9 Recommended Mini Metal Lathes: Best For Beginners

Last Updated on October 24, 2021 by Charles Wilson

Stop wandering around the gates of mechanistic creativity and start giving life to your imagination, using the best mini metal lathes you can lay your hands on as a beginner machinist.

First thing’s first! What “Is” a mini metal lathe, exactly?

A metal lathe is a machining tool that you can use to turn metals into a cylindrical shape, for starters. Usually, they are pretty heavy and big machines.

On the other hand, mini metal lathes are rather smaller in size and easy to operate. Thus they are always suitable for a machinist who is just starting out.

Using the miniature version, you can better understand this mechanism and gain the basic knowledge to implement them in future endeavors.

So, this article is specifically designed for beginners who’re keen to enter this complex yet a promising world of creating fascinating metalworks. To begin, I want to discuss the mechanism of this tool and how it works so you have a better idea.

If you are already accustomed to its whereabouts, then you’re more than welcome to skip the following section and start taking the tour of our best mini metal lathes list.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases. This means no extra cost to you.

9 Recommended Mini Metal Lathes in 5 Categories

"a blue color full set of mini metal lathe with parts and manual on a wooden benchtop"

Here is a glimpse of the benchtop metal lathes that I found to be most ideal to handle any small turning projects. I have covered the detailed reviews below.

If you are short in time, then click the link below and it will take you to amazon directly.

  1. Best bang for the buck/Overall Best
  2. Best for micro-projects (anything under 6” diameter)
  3. Cheapest for beginner machinist with low budget
  4. Best you can find under $1000
  5. 8” swing to handle hard metals with precision

Where Can We Use Mini Lathe and How Does it Work?

Simply put, a mini-lathe and micro-lathes for turning metals are nothing but miniature versions of a general-purpose center lathe. So, they usually can handle works of 3 to 7 inches in diameter to 1.5 to 3.5 inches in radius.

This means you can easily use it anywhere you like, from home workshops to MRO shops.

As a matter of fact, these benchtop metal lathes are perfect for beginners as well as professionals. They are small and most importantly, very affordable, unlike the heavyweight metal lathes like the Shop Fox M1112.

Designed for machining hard materials, it can also be used in a wide range of applications and a broad range of materials.

Now, lathes can vary depending on the intended application. But there’s a standard layout of this tool. And understanding the layout will help you grasp the mechanism easily.

Once understood well, you can make the best out of these mini metal lathes.

Speaking of the basic layout- it has a headstock, bed, carriage, and tailstock. Each part has its own function that are precisely put together.

This is just one of many aspects where the expensive mini lathe machines and cheap ones differ. An ideal lathe is much better at functioning as well.

Want to know how the parts of the machine function? Read on!

Headstock – What’s in There and the Way It Works!

You’ll find the central spindle in the headstock, a system to change speeds, and a gearbox. The main spindle allows long bars to extend through to the area where it all “Happens.”

This thing also minimizes the waste of material. The latter two are pretty self-explanatory. Speed changer and gearbox make sifting through speed levels relatively easy.

There’s Something Called the “Bed” as Well

This is the solid base that is connected with the headstock. It makes sure that the carriage and the tailstock move parallel with the axis of the spindle.

To get accurate cutting geometry, level the bed when you install it in your workspace.

Don’t Forget about the Carriage!

Once installed, you’ll be using this part the most. The carriage holds the tool bit, and you can control this by moving it either longitudinally or perpendicularly.

You can move this using the handwheel or automatically by engaging the feed shaft with the carriage feed mechanism.

What is Tailstock?

It’s a drill tool that sits on the opposite side of the headstock. Even though the spindle doesn’t rotate, it moves longitudinally. It has a taper to hold drill bits, centers, and other tooling.

You can also position this along the bed or clamp this in position according to your workpiece.

So, these are the common parts that a basic benchtop metal lathe has. Besides these, you’ll also find feed and lead screws, cross-slide, compound rest, toolpost, and other intricate parts.

Once you begin to work with this machine, you’ll slowly understand every nooks and cranny of it.

"a glossy yellow colored mini metal lathe in a benchtop"

Detailed Reviews For The Top 9 Mini Metal Lathes

Now, if you want to take your metalwork to the next level as a beginner, a good-quality metal lathe is a must.

Something that you can free your arms and grow your skills without compromising the lathe’s quality. For a newbie, this can be a scary step to take.

But trust me, a small-sized metal lathe will not only help you understand the mechanics of this craft, but it’ll also sort most of your metal fabrication needs.

I’ve put together 9 excellent mini-metal lathes that’ll serve you very well even if you are pro machinist.

I’ll discuss their main features and mention some important things you need to look for when buying your very first lathe machine.

So let’s start.

BestEquip Metal Lathe 7″ x 14″

"Blue and White colored BestEquip 7 x 4 metal lathe with size detail in a white background"
  • 7″ swing and 14″ between centers
  • Motor: 550W DC Single Phase
  • Spindle Speed: 0-2250 RPM
  • Infinitely Variable Speeds
  • Swing Over Cross Slide: 110mm
  • Tailstock Taper: Mt2
  • Spindle Taper: Mt3
  • Cross Slide Travel: 65mm(2.53″)
  • Chuck Diameter: 100mm(3.94″)
  • Inch Thread: 12-52 T.P.I
  • Spindle Accuracy: 0.01mm
  • Weight: 101.9 lbs

The first one is, of course, the BestEquip Metal Lathe. There are four lathes in this series ranging from inexpensive to premium. This one is the most reasonable.

It doesn’t mean that it’s not as good as the other machines in this series. Read on, and you’ll understand why I am so confident.

BestEquip Metal Lathe is made from aluminium and weighs just 110 lbs. It comes with a 7-inch swing over the bed, and the distance between centers is 13.78 inches. The spindle bore is 21mm long, and the thread ranges from 12 to 52 TPI.

Furthermore, the lathe bed is made of quality cast iron, and the gears are of nylon. It is water-resistant, durable, and will rotate. If you don’t know, this will help you take care of pro-level gigs all by yourselves.

Overall, the machine doesn’t emit any vibe that’ll scream cheap. Although, it’s very affordable.

There’s also a threading dial indicator and handwheel graduations. For the convenience of the users, the manufacturer included the graduations both in standard and metric systems.

Now let’s talk about speed. Yes, it has infinitely variable speeds (forward and backward) that vary from 50 to 2500 RPM. You’ll be glad to know that you can control the speed either manually or with the adjustable auto feed rate.

This is a handy feature since different workpieces require different speeds.

When you’re in the metal-turning world, you can’t compromise accuracy. You want your work to be precise and accurate.

Thanks to the 3-jaw self-centering chuck, you can set all of the cylindrical materials with laser accuracy and repeatability.

The BestEquip Metal Lathe will keep your workpieces steady while you’re working. Precision tapered roller bearings support the spindle you see.

As a result, the spindle accuracy will be within a handsome 0.01mm.

At the end of the day, we all want accurate results. Yes, for DIY projects and job sites alike. For a newbie, it’s natural to be sceptical about cheap metal lathes.

I mean, do they perform as well as advertised? Rest assured, my friend, this one does!

What I like most about this machine is its four-way tool post. Just to clarify it a bit, there are four blades that you can use with this, and they come with the package.

Now, let me tell you why I like it so much.

Well, as it happens, sometimes you need to spend a lot of time while changing the accessories, replacing tools, or finding exactly what you need for your project, right? Not only it’s super time-consuming, but it can be tiresome too.

With the four-way adjustment system, you can attach four tools to shape the metal you’re working on. They’re amazingly fast to change.

Even bevel cutting can be made by just adjusting the angle of the compound rest with the level.

This is a small metal lathe, of course. Yet, don’t think it can’t handle some hurdles when the going gets tough. BestEquip has professional-grade compound rest and cross slide.

These will deliver results and inspire you to learn more as a beginner machinist. It’s a versatile machine that can cut, drill, thread, and counter-face turning.

Want my tip? Buy this! It’s the perfect mini metal lathe if you’re kickstarting your journey in a metal-turning world.

In other words, this beautiful little piece of machinery is perfect for people who are just stepping in into metal handling and want to get some much-needed experience under their belts.

It’s designed in such a way that it holds all the basic features of a lathe any beginner would want in their machines. It holds your hands for a while.

Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe

"A black and grey colored small metal turning lathe machine a white background"
  • Motor: 1/5 HP, 110V, single-phase, 1.2A
  • Swing over bed: 6″
  • Distance between centers: 10″
  • Swing over cross slide: 4-1/8″
  • Swing over saddle: 5″
  • Cross slide travel: 2-3/8″
  • Carriage travel: 10″
  • Spindle speeds: variable speed, 100-2000 RPM
  • Spindle bore: 0.375″
  • Bed width: 3-1/4″
  • Spindle taper: MT#2
  • Tailstock barrel taper: MT#1
  • Tailstock barrel travel: 2″
  • Leadscrew: 16 TPI

This model right here from Shop Fox is my personal favourite. It’s mainly for users who tend to begin with smaller projects and work their way into more complex machinery.

The M1015 is even smaller and lighter than the BestEquip Metal Lathe. Even then, it ticks all the boxes that a precise mini metal lathe should do.

With a total of 6” x 10”, this micro metal lathe features a very pragmatic and robust design. The durability of this machine is certainly not an issue. It is powerfully built with precision.

It’s not just enough that being petite-sized will make this an excellent lathe machine to work with. Yes, a beginner certainly should start small, but he/she would want this to deliver pristine results for a long time.

Don’t worry, the M1015 from Shop Fox does precisely that: deliver perfect results for a long time.

Let’s talk about its features and benefits.

The first thing that’ll catch your eye is the convenience of the control panel. It’s very easy to access and houses several functions for your lathe operation.

From here, you can control the rotation or tweak the speed dial and clutch in case you want to make necessary adjustments according to your needs.

You don’t want to waste time searching for these options when you’re working on your projects. This easy-to-access control panel that’s located on the left side of the lathe will save you time and speed up your workflow.

Our generation loves the word ‘Automatic’. Why won’t they? It’s supposed to make things easy and efficient. Most of the time, at least.

Yes, having an “Automatic” thingy on your machine is great. But there are times when you need to make some minor adjustments.

That’s when my friend, you need to handle stuff manually.

As a matter of fact, the M1015 offers both. It has both manual and automatic feed handwheel.

The first one is necessary when you’re setting up your machine for turning or when you want absolute control over it. The manual handwheel also moves the carriage left and right along the bed.

It features two types of feeds and makes it super easy to engage and disengage these two. Using the feed clutch, you can switch between the two feeds when you’re working. No complexities whatsoever.

Another reason why people love shop fox M1015 is its ability to cut threads. Trust me, it cuts them by staggering numbers. For instance, it can cut 16, 18, 19, 20 up to 24 threads per inch.

Being a beginner at woodworking or metal handling, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a gear ratio chart for these things.

This hugely helps people to determine which gears they need to use to achieve their preferred threads per inch. So, no more wondering about what gear to use.

The M1015 doesn’t shy away from being precise and efficient. It has two available feed rates that move the apron 0.002-inch and 0.004-inch per each revolution of the workpiece.

It tells you how accurately you can make your adjustment for cuts and turning. I found it handy when working with intricate objects.

Shop Fox always delivers what’s best for its users. They didn’t make any exception when coming up with this machine either.

That’s why they packed it with tons of useful features that’ll help anyone from a professional to an amateur machine enthusiast.

Speaking of which, it is a perfect machine for scale model building that has a 3-ich three-jaw chuck and thread gears. On top of it, it comes with a long list of optional accessories.

It has an oil cup, chuck key, socket head wrench, double-ended wrench, 4 hex wrenches, and two T-nuts, to name a few.

The possibility is endless when a machine enthusiast finds his/her match. The M1015 has the full potential to be that lathe machine that you crave for.

It produces precise results days in days out. Besides, it can also develop the skill and abilities of a new machinist.  

Jectse Mini Lathe

"A full black colored Jectse micro lathe machine in a white background"
  • Central Height: 75 mm (2.95 Inches)
  • Distance Between Centers: 135 mm (5.31 inches)
  • Weight: 4990g/176oz
  • Motor Speed: 12000rpm
  • Input Voltage/Current/Power: 12V DC/5A/60W
  • X-Axis travel: 32mm
  • Z-Axis travel: 145mm
  • Max Diameter of Machined Material: 100mm
  • Length of Machined Material: 135mm
  • Machining Accuracy: 0.07mm

This mini lathe from Jectse might be just what you need to better understand the mechanism of a lathe machine. It’s a nice place to start and discover new techniques in this area.

Since it doesn’t cost much, you can go crazy with this lathe without worrying too much.

Jectse Mini metal Lathe, for starters, isn’t built with that much vigour. It can no way withstand heavy use.

As I mentioned, this is only for knowing the whole lathe machine well. It can, however, handle soft metals like gold, aluminium, and copper.

I may sound less optimistic about this one so far, but this ends now. It has its upsides as well.

Even though it can’t work with heavy metal, it does have decent motor breathing inside. So, you’ll have enough power to operate.

Although its speed drops typically to 2000 rpm when working with metals.

I didn’t include the device on the list of best mini metal lathes for beginners without reason. Here’s one: You can extract maximum power.

I mean, 60W. People just need to be using a more powerful motor.

Coupled with the turning tool, you can process soft, non-ferrous, and precious metals. This thing can handle steel turning at high speed as well.

As for the build, the spindle box, tailstock, long stand, size slider, motor blade, gear, and connecting block are all made of metal with a belt protection cover.

Yes. It does have durability by its side.

This machine’s central height is 2.95 inches, and the distance between centers is 5.31 inches. It means you can work with small workpieces only.

The diameter, on the other hand, can be expanded to 1.96-inches using the central block.

Mild warning, though: The chuck sometimes fails to hold the workpiece in place. It lacks stability when you’re working at full speed. Check my recent article about woodturning chuck where I mentioned good quality 3 jaw chucks as well.

Metal pieces will fly out of the chuck and might damage the cutting bit. Hey, I’m not scaring you or anything, but it can still happen.

Apart from that, it does manage to produce accurate results. In fact, it has a machining accuracy of 0.07mm. For a machine with this calibre, I would say it’s not that bad.

I’d not suggest this machine for heavy-duty or pro-grade tasks. I’ve said it before, and I’m repeating it, only buy this to know the mechanism and the basic layout of a lathe machine.

Don’t buy this if you have extravagant plans in mind. For a rookie, though, it’s a fair lathe machine to get the hands dirty.

Grizzly G8688 7” x 12” Mini Metal Lathe

"Olive green colored Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe in a white background"
  • 7″ swing and 14″ between centers
  • Motor: 3/4 HP, 110V, single-phase
  • Speed range: 0-1100 (low) , 0-2500 (high) RPM
  • Forward and reverse at all speeds
  • Bore Size of Included Chuck: 16mm
  • Spindle bore: 0.78″
  • Spindle nose taper: MT #3
  • tailstock taper: MT #2
  • Tailstock travel: 2-1/2″
  • Cross-slide travel: 2-3/4″
  • Maximum tool bit size: 5/16″
  • Shipping weight: 90 lbs.

If you’re new to this, then remember the name ‘Grizzly’. This company has been in the business for quite some time. They’re famous for their high-quality lathes since they produce excellent results and last a long time.

The G8688 from Grizzly is priced just under the thousand-dollar mark. In this price range, you’ll be getting a good lathe machine that can handle pretty anything from small to medium workload.

Trust me, this here is a fine machine that’ll help you hone your skill as a tinkerer and will be a companion for an extended period.

This mini lathe weighs 89 lbs which is less than BestEquip’s Mini Metal lathe. It has a dimension of 13″ x 30.2″ x 13″.

You can easily set it up in your humble home or workshop since it doesn’t take that space. Because of its rather petite size, you’re maybe asking the same question as many people do.

“Is there enough space to work?”

The answer is a handsome ‘yes’. It comes with a 7-inch swing over the bed combined with 12-inch (The Jectse offered 5.31-inch) distance between the centers.

So, you can efficiently work with small to medium-sized projects, no problem.

The G8688 also has a 20mm spindle bore as well as a 2-¾” cross slide travel and 2’½” tailstock travel. This mini lathe’s thread range is 12 to 52 TPI which is a pretty decent number.

For users’ convenience from all around the globe, the threading dial indicator and handwheel graduations are given both in imperial and metric format.

Let’s talk about the design. First of all, the build is excellent and sturdy. It’s designed in such a way that it minimizes the amount of vibration through the spindle.

Now, why is this important?

It’s important because every machinist, from amateur to professional, aims for accurate and precise turning. But vibration or any sort of shakiness can tamper with the end results.

So, for fewer errors, the G8688 stands out.

Now, I will discuss the feature I find most alluring in this lathe. That is the ‘variable speed.’ What this will bring is that it will turn your workpieces with laser accuracy.

This very accuracy depends gravely on the form of changing speeds.

This feature is divided into two simple ranges. They are low and high. When you require a speed of 0-1100 RPM, select the low range option.

On the contrary, choose the high range option, which is 0-2500 RPM, if you feel the need to.

Not only do you get more control while you’re working, but you also can turn in both forward and reverse directions.

Furthermore, you can use these on both low and high-range speed settings.

For every beginner out there, this lathe from Grizzly can hold a challenge at first. But if you give it time, you’ll fall in love with this machine.

You can use it for different applications. It’s durable, strong, and easy to work with as well. It costs just under 1000 dollars. So, why not try it and see what happens?

Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe

"Blue colored Erie Tools 7 x 14 mini metal milling lathe in a white background"
  • 7″ swing and 14″ between centers
  • Motor: 400 W, 0.53HP, 120 V, 60 Hz
  • Variable-Speed Motor
  • Spindle Accuracy: 0.0004 in. (0.01 mm)
  • Thread Range: 12 to 52 TPI
  • Spindle Taper: MT3
  • Tailstock Taper: MT2
  • Chuck Diameter: 4 in. (80 mm)
  • Spindle Bore: 0.79 in (20 mm)
  • Cross Slide Travel: 2.56 in. (65 mm)
  • Top Slide Travel: 1.38 in. (35 mm)
  • Weight: 104.2 lbs

The Erie Tools 7 x 14 is a perfect choice for people who aren’t looking to get through some heavy stuff. This cute little machine is somewhat an excellent option for carrying out light work or metal turning.

It is packed with features, the necessary ones, and comes with a five-piece cutting kit!

The design is compact and sturdy. This machine shines, especially in the light work field. But that doesn’t mean you are going to have to settle for less.

No. This is strongly built, and the size makes it super easy to install anywhere from your home to your shop.

For not such heavy work, you don’t necessarily need an overly powerful motor. In that case, The Erie Tools has integrated a decent motor that’ll suit perfectly hobbyists and rookie machinists.

It comes with a 0.53NP single phase, 60hz 120V motor that will provide the necessary power.

One thing, though, the machine does seem to lack some delicate stability. In that case, you want to install it strongly, and with care because while moving the carriage or working, the machine wiggles a little.

It can be annoying and produce faulty results. Hence, install it carefully and level it accordingly.

Apart from that, the multi-jaw chuck makes sure that the workpiece stays in one place. While it does so, you can freely tweak the optional auto feed if you feel like you need further adjustments to your project.

As for the capacity, it has a decent 7-inch swing and a fair 14-inch space between centers. Backed by a 2500 RPM of turning power, you can easily turn metal up to 84-cubic-inches in size.

Just like Grizzly’s 68688 and Shop Fox’s M1015, it also features forward and reverses direction.

This feature makes this lathe more convenient since it enables left-hand threading an option. Just in case, if you’re a left-handed person, you can relax and work with ease.

Now you know why I included this on my list of best mini metal lathes for beginners, don’t you?

One more thing about the RPM is that you can adjust them using the Easy-to-read digital readout.

There’s also a thread indicator that helps users turn screw threads from 12 to 52 TPI with either metric or imperial pitches.

Now, the dark side. I was pretty surprised to find out that the gears are made of plastic! I’m not saying metal gears don’t break.

They do, but they don’t break miserably as plastic gears do. This was a massive let for me, honestly.

Despite this fact, the Erie Tools 7 x 14 still be a great lathe for beginners and hobbyists. Because it’s less likely that they’ll do heavy lifting right from the word go.

With a spindle accuracy of 0.0004 –inches, you can get precise and accurate results from this affordable machine. Don’t write it off immediately.

However, I have seen several website owners addressing this as a lathe mill which is very misleading. If you really want to know more about Combination Lathe Mill, make sure you read my post here.

Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed Lathe 7” x 12.”

" 7 inches x 12 inches blue colored variable speed mini metal lathe from Eastwood brand in a white background"
  • Input Voltage: 120 Volts 60Hz AC
  • Horsepower: 3/4HP
  • Swing Over Bed: 7 inches
  • Distance Between Centers: 12 inches
  • Swing Over Cross Slide: 2-1/8 inches
  • Saddle Swing: 5 inches
  • Swing Over Gap: 7 inches
  • Compound Travel: 2-3/4 inches
  • Carriage Travel: 10-1/2 inches
  • Cross Slide Travel: 2-3/4 inches
  • Spindle Taper: MT#3
  • Spindle Speeds: Low:0-1100, High:0-2500 RPM

Eastwood is a name respected by all. Not in a Clint Eastwood way, no. The company is considered to be an industry pioneer that has been adding innovative, high-quality products to its line.

Along that line came the Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed Lathe.

This is one gorgeous lathe machine. Sorry, I let the artist inside me take over for a second.

However, you can machine your own metal or wooden parts from your humble abode using the device.

Eastwood Bench-Top Mini Lathe offers precision. It comes with HSS cutting tools also. That means all you need to do is unpack and install it.

Voila, you’re ready to go!

Build-wise, the Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed lathe is great. The design is pragmatic yet straightforward enough.

It is designed in such a way that it will pose no challenge to an amateur machinist. Also, a professional will be drooling to get their hands on this machine.

Why? Well, it can turn pretty much anything. For example, it can turn Steel, Aluminum, Nylon, Delrin, Brass, and even Oil Impregnated Bronze.

There aren’t many mini-lathes that can turn all of these more accurately than Eastwood’s.

Speaking of accuracy, the machine also has auto-feed and selectable gear train components.

How does it help? Anytime you need to do some complex threading on your project, these will help you achieve a high degree of precision.

It’s quite a simple mini-lathe machine to use. The lathe has to deliver accurate and precise results any time we use it. The Eastwood Benchtop does exactly that.

That’s why this is one of the best mini-metal lathes for beginners available on the market.

Let’s talk about the workspace capacity. It’s pretty decent and manageable. There’s a 7-inch swing over the bed, and the distance between centers is 12-inches.

Here you can work with materials that have a maximum diameter of 4-inches and a length of 11-inches.

One friendly piece of advice though is don’t let your workpiece hang about from the spindle.

Because when you start turning, the outer part will sway or chatter that’ll cause deflections and affect your work’s accuracy.

This mini lathe has a ¾ horsepower motor that is capable of taking a 0.010-inches cut in steel.

So, you can do some real heavy work with this machine. It can undoubtedly withstand that kind of work.

As for versatility, it has an inside and outside 3-Jaw Chuck set. It can easily accommodate a wide range of workpiece configurations for most turning and cutting operations.

Not to mention, the flexible tool post makes changing tools and accessories even easier and less time-consuming.

Honestly, this mini-metal lathe from Eastwood shines in all departments. It’s durable and designed to produce accurate results. So, why waste money experimenting on new machines.

Instead, try this one. It is trusted by thousands of positive reviews and satisfied customers.

BestEquip Metal Lathe 8×16 Inch

"A silver and green color bed BestEquip 8x16 inches Metal Lathe with it's accessories in a white background"
  • 8-1/4″ swing and 16″ between centers
  • Motor Power: 750W, 110V, 60HZ
  • Phase: Single Phase
  • Swing Over Cross Slide: 15-3/4″
  • 4-way Tool Rest
  • Spindle Bore:0.83″
  • Spindle Taper: MT5
  • Tail Stock Taper: MT2
  • Spindle Speed Ranges: Low 0-1250, High 100-2250 RPM
  • Travel: compound rest 2-1/8″ (54mm), cross slide 3″ (76mm)
  • Metric Threads: 0.5-3.0mm(8-44 TPI)
  • Weight: 170 lbs

I want to introduce to you another mini-metal lathe from BestEquip. It’s slightly bigger than the previous one that I discussed. It’s 8 x 16 inches.

If you’re new to this, every single inch counts in this line of work. The more the room, you can get more projects are done.

Yes, it makes a huge difference. However, this is not the only reason for it to be one of the best mini metal lathes for newbies.

Apart from its size, this model shines in all departments. It has quality construction, lasts longer than normal mini-metal lathe machines, and most importantly, delivers results with excellent precision.

You want to learn? Learn to work with a quality one.

Let’s talk about its motor. Unlike other mini-lathes, it has a brushless motor. It generates less heat and friction. As a result, it consumes less energy and produces larger torque.

Also, you don’t need to replace its carbon brush at all. In other words, it’s maintenance-free.

Being backed up by a powerful motor, it has a variable speed of 0 to 2250 RPM. But the thing is, Eastwood offers more which has a variable speed of 0 to 2500 RPM.

Although, unlike Eastwood, this one has a LED screen that shows you the speed.

It helps so much. When you’re working, this makes it easier to make minor adjustments and operate the lathe. Also, you can operate it both manually or with the adjustable auto feed rate.

At this rate, the spindle can produce a result with an accuracy of 0.0004-0.0012-inches (0.01-0.03 mm).

The capacity has a distance between centers of 15-3/4 inches or 400 mm and a swing overcapacity of 8-1.4 inches or 210 mm. Eastwood has a 7-inch swing overcapacity.

But since this model of BestEquip costs much, it’s natural you’ll get more work area.

If you see from a technical and creative standpoint, you’ll understand how it changes the whole game. You get more flexibility, more freedom when it comes to the size of the workpiece.

Also, it’s way more versatile than others. It can handle any task that you can throw at it.

The BestEquip Metal Lathe comes with a 3-jaw chuck. They included another 4-jaw chuck just in case you need it. It keeps the workpiece stable.

On the other hand, the steady rest works also perform as end support. Say goodbye to annoying chatter and deflections!

The only issue with this product is that it needs many adjustments before you can even use it. This might pose a threat to novice users.

Because if you need to do a lot of fine-tuning to unleash its true power, it can dim the desire to work with this machine furthermore.

But you can also see this from another perspective. That is by learning to adjust the machine, and you can know it a lot better.

One more thing that can be an issue is the hefty price tag. Only if you wish to spend, then it’s okay.

It would be best if you also remembered that you’d be getting a lot more than simply a mini-metal lathe machine.

So, if you’re not afraid to spend and want a premium quality lathe, this 8 x 16 model from BestEquip can be an alluring product.

Techtongda WM210 Metal Lathe

"silver colored mini metal lathe in a white background"
  • Voltage: 110V,60Hz
  • Motor: 850W brushless motor
  • Swing Over Bed: 8.3in (210mm)
  • Swing Over Cross Slide: 5.5in (140mm)
  • Distance Between Centers: 15.7in (400mm)
  • Width of Bed: 3.9in (100mm)
  • Spindle bore: 1.5in (38mm)
  • Chuck: 3Jaw 4.9in (125mm)
  • Spindle taper: MT5
  • Spindle Speeds: 50-2500RPM
  • Tailstock Spindle: MT2
  • Weight: 99lb(45kg)

People often look for a lathe that takes care of all their needs. They want everything in a tiny package and I don’t blame them.

In fact, I encourage my readers to go for an “All-Encompassing” tool that takes care of your shit for you. Don’t you agree?

In that case, Techtongda could be a smart answer. It can be used for drilling, boring, turning thread, or even facing. Designed to deliver satisfactory results, it’s also made to last longer.

But bringing it in will feel like a bit of a chore because this lathe from Techtongda weighs a staggering 150 lbs. So, moving it around will pose a challenge.

Yet, with weight comes rigidity and stability. As a matter of fact, the WM210 has premium build quality, making this product more reliable than ever.

As the 8 x 16 model of BestEquip, the WM210 also features a brushless motor. Not only it’s powerful, but it also has a 110-V unit which enables it to connect to a standard power outlet.

The 850W brushless motor will produce enough power to tackle any job.

Since the machine has a decent motor, its RPM count is pretty standard. The main shaft’s speed, which is 50-2500 RPM, is divided into two gears.

Not only this, but you can also adjust the speed according to the need of your work.

Yes, the motor is powerful and energy-efficient and produces the necessary power to take care of your turning needs.

Let’s talk about the work capacity. The WM210 has an 8.3-inch (210 mm) swing over the bed, and the distance between centers is 15.7-inches (400mm).

These numbers are slightly less than the 8 x 16-inch model from BestEquip and somewhat more than Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal.

To be honest, these numbers are pretty okay whether you’re a beginner or professional at turning machines.

You’ll be able to maneuver your workpiece with ease, and space will give you a bit of breathing space if you need to manage your project.

Furthermore, the three-jaw chuck can accommodate up to 4.9-inch diameters and helps hold the workpiece tightly. It makes sure that there’s a minimum amount of chatter and vibration when you’re working at full speed.

Not only that, it comes with a multi-function automatic tool. Suppose you’ve worked with lathes before, so you have an idea of how this feature makes lives a lot better.

You don’t need to worry about changing your tools all time constantly. You can make all the adjustments to your workpiece on the go.

Since you’ll be paying more, you’ll also be getting more and better.

For example, Unlike Erie Tools 7 x 14 and Eastwood Benchtop, the gears of WM210 are all made of metal, and a precision taper roller bearing supports the spindle.

Now, if you want to find flaws in this lathe, well, there aren’t any serious issues apart from the fact that it only has a metric scale to measure.

Other than that, it’s a solid machine that will not disappoint you for a long time. 

VEVOR Mini Metal Lathe 8” x14

Vevor mini metal lathe with different parts and tools in a white background
  • Power of Motor: 650W, 110V/60Hz
  • Spindle Speed: 50-2250±10%
  • Swing Over Bed: 8.3″ (210 mm)
  • Swing Over Cross Slide: 13.8″ (350 mm)
  • Spindle Bore: 0.8″ (21 mm)
  • Chuck Diameter: 3.9″ (100 mm)
  • Spindle Taper: MT3
  • Tailstock Taper: MT2
  • Weight: 108 lbs

The final mini lathe for turning metal on this list is the mini-metal lathe from VEVOR. This 8 x 14-inch model is specially designed to produce results with precision.

It’s a machine that’ll handle any task that you can throw at it. It won’t falter a bit. So, let’s dive into the details and discover its features because it has plenty.

The guys from VEVOR made sure you get a robust machine when you purchase this model.

So, they used rugged and wear-resistant cast iron, which is a synonym for longevity. The design is solid, and everything seems to be in mechanical harmony.

As for the motor, this lathe has a good one breathing inside of it. The motor can produce 650W power, which is enough to take care of turning needs.

Moreover, it has a variable speed of 50 to 2250 RPM. This is a very standard number in the mini-lathe world.

For your convenience, they added a switch system. By turning the switch, you can easily adjust the speed of the spindle. At the same time, there’s an indicator.

It’ll show information about the ongoing operations. In this way, you always remain aware of what’s going on and whether you need to change anything.

VEVOR Mini Metal Lathe also offers both forward and reverse speed like any other good machine. You can also adjust the feed rate manually or automatically.

For safety measures, they’ve added an emergency button. It’s a nice touch.

To make your job even more accessible and flexible, it features an 8.3-inch swing over the bed, a 13.8-inch swing over the slide, and the distance between centers is 13.8-inches.

So, as you can see, you get enough room to work freely. It won’t feel cramped at all like the cheap mini lathes.

There’s also a clever turret post if you want to change your tool and a cross slide that lets the blade move freely. This 4-way turret post is super easy to adjust to.

With this, performing tasks like internal cutting, face cutting, and bevel cutting will feel like a breeze.

Let’s talk about the “Chuck.” The lathe bears a 3-jaw chuck and a 0.8-inch (21mm) spindle bore. This chuck applies a P3 bearing.

Many machinists use it since it produces precise and accurate results. The particular design also helps it to reach high rotary speeds.

The product is also equipped with a foot stock. It will give additional support to the longitudinal rotary axis of a workpiece that you’ll be working on.

In a word, this mini metal lathe from VEVOR is simply great. It costs a bit much. But with the higher price point comes more features and precise results.

If you’re not afraid to spend, then this can be a satisfactory early investment for you.

Must Read Buying Guide

A guy testing his metal lathe and it's tools before working on the machine

Choosing a quality mini metal lathe as a beginner isn’t an easy task because they all have different capabilities and specifications. This task gets even more difficult if you’re new and don’t have that much of a clear idea.

Since there’re lots of mini-lathes available, you might easily get overwhelmed by the diversity.

To ease up the job for you, I’ll drop some crucial beads. These are factors people need to consider if they want a mini lathe machine that’ll meet requirements.

But first of all, you need to make up your mind. You have to decide what you want from your lathe.

Let’s consider few aspects, shall we?

Go for Variable Speed

While still on the motor subject, let’s turn our attention to the variable speed control features.

If you ask me, it’s a must-have feature.

If you’re an amateur machinist and do not wish for any hardcore usage, you can settle for 30 RPM to 1200 RPM. But as it happens, any pretty decent mini-lathe has at least a variable speed of 0 to 2000 RPM.

These numbers will help you when you want to up your game.

Here’s an unpopular opinion: don’t think too hard about variable speed. Yes, it’s a must-have feature, I know.

But as a matter of fact, if you’re not interested in hardcore tasks, there’s a snowball chance in hell that you’ll need high-speed rotation.

On the contrary, if you’re a professional machinist and your work demands high-quality polishing, then don’t compromise on this matter.

Check the Headstock Bearings

This is a tricky one. Mini-metal lathes usually utilize spindle assembly and headstocks for handling the speeds and loads of the different workpieces.

In this case, you need to check if your desire lathe uses taper roller bearings or ball bearings in the headstock.

Because if there happens to be any problem with the machine, you can easily change them. Besides, they don’t cost that much.

On the other hand, if the headstock has a plain bearing, it can become a problem in damage as they’re expensive and hard to replace.

So, a ball and roller system should be preferred over plain bearings.

Your budget

Mini-metal lathes usually cost us a fortune. More than a few hundred dollars. In this case, you have to be very careful that you don’t end up spending more than you need to.

If learning is what you aim for, you can buy an inexpensive lathe rather than go all out for a premium one.

After all, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a premium mini-metal lathe since you’ll rarely use them. Entry-level metal lathes still can pull off more than their weight.

So, I think you would feel quite okay and be able to learn the mechanism and develop your skill.

But if the investment is certainly not an issue, Go crazy!

If you need additional info and guideline regarding what to look for in a metal lathe, check this article.

Further Question To Be Asked

How You’re Going to Use it?

I’ve already mentioned this briefly at the beginning. The reason is that you must know what you’ll be working on in the first place. When you decide that, you’ll know exactly what unit you need.

In that case, you need to check two critical specifications carefully. They are the swing over bed or SOB and the distance between centers or DBC.

The first one refers to the maximum diameter of the workpiece that your lathe will handle. The latter refers to the maximum length of your workpiece. Now, if your workpiece’s diameter or size doesn’t go with the lathe, then bummer.

So, if your intended workpiece is larger, you should consider a lathe with a broader swing over the bed and a wider distance between the centers.

Remember, mini-metal lathes tend to have relatively small SOB and DBC. So, kindly determine the size of metal turning applications and then check these two specifications accordingly.

Will it Fit in Your Workplace?

This might sound silly, but it’s imperative. You don’t want to end up with a machine that you can’t install in your small home shop or workplace for being oversized.

So, before purchasing one, make sure you have the right amount of space to install it. But as these are all benchtop lathes, so you’ll be just fine.

I wrote an article to help you set up a wood lathe that you can relate to also to have some sort of idea.

It’s also crucial that you consider the space around it so you don’t feel restrained while working. You need all the flexibility and freedom you can get.

You need to be able to move freely around your lathe. Thus, it is highly advised you think of this thoroughly before buying your first mini-lathe.

Is the Lathe Easy to Use?

These machines are generally packed with features to offer the users versatility. These things also tend to make the lathe look a bit more menacing. For example, a beginner might not know where to start or how to start.

If he/she has a particular thing to do, then finding the right option or feature might be difficult. I know how it sounds, but it’s true. It happens.

Therefore, look for lathes that have a user-friendly design. It shouldn’t be too difficult or complex to operate these tiny metal lathes.
Because if it is, then your workflow will not improve. You’ll have to keep searching for suitable features. It might dishearten new users as well as pros.

On another note, having lots of features doesn’t mean that it has a complex design. You can always use the user manual to help you through.

But my suggestion for amateurs would be that, start small. Pick a machine that has a simple design and basic features only.
I figured they cost less. Also, you’ll be at ease while working with such a machine.

Once your basic skills reach a particular stage, then venture for a complex one that’s full of features to take your machine mastery to a whole new level.

Is The Lathe Powerful Enough?

This is another vital issue that you need to consider when it comes to buying a mini metal lathe. If the motor fails to generate enough power, then you won’t get the desired results.

But it won’t happen with a good quality metal lathe that can produce 1 to 3 HP. Now, for small work like threading or making ornaments, wedding rings, and stuff, 1 horsepower will be enough. But of course the more the better.

Usually, that number is considered as ‘fine.’ So, check the motor’s capacity to be sure.

My Final Two Cents

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, a mini-metal lathe can become the ultimate tool in your arsenal. They have, in a sense, endless possibilities and do wonder.

Knowing how to operate one can seem a bit tricky the first time. But that’s the beauty of it.

Remember, even if the lathes are smaller in size, they still can produce high enough torque.

These things are sophisticated. Look at it another way, and people can build tools with it that beam with mechanical precision. Nothing good ever comes from not trying, right?

If you are a beginner machinist, mini metal lathes can throw a challenge at you with their sophistication, prowess, and performance just like a heavyweight one. Now the rest is up to you.

Do you want to learn? You got to work hard. But my word, the result tastes so sweet. Still, the manufacturers try their best to make this machine easier for people to use.

Over the years, they gave a lot of thought to this product and made this fun and easy to use.

In the end, all I can say is, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and take on a mini metal lathe. When you do that, there’s no worst-case scenario.

So, get yourself one and start getting creative!

Turn Big, Turn Safe. Welcome to the turning world!

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