Best Wood Lathe For Beginners and Reviews Guide ( Updated 2018)

Last updated on August 11th, 2018 at 09:45 am

Are you looking for the best wood lathe on the market? People always thought that it is difficult to choose the right one. But it’s not like that. Today we are going to design this article for both users.

Wood Lathe Comparison Chart

So I wanted to help the hobbyist and professionals and beginners to find the ideal wood lathe tools for them.

Speed Range
WEN 3420
Best Seller
2 Amp750 to 3200 RPM
NOVA 46300
3/4HP250 to 4000 RPM
RIKON 70-100
For the Money
1/2HP Motorbelow 1000 RPM
Delta 46-460
1 HP max1,725 RPM
Shop Fox W17582 HP, 110V600 - 2400 RPM
Jet JWL-10151/2" 500 - 3975 RPM


Overview of Wood Lathe

When selecting a wood lathe, it will help you in the decision making process. They will allow you to compare power and speed settings, ease of use, the design, the types of wood you can work with, and more.

Reading through the article like, how to choose the right wood lathe, it is going to allow you to work at a faster pace, or create textured projects, for the wood design pieces that you are working on.

Different lathes are also going to allow you to shape a piece of wood how you want, or create a specific design when working on a project.

So, taking the time to find the right product, and comparing a few different lathes, is the easiest way to ensure you buy the right product, and eventually find the one that will allow you to finish any project in no time at all.


Best Wood Lathe – Buyer’s Guide

Whenever working with a wood lathe, remember to observe good shop safety habits. Please make sure to read and understand all instructions before using any of these lathes. Secure the lathe to a sturdy surface before putting it into use, or make sure it is installed securely to a base before any turning operation.

Avoid wearing jewelry (including rings and watches) and long-sleeved shirts, as these items could become caught in a rotating mechanism. Wear eye protection at all times when working around any lathe or other woodworking tools. Though safety glasses and safety goggles are good for providing eye protection, safety shields are best to provide face protection and to protect the user from flying wood chips and particles.

Some of the exotic woods that undergo turning operations can stir up particulate matter and produce dust that is harmful to inhale and can cause respiratory problems. While working around environments that produce a lot of dust and other particulate matter that can be harmful to breathe, be sure to wear NIOSH approved respiratory protection as well. Observing these simple safety precautions will help keep the work area safe and permit the opportunity to turn out other various items on the lathe.


Best Wood lathe For Beginners 2018 

NOVA 46300 Comet II

NOVA 46300 Comet II

This Nova 46300 is one of the best wood lathes if you are looking for. It is a little more affordable, yet has the many features of the other top-rated wood lathe, for a higher price tag.

The speed rating goes from 250 to 4000 rpm; this gives you far more control and allows you to work on far more projects. Since you have control over how quickly or slowly to work, you do not have to worry about making an error on a certain project.

A 3 step pulley system dial, has the low, medium, and high-speed range; this gives you full control and makes for simple adjustment if you have to increase or decrease the speed rating while you are working on a specific project with this lathe.

The 3/4 HP motor, has variable speed setting options as well, which allows you to change the speed, during a project, so you can increase or decrease work speeds with the different materials you are working on.

It is versatile, as it is smaller than most lathes, and gives you the option to add an extension, so you can work on big or small projects with this piece.


RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Wood Lathe

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe


The easy access speed change design is ideal if you are working in a quick paced environment; there is no need to worry that you won’t be able to adjust the speed, or that you will have to slow down while working on a specific project.

A self ejecting tailstock is easy to remove, and there is no need to use the knockout from the center of the tool, making work easier, and requiring fewer steps to reach the desired position when working with this tool.

The laser engraved ram, 1/2 HP motor, and the extension are a few of the features you are going to appreciate. If you are working on a larger job, or if you would like to transport this to different job sites, the extension allows you to do that. And, the fact that it is a mini lathe makes it a bit lighter in weight, so it is not as hard to transport when you are working on multiple projects at a time.


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



  • This wood lathe for woodworking is designed to efficiently work on a maximum speed of 4000 rpm and minimum speed of as low as 250 rpm.
  • It offers the reverse feature through which the different stages like polishing and sanding could be done efficiently.
  • Every time the belts are changed, the lever helps you get back to the perfect settings in no time.
    It’s efficient, not too heavy in weight, and hence you could carry the same easily from one place to the other.
  • This wood lathe for sale comes with 1 HP motor, which allows you to complete the woodworking on large pieces of wood, more efficiently and effortlessly.
  • You get to expand the functions, as this wood lathe is versatile and thus offers great value for the money you pay. This is one of the top wood lathes on the market.


  • You get the reverse feature with this wood lathe, and hence it makes the operation more dependable.
  • It comes with 3 pulley speed ranges.
  • You get a solid product that’s crafted using a cast iron material, and hence it is highly durable.
  • The 1 HP powerful motor makes it capable to run on the projects of different dimensions.


  • You’ll need to use extensions if you want to perform the turning task on really large projects.


Excelsior Mini Lathe



  • This wood lathe is built using 1 HP motor which provides excellent performance in minimum time.
  • This wood lathe machine is designed using cast iron materials, and the live center on tailstock and spur center on the headstock is placed.
  • You get to use the special ball bearing feature with the knockout bar for spur center.
  • 5 speed options include; 760, 1100, 1600, 2200, and 3200 RPM Belt, which comes with 6 inch tool rest and 3 inch face plate which provides a long lasting tool performance.
  • The Ratcheting adjustment levers are made available to add more convenience to the overall procedure.
  • The exclusive chrome-plated hardware safety switch, plus the cam-locking safety feature is enabled to make the wood lathe work more efficiently.


  • Rockler Excelsior is a great option for wood turning, and that is how it is explained by the satisfied users.
  • It is made of sturdy material which provides you long lasting service.
  • You get value for money, as the price is worth the convenience you derive while using this wood lathe
    You get it in combination with the accessories that will make the use of wood lathe more comfortable and efficient.


This wood lathe machine is heavy, and hence you will have to bear the derived effects when in use.
The instruction manual that comes with the product does not contain enough information to let you use the product effortlessly. This might be best mini wood lathe for you.


Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe


  • This wood lathe is made using cast iron lathe bed which provides utmost stability and is extremely durable. It works while creating minimum vibrations during the process and hence more precise cut is made possible.
  • The high build quality provides years long service, without demanding any kind of maintenance.
  • Hollow boring through headstock and hollow tailstock makes turning convenient.
  • The cam lock lies on the tailstock and tool rest.
  • The 6 spindle in this wood lathe allows the operator to switch the speed between 400-3300 rpm.
  • For the purpose of fluting and veining, the spindle is indexed at every 15 degrees.



  • This wood lathe for sale is designed to be operated on a variety of objects that might include drawers, cupboard knobs, bottle stopped, pens, boxes, platters, etc.
  • The 375 W induction motor with 6 belt speed, provides enhanced power to the machinery to perform précised turning.
  • The access to the convenient doors makes it easy for the operator to switch between different speed options.
  • The 24 incorporated indexing options make veining and fluting easy to cut.
  • It is the wood lathe under 500.



  • This wood lathe doesn’t come with a chuck, and hence you will have to buy it separately.
  • You won’t be able to use reverse speed feature with this product.


 SAVANNAH 8-Piece HSS Chisel Set


Product specifications

  • These MP steel blades are designed 5 ¼ inches in size, they perform high speed operations with utmost perfection.
  • This set of wood lathe chisels includes 8 essential chisels which are enough to provide a variety of functions.
  • The variety includes; 5/8 inches spear scraper, 3/16 inches parting tool, 1 inch skew chisel, 5/8 inches round nose scraper, 1/2 inches bowl gauge, ¾ inches spindle gouge, 7/8 inches roughing gouge and 5/8 inches skew chisel.
  • These wood lathe chisels are designed including a stylishly handy 10 ¾ inches hardwood handles, that allow let’s you establish a more firm grip.
  • The set comes in a beautiful wooden case which looks really trendy. This is one of the best wood lathe chisels on the market.


  • It is meant to be used by the tuners of all levels. It is useful, it too easy to be operated.
  • You can perform precise wood turning tasks using this tool, it has the capability to perform wonders with wood.
  • The attractive wooden display looks trendy even when stored.


  • No such disadvantages of complaints have been observed by the users.


Bench Top Wood Lathe 8in x 12in



  • This benchtop wood lathe machine is equipped with 1/3 HP motor, which successfully performs woodturning operations on small projects.
  • It could be operated on different speed options, which vary amid the range of 750-3200 RPM. This allows the operator to have dedicated control over operations.
  • It comes with #1 tailstock and Morse taper head.
  • It is equipped with 2 inches and 6 inches faceplates.
  • 4 inches and 7 inches tool rest are also accompanied with this wood lathe.


  • It is tagged as a favorable tool for precise wood turning tasks.
  • Cast iron material used in constructed adds more durability and reliability to the product.
  • 1/3 HP motor, makes the machine apt for precise woodturning tasks.


  • Large products cannot be handled with perfection, as the motor isn’t that powerful.

As we think that this is the quality benchtop wood lathe on the market right now.


PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 HSS Wood Lathe Chisel Set, 8-Piece



  • This is the most preferable wood turning kit that is used for precise operations including small pens, bowls, spindles, and also this wood lathe handles the large projects with utmost perfection.
  • The M2 super high speed steel used to design 5-1/4 inches of blades are made capable of operating carbon steel material, as a result, you get too many years of undisturbed use.
  • This woodturning package includes 8 essential chisels, these include the following;
    3/16 inch parting tool,
    1 inch skew chisel,
    5/8 inch spear scraper,
    5/8 inch round scraper,
    5/8 inch skew chisel
    ¾ inch spindle gauge
    ½ inch bowl gauge
    7/8 inch roughing gauge
  • This wood lathe chuck is delivered to you in a stylishly designed box, where for each tool, 10 ¾ inches hardwood handles are made that allow the operator the use the tool with a firm grip and better convenience.


  • This wood lathe chisel includes variety which allows you to cover the diversified turning needs. You will not more have to take the help of any other turning tools; it suits both precise and large turning projects.
  • This chisel set is too easy to handle, you can conveniently hold the tools and carry on the operations without stressing your hands.
  • You get complete value for money


  • All the tools kept together may sometimes confuse you, especially if you aren’t an expert at woodturning.


Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout

Shop_Fox_W1758_Wood_Lathe_With_Cast_Iron_Legs_And_Digital_ReadoutThis is one of the outstanding wood lathes under 1000, featuring a 2 HP motor, which is more powerful than other models.

It also has a 110 Volt, single phase design, and the heavy duty, cast iron material base makes it a rugged piece of equipment. It also ensures minimal vibration when you set the lathe to a higher speed setting.

There are ten adjustment speed settings, with a simple lever design, making it easy to adjust the speed and the rate at which you are going to complete the project. It also has a range of 600 up to 2400 rpm, meaning you can work at the desired pace, so you can get the perfect angles, or attain the smoothest surfaces, even if you are working with a rugged material at the start.

A quick tool release lever for the head and tail stock, features a 0, a 60, and a 90 degree setting. The swivel head for outboard turning also makes it quite simple to adjust the angles that you are working from, and the angles of rotation that you are working from when you are creating a specific design with the wood projects that you are working on.


Grizzly G0694 wood lathe

Grizzly_G0694_wood_latheThe heavy-duty cast iron finish makes it very easy to turn plates, and turning bowls; this along with the 10 in spindle allows you to work at a faster rate when working on different pieces or designs.

An optional bed extension allows you to create a full-sized lathe, if you are working on a specific job site, and need to work with large pieces of wood, and materials when designing or resurfacing any surface. The 1/2 HP motor is fast enough to work through even the roughest surfaces, and there are six-speed settings to choose from. This makes it quite simple to work on any project, with any wood piece, and with any sized material, and get through it in no time.

Read More Review Here.

A 3 in faceplate is also large enough to work on most major or small projects. And, at just under 100 pounds, this mini lathe is quite easy to transport, if you would like to take it to different sites; and, with the ability to make it a full sized lathe with the extension, you don’t have to compromise on the types of project or jobs you can do when using this mini lathe for a job.


JET 708358K Wood Lathe with Legs

JET_708358K_Wood_Lathe_with_LegsThis wood lathe with legs provides users the variable speed settings from 450 up to 3000 rpm, making it quite simple to work on any project and any wood surface that you are creating or surfacing. A 14 in swing and 42 in turning capacity also gives you optimal control when working on a job site.

The bed and the legs are made out of solid cast iron, which also makes this a solid and sturdy lathe, and the piece also includes the tool rest, spur center, knockout bar, live center, indexing locks and a spindle.

A 1 HP motor is also more powerful than others, and the variable speed settings give you more options to choose from, to create the perfect structure or surface when working on any project.

The headstock also swivels a full 360 degrees, which allows you to have full control when doing work, and allows you to maneuver in any direction, so that you are comfortable when working with the lathe. A cutting capacity height of 6 it is also a little larger than other tools, which gives you more precision when working with something that is a bit smaller in size, or working with more than one piece of wood at a time.

The Jet is the most desirable wood lathe in this series. Not only does it allow the extension feature, so you can work on bigger or smaller projects, it also has the most range in rpm, so you can work on nearly any project with this lathe.

It also is lighter in weight and has the ability to change variable speed settings, with a simple adjustment or turn of the knob.

There are many knobs on this device, which also makes changing different features, quite easy to do, and reducing the number of starts and stops you have to make when you are on a strict time constraint working on any project.

Because there are many different products you can choose from, it is important to use the best wood lathe to help you find the best product for personal and business uses. And, since the price ranges are going to offer different features, every consumer will find there is more than one product that is available for them to choose, for the types of projects they work on. Although the perfect wood lathe may vary for each consumer, based on the work they do and projects they are working on, these are a few of the top-rated models to consider, when you are trying to decide on the right one for use on a job, or at home.


Powermatic 1352001 – Wood Lathe under 5000



  • It comes with a digital readout option that allows the operator to be more active during operations.
  • It is designed into 20 inch swing, and including 34 ½ inches space between center.
  • This metal lathe machine is constructed using cast iron material that provides utmost durability and stability.
    The accessories included with the product are, tool rest, knockout rod, spindle lock, wrench, and guard, for adding more value and convenience to the product.
  • It measures 50 x 24 x 44 inches in size.
  • The 2 HP motor gives high power to the machinery, which enhances its capability to handle different operations of a variety of sizes.


  • The machine could be operated in variable speed options, allowing you to exercise control as per your convenience.
  • Reliable and powerful motor allows long working hours that make it a perfect option for handling large size projects.
  • One time buy, and you will get to use it for multiple projects and long going years.


  • It is heavy in weight, and hence too difficult to be carried from one place to another.
  • Turning off the machine might be a little tricky, so better turn to speed 0, and be patient.


What is Wood Lathe

A wood lathe is an electronic tool that is meant to give different shapes and a completely new makeover to the wooden piece by performing different functions that include cutting, knurling, deformation, drilling, turning, facing, sanding, etc.

Designer wooden furniture and other masterpieces created from wood have already captured the market widely. A plain jagged wooden log is processed and sculpted into different shapes and designs which are meant to fulfill different furniture purposes, and also make the interior look classy with the decorative items designed.

Wood lathes are basically meant for industrial purposes, because the machine is really complicated and dangerous to work on, and thus the operator needs to be a professional to carry on the operations accurately.

Different wood lathe machines are available in different sizes, depending on the features and functions the size of the machine may vary. Some are meant to suit expert operations, while other is meant to be operated by beginners. Depending on the purpose for which you are buying the machine, you should choose the level of the device accordingly.

It would work to generate classic designs in the least possible time while asking for minimal efforts to be put in by the operator.

The woodworking lathe shall have the capacity to work wonders for your industry, and thus below we would discuss the numerous features that demand your attention, to let you choose the most suitable wood lathe.


Wood Lathe Parts

The wood lathe operational tool is made of multiple parts which have their own specific function to perform.  With the best wood lathe for the money, you will also find there are different settings, and you can work with different grains and qualities of wood, to create the specific shape or work on a project on any work site you are at. Below, we would discuss the different parts that combine together to make a wood lathe operational;

The Lathe Bed

The lathe bed is basically the platform or the mounting on which the sculpting tool is placed. It is responsible to let the machine be holding firm on the platform, allowing the operator to perform the woodturning task accurately.


The headstock is meant to drive the entire mechanism while holding the spindle and letting the workpiece be rotated conveniently. The headstock is mounted by gears and sliding pulleys, which adjusts the spindle speed.


When wood turning is supposed to be performed on a long piece of wood, it needs the tailstock support for the said purpose. The tailstock is meant to provide stable support to the longitudinal rotary axis, which assists the engineer to perform master engineering.


For the purpose of tooling, carriage provides motion control components and mounting, that makes the entire procedure easier.

Cross Slide

A tool is mounted on the top of the carriage, this is meant to make the movements easier to enable more precise facing cuts. For accurate angular cuts, the cross slide is adjusted while adding the additional motion assembly, adjustable angle and compound rest.

Lead Screw

Thread cutting is done through automatic feed is made possible through the use of the lead screw. A precision cut to the thread is made possible with the use of this lead screw.


Factors To Consider Before Purchasing  Best Wood Lathe

Buying a good lathe machine which is worth its value could prove to be challenging for you unless you know what you look out for. If you are an expert and you already have an experience of operating different machines, then buying a new one won’t be a milestone to reach, but in case of beginners, you definitely need to struggle through the research that’s done to find the right product.

Hence, before you struggle, we have already moved the milestone for you, as we lay down the factors that you need to look out for;

Use– Different industries are engaged in different projects, and hence their particular use for the machine is different. You need to ascertain your kind of use, and then find out the wood lathe that suits your requirements to the optimum. In this way, you would land up making a wise choice.

Machine Height– a Perfect flow of movement is possible only when the machine is fixed at the right height, allowing the better grip to work. Hence, make sure you find an average height wood lathe, which works in perfect coordination with the hand movements.

Speed– The different wood lathe is either designed to be operated manually, or they are made to operate electronically. Speed depends totally on the type of machine; thus, make a choice in consideration of the projects you deal in.

Machine weight– The operators demand machinery that’s light in weight and hence easy to operate. Check the variety available in different weight and sizes; this would make the further operation easier.

Accessories– The woodworking lathe is launched with numerous accessories which add more functions to the machine. Check the same to pick the right one.

Manufacturer– The right wood lathe brands come up with the most reliable products, so make sure you go for a long-lasting brand that produces the wood lathe for sale.

When working on different woodworking projects, creating a sculpture or specific piece out of wood, or if you otherwise have to work with and shape a piece of wood, the best wood lathe will come in handy.

Wood Turning Lathes & Accessories

Woodturning is a wonderful pastime and if you are a beginner then be prepared for hours of pleasure and fun as you see your creations develop from a rough piece of wood to a useful, attractive object.

You will need various tools for wood turning, but the main consideration and expense is your wood turning lathe. If you look around online, in catalogs, or even at your local tool shop or DIY store then you will notice there are a wide array of lathes to choose from to suit any budget. As a rule, choose the best wood lathe tools that you can afford. Don’t be afraid when choosing your first lathe as they are easy to sell second-hand if you change your mind.

Beginners Lathe (Mini Lathe): A Mini Lathe is the most popular choice for the beginner. It has the advantage of being able to fit in a limited space, but some models can be extended later if required.  When choosing your first woodturning lathe you should choose one with a cast iron bed and cast iron headstock and tailstock. It should have a minimum of four speeds with the lowest being 500rpm or lower, and the highest being 2000rpm or higher. The speed should be varied by an electronic or mechanical system (not fiddly belts and pulleys – you’ll be glad later). The bearings should be ball or roller, not solid or sleeve. Pick a good reliable make which will have the advantage of good resale value as well as good dealer backup and available spares. Avoid lathes with light sheet metal construction and those with a spindle bearing only at one end.

Pen Lathe: This is a small specialized lathe for turning pens or dollhouse items such as cups, plates, pots, vases, columns. It can also be used for model railroad items (including power or signal posts) and the doll or marionette limbs. Note that you will also need specialist accessory tools to match.

Floor Lathe: This lathe is for the serious, advanced wood turner. It is a Floor mounted, heavy duty lathe with a bed that is more rigid than the other types.

CNC Lathe: This is the ultimate lathe that is for the industrial user rather than the hobbyist. It has the advantage of being able to reproduce the most intricate designs time and time again. Be prepared to learn how to program it though. The feel and satisfaction of making something with your own hands are lost on this lathe.

Additional Equipment: In addition to your lathe you will also need extra equipment including A set of tools, sharpening equipment, abrasives, and safety equipment.

Not only does the best wood lathe allow you to work quickly and seamlessly, but it is also going to do a majority of the work for you. This means it will take less time to work on a harsh surface, it will be easier to create the desired shape, and it will allow you to work at different power and speed settings so that you can complete any woodworking project in no time.

Hello! I’m Mike Maclennan and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I work in the construction and home remodeling industry. Having used many tools over the years, I’ve decided to start this website and share my personal tools review. Thanks for reading my articles and I hope you’ll find the best tool for your needs.

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