When your ultimate goal in buying the best metal lathe is to pick one that ranks high on functionality, clear-cut movement, motor performance, functionality and design, then it is a complete waste of time and money to pick one that is not the Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe. This best metal lathe will not only suit your needs but also provide you with the ultimate satisfaction and joy of spending hours on creating new things. The Shop Fox M1049 Bench Lathe has a very simple control layout that our team of testers was able to work with very easily. With a reasonable size, efficient working mechanism and a flood of power, this best metal lathe ranked exceptionally high on our rigorous stress tests. So if you looking to work with a 9″ x 19″ model, this pick is an ideal choice for you.
A renowned supplier of industrial accessories, metalworking and woodworking tools and machines, Woodstock International has done quite an impressive job with the invention of its Shop Fox M1049 Bench Lathe. One of the primary features of this best metal lathe that our researchers really liked is its ability to carry out multiple lathe applications. The Shop Fox M1049 Bench Lathe has tapered spindles within dynamic six-speed shaping machinery, which makes it apt for working at the bench. The high quality, unbeatable attention to detail and cleverly organized functions ensure a flawless and authentic working mechanism. The precision that we found in this best metal lathe is one feature that was missing in all the other models that we tested. And to top it off, the Shop Fox M1049 Bench Lathe has parts created pretty sturdily with cast iron, like the base, body, headstock, end gears and the bedis, that ensures durability in design as well as functionality.
Where do we start with the upgraded and expensive pick on our list of the best metal lathe? The Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe is a phenomenal metal lathe with an exceptionally unusual price that makes it a complete beast. This best metal lathe may be the most expensive pick on our list, but our team of researchers found that you will inevitably get a lot for the fancy price tag. The gear-head spindle of the Grizzly G4003 Lathe gives you the wonderful opportunity to switch speeds without the pain of working with pulleys or belts. Our testers have concluded that changing gears is comparatively easier in this best metal lathe as it is similar to simply shuffling a few front-mounted levers. And with a steep price like this, the Grizzly G4003 Lathe definitely offers a distinguished quality with some exceptionally great features.
We tested and studied many best metal lathes and discovered, quite to our surprise, that a lower-priced or reasonably-priced one can also constitute as the best metal lathe on our list. We are talking about the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe. People who donít wish to buy a very large unit and spend an equally large sum of money will find this budget-friendly pick on our list of the best metal lathe the most apt choice to suit all their needs and requirements. The quality of our economical pick is not compromised if thatís what youíre thinking. In fact, you get the same kind of superior quality in the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe as you would in any other more advanced Grizzly models like the Grizzly G9972z. This best metal lathe is perfect for someone who has recently started to use the machine and wants to keep the experience fun and avoid the high maintenance cost and effort. Once you start using the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe, it wonít take long for you to realize that this best metal lathe has some extraordinary features that make it the most distinctively unique, reasonably-priced best metal lathe on the market.
Table of Contents
- What you should know before reading on
- Who should buy this
- What to look for in the Best Metal Lathe
- Our best pick: Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- Our step-up pick: Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe
- Our budget-friendly pick: Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe
- Best metal lathe for beginners
- Best metal lathe for heavy-duty operations
- Wrapping it up
What you should know before reading on
A metal lathe, especially the best metal lathe is considered to be the most essential machine tool in our world today. This versatile piece of useful equipment can perform a wide variety of different functions with soft as well as hard metals. You will find the best metal lathe in all workshops as it serves as an important tool that is broadly used for metal shaping purposes. With the best metal lathe you can shape soft and hard metals in various forms for various reasons. Processes such as bending, twisting, deformation, rolling, turning, pounding and hammering can be carried out with the best metal lathe.
The best metal lathe has different segments such as a headstock, tailstock and a tool rest that can be firmly fixed on the bed. More advanced and modern metal lathes of today come with a tool rest that is comparatively heftier than the others with the unique functionality of precisely controlling the shaping tool, which pushes against the metal workpiece to produce more convoluted and symmetrical shapes out of the hard or soft metal.
Who should buy this
According to the community founded by U.S. Special Operations Forces veterans and skilled outdoorsmen, ReadyMan, the best metal lathe is a very resourceful machine that has the ability to build various kinds of tools, machinery parts, projects, artwork, and lots more. If you have a knack for working with metal and want to enhance that experience, then investing in the best metal lathe and honing your skills with the help of this extremely versatile machine will stimulate your work and produce tools and projects of polished and competent quality. The best metal lathe is often used by individuals like engineers, mechanics, machinists, welders, and simply anyone who loves working with metal and taking up various kinds of DIY projects.
What to look for in the Best Metal Lathe
The best metal lathe should undoubtedly have a strong motor. If you wish to build products that look like the handiwork of a professional, then you need to make sure that you have the sufficient amount of power and speed to efficiently create high-quality tools made of hard metal. Based on the power of the motor, you will know what kind of metals you can work with along with the different forms that you can make. The best metal lathe must offer enough strength and precision to assure you that your precious work will be completed accurately. The motor of the best metal lathe that offers 1 HP (horsepower) will allow you to work with hard metals like steel, whereas models with smaller HP can only work with soft metals.
As mentioned above, high power and speed contribute to creating hard metal products in a skillful and professional manner. And after testing and examining the best metal lathes on the market, our team of researchers has concluded that speed is an extremely crucial aspect that makes up the best metal lathes. It is widely considered to be one of the most important features in the unit, mainly because each speed level is created to accomplish different goals for different projects with varying carving abilities. And it goes without saying that the more speed settings you have on your best metal lathe, the wider the scope of your project and the more metals you will be able to take advantage of.
Other Important Features
The best metal lathe comes with multiple thread options, which simply means that the user has the freedom to work with different sizes of work materials. Our team of researchers found it necessary to list down features like a chip tray and back splash as they contribute in keeping your best metal lathe clean and organized along with acting as a shield behind and beneath the unit. And this shield of the useful back splash and chip tray collects all the flying junk that comes out of the machine and can prove to be a highly efficient safety measure by protecting the best metal lathe from possible sparks coming from your wall or other materials located around and underneath it. However, there are many more features and options that you can choose from but our highly experienced testers thought it best to list down only these components as, together, they ensure that you get a high quality, reliable and safe experience with the best metal lathe.
Our best pick: Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe
Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe
After carrying out various tests on the best metal lathes, we discovered that the Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe is an exceptionally great machine with a smooth, flawless and most efficient performance. The various high-intensity tests that we carried out in order to further evaluate the design and working mechanism of this best metal lathe, only proved that the Shop Fox M1049 is equipped with plenty of power and will also stand the test of time. With the kind of price that youíre willing to shell out for this best metal lathe, which is comparatively less than our step-up pick (below) and other such costlier best metal lathes on the market, you will not be disappointed with this unit as far as the design and functionality are concerned. The control setup of this best metal lathe is very easy to work with, even after it has been subjected to prolonged usage. This is one piece of equipment that our team of testers was very comfortable with using, unlike other best metal lathes on our list.
The Shop Fox M1049 consists of tapered spindles with amazing six-speed options that make this best metal lathe perfect for bench use. It has a highly reliable and smoothly working single phase æ HP (horsepower) motor that is pretty efficiently equipped with 4-inch 3 jaw chucks, easily accessible reversible jaws, a stable and sturdy tool rest, dead centers and a faceplate. One of the many striking features of this best metal lathe is how precisely it cuts through the metal surface to create complex-shaped metal objects. Yet another best feature of the Shop Fox M1049 is its ability to effectively carry out multiple lathe applications, such as chuck and faceplate mounting, lathing using 4 jaw chuck, lathing using faceplate, lathing using dead centers, tailstock lathing, and threading among many other key operations that any best metal lathe is expected to perform. We noticed that despite the compact-shaped structure of the Shop Fox M1049, this best metal lathe machine still continues to provide exceptional precision ability as well as highly efficient and unrestricted features. Additionally, built with solid cast iron, this best metal lathe enhances user experience with its 2-year warranty and helpful UPC-coded packaging.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
After using the Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe for some time, our team of researchers had to keep fixing the metal lathe after developing each part of the project. Also, the paint of this best metal lathe is not as smooth is it seems. But we also support the theory that one shouldnít judge a book by its cover. You may have had some really poor quality and imperfect car finishes but that didnít stop the car from performing its ultimate job. And you will be very pleased to also know that the customer service of the manufacturer of this best metal lathe is exceptionally great and helpful. So every time we had some sort of a minor difficulty, their customer service proved to be highly beneficial, and this entirely made up for all the loopholes that we found in this best metal lathe.
Our step-up pick: Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe
Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe
Whatís better than knowing that youíre investing in an expensive product that is going to give you an outstanding value for your money? Our research team will tell you that nothing is better than that, nothing at all. Our step-up pick, the Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe, which has a pretty long name if you havenít yet noticed, has a pretty long list of special features too that have helped this best metal lathe to reach where it now proudly stands. A costlier option, no doubt about that, but the Grizzly G4003 model is a phenomenal steel machine. With a tools-head spindle that gives you a wonderful opportunity to switch speeds without having to worry about belts or pulleys is what justifies the high price of this best metal lathe. And combine that outstanding feature with yet another great feature that enables you to change gears in a way that is as simple and easy as switching front-mounted levers.
The Grizzly G4003 Lathe is comprised of a fast amendment gearbox in order to increase the speed of thread reducing variety and also to make this entire process environment-friendly. Our team of testers is very pleased to bring to your notice something that you already probably must have assumed that this best metal lathe, with its fancy price, offers a quality that is superior and unbeatable, even by the other best metal lathes on our list. The machine has easy-to-use lever controls and detachable gap beds that enable turnings up to 17-inch in diameter, along with 9 spindle speeds that begin from 70 and go up to 1400 RPM. Now why would someone whoís looking to buy the best metal lathe on the market not even consider this option!
Our budget-friendly pick: Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe
Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe
When youíre interested in purchasing the best metal lathe that is also a small unit, which means easy to maintain and fun to use, then we would recommend the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe. Upon reviewing multiple best metal lathes, our research team was quite taken aback with the performance and features of the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe, despite its size. You may have heard about the large-sized unit of the Grizzly G9972z Metal Lathe. And if not, then all you need to know about that model in association with this one here is the only fact that our budget-friendly pick is considered to be a smaller version of the Grizzly G9972z Metal Lathe. You get to enjoy all the great quality features and design with this best metal lathe so donít let its size and price fool you.
The Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe offers a speed that can go up till 2500 RPM, now thatís a feature you couldnít enjoy even in our step-up pick. Talk about being all-rounder! The aspects that make this best metal lathe not only a unique but also a versatile product are its efficient chip pan, 3-inch backsplash guard, 3 jaw chuck with external jaws, a 6.25 faceplate, and high-quality service tools. Upon examining the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe, we noticed that the threading bares are made of plastic and that speeds up the process of metal carving. Plus, with a unit so small, you get to make the most out of it by having the liberty to carry this best metal lathe around everywhere.
Best metal lathe for beginners
Shop Fox M1099 10 by 26-Inch Bench Lathe
This small but best metal lathe for beginners performs just like any other large-sized metal lathe with a quick and easy thread selection process and six-speed options. Our team of testers simply had to refer to the thread chart and rotate the alpha and numeric dials on the gearbox to facilitate the thread change instead of taking the trouble of swapping change gears for every single thread selection. The Shop Fox M1099 is sturdily built with extended length hardened and ground accurate bedways, 1-inch spindle bore, and strong and stable components such as two sets of chucks, a faceplate and MT2 and MT3 dead centers. This best metal lathe has a fabulous 2-year warranty with a durable and useful tool box and tool kit.
Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe
Upon reviewing way too many best metal lathes, our research team has concluded that the Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe is the best metal lathe for a beginner. And they truly mean it! This machine is an ultimate metal beast. The Grizzly G0602 is built with tons of power, a feature that is absolutely necessary for better performance, and many other special features that we love. You will definitely have a fun and smooth experience with this best metal lathe as it performs flawlessly without posing a single difficulty. The Grizzly G0602 has an exceptionally great functionality that is accompanied by a 1-inch spindle bore and MT3 tailstock in order to be able to work with soft as well as hard metals. This best metal lathe has a comparatively wider bed with a powerful motor of 1 HP (horsepower). And by now you would know that the higher the horsepower, the more metals you can get to work with. Additional features include a compound travel measuring three-and-half inches and cross slide travel of six-and-half inches along with an eighteen-and-half inch carriage travel. And its maximum tool size is half an inch.
Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
Yet another best metal lathe for beginners is the Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe. Before we talk about the special features and high performance of this best metal lathe, we would like to bring to your notice that this unit consists of four wrenches that have the ability, like no other, to move from 100 to 2000 rotations per minute. This incredible product also comes with a colossal mill drill and 3 additional jaws as part of the manufacturerís strategy to provide an excellent and flawless user experience. Beginners would be pleased to know that the Shop Fox M1015 model has cranks and controls that are very easy to work with so as to avoid any kind of confusion or complication. Some of the key features that we really admire about this best metal lathe are a stand oil container, efficient spindle and tailstock taper, and a bulb with a voltage of 110 Volts. All in all, the Shop Fox M1015 is not only the perfect choice for beginners but also the most durable best metal lathe on the market with well-engineered machinery that can easily fit in a small shop, basement or garage.
Digital Precision Metal Mini Lathe
This best metal lathe for beginners reminded our research team of the Micro-Mark 7×14, but as they examined it further, they found that both the units are completely different from one another. The Digital Precision Metal Mini Lathe has a 14-inch distance between centers and a 7-inch swing over induction hardened bedways. This best metal lathe consists of MT2 tailstock taper and MT3 spindle taper with a spindle speed that goes up to 2500 RPM. The Digital Precision Metal Mini Lathe has a motor of 0.53 HP that makes this best metal lathe an ideal choice for beginners. The sturdy unit is constructed with a solid cast iron bed that is painted red from the inside in order to protect the casting from rust. One key component that we found only in this best metal lathe is the integral digital tachometer, which has proven to be extremely helpful to those who are new to this kind of a machine, as the tachometer enables them to better understand what kind of speed is suitable for different materials under different working conditions.
Best metal lathe for heavy-duty operations
JET GHB-1340A Bench Lathe
The best metal lathes are specially designed to be used for heavy-duty operations. Itís like fulfilling the ultimate goal of their existence. The first best metal lathe for heavy-duty operations on our list is the JET GHB-1340A Bench Lathe. Our team of testers put this machine through many vigorous tests and found that even though this best metal lathe is used for hefty and massive projects, it performs these operations quite smoothly and quietly. And that is only because the JET GHB-1340A comes with an enclosed gearbox that undeniably carries out a smooth and quiet operation. Another feature that makes this best metal lathe apt for heavy-duty operations is its tight tolerance and accuracy. The unit is sturdily built with hardened and ground spindle that is pretty efficiently supported by high-quality precision roller bearings. The gear box of this best metal lathe offers large threading and feed capacities with absolutely no gear changes. All these exclusive and unique features of the JET GHB-1340A will enhance your metal carving experience, which is quite reliably supported by an exceptionally smooth 2-year warranty.
Grizzly G0752 10 by 22-Inch Variable Speed Lathe
Heavy-duty projects require the best metal lathe that gives you the remarkable opportunity to change spindle speeds with merely a simple turn of a dial while the unit is functioning. And our research team established that the Grizzly G0752 10 by 22-Inch Variable Speed Lathe does just that. This best metal lathe comes with an electronic variable speed spindle control, unlike the Grizzly G0602, which lets you perform the function of changing spindle speeds with just a snap turn of a dial. This unique feature helps you save time while working with different kinds of metals as it takes a pretty long time to halt the motor in order to switch gears or work with levers each time you have to change spindle speeds. The Grizzly G0752 model is perfect for large-scale operations because of its excellent degree of control that enables you to set the required spindle speed quite efficiently, which in turn contributes to acquiring the best finishing touches possible to your metal creations. This best metal lathe also has a motor that offers 1 HP, making it even more suitable for heavy-duty applications.
Shop Fox M1112 12-Inch by 36-Inch Gunsmithing Lathe
Telling you that this best metal lathe is particularly manufactured for heavy-duty operations is like telling the sun that itís burning hot. The Shop Fox M1112 Gunsmithing Lathe is an ideal choice for large-scale operations because of many reasons. Firstly, its high-tolerance bearings, durable and high-quality spindle with stable outboard spindle bore supports, an easy and quick change gearbox, and comparatively better induction hardened bedways contribute to the high performance of this best metal lathe. Secondly, the Shop Fox M1112 Gunsmithing Lathe offers a sizable vibration dampening stand made of strong cast iron along with ball bearing tipped follow and steady rest. And each time the tailstock of this best metal lathe gets locked down, a highly reliable torque wrench is used in order to keep the accurate chuck-to-tailstock alignment in check. And lastly, our research team delightfully concluded that you donít necessarily have to be a gunsmith to be able to enjoy all the unique and superior features and precision of this best metal lathe that is well-equipped with a whopping motor of 2 HP (horsepower), a component that is not present in any of our best metal lathes on this list.
Wrapping it up
Metal lathes are regarded as powerful metal carving and shaping machine units. Once you understand how to use the best metal lathe, it has the ability to reconstruct unfinished metal layers into a wide range of different finished metal materials and products. And for professional or industrial uses, the best metal lathe can create precise machine parts, automotive components, and lots more such hard material products. And that is why metal lathes are becoming more and more important in our modern, advanced and ever-evolving world of today. But it is important to understand that there are certain best metal lathes specially designed for heavy-duty operations while there are some that are of the same quality but lower intensity for beginners. And our highly qualified research team has selected the Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe as the best pick, immediately followed by the upgraded version, the Grizzly G4003 12 by 36-Inch Gear-Head Cam Lock Spindle Gap Bed Lathe. And we have also mentioned a budget-friendly pick for economical consumers, yet another Grizzly model, the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe. However you decide to use these best metal lathes, they will undoubtedly perform every work application in the best possible manner.