Top 10 Best Wood Lathe Machines: Reviews & Buying Guide 2018

You are seeing this article means you already know what a wood lathe is. And you are looking for the best wood lathe for the money you will pay. In this article, our aim is to introduce you with the best wood lathe machines you can use in both home and factory. In doing so, we have included the best benchtop wood lathe. Also, we are presenting the best midi wood lathe and the best mini wood lathe.

As indicated above, we are sure you know what a wood lathe is. Yet, to maintain a logical sequence, we would like to offer a brief definition.

Lathe is a primeval tool. The researchers could not pin point the exact date of its invention. But evidence shows it existed in ancient Egypt, Assyria, and ancient Greece. It was a revolutionary invention for the industries. Experts call it the mother of machine tools. It was the first instrument that led to invention of other instruments.

A lathe is an instrument that shapes the workpiece. It spins the working object on its axis to cut, sand, knurl, and drill. The tool can deform, face, and turn. You can use a lathe to shape all solid objects. But different matters need different types of lathes. The wood lathe is a machine that the inventors have made to shape wood. It is a vital tool for wooden productions.

Now let's turn onto define the wood lathe in particular. It is a tool that spins or rotates a wood piece and uses pointer, blade, and sander to shape it. They use also spindles and face-plate turners to match the generic workpiece. They can operate at different speeds. Thus, they can produce a desired effect and speed up the work. There are different kinds of wood lathes for different works. But the modern types tend to be versatile.

Things To Consider Before Choosing The Best Wood Lathe Machine

In our decision making process, we have placed ourselves in your shoes. In other words, the logic is: “If I were you, what would I look for?” The point at the outset is the best wood lathe must be stable in term of its power. And it is good for easy shaping. The factors we have taken into consideration are as follows:

  • Motor:
    Motor is the heart of the wood lathe. It determines the cutting speed. A small motor is not good for cutting heavy items. So the motor must have a decent size.
  • Power:
    The motor’s ability and speed determines its total power. Power has a vital role to play in handling complex works. So a versatile machine means a powerful one.
  • Speed:
    A wood lathe is good only when it allows you to adjust its speed. You need this feature to get the intended results.
  • Capacity:
    It is the scope to work on different workpiece sizes. The central and swing distance express the capacity. The greater the capacity is, the bigger piece you can work on.
  • Sturdiness:
    A wood lathe must be stable to avoid errors from jerks. No matter how expert you are, a shaky machine can result in defects. So you want a stable tool.
  • Vibration:
    A machine cannot be stable with vibration. Well, it is impossible to make a wood lathe with no vibration at all. But the less vibration it has, the more stable it is.
  • Noise:
    Noise can interfere with your concentration. So a good wood lathe has a less noise level.
  • Ease-of-Use:
    The operating system must be easy to use. You don’t want to spend your time to figure out how would you use it. Nor do you want complex adjust system for changing work. You need something simple.
  • Weight:
    Maybe you want a light machine, so that you can change work location. But it does not mean you want a too light one. A too light machine cannot be stable.
  • Size:
    The size must be proportionate to its weight. It is another factor that determines how stable the machine is.
  • Price
    An attractive price means a reasonable price. To make this determination, what you must do is to weigh the price against the quality. All the machines in this review pass this test.

Top 10 Wood Lathe Picks:

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

The undisputed truth about this machine is it provides the largest swing capacity in its kind. So it is in better position to give you scope for working on greater variety of sizes than any other such tool. Its back and forth motion allows finer finishing. You can make a quick change in speed based on its belt tension mechanism.

 It is stable. You will find this instrument convenient to work on a wide range of tasks. Some heavy duty construction materials made this tool durable. Weighing its quality against the price, we are pretty sure that it is the best in the market. You can install it in home and factory. This tool allows so many tasks that it itself is a full scale factory.

Highlighted Features:

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    Swing capacity: 12.5 inches
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    Motor power: 1 hp
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    Motor speed: 1725 rpm
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    3 wheel speed capacity with no-belt-change system
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    Belt tension mechanism
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    Forward and reverse motion
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    Knockout system
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    Tool rest platform
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    6 and 10 inches tool rests

We would not say, by using this machine, you would need nothing else at all. But we sure hold the position that, once you have it, you will need only few as complement. You can use it as a planing, sawing, sanding, and routing platform. It is small enough to fit in a small pick-up truck or work van. True, you cannot fold it. But its weight and dimension will allow you to move it around. Thus, it can work as your mobile workshop. Now weigh the price against the quality. And you judge if you could find any better deal.

2.JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe Review

The manufacturer says the JWL-1221VS is different from any of their previous products. They demand also that it is different from anything of its kind. We think they do have a point. The JWL-1221VS is an unique wood lathe. The concept behind its mechanism is CONTROL. It will make you feel wood turning has never been easier.

Just by reading about its features, you won't realize what it actually is. You will have to use it to have the real feel of it. You might then think what if you buy and then find out it's not what you thought it was. Trust us: It won't frustrate you. we have surveyed the market. And the users have confirmed our position. Now let's review what the JWL-1221VS offers.

Highlighted Features:

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    Swing capacity: 12.5 inches
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    Swing tool rest platform: 9.45 inches
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    Belt tension mechanism: Teeth style
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    Motor power: 1 hp
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    Motor speed: 3600 rpm
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    Speed variable: 60-3600 rpm
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    Holding capacity: 20.5 inches

As you now know the JWL-1221VS's features, you can tell it is a complete factory. Look at its weight, considering its size. It is a guarantee about its core concept: CONTROL. Plus, as you see, there are more components in this regard. Thus, you won't have to be a rocket scientist to conclude it is a stable tool. And this is one of the most fundamental elements of a good wood lathe. You can control your work like the way you want. Maybe this statement is true for other tools also. But it sure does help you have that control with more ease. You can rely on it without a second thought.

3.NOVA 46301 Comet II Variable Speed Midi Lathe with Free G3 Chuck Review

The third in the line is the Nova 46301. This machine offers something that other doesn’t. A G3 Chuck. It is possible that you can add a Chuck to other machine also. But the other won't offer it for free. What is a G3 Chuck?

A chuck is a special type clamp. In lathe, it holds a workpiece with radial symmetry. You mount it on the spindle that spins in the headstock. You need a chuck to drill. You need it to mill also. Nova makes a bunch of chucks. The G3 is one of them. It is a small four-jaw tool. It reduces load on small bearings and spindles. This model is a self-centered scrolling chuck. It can work with up to 16" over bed swing. The G3 frees your work from vibration. It saves your setting up time. Thus, you have more turning time.

So, by means of the G3 Chuck, the Nova 46301 package offers a greater deal. A deal you won't find in other package. Next to the usual features, it has:

Highlighted Features:

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    Free additional G3 chuck
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    Swing capacity: 12 inches
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    Motor power: .75 hp
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    Motor speed: 4000 rpm
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    Speed variable: 250-4000 rpm
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    Holding capacity: 16.5 inches

The Nova 46301 is a perfect power lathe. It is good for home and factory. This machine will give you a pleasant working experience. It has ranked the third place in our list doesn't mean it has any less quality. As simple as it is, we cannot rank every tool as number one. We wouldn't mind to shuffle the list to grade it as the top.

4.Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe Review

If you are looking for an easy to use wood lathe, the JWL-1015 is your solution. It is a simple tool. Every person in every trade has a starting point. There is a lot of novice wood workers in the field. So a simple tool was necessary. And that's exactly what the makers had in mind to make this model. New users can appreciate it.

It is simple to use. You can establish a quick and easy rapport with it. But that doesn't mean it is a toy. It is a full-fledged power lathe. Both the amateurs and the professionals can enjoy this tool. You will love it, once you take a look:

Highlighted Features:

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    Swing capacity: 10 inches
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    Swing tool rest platform: 7.31 inches
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    Motor power: .5 hp
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    Speed: 3975 rpm
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    Holding capacity: 15.5 inches
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    Improvised tension mechanism

The JWL-1015 gives you a whole nine yard. Shaping your workpiece is just a piece of cake. Deform? Face? Turn? No problem. You can cut, sand, knurl, and drill in the blink of an eye. You won't have to worry about your newness. Its firm stability helps you produce perfect results. All you need is attention. The tool does the rest. Due to its easy to use design, it saves your brain labor. You cannot say a 77 pounds weight is too much. It is a light weight tool. It is small as well. So, in a sense, it is portable. You can use it for a good while. Finally, weigh the price against its quality. You have one of the best deals ever.

5. NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition Review

Nova's 46300 Comet II is the best of the mini wood lathes. It is a giant in the wood factories. You can adjust its speed from 250 to 4000 rpm. That means you can cover the toughest works. And you can extract the best results. Its normal holding scope is 16.5 inches. But it is extendable up to 41 inches. This feature is present in only few of its kind. Remember the Comet II had a previous edition. And it is an improvised version.

Why mention this point? Because it proves makers have fixed the issues existed in the earlier model. It indicates also that it evolved for the modern world. Who can use it? Anyone can use this tool with high comfort. Where can you set it? Any place can make room for it. It has a classy look. So you will be proud to display it for your visitors. What else does this tool have?

Highlighted Features:

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    Swing capacity: 12 inches
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    Motor power: .75 hp
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    Motor speed: 4000 rpm
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    Speed variable: 250-4000 rpm
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    Faceplate: 3 inches
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    Forward and reverse motion
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    Hand-wheel facility

Its features speak for itself. So there is no much to say. Simple is that this machine offers an amazing woodworking experience. It allows you to do just about any thing you want. This is a stable and durable tool. It is definitely an item you want.

6.Jet JWL-1015VS 10-Inch X 15-Inch Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe Review

Jet's JWL-1015VS is a masterpiece for new users. It leads you to an easy ride. This tool is simple and pro at the same time. So all users will find it easy to use. It allows you some serious works from your comfort zone. It offers you everything you can expect in a one piece tool. To be fair, we must say it is a total factory. User friendly. Great working scope. Stable. Durable. Economic. Now you do the math. Yes, to do the math, you need to see what it offers. It has all the usual features. And the plus is as follows:

Highlighted Features:

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    Swing capacity: 10 inches
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    Swing tool rest platform: 7.31 inches
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    Motor power: .5 hp
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    Speed: 3600 rpm
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    Holding capacity: 15.5 inches
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    Improvised tension mechanism
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    Wide bed path

The JWL-1015VS is much like the one at number four above. By virtue, they are interchangeable. The main point of difference is the speed and speed variation. Thus, each one is good for a specific type of shaping. Otherwise, both are same. To choose between these two, what you have to do is to focus on your work type. We have placed this one at number six just to avoid bumping heads. So the ranking is not indicative of its quality. This machine brings to your door an all-in-one solution. Having this tool, you need not to look beyond. It means you have a factory in your hand.

7.RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe Review

The Rikon is one of the top brands in the world. It is carrying its name for years. The Rikon 70-100 has marked a milestone in woodworking. What its makers kept in mind is small work area. It offers the most you can get using a little space. It is a small tool but big worker. Do you like to use your hands at wood turning? Yes? Then you will love this tool. This is an excellent piece to make small items. But it does not mean you can make the small products only.

It means small part at a time. Thus, part by part, you can make a big item also. You may think, using this part-by-part method, you would spend more time. Wrong. No matter what tool you use, would you make all parts of a large item at once? No. Either way you go, you will need to make one small part at a time. So, in fact, there is no loss of time. But you do have more benefit. You are saving space. It is a mini lathe by technical term. But it gives everything you can expect in a lathe in general.

Highlighted Features:

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    Motor power: .5 hp
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    Motor Amps: 5.7
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    Motor speed: 3900 rpm
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    6 variable speeds:
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    Holding capacity: 16 inches
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    Faceplate: 3 inches
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    Handle for lifting

The Rikon 70-100 allows some real power works. It speeds up your work flow. It is stable. Thus, you can close your eyes and rely on it for your finest works. It is a durable tool. This mini devil is a combo of everything. If you value your money, grab this machine today.

8.RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2" x 24" VSR MIDI Lathe Review

The 70-220VSR is another magic of the Rikon. Looking for a smooth and quiet midi lathe? Rikon's 70-220VSR is your answer. It allows you to adjust to the project height. You can stow it inline with the wall. You can even stow in under a bench too. It is a powerful tool. It is compact and easy to set up. This is something you need to make a real workshop. In case something goes wrong, the company supports you by the speed of light as long as your warranty is valid. So you can count on it. Here is what the 70-220VSR has.

Highlighted Features:

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    Motor power: 1 hp
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    Motor Amps: 6
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    Motor speed: 3850 rpm
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    Swing capacity (over bed): 12.5 inches
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    Swing capacity (over tool rest base): 9.625 inches
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    Holding capacity: 20 inches

Now, looking at its features, what do you think you can do with a Rikon 70-220VSR? You already know the answer. Just to cover our part, let us say this: This is a full-fledged power wood factory. It is a good tool for all kind of wood works. And it suits all performance levels. You can use it to turn a small area of your home into a factory. It is not just that it offers a good price deal. Rather, the price is much cheaper than its actual worth. So, don't fall behind. Buy it before the price starts matching the quality.

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

The Shop Fox W1704 is a fine piece of mini wood lathe. While it helps you make professional quality products, it is good for even the amateurs. You can use it in home. It is good for factory also. We are not saying you can do every work with it. But we are saying you can do every work you can expect in a wood lathe. It is a small and light weight tool. It is easy to store and to move around. It has got your back in your entire woodworking sessions. Last but not least, you can use it for a long time. You can appreciate the features it has.

Highlighted Features:

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    Motor power: .1/3 hp
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    Motor speed: 3200 rpm
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    8-inch swing over bed
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    Holding capacity: 15.5 inches

Whether you are a carpenter, artist, or hobbyist, you will find the Shop Fox W1704 helpful. Whether your work place is home or factory, you can set it to suit your need. This tool provides you a whole nine yards of works and technical supports. Finally, the price is in the perfect line with its quality. So add this tool to your cart now.

10.Woodtek 143009, Machinery, Lathes, Woodtek 10" Midi Lathe Review

The Woodtek 143009 is a perfect midi wood lathe for small projects. It is as good as the other of its kind. But the price is cheaper. So, if you are on a tight budget, you can consider it as a must have. Also it doesn't matter whether you are a professional or amateur. This tool is for you. It works well in the factory as much as it does in home. It is a simple, stable, and durable tool. Now view its technology.

Highlighted Features:

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    Motor power: .5 hp
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    Motor Amps: 5
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    Motor speed: 3975 rpm
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    Swing capacity (over bed): 10 inches
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    Holding capacity: 17 inches
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    Faceplate: 3.125 inches

As you already have looked at its features, there is not much to say. This is a nice piece of tool for making pens to chair legs. It will make your woodworks colorful. It will enrich your factory.

Final Verdict

We are no agent of any company. If you prefer one brand over other, the winner will pay us no commission. So our review is free from all bias. Our aim was to present an informative guide. So that you will be able to make a sound decision.

Power wood lathes reduce the need for a whole lot of tools. They speed up your work flow. They allow you to perform many works in one place. To stand a chance in today's woodworking industries, you must need a power wood lathe. There are many types of wood lathe. Here we have talked about the benchtop, midi, and mini. Each of the machines in this review is the best of the bests. Yet, to speak of wood lathes in general, we recommend you to follow our ranking:

Christopher Thomas
 

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