A carpenter is not full without a wood lathe. Without this very machine, woodturning is very limited. Wood lathes have sorted the lives of carpenters; now, they are more flexible in turning wood because it has become easier and more fun.
However, since you are here, we assume you look forward to getting a good wood lathe.If so, let’s have a few words! Different types of wood lathes are in the market, and they all are good in some ways.
Some are good in performance, and some are highly durable. And there are some which come at a very low price. We would suggest you ignore the price thing because, at a lower price, you cannot get something incredible.
You should only focus on the machine’s performance and durability; they might be expensive, but they will be worth it in the long run.
Here, we have aligned the 10 best wood lathes in the market, which have been performing tremendously. A few models are expensive, but we assure you they deliver proper value for the money.
Let’s have a look.
OUR TOP 3 PICKS
|RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe
Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe
Top Rated Best Wood Lathe Reviews 2023
Why should you trust us? How did we find the best? We know these kinds of questions might have hit you already.
Let us tell you we have expert teams who have been doing the picking work for quite a long. They test the products’ strength, power, and durability.
And they compare the overall performance with others. Lastly, they also reach some real users to be more sure about a specific product. Do you see? That’s how it is done!
1. JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe
Presenting a highly popular model among both professional and intermediate woodworkers, the JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe. This is undoubtedly one of the best wood lather machines out there. The only thing that troubles the user is the price.
This machine is a little expensive, and they have a fair reason to be expensive. There are a bunch of features that this machine offers that are really useful to the users.
It comes with a speed control system with two types: discrete and continuous control. With the discrete control, you would have to set the speed at some fixed RPMs, which are 430, 810, 1810, 2670, and 3900.
And with the other one, continuous control, you can set any RPM according to your needs. The center distance of this wood lathe is 21 inches.
That means it can only accommodate wood pieces under 21 inches; you won’t be able to work with anything longer than that.
If you intend to work with longer wood pieces, this JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe is unsuitable. You will need something that can provide you with a bigger range.
Moving, this machine is quite heavy; it weighs around 120 pounds. That makes it mandatory for you to have a strong workbench.
This is a highly durable machine, and you will enjoy working with it.
- Adjustable speed in two modes.
- It comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Delivers smooth transition.
- Features digital RPM reader.
- Highly durable machine.
- Heavy machine.
2. Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
Looking for a top-notch mini lathe machine? Here it is, the Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. You get many features with this model, which will go individually!
It comes with continuous speed control and only one mode, which is continuous speed control; you can set the RPM flexibly according to your needs. From 250 to 750, 600 to 1800, and 1350 to 4000.
The 1221VS offers a better range when the RPM is low, 46 to 460 RPM, which is better for working on large wood stock. This machine also has a patented belt tension system, so shifting to different ranges won’t be a problem.
We must tell you there is no digital readout for the 46 to 460 RPM. You have to guess the speed.
Moving on, the center-to-center distance of this very wood lathe machine is small, only 16.5 inches. So, wood pieces longer than that won’t fit in this machine, which is why it is a mini lathe. However, you can still work on larger wood pieces with a bed extension.
For people looking for a top-notch mini lathe machine but don’t have much budget, this Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe would be a nice alternative. This is a highly durable machine and comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Features continuous speed control.
- Inexpensive for beginners.
- It comes with a 1HP motor.
- Delta’s patented belt tension system.
- Offers a 5-year warranty.
- There is no speed readout.
- Small center-to-center distance.
3. RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe
Are you a professional woodworker? Looking for a lathe machine to tackle your tasks? You would want to look at the IKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe machine. It is a heavy machine.
Actually, the manufacturer did make it heavy intentionally to increase the stability of this machine. This machine has a 1 HP motor, which offers variable speed control and a good range of speeds.
With this very model, you will get a digital RPM readout that will help you to keep track of the speed. You can also drive forward and reverse with this lathe machine. Moreover, you get spindle length turning capacity as well.
The center-to-center distance is 20 inches, which is pretty decent. And the swing bed is 12-1/2 inches. Features 24 position index head and speed changing effortless.
This is a wood lathe machine for professionals, and it is pretty expensive and might be out of reach for some beginners.
If you are a beginner, you should not start with this; other models are inexpensive and easy to use.
- The motor offers decent power.
- 20-inch center-to-center distance.
- Variable speed control.
- Features 24-position index head.
- Best for professionals.
- Expensive lathe machine.
4. Jet JWL 1440VSK Wood Lathe Machine
Look at the Jet JWL 1440VSK Wood Lathe Machine; this model can handle all your wood tasks easily. The manufacturer has designed this machine for professionals, which is way too expensive.
If you are looking for a budget, this is definitely not one you would want to sneak into. It comes with a sliding and pivoting headstock.
It features a highly powerful motor that offers variable speed. With the 7 positive locking positions, the sliding headstock pivots 360 degrees, and the positions are 270, 180, 120, 90, 60, and 30 degrees.
You can adjust the speed from 400 to 3000 RPM, and setting the RPM according to the need is not difficult; shifting to a different speed is pretty smooth.
This machine has an additional extension bed that can be mounted in three positions. It features an RPM readout, and it is easy to read from that. You won’t have to set up a workbench because this machine has a built-in stand that is highly stable.
- You may like to read: 10 Best Wood Chisels
- It can tackle most kinds of woodwork.
- Highly stable machine.
- Heavily constructed for great durability.
- It comes with a variable speed adjustment.
- Features RPM readout.
- Way too expensive.
5. Laguna Tools MLAREVO 1836 Revo Lathe
Laguhna lathe machine has an amazing angled control panel constructed of anodized aluminum. The manufacturer used steel in the bed construction, which helps the cast iron headstock travel easily.
It comes with electric variable speed, and the good part is even when the setting is set at low, you will get a good amount of torque. Thanks to the VFD that converts 1-phase input into a 3-phase output.
This machine features a 2HP 220V motor, and the highest RPM this machine delivers is 3500. With this speed, this machine can tackle heavy and light-duty tasks effortlessly.
With this machine, you get a pretty accurate RPM readout. Features a quick-release handle that makes shifting from high to low setting effortless.
The manufacturer has placed the head and tailstock lock handles at the back, preventing all kinds of work interruptions. One thing that makes people run away from this very model is the price. It comes with a very expensive price tag.
- It comes with a powerful motor.
- Easy to use.
- Heavy-duty construction.
- The highest RPM is 3500.
- Variable speed adjustment.
- Delivers good torque.
- Highly expensive.
6. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS – Best Midi Lathe
Do you need a midi that is super easy to use and delivers decent power? You got it! Look at the PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commande Midi Lathe machine. With this machine, you can easily tackle most kinds of woodworking projects.
This best budget lathe comes with 1 pretty powerful HP motor. The motor also features variable speed adjustment.
You can set the speed to 500 to 1800 at low and 1950 to 3800 RPM at a higher speed. It comes with a monitor that gives you accurate speed reading.
The center-to-center distance is 18 inches; obviously, you can extend the range with an extension bed. Despite being a professional wood lathe machine, this one is reasonably priced.
Since this is easy to use, that makes it the best wood lathe for beginners as well.
- Reasonable price.
- Easy to use.
- Variable speed control.
- The motor delivers decent power.
- It can tackle most kinds of wood projects.
- Small center-to-center distance.
7. SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
Have a look at this SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe. This can effortlessly complete all kinds of small cutting and shaping jobs. By saying that, you can use this machine for most kinds of light and medium-duty jobs, but you must be careful when you think about loading this machine with heavy projects.
The manufacturer has constructed this with top-notch cast iron, which makes it highly durable. And the size this machine has would fit in most kinds of workbenches.
Features a 1/3 HP motor that delivers good power, 700 to 3200 RPM per minute. It comes with a 4-1/2 and 7-inch tool rest, which helps with different wood turning works.
The center-to-center distance is 13 inches, and the overbed swing is 8 inches; this is enough for most small and medium wood jobs.
- Powerful motor.
- Features speed control.
- Heavily constructed with cast iron.
- Decent centre space.
- The locking pad bolts can come to lose.
8. WEN 3420 Benchtop Wood Lathe
This is a wood lathe machine; most wood lathe machines are designed for small, light-duty projects. And this is no different.
If you are looking for a lathe machine for tackling small wood jobs, look deeply at this WEN 3420 Benchtop Wood Lathe machine.
This machine will give you discrete speed control, bringing flexibility and comfort to the work. The speeds are 520, 900, 1400, to 3400 RPM.
It also comes with a 4A motor that delivers decent torque, enough to complete most small and medium jobs. The manufacturer has constructed this machine heavily to serve the user for a long time.
Plus, it comes with a 70-plus frame, which makes this machine incredibly stable. In this machine, you can easily work with a wood piece that is under 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width. But do not try to go beyond.
- Best for medium and small jobs.
- Highly stable machine.
- Features discrete speed control.
- It offers good durability as well.
- Doesn’t come with any mounting holes.
How to Choose the Best Wood Lathe?
We know you are too excited to get your first wood lathe machine. But you do not want the excitement to be gone after purchasing one, right?
We urge you to review the following parameters we have discussed to ensure that. What are these? These are a bunch of features you need to consider before making a purchase decision so that you don’t end up with the wrong lathe machine.
Wood lathe machines come in different price ranges. Some machines come under 400 dollars, and some are over 1000 dollars. Now, in which direction should you swing?
That depends on you. If you are a beginner and have never purchased a lathe machine, we suggest going with the affordable one.
Do not invest big bucks at the beginning; take a little time to learn things, and then you will be able to make the best decision for you.
On the other hand, if you are a professional woodworker and have worked on different lathe machines, you don’t need our advice; you will know what is best for you. Professional woodworkers need top-notch powerful machines, which are pretty expensive.
There are different types of wood lathe machines; each is suitable for different needs. The two most common types of lathes are benchtop lathes and full-sized lathes. Now, which one you should choose depends on the nature of your work.
Benchtop wood lathe machines are designed for small and medium wood projects. They come in medium or low center-to-center and swing sizes. So, if you are working on small wood projects, you can go with a benchtop wood lathe machine.
On the contrary, full-sized wood lathe machines are for professionals and workers who work on heavy wood projects. These lathe machines come with higher center-to-center distance and swing sizes. That being said, they are expensive as well.
The speed of the lathe has a lot to do with your work. For a perfectly finished wood project, you will need appropriate speed.
Which speed range you should choose also depends on your work project. But choosing a lathe machine that delivers a speed between 6000 to 9000 RPM would be ideal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a wood lathe used for?
A wood lathe is used for shaping, cutting, sanding, and drilling wood to create objects like bowls, spindles, furniture legs, baseball bats, and other turned-wood projects. It rotates the wood against fixed cutting tools.
Is a wood lathe worth it?
For woodturners, a quality wood lathe is absolutely worth the investment. Turning wood on a lathe enables you to create bowls, spindle work, furniture legs, and other precision wood pieces. While a lathe requires an initial outlay, it unlocks endless creative possibilities.
What size wood lathe is best for beginners?
Beginners should start with a midi or mini lathe in the 10-12-inch swing range, which can handle smaller projects. Look at models like the Jet JWL-1015 or Shop Fox W1704 for an affordable starter wood lathe.
What are the top wood lathe brands?
Some of the leading wood lathe manufacturers are Jet, Nova, Powermatic, Shop Fox, Grizzly, Laguna, Delta, Rikon, and Penn State Industries.
How much horsepower do I need for bowls vs spindles?
A 1 HP motor can handle most spindle and small bowl turning. For larger bowl blanks, higher horsepower in the 2-3 HP range provides more power and torque when removing larger material.
How do I choose a wood lathes?
Many factors ensure that you pick the right wood lathe machine for yourself. We have designed an in-depth buying guide above; take a look!
What is the best wood lathe for turning bowls?
Which is the best wood turning lathe?
There are many excellent wood turning lathes on the market, but some top options include the Jet JWL-1221VS, the Rikon 70-220VSR, and the Nova 1624-44.
Which lathe is used for woodworking?
Key features of a woodturning lathe include variable speed control for working different materials, high power to turn large blanks, a long bed for support, and the capacity to mount wood both between centers and on a chuck.
Are Lumberjack wood lathes any good?
Lumberjack wood lathes offer excellent value for hobbyists and budget-minded turners. They provide good features and power at very reasonable prices. While not as heavy-duty as professional lathes, Lumberjack lathes can produce pleasing results for smaller home-based projects.
We are done with the best wood lathe machine reviews. I hope you have picked the right one for you already. Don’t forget to let us know how that is going with you.