10 Best Wood Lathes in 2021

Stuart Wellbert
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A wood lathe is an excellent tool for woodworking, no matter if your aim is to craft tools, art, or just to make pieces for your home.

If you’re thinking of buying a wood lathe, first consider if you need to look for a manual or an electric lathe.

A manual lathe has all of the satisfaction of doing something with your own hands. The turning of the handle is a physical, mechanical motion that helps you to feel connected to the work you’re doing.

But, manual lathes can be cumbersome to move and require power.

Which Oscillating Tool Is Best?

An electric oscillating tool is a power tool used for woodworking projects like cutting, shaping and sanding. It could be used for anything from preparing small craft wood items to cutting out door jambs in a new house. In short, if you have a wood project that could make use of an oscillating tool, you’re almost certainly going to be able to make some use out of an oscillating tool.

With an oscillating tool, you may be able to complete a job that would normally require multiple tools.

NameCategoryProduct
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working LatheBest OverallJet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop LatheBudget PickSHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood LatheUpgrade PickGrizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe

1. Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

Our rating: 9 / 10

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

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Pros:

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Has a variable speed control
  • Has a work light
  • Easy to operate
  • Lifetime tool and gear box warranty
  • Affordable for the features
  • Made of cast iron with a steel frame
  • Simple yet effective design
  • Easy to learn to use

Cons:

  • Assembly needs improvement
  • Some accessories need to be purchased separately.
  • The speed control gets smell hot after a few minutes of operation.

When it comes to woodworking lathes, the Jet JWL-1015 Wood Lathe is one of the best machines for home use. All in all, it’s an excellent lathe for newcomers to woodworking.

It’s been designed to provide you with maximum value for your money. Its powerful strong motor with variable speed offers you flexibility to work on various woodworking projects.

The lathe is crafted from high quality solid cast iron and steel construction. Its design is simple and offers you easy to use features. The lathe comes with an easy to read decal to explain the various functions and uses of the machine.

2. Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe

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Pros:

  • Preassembled
  • Computerized control with accuracy to 0.1mm
  • Quick-change worktable
  • Easy-access tailstock
  • Lockable cast iron bed
  • Large extension between bed and column
  • Large spindle bore
  • Quiet
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Wheel stop removal if you buy secondhand
  • For hobbyist or basic tooling
  • Not for serious production work

The Grizzly Wood lathe is sturdy, reliable and easy to use. If you are a serious hobbyist or a semi-serious artisan – this is great bit of kit. It has a huge range of cutting and turning tools you can use to unleash your creativity. You can make everything from kitchen utensils to wooden clocks, candles, wooden boxes, wooden bowls and bowls, candle holders, candlesticks, wooden spoons and forks, garden bowl, penholder, wooden letters, wooden toys, furniture, homemade wooden watch, jewelry, driftwood art or just fun wooden projects.

The key to enjoying lathe work is having the right accessories, help and support from.

People who can give you some advice. Although this Wood Lathe is not a professional wood turning tool you can even do little pottery, you can turn small wooden candlesticks, penholder, jewelry holder, wooden watch and much more.

3. WEN 3420T 2-Amp 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe

Our rating: 8 / 10

WEN 3420T 2-Amp 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe

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Pros:

  • Beginner Friendly
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only capable of chipping and light turning
  • Chipping motor is underpowered
  • Maximum turning length is 8 inches

The WEN 3420T is an ideal tool for anyone who wants to try their hand at wood turning or for those looking to sharpen existing skills and is relatively affordable for the quality that you get.

The motor is quite powerful with variable speeds and it sits on a sturdy base. The turning capacity is 8 inches, but it has a spiral headstock and three sets of 8 inch long tool rest.

When you purchase the WEN 3420T, you can expect to receive the lathe, a spiral headstock, a chuck, 3 tool rests, a tool rest locking knob, a work rest, a 12 point chuck, a tailstock, a drive centre, a thread chaser, an 8 inch tool rest, a 1/4 inch collet capacity tool rest, a wiper, a tool rest assembly, a tool rest support block ½ inch, an 8 inch face plate and a sleeve for turning small bowls.

4. Nova 71118 Comet II DR

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nova 71118 Comet II DR

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Pros:

  • Excellent for beginners, with low-cost
  • Brand trusted by customers
  • Electronic speed control allows for easy adjustments

Motor (575-3300 RPM) enables smooth, precise cuts. Reducing rest for easier and quicker wood removal. With a strong 1-1/2" capacity tailstock.

Nova 7000-02 Midi Lathe brought this company to the forefront of wood lathe manufacturing, and has firmly established them as the maker of some of the best wood lathes on the market today.

Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System, boasts of rugged construction, heavy-duty drive and motor, and is good to go with a spinning spindle. Nova 7000-02 Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System, has all metal construction, with a one-year limited warranty for your peace of mind as a user.

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

Our rating: 8 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Powerful motor
  • Plenty of torque
  • Easy to use
  • Mid-sized
  • Easy to set up
  • Includes a built-in vice
  • Varying speed allows you to work faster or more accurately

The Delta represents a great mid-sized lathe that provides plenty of power as well as plenty of torque.

This is one of the few lathes available that is self-contained, which makes them far superior to the rest. If you’re looking for a benchtop lathe, this is not a good choice, since it’ll be hard to remove from the bench; however it does have a built-in vice, which makes it a great shop tool!

The Delta 46-460 comes well-prepared to use out of the box. It’s very easy to setup and even easier to use.

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

Our rating: 7 / 10

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Has a quick connect chuck
  • Run smoothly

Cons:

  • Has a weight of 82 pounds
  • Takes long to ship

The Shop Fox W1704 is perfect for home hobbyist that need a decent wood lathe. This model is affordable and comes with the basic features for being a great lathe. One of the best features is the precision speed control with throttle lock. This allows you to adjust the speed easily

Another notable feature is the quick change chuck. This way you can switch between similar sized chucks with ease. Lastly, the motor is 1/3 HP which allows for most wood turning tasks.

7. Jet 719115 JWL-1221SP Step Pulley Wood Lathe

Our rating: 6 / 10

Jet 719115 JWL-1221SP Step Pulley Wood Lathe

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Pros:

  • Perfect first-time wood lathe for beginners
  • Motor is quiet
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Large throat and center
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Sturdy construction
  • Large table
  • Perfect for small projects
  • Quality performance at an affordable price
  • Smooth operation and powerful

Cons:

  • You may have to ask for customer service
  • May be too lightweight for heavier projects

Will this be your first wooden lathe? At only 21 inches in length and weighing a mere 27.56 lbs, the size and weight of the Jet 719115 JWL-1221SP ideal for hobbyists, woodworkers, DIY-ers, and crafters who need a quality wood lathe, but don’t necessarily have the space to accommodate large units.

This lathe operates quietly at 330 watts and the accompanying digital speed control makes it easy to dial in perfect turning speeds. Additionally, the table features a roller bearing and the spindle head tilts by hand for easy angle adjustments.

The high power-to-weight ratio and a large 8.5-inch swing radius ensure this machine will have minimal vibration and extended life.

8. Grizzly Industrial G0844-14" x 20" Variable-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

Our rating: 6 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Simple to set up
  • Minimal assembly
  • Useful information card

This wood lathe is one of the top machines of its kind on the market. Turning can be challenging, especially for someone who has never done it before. This wood lathe can make the transition smooth for you. The instruction card that is included is a great help. It gives you enough information to help you begin learning this craft without a lot of trial and error.

Overall, this is a sturdy machine. The powered tail-stock helps to move your work piece around with ease. The belt drive is compatible with several different accessories. It will come with a spur center as part of the shipping package.

You can have multiple projects going at the same time, increasing the chance of being able to stick to a work schedule. All of the controls are easy to reach. This makes the machine more convenient to use.

9. PSI Woodworking KWL-1018 Turncrafter Commander 10" Multi-Speed Midi Lathe

Our rating: 5 / 10

PSI Woodworking KWL-1018 Turncrafter Commander 10" Multi-Speed Midi Lathe

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Pros:

  • Plenty of power
  • Quick change gears
  • Heavy duty steel bed
  • Quick change accessories
  • Comes with a wrench

This little lathe from PSI has some major advantages over some of the much larger "midi" lathes on the market.

The most obvious comparison is to the newer Laguna line which had a quick change feature. At the time of the release of an article, the Laguna QCT was about three times the cost, and did not have additional features that are available on the KWL-1018 Commander.

10. 1/2hp 40 Inch 4 Speed Power Wood Turning Lathe 14×40 In

Our rating: 5 / 10

1/2hp 40 Inch 4 Speed Power Wood Turning Lathe 14x40 In

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Pros:

  • Large 16 x 40 inch turning space
  • 4 different speeds
  • 1/2 HP

Cons:

  • More suited for basic projects
  • Not stable on the bench

This power wood lathe is one of the best lathes for beginners who want to take their woodworking hobby a step further. The only downside of this unit is the fact that it’s not very stable on the bench.

The unit includes a live center for dealing with wood turning projects of all shapes and sizes.

In terms of power, this unit has a 1/2 HP motor that delivers 2,800 RPM.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best wood lathes?

A lathe can be used for many different woodworking projects, but the most popular uses stem from fine woodworking, such as making dining table legs, rocking chairs and bowls. They are also used for smaller projects, including DIY planters from coffee cans, a rolling pin and, one of my favorites, golf club cleaning kits.

Most wood lathes come as tabletop models. They are very basic because tabletop wood lathes take 200W or less to operate, while industrial lathes need their own dedicated power supply. A few wood lathes now come with a small built-in fan to circulate the air.

Wood lathes are available in different power types, from manual to digital and even motorized models. Motorized lathes are faster than manual models and are worth considering if you plan to make a lot of spindle turning bowls or other decorative objects.

What is the best beginner wood lathe?

If you want a wood lathe, then you are ready to begin creating objects made of wood. And what better place to start than with the most basic lathe, the wood lathe.

This style of lathe is the most simple to use and provides new users with the basic skills to start their first projects.

Perhaps you have an old wood lathe that is starting to show its age after years of use. Or perhaps you are looking to purchase your first lathe, but aren't sure if you want a metal or wood lathe.

No matter why you want a wood lathe, there are a lot of options out there. Each one offers something different, with advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the best 10 wood lathes for purchasing in 2021. They are each tool that will perform well while also giving you great results.

Are grizzly wood lathes any good?

The Grizzly line is modeled after the hugely popular South Bend wood lathes. Grizzly machines are built to be dependable and affordable. They have proven to be a suitable option for hobbyists, students, and beginners that are looking to get a feel for a wood lathe without spending too much money upfront. Grizzly wood lathes have a reputation for being relatively easy to use and have a lot of potential for those looking to take up woodworking. Their customer service is also exceptionally responsive. I've reached out to their customer service department on several occasions and have only ever had positive experiences.

How do I choose a wood lathe?

A good wood lathe is essential for turning wood. It is one of the key tools in making a beautiful, quality piece of furniture. The best lathes are reliable and easy to use, and they can be a significant investment, but they will last a lifetime.

In addition to the top 10 wood lathe reviews, we realized that there a factors to consider when selecting the best wood lathe for you.

We have tried to cover them as completely as possible below.

Wondering what wood lathes are used for? Whether you're a furniture maker or working on a DIY hobby, not only is a wood lathe an important tool to use for carving and making items, but it is also a great tool to have around the house for a variety of reasons. If you want to have a few extra tools, the wood lathe is a great machine to own.

Conclusion

The best wood lathes give you the ability to sculpt wood into any design you can think of. From bowls to furniture, you can create beautiful, practical pieces of art or accents for your decor. The best wood lathes allow you to take your project from raw material to finished product in your own home.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working LatheBest OverallJet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop LatheBudget PickSHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood LatheUpgrade PickGrizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe