Many wood projects require the best wood lathe purchasable backed by essential features like power, speed, build, and functionality and such a convenient and excellent wood lathe is the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe . It is of an adaptable size packed with some amazing functionality that has made this product the best choice for professionals, enthusiasts and first-time ‘do-it-yourselfers’. It’s the best wood lathe in the market today because of its 12 inch swing and 21 distance that makes the Jet JWL-1221VS Speed Wood Lathe a midi lathe with impressive functionality and features like 3600 RPM speed control with the lowest speed setting of 60 RPM. A wood lathe of such a size capable of such extensive speed control only means that it’s the best wood lathe and the most notable table top wood lathes in the market, currently. It is also the best choice for easy to moderate level wood lathing by beginners or professionals.
According to our research, the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe has an impressive patent pending ratchet style belt tensioning system that is capable of controlling power and eliminating the risk of wear-tear and power depletion of the belt. Because of such an innovative design combination of powerful speed control and belt tensioning system, the belt drive system can also switch back and forth to different speeds from 60 RPM to 3600 RPM without any friction, vibrations or creaks. Since a wood lathing tool is something that involved constant spinning and movement of a wood piece up against a cutting tool for perfect sculpting and shaping, it is imperative that such a machine works smoothly between different speed controls without giving the professional a hard time in the functioning, and this product offers exactly that.
One of the most compelling arguments that concludes that this product is the best wood lathe is that it’s brimmed to the top with amazing features being just a midi lathe in the market. None other midi lathes that are available in the market today come with such an all-embracing package to suit the needs of both beginner and professional woodworking users. The Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe boasts of complete versatility of movement, speed and control for its user. It grants stability with a warranty description of up to 5 years with no battery requirements, and considering how well this product has performed in the market, it will not disappoint you in terms of any unwanted defects and damages. With this wood lathe’s three speed ranges and a solid speed control mechanism, you experience swift movement for all wood-turning tasks to design a perfect looking wood piece.
Following the best wood lathe highlight, our research demanded the feature of yet another best wood lathe that’s a proven crowd puller, but a high-priced one. The Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout stands as a versatile wood-turning technology that is capable of handling simple to complex projects for both a novice and professional woodworker. As it possess all of Powermatic’s innovative characteristics, this product has surpassed its modern advances with a digital RPM readout that allows users to keep track of the speed control during wood-turning, which is considered one of the most desired features in a wood lathe. The Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout is built from heavy-duty cast iron powered by a 2-horsepower, variable speed motor that works swiftly even at complex wood-turning maneuvers. It features a redesigned tailstock for internal storage that lets you work with large wood pieces along with additional storage spaces with hinged access doors to store small tools and equipments easily. Because it features a 20-inch swing and a 35 inch distance between the centers, this product has the right masters to take on a high range of project volumes for both beginners and professionals. To put in a nutshell about the only irresistible reason why the Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout is the best wood lathe that you wouldn’t mind splurging on is that is offers unmatchable features than any other expensive wood lathe in the market in terms of warranty, design, endurance and durability.
There are various aspects of a wood lathe that sets each one apart from the crowd and having the price as a factor that contributes to a wood lathe’s uniqueness is the best. To better narrow down our search for the best wood lathe in all aspects, the Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe is the one that stands out as being the most economical wood lathe with some impressive features. It is the best budget wood lathe that’s also a mini wood lathe with a 1/2 horsepower and 110 volt single phase electric motor and solid construction. What our researchers love about the Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe is that it works the quietest during high levels of wood-turning with no vibrations whatsoever! Packed with an adjustable drive belt system that allows speed control of 826, 1205, 1713, 2422 or 3337 RPM, this wood lathe is worth every penny. With the lowest speed of 826 RPM and highest at 3337 RPM, this wood lathe can work wood like butter, promising precise finishing of even the most delicate wood pieces ever. It weighs a total of 77 pounds which means that it’s convenient and easy to assemble with no batteries required. The Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe fits well within budget, boasts of excellent features and comes in handy from simple to even complex wood-turning tasks. What more is required?
Table of Contents
- What you should know before purchasing a wood lathe
- What are the different types of wood lathe?
- What to look for in a wood lathe?
- Our best pick: Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
- Second best pick: Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout
- Third best pick: PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe
- An extravagant but valuable pick: Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout
- A budget-friendly pick: Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe
- Best New Wood Lathe For Hobbyists
- Best Wood Lathes For Beginners
- Best Wood Lathes For Professionals
- Wrapping it up
What you should know before purchasing a wood lathe
When you’re researching for different wood lathes to pick out the one that’s best for you, it’s imperative to become familiar with the different models of wood lathes. The best wood lathe is one that fits your requirements when analyzed by each wood lathe’s factors such as size, speed control, storage facilities, and mechanics. One key factor of determining the coherence of each wood lathe is its price over other features. If you are intrigued by the features of one wood lathe and it’s slightly over your incurred budget, don’t compromise quality over price just to save money. While there are many economical wood lathes out there, those may not favor your wood-working needs as much as the one that’s slightly over budget. Another key factor that can influence your purchasing decision for the best wood lathe would be comparison before buying. If you fail to read our detailed research about the best wood lathe following the ones that are within budget, for beginners and for professionals, you might end up buying the wrong one that doesn’t meet your skill level.
What are the different types of wood lathe?
The average woodworker should know the difference between these 3 types of wood lathes, although there isn’t a drastic difference between them, they slightly defer in terms of size and purpose.
1. Standard Wood Lathes:
These are the most commonly used wood lathes built from heavy-rugged cast iron featuring an adjustable rail setting to shape items such as table legs or other abstract wood sculptures.
2. Mini Wood Lathes:
These are used to design more precise and detailed artistic wood sculptures. Mini wood lathes are comparatively smaller in size and have much less power than the standard wood lathe, but they require less floor space with an appealing characteristic of being portable.
3. Floor Mounted Wood Lathes:
These are used for big wood-working projects and are relatively sturdier than standard or mini wood lathes. They feature a stand integrated with a tool that allows big wood pieces to sculpt effortlessly.
What to look for in a wood lathe?
The best wood lathe for you depends on your individual needs. Not all wood lathes are universally suitable for all kinds of wood-working projects, especially when you’re setting out to look for one that offers excellent features and endurance. We all know the benefits of using a lathe machine, but do you know what to look for in one? Aside from the price of the best wood lathe, consider these key factors in a wood lathe to find out which one is more fitting for you than the rest.
Size & Build
If you’re meaning to purchase a wood lathe for smaller projects, consider buying a mini wood lathe or a bench-top wood lathe. Those are specifically designed for small projects that require more detail and precision. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy a wood lathe for relatively bigger wood projects, consider buying a floor mounted wood lathe that’s designed for such only. Floor mounted lathes are way powerful and floor consuming than mini or standard wood lathes as they’re meant to work with large wood pieces and other tools.
A wood lathe which is heavy will not require any additional pressure to keep it from vibrating or causing any unnecessary creaks or vibrations at higher speeds. A relatively lighter wood lathe won’t be a secure one as any sudden shifts while wood-turning can accidently hurt its user or prolong the project by hours.
One essential role that a wood lathe’s motor plays in cutting and shaping the wood is by its size. If the size of the motor is too small, it may shatter the shaping tools causing unwanted damage of the product.
When you compare the parallel combination of the motor of a wood lathe with its speed, you’ll be aware of that particular wood lathe’s overall power capacity. More power means more endurance and better functionality.
Since wood-turning requires different levels of speeds in intervals, it’s essential to purchase the best wood lathe that has a decent adjustable speed control setting along with faster rotations. This lets entry-level users experiment at different speeds to determine what’s best for their project.
If a wood lathe lacks sturdiness, it will vibrate during high speeds causing inconvenience to its user. Wood lathes that don’t vibrate at any speed are usually the ones that aren’t lightweight, which is considered the ideal one. Vibration can cause unwanted damages to your wood pieces and ultimately to your finished product. To have a wood lathe that is both heavyweight and sturdy counts as the best wood lathe in the market.
The best wood lathe is one which is silent at any speed. No noise will eliminate any distractions and the user can monitor how well certain parts are working together based on the sounds they make from time to time.
The flexibility of any wood lathe is the distance between its centers and the swing measure. A greater measure means that a particular wood lathe can capacitate longer wood pieces as well wider diameters without it causing any friction to its surroundings.
Best Wood Lathe: Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
The Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is packed with impressively designed speed ranges with a smooth forward to reverse transition without any vibration or creaks. This best wood lathe weighs 137 pounds with a 5-year warranty along with no specific demands of a battery to make it work. For better functionality, you get a 4-feet cord length and it also comes with 6 handles. This wood lathe is best for an apprentice woodworker as well as a proficient one as it offers a swift, quiet and effortless flow of wood-turning with a digital readout that makes this wood lathe extremely valuable and useful for the long run. You can’t ignore the positives of this best wood lathe with all its optimal speed control ranges, sturdiness, smooth functionality, and the added particularity of a digital readout that makes this wood lathe our best pick in the market today. You must focus on the speed ranges from 60 RPM to 3600 RPM without the added functionality of a smooth transition flow from forward to reverse without the need of turning off the wood lathe, like most other wood lathes in the market today. You can operate the lathe with a help of a well-developed dial as well as the tach that allows you to know the exact speed at which you should be using the lathe on and it also displays certain pre-determined error codes in case if something’s working incorrectly.
Based on our research of the best wood lathes, we can now declare with confidence that the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is the only mini lathe available in the market today that features so many capabilities and features that makes it the most powerful. Another interesting feature about this wood lathe is its ratchet style belt system that allows a rapid belt transition that saves you time overall. If you’re looking out for a wood lathe to take on projects with minimal labor, but something that exceeds your expectations in yielding amazing results, this best wood lathe is for you. And if you’re a professional woodworker looking to buy as much quality you can, this one you should definitely get!
You’ll find that the tail stock of this wood lathe has a scale that reads both millimeters and inches and it’s great in height with a sturdy ACME barrel lead screw that has the ability to travel around 64 mm. With 24 integrated indexing positions, the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is relatively heavier than its predecessor and it also has a bigger swing with powerfully built components such as the tail stock, banjo and head. The functionality of this wood lathe accommodates tool and cable storage compartments on the bed to grant you ease of access to important tools while wood-turning. Unlike most wood lathes, the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe will be delivered to you along with a comprehensive guide that lets you gain a better understanding of the basic mechanisms and usage of the wood lathe. Now you know why the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is out best pick as well as the most powerful midi wood lathes today.
Second best pick: Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout
This is yet another powerful wood lathe at a relatively cheaper price and top-quality features. It ranks after the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe as this is the second best wood lathe to steal that comes with many useful and innovative features at an unbelievably affordable price. It features a dominating 2-horsepower motor that is capable to succeeding against many other similar priced wood lathes. With 10 variable speeds ranging from 600 RPM to 2400 RPM, you can imagine how versatile and powerful the lever adjustments would be to save time put into proper speed control. The Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout also has a smooth functionality feature of the swivel head with the tool rest extension for easy outboard turning; something that is the most unique feature about this model. It even allows easy three way adjustments of the extension that makes the wood lathe sturdy. Better off than any standard wood lathe that falls within the same price range, this one is the best wood lathe as it features a digital tachometer which displays the precise spindle speed, a headstock and tailstock locking, and release levers with the headstock that is capable of rotating every 30 degrees from the standard 0 to 180.
This wood lathe guarantees no vibration or creaks during wood-turning even at higher speeds as it is built by cast-iron at the base which makes the Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout a heavy-duty and, inevitably, a tempting deal to steal!
Third best pick: PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe
Our third finalist on our best wood lathe list is a powerful speed built for swift wood-cutting and detailed finishing. It offers speeds from 150 RPM to 4100 RPM connected to SBC microprocessor speed technology that allows users to maintain maximum accuracy levels along with the convenience of handles and 24 indexing positions with spindle locking. The PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe is more than impressive for a mini wood lathe as its size and built is capable of such a versatile speed feature for shaping and finishing wood. This beast is designed to provide superior performance with a 3 year warranty that is not common with any unwanted defects or damages. It works on a powerful 3/4-horsepower motor and is built with cast iron construction at the base to put up with sturdy performance for wood-turning projects at the highest speed. The PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe won’t fail to provide support and comfort during rigorous wood-turning as it also supports a tool storage rack to store turning tools easily along with carry handles and a flexible 18-inch work light made of flex-cable. This feature will help you stay on point with the precise shaping and finishing of wood for the most intricate work. Nothing beats this wood lathe’s powerful, ball-bearing tail stock for great grip and control from splitting, a feature that’s absolutely unique among other similar wood lathes. With this best wood lathe, you won’t think twice before patching on some great projects as it makes wood shaping and finishing more accurate and defined.
Extravagant but valuable pick
As much as wood-workers prefer an affordable wood lathe, there are some uniquely powerful wood lathes with excellent features that might be costlier than most. Opting for price over quality to save money when purchasing the best wood lathe can cost you more in terms of unmet functionality and lack of compatibility with you genuinely wanted and what is provided to you by that particular wood lathe. A wood lathe that has amazing characteristics and is slightly costlier than most is the Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout. It is one of the most proficient wood lathes on the market featuring an unmatchable 2-horsepower TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan-Cooled) motor, 220 volts and a speed motor that has a three-phase or a single-phase input inverter for smooth functionality; all this comes with a 5 year warranty that indicates promising endurance. This wood lathe features a well-built 24 spindle indexing positions perfect for shaping and finishing hole patterns and other decorative designs. It also provides easy internal storage with a sliding headstock and a tailstock. With a digital RPM readout feature as well as an electronic variable speed control technology, you’ll get durability, longevity and versatility that’s suitable for both apprentice and proficient wood-workers. It is capable of functioning on different project ranges because of its unmatchable 20-inch swing and 34-1/2 inches distance between the two centers. You won’t forget to check this out because it’s got all powerful features required from the ideal wood lathe for entry-level and highly complex projects. It’s got the muscle to keep the job going, no matter what. It’s durable and resistant to any physical disturbances such as vibrations, creaks and sudden shifts even at the highest speed. Since it’s built from heavy iron casting at the base, the Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout is cleverly designed for high torque, flexibility and endurance with its ergonomic built chrome-tipped handwheels that ensure easy travelling and support. So, with the amount you’ll be splurging on this powerful wood lathe, it’s definitely worth it.
Budget-friendly Wood Lathe
The Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe is considered one of the best small wood lathes on the market today. It makes a great entry-level wood lathe for beginners to experiment with any type of wood they may want to work with. With a single phase electric motor, 110 volt and a 1/2 horsepower, this wood lathe is extremely user friendly and can be fitted on or supported by all kinds of workbenches. It features an 18-inch distance between the centers, and a 10-inch swing over the bed along with a 6-and-one-quarter inch swing above the tool rest. You can even rest all your required tools and equipments on the frame that fits a tool rest for smooth wood-turning. The Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe accommodates five powerful speeds of 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, or 3337 RPM which means that its ergonomic design is promising in terms of control, flexibility, torque and detailed finishing. In total, it weighs about 77 pounds, a size much preferable for a mini wood lathe to function excellently without any defects in precision and finishing.
All this at an economical price makes the Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe really stand out from the crowd, a completely unmatchable mini wood lathe to get your hands on if you’re an apprentice or even a proficient wood-worker.
Best New Wood Lathe For Hobbyists
Our dedicated researchers thought to include one special category under which we’d display one best wood lathe for those craftspeople looking to buy a decent wood lathe only as a hobby. We all have that one exercise we love to practice, but just as a hobby to blow off some steam. This wood lathe is perfect for just that. It’s the best wood lathe on the market today that suits the needs for wood-turning hobbyists as its aspects are very much similar to a professional wood lathe. The Proxxon 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe comes with a differential speed highlight from 1000 RPM to 5000 RPM, ideal for turning pens, small plates, pots, vases, columns, and other hundreds of small building items requiring intricate finishing. Even though it’s of a compact built, it is capable of featuring a tool rest that rotates through 360 degrees and is adjustable in height. All in all, this wood lathe doesn’t require any batteries, weighs around 5.8 pounds and is definitely the most portable wood lathe on the market for hobbyists. And if you’re looking to transform your hobby into a solid profession with the help of the best wood lathe, look on below.
Best Wood Lathe For Beginners
This one is an entry-level benchtop wood lathe that is versatile, highly advanced and popularly priced. It works at 5 variable speeds of 750, 1100, 1600, 2200, and 3200 RPM for wood pieces of up to a measure of 10 inches in diameter and 18 inches long. The Central Machinery 10-Inch by 18-Inch 5 Speed 1/2 HP Benchtop Wood Lathe features a cast iron steel construction along with a nonslip rubber feet unit to increase sturdiness of the machine and eliminate any unwanted vibrations, even at the highest speed. It features a single phase electric motor with a good power output which is easy to assemble without any common defects or unwanted repairs. It can be purposed for general home use by causal do-it-yourselfers, professional use or for big commercial project work which means that it’s extremely user friendly. Having 5 different speed variations, it works smoothly with quiet operation from small to midsize projects making it a great beginner wood lathe at an excellent price.
Yet another wood lathe best for beginners is the Nova 24146 1624-44 16-Inch by 24-Inch 8 Speed Wood Lathe. It features a 1.5-horsepower traditional AC motor with 8 variable speed ranges from 215 RPM to 3600 RPM. Built by a solid iron cast construction, this wood lathe has a total of 8 interval stops driven by the drive belt pairs of pulleys. Since it’s an entry-level wood lathe, it’s slightly lightweight with a swivel head that rotates a full 360 degrees. If you’re looking for an easy and user-friendly wood lathe that’s durable and that provides powerful beginner operations, the Nova 24146 1624-44 16-Inch by 24-Inch 8 Speed Wood Lathe is the one for you. It has a tool rest along with a locking lever that won’t budge even during high speed wood-turning. The parts won’t glide, in fact they well-grounded and easy to adjust and make use of for a really long duration. Based on our research of the many entry-level and affordable wood lathes out on the market today, the Nova 24146 1624-44 16-Inch by 24-Inch 8 Speed Wood Lathe is the best deal to steal.
Best Wood Lathe For Professionals
This wood lathe is one of a kind machine very a well-built construction and framework. It has a 1.5-horsepower motor and an electronic inverter of 115 volts. A stand alone mount that can take on any speeds between 50 to 3200 RPM, the JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 16-Inch by 42-Inch Electronic Variable Speed Woodworking Lathe allows exclusive performance without any vibrations. It’s a great wood lathe for proficient craftspeople to take on large wood-turning project as such projects require serious versatility of speed control, powerful performance, stability, user-friendly controls and safety; all of which this wood lathe provides. It also features a large-diameter spindle with a built-in indexing with 36 positions meant for drilling, fluting, grooving, and other detailed mechanisms. With a promising heavy-duty iron cast construction, the JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 16-Inch by 42-Inch Electronic Variable Speed Woodworking Lathe provides vibration-free operations with adjustable pads at each foot of the machine to ensure a solid grip while turning at higher speeds. One of the best features of this wood lathe that makes it not only highly-functional, but convenient for extensive professional use is its large digital LED readout that helps users monitor the spindle speed along with a toggle switch situated on the front handle allows easy selection from forward to reverse spindle directions. You’ll also find an on/off switch handle on the front panel that can be accessed no matter where your operating position is. Today, you won’t find a wood lathe that boasts of such promising characteristics such as a large tailstock, a multi-row ball bearing live center and a cast-iron tool-rest base that’s easy to lock in the correct position along with the comfort of large handles. The JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 16-Inch by 42-Inch Electronic Variable Speed Woodworking Lathe is our first pick for the best wood lathe that’s perfect for professionals on the market.
Our last, but an efficient pick on the best wood lathe for professionals list is the Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable Speed Midi Lathe. It is one of those midi lathes that stand out among a crowd of similar midi lathes across many manufacturers. It has a superior construction, ideal for professional woodworkers that demand smooth mechanisms, more control and versatile speed. This midi wood lathe is powered by a 1-horsepower with a maximum speed of 1725 RPM motor and a three-pulley range making it easier for professionals to select their desired speed range without changing the belt position each time. With a swift flip of a switch, you can even transit from forward to reverse and reverse to forward modes without wasting much of time in the traditional way of finishing. This feature is best for accuracy and top-quality precision, and this is not experienced in most similar midi lathes. You also get patented belt-tensioning technology for quick speed shifts, maximum power and ergonomic endurance capabilities. If you’re a professional who’s looking for something that can put up with big wood-turning projects, the Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable Speed Midi Lathe delivers such characteristics. Backed by a 5 year warranty, it won’t disappoint you in terms of strength and flexibility for a really long time.
Wrapping it up
Basically, our extensive research has listed down the best wood lathe following some other great options out there to suit your specific requirements. We know how quality and price can have a great influence on you when it comes to buying the best wood lathe, but the thing to remember is that what’s comparatively cheaper than the rest is not always the best one that would be compatible with your wood-turning needs. That’s why it’s best to do a thorough research based on various factors such as construction, power, motor, sturdiness, etc. before jotting down your final decision. The obvious winner from our best wood lathe list is the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe followed by a budget-friendly pick which is the Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top 10-Inch Wood Lathe and an extravagant yet valuable pick, the Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout. Also, to better categorize our compiled list, we’ve added our favorite wood lathes for hobbyists, beginners as well as professionals. You know a good lathe when you see one, and even better when it fits right with your needs and demands. Along with the best wood lathe, we have two similar choices tagging along in terms of overall quality and functionality, giving you a good list of 10 wood lathes to pick from for your purchasing needs. Those people looking for the best commercial wood lathes will also find what they’re searching for all over the web as we have made a compelling case for wood lathes that are commercially manufactured under a big brand with reasonable priced characteristics. By keeping the vision same, it’s better to compare two or three wood lathes before you finalize one is the best way to shop for woodworking tools online.