Whether you are a beginner or a professional in the wood business, purchasing the right wood lathe is essential to making sure your final product is perfect. It is also advantageous to have this magnificent piece of machinery because it removes all the annoying strains of wood working. There are various lathes on the market for you to choose from, all with different dimensions, speed levels, and materials, depending on what you prefer.
If you are new to this, a wood lathe is a machine that rotates and is designed for woodworking. You can use this piece of machinery to cut and drill into wood, sand any surface, or create a face. It can be confusing trying to pick the best wood lathe for your work, after all this an important part of woodworking.
Choose the Best Wood Lathe for Your Budget
Depending on your specific budget, you can find various wood lathes that fit your needs. In this article, I have compiled the best wood lathes on Amazon for the best bang of your buck. Before buying anything, you should do your research and this article was created just for that purpose. You will find all the information you need to pick the perfect wood lathe for you. By the end of this article, you will have enough information to make a well-informed decision and make that final purchase.
Keep in mind that a wood lathe should not be used with any other material as it does not produce as much power as other lathes. You will be damaging this piece of equipment if you use it for harder materials.
1. JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
The Jet JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe’s key benefit is its control. This is important when operating this kind of machinery. It has various speed ranges and changing the belts is very easy. You will also find a reverse feature that operates very smoothly. It has a switch that you can use while working so no need to turn it off. The word REV appears when the machine is in reverse mode.
- Weight – 136.4 pounds
- Size – 32.82 x 14.56 x 21.25 inches
- Voltage – 115 Volts
- Power Source – Corded-Electric
- Horsepower – 1
- Cord Length – 4 feet
- Number of handles – 6
- Speed – 3600 RPM
- Includes – 1 JPW Manufactured Product
- 5 years warranty
- The forward-to-reverse feature is very smooth and can be done with one switch while the machine is still working
- Very conveniently located controls
- You will find 24 integrated indexing positions
- The machine can go from 60-3600 RPM with variable speed controls
- Changing the variable speeds is very easy
- The item is solidly built with hefty cast iron
- It is very quiet when in operation
- It comes with an excellent user manual, making it very easy and ideal even for those who are just beginners
- Too heavy to move by yourself
- You need too many accessories to go along with the lathe
- The packaging that it comes in is not always of good quality
- A small LCD (a pro for many, a con for some)
2. Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
The Delta 46-460 provides you with all the features you need to create a wooden masterpiece. It can go up to 1,750 rpm, providing enough torque and enough speed to handle highly figured wood. You can also slow it down to 250 rpm depending on what you need. It has an electronic reversible variable speed adjuster in the form of a pulley system. This system minimizes any vibration and chatter.
- Weight – 97 pounds
- Dimensions – 36 x 11 x 17.75 inches
- Colour – Gray
- Power Source – Corded-electric
- Speed – 250-700, 600-1, 800 and 1,350-4,000 RPM
- Large 12-1 / 2-inch swing capacity
- No batteries included
- 5 years warranty
- Smaller and lighter than some other machines but still packs a lot of power
- This machine has a 12 – 1 / 2-inch swing and therefore, it has the largest capacity in its class.
- Durable and stable for maximum precision.
- It has variable speeds which allow you to perform various tasks without having to change the belt option.
- Excellent packing conditions
- Not optimal customer service
- Sometimes the variable speed switch needs repairing
- The tool rests might not be as comfortable as you might wish
3. Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System, 12”, Powerful Electronic 3/4 HP variable speed
With the Nova 71118 Comet II, you are not limited to one speed. You can switch between speeds easily so that you can do a variety of work. It has a screen display that shows you exactly which speed you are on. It is highly portable and compact while still being quite powerful, just like any larger model. This piece of machinery also has extendable beds which you can purchase later on if needed.
- Weight – 82 pounds
- Dimensions – 8.9 x 17.8 x 32.9 inches
- Speed – 4000 RPM
- DC Motor
- Style – New model
- Included Items – Nova 71118 wood lathe, Comet II, 12 inches, ¾ HP, variable speed, mini lathe (type II).
- 1-year warranty for motor and controller and 2 years for mechanical and parts.
- Great customer service.
- Very easy to use.
- High-quality material.
- Very smooth work and also very quiet.
- Easy to assemble.
- It contains a lot of the advantages that a bigger machine has, packed into a small machine.
- It meets a lot of requirements while being cost-efficient.
- No vibrations even when it’s not pinned down.
- The tool rest provided is a little small and not very strong.
- HP is a little slow.
- Not the right tool for more professional individuals with bigger pieces of wood.
4. WEN 3420T 2-Amp 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe
This item is ideal for pens, chess pieces, and other small items. The machine’s speed can be adjusted anywhere between 750 to 3200 rotations per minute. The WEN 3402T has a spindle and tailstock that tapers tightly to grip well to any of your workpieces. This lathe also comes with a flat wrench and a headstock spur center. The excellent tailstock cup center, knockout rod, and 5-inch faceplate will turn non-spindle workpieces.
The whole machine consists of a 5-inch faceplate, a speed dial, and on and off switch with a safety lock. You will also find a 2A soft start motor, a tool rest with two sizes including a tailstock handwheel, tailstock center, and a tool rest lock. A great beginner’s option because it is easy to use and highly affordable.
- Weight – 43 pounds
- Dimensions – 26 x 10 x 12 inches
- Material – Metal
- Included Components – Wood lathe
- Model Number – 3420T
- Size – 8 x 12 inches variable speed
- Style – 8 x 12 inches variable speed
- Excellent for beginners.
- Cheaper than some of the other models.
- xcellent for small workpieces.
- Small and light and are ideal for all those who do not have space for a lathe.
- The variable speed control is excellent and is very easy to control.
- Excellent for smaller workpieces but not for bigger ones.
- Not too powerful with harder objects.
- It will not work with very long pieces of wood.
5. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10” x 18” 1 / 2 hp Mini Lathe
The Rikon Power Tool is a highly sought after piece of machinery due to its smoothness and power. It was designed specifically for pen turners. This skill requires a sturdy and dedicated machine to make crafting easier. This mini lathe is made from cast iron so that it eliminates vibrations, unlike lathes that are made from aluminum.
It comes with five ranges of speed to choose from. The package includes a lice center as well as a knock-out bar and various wrenches.
- Weight – 74 pounds
- Dimensions – 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.75 inches
- Material – Plastic and metal
- Voltage – 120 volts
- Wattage – 375 watts
- Includes – lathe, 6” tool rest, live center, spur center, rubber feet, manual and wrenches
- 5 years warranty
- Small yet very strong material
- Very smooth
- Excellent for pen turners
- No need to bolt it down
- Minimized vibrations due to its material
- It provides plenty of power
- Five-position on the pulley system
- Only good for smaller items such as bowls and pens
- It can get a little warm at times
6. WEN 3424T 4.5-Amp 12-Inch by 18-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe
This is another type of WEN lathe. It can run on five different speeds such as 520, 900, 1400, 2150, and 3400 RPM. Conveniently, it also carries an 8-inch tool rest and an accessory holder that will ensure that you have everything in one place. This piece of machinery is ideal for all those who do not really have space for a huge machine but still want to invest in a good lathe.
It is very easy to use and a great value for your money. It comes with a 4.5 Amp motor, MT2 tailstock, and other accessories.
- Weight – 70.3 pounds
- Dimensions – 30.5 x 8.75 x 16.25 inches
- Size – 12 x 18” (5 speed)
- Style – 12 x 18” (5 speed)
- No battery required
- Great for pen turning and other such woodworks
- A very solid performer
- Small and compact
- Excellent for beginners
- 18” long and 12” wide cutting capacity
- You have to move belts to change the speed
- The drive belt is small
A Good Choice for Beginners
All of the lathes on this list are great for beginners. They are quite small but still contain the power of a bigger piece of machinery. These lathes are ideal for young woodworkers. All the models are easy to use and have adjustable speeds so that you can work at a slower speed for safety. The lathes have excellent control and you can rest assured that you are safe when handling this machine.
An Affordable Choice
The affordable choice would be the WEN 3420T. The price will increase if you decide to purchase bigger models, which are also available on Amazon. This model is ideal for all those who do not have much space as it is easy to handle, small, and can fit anywhere.
A Bigger Punch
The Delta Industrial 46-460 and the Nova 71118 Comet II DR cost a little more than the others and carry a bigger punch. For example, the Nova is very powerful for its size. It will also provide you with all the stability needed for an excellent finish. These models might be harder to move around than the others but provides you an efficient piece of machinery. If you do not have enough funds to purchase a bigger lathe, the Jet JWL – 1221VS is also an incredible choice.
Easy To Use
If you are new to woodworking and you want a best wood lathe that is easy to use, the Nova 71118 Comet II DR is perfect for you. It is quick and easy to assemble. The JET JWL-1221VS is also very easy to use as it contains a detailed user manual. All the buttons and the LCD screen will guide you when using this lathe.
I do hope that you have found this guide on the best wood lathes informative and that you have made a decision regarding the best wood lathe for you. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced woodworker, the perfect wood lathe can take your projects to the next level.