Best Wood Lathes For The Money In 2021 – Top Picks Reviewed
There is a saying in South Asia - Pen, ink, and brain write together, which means that the reason behind perfect craftsmanship not only depends on your skill but a good part of it requires the proper qualities of your instrument and tools. It is true for woodturners too.
For turning your ideas into reality, you will want to have a wood lathe that is successful in every way, starting from its motor to its stability.
Well, finding a wood lathe like that would normally be so hard as there are lots of options. But worry not, as you can check out this collection below of the best wood lathes to use in 2020.
Best Wood Lathe 2021 Reviews
1. WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
- Weight: 44.7 pounds
- Dimensions: 28.1 x 13.3 x 7.6
- Style: 3.2-Amp Lathe
- 50% more powerfull
- 2.3-Inch face plate
We start with a superb item, called the WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe. It is not just good for work performance, but it has a carefully constructed body for long-lasting use. You can use this lathe for various applications.
This wood lathe comes with an amazing shape and size that allows you to work comfortably. You can craft and work with any application with a size of up to 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width. To make the work faster and more precise, the motor can produce a high amount of pressure, which is around 50% more than regular wood lathes.
The motor runs on an electric current of 3.2 amp. You can set the variable speed motor of soft start from between 750 to 3200 RPM, giving you a wide range of options.
This wood lathe features all the necessary instruments that you will need. It has a faceplate of 2.3 inches with an MT1 spindle. You get a tailstock taper for better support in longitudinal rotating. Finally, it has two additional tool rests too.
2. SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
- Weight: 48.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7
- Power Source: Corded-electric
- Horsepower: 0.33 hp
- Part Number: W1704
For your wood crafting works, the SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe can offer you exactly what you require. Once you try this item, you can't deny the fact that this product is one of the best wood lathes on the market available now.
If you think you want a wood lathe with a high-power generation capability, then this one is for you. Its motor can produce 1/3 HP of power with the required electricity of 2 amp. This lathe needs a voltage of 110 V to keep running properly. The manufacturers created the motor as a single phase with a good frequency of 60 Hz.
For a great working experience, the size of the wood lathe is excellent, with a distance of 12 inches between its centers. To work with any workpiece of high dimension, its swing is 8 inches long. Since you require a well-constructed body, this item is made from cast iron. It's an amazingly durable material that does not rust so easily.
You get two additional tool rests in the package. It has a well-controlled variable speed that allows you to adjust the speed you want between 700 to 3200 RPM.
3. JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe
- Weight: 121 pounds
- Dimensions: 32.82 x 14.56 x 21.25
- Power Source: Corded-electric
- Voltage: 120 Volts
- Horsepower: 1 HP
The JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe comes with a perfect size and body to give you an amazing work experience. It has a good design to work efficiently. You can turn your workpieces easily while working with this wood lathe. It's a must-try item for everyone.
One of the major problems with many low-quality lathes is that they may have such speed too fast or too slow for its application. But this item has a variable unrivaled speed control that ranges between 60 to 3600 RPM. This speed control is created efficiently. It works smoothly, no matter whether you are turning, facing, or cutting your workpiece.
You can work with any wooden pieces with a maximum size of 12 inches in width and 21 inches in length. It features a tailstock with a peak thread. You will be surprised to work with the ratchet style belt tension system.
To give you quick control over speed and everything, the controls are located at the side, which is easily reachable. It has an amazing tool caddy in the back to keep your additional tools. The spindle lock is loaded by spring.
4. SHOP FOX W1836 Bench Top Wood Lathe
- Weight: 85 pounds
- Dimensions: 38.5 x 15.5 x 17
- Size: 12" x 15"
- Power Source: Corded-electric
- Part Number: FBA_W1836
We have another of the wood lathes manufactured by the shop fox brand that excels at providing the correct reversing process and better control. It has an amazing design that is surely going to wonder you. Hence, experts recommend this product.
Letting you work on workpieces of various sizes; the wood lathe can modify any wooden piece as long as it has a size of 12 inches by 15 inches. The lathe generates a high power of ¾ horsepower to do this task, making the work quicker and more accurate.
You will need to provide it with an electrical connection of 110 V. It is a universal motor, meaning that it can be a good replacement motor as well. It features spindle speed ranges of 500 to 1800 RPM and 1000 to 3800 ROM to give you a wide range of speed choices. You can easily set the speed with a digital display to view the speed stats.
With the headstock being locked and 24 index positions placed conjugated with the spindle, which is at 15-degree, your tasks will be so easy and comfortable. It weighs only 82 lbs.
5. WEN 3424T Benchtop Wood Lathe
- Weight: 70.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 30.5 x 8.75 x 16.25
- Size: 12 x 18" (5 Speed)
- Measurement System: Metric
- Five different speeds
Since you require a wood lathe that tackles all types of wooden workpieces of various sizes with an epic functionality and design, the WEN 3424T Benchtop Wood Lathe is recommended. It is designed with innovative manufacturers, WEN.
Coming with some excellent stats, this wood lathe runs on 4.5 amp of electric current. Since it has a faceplate with a size of 3 to 1/8 inches, you can easily do the turning process for most workpieces that don't need spindles, such as bowls or mugs.
One amazing thing is that it allows you to adjust to any of the five speeds you want, which are 520, 900, 1400, 2150, and 3400 revolutions per minute. It is possible to craft anything that is 12 inches in width and 18 inches in length. It has an MT2 tailstock for better balance and headstock tapers. It lets you use many instruments with your wood lathe.
The MT2 headstock spur center lets you attach narrow spindles easily, while the MT2 tailstock live center is going to give you better support while turning your workpiece from one center to another. An additional 8 inches tool rest is also included in the package.
6. RIKON Power Tools Mini Lathe
- Weight: 74 pounds
- Dimensions: 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.75
- Voltage: 120 Volts
- Material: Plastic/Metal
- Wattage: 375 watts
Offering you all the latest wood crafting technologies within a tinier body than other wood lathes, the RIKON Power Tools Mini Lathe is bought to the market. Created with proper care, this wood lathe has a high potential to work with any workpiece so easily.
Even though the wood lathe is mini in size, its stats are not mini. A motor that can produce a power of 0.5 HP can effectively perform any precise work. Its swing length is 10 inches, and the distance between centers is 18 inches. Because of that, you can work on any workpiece up to that size.
You can change the speed to 5 different speed options easily as it is just near your hand when you are working. Its tailstock has a self-ejection system. Constructed with cast iron, it will not rust. It is also a material that can absorb high vibrations.
Pen Turner, a pen and woodturning company, specially requested this product to be designed like that. Hence, be sure that you can work with this product on a professional level. The package also includes a tool rest, wrenches, live center, and knock-out bar.
7. JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe
- Weight: 400 pounds
- Dimensions: 88 x 58 x 39
- Horsepower: 1 HP
- Measurement System: Metric
- Part Number: JWL-1440VSK
Feeling like that most wood lathes on the market are a bit too regular and aren't offering something extra? Then try the JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe. With a smart design and shape, which features long adjustable legs, you can find nice versatility from this machine.
As many different workpieces need different speeds, this wood lathe comes with a variable speed that ranges from 400 to 3000 RPM, allowing you to set the speed you want with ease.
Not to mention, the display to see the RPM is so easy to understand quickly. Its headstock swivels up to a 360-degree angle. However, you can set it to any of the seven different positions: 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees. As a result, you can get a great array of options to work comfortably without any problem.
To deliver a better locking mechanism, its tailstock quill locking has a key that is anti-rotating. It holds the spindle firmly for better turning. Manufacturers added tool rests with a positive locking system.
This wood lathe has an amazing tailstock with the highest quality threads. Certified by CSA, the item can please you with its amazingness.
8. JET JWL-1015V Variable Speed Wood Lathe
- Weight: 78 pounds
- Dimensions: 30.5 x 11.8 x 17.1
- Part Number: JWL-1015VS
- Three Speed Range
- Integrated 24 position indexing
We have another wood lathe from the experienced and famous brand JET, which is named the JET JWL-1015V Wood Lathe. This mini-sized wood lathe is capable of offering quick and accurate works. It also got a high rating from the consumers.
When working with this wood lathe, you will be able to set the required speed for literally any workpiece from among three different speed ranges. Adjust the speed between 200 to 1050 RPM, 300 to 1750 RPM, or 600 to 3600 RPM. Just like how an ideal wood lathe should, this item has integrated index positioning of 24.
You can use the belts so quickly since they are easy to reach. Meanwhile, the manufacturers upgraded the tensioning system of the belt. The distance between its centers is 15 and a half inches, while it has a swing of 10 inches. As a result, you can work on applications of various sizes.
Its bed ways are wider than most regular wood lathes. On the side, there is easy access to the on/off switch and safety key. There are also live centers for the tailstock.
9. Grizzly Industrial Wood Lathe
- Weight: 77 pounds
- Dimensions: 33 x 17 x 12
- Part Number: H8259
- Motor: 1/2 HP
- Swing over bed: 10"
For all kinds of heavy and light-duty wood-crafting works, the Grizzly Industrial H8259 Wood Lathe is an ideal product. As the name suggests, you can use this wood lathe for both industrial and personal usages. Experts highly favor it.
This wood lathe comes with complete functions for an all-around woodworking process. You can work with workpieces of almost any size since this wood lathe has a swing length of 16 inches. Making it possible to use on even the longest of the workpieces, the distance between the centers is 43 inches.
Its headstock spindle is 1 inch by 8 inches. It has ten different speed options that start from 600 to 2400 RPM to match with all the different applications. You will need a touch machine to use on industrial grounds. So, this lathe's bed and legs are made of cast iron to absorb high vibration and ultra-durability.
The leg is long enough to don't need to place it on an additional bench or desk. It comes with MT2 tailstock tapers to allow working with even the narrowest of workpieces. It is possible to change the speed using the shift-on-the-fly handle.
10. Mophorn Benchtop Wood Lathe
- Weight: 83 pounds
- Dimensions: 35 x 18.5 x 13
- Material: Metal
- 550W Power motor
- Variable Speed
To cope with the decade's ever-growing technology, the Mophorn Benchtop Wood Lathe is created with advanced technologies with high-quality material and acme design. It has some amazing stats to do what it promises successfully. Its wondrous qualities are going to please you for sure.
As you need to work accurately for most wood-crafting works, including cutting, turning, or drilling, this wood lathe has a high-powered and low sound motor that can provide 370 Watts of power. This wood lathe is suitable for working with any workpieces with a width and length of 10 inches by 18 inches. It is lightweight and can be mounted on a bench easily using the lock lever to control the tool rest.
You can set the speed to any of the five speeds that range between 760 to 3200 RPM. When adjusting the speed, you can rotate the knob clockwise or anti-clockwise. It features an MT2 spindle. Its tailstock is movable that allows you to choose any suitable distance.
Its body is made tough with cast iron that increases its steadiness, making it possible to decrease the vibration. Applying Iron cast also protects it against rust.
11. JET JWL - 1015 Wood Lathe
- Weight: 77 pounds
- Dimensions: 35 x 18.1 x 14.56
- Power Source: Corded-electric
- Voltage: 115 Volts
- Number of Handles: Two
Here we have one more product from JET, to provide the consumers with something extraordinary. The JET JWL – 1015 Wood Lathe offers you some great features. This benchtop wood lathe can be used to make your work faster while giving you more controls than normal lathes.
With a swing length of 10 inches, which is suitable for most workpieces, you have a wide choice. The centers are 15- 1/2 inches far from each other, making it possible to work with any workpieces with a 15 inches length.
While you may not find enough speed options from regular wood lathes, this one gives you six different variable speeds that include 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630, and 3975 RPM. It has integrated 24 index positioning, which is a good quality of the best wood lathes. To adjust the RPM, you can easily set the belts. Their tensions are also better than other wood lathe belts.
The JET JWL 1015 Wood Lathe can be used so easily as even the new woodturners find it favorable. However, it can be used for professional works too. This mini wood lathe comes with a pretty light body.
12. Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe
- Weight: 682 pounds
- Dimensions: 55 x 27 x 31
- Power Source: Corded-electric
- Horsepower: 2
- Variable speed motor
Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe has some of the best qualities along with an acme sliding headstock and tailstock. While working with this wood lathe, you will be surprised by its precise work and versatility. It offers you many options to give the workpieces the shape you want.
Ideal for both heavy and light duty work, this wood lathe has a long swing of 20 inches. It is backed by a far distance of 34- ½ inches from one center to another. So, you can use even bigger sized workpieces. Its powerful motor can deliver 2 HP with a voltage rating of 220 Volt. It requires a 6.2 amp to run. Since this motor has variable speed, you are free to set the speed you want.
24 index positioning limit grants it much versatility. It features a spindle lock that provides steadiness to the workpiece while working. Powermatic added a digital RPM readout display, which is easy to view the motor's speed. Its self-injecting quill is engraved with lasers.
Ideal for both professional and novice workers, the motor of this wood lathe can be maintained with either one-phased or three-phased inlet.
How To Pick The Best Wood Lathe
If you have read the reviews above or have any experience buying a wood lathe, you should have an idea of how many different factors need to be checked while buying an effective wood lathe. It can take a good amount of your valuable time to research everything related to a wood lathe, especially if you are a novice.
Since you don't want to end up spending your money on a lost cause, this buying guide below can save you from that. All 5 points below are important and must be included in a top-notch wood lathe. So, without further ado, let's have a look.
When it comes to wood lathes, there are two types of them. There are big ones with additional long legs. Then there are the small benchtop ones. Now, it is not that bigger lathes are too better than the smaller ones.
Actually, it depends on your setup and taste. Full-sized ones, of course, take much space. But the smaller ones need to be mounted on a bench. However, Bigger-sized lathes come with longer swing and center distance.
If your motor can't provide you with just the right speed, you can't work with all types of workpieces properly. Because of that, wood lathes with variable speed are better since you get a wide range of options.
Professionals use a standard when checking the speed. If the speed is multiplied by the stock's thickness, the result should be between 6000 to 9000. So, keep that in mind.
If the base of the lathe can't support it, then that's an issue. Your wood lathe should have a proper base, whether some well-constructed legs or a plain base. If the whole lathe is lighter, that is even better.
Size of Workpieces
The maximum sized workpieces you normally use should be measured to find the right wood lathe for them. In this case, the swing over the lathe base should have a length equal to the wood piece's thickness/width. Meanwhile, the distance between the centers should depend on the length of the workpiece.
A wood lathe often needs to be put in some hard situations. The iron cast is a good material that saves a lathe from rust and can absorb a good amount of vibration, which makes it far steadier than the aluminum ones.
Some Wood Lathe Techniques
Working with woods is fun and joyful. It is because you can bring your idea to life by doing so. A wood lathe is machinery that offers you a number of options to do various shapes and designs on your wooden pieces.
You can make the process even more thrilling by knowing some epic techniques. So, let us look at some of the nice wood lathe techniques-
Creating Striped Turning Blanks
If you can't find a wooden stock thick enough for your project, you can create your turning blank with stripe designs that will look unique to the eye. You can do it by attaching wood stripes with glue. Or by following this process-
Collect some wood pieces of the same appearance. Remember that your turning blank will have bigger width than how you want to make it at the end of your task to cut it how you want.
Now make a template of the original blank with other wooden materials to trace its size. Afterward, place the template in a way to easily see the side that you want to trace. Now, trace its template and cut the wooden piece.
In case you wonder how oval turning will help you, this skill can let you create just the right size of handle for your hammer, ax, or other similar tools to be fit for your hand. So here is the process of that-
Start by marking the axis points like how your application should shape up. You can leave dots or holes as marks. Place the live center in any of the marks that you have given and keep turning.
When it forms the shape, place it to another mark and repeat it like that. Completing all the points will give it the oval shape. You can repeat the whole process in case you want a precise shape.
Avoiding Lathe Chatters
You might see that the spindle is suddenly not having a properly smooth surface when working with a spindle. Known as lathe chatters, this happens near the middle of the process for lack of support.
You can avoid this issue by applying additional support to the center of your project. You can either get a firm rest from the market or even use your hand to provide support. The better the support is, the less lathe chatter will happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Wood Lathe?
A wood lathe is a type of machinery that allows its user to change any wooden piece's shape to make something out of it, such as a wooden cup or chess piece.
How to Set up a Wood Lathe?
While setting up a wood lathe, experts use a method. It is by standing in front of the lathe straight. In that pose, the wood lathe's center-line will be of the same height as your elbow.
Then subtract the lathe's length (without its stand) from a distance between your elbow and the ground. That should be the height of the stand. In case anything is taller than it needs to be, you can always raise the ground under whichever is shorter.
Where to Buy a Wood Lathe?
You can buy a wood lathe from various online shops. Many of them will deliver the product home and has full descriptions of the product on its display. You can also buy them from real-life shops for woodturners and craftsmanship.
What Is a Wood Lathe Used for?
A wood lathe is used for giving any shape to any wooden piece through various processes such as cutting, drilling, turning, facing, etc.
When buying a wood lathe, many professionals usually lean on popular brands. It is a smart idea. Those brands got popular for a reason. They know what they are making. So, you can get your lathe from a famous brand too.
Check if the manufacturers are responsive enough. They can help you a lot to understand all the details of the wood lathe. Contact them quickly if you find any defect in the lathe you bought. Also, reading the consumers' reviews can be a good task to do to know whether the lathe delivers what it promises.
Last Updated on February 7, 2021 by Richard Boyer