Best wood lathe under 500 in 2021

If you are a woodcutter, a pen-turner, you will be aware of the best wood lathe. Wood lath is an essential tool for shaping and turning wood. It is the need of all professionals or beginners. A wood lathe will help a beginner to become more professional and a professional to become more pro. However, if you search for the best wood lathe under 500 in 2021, you need to be more careful. As there is no chance of mistakes when we are already on a budget.

Here we have researched the 5 best quality wood lathe that is worth money and provides super functionality. We picked both 5 wood lathe from the top brands that are trustworthy. Moreover, all the products have excellent customer ratings.

Let’s start with our review of the 5 best wood lathe under 500 in 2021.

Jet JWL-1015 Woodturning lathe

If you want a multifunctional and advanced lathe at your shop or home, Jet JWL-1015 has all your needs. The wood lathe is super easy to use. The Jet JWL wood lathe has a construction from that you will get maximum work done without having any difficulty.

It is a small wood lathe with a design that you will get complete control over your work. The overall material of the machine is full of cast iron. Moreover, there is a 13 cm lathe, which has a wide design, and it is mainly for sustaining stability and fewer vibrations.

Jet JWL-1015 Woodturning lathe

The lathe has an MK2 internal taper; the spindle shares the common thread with it M33 x 35mm. For its function, there is a powerful engine with an inner bore. The motor is an induction type with 370-watt power. For a quick process, there are 6 variable speeds. You can change speed according to the work you are going to do.

You can set speed limits from 3300 rpm, 2200, 1500, 1000, 700, and 400 with the belt position adjustment. Overall we can say that this is a small, fully-featured machine that can be an excellent lathe for beginners and professionals.

Product Features:

  • The wood lathe material is full of cast iron.
  • There is a 13cm wide leather that ensures stable and vibration-free features.
  • With the adjustment of the belt position, you can change the speed of the lathe.
  • There are 6 variable speed options in the Jet JWL-1015 woodturning lathe. The speed range is between 400-3300 rpm.
  • For maximum rigidity and strength, the machine has tailstock and an entirely iron cast spindle.
  • The indexed degree of the spindle is 15 degrees for veining and fluting.


  • Perfect lathe for beginners and professionals
  • Full iron cast materiel
  • 6 variable speed option


  • Pricey

Rikon Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe

Are you a pen turner? Or are you looking for a very dedicated and sturdy machine for your work? If your answer is yes, then Rikon power tools are the way to go. It is a specially designed lathe for pen turners. It is a mini lathe made with full cast iron. The iron material of the lathe is superior to aluminum as it prevents work activity from vibrations.

Rikon Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe

The lathe has a tool rest, wrenches, a knock out bar, and a live center. There is an option of 5 variable speeds that can help in boring barrel holes, proper shape and finish of pens, and roughing out pens. The machine has 18 between and 10 swing centers. Moreover, the machine has a ½ motor. The motor will provide ample power that is enough for all your turning needs.

Product features:

  • The machine has 5 variable speeds to meet all turning needs. You can cover bases for boring hold, proper shape and finish, and pen billets.
  • The overall material of the machine is full of cast iron. The iron cast material will prevent vibrations and will provide stability during work.
  • The machine lathe is an excellent choice for pen turners. The scaled-down lathe has all the characteristics that are essential for turning.
  • The lather has wrenches, a knockout bar, a live center, and a tool rest.
  • The lathe has a powerful motor that produces ample power for its functionality.


  • Best lathe for pen turners
  • Easy to use
  • 5 variable speeds
  • Sturdy


  • There are some complaints about customer services.

Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop lathe

If you search for the best wood lathe under 500 in 2021, then look at the Shop Fox benchtop lathe. It is a lathe that will provide you trouble-free service for reliable operations. The machine will work in full detail, and you will get great control over your work.

The machine has a full cast iron construction, and it can easily fit in your workbench. The lathe has a powerful motor of ⅓ horsepower. Moreover, it is a variable speed lathe with a safety paddle switch. The powerful engine provides a revolution between 700-3200 per minute.

Moreover, the machine has a tool rest, a live center, a TPI RH spindle, faceplate, and spur center. Furthermore, there is an 8-inch swing at the bed, and the distance between centers is 12 inches.

Product features:

  • The spindle speed of the machine ranges between 500-32,00 rpm. Moreover, there are variable speed options that you can adjust according to the need for turning.
  • The machine has a powerful motor of ⅓ HP of 2 amp. The single-phase frequency is 60hz.
  • The overall machine construction is full of cast iron.
  • It is the best lather for small projects with its small and featured attributes.
  • The distance between the centers of the machine is 12-inch. Moreover, there is a tool that rests.
  • The swing over the bed has an 8-inch diameter.
  • It is a safe and reliable option for all your work.
  • There is a 2-years warranty card available with the product.


  • Best small wood lathe for beginners
  • 2-year warranty
  • Powerful motor
  • Variable speeds


  • The paint of the machine is not corrosion-free.

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Benchtop wood lathe

Here we have another amazon gadget for all of you dedicated pen turners there. It is a mini wood lathe for under 500$, with variable speed options. You can adjust the variable speed between 750-3200 rpm. The wood lathe’s spindle is MTI, and for a tight grip, there is a tailstock taper. Moreover, for chisel support, there are two tool rests.

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Benchtop wood lathe

The machine has a powerful 3.2amp motor of 3.2amp to provide maximum functionality. You can use the lever clamping system to adjust tailstock and tool rest at a simple and precise. Furthermore, the Wen wood lathe has a faceplate of 2.3-inch, a flat wrench, a tailstock cup center, a spur center, and a knockout rod. Last but not least, the WEN wood lathe has a two years warranty card.

Product Features:

  • The Wen wood lathe is an easy to operate and sturdy machine for pen turners.
  • The wood lathe has a sturdy frame that works for all kinds of work while fitting the lathe at your benchtop.
  • It is a wood lathe with variable speed,  and you can adjust the speed between 750-32,00.
  • The wood lathe has a powerful motor of 13,2 amp that is enough for kind functions of turning.
  • It is a perfect tool for small workpieces made with pens, cups, bowls, and chess pieces.
  • The overall material of the machine has a full iron cast construction.
  • Moreover, the machine has an MT1 spindle with a tailstock taper.
  • The machine has a versatile design with two interchangeable tool rests.


  • MT1 spindles
  • Good finishing
  • Tool rests are interchangeable


  • The motor of the lathe is a little overpowered for beginners.

Rikon 70-100, 14 inch Mini lathe

The Rikon 70-100 is a mini lathe for small places to do more work efficiently. For accurate pattern work, the lathe has a 12-position index. Moreover, for a quick change of speed, there is a more rigid tool. The mini-lathe has multiple extensions to work efficiently according to industry standards.

Rikon 70-100, 14 inch Mini lathe

The distance between centers is 16 inches. On the other hand, the bed of the machine is 12 inches wide. There are six variable speed options, and you can change the speed between 430-3900 rpm. Moreover, a handy charge will also display the speed of the spindle. The machine has a 12 position index head so that you can work in multiple positions for accuracy.

The ram of the machine travels up to 2-½ inches. You can move the tailstock with the bed by loosening the lock position and can adjust it to your desired position. It is a user-friendly machine; there is a flip-up handle for easy movement. Moreover, a faceplate washer will prevent all your accessories from getting stuck into spindles.

Product Features:

  • There are six variable speed changes to reduce and increase speed according to your work demand.
  • The machine’s tailstock is self-ejecting; you don’t need to remove the center with the knock-out bar.
  • The machine is featured with multiple extensions for all kinds of works.
  • The machine has a motor of ½ Hp.
  • A 2-½ inch ram travels with laser engraved features.
  • The overall material of the lathe is Full iron cast.


  • High-quality materiel
  • Best pen turner lather under $500
  • Multiple extensions
  • 6 variable speeds


  • The packaging is poor.

What are some good safety principles to follow when using a wood lathe?

It is always a good idea to take all the preventive measures before using any gadget. Here are some safety principles for using a wood lathe.

  • Always wear certified safety glasses
  • Remove all kind of jewelry
  • Wear fit clothes during work
  • Tie all your hairs while working on the lathe
  • If you are doing a wok floor, make sure it is not slippery and free from all obstructions.
  • In case of emergency, press the button of an emergency stop.
  • Do not lean on the machine
  • Always stand in a straight position
  • Always use a lifter to lift all chucks
  • Once you adjust your chucks, immediately remove all your chuck wrench.
  • Always use a barrier guard while operating the lathe in automatic or semi-automatic mode.
  • Do proper sharpening of all lathe cutting tools
  • Don’t take any measurements when your lathe is working

Buying Guide:

When you first look at a wood lathe, you will feel it is a complicated design machine. However, it is not so. There are only vital features that should be in the best wood lathe. So if you are serious about spending 2021with more creativity in wood designing, then loa best wood lathe under 500 in 2021. Now let’s look at some of the features that we will look at before buying any wood lathe.

Motor power:

The power of a motor is the primary element responsible for all of the functionality of a machine. For a wood lathe, the engine’s power should be considered, as it is accountable for torque. Torque is responsible for cutting, shaping, and turning the wood. So you need to pick motor power according to the task you will do with your wood lathe.


The second most important thing to look for is the material of the wood. The best-recommended material for the wood lathe is Full iron cast materiel. The iron cast material will provide fewer vibrations and better stability than the aluminum material wood lathe.

Distance between centers:

The center is the area that holds your woods. Moreover, the distance between the two centers means how long wood you can use at your wood lathe. Or how long wood you can place between centers, and it depends on the distance between centers.

You can also increase the distance between centers by adding extra pieces to the lathe. However, the average center should be 16 cm. The distance between centers varies from machine to machine. It is good to buy wood lathes that have a greater distance between centers. It means you will do a big project while tackling large woods. However, if you plan to make pens, pencils, or other small objects, you can buy a wood lathe with a short distance between centers.


Swing is the same as the distance between centers in a wood lathe. Swings of a wood lathe determine how wide a wood you can mount at the centers. For swing, it is good to have a giant swing. The reason behind this, this type of wood lathe will be favorable for big projects.

Variable speed options:

Many users find difficulty in changing the speed of the wood lathe. For variable speed, there are different options. For instance, you can change the speed by changing the pulley, by dials, and by adjusting tension. If you are comfortable with any of the methods you used already, you can go with that specific option.

However, if you are a beginner or looking for the easiest way to change the wood lathe’s speed, then go for the dial option. The other methods are also not so tough. You can perform all functions by getting instructions from the user manual.


It is also good to have a look at the weight of the wood lathe. The best wood lathe under 500 usually weighs around 100 pounds. Always pick a weight that you can manage, assemble, and disassemble easily.

Reverse Direction:

If you want a more advanced features wood lathe, then you can go for reverse function. However, many wood lathes don’t offer this feature. The reverse direction means you will flip the switch, and everything will go in the reverse order. This feature is excellent for cleaning wood lathe. Moreover, it offers more flexibility for your work.

FAQs on the best wood lathe under 500:

Should you wear gloves when using a lathe?

Every machine always has some kind of safety measures. There are hundreds of advantages of using a wood lathe. However, if you will not use it correctly and with safety guidelines, it can be a dangerous tool. Some safety guidelines are here that are necessary to consider.
1. Do not wear gloves
2. Do not wear metal jewelry or rings
3. Do not wear loose clothes
4. Always tie your hairs before working on the lathe

Why is lathe called the mother of all machines?

The lathe is the first tool used to remove unwanted material while rotating the workpiece against the tool. It was the first discovered machine, and now it leads to all other advanced machines’ innovation. Nowadays, the wood lathe is one of the most loved gadgets of woodcutters and pen turners.

Who discovered the Lathe machine?

Lathe machine was discovered by Henry Maud slay, a British innovator and engineer.


A wood lathe is an excellent gadget for woodcutters or anyone who loves making small objects from wood. The wood lathe will take your skills to another level of professionalism, and you will enjoy your work more than ever. However, it is necessary to pick the right product for your work. To help you choose the right choice, we give you a detailed review of the best wood lathe under 500 in 2021. Moreover, if you are a beginner and your first experience, then our buying guide of the best wood lathe is for you. We hope you will find our today review helpful and pick your favorite wood lathe from our 5 best recommendations.

Share on:

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

Leave a Comment