projects with greater ease. Our only reminder is to plan in advance where to park this wood lathe since it’s not that easy to move it around.
Nevertheless, the Delta Industrial 46-460 is an ideal target for both trainees and professionals on a budget. Its combination of durability, practicality, and a strong motor proves it will be a good investment for many years to come.
The Rikon 70220VSR Midi Lathe is another mid-tier model to consider for those thinking of jumpstarting their woodworking career. It provides all the basic functions of a wood lathe and is also quite easy to find your way around. Here are some of its features.
As a user, your convenience is perhaps the most important consideration, and this model really goes the extra mile. Its index head allows you to position it in 24 different ways, depending on your requirements. This is advantageous because it places you in your most comfortable spots, directly resulting in products with better quality.
Additionally, the swing size and center-to-center length have both been enlarged to 12.5 and 20 inches respectively. It may not be exceptional, but at least it’s right at industry standards. This now gives you more freedom to work on larger endeavors like molding vases, wooden accessories, and various furniture parts.
After considering everything, it’s easy to see why the Rikon 70220VSR Midi Lathe is gradually growing in popularity. The learning curve of this machine is really low, meaning even beginners will find it easy to use. Keep in mind also that it has a relatively strong motor with a 1-horsepower capacity. This only makes it that much more appealing to experts and professionals alike.
The first thing one notices with the MLAREVO 1836 Revo Lathe is its flashy exterior. Dressed up in a sleek black coating, all it takes is one look for it to create a lasting impression. Clearly, it was made to look like a high-end product and the manufacturers at Laguna Tools have done a tremendous job.
Of course, this wood lathe is so much more than its appearance. It also comes installed with a superior 2-horsepower, 60-Hz motor that spins at a maximum speed of 3500-RPM. Actually, you can choose between two distinct ranges – low (50 to 1300-RPM) and high (135 to 3500-RPM) – to match the task at hand. Moreover, the poly-groove drive belts found inside have been enhanced to keep up with these rates.
An anodized aluminum control panel has likewise been introduced for easier adjustment of settings. Here, you can conveniently manage the power button, forward and reverse switch, speed regulators, and a display panel. All these are color-coded and large enough to be easily seen. It’s good to maximize this feature so that your actions become more precise.
This whole machine rests firmly on a stable solid-steel structure. Having it not only increases durability but also minimizes any unwanted shaking. As a result, woodworking becomes so much simpler and efficient. Anyone looking to upgrade their talents must seriously consider the Laguna Tools MLAREVO 1836 Revo Lathe for its several functional features.
Affordability is often a major factor in a consumer’s decision-making process. Though sadly, not everyone can afford to spend money on high-level or even mid-level products. So for those working around a slightly limited budget, you may find the Nova 71118 Comet II Midi Lathe an appropriate choice.
Besides being reasonably priced, this unit is also one of the most ergonomic options available today. At 82-lbs, it is very light that’s just as easy to mobilize. Users who are always on the go will greatly appreciate having this around. It even fits snuggly in most carrying cases or car trunks. Just be mindful, though, because it reportedly shakes profusely when spinning larger pieces of wood. Nonetheless, if you can overlook this minor flaw, the Nova 71118 Comet II Midi Lathe should still prove to be a very potent device.
One of its major strengths is that it offers a wide range of speeds. This wood lathe produces a low-end rate of 250-RPM that can go as high up as 4000-RPM. You can even alter the directions – either to make it go forward or in reverse – for a cleaner finish. Ultimately, these added features provide you with greater flexibility in all your chosen undertakings.
These features are truly what make this wood lathe great. Add in its logical design, easy to adjust settings and extendable bed area, and you have a powerful tool that’s built for any type of situation. There’s really nothing more you can ask for considering its price point.
Another cost-effective option that’s perfect for beginners is the T25926 Variable Speed Wood Lathe. Its manufacturer, Grizzly Industrial, Inc., has been in the power tools business for almost 36 years – so these guys know what they’re doing.
This machine delivers a maximum revolving speed of 3800-RPM, which measures up with other more advanced models. Feel free to roll it out for DIY projects at home or basic woodworking tasks, all the way until the engineering of furniture. We would definitely recommend this option to those who are starting to explore this craft but won’t necessarily use it on high-intensity works. Considering its specs, the Grizzly T25926 may not be suited for it.
As a supplement to that, this model’s turning radius has a 10-inch capacity, while its spindles can be drawn-out until 16.75-inches. Again, this is isn’t remarkable by any means, though it answers the majority of user’s needs at least.
To round out Grizzly T25926 Variable Speed Wood Lathe’s list of features, it likewise comes with a digital speed-reader, a tool rest, and of course, a quality live center. All these have been included to provide consumers with better all-around working experiences. At a price tag that’s slightly north of $400, you won’t find an option as economical as this, given its inclusion as one of the best wood lathes around.
Don’t let its size fool you. The PSI Turn Crafter Commander KWL-1218VS Midi Lathe may only seem weak, but it offers an impeccable variable speed that is well beyond its price tag. This combination alone is surely enough to turn heads.
The unit comes furnished with a 1-horsepower high-performance induction motor with two belt positions: one with a range of 500 to 1800-RPM, while the other is from 1950 to 3800-RPM. Users will be able to choose between these settings, depending on the task being done. Moreover, you can monitor the actual speed being used through the digital readout screen. This may seem unneeded, yet it actually directly affects how precise your movements are.
Other than those, its swing and between center spaces measure approximately 10x18 inches. This may not be as wide as what other models on this list offer, though it should be sufficient for smaller types of wood or everyday projects at home. However, a more massive project would most likely require you a loftier wood lathe.
Thankfully, the PSI Turn Crafter Commander KWL-1218VS Midi Lathe comes with a 42-inch bed extension to better support workpieces. There are even two tools rests and a caddy to store your instruments well. Mobilization is likewise made simpler with the help of built-in and strategically placed carrying handles.
Anyone looking for a new user-friendly wood lathe or even a second unit must give this model a second – and even third – look. The price and size of this option will surely deceive you since it’s one of the most complete models in its class.
Encountering anything with a surprisingly low price – no matter what product this maybe – is always going to raise some eyebrows. Sad to say, it is difficult to shake our notion that if an item were cheap, we instantly question its durability. This may be the case on some occasions, but the Excelsior 5-Speed Mini Lathe certainly proves it is worth far more than $300.
First is its overall design. Wrapped in a full-black matte finish, it looks incredibly high-end and feels way more than it actually is. We were also pleasantly surprised to find out that it maintained its stability despite some intense spinning. The motor likewise ran very smoothly, which only contributed to its high performance.
Its size is another notable element about it. Even though it’s officially categorized as a mini lathe, this unit fro Excelsior delivers a good amount of space to work comfortably. The spindles are adjustable to 17-inches, while the bowls are measure just under 10-inches in diameter. Pair this with the 0.5-horsepower motor that possesses 5 different speeds settings and you instantly have a go-to tool for almost any occasion.
We just wouldn’t suggest using this model for high-concentration tasks right away, since we discourage pushing instruments to their limits. But if you are planning on using this once every few hours, then we don’t see why it isn’t able to preserve the standard it has come to be known for.
Still, it’s difficult to not be excited with this product. Everything about the Excelsior 5-Speed Mini Lathe screams value for money. It shouldn’t take long before consumers realize all its benefits because as it stands right now, it already is one of the best wood lathes available on the market.
Mobility is a scarce resource in this industry, precisely because everyone prioritizes spinning strength. So imagine the benefits of having both compactness and power rolled into one option. Well, you no longer need to imagine since the SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe is now available for your perusal.
At an estimated 48.5-lbs, this unit weighs just enough to be conveniently brought around from one place to another. The body is also slim enough to grasp firmly, even if there doesn’t seem to be a built-in handle anywhere. Still, it easily fits inside most carrying cases or tool bags and isn’t at all a hassle to mobilize.
One of the only downsides with this setup, though, is the limited reach and you need to know this before making any purchase. The SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe‘s only offers a 12-inch distance between centers, an 8-inch swing over bed, and a limited space for tools rests. Even the spindle is less than other models. Thus, this option is really only appropriate for smaller-scale projects and nothing more.
Still, the manufacturers try to make up for this by adding a relatively formidable 0.33-horsepower variable speed motor with a 3200-RPM maximum capacity to the fold. This puts it right in the range of more enhanced variants, which is commendable considering both its price and size.
In general, the SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe can be considered a complimentary piece to your collection of power tools. It offers just enough functions to accomplish basic tasks. Users that often move from one site to another must consider investing in this.
The final item on our list of best wood lathes is the WEN 34018. A big reason for its popularity is that it combines the strength, speed, and size of a regular product, but with the dimensions of most benchtop models. The result is a device that’s ready to take on all sorts of challenges.
First and foremost, it boasts an impressive 4.5-AMP motor with a maximum rapidity up to 3500-RPM. Furthermore, you can also shift the gear down to 450-RPM for commissions that require less force. Either way, the exact speed should be displayed on an onboard digital screen display for easier monitoring and management. Both these functions will help whenever you’re shifting from one setting to another.
The WEN 34018 Cast-Iron Wood Lathe is well-matched for workpieces that 12-inches wide and 18-inches long. So should your requirement exceed these lengths, you can always purchase a WEN 3424EX extender to outspread the bed space to as much as 41-inches. This, of course, is an added expense on your part; but at least you have a choice when the need for working with larger materials arises.
Finally, the MT2 spindle and tailstock taper have both been made compatible with most chucks and center on the market. We find this to be a good gesture on the part of WEN because it shows how they put the consumer’s needs first. Shopping for wood lathe accessories is far from the easiest job in the world, so this enhancement makes it leaps-and-bounds more convenient.
As such, even though there may be other similar prices or even cheaper possibilities out there, you’d still need to put this WEN 34018 Cast-Iron Wood Lathe in the mix. It’s a mid-level model that’s truly worth your time and attention.
Things to Consider When Buying a Wood Lathe
As we’ve mentioned earlier, several considerations need to be made before you know the best wood lathe to buy. Aside from the obvious specs, durability, and spinning strength, here are some other factors we feel you need to be aware of.
1. Main Purpose
As early as now, already ask yourself what you plan on using this wood lathe for. Is it to unwind on the weekends? Will you be creating woodworks as a profession? Are you just planning on entering this industry now and try it out?
All these are valid questions to ponder on because they reflect your purpose. Essentially, the reason behind this purpose will set the direction for all future decisions and in many ways, it must be the first domino to fall. So before moving on to the what or how, always begin with the why.
2. Size and Bulkiness
The dimension of a wood lathe isn’t always the first thing we look at, but it nevertheless plays a pivotal role in this decision-making process. After all, you need to have ample space to work; otherwise, the quality of your product will deteriorate through time.
So before even starting your canvassing, have an idea first where you’re going to place it. Knowing the area it takes up will even help you narrow down choices, thus simplifying things for you. Check also if the machine is transportable, which is a common issue for those who move around a lot.
Another characteristic that is often overlooked is ease of use, especially with beginners. Consumers often get caught up too much with snazzy features that they fail to realize what’s really important. Having a simple wood lathe that’s put together functionally and is user-friendly will only hasten the learning curve. At the same time, dealing with complication machinery will move you to lose interest faster than butter in a hot pan. Trust us, this happens.
So when going through pamphlets and brochures of various countries, target those that require less assembly, easy tool replacement, and put the controls in strategically placed positions. All these may seem unnecessary now, but you’ll surely thank us two or three years down the line.
4. Brand History and Reputation
At present, more and more smaller manufacturers have begun penetrating the market. This isn’t to take anything away from them but they’ve yet to prove themselves. In business, credibility is everything and cannot simply be mitigated by the dropping of prices.
Thus, we would like to remind you to do your due diligence before entering into any transaction. Don’t just focus on the wood lathe’s features; go deeper and consider also the company’s history. Visit their social media page or website to read what other users have to say. You can even go as far as contacting them directly for any concerns. How they reply will say a lot about their values and core competencies.
At the end of the day, we want to deal with brands that consider us – the users – as a priority.
The final and arguably most important aspect to consider is warranty. Anytime you buy a product that’s greater than $200, you need to make sure you’re protected. If not, you may just end up wasting away your investment.
Warranty is more than an expense. It’s a premium you pay for so when any damages arise – whether it’s a factory defect, caused by wear-and-tear, or human error – you’ll have a right to claim something. Additionally, it takes away the stress of not knowing whom to turn to in times of need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To help you better understand this wonderful world of wood lathes, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions and provided our answers to them. Hopefully, this gives you a clearer picture when exploring different models.
1. Does Size Matter?
As we’ve briefly touched on earlier, yes. The size of your chosen wood lathe does have a larger effect on its different functions. Obviously, a larger model will most probably be stronger and more durable, but also harder to transport around. It would also take up more space in your work area – so it is another factor to think about.
2. How Much Does a Wood Lathe Normally Cost?
On average, a good-sized standard model should be in the $400 to $700 price range. This already includes at least a 0.5-horsepower motor, 10-inches width, and 16-inches length. On the other hand, portable wood lathes are much smaller, meaning they’d probably anywhere from $200 to $400.
Still, there are high-end units available with a price point of $1000 and up. Consider these only if you’re dead serious about woodturning and you plan on making a livelihood out of it. Otherwise, you’re better off sticking to the basic and mid-tier units.
3. What Types of Warranty Package is Acceptable?
Given its overall importance and value, we would recommend a minimum of two years. This must contain a 30-day return policy for defective items, a one-year term for replacement of parts, and 2 years of free maintenance services.
Again, we would like to repeat the significance of this kind of benefit. Make it a priority because this has to potential to save you hundreds of dollars in repairs and hours of lining up. It’s better to have it now than regret it in the future.
4. Who Are The People Who Should Invest in a Wood Lathe?
Basically, anyone that’s into woodworking – whether it’s professionally or just casually – must at least consider buying this tool. It greatly simplifies the art of shaping wood, thanks to a high-powered motor, spindle, and other accessories. Furniture makers, carpenters, contractors, masons, or even plain-old hobbyists should find this a worthy companion on all their endeavors.
Now that we’ve firmly established the advantages of having your own wood lathe, it’s safe to say buying one is within the realm of opportunities. Just remember that the best model isn’t just about having the fanciest or most technical qualities, but it’s properly addressing your needs. Once it does this, then half the problem will already be solved. But if we were to recommend a model, considering all the factors we discussed, two easily come to mind.
Those who need to prioritize mobility should be very pleased with the PSI Turn Crafter Commander KWL-1218VS Midi Lathe. It’s not only lightweight, yet also powerful enough to effectively spin small to medium pieces of wood.
Conversely, professionals or expert woodturners may very well gravitate towards the Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe. The motor it carries is impressive and can be controlled very easily. At the same time, the body is wide enough for broader wooden planks, while a cast-iron steel body will show little signs of damages. Best of all, this whole machine is covered by a 5-year warranty package.
Either way, both these options are exceptional in their own manner and will undeniably serve as an asset for many years. Actually, every single tool on our best wood lathe review is uniquely special so you can’t go wrong with any. As we said, it’s all about finding the one that best answers your personal requirements.