Last updated: September 8, 2020
10 Best Wood Lathe 2020 | Top Picks & Reviews
Your guide to this review today is by product expert Herbert A. Dorman
A carpenter is not full without a wood lathe. Without this very machine, woodturning is very limited. Wood lathes have sorted the life of carpenter, now they are more flexible in turning woods because it has become easier and fun process. However, since you are here, we are assuming you are looking forward to getting a good wood lathe for you, isn’t it?
If so, let’s have a few words! There are different types of wood lathes 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 cheap price. We would suggest you ignore the price thing because at a cheaper price you cannot get something incredible.
You should only focus on the performance and durability of the machine, they might be expensive but in the long run, they will worth it. Here, we have aligned 10 best wood lathes of the market which have been performing tremendously. There are few models which are expensive but we assure you they deliver proper value for the money.
Let’s have a look?
Top 10 Best Wood Lathe Reviews
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 long. They conduct a couple of tests to know the strength, power, and durability of the products.
And they compare the overall performance with others. Lastly, they do reach some real users as well to be more sure about a specific product. You see? That’s how it is done!
Presenting a highly popular model among both professional and intermediate woodworkers, the JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe. With no doubt, this is 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 is a bunch of features that this very machine offers which are really useful to the users.
It comes with a speed control system and there are 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 need. The center distance of this wood lathe is 21-inches. That means it only can accommodate wood pieces which are under 21-inches, you won’t be able to work with anything longer than that.
If you have the intention to work with longer wood pieces, this JET JWL-1221VS
Variable Speed Wood Lathe is not suitable for you. You will need something that can provide you 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 are going to have a good time working with it.
Looking for a top-notch mini lathe machine? Here it is, the Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. There are many features you get with this model, will go one by one!
It comes with continuous speed control and it comes with only one mode which is continuous speed control, you can set the RPM flexibly according to your need. 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 better for working on a large stock of woods. This machine also comes with a patented belt tension system, so shifting to different ranges won’t be a problem.
Having that said, 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 piece longer than that won’t fit in this machine and that is why it is a mini lathe. However, still, with a bed extension, you can work on larger wood pieces.
People who are 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 for them. This is a highly durable machine and comes with a 5-year warranty.
Here comes a highly versatile and innovating mini wood lathe, the NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe. Well, this is a machine for you only when you work with a smaller wood piece.
It comes with a ¾ HP motor and that’s a variable speed motor that offers a wide speed range. In this machine, you will get forward and reverse switch which will add flexibility and comfort to your work which will result in batter finished product.
The over bed swing capacity is 12-inches and the center to center distance is 16.5-inch. As we mentioned, pick this model if you will be working with small wood pieces. However, with the extension bed, you can obviously work on bigger wood pieces. It’s up to you.
This machine also features a strengthened reinforces guard which comes with an access latch that makes accessing the machine way quicker and easier.
Moving on, this machine comes with a 3-step pulley system that increases your flexibility by different speed ranges. Overall, this machine highly durable and long-lasting. The manufacturer has used solid cast iron in the construction that’s what makes it durable. And this construction helps this machine observe vibration better.
Are you a professional woodworker? Looking for a lathe machine to tackle your tasks? You would want to have a 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 in order to increase the stability of this machine. This machine comes with a 1 HP motor and the motor offers variable speed control and a good range of speeds.
With this very model, you will get digital RPM readout that will help you to keep track of the speed. You will also be able to 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 professional and it is pretty expensive, might be out of reach for some beginners. If you are a beginner, you should not start with this, there are other models that are inexpensive and easy to use as well.
Have a look at the Jet JWL 1440VSK Wood Lathe Machine, this very model can take care of all your wood tasks pretty easily. The manufacturer has designed this machine for professionals and it 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-degree.
You can adjust the speed from 400 to 3000 RPM and setting the RPM according to the need is no difficult, pretty smooth to shift to a different speed.
This machine comes with an additional extension bed which can be mounted in three different positions. Features RPM readout and it is easy to read from that. You won’t have to set a workbench because this machine comes with a built-in stand which is highly stable.
You may like to read: 10 Best Wood Chisels | Top Picks & Reviews
Laguhna lathe machine comes with an amazing angled control panel which is constructed by anodized aluminum. The manufacturer has used steel in the bed construction, and this helps the cast iron headstock to travel pretty 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 that this very machine delivers is 3500. With this speed, this machine can tackle both heavy-duty and some 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.
Moving on, the manufacturer has done a great job by placing the head and tailstock lock handles at the back, this prevents all kinds of interruption to the work. One thing that makes people run away from this very model is the price. It comes with a very expensive price tag.
Need a midi that is super easy to use and delivers decent power as well? You got it! Take a look at the PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commande Midi Lathe machine. With this machine, you will be able to tackle most kinds of woodworking projects pretty easily.
It comes with a 1 hp motor which is pretty powerful. And the motor also features variable speed adjustment. You can set the speed 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 and obviously, you can extend the range with an extension bed. Despite being a professional wood lathe machine, this one comes at a reasonable price. And since this is easy to use, that makes it suitable for beginners as well.
Have a look at this SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe, this can effortlessly complete all kind of small cutting and shaping jobs. By saying that, we mean you can use this machine for most kinds of light and medium-duty jobs, but you got to be careful when you are thinking 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 pretty good power, 700 to 3200 RPM per minute. It comes with both 4-1/2 and 7-inch tool rest, that helps when you have a different kind of turning works. The center to center distance is 13-inches and the over bed swing is 8-inches, these much is enough for most kinds of small and medium wood jobs.
This is a benchtop wood lathe machine, and most of the benchtop wood lathe machines are designed for small and light-duty projects. And this is no different. If you are looking for a lathe machine for tackling small wood jobs, have a deep look at this WEN 3420 Benchtop Wood Lathe machine. With this machine, you will get discrete speed control which will bring flexibility and comfort in the work. The speeds are 520, 900, 1400, to 3400 RPM.
It also comes with a 4A motor that delivers decent torque which is enough to get most of the small and medium job done. The manufacturer has constructed this machine heavily so that it serves the user for a long period. Plus, it comes with a 70-plus frame which makes this machine incredibly stable. The wood piece that is under 12-inches length and 8-inches width, you can easily work with them in this very machine. But do not try to go beyond.
And now bringing the wood lathe model of the list, the Mophorn Bench Top Wood Lathe. This is another benchtop wood lathe machine which means, this one is also for small and medium-duty wood projects. The best perk of owning this machine is, it comes at a cheap price but still delivers good value for the money. If we talk about the durability of this machine, the manufacturer didn’t compromise a thing in the construction, it is heavily constructed with cast iron and that is why it is so durable.
Features a 550W motor and it comes with variable speed control as well. With this machine you get digital reading as well, you will get an accurate speed reading for you. The center to center distance of this lathe machine is 18-inches which is pretty great and the swing capacity is 10-inches. For additional stability, the manufacturer has attached rubber feet which turned out to be pretty efficient.
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? In order to ensure that, we urge you to go through the following parameters we have discussed. What are these? These are a bunch of features that you need to think about before you make a purchase decision so that you don’t end up with the wrong lathe machine.
Wood lathe machines come in different price ranges. There are machines which come under 400 dollars and there are some which are over 1000 dollars. Now, which direction should you swing? That depends on you. If you are a beginner, have never purchased a lathe machine before, then we would suggest going with the affordable one. Do not invest big buck at the beginner, take little time to know things 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 then you don’t need our advice, you would know what is best for you. And professional woodworkers need top-notch powerful machines, which are pretty expensive.
There are different types of wood lathe machine, each is suitable for different needs. The most common two types of lathes are benchtop lathe and full-sized lathe. Now, which one should you choose depends on the nature of your work. Benchtop wood lathe machines are designed for small and medium wood projects. They come with medium or low center to center and swing size. So, if you will be 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 the 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 be going to need appropriate speed. And which speed range should you choose that also depends on your work project. But it would be ideal to choose a lathe machine that delivers speed between 6000 to 9000 RPM.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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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.
Herbert A. Dorman
Mr. Dorman has been working with hand machine tools and machinery equipment -for 15 years. Through his entire journey, he invested all his time to research different types of tools. Based on his 15 years of research, he decided to add value to the new buyer. That is why Dorman aimed to create a website.
In this website, he writes about different tools reviews and information to support the fresh, or semi-professional experts. For that reason, Mr. Dorman has built a team to collect actual data, and to test every instrument. So, it is clear that – you are going to get authentic reviews and information from this website.