Best Wood Lathe Review and Buying Guide

For every craftsperson working with wood, woodturning is the essential part of their job which cannot be managed without a wood lathe. As we search through the array of various wood lathes available in the market it is quite difficult to choose between so closely matched technical specifications. Yet we decided to help the eager craftspeople to decide the best wood lathe Review for their use.

As for the price, we leave it up to you which will be the best wood lathe for the money for your woodturning purpose. Since there is a wide range of Wood Lathes to meet all kinds of needs demanded by a hobbyist to amateur craftspeople to professionals turning bigger pieces to showcase their craftsmanship.

So we selected wood lathe from analog to digital, mini to midi, and large lathe (a bed that can be extended to 42”) and ranging manufactures like Delta, Nova, Jet (JWL), Rikon, Grizzly, FOX, Powermatic, PSI.

Best Wood Lathe Review in 2021 for the Money

The 7 Wood lathes are the best in their line. While reviewing these lathes we have done a comparative discussion on their technical specifications and left the suggestions, choices, and preferences to the interested individuals.

Here the Top 7 Best Wood Lathe Review For You

Here are the technical specifications of the wood lathes at a glance:

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Best Wood Lathe Review 

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe is a familiar name. Its Powerful 1 HP Max motor and large 12-1/2″ swing capacity provide the largest capacity for midi-lathes. It utilizes a ball-bearing live center for fluent movement. The 6 groove belt allows for superior power to turn larger objects. The large upfront belt access allows the user to easily change speeds With a maximum distance between centers of 42″ (with bed extension), the MIDI LATHE turns objects as long as a chair leg or as short as a thimble.

The 6″ and 10″ tool rest help to provide tool support in a variety of turning applications. The onboard storage allows for easy access to the adjustment tools. Has a heavy-duty, steel knockout bar. The all-cast-iron construction provides stability and is extremely durable.

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Best Wood Lathe Review

Motor

The Powerful 1 HP Max motor delivers 1,725 RPM allowing for optimal stock removal The large 12-1/2″ swing capacity provides the largest capacity for midi-lathes Has the best-in-class speed range from 250-4,000 RPM giving the slowest low-end speed in its class for large turning and fast high-end speed for small turnings. The forward and reversing function allows the turner to achieve a superior finish.

The patented belt tension system allows for easy and quick speed changes and sets the belt at the correct tension every time for maximum power transfer and longer tool life The indexing pin is used to lock the headstock spindle in 24 different locations for fluting and other decorative applications The all cast-iron construction provides stability and is extremely durable.

Feature

The midi-lather includes a 3″ faceplate, a 6″ tool rest and a 10″ tool rest Turning long spindles require either a longer tool rest or the user to continually move the short tool rest Turning short work requires a short spindle The over headstock On/Off switch provides easy in use access With a maximum distance between centers of 42″ (with bed extension), the MIDI LATHE turns objects as long as a chair leg or as short as a thimble Utilizes a ball-bearing live center for the fluent movement.

Has a heavy-duty, steel knockout bar The extension bed (Model 46-463) is a 25-1/2″ long cast-iron bed that increases the overall bed length of the 46-460 to 42″ (sold separately). The electronic variable speed control has three pulley speed ranges that provide the required speeds needed to turn a project without changing belt position The 6 groove belt allows for superior power to turn larger objects The large upfront belt access allows the user to easily change speeds The onboard

  • storage allows for easy access to the adjustment tools
  • The 6″ and 10″ tool rests help to provide tool support in a variety of turning applications

JWL-1221VS 12” x 21” Variable Speed Best Wood Lathe Review

Manufacturer of a variety of tools and products. This variable-speed wood lathe is of utmost professional quality and is known for its unparalleled control.

The 745 W DC motor with variable speed can be operated by a simple turn of the dial. It also displays error codes if the motor encounters a problem. The motor reaches from 60 to 3600 RPM in no time and can also be run in reverse without turning the machine off which saves you a lot of time and work momentum as well. The range of the speed of the motor has been designed to cater to a variety of wood jobs undertaken by a variety of users.

JWL-1221VS 12” x 21” Variable Speed Best Wood Lathe Review

Another unique and interesting feature about the JWL-1221VS is its ratchet style belt system with a pending patent. With its ability to allow a quick change of belt, you can save time in disassembling this wood lathe and use it elsewhere for some productive work.

Unrivaled speed control 60-3600 RPM variable speed Optimally designed speed ranges Forward to reverse is a smooth transition Innovative ratchet style belt tension system (patent pending) Integrated, spring-loaded spindle lock Conveniently located controls and DRO Acme thread in the

• tailstock
• 24 integrated indexing positions

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch 

A solidly built, feature-rich lathe, ideal for furniture and cabinet makers, pen turners, hobbyist turners, and those new to woodturning. The unique Versa turns adaptive technology extends the versatility of the lathe-like nothing else on the market.

The Nova Comet II is the newest midi lathe from Teknatool, a company with an almost 60-year tradition of innovation in woodturning technology.

The Comet is the epitome of a compact shop machine, with a footprint of roughly 7″ by 30″. For such a compact unit it’s exceptionally stable in use, due in part to the precision machining of the lathe components, all solid cast iron components, and a superb direct current motor.

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch

Speed

Stability is further enhanced by the four large, soft rubber feet that attach to the base of the lathe. They help absorb what little vibration comes from the motor and serve to keep the lathe from wandering on the stand. The Comet is equipped with a 3/4 HP electronic variable speed direct current motor.

The motor drives a pair of three-step pulleys connected via a drive belt. This provides three-speed ranges and each speed range can be variably adjusted on the fly by means of a control knob on the motor controller.

Powerful 3/4 HP electronic variable speed motor offers a wide speed range from 250-4000 RPM. With a super-low speed, up to a super high speed, the Comet II midi lathe is the perfect choice for a variety of projects. With its 12″ swing capacity over the bed and 16.5″ between center capacities, expandable to 41″ with the optional bed extension accessory, you can turn in

  • A wide variety of projects.
  • Lathe available in the 1″8TPI thread.

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Best Wood Lathe Review 

12” x 16” Mini Lathe #70-100 is a perennial favorite of beginning turners because of its simple design, but also for the sturdy construction that will last for years of reliable use.
Even though they are efficient for turning pens, mini-lathes are useful for other tasks also. Model 70-100 Rikon has taken the standard mini-lathe to the next level with increased capacity – this mini lathe does more in less space.

This mini lathe features a 6-step motor and spindle pulleys for supplying diverse spindle speeds. You can change this speed easily. Headstock pulley guard tilts open for easy belt changes. This mini lathe has the largest ability with options for multiple extensions. Alongside its user-friendly design, this mini lathe features different convenient features also in order to make it extremely easy-to-use.

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe

These features include a nylon faceplate washer, a flip-up handle for mobility, knockout bars, and a tool holder near the device’s back. A12″ swing and 16″ between centers with the ability to add one or more bed extensions. Shipping weight 89 lbs.

Features:

  • 12 position indexing head, self-ejecting tailstock with 2-1/2″ ram travel,
  • 8″ tool rest, convenient lifting handle, tool holder,
  • easy access to the top and bottom pulleys for quick speed changes,
  • six-speed (430, 810, 1,230, 1,810, 2,670, 3,900),
  • #2 MT headstock, powered by a 1/2 HP TEFC motor.
  • Overall dimensions: 32″ long x 10-1/2″ wide x 19″ high. Includes 8 tool rest, live center, 3 faceplates,
    spur center, tooling knockout.

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

The Powermatic 3520B 20 x 35-inch wood lathe is one of the best wood lathes on the market. It is one of the greatest innovations from the house of Powermatic. Powermatic 1352001 models 3520B wood lathe sports all the features of a classic wood lathe with the inclusion of an electronic variable speed motor, a sliding headstock, and a spindle lock which are really great innovations.

For naming only a few, a digital RPM readout helps keep a record of your speed, a remodeled tailstock provides built-in storage, and a laser-carved quill self-ejects with convenience. Along with all exclusive features, this wood lathe provides you with advanced technology and classic authenticity.

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


The Powermatic 3520B lathe is perfect for both beginners and seasoned users. Highly adaptable, it sports a 20” swing and 34-1/2” between the centers for accommodating a large range of application sizes. It features an additional pin that can be screwed into the spindle housing for offering up to 24 indexing positions.

This wood lathe is driven by a 2HP motor and geared with an inverter and can operate with either a single-phase or 3-phase input. The tailstock is made from a bulky iron casting that is highly capable of supporting heavy workpieces. The tailstock comes with an inbuilt storage option that gives fast access to wrenches, centers, and so forth. Its handwheels make sure a convenient feel and an extra dust assembly with tool rest help maintain the proper visibility of your workpiece.

Features

  • 20-inch swing and 34-1/2 inches between the centers to accommodate a huge range of project sizes.
  • The included pin can be screwed into the spindle housing to provide up to 24 indexing positions for drilling hole patterns or routing flutes and other equally spaced decorative finishes.
  • Driven by a two-horsepower, 220-volt, 6.2-amp, TEFC (totally enclosed fan-cooled) motor
  • The motor can operate with either a single-phase or three-phase input. This motor itself is three-phase and receives a single-phase current from the inverter for high torque at low-end, maintenance-free operation.
  • The motor delivers power through a pair of two-range, multi-groove pulleys that are connected by a durable poly V-belt to prevent surging.
  • This 682-pound lathe is rigid and stable
  • Sliding headstock with electronic variable speed and digital RPM readout provides accurate speed adjustment
  • A spindle locking mechanism in the form of a spring-loaded button on the front of the headstock engages one of two locking detents (180-degrees apart) for installing and removing accessories that screw onto the 1-1/4-inch by 8 spindle threads.
  • The Powermatic 3520B is backed by a five-year warranty.

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Best Wood Lathe Review 

The TCL10VS commander from PSI woodworking is a very nice little lathe. For the amateur woodworker, the midi lathe is an ideal work tool. It has a great feature set for the money and solid construction. The best 10-Inch lathe for money.

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe

The relentless 3/4HP motor delivers the power, control, and versatility that’s essential for the most demanding turning projects. The variable-speed motor provides instantaneous speed control while turning. With cast iron construction this lathe weighs around 90 lbs. which should make it a solid choice for any small to medium-sized projects. With an 18-inch length center-to-center and 10-inch swing over the bed, this lathe is either a big mini lathe or a small midi lathe. Paired up with the TCLC10XB Extension Bed it extends to 43 inches in length, which opens up a wide range of possibilities.

Features:

  • Vary speeds from 150-4100 RPM for shaping or finishing
  • SBC microprocessor technology delivers pinpoint control and reliability. Convenient carrying handles. 24 Indexing positions with spindle locking
  • Convenient work light with 18-Inch flex cable makes it easier to see even the most intricate work. Heavy-duty, ball bearing tailstock center provides great grip with less stress to avoid splitting
  • Tool storage rack keeps chisels and other tools close at hand. Sturdy cast iron base accepts optional extension bed for turning projects up to 43-Inch
  • Powerful 3/4 HP motor provides superior power and performance. Designed for easy belt access and removal.
  • 3 Year Warranty

Jet JWL-1440VS 1 HP Benchtop Best Wood Lathe Review

The 1440VS lathe from JET can be tailored to accomplish a wide range of projects. With a sliding and pivoting headstock, variable speed, and many other great features this lathe meets the needs of woodturners.

Jet JWL-1440VS 1 HP Benchtop Lathe

Sliding headstock pivots 360 degrees with 7 positive locking positions at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees for maximum variability and optimal user comfort

Features:

  • Variable speed from 400-3000 RPM
  • Positive locking tool rest with redesigned clamping
  • Optional extension bed takes the capacity to 60” between centers
  • Acme thread in the tailstock
  • Improved tailstock quill locking with anti-rotation key
  • Easy to read RPM display
  • Swing over bed – 14-1/2″
  • Swing Over Tool Rest Base – 11″
  • Distance Between Centers – 40″
  • Headstock Movement – Sliding/Pivoting
  • Spindle Bore – 3/8″
  • Tailstock Bore – 5/16″
  • Spindle Taper – MT2
  • Quill Taper – MT2
  • Quill Travel – 4-1/4″
  • Spindle Thread – 1″ 8 TPI
  • Variable Spindle Speeds
  • 36 Indexing Positions
  • The centerline of Spindle to Floor – 44″
  • Outboard Turning Capability
  • 1 HP, 1 Ph Motor, 115/230 Prewired 115V
  • 11/5.5 Amps

Buying Guide About Best Wood Lathe Review:

If you want to make a buying decision, there are numerous factors to take into consideration before purchasing a quality wood lathe. Choosing a wood lathe can seem difficult, wood but there are really just a few key things you should look for when shopping online every aspect of the device will decide how well the woodturner will be able to use it and how satisfied they are with the performance in the long run.

We created a list of the things you should look for in the best wood lathe since these factors are highly prioritized for you as this way you can distinguish different models. It is important to consider the type of projects you want to do before buying a wood lathe.

For instance, tabletop lathes are best for smaller projects because these lathes actually attach right to the surface of your worktable to help you keep an eye on your projects. But for larger projects like wood furniture, the best wood lathe would be a power lathe or an electronic lathe. These lathes use power from any electrical outlet to turn the wood.

Motor:

The motor is an important part of the wood lathe that demands serious consideration. The speed at which you can cut the wood depends on the size of the motor. It will be very difficult to cut and shape heavy items if the motor is too small and you might not able to get the finesse that you hoped for.

Speed:

The power of the wood lathe is another important factor to take into consideration. This Speed at which the motor can effectively operate in the turning of smaller to larger objects can be the measure of its power. The larger the projects are the more powerful motor would be the ones to choose from.

To have full control over the design the items need to rotate at various speeds. In comparison to bowl lathes, tabletop lathes rotate faster. Most of the lathes in the market come with adjustable speed control. So for beginners, they offer versatility and the speed range of 2000 rpm would be the best choice for beginners while buying a wood lathe.

Size:

The size and build of the lathe is also a big factor. For the best results, the size of the wood lathe should be compatible with the types of projects you are planning. While the smaller projects can be easily handled by mini-lathes or tabletop lathes, floor lathes are very adequate for managing larger projects, although they require much larger space. So you need to consider the size of your workplace as well.

Design:

It is important to have a stable machine while you are working on a delicate design. So the heavier the machine is the more stability it will offer you. Weight can also help cut down on the vibrations that would otherwise cause your hands to slip off. The stability of the machines are affected by the speed of turning and the size of the objects you are working on as the weight of the machines keeps it steady in one place without the help of any additional sandbags or weights.

Although most of the time it is overlooked the height of the machine is equally important. You generally want the middle of the center of the lathe to sit right at or near your elbows. If the lathe is a little too tall or short, it will impede your movements and may make using the lathe harder.

Lighweight:

Lightweight or improperly stabilized lathes will be more susceptible to vibration which results in difficulty to control the machine and the products might end up being compromised. so while buying a would lathe it is necessary to check for the vibration.

The best wood lathe is noiseless. Not only it prevents a workplace from becoming unnecessarily noisy but it also allows the turner to hear the interactions between the wood lathe and the cutting tools for more accurate output.

Capacity:

The capacity of the lathe is measured by the distance between the centers and the maximum swing. The greater distance between centers enables the lathe to turn larger wood pieces. The greater swing enables for wood blanks with bigger diameters which won’t contact the device’s all other parts.

The best wood lathe is the one that allows you to tackle the necessary work efficiently while offering you simplicity as you operate the machine. So it is best to try out different machines to ensure that the options you are looking for are convenient to use.

Since everyone has different preferences when it comes to choosing woods. The types of wood that you frequently use for the work might be best suited for different machines. so it can determine which will be the best lathe for you to buy.

Conclusion

Best Wood lathes can be very expensive depending on their usage and performance. If you are a beginner you should decide on what kind of woodturning you prefer to do and based on that you should decide about which lathe you want to buy. There are wood lathes in the market with much lesser price but they might be compromised in quality. Generally, before spending your money on the high-quality wood lathe you should decide on how enthusiastic you are about woodturning.

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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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