The Best Wood Lathe (All the Popular Choices in 2023 Reviewed)

Choosing the best wood lathe to suit own your specific woodturning needs can seem like a difficult thing to do. Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or just starting out, making the right choice is crucial as it can greatly impact both the enjoyment of the process and the quality of the final product.

Woodturning is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling craft, and a lathe is the cornerstone of the woodturner’s workshop.

As a woodturner myself, I understand the importance of having a wood lathe that is versatile, reliable, and user-friendly. In this (hopefully helpful!) guide I’ve put together, we’ll be taking a look at full size, midi and mini wood lathes and also checking out the best budget options to go for too.

I’ll also go through the most important features to look for when buying a woodturning lathe and why they are crucial for your success as a woodturner.

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Wood Lathe Types and Sizes

In general, the distance between centers is commonly used to categorize wood lathes into full-size, midi, and mini woodturning lathes.

  • A full-size wood lathe typically has a distance between centers in the region of 35 to 60 inches, with a swing over bed of 16 to 20 inches. These are designed for serious woodworkers who want to tackle larger projects and need a lathe that can accommodate bigger workpieces.
  • Midi wood lathes have a distance between centers in the region of 18 to 34 inches and a swing over bed of 10 to 14 inches. These are often used by hobbyists or home woodworkers who want a more compact lathe that is easier to store and less expensive than a full-size model.
  • Mini wood lathes have a typical distance between centers of less than 18 inches and a swing over bed of 6 to 8 inches. Great for small projects or for those who are just starting out with woodturning and want a more affordable option to get started.

Choosing A Wood Lathe — 7 Things to Consider

  1. Size and Capacity – The size of the lathe will determine the size and length of the pieces you can turn. There’s full size, midi and mini wood lathes to choose from, so go for a lathe that has a large enough capacity to handle the types of woodturning projects you have in mind.
  2. Speed Control – A good woodturning lathe should have a variable speed control, (ideally with digital readout) that allows you to adjust the speed to suit the type of work you’re doing. This will allow you to work more efficiently and with greater precision.
  3. Power – A powerful motor is essential for heavy-duty turning and for turning large pieces of wood. Make sure to choose a lathe with a motor that has enough power for your needs.
  4. Lathe Bed Length – The bed length of a lathe is the distance between the headstock and tailstock. A longer bed length will allow you to turn longer pieces of wood, so be sure to choose a lathe with a bed length that suits your needs.
  5. Tailstock and Headstock – The tailstock and headstock are two of the most important components of a lathe, as they support and secure the workpiece. Look for a lathe with a tailstock and headstock that are sturdy and well-constructed.
  6. Tool Rest – A good tool rest will provide a stable base for your tools and help you to maintain control while turning. Look for a lathe with a tool rest that is easy to adjust and provides good stability.
  7. Accessories – Some lathes come with a variety of accessories, such as a faceplate, chuck, or live center. These can greatly expand the range of projects you can tackle, so be sure to consider the accessories that come with a lathe.

So let’s get right to it and take a look at the best full size, midi and mini wood lathes available and what they have to offer, along with what’s good about them and also things you’ll need to consider.

The Best Full Size Wood Lathes Reviewed

Best Full Size Wood Lathe

Powermatic 3520C, 20″ x 35″ Wood Lathe

Our Top Pick the Powermatic 3520C is a monster, with dimensions of 69.5 x 36.5 x 47 inches combined with it’s 2HP 220V 1Ph high-quality motor, it’s designed for woodturning enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Features wise the 3520C has a sliding headstock, which allows for easy and precise positioning of the workpiece, this is especially useful for large or awkward-shaped pieces that may be difficult to turn on a traditional lathe. The electronic variable speed with low and high speed ranges also makes it easy to adjust the speed of the lathe to suit the specific needs of the project. The spindle lock, digital RPM readout, and self-ejecting quill are all convenient features that help to make the 3520C a pleasure to use.

Another great feature of the 3520C is its movable control box, which allows for maximum versatility in terms of placement and accessibility. The adjustable riser blocks, which provide up to 6 inches of height adjustment, are also a useful feature that helps to make the lathe more comfortable to use for extended periods of time. The increased weight of the 3520C (726 LBS, or 814 LBS with the addition of a bed extension) also adds to its stability and overall performance.

In addition to these features, the 3520C also boasts a number of other useful features such as an ergonomic spindle lock design, a digital indexing readout, an anti-rotation tailstock key, a set of dead centers, a two-position mount for the optional bed extension, and a sliding hammer knockout rod with a brass tip. The main power disconnect switch is also conveniently located on the rear of the headstock.

We found the Powermatic 3520C to be a top-of-the-line lathe that is packed with features that make it a pleasure to use. It is perfect for woodturning enthusiasts and professionals alike, and is sure to be a valuable addition to any workshop.

What We Like:

  • Sliding Headstock – Enables easy and precise positioning of workpieces, particularly for large or awkward shapes.
  • Electronic Variable Speed – Makes adjusting the speed of the lathe easy with low and high speed ranges.
  • Movable Control Box – Offers maximum versatility in placement and accessibility.
  • Adjustable Riser Blocks – Provides up to 6 inches of height adjustment for increased comfort during extended use.
  • Additional Features – Includes a digital indexing readout, ergonomic spindle lock, anti-rotation tailstock key, and more, making the lathe versatile and user-friendly.

Things to Consider:

  • Price – This is a high-end woodturning lathe with a premium price tag.
  • Learning Curve – This wood lathe has many advanced features and capabilities, it may take some time to master.

Runner Up: Full Size Wood Lathe

Grizzly G0766 22″ x 42″ Variable-Speed Wood Lathe

The Grizzly G0766 22″ x 42″ Variable-Speed Wood Lathe is another top-of-the-line machine that is perfect for serious woodturners. Its large size at 24.25 x 69 x 24 inches and impressive features make it ideal for turning large bowls, furniture pieces, and other large-diameter projects.

One of the standout features of this lathe is its 3 HP, 3-phase motor that is capable of running off single-phase power using a variable-frequency drive. This wood lathe provides plenty of clearance and torque to easily rough out big projects at low speeds. Additionally, the heavy-duty cast-iron bed and stand make the lathe extremely stable, and most importantly the headstock can be positioned anywhere along the bed for added control and flexibility.

Other notable specifications include a 22″ swing over the bed, an 18″ swing over the tool rest base (banjo), and a 16″ swing over the tool rest. The distance between centers is 42″, and the lathe has a 1-1/4″ x 8 TPI RH headstock spindle. It also has MT#2 headstock and tailstock tapers, and the variable speed ranges from 100-3200 RPM. The tool rest width is 14″, and there is a digital spindle speed readout for easy reference.

The Grizzly G0766 also has several additional features that make it a top choice for woodturners. These include a low speed range of 100-1200 RPM and a high speed range of 100-3200 RPM, electronic variable-speed control with a digital readout for spindle RPM, 10° spindle indexing, and forward/reverse spindle control. The tailstock, headstock, and tool rest support all have lever-action cam locks that allow for for quick positioning, and the tailstock barrel has 4-1/4″ of travel.

In addition to these impressive features, the lathe also comes with several accessories to get you started on your woodturning projects. These include a spur center, cupped live center, knock-out tool, tool rest, 6″ faceplate, and indexing pin.

It has to be said that the Grizzly G0766 22″ x 42″ variable-speed wood lathe is a high-quality machine that is perfect for serious woodturners. Its large size, impressive features, and included accessories make it a great choice for turning large bowls, furniture pieces, and other large-diameter projects.

What We Like:

  • Large Size – The Grizzly G0766 22″ x 42″ variable-speed wood lathe has a large size of 24.25 x 69 x 24 inches, which makes it ideal for turning large bowls, furniture pieces, and other large-diameter projects.
  • 3 HP Motor – The lathe is equipped with a powerful 3 HP, 3-phase motor that can run on single-phase power using a variable-frequency drive, providing plenty of torque for roughing out big woodturning projects at low speeds.
  • Stable Construction – The heavy-duty cast-iron bed and stand make the lathe extremely stable, ensuring accuracy and precision when turning.
  • Versatile Headstock – The headstock can be positioned anywhere along the bed, providing added control and flexibility.
  • Included Accessories – The Grizzly G0766 comes with several accessories, including a spur center, cupped live center, knock-out tool, tool rest, 6″ faceplate, and indexing pin, making it easy to get started with your woodturning projects.

Things to Consider:

  • Heavy Weight – The lathe is heavy, which can make it difficult to move around the workshop.
  • High Cost – The Grizzly G0766 is a high-end machine, and is more expensive than many other wood lathes on the market.
  • Space Requirements – The large size of this lathe means that it will take up a significant amount of space in your workshop, so you will need to ensure that you have enough room to accommodate it.

Also Great: Full Size Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1840EVS, 18″ x 40″ Wood Lathe

The JET JWL-1840EVS is a high-quality wood lathe that is designed to provide users with a range of features and capabilities to make their woodworking projects easier and more efficient. One of this wood lathes standout features is its infinitely-variable speed control, which allows users to easily adjust the speed of the lathe from 40 to 3,200 RPM using a convenient digital readout. This means that users can fine-tune the speed of the lathe to suit the specific needs of their project, ensuring that they can achieve the best possible results.

In addition to its variable speed control, this wood lathe also features a sliding headstock that can pivot 360 degrees, providing users with even more versatility and flexibility when it comes to positioning their workpiece. The lathe also has a 4″ cast iron riser, which allows users to adjust the height of the lathe to maximize their working comfort.

One of the key features of the JET JWL-1840EVS is its extended spindle nose, which houses dual headstock spindle bearings. This helps to increase the longevity of the lathe and ensures that it can handle heavy loads with ease. The lathe also has a banjo that uses a non-marring, positive locking wedge system to firmly hold the tool post in place, helping to ensure that users can work with confidence and precision.

Safety is an important consideration with any woodworking tool, this lathe has a number of features that help to make it safer to use. For example, it has a magnetic-backed, remote emergency stop button that can be situated along the lathe bed, allowing users to quickly and easily stop the lathe in the event of an emergency.

In terms of dimensions, this wood lathe has a working distance between centers of 40-1/2″, a swing over bed distance of 18-1/2″, and a headstock spindle bore of 3/8″. It has a headstock movement that is both slide and rotate, and it operates on a voltage of 1Ph 230V. The overall dimensions of the lathe are 73″ x 52-1/2″ x 20″, and it has a net weight of 418 lbs. This whole package also includes a 5-year warranty, providing users with peace of mind and confidence in their investment.

You can see why we just had to include this wood lathe, the JET JWL-1840EVS is a high-quality wood lathe that is packed with features and capabilities to make woodworking projects easier and more efficient.

What We Like:

  • Infinitely-Variable Speed Control – The ability to adjust the speed of the lathe from 40 to 3,200 RPM using a convenient digital readout means users can fine-tune the speed to suit their specific needs.
  • Sliding Headstock with 360-degree pivot – Provides users with more versatility and flexibility when positioning their workpiece.
  • Extended Spindle Nose With Dual Headstock Spindle Bearings – Increases the longevity of the lathe and ensures it can handle heavy loads with ease.
  • Non-Marring, Positive Locking Wedge System for the Banjo – Helps to ensure users can work with confidence and precision.
  • Robust Construction – The JET JWL-1840EVS has a 4″ cast iron riser and extended spindle nose, which increase its durability and stability during heavy workloads.

Things to Consider:

  • Size – With dimensions of 73″ x 52-1/2″ x 20″ and a weight of 418 lbs this wood lathe may not be suitable for those with limited workspace.

Best Budget Option: Full Size Wood Lathe

Grizzly Industrial G0842-14″ x 37″ Wood Lathe with Copy Attachment

The Grizzly Industrial G0842 Wood Lathe is an exceptional choice for woodturners who are looking for a budget priced, versatile, powerful, and user-friendly machine. With its 3/4 HP, 110V single-phase motor, this wood lathe provides ample power to handle the toughest of wood turning projects. The variable-speed spindle, which can be adjusted from 600 to 2400 RPM, makes it possible to fine-tune your settings to match the specific needs of each project, this is perfect for when you’re working with softwoods or hardwoods.

This wood lathe features a 14″ swing over bed and a 9″ swing over tool rest base, providing ample space for larger projects, while the 37″ distance between centers provides enough room for longer workpieces. The 1″ x 8 TPI RH spindle and MT#2 spindle and tailstock tapers are both versatile and reliable, allowing you to use a wide range of accessories and tooling.

The copy attachment is a really great feature, this allows you to easily reproduce stair spindles or chair and table legs up to 32″ long, using a template or master workpiece, the copy attachment also drops out of the way for traditional turning. The 12″ tool rest with 20mm post provides stability and precision while turning, while the handy tool tray provides a convenient storage place for your sharp tools and other accessories.

In addition to the wood lathe itself, this package also includes a spur center, cupped live center, knock-out tool, tool rest, and 6″ faceplate to help you out with your woodturning projects.

What We Like:

  • Variable-Speed Spindle – The ability to adjust the speed of the spindle from 600 to 2400 RPM is a huge advantage, as it allows you to fine-tune your settings for different types of woods and projects. This feature makes the Grizzly Industrial G0842 Wood Lathe incredibly versatile and user-friendly.
  • Copy Attachment – The copy attachment is a fantastic addition, making it possible to easily reproduce spindles or legs up to 32″ long. This feature saves time and allows you to produce accurate and consistent results.
  • Robust Motor – The 3/4 HP, 110V single-phase motor provides ample power for even the toughest turning projects. This makes the Grizzly Industrial G0842 Wood Lathe ideal for hobby furniture makers who want a machine that can handle demanding work.
  • Versatile Tooling Options – The 1″ x 8 TPI RH spindle and MT#2 spindle and tailstock tapers make it possible to use a wide range of accessories and tooling, providing maximum flexibility in the workshop.
  • Complete Package – The package includes everything you need to get started, including a spur center, cupped live center, knock-out tool, tool rest, and 6″ faceplate. This makes the Grizzly Industrial G0842 Wood Lathe an excellent choice for those who are just starting out or looking for a complete solution for their woodworking needs.

Things to Consider:

  • Workshop Space – This wood lathe is a large machine and requires a significant amount of workspace, so consider the available space you have in your workshop.

The Best Midi Wood Lathes Reviewed

Best Midi Wood Lathe

Powermatic PM2014, 14″ x 20″ Benchtop Woodworking Lathe

If you’re looking for a versatile, high-performance midi wood lathe, the Powermatic PM2014 is an excellent choice. This midi lathe is designed for professionals and hobbyists alike, and is built to handle a wide range of woodturning tasks.

One of the key benefits of this wood lathe is its power and speed. With a 1HP motor that delivers 230V, 3PH performance, this lathe can handle demanding turning jobs with ease. The inverter allows for maximum speed (3,600 RPM) with minimum input, and the digital indexing and spindle speed readout make it easy to keep track of your progress as you work.

In addition to its power and speed, the Powermatic PM2014 is designed for versatility and convenience. With 24 positive locking indexing positions, the indexing process is simplified, and the magnetic control box with digital display can be placed anywhere on the lathe body for easy access. The cast iron bed reduces motor vibration for decreased noise and added precision, and the attached tool caddy holds centers, wrenches, and accessories, making it easy to keep everything organized.

The ergonomic, chrome-trimmed hand wheels provide a comfortable feel, and the sliding headstock feature allows for greater clearance when positioned at the end of the bed for outboard turning. With a weight of 183 pounds and dimensions of 52 x 24 x 18 inches, this lathe is a solid, stable machine that should provide you with years of reliable service.

What We Like:

  • Locking Indexing – The 24 positive locking indexing positions on this midi lathe make it easy to switch between various turning angles and patterns, improving the speed and efficiency of your work.
  • Magnetic Control Box – The ability to place the control box, complete with a digital display, anywhere on the lathe body gives you the convenience to easily access the indexing and spindle speed information.
  • Stable Construction – The robust cast iron bed of this lathe reduces motor vibration, providing added precision and reducing noise during use.
  • Handy Storage: The attached tool caddy is an extremely useful feature, keeping centers, wrenches, and other accessories within reach and organized.
  • Comfortable Design – The ergonomic chrome-trimmed hand wheels provide a comfortable grip, making prolonged use of the lathe more enjoyable.

Things to Consider:

  • Bed Extension Option – If you require a longer length between centers, you may need to purchase the optional 13″ bed extension.

Runner Up: Midi Wood Lathe

Grizzly Industrial G0844-14″ x 20″ Variable-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

The Grizzly Industrial G0844 3/4 Horsepower 14″ x 20″ Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe is a fantastic woodturning lathe that’s suitable for both beginners and seasoned woodworkers. With its 20″ x 14″ capacity, you can turn a wide range of spindles and bowls with ease, and the 15° indexing spindle is perfect for veining and fluting operations. This benchtop lathe is packed with features to make your turning experience more enjoyable and efficient.

The G0844 boasts a powerful 3/4 horsepower motor and variable speed range, making it easy to adjust the speed to match the type of wood you are working with. The digital RPM tachometer ensures that you have precise control over the speed and is an essential tool for precise cuts. The 8″ tool rest is generous in size, providing ample space to work with your sharp turning tools, and the built-in carry handles double as tool storage, making it easy to move the lathe from one location to another.

This midi lathe is made of heavy-duty cast iron, which ensures durability and stability during use. The adjustable vibration-damping rubber feet help to minimize the amount of noise and vibration during operation. The easy-access door for changing speed ranges is a convenient feature, making it quick and easy to switch from one speed range to another.

The 1″ x 8 TPI RH spindle, MT#2 spindle, and tailstock tapers make it easy to mount your turning tools and the forward and reverse spindle rotation is an added convenience. The 14″ swing over bed and 10″ swing over tool rest provide ample space to turn large and small projects alike.

As you can see it’s packed with features to help make your woodturning more enjoyable and efficient, and best of all it’s built to last with its heavy-duty cast iron construction.

What We Like:

  • Large Turning Capacity – The G0844’s 20″ x 14″ capacity makes it possible to turn a wide range of spindles and bowls, allowing for more versatility in your woodturning projects.
  • Variable Speed – The variable speed range, combined with the digital RPM tachometer, allows for precise control over the speed, making it easier to match the speed to the type of wood you are working with.
  • Heavy-Duty Cast Iron Construction – The cast iron construction of the G0844 provides stability and durability during use, ensuring that it will last for many years.
  • Adjustable Vibration Damping – The adjustable rubber feet help to minimize the amount of noise and vibration during operation.
  • Convenient Features – The easy-access door for changing speed ranges and the built-in carry handles that double as tool storage.

Things to Consider:

  • Lots Of Features – With so many features you will need to familiarize yourself with what this lathe can do to get the best out of it.

Also Great: Midi Wood Lathe

1. JET JWL-1221VS, 12″ x 21″ Wood Lathe

The JET JWL-1 HP, 1221VS midi woodturning lathe is a great lathe for all skill levels. With it’s compact design and a weight of 121 pounds, it offers the perfect combination of portability and durability. The ratchet-style belt tension system allows you to quickly and easily adjust the speed to suit your project, while the three speed ranges (60-900/110-1,800/220-3,600) ensure you have the right speed for the job.

The controls are conveniently located and easy to reach, and the digital readout provides valuable information about your work. The tool storage caddy on each end of the machine is a handy feature that keeps your tools organized and within reach. The smooth transitions when switching from forward to reverse mode demonstrate the machine’s exceptional directional control.

The JWL-1 HP, 1221VS is designed to be used with a 115V, single phase 10 amps circuit, and it has a swing over bed of 12.5 inches and a distance between centers of 20 inches. The spindle thread is 1″ x 8 TPI and the tapers are MT2. The spindle speeds of 60-900, 110-1800, 220-3600 make this machine suitable for a wide range of woodworking projects.

What We Like:

  • Innovative Design – The ratchet-style belt tension system is a clever feature that makes it easy to adjust the speed to suit your project. This innovation gives you the flexibility you need to tackle a wide range of woodturning projects with ease.
  • Optimal Speed Control – The three speed ranges (60-900/110-1,800/220-3,600) provide woodworkers with a wide range of options for their projects. This makes it easy to find the perfect speed for any job, from roughing out a piece of wood to finishing it to perfection.
  • Convenient Controls – The easy-to-reach controls and digital readout provide valuable information and control over the machine, which helps ensure that your work is accurate and efficient.
  • Handy Tool Storage – The tool storage caddy on each end of the machine is a great feature that helps keep your tools organized and within reach. This makes it easier to focus on the work and less time searching about, trying to find the right tool.
  • Smooth Directional Control – The ability to smoothly transition from forward to reverse mode makes it easier to control the machine.

Things to Consider:

  • Required Circuit Size – This lathe requires a 115V, single phase 10 amp circuit, so it’s important to make sure your workshop is equipped with the right electrical supply.
  • Swing Over Bed – With a swing over bed of only 12.5 inches, this machine may not be suitable for larger projects.

2. Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-inch Variable-Speed MIDI Lathe

The Delta 46-460 12 1/2″ variable speed midi lathe is a powerful and versatile wood lathe, combine that with its heavy-duty construction and robust performance and what you have is a very capable machine.

This midi wood lathe has a 12-1/2-inch swing capacity which provides ample space to work on a wide range of woodworking projects and ensures that you have enough room to maneuver your tools about. The 1-horsepower, 1,725-rpm motor provides plenty of power, making it easy to achieve consistent and precise results.

The variable speed feature with three pulley-speed ranges allows you to select the required speed for your project without changing belt position, making it easy to achieve the perfect speed for the job at hand. The forward and reverse functions are accessed with a quick flip of the switch, so you can rotate your project in both directions, allowing you to achieve a truly smooth finish without having to remount the workpiece backwards.

The belt-tensioning system makes it easy to change speeds and ensures that the belt is always at the correct tension for maximum power transfer. The all cast-iron construction provides durability and stability, while the six-groove belt provides superior power for effortless turning. The included 6-inch and 10-inch tool rests, make it easy to support your tools in a variety of turning applications.

The Delta 46-460 is backed by a five-year warranty, giving you peace of mind in your investment. The package also includes a chrome 3-inch face plate, tool rest base, knockout bar, live center, wrenches, and manual, so you have everything you need to get started with your turning projects right away.

What We Like:

  • Large Swing Capacity – With a 12-1/2 inch swing capacity, the Delta 46-460 is the largest in its class, allowing for ample space to tackle large woodturning projects with ease.
  • Variable Speed Control – With three pulley-speed ranges and variable speed control, this midi lathe offers versatility and allows you to select the right speed for any project, ensuring consistent and precise results every time.
  • Forward and Reverse Function – The ability to sand in both forward and reverse directions is a huge plus, ensuring a smooth and superior finish, and saving time compared to having to remount the workpiece.
  • Belt-Tensioning System – The belt-tensioning system is a valuable feature, providing quick speed changes and ensuring the belt is set at the correct tension for maximum power transfer and longer tool life.
  • Cast-Iron Construction – Cast-iron construction adds durability and stability to the 46-460, ensuring that it should last for many years of heavy-duty use.

Things to Consider:

  • Not Cheap – While the 46-460 is a solid investment for a midi lathe, it is on the pricier side, but then you are getting real bang for your buck with this midi wood lathe.

3. RIKON Power Tools VSR MIDI Lathe (RIK-70-150VSR)

The RIKON Power Tools VSR midi wood lathe is a powerful lathe that’s defiantly worth considering. Its 1HP motor provides ample power for demanding turning tasks, its electronic variable speed control allows for a wide range of operating speeds to suit whatever project you are working on. The digital RPM readout displays the speed in both forward and reverse rotation, providing greater precision and accuracy while you work.

This lathe has a pivoting belt cover, which provides quick and easy access for when you want to change belt speeds, this helps save valuable time and minimizes frustration when you are working.

With a weight of 95 pounds and dimensions of 39 x 13 x 15 inches, along with the ball-bearing construction of the spindle ensures a smooth and precise operation, making it suitable for a variety of turning projects, from small pen-turning projects to medium – large bowls.

What We Like:

  • Ample Power – The 1HP motor provides ample power to handle a wide range of turning tasks, making it ideal for both novice and experienced woodworkers.
  • Versatile Speed Control – The electronic variable speed control and digital RPM readout allow for precise and versatile speed adjustments.
  • Pivoting Belt Cover – The pivoting belt cover provides easy access to change belt speeds, saving time when you are turning.
  • Precise Operation – The ball-bearing construction of the spindle ensures smooth and precise operation.
  • Compact Design – The compact and sturdy design of the lathe makes it suitable for a variety of turning projects.

Things to Consider:

  • Weight – At 95 pounds, this lathe is heavy, making it difficult to move around, so a dedicated space in your workshop or a workbench of its own is the best option.

Best Budget Options: Midi Wood Lathe

1. Grizzly Industrial T25920-12″ x 18″ Variable-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

The Grizzly Industrial T25920 wood lathe is a top-performing machine that offers a great balance of power and versatility. With its 3/4 horsepower motor and 12″ turning capacity, this benchtop wood lathe is designed to handle a wide range of projects, from small to large, with ease. The variable speed range from 650 to 3800 RPM is a major highlight of this lathe, as it allows you to fine-tune the speed of the spindle to get the exact results you’re looking for. This is particularly useful for delicate operations where precision is key.

The digital RPM tachometer displays the current speed of the spindle, making it easy for you to keep track of your work and make adjustments as and when necessary. This level of control and monitoring ensures that your projects are completed accurately and efficiently, saving you time and effort.

This lathe comes with a comprehensive set of accessories that makes it easy for you to get started on your projects right away. The live center and spur center provide excellent support for your workpiece, ensuring that it remains stable throughout the turning process. The 3-1/4″ faceplate and knockout bar are two additional accessories that add even more versatility to this machine, allowing you to tackle a wider range of projects.

The construction of this wood lathe is another aspect that stands out. The heavy-duty cast iron construction provides stability and durability, making it a reliable lathe that can withstand heavy use over time. This makes it a great investment for those of you who are looking for a long-lasting wood lathe that can be a trusted companion for years to come.

The 5-7/8″ tool rest with 5/8″ post provides excellent support for your tools, reducing the risk of tool deflection and improving the accuracy of your work.

The Grizzly Industrial T25920 wood turning lathe is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a budget friendly, versatile, reliable, and high-performing wood lathe. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced woodturner, this lathe offers a great range of features and capabilities that are sure to meet your needs and help you achieve your creative vision.

What We Like:

  • Variable Speed – The variable speed range of 650 to 3800 RPM provides excellent versatility, allowing you to fine-tune the speed of the spindle to suit the needs of each project, ensuring precision and accuracy.
  • Digital RPM Tachometer – The digital RPM tachometer is a useful addition that makes it easy to monitor the speed of the spindle, allowing you to make adjustments as needed. this level of control helps improve the accuracy and efficiency of your work.
  • Comprehensive Accessories – The Grizzly Industrial T25920 wood lathe comes with a range of accessories, including a live center, spur center, 3-1/4″ faceplate, and knockout bar, that provide added versatility and make it easy for you to get started on your projects right away.
  • Durable Construction – The heavy-duty cast iron construction of this lathe is built to last, ensuring that it can withstand heavy use over time and remain a reliable tool for years to come.
  • Stable Tool Rest – The 5-7/8″ tool rest with 5/8″ post provides excellent support for your tools, reducing the risk of tool deflection and improving the accuracy of your work.

Things to Consider:

  • Distance Between Centers – The 18″ distance between centers may not be long enough for some woodturning projects, requiring you to purchase an extension bed or to work in stages.
  • Technical Expertise – Operating a wood lathe requires a certain level of technical expertise, particularly when working with delicate projects. If you’re new to woodworking, you may need to invest some time and effort in learning the proper techniques and developing your skills.

2. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe

The PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS midi wood lathe is an excellent budget option choice. This lathe is powered by a 1 hp high performance induction motor and an SBC microprocessor, which is typically used in automotive applications, ensuring that you get precise control. The motor has two belt positions, position A delivers a speed range of 500-1800 RPM and position B provides 1950-3800 RPM.

A great feature of this wood lathe is its digital readout, which allows you to work at exact speeds, ensuring that you get the best results from your workpiece. The headstock thread is 1″ x 8tpi, with a headstock and tailstock taper of #2MT. With a distance between centers of 18″, you’ll have plenty of room for your larger projects, and the 12″ swing over bed provides ample space for your woodturning projects.

The tailstock and spindle bore are 3/8″, and the quill travel is 1-5/8″ this lathe also includes 24 indexing positions with spindle locking, so you can easily make precise, accurate cuts. The lathe comes with a tool storage rack, a work light with an 18″ flex cable, two tool rests (6″ and 12″), a 3″ faceplate, a spur drive center, a tailstock live center, a set of hex wrenches, rubber feet, a knockout rod, a Phillips screwdriver, a tailstock handle and bolt, and safety goggles.

The cast iron base of the lathe is not only sturdy but also provides the option of an extension bed for turning projects up to 42″. The built-in handles make it easy to move the lathe from one place to another, so if you are limited for space, you can move this lathe about.

What We Like:

  • Precision Control – The 1 hp high performance induction motor and the SBC microprocessor are designed for automotive applications, delivering precise control.
  • Digital Readout – The digital readout makes it easy to work at exact speeds, which is essential for achieving consistent results.
  • Versatile Speed Options – The two belt positions, position A delivers a speed range of 500-1800 RPM and position B provides 1950-3800 RPM, make it easy to tackle a variety of projects.
  • Quality Build – The cast iron base of the lathe is not only sturdy but also provides the option of an extension bed for turning projects up to 42″.

Things to Consider:

  • Lathe Accessories – While the lathe comes with a variety of useful accessories, you may find that you will need additional tools and accessories to complete your projects.

The Best Mini Wood Lathes Reviewed

Best Mini Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1015, 10″ x 15″ Wood Lathe (719100)

The JET JWL-1015 is an fantastic mini wood lathe, designed to cater to the needs of both novice and experienced woodturners, this lathe offers a unique combination of power, precision and versatility.

The enhanced tensioning system provides easy access to the belts for maximum precision in your work, while the increased width of the bed ways also adds to the rigidity of the lathe, ensuring stability during use. The tailstock features a live center, offering improved gripping for your workpieces, making the JET JWL-1015 a reliable mini wood lathe for a variety of woodturning projects.

Weighing in at 77 pounds, this lathe is sturdy yet portable and can easily be moved from one location to another. With six spindle speeds ranging from 500 RPM to 3975 RPM and 24-position indexing, you have complete control over the speed and orientation of your project. Whether you’re working on small or large pieces, the JET JWL-1015 will bring your vision to life, and for peace of mind this mini lathe also comes with a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

What We Like:

  • Enhanced Tensioning System – The enhanced tensioning system provides easy access to the belts for quick and efficient adjustments, making it a breeze to achieve the perfect level of tension for each project.
  • Increased Rigidity – The increased width of the bed ways adds to the rigidity of the lathe, ensuring accurate cuts and added stability during use.
  • Six Spindle Speeds – The six spindle speeds ranging from 500 RPM to 3975 RPM provide complete control over the speed and orientation of your project. This versatility allows you to work on a variety of projects, from delicate turning work to roughing out.
  • Improved Gripping – The tailstock features a live center, offering improved gripping for your workpieces.
  • JET Red Assurance Guarantee – Comes with a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

Things to Consider:

  • Lathe Size – The JET JWL-1015 is a mini-lathe, so it may not be suitable for larger projects, so consider the size of your projects you plan to be working on.

Runner Up: Mini Wood Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

The Shop Fox W1704 is a compact and versatile benchtop mini wood lathe that is perfect for hobbyists and DIY woodworkers. The cast iron construction and variable speed control make this lathe a reliable tool for a variety of turning projects. With a 1/3 HP, 2 Amp, 110V, single-phase, 60Hz motor, the W1704 has enough power to handle soft and hard species of wood.

With it’s variable speed control, which ranges from 700-3200 RPM, you can select the optimal speed for your specific project, whether you’re turning a delicate pen or shaping a rough piece of wood. The infinite speed control is also a big plus, as it gives you the flexibility to adjust the speed to your liking without having to stop and change belts.

This mini wood lathe weighs in at 49.5 lbs and has a 12-inch distance between centers and 8-inch swing over the bed. Making it ideal for a variety of turning projects, from small pens to larger bowls. Additionally, the included 5-3/4-inch faceplate and two tool rests, a 4-1/2-inch and a 7-inch provide added versatility to your woodturning.

What We Like:

  • Variable Speed Control – The Shop Fox W1704 has an infinitely variable speed control that ranges from 700 to 3200 RPM. This allows you to adjust the speed to your liking, which is especially important when turning different species of wood.
  • Cast Iron Construction – The cast iron construction provides durability and stability, making it a reliable tool for your woodworking projects.
  • 12-inch Distance between Centers – The 12-inch distance between centers is a great feature for woodturners, as it allows for a wide range of turning projects, from small pens to large bowls.
  • Two Tool Rests Included – The 4-1/2-inch and 7-inch tool rests provide added versatility, making it easy to switch between different turning applications.
  • 5-3/4-inch Faceplate – The included faceplate is a great accessory for non-spindle turning projects, such as making bowls.

Things to Consider:

  • Power – This mini wood lathe has a 1/3 horsepower motor, which may not be enough for some heavy-duty turning projects.
  • Swing Over Bed – The 8-inch swing over bed is a great feature, but it may be limiting for larger turning projects.

Also Great: Mini Wood Lathe

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

This Rikon mini wood lathe features a ½ HP motor that’s suitable for small woodturning projects. With a 10” swing and 18” between centers, this mini lathe also has a self ejecting tail stock and has easy access to speed change when required.

Designed specifically for pen turners, weighing in at 74 lbs. this mini lathe is made from cast iron to minimize vibration, which is a common issue with other lathes made of aluminum. The cast iron construction makes it sturdy and dedicated to its craft, ensuring that your projects are precise and accurate.

This 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.75 inches mini lathe also boasts a 5-speed range that covers all the essential speeds for boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, turning to shape, and finishing.

The RIKON Power Tools 70-105 mini lathe is also user-friendly, as it comes with all the essential accessories including a live center, tool rest, knock-out bar, and wrenches. This makes it easy to start your projects right away without having to purchase any additional accessories.

What We Like:

  • Ideal for Pen Turning – This mini lathe was designed specifically for pen turners, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to specialize in this craft.
  • Sturdy Construction – The cast iron construction of the RIKON Power Tools 70-105 mini lathe minimizes vibration, making it a dedicated and sturdy machine for all your turning needs. This feature is essential for achieving precision and accuracy in your projects.
  • 5-Speed Range – With a 5-speed range, this mini lathe covers all the essential speeds for boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, turning to shape, and finishing. This range of speeds allows you to tackle a wide range of projects with ease and achieve the perfect result every time.
  • Essential Accessories Included – This mini lathe comes with all the essential accessories including a live center, tool rest, knock-out bar, and wrenches. This makes it easy for you to start your projects right away without having to purchase any additional accessories.

Things to Consider:

  • Lathe Size – While this mini lathe has a 10” swing and 18” between centers, it may not be suitable for larger projects. If you are looking to tackle larger projects, you may want to consider a larger lathe.

Best Budget Option: Mini Wood Lathe

WEN LA3421 3.2-Amp 8-Inch by 13-Inch Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

The WEN LA3421 Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe is a budget-friendly option for the hobbyist or beginner woodturner. With its 8-inch swing over the bed and 13-inch distance between centers, this lathe is perfect for turning smaller items such as pens, bowls, cups, and even chess pieces. The 3.2-amp motor starts gradually with a soft-start feature to protect the motor and increase safety.

A great features of this mini wood lathe is its variable speed control, allowing you to adjust the speed anywhere from 750 to 3200 rotations per minute. This feature is essential for achieving the desired speed for your specific turning project. The MT1 spindle and tailstock taper provide a secure grip for your workpieces, and the two tool rests, a 4-1/2 inch and a 7 inch, provide support for your wood chisels and tools. The lever clamping system makes it easy to make adjustments to both the tool rest and tailstock.

This WEN wood lathe also includes a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, a knockout rod, and a 2.3-inch faceplate for non-spindle workpieces, there’s also a two-year warranty included with this mini lathe. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for your small woodturning projects, the WEN LA3421 benchtop mini wood lathe is an excellent choice to go for.

What We Like:

  • Variable Speed Control – The ability to adjust the speed anywhere from 750 to 3200 rotations per minute makes this lathe suitable for a variety of woodturning projects and allows for greater control and precision.
  • MT1 Spindle and Tailstock Taper – The MT1 spindle and tailstock taper provide a secure grip for your workpieces, ensuring that your turning projects are completed safely and effectively.
  • Two Interchangeable Tool Rests – Having two tool rests (4-1/2 inch and 7 inch) provides versatility and convenience for the user, allowing for a variety of chisels and tools to be used during operation.
  • Soft-Start Motor – The 3.2-amp motor starts gradually to prevent damage to the motor and increase safety, which is especially important for beginners or those who are new to woodturning.
  • Comprehensive Warranty – The included two-year warranty is a nice addition, giving you peace of mind on your purchase.

Things to Consider:

  • Limited Swing Over the Bed – The 8-inch swing over the bed may not be suitable for larger woodturning projects and may limit the size of the workpiece that can be turned.
  • No Stand Included – This benchtop mini wood lathe does not come with a stand, so you will need to purchase a stand separately or have a work surface or workbench that the lathe can be mounted on.
  • Not Suitable for Heavy Duty Use – This lathe is designed for hobbyists or beginner woodturners and is not suitable for heavy duty or industrial use.
  • Limited Distance Between Centers – The 13-inch distance between centers may limit the length of the workpiece that can be turned, so users should consider this when choosing this lathe for their woodturning projects.


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