Best wood lathe for turning bowls Review in 2021

Buying the best wood lathe for turning bowls is not an easy job to perform as there are a lot of things that must be considered before making a purchase.

Woodworking can sometimes be very hectic and tedious for those who don’t have a lot of experience. A wood lathe is an essential tool in the shop of a woodworker. This helps a person in managing different tasks related to woodworking. However, to achieve the best level of smoothness in your projects, you will need a wood lathe. If you do not have a wood lathe, it will take you so much time to get the same smoothing finish. There are different types of wood lathes available in the market.

If you have decided to buy a wood lathe then you are at the right place. This article contains information about the top 6 Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls.

1Best quality wood latheGrizzly Industrial H8259-10″ x 18″ Benchtop Wood LatheGrizzly Industrial H8259-10" x 18" Benchtop Wood Lathe
2Powerful wood latheRIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini LatheRIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe
3Variable Speed wood latheJET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719200)JET Variable-Speed Wood Lathe
4Best price wood lathePSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12″ Variable Speed Midi LathePSI Woodworking Variable Speed Midi Lathe
5Best value wood lathePowermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe with RPM Digital ReadoutPowermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20x35-Inch Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout
6Best powerful wood latheSHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop LatheSHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

1. Grizzly Industrial H8259-10″ x 18″ Benchtop Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

This benchtop wood machine is rich in quality and design. Sturdily constructed, it is incredible for small wood-turning projects like pens or bowls. The speed goes from 826-3337 RPM empowers you to deal with a wide range of tasks. This machine is quiet and there is no vibration and highlights better than expected 18″ between places for seat top machines. The movable leveling feet and apparatus rest permit you to make this machine fit your requirements serenely.

Grizzly Industrial H8259-10" x 18" Benchtop Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

Product features:

  • It is made up of heavy-dust cast iron material
  • Grizzly Industrial H8259-10″ x 18″ Benchtop Wood Lathe contains a 1/2 HP, 110V, single-phase motor
  • It contains tool rest, spur center, live rolling center, and wrenches
  • The dimensions of the item are 36″ L x 11-1/2″ W x 15″ H


  • It is very well constructed
  • This wonderful Wood Lathe provides variable speed setting
  • It does not produce vibrations


  • Unsecure tailstock bolt

2. RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

The amazing RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe is one of the best wood lathes for turning bowls. It provides its customers the opportunity to do more with less room. This prevailing, smooth-running lathe offers exclusive features like a 12-position index top for precise pattern work, a simple way in for swift speed changes, an expedient tool holder, and the aptitude to affix multiple extensions. RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inches Mini Lathe features the prevalent capacity in the business. It contains a strategically placed and simple to-utilize locking arm and tension-release lever for adjusting the speed. The wood lathe contains an Indexing head for detail work. Its self-ejecting tail stock helps in saving a lot of time. This wonderful Mini Lathe is backed by a manufacturer’s two-year warranty.

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

Product features:

  • It is made up of heavy-dust cast iron material
  • The product provides an easy admittance to a speed change
  • It provides the ability to add manifold extensions
  • RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe contains a 1/2HP Motor
  • The product contains a self ejecting tailstock
  • The weight of the item is 88.5 pounds
  • The dimensions of the product are 33.75 x 18 x 11.5 inches


  • RIKON Mini Lathe comes with a 12-position indexing top
  • It contains a large sway competence of 12 inches
  • The product comes with a 2-year warranty


  • Less capacity

3. JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Variable-Speed Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

This amazing wood lathe is popular because of its top-quality features. It contains an amazing design. The entire turning experience of this wood lathe is better than other products. It is light in weight and easy to set up and use. This astonishing wood lathe contains 24 integrated indexing positions. Its conveniently positioned DRO and controls make it easy to set up and use. 

JET JWL-1221VS 12"x21" Variable-Speed Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

Product features:

  • The JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Wood Lathe provides convenience
  • It contains an optimal speed range
  • The product contains 24 integrated indexing positions
  • It contains a ratchet-style girdle tension scheme
  • JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Wood Lathe  contains an integrated, spring laden spindle lock
  • It contains an unrivaled speed control


  • The JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Wood Lathe has a pioneering and exceptional ratchet-style strap tension arrangement
  • It contains an integrated, spring-loaded spindle lock
  • The product comes with a 5-year warranty


  • It is expensive as compared to other wood lathes

4. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe

The amazing KWL-1218VS wood lathe is the most advanced, and prevailing in its class. This incredible wood lathe is powered by a 1 hp high feat induction motor and an SBC microchip, urbanized for automotive requests, delivering exactitude control and enduring reliability.

PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12" Variable Speed Midi Lathe

Product features:

  • This amazing wood lathe is powered by a 1hp variable speed high recital initiation motor (120V-60HZ) & an SBC microprocessor
  • The weight of the item is 106 pounds
  • The dimensions of the product are 32 x 11 x 10 inches
  • It comes with a 3 years warranty
  • This wood lathe contains expedient built-in handles
  • This wood lathe provides 24 indexing positions with spindle locking
  • It is intended for easy belt admittance and removal
  • The product contains a cast iron base that is strapping, secure and accepts an optional extension bed for spinning projects to over 40″


  • It contains built-in handles that provide maximum ease and convenience
  • This wood lathe can be used for multiple projects because of a 12-inch swing power


  • It is not durable

5. Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout

This amazing wood lathe keeps hold of all the features of standard powermatic lathes i.e. an electronic variable-speed power, and a descending headstock. The Powermatic 3520B Lathe is the third advancement of the revered machine with numerous new and improved features. Upgraded highlights incorporate a computerized RPM readout, inherent axle ordering on the headstock, an updated tailstock with inside capacity, chrome managed hand-wheels, and a laser-carved quill which is self-ejecting. This wood lathe offers internal storage, and a laser engraved plume conveniently self ejects. Additional features incorporate a bunch of dead centers which hold an axle for visual correlation, a two-position mount for the optional bed porch, a sliding mallet knockout bar with a metal tip, a connected tool caddy, and a metal rack for tool storage.

Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20x35-Inch Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout

Product features:

  • This amazing wood lathe contains a digital RPM readout, 34-1/2-inches between the center, and a 20-inch swing
  • It contains a 2-horsepower, variable-speed motor
  • The product is made up of durable cast iron


  • It contains a digital readout function
  • Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe’s tailstock contain a built-in storage space
  • This best wood lathe for turning bowls comes with a 5-year warranty


  • It is heavy as compared to other wood lathes

6. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Tackle pen turning or other diminutive cutting or forming projects utilizing the Shop Fox W1704 seat top machine from Woodstock International. It is made of cast iron and intended to fit conveniently on a workbench. This machine includes a 1/3-drive, variable-speed engine and conveys axle speeds between 700 and 3,200 cycles each moment (RPM). It likewise includes a safety paddle switch, an MT No. 1 prod place, an MT No. 1 live focus, 4-1/4-inch, and 7-inch instrument rest, a 5-3/4-inch faceplate, and a 3/4-by-16-inch TPI RH shaft. The incredible FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe has been specifically designed to provide amazing services to its clients. It contains a marvelous design and an unyielding quality power plan for maximum safety and reliability.

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Product features:

  • The product contains a 110V, 1/3 HP, Single-phase, 2 Amp, 60 Hz motor
  • It contains two tool rests
  • This wonderful wood lathe contains an 8-inch swing over bed
  • It is made up of cast iron material
  • FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe contains a considerably variable speed control
  • The product contains a 12-inch distance between centers


  • The product provides maximum ease and comfort
  • It is light in weight
  • FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe is easy to set up and use
  • It is durable
  • This wood lathe is perfect for small projects and pen turning


  • The bolts of this wood lathe are loosely bound

Buying Guide for a Wood Lathe

There are a lot of factors that one should consider before buying a wood lathe. A few of them are mentioned below.

1. Budget

The prices of wood lathes differ depending on your purpose of woodturning. For hobbyists and beginners who don’t get highly paid by this art, a small wood lathe is perfect as it costs 200 to 500 dollars on average. For an individual having some experience in this field and also have a reasonable budget, a medium-size wood lathe that costs around 500 to 900 bucks is perfect. Professional woodturners will have to spend 1000 to 3000 dollars to spend on a full-size wood lathe.

2. Size

For a lot of people, buying a wood lathe is something they do one or two times in the whole life. Due to this reason, we always emphasize erring on purchasing a larger wood lathe instead of a smaller one. While small and benchtop wood-style lathes are perfect for what they do, still they are not an ideal choice for tasks like bowl turning. Nor the light in weight and free-standing wood lathes as they mostly do not offer much bulk to handle the heavy and large wood needed for turning bowls.

3. Slow Start Motor

The slow start aspect of a motor enhances operating this tool’s security. For example, if you are working on a large woodblock, you need a lathe that accompanies a lethargic beginning. Engines without this element can generally bring about wood flying your way if they are not well attached, and the engine starts at high speed.

4. Weight and Materials

Always keep in mind that vibration is the most common issue that woodturners always face. So, do check if your wood lathe has the weight it requires to sit firmly during your woodturning project. Wood lathes cannot handle unbalanced wood logs if they do not have proper weight. So, a heavy wood lathe can take more unbalanced records as compared to lighter ones. The most common material used in these lathes is cast iron. It is good at absorbing vibrations. Because of this reason, most of the wood lathes are made of cast iron. Wood lathes are also made of steel or stainless steel bed and legs made of cast iron. Such wood lathes are quite good at dampening the vibrations.

5. Speed and Power

You must choose a wood lathe with a variable speed for turning bowls. A wood lathe with this flexibility level gives you the option to decide how fast you want your projects to get done. Most of the full-size wood lathes feature motors in the range of 1.5 – 2hp. However, it is recommended to get a wood lathe having at least a 2hp motor. You can also upgrade to your wood lathe with a 3hp engine if your budget and space allow.

6. Headstock and Tailstock

The headstock of a wooden lathe should be threaded. This spindle is intended for different accessories, such as chucks, etc. Before buying a wood lathe make sure that it has a standard thread on it. This ensures that your accessories will become functional to you even if you upgrade your wood lathe. A tailstock spindle is basically a revolving pin located at the other side end of your wood lathe. The main role of the tailstock is to maintain the spindle in the center and rotate evenly. It is extremely significant to make sure that the tailstock can be locked securely at any position along with the bed. This helps you in carrying out all kinds of woodturning you want to do.

7. Capacity

The wood lathe capacity determines what you can utilize it to make. Consequently, it is consistently a significant factor to consider while picking the best wood machine. On the off chance that you pick a machine with a limit of 36 inches, it implies that is the longest piece that you can turn on it. However, it is still conceivable to turn longer pieces however you should do it in segments and then join the pieces afterward. Likewise, some types will allow you to expand the axle limit by expanding on to the furthest limit of the bed.

How to find an ideal wood lathe for your projects?

It is a frequently asked question by a lot of people. First of all, make sure that the wood lathe you want to buy has all of the above-mentioned features and works perfectly. Secondly, go through all the details provided by Amazon about your desired product. It is to make sure you are not being scammed. Thirdly, read different online reviews posted by customers about the wood lathe you want to buy. Lastly, compare the prices of at least 4 to 5 vendors and buy from the one who is giving you the best price.

Safety and Maintenance

When working with a lathe, safety is the most noteworthy need. The machine is an open-faced machine and mishaps can occur if you’re not being careful. Here are a couple of list items to protect you.

  • Always keep your work territory clean before you work. Clean three feet toward each path around the lathe
  • Do not stop the lathe with your hands. Continuously let the machine normally go to rest when controlled off
  • Try not to wear loose-fitting clothing. Since the machine spins at high velocities free garments can get trapped in the machine
  • Make sure to save the latch on the chuck and tailstock. If the hook turns out to be free during activity, power off and stage a protected distance away until the item goes to a rest

After every use makes sure to dust any flotsam that has assembled and analyze the tailstock and spindle.


What size wood lathe do I need to turn bowls?

For a bowl turning machine, it is usually suggested to use a machine with AT LEAST 16 crawls of swing. Ordinarily, most floor-standing machines start at 16 inches of swing with the better quality models going up to 24 inches.

How can one turn a wooden bowl into a lathe?

Turn on the lathe gradually and start turning the external substance of the bowl utilizing an adjusting groove. Keep turning until the external state of the bowl is complete. At that point, you’ll need to cut a break into the lower part of the bowl to oblige the bowl chunk that accompanied your lathe.

What is the best wood for turning bowls?

The American Beech can grow up to a height of 50-70 feet and was an indication of fruitful soil to early pioneers. This exceptionally durable wood is regularly utilized in furnishings and ground surfaces. It generally creates a light tan-hued bowl. Beech settles on an amazing decision for slashing bowls.

What is a good beginner wood lathe?

The Nova Comet II is an extraordinary benchtop, midi style lathe with a more modest impression yet a lot of ability to amplify the full 12-inch swing over the center. This is an incredible lathe for amateurs who need to get into shaft turning, pen making, ring turning, etc.

Can wood be turned on a metal lathe?

Yes. One can easily turn wood on a metal machine. Take a look at a commonplace wood machine to see such an instrument lay utilized on most. It is pretty simple to make.


A wood lathe is an important tool that helps us to make beautiful objects. Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls is a well-known subset of woodworking, in that various woodturners truly wouldn’t care about any other aspects of woodworking other than turning. There’s a valid justification for that. Above all else, to learn woodturning, all you truly require is a decent machine and some sharp gouges, slant etches and separating devices.

You’ll require an approach to keep the instruments sharp so they slice appropriately and will need to invest a touch of energy finding out about woodturning security, but beyond that, you can go a long way toward turning into a specialist at woodturning with little else. Whether it is table legs or a salad bowl, a good wood lathe can always help you. However, before buying one, you will need to look into all the information shared with you in this article as it is very important.

Also Read: Best Wood Lathe Review with Pros and Cons

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Oliver is a professional interior designer and part-time content writer of Top Tools lab. He always researches different types of improvement tools.

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