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In-Depth Review: Shop Fox W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Summary

Shop Fox W1704 1-3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
85 %
Review

Starting into the world of woodturning will require a reliable start-up wood lathe that is efficiently designed for intricate small-scale projects. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe is a great choice for me because of its compact and sturdy construction and a variable spindle speed that allows me a variety of small projects tackling on either soft or hard species of woods.

It comes with other adjustable features, which we will provide you in this review. It further aims to help you make a sound decision in choosing for the best bench top wood lathe for your woodturning needs.

We Like

  • Variable spindle speed
  • Ideal for turning pens and other small-scale projects
  • Durable and stable structure
  • Versatile features

We Don't Like

  • Limited for turning small tasks only
  • It does not include a hand wheel

Introduction

I have just gotten myself into woodworking and so far, I have been enjoying the job. I started working pens, bowls and wine bottle stoppers, and now moving into making vases, pots, and candle holders. Hopefully, very soon, I’ll be able to master doing projects like this so I can move on into doing bigger and more complicated tasks.

It is not an easy job, I must say. You have to be very careful with shaping every intricate detail. But as I am honing my manual woodturning skills, I am in the process enhancing my creativity.

My job has been smooth sailing, thanks to the benchtop lathe that I purchased upon several recommendations. It isn’t just any lathe, though, as I have the SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Bench Top Lathe. Although, I haven’t started this craft long enough to try other lathes, but for novice wood turner like me, its variable speed and versatile features are perfect for small intricate projects that use any density of wood material. The size may also come in handy as it makes it convenient to store and maintain.

Who Is It For?

This bench top wood lathe is specially designed to cater our needs for a specialized wood turner for small-scale jobs and tasks. Those who are starting to learn and doing DIY projects may opt for this particular model as it has just the right power to carry out small to medium jobs, yet at the same time has variable spindle speed and versatile features to deal with soft or hard materials.

This is a great initial wood lathe for starting small before finding your way with heavy duty and complicated tasks. It is small, easy to operate and can fit to any workbench. Jump-starting to large and highly-powered wood lathe may cause confusion and difficulty in operation and maneuver. Woodturning is a skill that needs hands-on preparatory practice with small projects before venturing to large-scale jobs.

Professionals may still be able to use this for jobs that will require small intricate details. This is great for turning, cutting and shaping pens, bowls, and other ornaments. It features a 5 ¾-inch faceplate which is typically used for items that cannot be aided by a tailstock. With its flexible usage, you can count on an efficient performance and convenience of use.

Buyer's Guide

Benchtop wood lathe is typically a kind of lathes that has smaller capacities as compared to other kinds. It, therefore, follows that it has lighter weight hence the need to be safely bolted or mounted to a stable workbench to reduce vibration. And because of its size, it is ideal for those with limited work space. It is your best bet for small spindle works and projects. And like any other lathes, it has these following advantages:

  • It can make detailed work and intricate designs.

Using lathes allow you to shape, cut and turn any materials to create artwork and designs. Benchtop lathes are best use for small-scale work, while there are models that are capable for heavy duty and more complicated intricacies and tasks. Either way, there is available lathe for any of your needs.

  • It is efficient to use.

As compare to doing it manually or using another tool, nothing beats the proficiency of using a lathe. It can perform a variety of tasks and can tackle any kind of materials as well, producing optimal results. And you can possibly make anything- small or large projects with it from pens, bowls, and candle holders, to furniture details, ornaments and more.

  • It saves a lot of your time.

This is related to the fact that using it offers you improved productivity, hence saving both time and effort. With the aid of a lathe, work is done smoothly and fast, without sacrificing outcome.

  • It provides consistency and accuracy.

You can rely on the fact that by using lathes, you can achieve the consistency of work and at the same time precision of every cuts, shapes, and detail. Its variable speed and other features can be adjusted to a range that your work requires for best results.

  • It is safe to use.

Using this kind of machine is safe and user-friendly. Most are conveniently made to be easy to use and operate that you don’t need to have a master’s degree in wood turning to know about its safety measures and usage.

Product Details

Shop Fox W1704 1-3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Description

Ideal, especially as a starter lathe, Shop Fox W1704 Bench Top Lathe, features a 1/3 horsepower and variable speed for a variety of DIY and small projects. It is typically smaller as compared to other lathes yet it is not in any way inferior when it comes to performance. It features 5 ¾-inch faceplate that is threaded into the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning. This may specifically come in handy for tasks that cannot be supported by tailstock. Beginners would especially like its features and convenience of use.

Product Information

  • Item Weight: 50.8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 1/3 HP
  • Voltage: 110 volts
  • Distance between centers: 12 inches
  • Swing over bed: 8 inches
  • Footprint: 23 3/8 by 5 ½ inches

Features & Benefits

  • Flexible Features

This benchtop wood lathe is reliable to use in a variety of tasks and projects. It features a 13-inch distance between centers and 8 inches swing over the bed to accommodate different and multiple kinds of turning jobs. It also includes both a 4 ½ and 7-inch tool rest for added versatility.

It also comes with a variable speed that ranges from 700 to 3200 revolutions per minute to work on both soft and hard wood materials.

  • Sturdy Construction

It is made of a durable cast iron and designed to fit neatly and accurately on a workbench. It is guaranteed to have the construction for longer and frequent use of turning, cutting and shaping pens and other small-scale woodturning projects.

  • Beginner’s Luck

Woodstock International has designed this particular model for an efficient use in small cutting and turning tasks, which ideally for those who are starting to learn and get the hang of woodturning. It is generally smaller than normal in size, yet no mistake because it is compact, stable and loaded with outstanding and versatile features.

Pros

  • Variable speed
  • It comes with a safety paddle switch
  • Ideal for small projects
  • Durable
  • Small and compact design

Cons

  • Accessories may be hard to find for this model
  • The tailstock may be a little sloppy
  • It does not come with a hand wheel

Reviews / Testimonials

To make sure that we have the best bench top lathe, getting feedbacks from its customers are an effective way to learn about its first-hand performance.

The majority of those who have tried and tested it was especially pleased with this benchtop lathe’s effectiveness in turning pens and other small projects. As most of them recommended, it is ideal for those who are starting to find their way into the art of woodturning. Though smaller in size, it is compact and durable. It will not hurt your wallet as well as it offers a good value for your money.

A little heads up on the tailstock, though, as you have to constantly make sure it is securely tightened because it can get a little sloppy. More than one customer also mentioned about the accessories being hard to find.

But with a desirable variable speed and reliable operation, this bench top lathe is an excellent beginner’s choice.

Alternative Choices

1) Grizzly G0624 Cast Iron Bench Top Wood Lathe

Powered by a ½ HP motor, this bench top wood lathe provides you plenty of power for any project or tasks. It is built with a durable heavy cast iron that can turn wood materials up to 10-inch wide and spindles up to 15 ½-inches long.

It has a six-speed selections- 480, 1,270, 1,960, 2,730, 3,327, and 4,023 RPM for flexibility and versatility to carry out any materials for any given job. Added with an optional Bed Extension and it will give you wider capacity and full sized lathe that can turn up to 38-inch between centers.

2) Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini Lathe

Largest mini lathe in the industry, Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini Lathe allows you to work on large pieces of materials, measuring 12 inches over the bed and 16 inches between centers. It has an increased capacity and features a 12-position index head that lets you lock the workpiece in multiple positions for precision especially on detailed works.

It is versatile as you can work in different speeds from 430 to 810, 1,230, 1,810, 2,670, and 3,900. Changing speed can be quickly done with its easy-access speed change feature and at the same time a locking arm and tension release lever for adjustment. A handy chart is provided to determine the spindle speed.

Other features include self-injecting tail stock, a flip-up handle for mobility, and nylon faceplate washer that keeps accessories from sticking to the spindle.

3) Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood Lathe

Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood Lathe has a measured swing over bed of 10 inches and 18 inches distance between centers. It is high in performance and can turn a wide variety of materials for different jobs as it is powered by ½ horsepower motor.

The speed can be adjusted depending on what the job requires. You can change from 826 to 1,205, 1,713, 2,422, and 3,337 RPM for increased versatility and productivity. This bench top wood lathe includes tool rest, live rolling center, spur center and wrenches. 

4) Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

Built to last, this bench top wood lathe is made of all cast iron for a more stable performance. It can turn bowls up to 10-inch diameter and spindles up to 15 ½ inch long may extend up to 38 inches with an optional W1753 extension bed. It features an adjustable tool rest, which can be adjusted to your preferred height and distance from the workpiece. It comes with a cam-action clamping system to safely secure it to the wood lathe bed.

For added flexibility, Shop Fox W1753 Mini Wood Lathe can offer you speed ranges of 480, 1270, 1960, 2730, 3327, 4800 RPM. Its cast iron tailstock can also be adjusted easily to accommodate up to 15 1/2-inch of workpieces.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Price

Grizzly G0624 Cast Iron Bench Top Wood Lathe

Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini Lathe

Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood Lathe

Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

The Final Cut

As you venture into woodturning, it is essential to find a wood lathe that is reliable to use and at the same time great for small-scale tasks and projects that you will be making. It should also be versatile to carry out different jobs and a variety of materials.

Overall, SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe is a great option because it has a variable spindle speed that allows you to adjust its setting depending on what the job requires for smooth and accurate results.

It is also made of durable material that may provide you with years of service. Its size and weight may come in handy as well, especially for a new breed of turners, as it makes it convenient to use and store.

Having said that, you can check for more details about this product by clicking here.

In-Depth Review: PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Summary

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe
75 %
Review

I think the price tag for this unit is more than fair and here's why. While there are other options on the market with similar specs, the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Mini Lathe (as its name suggests) remains a woodworking lathe specialist when it comes to cutting, shaping, grinding, sanding, and so forth of extra small work pieces that you can't cut, shape, grind, or sand with a huge rotary tool like a table saw or even a flexible band saw. This specialization in wooden work pieces makes it worth the price tag (on top of its proven durability).

We Like

  • The PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe has a ¾-HP motor that brings plenty of power and ensures the varying speeds have requisite mustard to their every rotation.
  • It's quite speedy too because it can go a low as 150 RPM to as high as 4,100 RPM depending on the stock or work piece you want rotated.
  • The belt is easily accessible and removable.
  • It comes with a tool storage rack and a digital readout to know the precise speed of your mini lathe unit for good measure.

We Don't Like

  • Some units are faulty according to some customers.
  • Units that do work have a mediocre metal finish and are expensive compared to comparable units with the same specs.

Introduction

I'm a woodworking hobbyist of sorts that only recently got firsthand experience in using different brands of lathes for the sake of turning. As expensive as the likes of PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe is, full-sized lathes or certain all-purpose lathes with high RPMs for metalworking end up being even more expensive at times. The price range is a good midway point between too cheap and too costly. Its extra bucks mainly serve to ensure quality.

Any mini work piece that's too small to cut, drill, sand, knurl, and so forth can be deal with by making the work piece spin around as you do things to it while it's spinning, the quick rotations allowing for any number of actions. Instead of the rotary tool spinning a drill bit or a saw blade unto a work piece to bore or cut through it, you'll instead spin the work piece itself on its axis at a radius of 1.5 to 3.5 inches or 38 to 89 millimeters as well as at a lathe swing range of 3-7 inches or 76-178 millimeters.

Who Is It For?

An excellent mini lathe  is capable of rotating your work piece in an axis for the sake of sanding, knurling, deforming, drilling, and grinding it. A lathe is a large device that handles similarly large work pieces, but a mini lathe instead deals with smaller pieces requiring detail work or nuanced and minute patterns that require you a magnifying glass to see. It's also excellent in model building, whether on making small furniture for a model ship or machining car parts for a model racecar.

Therefore, it's a must-have for miniature hobbyists on top of carpenters, wood sculptors, machinists, metal workers, and the like who wish to have an excellent detailing too for the smallest of work pieces that you'd otherwise have to carve manually with a needle or a box cutter. The mini lathe also sees usage in RC model racing, model railroading, microscopy, astronomy, and fine-detail machine parts creation or repair.

A mini lathe is a good all-purpose replacement for several different kinds of tools that grind, cut, and sand for any work piece that's too big for a hand tool or stationary equipment to deal with. It works similarly to a potter's wheel that spins a lump of mud around until you can shape it into a face. You can manipulate the spinning work piece in order for you to shape or alter it into anything you want. This explains why there are so many uses for the lathe and mini lathe in the first place.

Buyer's Guide

What Benefits Should This Mini Lathe Have?

Here are the benefits that a mini lathe should have.

  • Multipurpose Application

Your mini lathe should be capable of doubling as a sander, drill, cutter or saw, and grinder. Some micro lathes are better at certain applications than others. There are also lathes capable of doing everything equally excellent with the assistance of relevant attachments or accessories, but if you only want to use the lathe for one thing, these extras tend to be unneeded.

  • Machining Hard Materials

If you want a mini lathe that's capable of machining hard materials, then you're searching specifically for a metalworking lathe that's miniaturized. Hard materials that are broken up into small pieces are harder to break apart further due to their smallness. You need a mini lathe to cut or drill through them. A metal lathe allows you to remove material from a rotating work piece by linear movements on your cutting tools of choice.

  • Woodworking Specialist

A rigid machine tool made exclusively for machining metal through drill bits, tool bits, an the like might prove too powerful or too fast RPM-wise for wood, which unlike metal can crack or crumble under too much pressure. Wood isn't as malleable as metal either, necessitating a lathe that has just the right variable speed and design to deal with woodworking specifically.

Things to Consider When Buying a Mini Lathe

Here are the things you should leave into consideration when buying a mini lathe.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

If this mini lathe is similarly sized and only a little bit faster or heavier/lighter than the competition, why not just buy a $400-$500 mini lathe and deal with the small discrepancies so as to save a whopping $1,100 to $1,200? Sometimes, it's because those differences can spell the difference between excellent work and mediocre to inconsistent work.

  • Potential Applications

Some owners use the mini lathe in order to make parts and special tools for specific work, projects, or long-term jobs. There are also hobbyists who regularly make things that are useful in and of itself, like a brass lamp. Regardless, the many uses and capabilities of the lathe should open you up to a realm of possibilities, many of them in the realm of production and creation.

  • Extras

A mini lathe product could contain various accessories and attachments that you may or may not need. Unless you absolutely need just the lathe itself and you already have tools for it in your shop, the extras found in the box could influence your buying decision significantly. It could contain knockout bars, spur center, live center, spindle lock assembly, tool rest, adjustment wrench, and tool holder.

Product Details

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Description

The PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe is excellent for working with wood, metal, or plastic that you can't ordinary drill with a power drill, cut with a power saw, or grind with a grinder or sander because it rotates the work piece itself on its access as you hold up a tool bit and let it chisel the material away. It's also specifically designed to excel in wood-related applications.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 40 x 19 x 14 inches
  • Item Weight: 89.5 pounds
  • Top Speed: 4,100 RPM
  • Horsepower: ¾ HP
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Features & Benefits

  • Specific Woodworking Features

PSI is a respectable tool with incredible value that has specs such as its ¾-HP motor, its 150 RPM to 4,100 RPM range, and its ball-bearing tail stock center that ensures you don't end up splitting the wood you're manipulating because of its firm yet controlled grip and proper application of force. That's why woodworkers love this product.

  • Its Size Can Be Adjusted in Accordance to the Job

It has a decent size of 40 x 19 x 14 inches that covers most lathe-related work, but you can extend it further with an extension bed so that it can come with table legs and the stability of a stationary rotary tool. This way, there are plenty of toy parts and pens to turn or sculptures to sculpt with this sizeable and versatile lathe. Its normal size is usually enough to get the job done.

  • Shifting Gears for Variable Speed

While other lathes are unstable and inconsistent when shifting speeds, you have a more stable speed shift thanks to the device having 2 belt positions. One belt serves as the lower gear of 500 RPM to 1,800 RPM and the other belt allows you to go 1,000 RPM to 3,800 RPM. You can go even higher or lower than those gears, but these speeds are the most likely ones you'll encounter in everyday woodworking.

Pros

  • ¾-HP motor capable of going from 150 RPM to 4,100 RPM (as seen on the digital readout).
  • Reliable pinpoint control is achieved through the mini lathe's propriety SBC microprocessor technology.
  • You can lock the spindle and go through 24 indexing positions to boot.
  • The unit is portable thanks to its carrying handles.
  • You can easily access and remove the belt as needed.
  • Tool storage room allows you to store away chisels, drill bits, and the like.
  • You can see the intricacies of your work with the assistance of the work light.

Cons

  • Some customers ended up with mini lathe units that lasted only a month of use.
  • There are units where the readout doesn't work at all.

Reviews / Testimonials

Alternative Choices

Here are the alternative choices you have in terms of mini lathe.

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

The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe compares poorly to the PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe, but not significantly so. It's only a few inches smaller than the TCLC10VS, plus in certain dimensions it actually is bigger by an inch or three. The RIKON also weighs less than the PSI by 1.9 pounds. It even has weaker ½-HP motor and a slower top speed at 3,900 RPM or about 200 RPM slower than the RIKON's 4,100 RPM.

However, the RIKON still has a higher satisfaction rating. Long story short, the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe offers more speed and power than comparable mini lathes at a lower price thanks to its bigness relative to its class of lathe (a bigger lathe allows for a bigger motor). Alas, there are some lathes that are even bigger than the RIKON and thusly offers better torque and speed (like the PSI TCLC10VS).

2) Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

In regards to the Nova 46301 Comet II, it's like the midway or transitional lathe between the superior 4,100-RPM PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Mini Lathe and the 3,900-RPM RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe. It has a 4,000 RPM top speed, it weighs 89.5 pounds, and it's the second or third smallest mini lathe next to the Signwise or Mophorn lathe. However, the Nova mini lathe has about the same price as the PSI. 

It even kind of looks like the TCLC10VS. So you need to make a judgment call. Are you willing to pay $1,500 to $2000 on a product with lower specs than the PSI when they're priced the same? At least with the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe, the specs can be justified with the more-than-halved price. Nevertheless, the Comet II has higher ratings, which means it's less likely you'll get damaged goods from Nova.

3) Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe

As for the Mophorn Metal Lathe, it has the same ratings as Nova 46301, the lowest top speed on the list (that it shares with the Grizzly G8688), a comparable size to the RIKON and Nova mini lathes, and a weight that's probably the heaviest on this list (92 pounds or 0.6 pounds more than the RIKON lathe). The high Amazon.com ratings promise you that you're less likely to get a bad deal or a flimsy product at the doorstep.

On the other hand, the ratings are subject to change once more and more customers begin availing of this particular brand of mini lathe. What's more, the PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe blows it away in every way and aspect possible. Is it too heavy for you to use or is its heaviness an asset in terms of mitigating vibration in exchange for less portability? Also, it has a competitive price but not as low as the Rikon, but low enough to make it a viable alternative.

4) Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine 

The Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Lathe is the lowest rated yet most powerful mini lathe on this review. It's also the most "mini" or smallest and lightest mini lathe available on this list of alternatives (while if you include the PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe in the conversation, the PSI is the largest mini lathe of them all). The good news is that the low ratings come from only four customers reviewing this piece of equipment. One bad review has more impact with fewer reviews available.

It delivers a whopping 20,000 RPM of rotational speed. However, you can feel free to be concerned in regards to such a smaller 7-pound mini lathe delivering over 20,000 RPM of speed when bigger and badder lathes go more on the 2,500 to 4,100 RPM range. To be more specific, it's not out of the question to fear instability or vibration from a high-RPM mini lathe that's so comparatively petite compared to other fellow lathes.

5) Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

For a lathe that's called "Grizzly", the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe underperforms compared to the true beast of this list, the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Mini Lathe and its 4,100 RPM of speed and ¾ HP of motor power. In fairness, the Grizzly mini lathe and the PSI mini lathe do share the same Amazon.com rating, which might mean they have the same level of quality control to coincide with their amount of satisfied customers.

The Grizzly G8688 shares the same top speed as the Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe. It also has comparable dimensions or size to the Nova 46301 Comet II and the Mophorn Metal Lathe. It also weighs a little under what the TCLC10VS weighs at 89.2 pounds. Finally, it's only more expensive than the RIKON 70-100 but less expensive than the Mophorn. Just remember that prices are subject to change.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

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

Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe

Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine 

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

The Final Cut

Even with its price tag, the PSI TCLC10VS Mini Lathe is worth every penny because it's practical and filled with features. The requisite standard features like the variable speeds are there. You also have high-tech metrics in the form of a digital readout. It even features ¾-HP motor that brings extra torque to every rotation. It has a lot going for it.

You will not have problems shifting from one speed to another or even going from one gear to the next to allow for high-powered or low-powered speeds. Finding a reasonably priced mini lathe can be a steal but is it necessarily worth the risk of getting a low-grade lathe when a few hundred dollars can give you the guarantee of excellence? What's more, the TCLC10VS outdoes its competition with extras such as work lights, digitized readouts, and the SBC microprocessor that keeps the speed consistent.

In-Depth Review: RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe

Summary

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe
85 %
Review

The thing that I like about the Rikon Mini Lathe is that it claims to be the largest mini lathe (or one of the largest) available. That might sound as contradictory as getting the largest ant or the biggest microbe, but it does have its uses are far as my woodworking hobby is concerned.

The main point of a lathe is to be small so that it can cut, grind, or drill a smaller work piece that you can't do anything with bigger power tools. However, the advantage of having a big yet still small mini lathe is that it's big for its class of tool, allowing it to have more power than smaller, weaker lathes. I find that the Rikon Mini Lathe has been an excellent tool to work with, and with reasonable prices that I was able to find online, I'm not one to complain.

We Like

  • The motor is decently powerful at ½ HP.
  • This mini lathe is one of the largest mini lathes ever made, allowing for heavy duty work for bigger work pieces.
  • Intuitive variable speed trigger is easily accessible so that it's quite easy to go from one speed to the next depending on the application.
  • Tail stock is able to eject itself so that you won't need to remove the center with the assistance of a knockout bar and the like.
  • There's 2½-inch travel for the laser-engraved ram as well as the multiple extension capabilities.

We Don't Like

  • Poor tech support and reports of certain units breaking down.

Introduction

A lathe is any tool that rotates a work piece on its axis to grind, drill, deform, cut, knurl, or sand it down. Obviously, a mini lathe is the miniature version of a lathe. Also known as a micro lathe, the mini lathe mostly exists in order to allow woodworkers with workshops to afford them. They're also handy in grinding, cutting, drilling, or sanding smaller work pieces that are too hard or too small to deal with using ordinary power or manual hand tools.

It's the same deal with work pieces that are too soft or too brittle to drill, sand, slice, and what-have-you as well. The mini lathe is excellent for working with wood, metal, or plastic that you can't ordinary drill with a power drill, cut with a power saw, or grind with a grinder or sander. This type of lathe swings at a range of 3 inches to 7 inches or 76 millimeters to 178 millimeters. In radius terms, that's a 1.5-3.5-inch or 38-89-millimeter radius, for your information.

Instead of having a spinning saw or grinder get into contact with a work piece, you instead attach the mini lathe onto your miniature work piece and have it spin on its axis instead to manipulate or alter it in any way you see fit. These lathes are commonly put in MRO or home workshops because they're no larger than your typical power or rotary tool.

Who Is It For?

This work-piece-rotating tool is made for and used by glass workers, parts reclamation workers, thermal spraying workers, metal spinning workers, metalworkers, and woodworkers. The larger version of the lathe work mostly with doubling as a power drill, sander, saw, or chisel except this time it's the work piece that's spun around rather than the drill bit, saw blade, or some other rotary contact piece.

The most well-known lathes are used by potters and are known as the potter's wheel. The spinning disc used on wet mud so that you can mold it into a pot is a lathe. Meanwhile, metalworkers used metalworking lathes in order to screw threads or helices, plane surfaces, or produce most solids of revolution. A mini version of such a lathe allows you to do the same things and more for smaller metals that are virtually indestructible otherwise with larger power tool. Ever tried flattening a screw with a hammer? It's the same principle.

The miniature lathe is made to create an object with symmetry in regards to its axis of rotation using smaller work pieces that are usually too small to either cut in half with a table saw (or even band saw) or grind down with a grinder. In order to do some turning, facing, deformation, drilling, knurling, sanding, and cutting with this mini work piece, you need a mini work tool like the mini lathe.

Buyer's Guide

What Benefits Should This Mini Lathe Have?

A mini lathe should have the following benefits.

  • Detail Work

You should have a mini lathe capable of detail work, preferably one with a 12-position indexing head. This enables you to lock the work piece in various positions to improve the precision of your work when doing details and intricate nuances in patterns. This advanced type of lathe is dependable for layouts, drilling, grooving, and straight fluting.

  • Time Saving

A mini lathe should save you time and effort. Features such as a self-ejecting tail will help you streamline your work because you won't need a knockout bar to remove the center. This will spare you frustration, wasted time, and the like. A mini lathe can also save you time in the form of a powerful motor that spins the work piece faster.

  • User-Friendliness

A mini lathe can demonstrate its user-friendliness in many ways, including a flip-up handle for easy portability, a tool holder at the back of the unit to give you access to knockout bars and centers, variable speed setting that's easy to operate, a self-ejecting tail to allow for center removal without the use of a knockout bar, a nylon face plate washer to prevent accessories from sticking to the spindle, and easy self-explanatory operation of the machine itself.

Things to Consider When Buying a Mini Lathe

Remember the following before buying your own mini lathe.

  • What is it for?

What are you going to use your mini lathe for? Do you want to grind, drill, deform, cut, knurl, or sand it down? Are you a woodworker, metalworker, factory worker, construction worker, or amateur hobbyist that grinds small work pieces for the sake of DIY home improvement or wood sculpting for a workshop?

  • What is your budget?

A mini lathe is a hefty investment. In particular, the RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe is approximately $400 to $500. Some mini lathes can be as expensive as $1,600 or as low as more than $500. Many of these lathes fall within the $400-$500 range. Which one should you go with? The ones that make the most sense to you budget-wise.

  • What's in the box of a given mini lathe product?

The average mini lathe package that isn't just a bare tool or something that only contains the unit itself should include the spindle lock assembly, spur center, live center, 8-inch tool rest, adjustment wrench, the owner's manual, pan head screw, tool holder, and knockout bar/s. The amount of useful extras and accessories you can get from a given mini lathe kit should influence whether you should buy it or not.

Product Details

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe

Description

The main claim to fame of the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe is that it allows you to do more with less space. All mini lathes are supposed to be small, but the compactness of this lathe (which ironically is the biggest mini lathe of its class) allows it to use its inherent smallness to its advantage while at the same time using its bigness for a mini lathe to provide bigger or stronger outputs (like a 12-inch swing and 16-inch swing between centers) compared to its smaller brethren or competing counterparts.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 33.8 x 18 x 11.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 91.4 pounds
  • Top Speed: 3,900 RPM
  • Horsepower: ½ HP
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Features & Benefits

  • Powerful Motor and Variable Speed

For a mini lathe, a ½-HP motor is significantly powerful, especially when you consider how the machine is able to perfectly transfer that power in terms of rotational speed. Meanwhile, the unit can also vary its speed so that you can go from somewhere as low as 430 RPM or as high as 3,900 RPM depending on how small or tough your work piece is.

  • Self-Ejecting Tail

Arguably the piece de resistance or most remarkable feature of the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe is its self-ejecting tail. The tail of this unit ejects on its own so that the center can be removed without you using the knockout bar, thus saving you time and effort of removal. This on top of the fact that the ram can travel up to 2½ inches allows you to move the tail stock along the lathe belt by simply unscrewing the locking lever then locking it at a more favorable position.

  • Multiple Extensions, Adjustable Working Height, and Multiple Size Tool Rests and Face Plates

The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe is also known for how you can customize or tailor the unit to suit your specific lathing requirements. You can adjust the height to go with the size of the work piece or vary the tool rests, face plates, and extensions to accomplish different tasks or vary the results.

Pros

  • The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe includes a ½-HP motor that can spin and grind even the toughest and smallest of work pieces.
  • You can add various extensions to this device in order to extend its possible applications.
  • The laser-engraved ram includes a 2½-inch travel.
  • The tail stock self-injects so that there's no need to bust out the knockout bar for center removal.
  • You can easily change the speed from different speed ranges (430 RPM, 810 RPM, 1,230 RPM, 1,810, 2,670 RPM, and 3,900 RPM).

Cons

  • The Rikon tech support is quite poor.
  • Some units were received as already damaged by a number of customers.

Alternative Choices

Here are your alternatives to the RIKON 70-100.

1) PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

The PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS is favorably comparable to the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe in terms of size and dimensions (give or take an inch), weight (it's lighter at 89.5 pounds, but not by much compared to the 70-100's 91.4 pounds), and speed (the top speed of the TCLC10VS is at 91.4 pounds while the RIKON 70-100 can only go up to 3,900 RPM).

Then again, the TCLC10VS is more than twice the expensiveness of the mini lathe, so for all those slight discrepancies in size, weight, and speed, the PSI mini lathe should at least be twice as effective at its job as the RIKON mini lathe to justify its more-than-doubled price. It certainly does help that it has ¾ HP while the RIKON one is ½ HP (¾ is more than ½ or )

2) Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

As for the Nova 46301, it's also close in terms of specs to the RIKON 70-100 the way the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS is. It's only slightly smaller by a few inches or so. It's way lighter at 81 pounds or about a 10.4-pound discrepancy. Its top speed is at 4,000 RPM, which is better than the RIKON 70-100 by 100 RPM but less than the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS by also 100 RPM.

It checks out that the Nova 46301 is a little better than the RIKON 70-100 at everything, but not by huge margins. However, it has the same price as the TCLC10VS, so if you want more bang for your buck, the RIKON choice makes more sense.

3) Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe Variable Speed 

As for the Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe, you have a mini lathe that's a bit smaller than the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe in terms of dimensions. Also, at 92 pounds of weight, the Mophorn mini lathe is about 0.6 heavier than the RIKON mini lathe. However, in terms of top speed, the Mophorn milling machine is at a low 2,500 RPM versus the much faster rotations of the RIKON at 3,900 RPM. Also, RIKON has a higher review rating to boot.

On the bright side, it has a ¾ HP motor just like the PSI TCLC10VS, but the TCLC10VS is still superior thanks to its 4,100 RPM top speed. Also, the Mophorn costs approximately $500 to $600, which means the RIKON mini lathe is superior to it in terms of top speed and pricing. However, both the RIKON and Mophorn lathes offer better pricing than the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS and the Nova 46301 Comet II.

4) Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine 

The Signswise Mini Metal Lathe is a curious case. It is way smaller than the self-proclaimed biggest mini lathe around, the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe (although the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS is slightly bigger). Almost more than half the size as many of the mini lathes on this list. Furthermore, it has a whopping 20,000 RPM speed, which means it's designed specifically to work on the hardest metal work pieces.

It's easily five times faster with its top speed compared to all the heavier mini lathes on this list. It only gets a 3.5-star rating mostly because it compares itself to a different class of mini metal lathe and only four people reviewed it, so even just one negative review has more impact on its overall score compared to a unit that's been reviewed by tens or hundreds of people.

5) Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

The Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe is also a metal lathe like the Signswise Mini Metal Lathe Machine, but it's more comparable to the Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe with their shared speed of 2,500 RPM. Obviously, the Mophorn and Grizzly metal mini lathes belong to a slower and larger class of metal lathe. This is reflected also with its 89.2 pounds of weight.

The Grizzly indeed has a comparable size that's close to the sizes of the rest of the lathes on this list (the Signswise mini lathe is the exception because it's the smallest yet fastest lathe of them all). In terms of how the Grizzly G8688 compares to the RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe, it's about the same as the Mophorn mini lathe. It has a lighter weight yet slower top speed than the 70-100. 

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe Variable Speed

Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

The Final Cut

It's also capable of rotating the work piece on its axis with varying speeds of430 RPM, 810 RPM, 1,230 RPM, 1,810, 2,670 RPM, and 3,900 RPM. You can raise the speed depending on what sort of material you're working with (could be wood, metal, or plastic).

The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe is also a versatile kind of mini lathe filled with accessory options that enable you to get more out of your investment because every last accessory allows you to do more mini lathe applications, maintain the integrity of your power tool, and streamline your mini-lathe-related operations in ways that a bare-tool mini lathe unit cannot.

In-Depth Review: Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

Summary

Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle
90 %
Review

The Nova 46301 Comet II Mini Lathe compares favorably to many of its competitors, with specs comparable to those that are cheaper or slightly more expensive than this machine. The unit is only smaller by a few inches compared to other min lathes and it can even be lighter than some of them. Most importantly, it really performs at peak 4,000 RPM or even its low 250 RPM for big work pieces or stock, lending credence to its versatility when all is said and done.

From the results, reliability and the joy I got from using this, I highly recommend purchasing it (check here for the lowest price) if you are planning your next woodworking project.

We Like

  • Nova 46301 Comet II has a ¾-HP motor that can vary its speed from 250 RPM to 4,000 RPM, making it one of the fastest and most powerful mini lathes available that isn't a metal mini lathe.
  • The machine's slowest speed is ideal for dealing with larger detailing projects with big stock or work pieces.
  • You can use a bed extension accessory to expand the swing capacity to 41.5 inches. The normal swing capacity is 12 inches and the between center capacity is 16.5 inches.
  • You're given the ultimate amount of flexibility to make any piece of wood into a thimble or bed post.

We Don't Like

  • Issues include the tailstock quill threads binding up, adjustable feet that are barely used, the location of the switch for varying speed, and belt slippage.

Introduction

A mini or micro lathe like this keeps you from crumbling a soft-material work piece into dust or allows you to penetrate to smallish yet dense stock from hardwoods or hard metals. These lathes are regularly seen in places like workshops for woodworking and metalworking. Any work piece that's too small to knurl, sand, drill, cut, and grind into smaller pieces by a hand tool or tabletop tool can be rotated via a micro lathe to shape or manipulate it any way you want.

You typically use a chisel or a drill on the spinning work piece as it spins in order to properly shape it. It's like a potter's wheel, except this time instead of mud that you're supposed to form into a wet pot that you dry in hardness you can instead carve up a work piece as it spins on its axis care of your lathe.  Lathe rotation keeps you from wearing down drill bits, blades, and chisels since it's the work piece that's being worn down more and is directly connected to the unit's powerful motor.

Who Is It For?

Mini lathes are used mainly by woodworkers unless you get a metalwork mini lathe instead with a decent to high top speed (up to 20,000 RPM in some units or 4,000 RPM on average). There are also lathes that can cater to both metalworkers and woodworkers thanks to their speed range (slower RPMs are best used for woodworking and faster ones do well with metal materials). This micro lathe or miniaturized lathe also gets loads of uses from machinists, wood sculptors, carpenters, factory maintenance, mechanics, and construction workers.

It's also used in fine-detail machine part repair or manufacturing, astronomy, microscopy, model railroading, and RC model racing. Both professionals and dedicated hobbyists make extensive use of this device that most of the masses don't even know exists. It's mainly utilized for the sake of doing detail work on small work pieces that you can't accurately cut with a bench top, tabletop, or handheld rotary tool any longer, necessitating a device that spins the stock itself instead of a drill bit, saw, or chisel. You can specifically do grinding, drilling, deforming, knurling, sanding, and cutting with a mini lathe or rotational device for work pieces.

Buyer's Guide

What Benefits Should This Mini Lathe Have?

Here are the benefits that a mini lathe should have.

  • All-Purpose Applications

As mentioned above, your average mini lathe should be capable of doubling as a grinder, saw, cutter, drill, sander, and the like even though it rotates the work piece itself rather than putting a rotating tool bit on the surface of a work piece. There are micro lathes that are superior at, for example, cutting or grinding than all the other applications. Choose in accordance to your needs.

  • Specializing in Woodworking

A mini lathe should specifically specialize in grinding, drilling, deforming, knurling, sanding, and cutting small work pieces with the right amount of speed and RPM to avoid the downsides mentioned above. They can also include various accessories and attachments that help you to further manipulate a given work piece in every way possible. It should be able to do detailing work in low RPM settings and cut through the smallest and densest of hardwoods at its highest RPM setting.

  • Hard Metal Machining

You can use a metalworking mini lathe in order to shape solids, plane surfaces, and screw helices or threads. A metal micro lathe can't work with a wooden work piece because its high RPM could cause it to burn, break, splinter, or crumble unlike in the case of metal or some other similarly hard surface. It's a unit that should take into account the high melting point and malleability of metal. A mini lathe is useful for breaking metal work pieces so small they're otherwise indestructible.

Things to Consider When Buying a Mini Lathe

Here are the things you should leave into consideration when buying a mini lathe.

  • Ensure Cost-Effectiveness

For some, it's more practical to buy a $400-$500 mini lathe with only the slightest discrepancies in terms of specs compared to something that costs $1,000 or more. For others, they'd rather not take the chance and get the best micro lathe that money can buy for $1,450 to $1,460 in order to get that 4,000 RPM average. Still others might view a small $200 to $250 mini lathe a steal thanks to its high 20,000 RPM setting for metalworking.

  • Extra Accessories versus Bare-Tool

You can either avail of a bare-tool or tool-only product featuring just the mini lathe itself or get everything complete with trimmings because you can't be bothered with hunting for useful accessories that are sold separately. These extra accessories include the tool holder, adjustment wrench, spindle lock assembly, live center, spur center, knockout bars, and much more.

  • Know the Potential Uses of the Lathe

By default and by nature, all mini lathes that are worth their salt can be used for different purposes. They're naturally multipurpose pieces of equipment. However, in turn, some types or classes of micro lathe are better at certain applications than others. Be aware of what you're going to use the machine for (like making a brass lamp or machining a spare part for your RC racecar) to narrow down the best possible mini lathe for you.

Product Details

Nova 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Bundle

Description

The Nova 46301 Comet II Mini Lathe is a lathe that comes with a ¾-HP motor, variable speed ranging from 250 to 4,000 RPM, and the Nova G3 COMET II Reversible Chuck for better lathe action that's precise and controllable. Other lathes may have 1-HP motors, but they're usually more expensive and lack the quality control guarantees that the Comet II has (which allowed it to get high Amazon.com ratings in the first place).

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 33 x 9 x 18 inches
  • Item Weight: 81 pounds
  • Top Speed: 4,000 RPM
  • Horsepower: ¾ HP
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Features & Benefits

  • Best Technical Specs

Few mini lathes can match this unit's variable speed range of 250 RPM to 4,000 RPM on a ¾-HP electric motor, and even those that can go up to 20,000 RPM tend to have vibration issues due to their size-to-power discrepancy.

  • Swing and Center Capacity

You're able to turn various woodworking projects thanks to the 12-inch swing capacity of this device over its bed, which you can expand to 41 inches through an extension. Meanwhile, the center capacity is 16.5 inches for good measure.

  • Versatility and Ease of Use

The Nova Comet II also scores high in terms of versatility thanks to its myriad of features and extras, its inherent specifications that fall within the standards of a topnotch mini lathe, and its ability to turn work pieces such as bowls.

  • Ruggedness

This unit is known to be rugged and stable compared to larger machines with more moving parts. It's built to last in light of all the metal used on it to ensure survival even when faced with heavy-duty usage.

Pros

  • The Nova 46301 Comet II features an industry-standard 4,000 RPM top speed that can go as low as 250 RPM to handle turning bigger work pieces as well.
  • It weighs 81 pounds and has a decent lengthy size, which means it's one of the lightest mini lathes around without sacrificing stability for the sake of mobility.
  • There's quite a lot of torque behind its quick rotations thanks to its ¾-HP motor.
  • Saves you space with its size dimensions and inherent portability.
  • Your finish is assured topnotch thanks to the forward and reverse switch.

Cons

  • Some units arrive with damage to the bed and won't turn on.
  • Other units last only two months and have issues in terms of belt slippage and the binding of tailstock quill threads.

Alternative Choices

Here are the alternatives you have to the Nova 46301 Comet II Mini Lathe.

1) PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe is a few inches bigger than the Nova 46301 Comet II, but it's definitely outdone in terms of top speed (3,900 RPM versus 4,000 RPM), being lightweight (91.4 pounds versus 81 pounds), which implies more people were satisfied by the Nova 46301 and had fewer returns of purchase due to quality control faults.

What's more, the 70-100 has a weaker ½-HP motor so you have less torque to go with the slower 3,900 RPM. However, when all is said and done, there are still people who are willing to buy the RIKON 70-100 over the Nova 46301 Comet II because of the price.

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

Regarding the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Mini Lathe, it's many inches bigger than the Nova 46301 Mini Lathe dimension-wise (40 inches versus 33 inches, for example). The PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS also outdoes its Nova counterpart in terms of its top speed of 4,100 RPM (but not by much, since the Comet II has a 4,000 RPM top speed). However, the TCLC10VS has a wider speed range than the 46301 and even has its own guide light to boot.

To be more specific, the Comet II goes from 250 RPM to 4,000 RPM while the PSI Woodworking Mini Lathe goes from 150 RPM to 4,100 RPM. The point goes to the PSI lathe in that regard. Even in terms of pricing, the TCLC10VS comes out as the winner versus Nova 46301 Mini Lathe. Why spend more on the Nova when you can get so much more with the PSI? 

3) Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe Variable Speed

The Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe has less-than-impressive specs compared to the previous two. It has a comparable size to the Nova 46301 Mini Lathe but its heavier than the Nova at 92 pounds (it's slightly heavier than the Rikon lathe too). It falls behind in terms of top speed as well, mustering only 2,500 RPM as a maximum setting (same as the Grizzly G8688).

However, the Mophorn shares the same rating as the Nova 46301 Comet II, but with one caveat. Only five people have reviewed this lathe, so take their opinions with a grain of salt and be aware that overenthusiastic reviews by a small group of people don't reveal as much as a high or low rating from at least dozens of customers. The sampling in this case is too small.

4) Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine 

The Signswise Mini Lathe Machine is an unusual lathe that's on a different class of lathe as the Nova 46301 Comet II. While the Nova and even the PSI mini lathes are probably capable of turning metal work pieces, the Signswise Mini Lathe is more up to the task because it's specifically made to deal with metals, as evidenced by its significantly high 20,000 RPM.

On the other hand, the Signwise unit is also significantly smaller and lighter than the Nova 46301 Mini Lathe or any of the other alternative lathe machines on this list. It only weighs 7.2 pounds and has literally less than half the size of the other, bigger mini lathes. It might be more prone to shaking and instability thanks to this fact, but it's affordably priced.

5) Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch

Last but not least is the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe. It's honestly more of a Teddy Bear than a Grizzly Bear with its 2,500 RPM top speed (which is comparable to the Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe). Its size is more or less the same as all the rest of the mini lathes on this list with the exception of the Signswise Mini Metal Working Lathe (which is the smallest mini lathe of the alternative lathes in discussion but offers the fastest rotational speed of 20,000 RPM).

The unit weighs about 89.2 pounds, which is also about average for the rest of the mini lathes on this list save again for the Signswise Metal Lathe, which appears to be in a different class of lathe altogether.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

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

Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe Variable Speed

Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe Machine 

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch

The Final Cut

The Comet II 46300 from Nova is an updated version of a previous best-seller of a mini lathe that improves upon all of its major selling points. It's a relatively affordable lathe for its size and anything less affordable than its price tend to have inferior specs, a lower speed cap, 10 pounds or so heavier, and the like. The extra payment guarantees you have a better product when all is said and done. Essentially, it's like the Nova Comet II is what you get when you combine the PSI's top specs and the lower specs of RIKON 70-100. It's like the medium Coke to their small and large Coke, in other words.

In-Depth Review: JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe

Summary

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
95 %
Review

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is a personal choice among the many options available because it is versatile with optimally designed speed that ranges from 60 to 3600 RPM to use for any type of wood and various jobs. It is also convenient to use and operate with its quick belt change mechanism.

That may seem easy for me to say, hence this review will provide you needed information about this variable speed wood lathe.  And perhaps as we go on, you may find this the best choice for you as well.

We Like

  • Variable speed
  • High in power
  • Optimally designed speed range
  • Quiet

We Don't Like

  • Variable speed control can be sensitive to touch
  • Some parts are made of plastic material

Introduction

What started as a hobby, my love for woodturning have grown and now become a business and a career. I used to make these wooden decorative pieces for home use and gift to friends until I had more than enough of these items just sitting at home that I thought of sharing my love of wooden art to others as well.

Having a variable speed wood lathe is essential to my work as it does everything easy and efficient for me. I bought the JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe to replace my old one that was broken, which I am glad that it did because otherwise, I will not be able to discover the greatness of my new Jet wood lathe. The variable speed is flawless and very useful, plus it comes with other innovative feature that just perfectly fits for me.

Who Is It For?

Every woodturners, carpenter or even hobbyist should have a variable speed wood lathe in his or her toolbox. Professionals especially use it for a variety of uses. It is essential to use in both big and small jobs because of its sturdy and stable construction that can carry out even heavy-duty tasks. It is versatile that it allows you to adjust it to your desired speed that is required for a particular project. And because sometimes it is inconvenient to have several kinds of turners used in different materials, this one power tool can do all the work for you. Some high-end models come with an innovative and full feature to ensure you have the best and productive experience.

Even beginners and those who use it for DIY purposes will find this hassle free and convenient that you will be inspired to make more projects. There are models that are smaller in size and are portable, thereby making it easy to use and be transferred when necessary. Most of us also worry about wanting to have all tools but don't have a huge space to store. That will not be a problem as you can choose models that are midi, compact and space saving ideal for limited areas.

Buyer's Guide

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Wood Lathe

Whether you will turn pens, home wood décor or table legs, choosing only the best wood lathe should be a primary concern. And since we understand the market is bursting with options, we have to be wise in picking which one to buy. Here are the following points that you might want to consider before making the purchase

  • Power

This determines the extent of performance and capacity of a wood lathe. Make sure to pick one with high power that can carry all desired tasks especially if you ought to be making some heavy-duty and complex jobs. The best wood lathes are those that can turn any kind of materials.

  • Speed

Variable speed is essential for a wood lathe especially in doing several tasks and working with a variety of materials. This feature allows you to adjust the machine to a particular speed that will be required for the job to achieve optimal results. This is considering that every job may require specific range.

  • Durability

In any tools and machines, a sturdy construction that can withstand even the toughest job should be a primary consideration. It should also be able to stand even the frequent use and handling. And with a durable composition, a wood lathe can tackle turning and cutting even on grainy and hard materials uninterruptedly.

  • Storage

Some wood lathes are designed to be small and compact in size to accommodate the need of some customers for easy storage and maximizing space. So if you have a limited area, it will not be a problem as you will surely find one that will fit your requirements.

  • Usage

It is necessary to first assess your need for the job or projects. If you will only use it for small DIY tasks, then you might want to consider small and mini wood lathes that can carry small to medium jobs. But if you ought to use it for heavy duty jobs, then you should be opting for high-powered and optimal variable speed wood lathes. This will allow you to have the best value for your money and maximize its use.

  • Materials Used

Generally, common wood lathes are best to use on normal wood types, unless you will be undertaking uneven, dense or very coarse material, then you should single out your choices for heavy duty models and features for best results.

Product Details

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe

Description

With an optimally designed variable speed, JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe comes with innovative and convenient features for all your needs. Its unparalleled control component is one of its best features that make it a preferred choice for beginners and experienced woodturners.

Product Information

  • Item Weight: 137 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:32.8 x 14.6 x 21.2 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Cord Length: 4 feet
  • Number of Handles: 6
  • Speed: 3600 RPM

Features & Benefits

  • Versatile and unparalleled speed control

One of the outstanding features of this wood lathe is its versatility. This can be attributed to its variable speed that ranges from 60 to 3600 RPM. This allows you to use this tool for a variety of jobs and projects using different kinds of wood materials.

Aside from allowing you to have the upper hand control and adjustment on its speed, it also comes with 24 integrated indexing positions for an improved performance and productivity.

  • Convenient belt system

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is designed with a patent-pending propriety feature or an innovative ratchet style belt tension system. This allows a quick and easy belt change, thus saving you time and effort.

  • Reversible Mechanism

This wood lathe is built with a unique feature which is a reverse mechanism that allows easy and smooth transition of wood on the opposite side using a reverse setting. Through this, you will not need to take the wood out and turn in around to work on the other side.

Pros

  • Variable speed
  • It is designed with a digital speed control
  • It exudes plenty of power
  • Versatile
  • Smooth and quiet to use

Cons

  • Some parts like the belt speed adjustment access hole is made of thin plastic
  • The digital speed control may interfere with the AM radio signal

Reviews / Testimonials

Knowing how the product appealed to its customers is essential in the decision process as it can provide you with details of its actual performance.

The customer reviews in Amazon has earned this variable speed wood lathe an outstanding product rating in average, which only goes to show that a large number of its customers were greatly pleased and satisfied with this product.

What was most noteworthy from several feedbacks was the fact that has plenty of power and wide speed range that makes it versatile and efficient to use. Several customers also mentioned the easy process to change the belt as it makes this wood lathe convenient aside from its already great performance. It is smooth to use and most especially quiet. And the digital variable speed control is also a thoughtful and useful addition to its features.

You have to be careful with the variable speed control though, and make sure it is adjusted securely because if not, it jumps to the setting unintentionally. It is a little sensitive that it turns even with a slight touch and little movement.  It was also suggested that manufacturer should consider replacing some parts with durable material as its good attributes would definitely deserve better than thin plastic.

But other than that, the majority still believes it is an ideal wood lathe both for beginners and professional turners.

Alternative Choices

With all these options available, we have listed four more of these outstanding wood lathes that you might want to also consider.

1) Nova 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 

You will be able to turn a wide range of jobs and projects with this Nova 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe as it comes with a speed ranging from 250 to 4000 RPM. It is designed with a forward and reversing switch for added flexibility and optimal finish.

Upgraded from previous models, this variable speed wood lathe has other features such as strengthened reinforced guard with a rapid access latch for quicker and hassle-free access, improved on and off switch button, robust die cast housing and fitted with a no-vault release for additional safety measures. 

Though relatively small in size, its power and performance can be at par with those larger models. It is portable, easy to store and space-saving.

2) Delta Industrial Variable Speed Midi Lathe

With a robust performance, Delta Industrial Variable Speed Midi Lathe is powered by 1 HP, a 1725 RPM motor and a three-pulley speed ranges for improved consistency and control. It is designed with a patented belt tensioning system for fast and easy speed changes, maximum power transfer, and prolonged tool life by setting the belt in the correct tension setting.

Its other feature consists of a forward and reverse function to allow the turner for an outstanding finish. It is durable to handle difficult and heavy duty jobs with its cast iron construction that is ideal for professional woodworkers

3) Jet JWL 1015 VS Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe

Jet JWL 1015 VS Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe has the power and precision for any type of projects that is best for novice woodworkers and professionals. It is versatile to use with its three-speed feature that ranges to 200 to 1050, 300 to 1750, and 600 to 3600 RPM.

It is also user-friendly that is convenient to use even for beginners. Its other features include integrated 24 position indexing, and improved tensioning system with easier access to belts.

4) General International 25-200M1 Variable Speed Maxi-Lathe 

It comes with a variable speed with a quick belt tension lever that ranges to 300 to 900, 600 to 1800, and 1200 to 3600 RPM for versatility and precision of use. It is built with a stable cast iron frame for durability.

Its other most notable features include head and tailstock for a smooth and vibration-free performance, 36 positive indexing positions at 10-dgree increments, and a digital spindle speed display for a variety of tasks and small to medium sized turning projects. 

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

Nova 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable Speed Midi Lathe

Jet JWL 1015 VS Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe

General International 25-200M1 Variable Speed Maxi-Lathe

The Final Cut

Looking for the best variable speed wood lathe can be harder than you would expect because aside from looking into different models, you also have to examine its individual features and specifications. For our different needs and purpose, a wood lathe that is versatile and efficient should be on top of our list.

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is a great option because firstly, it can accommodate any types of cutting, sanding and turning jobs with its optimal designed speed ranges.

It is also efficient with a wide capacity of usage that produces outstanding results.

And what sets it apart from most of the other wood lathes is its reversible mechanism that automatically reverses the wood on the other side without needing to remove it from the machine.

All these things considered, you will have a great quality wood lathe for all your needs. If you want to check this one out, you may click here.

Best Wood Lathes

Summary

Wood lathes are handy when you need to create a perfect circular piece. You can pretty much do a lot of things with a lathe: wooden knobs, posts, legs, small wooden toys, bowls and so many more. But do you know that not all woodworkers, even seasoned workers use lathes? Not that a lathe is so complicated to use, these mini machines could be too expensive to purchase, especially motorized ones! But when you think about the overall use and importance of a lathe, it makes sense to own one especially if you plan on improving your woodworking skills

I have had the chance to purchase a wood lathe and I must say it cost me more than I could chew! It took me months to save for the lathe that I was eyeing on online but aside from the lathe itself, I had to purchase additional accessories to feed my overwhelming interest. Now I am quite happy with my lathe but I still have a lot to learn how to do this and that. But I guess I am ready to learn now that I have the best wood lathe that money can buy.

I would like to help consumers like me with this review. I hope they could find the lathe that will suit their needs and their budget and to use it well. This review should also help people who have never used a lathe before but are willing to try.

Introduction

Wood lathes may look intimidating with all the knobs, screws and pieces that are just simply overwhelming. I am new to woodworking and have recently acquired a new lathe and I must say that this machine has not just made my work more efficient but I was able to create shapes and pieces that I never knew was possible. I used to manually cut sand and finish pieces and because of this, a small oval knob for my dresser took me half the day to finish! I even had a few mishaps and had to use new wood.

With a wood lathe, I was able to finish a small knob, to perfection, in just 20 minutes. And that’s not all; I was able to make bowls and wooden legs. I plan to make more and I promise I won’t give up till I mastered this lathe.

Now there are a lot of wood lathes in the market with basically similar features and design but the most important thing that a consumer would probably look at is the overall construction or design of the lathe, the price and the warranty. Don’t rely on the adage that quality has to come with a price. That won’t be the case with a wood lathe. You will find lathes with amazing features, good overall construction but has an affordable price.

I recommend reading reviews too and checking out social media posts about the product to get a good first-hand information about the wood lathe before you make your purchase. Lastly, compare products to see the pros and cons and the advantage and disadvantages of each one. You have the upper hand when you choose well especially when purchasing wood lathes.

Top 3 Choices

1) Jet JWL – 1015 Wood Working Lathe

Jet JWL – 1015 Wood Working Lathe

The Jet JWL – 1014 wood lathe is a hardworking lathe that will not just look pretty on your workstation. It is a lathe with six spindle speeds at 500, 840, 1240, 2630 and 3975 with integrated 24-positon indexing. This wood lathe has improved tensioning system that will allow you to access the belt easier. This lathe has a wider belt and every woodworker knows that a wider bed is very essential to the rigidity of a lathe.

2) Woodtek 143009 Machinery Lathes 10” Midi Lathe

Woodtek 143009 Machinery Lathes 10” Midi Lathe

The Woodtek 143009 is a machinery lathe that makes small projects easier and quicker to do. This lathe is a colorful and simple machine that has a very straightforward use. It has ample workspace that’s perfect for making small projects like knobs, chair legs and small bowls, ornaments and other small items. This lathe is small but it works like 10” midi tools for the best price. Other features to watch out for with this wood lathe are a poly V-belt drive, self-ejecting tailstock and easy side access for faster belt changes. Just some of the accessories included in your purchase: a 6” tool rest, 3 1/8” faceplate, live center, spur center, chrome hand wheel and a knockout bar.

3) NOVA 4630 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition 12-Inch X 16 1/2 – Inch Silver

NOVA 4630 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition 12-Inch X 16 1-2 Inch Silver

The NOVA 46300 Comet II is a mini lathe 2013 model. It is an updated version of the previous lathe model with a better speed range of 250 to 4000 RPM. It has a 12” swing over bed and a 16.5” between centers which makes it perfect for small to medium-sized projects. This wood lathe offers more than other models with a 3 step pulley system to take in low, medium or high speed ranges. Finally, it has a ¾ HP electronic motor with variable speed. This lathe can is backed with a full replacement 1-year warranty on motor and electronics plus another 2-year warranty on parts excluding motor, consumables and electronics.

Best Wood Lathes Comparison Table

Best Reciprocating Saws

Our Rating

Price

Jet JWL – 1015 Wood Working Lathe

Woodtek 143009 Machinery Lathes 10” Midi Lathe

NOVA 4630 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition

Who Should Buy These

Wood lathes are for woodworkers who want perfection and who want to level up in their field. Because you get optimum precision with your project with a wood lathe, it pays a lot to have one in your shed. With a lathe, you can make circular shapes, spheres and a variety of curved shapes not just on wood but also on other types of materials. Top quality wood lathes can also work on other materials and substrates other than wood and will even add that classic touch in your projects.

Wood lathes are for beginner woodworkers. In fact it is one of the tools and machines used in woodworking workshops and shop classes. I remember using a lathe for the first time in school and I must admit, I fell in love with it. I recommend that wood lathes such as these top models should be a part of every school shop class to train school-age kids.

Wood lathes are recommended to any avid DIY follower. Lathes would make an excellent addition to any tool collection. It will be a handy machine to use to make the perfect wooden spherical shapes that you may find at home like cabinet knobs, bedpost decors, patio and deck décor and more. With this tool, you can also experiment on many more materials and certainly use it for years and years to come.

Buyer's Guide

The Benefits of Spindle Sanders

Gets symmetrical wooden shapes done easily

It’s definitely easier to get symmetrical cuts when you use a wooden lathe. You load the workpiece and choose the tool that you want to use and then use the lathe to shape the tool symmetrically. It could take hours to come up with a perfect oval shape or any symmetrical shape when you manually shape, sand and finish. 

It’s the tool for cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling etc.

There are a lot of things you can actually do with a wood lathe. The workpiece may be subjected to different kinds of applications: cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, sanding and more. You may attach different tools at the tool rest and presto, your piece is done!

Gets woodworking jobs done fast

Definitely all woodworkers that have had experience with a wood lathe know that it is faster to work with a lathe than manually manipulating a piece. It is easier to work on a piece and definitely faster when you have a secure and easy use to tool in your shop.

Minimizes waste

One of the best advantages of using a wood lathe is that you reduce waste every time you do a project. Mistakes are very minimal and therefore you will reduce the cost of making your projects. Relying on a wood lathe each time you work on any project will make you more and more of an expert. 

Gets more jobs done fast perfect for mass production of wooden parts

You can make as many wooden parts with symmetrical sizes each time with a wood lathe. Thus a wood lathe is recommended for people who would like to work fast with the best quality all the time.

Features to Look for in Spindle Sanders

Take note of the following spindle sander features to be able to make an excellent decision.

Motor capacity – a powerful motor can handle any type of wood and any material. Name it: metal, plastics, acrylic and more. If you are very critical about the lathe that will work for your specific material then you must consider this feature first. If you plan to basically work on wood, take note that the are many types of wood, each with a specific level of hardness. A more powerful and durable motor will reduce stops, unnecessary jolts and pauses that could affect the outcome of your workpiece.

Larger and wider bed – a larger and wider bed means that a tool is likely to be stable and rigid. You can work with larger and more intricate materials as well. There are many lathe models so be very particular about the lathe dimensions above anything else.

Variable speeds – a variable speed motor will let you work with utmost precision. You can work with table legs, small wooden columns with varying symmetrical designs and other wooden ornaments for decks, stairways, furniture and more. Variable speeds will also let you work not just with wood but with other softer or harder materials, anything goes.

Easy access for tool change and cleanup – definitely this is a plus. You must have easy, open access to your tool bed on both sides of the lathe so you can change tools easier and faster plus you can clean the lathe easier and faster too when you have easy, open access. To think that there numerous tools and attachments that you can connect to this wood lathe! It pays that you have easy access to make the appropriate changes that you want to make for your project.

Robust construction and lathe body – you must consider a wood lathe with a robust body and you can tell this by looking at the overall construction of the machine. Check the tool rest and inspect how efficiently it could hold the attachment or tool you want to use. Check the machine from the tailstock to the motor and take note of any wobbling, unnecessary movement and vibrations. If you can, take the tool for a test and see how efficient it could work with several different materials. This is crucial since you will never know how it could work well with your project and workpiece if you have never seen the lathe in action. Read reviews too and find out what other people say about the wood lathe and pay close attention to the overall construction and durability of the lathe.

Machine accessories – most lathes come with complete accessories while some lack the tool or part that you want to specifically use for your project. The most common materials included are tool rests, live center, spur center, rubber feet and wrenches. You might also find extra belts and of course the lathe manual in some products. Getting a lot of extras mean that you don’t have to spend more once you get your lathe. This was what happened to me; I failed to check on the components included with the lathe that I purchased that I ended up getting additional accessories online. It cost me more but I would never take back the lathe that I chose.

Price – the price definitely makes a huge difference when buying a wood lathe. Take note that as lathes vary in features, these also vary widely in price. But take note that not all expensive lathes are amazing. Some really good products may cost just a fraction of a very expensive brand. Sometimes it really pays to read reviews and to check out product comparisons to really find the best quality product which is perfect for your particular project.

Warranty – the product warranty is definitely something that should be placed on top priority. Warranties will protect you from any repairs, faulty parts and any untoward circumstances that will only affect your project and work. Some lathes have 2 to 3 years warranty while there are brands which carry up to 5 years warranty. Look for the product that will work for your particular project or job; you may otherwise get additional warranty for your wood lathe from the store you purchased it from. 

Product Reviews

1) Jet JWL – 1015 Wood Working Lathe

Jet JWL – 1015 Wood Working Lathe

Description

The Jet JWL – 1014 wood lathe is a lathe that has a compact yet sturdy design. It may be used in a shop at home, in school or at the worksite. It has six spindle speeds at 500, 840, 1240, 2630 and 3975 with integrated 24-positon indexing. This wood lathe has an efficient tensioning system to let you access the belt easier. It has a wider belt which shows how rigid and how efficient the tool is to use for many applications.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 36 x 18.1 x 14.6 inches
  • Weight: 77 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 80.8 pounds
  • Power source: corded - electric
  • Country of origin: Taiwan
  • Color: white and black
  • Warranty: 5 year warranty

Features and Benefits

  • Compact and efficient design

This lathe is one of the most straightforward wood lathes in the market because it has a very compact design. No frills or unnecessary parts that will only make operation complicated. You won’t find parts that don’t have a purpose and even sections that give off unnecessary movements and vibrations. What you see is what you get with this compact an efficient machine.

  • Variable six- spindle speeds

Six-spindle speeds make it easier to create different precise and perfect projects. You will be able to do all kinds of projects especially those that require very intricate symmetrical shapes and curves. Choose the speed that you need for your particular material and watch it transform from a raw workpiece to a perfectly precise project with the use of this Jet wood lathe.

  • 24-position indexing

Definitely you can create more projects and even tackle very intricate designs when you have 24-position indexing. This makes the Jet JWL 1015 far better than other brands that will only provide you with limited points. And with more indexing points, you can load larger and more complicated workpieces and work on almost any kind of material with this Jet wood lathe.

  • A wider belt

A wider belt will less likely loosen and affect the performance of the lathe. You will never have to worry about pauses, jolts and unexpected stops when you use this efficient woodworking lathe for all your projects.

  • 5-year warranty

This is the feature that really won me over. A lathe with a 5-year warranty is very unlikely and will therefore protect you from repairs, broken parts and all uncalled for circumstances as you use this wood lathe on a regular basis. If you are looking for a lathe that will work well and has a better warranty then this product could be the one you are looking for.

Pros

  • Compact and efficient design
  • Variable spindle speeds
  • Improved tensioning system
  • Wider belt
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • NONE

2) Woodtek 143009 Machinery Lathes 10” Midi Lathe

Woodtek 143009 Machinery Lathes 10” Midi Lathe

Description

The Woodtek 143009 is a machinery designed for small to medium-sized projects. This lathe a simple machine with a straightforward use. It is small but surprisingly has a sufficient workspace ideal for making small projects like pens, knobs, chair legs and small bowls, ornaments and more. This lathe works like 10” midi woodworking and the for the best price. Other features that you should check out are the poly V-belt drive, self-ejecting tailstock and easy side access for faster belt changes. Some of the accessories included in your purchase: a 6” tool rest, 3 1/8” faceplate, live center, spur center, chrome hand wheel and a knockout bar.

Product Information

  • Weight: 89 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 89 pounds
  • Power source: corded electric
  • Color: green and yellow

Features and Benefits

  • Compact, straightforward design

This could be the first thing that you will notice when you see a Woodtek 143009 wood lathe. It is compact and looks like you can take it almost anywhere you want to go. It looks easy to use and it actually is. You just load the workpiece and you are on the go. You won’t have to worry about tool or attachment changes too. The components that come with this lathe are very easy to install and use and there is no need to use complicated tools to install your attachment as well. And with its compact design, you can actually take this tool anywhere you want to go and use it efficiently almost anywhere as well.

  • Poly V-belt design

This unique V-belt design reduces belt fatigue and getting off at the most inconvenient time. No one likes a loose belt and even a broken one and with this cool belt you will never be rudely interrupted as you form, finish, sand and turn your workpieces with ease.

  • Self-ejecting tail stock

A truly awesome feature that will amaze you and is not found in all lathes. You will be able to work smoothly as you simply load and unload pieces without any worries of stalling or getting stuck after you are done with a piece. A great feature that may not be too important for some woodworkers but a great one to mention.

  • Side access for faster belt changes

Both sides of the machine are open and free and therefore you can access the bed without any worries. You can make tool or attachment changes easily and you can clean your bed faster and more efficiently too when you got quick and easy access on either side.

  • All accessories included

All the important accessories and basic attachments that you use for your woodworking jobs are available when you purchase this wood lathe. You will never have to buy additional tools if you plan to create basic projects however, as you progress and find more complicated jobs you will soon understand the need of buying new and more tools. However, the basic tools and attachments that come with the initial purchase of the product will be able to master the use of the lathe and prepare you with more complicated jobs in the future.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Self-ejecting tailstock
  • Poly V-belt design
  • Easy side access
  • All accessories included

Cons

  • One of the heaviest lathes

3) NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2-14 Edition

NOVA 4630 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition 12-Inch X 16 1-2 Inch Silver

Description

The NOVA 46300 Comet II is a mini lathe and was released in 2013. This is an updated version and boasts of better speed range of 250 to 4000 RPM. It has a 12” swing over bed and a 16.5” between centers for small to medium-sized projects. This wood lathe has a 3 step pulley system to take in low, medium or high speed ranges. It has a ¾ HP electronic motor with variable speed. This updated NOVA wood lathe comes with a full replacement 1-year warranty on motor and electronics and another 2-year warranty on parts excluding motor, electronics and consumables.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 33 x 9 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 82.4 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 82.4 pounds
  • Power source: corded electric
  • Color: NOVA silver
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty

Features and Benefits

  • Updated space-saving design

This NOVA wood lathe is small enough to fit in any working space and will surely be a good match for your work space in your shop or in your garage. It has an updated design and is a compact and efficient design compared to previous NOVA wood lathe design. You will surely appreciate how tall it is with the belt drive hidden from view and can be easily accessed from the housing near the motor.

  • Speed range the best in the market

250 to 4000 RPM is one of the best speeds in the market which means it can work fast and more efficiently as well. You won’t have to worry about irritating stops and pauses that will affect the overall outcome of your project. Faster speeds will allow you to use this lathe for all kinds of materials. And when precision and speed combine, you get a totally reliable machine such as the NOVA 46300 Comet II.

  • Large swing over bed and in between centers

A larger distance between centers will make it easier to use larger workpieces than a narrow one. With a large space, you can pretty much use any kind of tool or attachment and thus you can make anything out of this lathe. But for safety, use only attachments or tools that are compatible with the NOVA 46300 Comet II wood lathe. An optional bed extension will expand this to 41”.

  • Powerful, improved variable motor

This NOVA lathe boasts of a much-improved motor compared to its predecessor. You will that the Comet II is more powerful ¾ HP electronic variable speed motor; this means that this lathe will never pause, jolt or have irregular bursts of power that could affect the outcome of your project. You will be able to work seamlessly and will have more control over your piece when you use this updated NOVA wood lathe.

Pros

  • Updated design
  • Improved speed range
  • Large swing over bed and in between centers
  • 3-step pulley system dial
  • More powerful motor

Cons

  • Plastic cover on the belt

4) SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 HP Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 1-3 HP Benchtop Lathe

Description

The SHOP FOX W1704 is a tough wood working benchtop lathe that has a powerful motor at 1/3 HP, 2 Amp, 110V single-phase, 60Hz. This lathe looks very compact and easy to use, no frills and no fuss. It has a full feet of distance between centers which allows you more room to work on your project. This lathe has an 8-inch swing over bed and even has an extra tool rest. You will love that this lathe won’t vibrate no matter how hard your project is because the stand is made of cast iron. This SHOP FOX lathe has variable speed control so this means you will have more control over your workpiece at all times.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Weight: 50.8 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 50.8 pounds
  • Country of origin: China
  • Power source: corded electric
  • Color: white and gray

Features and Benefits

  • Powerful motor

The SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 HP Benchtop Lathe is one of the simplest lathes to use with a powerful motor that will let you work on any kind of project for the least amount of time. You will be able to create pieces that you have never thought possible and do this is quickly; you can finish a table, chair or even a flight of stairs in just a day with the SHOP FOX W1704’s powerful motor.

  • 12-inch distance between centers

The 12” distance is perfect for working on larger projects which will surely let you move more efficiently. You will also be able to use more types of tools considering this large area to work with.

  • 8-inch swing over bed

This large swing over bed will also let you tackle larger projects and take on more complicated shapes and curves. You will surely spend more time working on intricate projects and challenge yourself more when you got this large swing over bed.

  • Cast iron construction

This power tool is heavy but it sure beats having to deal with vibrations that will only affect the overall outcome of your project. The cast iron body will also hold no matter how long you have to work and how intricate your pieces will be. And because it is compact and durable, you will surely get more use out of this tool than any other woodworking tool in your shed or shop.

  • Variable control switch

This is a good lathe to use especially when you need precision with your projects. Its variable control switch will let you take control over your projects better. You can now adjust the speed of your motor according to the type of material that you will use and of course according to how sensitive or delicate your project is. The switch is easy to locate and thus will be easier to power on and off the machine, fast.

  • Two tool rests in the packaging

Who would think of two tool rests? The NOVA wood lathe would! This wood lathe comes with two tool rests for two of your most-frequently used tools. And of course if ever you lose one, you will surely have a spare.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • 12-inch distance between centers
  • Cast iron construction
  • Variable speed controls
  • Two tool rests inside the packaging

Cons

  • Hard to find parts

5) RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10” x 18” ½ HP Mini Lathe

RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10” x 18” ½ HP Mini Lathe

Description

The RIKON Power Tools 70-105 is a power wood lathe that will surely get the job done. It has an efficient ½ HP motor that will provide ample power for all your tuning, shaping, sanding and cutting needs. It is a heavy and compact lathe so you will have a durable tool to use that won’t vibrate unnecessarily. And since it has a compact design, it won’t take up too much space in your garage, shop or working area. This lathe has precise bed and matching components. Precision begets precision and this is surely what you want in your project.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.8 inches
  • Weight: 74 pounds
  • Shipping weight: 82 pounds
  • Power source: corded electric
  • Country of origin: China
  • Color: navy blue and white
  • Warranty: 5 years warranty

Features and Benefits

  • Powerful heavy-duty motor

The RIKON Power Tools 70-105 is one of the most powerful with its heavy-duty motor that will let you cut, shape, sand and tune any type of wood, material or substrate. You will get utmost precision all the time and of course a powerful motor means there will be no pauses, unnecessary movements and vibrations that will only affect the outcome of your work.

  • Heavy cast iron parts

This lathe is made to last with its heavy cast iron body, legs and attachments. You will be able to work quietly and with the least amount of vibration when you have as sturdy and durable tool as this lathe. And because it is made almost entirely out of cast iron, the main problem would be it is too heavy to move around. But think about this, this lathe will provide you with hours of perfect use because of its strong body. You need a wood lathe that will be as durable, robust and indestructible as this model.

  • Machined bed and matching components are very precise

There is no doubt that this lathe has very precise parts. Just check out an unboxing video featured in YouTube with the user initially checking for precision and alignment before he used the lathe. And because of precise tool parts, you will surely have no problem getting precision and perfect results no matter what type of project you want to do.

  • Scaled-down design

The first thing that you will notice when you see this RIKON lathe is that this looks like large lathes used in industries and factories and this is because it is. It is a scaled-down design but the only differences are the weight and the dimensions of the machine. Basically all the features and the pros of this lathe is similar to an industrial counterpart. This means that you can expect tough and dependable performance in your shop or at the construction site with the RIKON Power Tools 70-105.

  • Less vibration

Vibrations only lead to poor outcomes and may even affect the overall performance of the workpiece. If you are making a workpiece as a table leg then expect a poor table leg that could cause accidents. This lathe reduces vibrations because of its heavy duty cast iron body. It is also well-built with no moving parts; you will definitely be able to make good quality workpieces when you use this durable and vibration-less lathe.

  • 5-speed ranges

The ability to adjust the lathe speed is a plus. This is because you can make precision pieces and work with all kinds of materials other than wood. Remember that there are so many kinds of materials that you can use; you can use metal, plastics, acrylic and more. You need a lathe with a variable speed setting so you can make adjustments accordingly.

  • Complete accessories

The RIKON wood lathe comes with basic accessories such as a tool rest, live center, spur center, wrenches, rubber feet and its handy lathe manual. You will actually save money as you don’t have to purchase accessories on your first try. There are some complaints saying that it is hard to find accessories for this wood lathe and therefore having all the basic accessories that you will need will surely be a breath of fresh air.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • Heavy cast iron parts
  • Precise parts
  • Less vibration
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Hard to find replacement parts

Reviews / Testimonials

There are a number of social media posts and forums about help for getting the best wood working lathe for a particular project and most consumers agree that the Jet JWL 1050 is the most efficient and the most preferred wood working lathe model. The main reason for their choice was the lathe’s compact and robust design as well as the tool’s non-complicated looks. Not all woodworkers use lathes due to the fact that most of these only complicate their work but with the JET lathe, it is easier and far faster to make different symmetrical pieces like pens, table legs, oval shapes, bowls and different home ornaments. There are also a few negative reviews about this lathe but were mostly about how to get additional parts and attachments. These are not really related to the actual tool but should still be considered especially when you want to add more attachments and tools for this lathe.

Runners up Woodtek and NOVA were not really that far behind. The main reasons why these lathes were not up to par with the Jet was that these cost more plus had shorter warranty periods. All in all, these wood lathes were still good for beginners as well as seasoned woodworkers.

Social media is a good tool to find out more about a product especially woodworking tools like wood lathes. You will be able to make a sound shopping decision when you use reviews and forums as one of your buying guides.

Top Wood Lathes By Category

Best Power Wood Lathes with Legs Comparison Table

Best Power Wood Lathes with Legs

Our Rating

Price

Jet JWL – 1221VS Stand

Jet JWL – 1440VSK 1 HP Wood Lathe with Legs

Powermatic 4224B 179422K Lathe

Best Power Motorized Wood Lathe Machines Comparison Table

Best Power Motorized Wood Lathe Machines

Our Rating

Price

ELOPTION 24W Mini Set Wood-turning Lathe

Morphon Metal Lathe 7 x 12 Inch Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Signswise High Quality Motorized Mini Metal Working Lathe

Alternative Choices

The first five choices for the top wood lathes may not be up to par to you or you might be looking for something else. Don’t worry about not being able to make a decision right away; here are three more woodworking lathes that you might find interesting.

1) Steelex ST1008 Benchtop Wood Lathe, 10” x 15”

The Steelex ST1008 is a benchtop wood lathe that has a ½ HP motor at 120V, single-phase at 6A. This makes this wood lathe efficient and won’t quit on you especially if you work longer hours with utmost precision in a project. This lathe has a swing over bed of 10” and will surely allow you to work on larger materials than you will be able to do in other wood lathes. The distance between centers is 15” and with its optional extension bed, you can extend this to 38”. Tailstock travel is at 3 ¼ “and with a swing over tool rest at 7 ½ “

2) 8.2 Proxxon 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe

The Proxxon 37020 is a micro woodturning table that will allow you to make pens, small pegs and small symmetrical items. You will find this handy for creating toys and small décor and will be a perfect addition to any woodworking shop or garage. This lathe comes with 6 collets sizes 5/64, 1/8, 5/32, 15/64 and 5/16 inch (2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 millimeter). It has a small and quiet motor which is top quality and thus can last for more and more projects to come. It also has an adjustable tool rest, aluminum cast bed, a tailstock with a live center and other efficient features that you will find handy.

3) Rikon 70-500 – inch Woodfast Lathe

The Rikon 70 – 500-inch woodfast lathe has an electronic variable speed/digital readout motor with 5 speed ranges that provide speeds of 50 RPM to 3890 RPM for all your woodworking needs. This has a reversible motor that will let you tune bowls up to 27 inches more efficiently than using other regular lathes. It has a 5-position quick connect switch box. This lathe has a built in heavy-duty stand that will let you use this anywhere. It is durable, very stable and thus there won’t be any unnecessary vibrations when you use it.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

Steelex ST1008 Benchtop Wood Lathe, 10” x 15”

Proxxon 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe

Rikon 70 – 500-Inch Woodfast Lathe

The Final Cut

Of all the wood lathes in the market, the Jet WL1015 woodworking table has certainly proven that it is not just a quality tool but also a tool that will work closely with any other material and any size of workpieces. This Jet wood lathe is one of the most efficient and compact. This is what I liked most about this lathe because it has a compact and seamless design. There are no parts that will move unnecessarily and will never be in the way as you make symmetrical precision parts and pieces each time. This reduces the worries of dealing with early repairs and early part breakdown. And if you plan to use this tool for more and more projects you will surely find this warranty a good value to have.

And aside from all these great features, the Jet JWL – 1015 has a very efficient design which will let you take it anywhere, at the shop or to your workplace. It weighs far less than other wood lathes plus it is also easier to carry than other lathes. Overall, this makes this JET wood lathe a good choice above all other lathes of the same size, features and design.

I recommend the Jet JWL – 1015 for any beginner woodworker and also for professional woodworkers as well. You will surely improve your woodworking hobby or job when you have this kind of handy power lathe around. If you are interested in the Jet JWL – 1015 wood working lathe, click here to start your purchase.

The remaining other woodworking lathes are still worthwhile choices however, these may not be as affordable as the Jet JWL – 1015. Remember, take your time and to read reviews so you can get the best quality for your money.