Best Wood Lathe

Woody Jackson | Last modified on January 5th, 2022
88 Products Considered
105 Hours of Research
217 Reviews Analyzed

A wood lathe is a tool used to shape wood by rotating it against different surfaces. Wood lathes create furniture, artworks, and even musical instruments. If you’re interested in getting your hands on the best wood lathe, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase. There are many different models on the market, so make sure you know what features are important to you.

Best Wood Lathe Reviews

Top 6 Wood Lathe

1. Best Overall: JET JWL-1221VS Variable-Speed Woodworking Lathe 719200

The JET JWL-1221VS Variable-Speed Woodworking Lathe is the ultimate workhorse for any shop. This 12″ diameter by 21″ long lathe has a powerful amp motor that drives the head at speeds from 60 to 900 RPM, 110 to 1800 RPM, and 220 to 3,600 RPM. The 3-speed ranges allow you to work on light-duty and heavy-duty jobs without changing belts or pulleys.

The JET JWL-1221VS includes a variable universal live center with sturdy steel construction and a steady rest with ample room for large parts for expertly guided precision. The headstock is equipped with a fully enclosed ball bearing drive system for smooth, quiet operation with minimal vibration. A convenient latch makes the tool rest easy to adjust, while an ergonomic handle makes it easy to rotate the headstock spindle back and forth.

For greater versatility, the JET JWL-1221VS is fitted with a belt-locking lever, spindle reverse switch and variable speed control dial all in close proximity to each other on the front of the lathe bed. The lathe features sturdy construction, including cast iron gears and roller bearings for durability even when working on large or heavy projects.

2. Best Wood Lathe For Home Use: RIKON Power Tools Mini Lathe

The RIKON Power Tools Mini Lathe is a scaled-down model of the larger, more expensive versions of the lathe. The cast-iron makes this an especially good tool for beginners, as it is less likely to vibrate and throw off balance or alignment problems. With only a ½ horsepower motor, this mini lathe will not have much trouble with any woodturning projects you may have in mind.

This mini lathe has a 10” swing and 18” between centers, so it can work on a variety of projects. The self-ejecting tailstock is very handy for turning small projects, as it saves the effort of having to manually pull out the tailstock after each turn.

3. Best Wood Lathe Under 500: Mophorn Power Wood Turning Lathe

Mophorn Power Wood Turning Lathe is the best option you can buy for your woodworking needs. It comes with an adjustable system that can be altered according to your needs and preferences, helping you achieve accuracy with speed.

The lathe is built with high-quality materials, making it durable and reliable enough to stand the test of time. Furthermore, it features 3 chisels – one of them is a skew chisel, which will make your work easier, and the others are shear/spindle gouge, which is essential for versatile tasks.

The lathe runs on a 120-volt, 1/2-horsepower motor that helps it work without noise or vibration. You can optimize its accuracy with the use of the cutting tool’s feathering system, which is designed to keep your workpieces in alignment during cutting processes. The lathe also features variable speed control, so you can choose how fast you want it to rotate. The system has a range of 1100 rpm to 3400 rpm.

4. Best Wood Lathe For Turning Bowls: PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Lathe

If you are looking for a new tool to add to your workshop, the PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Lathe is an excellent option that offers performance and precision. This lathe is powered by 1hp variable-speed high-performance induction motor (120V) and an SBC microprocessor, which gives it more power than other lathes in this price range.

Two belt positions give you more control over the cutting process: 500-1800 RPM & 1950-3800 RPM. The lathe has a distance between centers – 18 inches. Swing over Bed 12″ with 2 bearing blocks per side for rigidity. Cast iron base followed by tailstock & spindle bore 3/8″. It also comes with convenient built-in handles.

5. Best Wood Lathe For Beginners: Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

A versatile, smoothly running powerhouse is what we call a wood lathe; one that will spin your workpiece on the face of a chuck, and you can turn or finish it with any of the standard attachments like a drawknife, fishtail scraper, gouge or spindle gouge. One such powerful machine is the Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe.

With 550W powerful motor and variable speed with digital read-out, this lathe has a swing over bed 12″ (300 mm). It also provides 18″ (457 mm) distance between centers and swing over bed 10″ (254 mm), 6″ (150 mm) tool rest, 3″ (75 mm) faceplate, top drive and live center. The Mophorn Benchtop Wood Lathe has a cast iron construction with rubber feet. It provides increased stability and smooth operation.

With its powerful motor and simple design, this wood lathe is a good value for the price. Additionally, it operates at a constant speed to produce consistent results with little or no vibration.

The Mophorn 12” x 18” wood lathe is versatile not only because of its powerful motor but also because it can be used for a variety of applications. It can be used to turn flatwork but also for scroll or bowl-type drawers. Being able to do both jobs with the same lathe makes this lathe one of the most convenient on the market.

6. Best Wood Lathe For Making Rings: Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe

One of the best ways to learn more about this particular topic, which you may also find yourself interested in, is to check out the Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe. This benchtop lathe comes with a 1/3 HP motor that generates 2 amps.

The machine’s 12-inch distance between centers allows for an 8-inch swing over the bed and includes two tool rests. Items you can make with this wood lathe include bowls, arches, pillars, boxes, and more. This tool is made of cast iron. The machine is single-phase and 60 Hz. This is a versatile machine for woodworking that can help you to make almost anything you need.

Buyer’s Guide

A wood lathe can be an expensive purchase because there are many different versions and functions to consider. Before you invest in a new purchase, ask yourself: How durable is the product? What material will I need to operate it? What size should I buy? What type of work do I want to do with the machine?

There are plenty of options here that will help you find the right machine for your needs. This guide will show you the benefits and features of the product and what you should know when choosing the best wood lathe for your crafts.

What Is A Wood Lathe?

A wood lathe is a machine used to shape wood by rotating it against different surfaces. It’s quite versatile and can be used to make many different kinds of things.

What Is A Wood Lathe?

This manual tool uses different internal components to shape things like furniture, musical instruments, and even artwork. These tools are handy when creating projects. They create quality products when used correctly.

To use it, place the wood in the rotating tray, which you can then turn using a hand crank or an electric motor. The wood “turns” as it rotates against an abrasive surface known as a tool rest or carriage. This way, you can shape wooden pieces in your own style.

Why Should You Use A Wood Lathe?

Wood lathes are very useful when creating projects because they create quality products when used correctly. They come in many different sizes to accommodate the needs of the user.

They are very durable and can be used in a variety of conditions. They are very useful in the creation of various furniture pieces. You can also use them when building musical instruments or even when creating artwork. Using a wood lathe can also increase your working speed.

What Can You Make With A Wood Lathe?

Everyone has their own uses for a wood lathe. Some people use them to create items for their homes, while others use them to create artistic works for others to enjoy. Although every person seems to have a different use for wood lathes, they all have one thing in common- they are very versatile tools that can remove any type of material from small pieces to large pieces, including woodworking items, musical instruments, artwork, and even toys.

What Can You Make With A Wood Lathe?

Wood Lathe Tools

There are two main types of wood lathe tools. These are the planer and the shaper. The planer is used to flatten pieces of wood, while the shaper is used to shape pieces of wood.

The shaper is a little more challenging to use because it requires a lot of force. Many people think that a wood lathe has a single tool, but in fact, it has two different tools.

How To Use A Wood Lathe

Using a wood lathe is not hard once you have the proper knowledge. Before you start any project, make sure to do your research. If at all possible, be in the company of someone who knows how to use it properly.

Be sure to wear gloves so that you are covered when handling materials. Take your time, don’t rush your project. Enjoy your finished project because it will show how much effort was put into creating it!

How To Sharpen Wood Lathe Tools

Because wood lathe tools are made of steel or iron, they can become dull after heavy use. When this happens, you must sharpen them before use to make the machine functioning properly again. Hold the tool in one hand and take a stone or a piece of an old file in the other. Place your lathe in your work area and rotate it. You may have to use a unique tool called a sharpening guide if you have a design jig.

How To Sharpen Wood Lathe Tools

What Does A Wood Lathe Do

A wood lathe is a machine used to shape wood by rotating it against different surfaces. The materials being worked with are then slabs or narrow pieces of timber that can be turned into special items such as furniture, musical instruments, artworks, and even toys by using this machine’s internal components to create them from small pieces to large pieces, including woodworking items.

The Bottom Line

While wood lathes are currently not as popular as they were some decades ago, they are still used for their original purpose of creating woodworking items. There are plenty of different versions of them, but nothing beats the serviceability previously demonstrated by these machines. I hope this guide gave you vast information about the lathe you need, and it will be easy to choose the right product for your needs.


What Should I Look For In A Wood Lathe?

There are many factors that come into question when purchasing a wood lathe – the size and type of the lathe, whether or not it is portable, and how much power it draws from electricity.

What Makes A Good Lathe?

Foundation is an essential aspect of a good wood lathe. It should be made from a sturdy material, such as metal. A good lathe has a strong construction that will not vibrate with vibration or external forces, such as high torque or heavy cuts on the wood.

What Can You Do With A Wood Lathe?

With the help of the wood lathe, you can turn wood into anything from a small table to a large one. You may also create small wooden arms, musical instruments, furniture, artistic designs on wood surfaces, such as bowls, etc.

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