Best Pen Turning Lathe

Best Pen Turning Lathe: Quick Reviews and Guide

A pen turning lathe is an indispensable tool if you want to fashion out a beautiful pen. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will find the lathe to be a very handy tool. Excel in your craft by purchasing the best pen turning lathe that makes your work more enjoyable and fun.

There is a huge variety of pen turning lathes out there that help you with the work. The different styles include full-size lathe, benchtop lathe, and a pen turning lathe, among others.

This in-depth review of some of the best pen turning lathes gives you an insight into the product to help you choose one that matches your requirement.

1. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

This mini wood lathe is fashioned out of reliable cast iron that is heavy enough to support the machine in assuming its benchtop position with little resistance. However, due to its overall small size, you still have to be careful around the small workpieces that might make the machine a bit difficult to handle.

The rotation speed of the mini-lathe varies between 600 to 3200 RPM. The speed versatility offers greater precision. With just a twist of the knob, you can set the speed you want. It features a powerful motor that produces clean, symmetrical chiseling.

The lightweight design makes the machine extremely portable. To make the device safe for you to operate, it comes embedded with a safety paddle switch. Buy the machine with confidence as the manufacturer offers a two year warranty


  • Durable
  • Comes with a speed controller
  • Portable
  • Two year warranty


  • The tool rest gets loose after a while


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2. WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8″ by 12″ Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3421 is a lightweight and affordable benchtop wood lathe that is suitable for handling smaller projects. The intermediate tool proves to be perfect for both amateurs and professionals making it an excellent purchase. Along with variable speed, the machine has an adjustable tailstock that facilitates usage.

The cast iron construction offers stability to the machine that can otherwise ruin the workpiece with continuous juddering. Throw anything at the 5-inch cast-iron plate, and it will carve out anything for you. It is a versatile device that guarantees precision.

It sports a 3.2 amp motor that offers more power compared to other wood lathes at the same price. Choose your desired speed by adjusting it from between 750 to 3200 RPM. The slow-starting motor makes the machine safe to use by protecting it from wear and tear. Apart from the motor, it has a safety lock that prevents accidental starts.


  • Affordable
  • Integrated faceplate
  • Easy assembly
  • Works best for small projects


  • Weak motor
  • The tailstock is made from plastic and heats up

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3. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe

The RIKON is a simple device to operate. The machine is touted as one of the biggest “mini” machines on the market. The sturdy motor of the lathe powers the various turning speeds. The swing distance of the device is 10 inches, whereas the distance between centers is 8 inches.

RIKON has a self ejecting tailstock. You have access to different speeds that allow you to smoothly carry out the job.

While designing the machine, the requirements of the user were put into consideration as you will find every little detail tends to make usage effortless.

The cast iron construction gives the lathe enough weight to avoid wobbling and vibrating. It is usually the aluminum lathes that cause such issues. The RIKON mini-lathe has five-speed ranges that help in carrying out the various tasks such as boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, and shaping for finishing the products.


  • Cooling fins on the motor
  • Balanced
  • No vibration
  • Excellent for small projects
  • Auto eject tailstock


  • Issues with moving the belt

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4. Mophorn Wood Lathe 10 x 18 Inch

The Mophorn wood lathe is ideal for beginner use and equally facilitates the pros. It is efficient enough to handle most turning jobs effectively. The powerful motor that the mini wood lathe has enables it to perform the task smoothly. The motor has a noiseless operation, so no more complaining neighbors.

The impressive speed controller increases the efficiency of the device. You can turn the knob clockwise or anticlockwise to adjust the speed of the lathe to a level that promotes greater efficiency and a finer result. You can adjust it between 760-3200 RPM. The digital display makes it easier for you to know the current speed of the machine.

It has a large swing capacity and an expansive work surface that swiftly and smoothly does the job. The cast iron construction of the machine provides extra durability, making the device more reliable and a preferred choice.


  • Digital speed reading
  • Durable construction
  • Smooth tail stock sliding
  • Stable


  • The speed can’t be reduced lower than 700 rpm
  • Average tool rest quality

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5. Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe

If you are looking for a cost-efficient lathe that, despite the price provides you with cutting-edge performance, Delta Industrial lathe is a suitable choice. The cost-effective Delta Industrial lathe is perfect for beginners to hone their skills. It is powerful and works smoothly.

It has a 12.5-inch swing capacity, which is by far the largest among all the pen turning lathes in a similar price range.

With impressive precision, the lathe works both in forward and reverse direction. You can flip the switch and change the orientation. The belt tensioning system in this pen turning lathe is patented. The belt comprises a groove belt that is proficient at speed changes.

Overall, the sturdy construction makes the mini pen turning lathe reliable and provides a perfect power-to-weight ratio.


  • Strong build
  • Noiseless functioning
  • Patented belt system


  • Vibration is present

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6. Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe

The Nova 71118 is a durable device that helps you get the job done efficiently. It is a benchtop device that gets through all the pen making and woodworking projects. The Nova 7118 is made out of cast iron that gives it weight along with longevity.

The portable lathe features a strong 0.75 HP motor. It is capable of operating in both forward and reverse directions. With a speed of 250-4000 rpm, you just flip the switch to change the orientation to your preference.

The bed space measures up to 40 inches, with a distance between the two headstocks at 12 and 16.5 inches.

The Nova 71118 has an adjustable tailstock, three stage pulleys, a three-inch faceplate, and a Versaturn Coupler. It is a flexible lathe machine that has a superior finish and high functionality.


  • Easy assembly
  • Strong motor
  • Works in both forward and reverse
  • Durable


  • Comparatively heavy
  • Makes slight noises

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Buying Guide For Best Pen Turning Lathe

Finding the right lathe from among the dozens of options is overwhelming. There are so many things that require your attention, from the size and efficiency to the price of the lathe.

Below are a few of the factors that you need to bear in mind before you head out to the market.

Types of Lathes

The pen turning lathes come in three different sizes from which you can choose the one that best fits your requirements. You will come across a full-size, midi, and mini pen turning lathe in the market.

If you are a DIY-er, a mini or midi lathe will suit you. These are small benchtop machines that can handle medium or small projects. Also, they require less space for storage.

The full-sized lathes are more suited for commercial use. They handle large woodturning projects that require greater size and power.


Usually, the lathes you will come across will have power ranging from ½ to 1-1/2 HP. The greater the motor strength, the better the result will be. If the lathe you are purchasing will be serving more than one purpose, you need to buy a lathe with a higher power range. However, you will have to adjust your budget then.

Speed Variance

The speed variance is what actually makes a difference. It might make a lathe more expensive, but it is worth the cost. The feature allows the lathe to switch between different speeds by dialing the speed knob.

Multi-speed lathes are affordable, but they require you to manually position the belt every time you want to switch the speed. You will have to open up the belt cover that slows down your work and delays projects.


You can achieve your goals more efficiently with a lathe that has no or low vibration. Among all the other reasons, the structural weakness is one that makes it essential to have a low vibration lathe. Check the construction of the lathe. It must be strong enough to ensure a stable operation.


What Does Pen Turning Mean?

Pen turning is a process of making handcrafted pens using different kinds of pen blanks. You need a wood lathe, among other pen turning accessories for the process.

What Does a Pen Turning Lathe Do?

It is a turning machine that enables you to create small projects from the pen blanks.

What Is the Difference Between Midi and Mini Lathe?

The mini and midi lathe have distinct features and specifications. The midi lathe has a more powerful motor comparatively. You can use it for larger items that match the large swing over bed size and the distance between the centers of the device.

Mini lathes, on the other hand, are lightweight and affordable. They are more apt at handling smaller projects. They have less motor power than a midi lathe but are still a great piece of DIY equipment.

What Lathe Speed Suits Pen Turning?

The different speeds of the lathe start from 2000 rpm and go up to 3500 rpm for turning wood pen blanks. The more appropriate lathe speed for acrylic pen blanks is 2000 rpm to 2500 rpm.

Why Are Mini-lathes Perfect for Pen Turning?

Mini -lathes are suitable for people who are short on space and yet want to pursue their hobby. You don’t have to wait for a larger place to do what you love. Even learned crafters go for mini-lathes that increase accessibility.

Someone who travels often would also love having a mini lathe for pen turning. You just have to make sure that the lathe has a stronger base and fits in your space.


The above reviews of some of the best pen turning lathes will help you make a suitable choice. In case you feel what you want is missing here, you can go through our guide to understand what to expect and what features you think are essential in your tool.

Pen turning can be done in any surroundings and settings. Wherever you do it or whichever tool you go for, make sure that safety comes first!

Pen lathes are essential for small projects and no woodworker’s workshop is complete without one!