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Best Mini Wood Lathes: Review & Buying Guide 2020

Power, speed, dimension, weight, brand, price – these are some of the things that you need to consider when buying power tools or items like the best mini wood lathe. If you love working with metal or wood, if you’re a carpenter, a handyman, or if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, a mini wood lathe will allow you to incorporate intricate details or shape the material the way that you want to. The good news is that there are plenty of wood lathes in the market that you can buy.

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Now, before counting down the top ten mini wood lathe brands and models available, let us first look at the reasons why you would need one in the first place. Why should you go with a mini wood lathe? If you are a beginner crafter, a mini wood lathe costs a lot less than mid- or professional range machines. Using a mini wood lathe also allows you to practice your craft more, without having to deal with bigger, more intimidating power tools.

A mini wood lathe is also known as a small woodturner or a benchtop model – ones that do not take up too much space in your work area. As compared to mid-range or full-sized wood lathes, the mini ones are not that complicated to use so you can practice your wood shaping skills and refine them before deciding to buy a bigger wood lathe. In terms of power, mini wood lathes may have less horsepower, but they are more compact.

Top 10 Best Mini Wood Lathe Review

Whether you are working on a birdhouse, the legs of a vintage chair, if you are replacing the handles on your tools, or if you simply want to create something with your hands using wood as the main material, then these are the top ten mini wood lathes that you can choose from:

1. Excelsior Mini Lathe – Best Mini Wood Lathe

Dimensions: 30 x 7 ¾ x 15 inches
Weight: 80 pounds
Power: 0.5 HP
Speed range: 760 to 3200 RPM

Shaping, drilling, or sanding wood will be much easier if you will use a machine like the Excelsior Mini Lathe. Manufactured by the Rockler Woodworking and Hardware company, this model is on the entry-level price range, making it perfect for those who are still learning how to craft wood. The lathe is made from cast iron, making it very durable. Most mini lathes have less than 1 HP and this model has 0.5 HP.

Newbies in woodworking would be happy to know that this mini lathe is quite user-friendly. There’s an on and off switch which has a key that can easily be removed. The base of the machine has non-slip rubber, making it stable when placed on a flat surface. Speed-wise, you can take your pick from five different speeds ranging from 760 to 3200 RPM. The change in speed must be done manually, though, which is something that you might want to think about before getting this machine. To align a piece of wood, the headstock and the tailstock has to align perfectly, and the Excelsior does that with very little margin of error. With its cast iron body, good HP, and numerous features, the Excelsior Mini Lathe is a good entry-level machine for those who are looking for the best value for their money.

2. Grizzly Industrial G0462-16″ x16″ Wood Lathe with DRO

Dimensions: 17.5 x 63.25 x 20 inches
Weight: 354 pounds
Power: 2 HP
Speed range: 600 to 2400 RPM

One the somewhat high-end price range is the Grizzly Industrial G0462 Wood Lathe with Digital Read Out. As the name implies, it’s an industrial-grade wood lathe – something that professional woodworkers may want to consider. Beginner woodcrafters with the budget for it may also want to go with this brand and model because of its excellent features. As compared to cheaper wood lathes, this one has a 2 HP machine. It has legs made from cast-iron, and spindle tachometer with DRO.

Unlike cheaper machines where the speed must be adjusted manually, the Grizzly Industrial Wood Lathe has a beltless handle that can easily be shifted. The 2 HP machine has a 110V, single-phase motor. The distance between centers is 46 inches, the spindle bore measures 3/8 inches, and there are 10 speeds available ranging from 600 to 2400 RPM. The heavy-duty legs do not just ensure stability but also helps minimize vibration while you’re working on your craft project. All in all, the Grizzly Industrial Wood Lathe in as excellent machine that will turn any woodworking project into a perfectly crafted one.

3. Jet JWL-1221VS 12″ x 21″ Variable Speed Wood Lathe

Dimensions: 32.82 x 14.56 x 21.25 inches
Weight: 136.4 pounds
Power: 1 HP
Speed range: 60 to 3600 RPM

Power and speed are the first things to look for in a mini wood lathe. For the Jet JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe, it has a 1HP motor while the variable speed ranges from 60 to 36000 RPM. Jet is a company that manufactures bandsaws, sanders, drill presses, lathers, grinders, and similar machines. What’s good about this model is that it has excellent speed control and it’s optimally designed for the aforementioned speed ranges. If you want to switch from forward to reverse, the transition is quite smooth. It also has a patent pending ratchet style system that controls the belt tension. Other features include an integrated spindle lock that’s spring-loaded, controls which are conveniently located, 24 integrated indexing positions, and the acme thread in tailstock. With all these features and more, there’s no doubt that the Jet Variable Speed Wood Lathe will help you produce incredible, professional-looking results for your wood crafting projects.

4. Laecabv Mini Wood Lathes 150W Power Beads Lathes CNC Polisher Machine

Dimensions: 14.41 x 4.29 x 3.74 inches
Weight: 3.9 pounds
Speed range: 0 to 7000 RPM

Power-packed with features, the Laecabv Mini Wood Lathe has a 150W motor. When buying the product, you will get:

  • The main wood lathe machine
  • 1 drill chuck wrench
  • 1 screw wrench
  • 1 sandalwood copper carving knife
  • 1 seven-level power supply speed regulator

The black-and-blue machine has a compact size and the largest saw blade diameter that it can fit is 50 mm. The motor is powerful enough to suit the needs of DIYers, handymen, and those who simply love working with wood. To ensure durability, the topmost part of the structure is made from high-grade steel. The motor is ultra-high torque ball bearing. When you’re cutting or molding wood, the machine will provide the force needed without making too much noise. There’s also a power adapter that lets you adjust the speed to seven different levels – from the lowest to the highest. Aside from wood, you can also sand, polish, drill, carve, cut, engrave, or do any other task that a mini lathe machine can do on other materials like stone, handicraft, ceramic, glass, and similar materials.

5. Nova 1624 II 16″ x 24″ 8-Speed Wood Lathe, Black

Dimensions: 43 x 11 x 19 inches
Weight: 273 pounds
Power: 1.5 HP
Speed range: 216 to 3600 RPM, variable

The Nova 1624 II 8-Speed Wood Lathe is shaped like a cool robot dog, with its flat horizontal body, red metallic head, and four legs. There are two variants available, the old and new model. It has a 1.5 HP AC motor, a full 360-degree swivel head, a solid cast iron body, and a 16-inch swing capacity. When it comes to wood lathes, those with variable speed settings are more expensive because they are easier to control, and they have more functionalities as compared to multi-speed models. For the Nova 1624 II, you can turn wood using its 8-speed range. If you’re making a wooden bowl, for example, use a low-speed setting like 215 RPM. You can increase the speed accordingly, based on what you’re working on.

This Nova wood lathe comes with the motor, stand, belt, 2 MT spur/drive center, 2 MT live center, a 3” face plate, tool rest, fastenings, and a product manual. The swivel head is great because it lets you position the material where you want it, while allowing you to save on space at the same time. If you find yourself working on wood more and more, you can purchase the Nova smart accessories such as an extendable bed or an outrigger.

6. Rikon Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe

Dimensions: 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.75 inches
Weight: 74 pounds
Power: 0.5 HP
Speed range: 5 speeds

Rikon is a power tools manufacturer and their mini wood lathe has the model number 40-105. The Rikon Power Tools Mini Lathe has a power of 0.5 HP. There are five speed settings that you can use, ranging from slow to fast – a factor that you can set based on what you’re working on. The machine allows you to cut holes on wood, rough out surfaces, turn, or shape wood as desired. It has a 10-inch swing and an 18-inch space between centers. The speed is easy to change, and the tail stock is self-ejecting.

The Rikon mini lathe may not be as feature-packed as other models from other brands, but its dedicated features allow woodworkers to hone their craft. The sturdy body is made from cast iron which reduces vibration while working. Aside from the mini lathe machine, you will get the tool rest, wrenches, and knock-out bar when buying the Rikon Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe, which has a 5-year warranty.

7. Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

Dimensions: 37.3 x 18 x 12.3 inches
Weight: 99 pounds
Power: 0.5. HP
Speed range: 480 to 4023 RPM

Powered by a 0.5 HP motor, the Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood Lathe is made from all cast iron. Whether you’re turning bowls, pens, chair handles, or spindles, the machine provides enough power. The swing over bed measures 10 inches, the tool rest is 6.25 inches, while the tailstock travel is 3.25 inches. The set includes the mini wood lathe, a tool rest, a spur center, a live rolling center, and a 3-inch face plate.

Depending on how intricately you need to design or shape the wood, you can take your pick from the six speeds available which ranges from 480 to 4023 RPM. Another highlight of buying the Shop Fox Mini Wood Lathe is the adjustable tool rest which provides ample support for any turning tool. It also has a cam-action clamping system, a cast iron tailstock, and a paddle switch designed with high visibility for safety. Indeed, this Shop Fox mini wood lathe is a worthy investment for anyone who loves working with their hands.

8. SunWin 6-in-1 DIY Tool Wood Lathe Mini Multipurpose Metal Material Machine Modelmaking   

Dimensions: 9.8 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 11 pounds  

Made from metal, the SunWin Tood Lathe is a 6-in-1 tool that can serve as a:

  • Jigsaw machine
  • Wood lathe
  • Drilling machine
  • Milling machine
  • Sanding machine
  • Woodturning lathe

The product comes with an instructional booklet and the 6-in-1 multipurpose machine which is made from metal. For the lathe functionality, the motor speed is 20,000 RPM with a 12 VDC/2A/24W power. It can process wood with a maximum diameter of 20 mm and a length of 135 mm. Aside from wood,  you can also work on brass, copper, soft aluminium, plastic, and other soft metals.

9. Sanna Mini Motorized Lathe Machine 24W

Weight: 4.85 pounds  
Motor power: 24W

The Sanna Mini Motorized Lathe Machine has a 24W motor and it can be used as a wood lathe, for science projects, general handywork, DIY projects, and general home improvement tasks. The machine is made of metal and includes several parts like the main shaft box, connecting and intermediate blocks, tailstock, sliders, handwheel and support. To ensure that you can turn wood and perform other tasks using the machine, it can deliver low and high speeds of 1600 to 20000 RPM. Aside from wood, you can work on soft metals such as copper and aluminium using the Sanna Mini Motorized Lathe Machine.  

10. WEN 3421 3.2 Amp 8″ x 12″ Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

Dimensions: 28 x 13.3 x 7.6 inches
Weight: 44.9 pounds

You can also opt to by the WEN 3421 Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe. If you love working with wood, you can use this ultra-convenient lathe to create pens, cups, bowls, chess pieces, tool handles, and other small pieces which are up to 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width. The benchtop wood lathe is powered by a 3.2 Amp motor with variable speed.  It’s made from cast iron so it won’t wobble once you place it on a flat surface. When you purchase the WEN wood lathe, it comes with the main machine, a 2.3-inch face plat, a tailstock taper, an MT1 spindle, and a couple of tool rests which are interchangeable. Finally, the two-year warranty should convince you that the WEN Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe is a pretty good buy.

More Tips when Buying a Mini Wood Lathe

Woodturning involves shaping and carving wood as the material is turned at a high speed. If this is something that you want to excel in, you’d want to find a good mini wood lathe that will best suit your woodturning needs. Here are a few more things to consider when buying a mini wood lathe.

  • Why should I go with a mini wood lathe in the first place?

There are mid-range and professional-sized wood lathes in the market – so why should you go with a mini? First, consider the available space that you have. If you only have a small table in your garage, a bigger lathing machine might take up too much space – leaving you with no room to move at all. Mini wood lathes are also great for those who are just starting out in woodworking, and those who would like to master the art of woodturning first before investing in bigger, more expensive machines.

  • How’s the quality of the bed?

Mini wood lathes have a smaller bed than mid-range and professional models – so the first thing that you should look for is the quality of the bed. It should be solid, preferably made from an ultra-durable material like cast iron. This minimizes vibrations while you’re turning the wood, which will make your task easier. Also check on the length of the bed – the longer it is, the better. Or, you can go for mini wood lathes with an extendable bed.

  • How powerful is the motor?

Mini wood lathes have a motor with less than 1 horsepower, while the bigger models can have machines with up to 3 HP. For the speed, it can be anywhere from 500 to 4000 RPM. The larger and more powerful the motor, the bigger the piece of wood that you can turn.

  • How about the other features of the wood lathe? 

You should also check on other features like the tailstock, a rotating spin that keeps the spindle centered and evenly rotated. This should be securely positioned along the bed. Your turning tool should always rest against the tool rest, and this should be locked solidly in position for safety. Never buy machines without a tool rest, or one with a wobbly tool rest – this can cause you to injure a finger or two! Finally, look for other safety features like a lock and a power switch.

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