My Survey on Best 15 Wood Lathes: Mini-Full size (2020)

Old man working on one of the best wood lathe

You probably would know how it feels like when your wood lathe refuses to talk with you. You planned something, and you thought you got the best wood lathe deal, and all of a sudden, displaced alignment, vibration, chattering come into the way due to poor mechanism. And besides, we often witness close to zero backend support from the manufacturer.

So, it’s crucial to have your research done before upgrading to another one that gets you the value you deserve. You need to be smart while choosing your primary woodturning tools, whether it’s a lathe or even a set of chisels.

In relation to that, I recently surveyed almost hundred woodturners from diverse skill set to get an idea of what’s going on in the community around the country. Hence, I was able to build a list of 15 high-class wood lathes in three size class- Mini, Midi, and Full size.

Firstly, let’s start with a quick chart containing the top six wood lathes. These are all based on grounds like- budget, size, power, parts availability, and tech support. You can later follow the links I am going to add with each section to dig more further.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases. This means no extra cost to you. I will only promote products that give the best values.

Best Wood Lathes of 2020 in a Quick Chart: Top 6

Image Unit Name Overview Today’s Amazon Price
Powermatic-3520C Powermatic 3520C Best Overall Full-Size
Motor: 2HP
Swing: 20″ x 35.5″
Variable Speed
Warranty: 5 years
Grizzly-G0766-lathe Grizzly G0766 Best Budget Full-Size
Motor: 3 HP
Swing: 22″ x 42″
variable Speed
Warranty: 1 year
Jet-1221VS Jet JWL 1221VS Best Overall Midi
Motor: 1 HP
Swing: 12″ x 20.5″
Variable Speed
Warranty: 5 years
Wen-3424T Wen 3242T Best Budget Midi
Motor: 4.5 A
Swing: 12″ x 18″
Warranty: 2 years
PSI-Turncrafter-1018 PSI Turncrafter 1018VS Best Overall Mini
Motor: 3/4 HP
Swing: 10″ x 18″
Variable Speed
Warranty: 3 years
Wen-3421 Wen 3421 Best Budget Mini
Motor: 3.2 A
Swing: 8″ x 12″
Variable Speed
Warranty: 2 years

Things I Reckoned Before Making the list:

Before making this list of the wood lathes that are banging on the market right now, I wanted to take a sneak peek on different woodturners. I aimed to know their favorite wood lathes, preferable size plus features, and their considerations before their purchase.

So, that led me to survey on woodturners around the country, including local club mentors and Woodcrafts communities from Facebook.

I would like to add that it was not convenient for me to go outside and contact each one of them in person, due to the ongoing pandemic. Besides, the clubs were closed too. So, it went over the phone and messages most of the time.

However, the whole survey is based on two primary fields:

1. Primary features turners consider before buying

GroupsFeatures they look for
People want full-sized latheBig Powerful motor that runs quietly
Swiveling headstock
Steel Bed
Adjustable variable Speed Control
Customer Service
People want small lathesAccessories availability
Cast Iron
Direct drive

2. Most Popular units based on the size:

SizeUser PercentageUnits by popularity
Full-sized Lathe46.67 % 1. Powermatic 3520 series
2. Laguna 2436
3. Grizzly G0766
4. Oneway
5. Robust American Beauty
Midi Lathe40 %1. Jet 1221VS
2. Delta 46-460
3. Grizzly G0462
4. Rikon 70-100, Rikon 70-220vsr
5. Nova Comet II
Mini Lathe13.33 %1. PSI Turncrafter
2. Rockler Excelsior Mini
3. Rikon 70-105
4. Grizzly H8259
5. Jet JWL 1015
6. Wen 3421

Best wood lathes under full-sized category

I always suggest everyone select something they can gradually grow up with, not by changing the lathe from time to time. If you plan it to be your lifetime investment, then you can’t afford to ruin it, not being very careful about what you are investing in.

Now let’s go and see the short reviews of some of the high-quality full-sized wood lathes, and then I will discuss what would be my top pick and why.

1. Powermatic 3520C: The Overall Best

"Glossy Yellow colored Powermatic 3520 wood lathe in a white background"
  • 20″ swing and 35-1/2″ between centers
  • Motor: 2 HP, 220V, single phase
  • Tool rest swing- 15-3/4″
  • Outboard capacity: 38″
  • Spindle speeds: low range 15-1200 RPM; high range 40-3200 RPM
  • Spindle taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1-1/4″ x 8 TPI
  • Weight: 726 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

3520C is the upgraded version of the former 3520A and B from the classic and all-time famous wood lathe brand- Powermatic. I mean, if you ask any woodturner what they would go for if they needed to upgrade to a bigger one, and the answer would be Powermatic most of the time.

I know that there is luxurious American beauty with the best swing away tailstock and other features, but we are not comparing between a Ferrari and BMW. If you can afford it, certainly go for one. That is to say, luxury has always been a whole different thing.

Now for the Powermatic 3520C, it is also going to be a significant step up for anyone who can afford it. Above all, a heavyweight lathe like the Powermatic lets you set for at least ten years and more once you have one. In other words, this wood lathe is always there a secured investment.

However, there is not much of a difference between 3520C among the 3520 series, but all that little upgradations add up.

All that’s added:

  • The Acme threaded quill feed, redesigned cast iron legs
  • Reversible banjo and tool post lock lever come
  • 9/16 of an inch thick bed-ways
  • Redesigned swing away optional tailstock
  • New cast iron sliding headstock
  • Extended cone redesigned for re-chucking the bowls
  • Anti-rotation tailstock key
  • Extra weight increased along with center to center working capacity
  • New switches to disconnect the power, and few other upgradations

I also like the fact of the movable control box being magnetic. It allows turners to control it without reaching around any big workpiece during work, which we all know is quite essential for safety.

However, there isn’t anything conspicuous to say about this powerhouse.

2. Laguna Revo 2436: The Runner-UP

"Full black Laguna 2436 big size lathe in a white background"
  • 24″ swing and 36″ between the centers
  • Motor: Induction, 1725 RPM, 3HP, 220V, 60Hz
  • Phase: 1-Phase Input, 3-Phase Output
  • RPM: High: 135-3500 Low: 50-1300
  • Spindle taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1¼” X 8 TPI RH
  • Max. Outboard Swing: 38″
  • Swing over Banjo: 19¾”
  • Tool Rest: 12″
  • Weight 610 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Another powerhouse in the business. Laguna wood lathes are becoming great heavyweight contender day by day among the turners besides Powermatic, Oneway, Vicmark, or the American Beauty.

It’s a three horsepower powerful wood lathe that can turn 24″ bowls like a lemon. Imagine putting a 60 lbs big blanks of wood on a lathe, that’s certainly a huge load, and Laguna 2436 does it very comfortably without wobbling at all.

So, it is compatible not for the design and the features but the capacity mainly. And to be honest, I am not a big fan of the designing order as it seems a bit confusing to me, unlike the Powermatic, but that’s an unsolicited opinion.

If you talk about the price of the Laguna 2436, it’s way cheaper than most of them in this size range with that much power in the motor. So, it would be a total win-win as a long-time investment for any professional woodturner.

But the question arises that, how often do you think you are going to turn a bowl that is over 18” in diameter? In that case, I recommend going for the Laguna 1836 (Amazon link) and sliding the headstock for the outboard turning. You can save over a thousand dollars.

But again, if you are considering buying anything serious for your business, then Laguna 2436 is something extraordinary at a comparatively low price.

I think Mr. David Ellsworth has one in his workshop too, besides his Robust as Laguna tools often featured him. But anyway, this is a beast by all means.

Few changes/upgradations:

  • Remote switch
  • Banjo has been improved
  • Overall finishing retouched

There are some talks you may find online about the headstock problem in Laguna, but the good part is their customer service is very active and will send you any replacement parts right away if anything happens.

3. Grizzly G0766: Great Option For a Low Budget

"Green leg and White bed Grizzly G0766 wood lathe in a white background"
  • 22″ swing and 42″ between the centers
  • Motor: 3 HP, 220V, 3-phase, 8A
  • Required power supply: 220V, single-phase, 20A
  • RPM: High: 100-3200 Low: 100-1200 Variable speed
  • Reverse and Forward
  • Spindle taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1¼” X 8 TPI RH
  • Swing over banjo: 18″
  • Swing over tool rest: 16”
  • Tool Rest: 14″
  • Weight 584 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

This one is interesting. No doubt at all that Grizzly is and will always be on the top bench every time you talk about lathe machines, whether it’s metal or wood. If you are on a tight budget but still want a solid full-size wood lathe, Grizzly G0766 will serve you like no other wood lathes.

The 220V three horsepower motor with 22” bed swing and a weight of 584 lbs, the Grizzly G0766 even cost less than the 18” Laguna or any other brands in this tier.

However, I don’t think this a true 3 HP, as stated. It’s becoming widespread these days for the brands to overstate the power while advertising. But still, it wins in every aspect if we are thinking money here, a lot of bang for the buck.

There is another one 24” swing you might know and that is the Grizzly G0800 with true 3 horsepower and 24” swing over bed. But I don’t feel like to spend that much on something that can be done affordably with accuracy as well. I would rather buy a Laguna 2436 instead and save my thousand dollars for some handy tools if it comes to purchasing the G0800.

Above all, the owners I talked with seemed very happy with their units, and hardly had any complaint about the rigidity, sturdiness, and the capacity of G0766.

I may not be wrong if I tell you that you probably won’t find a better value on the market than the Grizzly G0766 wood lathe. The support is top-notch, as always.

So overall, with the top quality, power, the capacity you will get at this range, I must say, this is a hell of a heavyweight wood lathe deal for the money.

Best wood lathes under medium-sized category

However, if the heavyweight lathes aforementioned are something you are not ready for yet, check out these powerful MIdi lathes.

The first thing I would say is I don’t know if you have noticed that medium-size bowls go on-sell a lot than the bigger bowls. In that sense, Midi wood lathes are an excellent option for the business also, and that is why so many professionals use them as their central lathe.

You can also use riser blocks to turn bowls larger than 12 inches. But let’s not forget that whatever you do, the lathe must have the capacity and power for the projects.

I would be talking about only three units from three different brands here in short. If you want to see more in detail, please go through my complete Midi Lathe guide here.

1. Jet JWL 1221VS: The Overall Best

"White colored Jet-1221VS midi wood lathe in a white background"
  • 12″ swing and 20-1/2″ between centers
  • 1 HP, 115V, Recommended Circuit Size (Amps.)10
  • Spindle Taper: MT2
  • Spindle Bore: 3/8″
  • Spindle Thread: 1″/8 TPI
  • Indexing position: 24
  • 60-3600 RPM variable speed
  • Forward to reverse
  • Weight: 136.4lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

This dedicated one horsepower middleweight wood lathe should be rated as the best wood lathe in the Medium tier of all time. Jet is the most common wood lathe used to teach in the clubs or classrooms across the country.

If you are passionate about turning bowls but can’t afford a standard size, close your eyes and go with Jet JWL 1221vs. Trust me, I’m a very skeptical person, and I always spend a brief time before picking my gears.

Look at the lowest RPM it can sustain the torque, just 60, and the true one HP motor produces enough torque to keep it alive during rotation of an unbalanced chunk. That’s an ideal low-end speed for any bowl turner.

The best part for me was the slowest RPM, Variable speed, right side control panel for more user-friendliness, and of course, the extra weight than any other midi lathe in this size.

However, as there is already so much talk went on this unit, I don’t think I would like to start the same here conversation here. Please go through the linked guide above.

But one thing I want to say in a nutshell, that if you were ever planning to settle down with Midi, then Jet JWL 1221vs could be the happiest investment for you like a bowl turner.

2. Delta 46-460 wood lathe : The Runner-UP

"Black and light ash colored Delta-46-460 Midi Wood Lathe, facing front in a white background"
  • 12.5″ swing and 16.5″ between centers
  • 1-HP, 1-Phase, 120V, 60-Hz, 1725 rpm motor
  • Speed: 250-700, 600-1,800 and 1,350-4,000-RPM
  • Electronic variable
  • Head and Tailstock Taper: #2 MT
  • Drive spindle: 1 inch -8 RH TPI thread
  • Forward and Reverse
  • Weight: 97 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

So here it is- the mighty Delta 46-460 Midi wood lathe by Delta Machinery. The most common name in the Midi lathe industry. Delta has a good history with the MIDI industry, and this is the most popular unit of the wood lathe so far by any brands out there.

Not only hype but a pure class in the business. This one is also horsepower with variable speed, and sturdy iron cast made midi wood lathe—one of the classic and best in the industry.

The previous one was of ¾ HP, but they upgraded their lathe to a good one horsepower to stay compatible in the race. Except for the parts supply issues that a lot of you may have heard, the Delta 46-460 however serves like a masterpiece for every professional woodturner out there.

For a low-key investment, Delta 46-460 Midi wood lathe could be a gem to so many turners as the price is less than the Jet 1221vs with almost the same capacity.

3. Wen 3424T 5 speed wood lathe: Great Option For Low Budget

"3424T Midi wood lathe in a Black Colored body with orange tool rest in a white background"
  • 12″ swing and 18″ between centers
  • 4.5 Amp, 110V
  • Five-speed: 520, 900, 1400, 2150, or 3400 RPM
  • Non-variable
  • Head and Tailstock Taper: #2 MT
  • 1 inch -8 RH TPI thread
  • Only forward
  • Weight: 70lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Okay, this is not a recommended bowl turning lathe, but for the low budget, of course, it can please you. It’s rather for the people who want a new wood lathe within a 300 dollars budget, and Wen would always do it for them.

Firstly, the main drawback is that you won’t get variable speed at this low budget, which is quite apparent. But, if you are okay with turning within a limited RPM, then go for it, but variable speed has become one of the “have to have” features nowadays.

The motor is about 4.5 amp, which is slightly more than ½ HP. So, you have to go slow and easy on this lathe if you are to get the most out of it.

That being said, if you are thinking of turning bowls, it’s not the ideal wood lathe then. However, you may try the greenwoods (wet) first and make sure it is well-shaped and round, don’t put any irregular blanks on it.

I would certainly not push this lathe to its limit. Moreover, a 70lbs weight seems okay to handle any small projects.

So, in a nutshell, if you go for the spindle works, this lathe can guarantee your satisfaction, that’s for sure.

Best wood lathes under small-sized category:

At last, comes the mini-sized wood lathes that are specifically designed to handle the miniatures. You can turn everything out of a large wood lathe, but not everyone has the same plan.

So, as long as you are determined to turn only pens, bottle stoppers, and miniatures like this, you probably want to go for a mini wood lathe instead. They have the strength that is enough to turn anything under the ranged diameter.

I’ll keep the review short for every lathe. You can check the full article written on Mini Wood lathes here with all the details you need to know before buying one.

1. PSI Turncrafter Commander KWL- 1018VS: The Overall Best

"Full red colored PSI-Turncrafter-1018 mini wood lathe in a white background"
  • 10” swing X 18” between centers
  • Motor: ¾ HP, 110V
  • MT2 Headstock and Tailstock Taper
  • 1” x8 TPI
  • Speeds: 2 position belt Variable speed A (500-2000), B (1500-3600) RPM
  • Weight: 84 lbs
  • Only Forward
  • Warranty: 3 years

Let me start the list with a mighty lightweight monster- the Turncrafter mini lathe from Pen state Industry. This lathe is so robust for the small projects that some refer to it as the midi lathe.

But the highest workpiece you can mount here would be like 9 inches. So, it is a solid mini wood lathe according to the size and capacity.

If we see the price, it may seem pretty high for a mini lathe but let’s not forget about the ¾ HP variable speed motor. You can talk about Wen, Rockler, and others, but no one seems to have a variable speed facility in this 10” category.

Wen has a variable speed unit, but with #1 MT tapers. You can also see the Rikon 70-105 with 5 speed and #2 MT but not as powerful as the Turncrafter.

I know many pen turners working with Turncrafter 1018VS, and they are very pleased with the overall capacity and durability.

To sum up, It’s one hell of a mini pen turning wood lathe by every means. Mine is Excelsior that I’ll be talking next, but if I have to be honest here, Turncrafter Commander is a serious deal.

2. Rockler Excelsior mini lathe 10×18: The Runner-UP

"Full black colored Excelsior Mini Wood Lathe by Rockler brand in a white background"
  • 10″ swing/ 18″ between centers
  • Horsepower: ½
  • MT2 Spindle Taper
  • Speed Ranges: 760, 1100, 1600, 2200, and 3200
  • Weight: 83 lbs
  • 1” x 8 TPI spindle
  • Only forward

I bought my Excelsior after reading a bunch of positive reviews online. I even saw Mr. Carl Jacobson turning on this in his garage if I’m not wrong. However, it was a yard sale, but it was very new in condition. I have never faced any issues with it until now.

It’s a half HP motor with standard morse two tapers and 1”x8 TPI thread. You can also extend the bed to up to 22” extra from 18”. But I wish it were a variable speed by default. You can change the factory motor with variable speed if you don’t like to change belts, but that’s up to you. And, that is where the PSI turned the table.

Other than that, I’ve been hanging on this lathe for three years now, and it has not let me down yet. It is because I always respect its limitations, and it is delivering as my expectations, simple as that.

I don’t do any bowls on it, and nor should you. They are all underpowered motor with limited capacity. So, it’s recommended that you do mostly spindle on them.

Or go to that article I linked above to see which mini wood lathe has the lowest RPM with good torque that is somewhat ideal for turning small bowls.

However, apart from all these minor drawbacks, Excelsior is a worthy choice for the pen turners.

3. Wen 3421 variable speed wood lathe: Great Option For Low Budget

"Black body with orange tool rest, Wen-3421 mini wood lathe in a white background"
  • 8” swing and 12” between centers
  • Motor: 3.2 Amp (1/3 HP), 120V
  • MT1 Spindle and Tailstock Taper
  • 1″ x 8 TPI
  • Spindle Speed: Variable speed from 750 – 3200 RPM
  • Weight: 45lbs
  • Only forward
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Here comes the Wen mini again for the budget turner. I mean, you can’t get any better deal for a new lathe like this one. It’s an 8” swing variable speed mini lathe with a 3.2 Amp motor that can turn bottle stoppers and pens pretty good.

Most of the turners that I know either bought this to test or got this as a present. It is also a total beginner mini wood lathe with some potential.

So, don’t think it’s a total waste of money. You can learn many things as you slowly grow up as sure is eggs is eggs. Let me remind you again that the primary purpose is to get at least something to keep going with a little budget.

Above all, getting variable speed at this low budget is something we need to appreciate. This is not a powerful machine by any means, and Wen does not convince anyone either saying so. You have all the options, so now you be the judge.

The motor gets hot very soon, and you may need to keep it cool by giving it rest from time to time.

All I can say is, it is an underpowered wood lathe, but if you respect its limitations and are ready to accept the fact, you can make a fair use out of it.

Best alternative wood lathes you can buy also

Now that you have the main courses, it’s time for the alternative wood lathes that are worth mentioning.In other words, closing the article without talking about them would be fairly unfair.

1. Grizzly Industrial G0462: Unbeatable Price

"Green colored Grizzly-Industrial-G0462 lathe in a white background"
  • 16″ swing and 46″ between the centers
  • Motor: Motor: 2 HP, 110V, single-phase, 14A
  • RPM: 600-2400 (10 speed)
  • Variable speed
  • Headstock rotation: 0°, 60°, 90°, 120°, and 180°
  • Outboard Turning: Yes
  • Spindle and tailstock taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1” X 8 TPI RH
  • Swing over tool rest: 13-1/2″
  • Tool rest: 12″
  • Weight: 354 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

Another Grizzly made its place through the best wood lathe category, and it’s a wonder lathe. You can easily consider this against any of the lathe aforementioned. Grizzly G0462 is a whole lotta lathe for the money. I don’t know how they offer such a powerful lathe at a price that anyone would fall for.

Featuring a two HP motor with variable speed, this sturdy woodturning lathe will give you a maximum 16″ inboard bowl turning facility. Moreover, you can turn outboard also if the bowl is larger than the given diameter. The speed goes from 600 to up to 2400 RPM.

The only thing you will need to maintain frequently is the replacement process of the belt as it is a Reeves speed controlled. Besides, the original strap that comes with the lathe wears out quickly and sometimes the speed can’t reach the 600 in low-end. So it is best to change the belt to get the maximum output.

But the motor is suitable for multiple operations and materials of different sizes. It also comes with a spindle tachometer and a digital readout, some handy things to have.

In case you need to mount any heavier logs, you can adjust the leg’s shelf support. As it is a Morse #2 taper, all the accessories and parts are available in the aftermarket also.

However, I know skilled turners tend to find some issues with the tool rest. For instance, try to turn a bowl over 14,″ you could see the tailstock might get in its way. But, I must say, it’s a lot from a heavy, cast, and easy to assemble lathe under 1000 dollars.

Overall, this is a reliable product that delivers what it promises.

2. Jet JWL-1440VSK wood lathe

"Mat white colored Jet-1440VSK Midi Wood lathe in a white background"
  • 14-1/2″ swing and 40″ between the centers
  • Motor: 1 HP, 115/230V, 1 phase
  • RPM: 400-3000 Variable
  • Sliding Headstock
  • Acme threaded tailstock
  • Indexing Position: 36
  • Outboard Turning: Yes
  • Spindle taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1” X 8 TPI RH
  • Swing over tool rest: 11”
  • Tool Rest: 14″
  • Weight 400 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 year

Okay, so what makes this slightly heavyweight lathe machine a bit expensive? I’d say, versatility. It’s because, versatility is a great highlight of any lathe machine. The capacity to work on diverse materials is what makes a great tool, especially when it is a wood lathe.

Furthermore, this lathe has been tested by David Heim to the limit to check the resistance and the torque it can produce at low-speed, and it took a lot to stall the motor. The energy that is to say is distributed effectively around the lathe, providing a quality working experience and a reliable performance.

It’s larger than a Midi but smaller than the standard commercial size. It is a powerful tool, easy to operate, and can work on different projects, both big and small. Besides, all the customers who used it gave it a full 5-star rating.

Jet 1440VSK also features an option for outboard turning. With a 1HP variable speed motor, it can deal with any task than a robust midi lathe, like the1221VS. You are also getting a 36 indexing position plus the sliding headstock.

I haven’t had a hand on it, but I’ve seen people turning on this, and the best part for me was the 14″ tool rest. That is big enough to cover an extended area without shifting it when turning a long and thick workpiece.

However, even though itis capable of dealing with any unbalanced heavyweight load, I still don’t think I would be comfortable paying more than double for an extra 2 inches bed swing that my 1221VS is giving me now.

So all I am trying to say is it is undoubtedly a worthy wood turning lathe by all means, but the price point is pretty high. That being said, if it’s okay with you, then surely go for this one.

3. Nova 1624 II 8 speed wood lathe

"Full black with little red colored lathe Nova-1624-II-8-speed-wood-lathe in a white background"
  • 16″ swing and 24″ between the centers
  • Motor: 1.5 HP AC motor, 115V, 60Hz
  • RPM: 214 – 3,600 RPM (USA/Canada), 178 – 3,000 RPM (rest of world)
  • Variable speed
  • Both forward and reverse
  • Swivel Head 360°
  • Outboard Turning: 29″
  • Spindle and tailstock taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1-1/4″ X 8 TPI RH
  • Swing over tool rest: 13-1/2″
  • Tool rest: 12″
  • Weight: 276lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years full replacement on motor and 5 years on all other parts

When you are looking for a machine, one of the first elements you consider is durability. After all, durability will prove its worth in the long run, giving you the possibility to have extended periods of work.

It is no different from the wood lathes. They have to endure many working hours to take plenty of abuse as well. So, you require the most optimum and resistant machine, and this is where the NOVA 1624 comes into play.

The 215 RPM allows you to have a consistent performance, which is decisive while working on projects like bowl turning. You can work on small pieces with more accuracy and precision, but you could use the machine to create more significant projects as well.

It uses strong steel and excellent quality cast iron materials. They reduce the vibration and the noise, significantly creating a comfortable experience.

Moreover, Nova 1624 II uses a 1.5 horsepower AC motor capable of delivering energy to make accurate and smooth results. The 360° Swivel head will give you the freedom of work from any position that will save significant space in your workplace.

You can change the speed by opening the large access panel and changing the belt position on the step pulleys.

The only common complaint you might sometimes hear from the user is about the customer service they provide.

4. Nova Comet II DR Midi Wood lathe

"Silver colored midi wood lathe Nova-Comet-II-DR in a white background"
  • 12″ swing and 16.5″ between the centers
  • Motor: 3/4 HP, 230V single phase, 60Hz
  • Speed: 250- 4000 RPM
  • Variable speed
  • 3 Step Pulley
  • Both forward and reverse
  • Tailstock: #2MT Hollow
  • Spindle thread: 1″ X 8 TPI RH
  • Weight: 82 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year on motor and 2 years on all other parts

To have more power, you will need more prominent and more massive construction to endure it. Even so, the barrier between what a full-size and a mini lathe can do closes with this product. With a 71% rating of 5-star, here comes the mighty mini wood lathe Nova Comet II.

For starters, it uses a highly capable electronic motor. It is a 3/4 horsepower motor that provides a different speed range. This lathe is capable of working at a low 250 RPM and a more powerful but steady 4000 RPM.

These operating speeds are adjustable by a 3 pulley system and are easy to control. As it is only about 80 pounds, the lathe is easy to pick up and move, but it stays put while working on it.

It features a swing capacity of 12 inches over the bed and even over the optional bed. Cutting or shaping different size materials is an easy task to do in general. The spur in the headstock and the live center in the tailstock come together perfectly.

Overall it meets quite the requirements that any mini lathe should deliver. It is a portable tool that saves a considerable amount of space. The machine’s mini design made this a great option to buy and use in the house.

If you want to use it for hobbies or even as a pro pen turner, then this a clear contestant for the best mini wood lathe spot, and it will deliver what you need effectively. I talked about its high performance, and there are a few reasons that make this product a powerful machine.

5. Grizzly H8259 wood lathe

"Paste colored midi lathe Grizzly-H8259 in a white background"
  • Motor: 1/2 HP, 110V, single-phase, 7A
  • Swing over bed: 10″
  • Distance between centers: 18″
  • Swing over tool rest: 6-1/4″
  • Tailstock travel: 3-1/4″
  • Speeds: 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, 3337 RPM
  • Tool rest width: 5-3/4″
  • Overall dimensions: 36″ L x 11-1/2″ W x 15″ H
  • Approximate shipping weight: 78 lbs.

This 10” mini wood lathe could be a perfect alternative to the best mini wood lathes I mentioned earlier. The only thing that kept this lathe behind the PSI is evidently the variable speed control.

I could have easily placed it for the runner-up, but with almost the same features and capacity, this one costs a few hundred bucks more than the Rockler production.

Honestly, if it were not for the variable speed control, then the Grizzly H8259 could easily knock out the PSI. It is a real ½ HP 5 speed lathe that starts from 826 RPM to 3337 RPM with excellent customer feedback. And, that is what it takes to do most of the spindle work, quite precisely.

Moreover, you will get a one-year parts warranty from Grizzly, and that goes for every lathe they sell, even with the full-sized.

In short, this is a perfect model for a novice to start turning.It’s also a good standby option for many commercial woodturners I know. Any jaw chuck will fit as it is a standard 1” x 8 TPI thread.

6. Grizzly T25920 variable speed wood lathe

"Green colored Grizzly T25920 VS midi lathe in a white background"
  • 12″ swing and 18″ between centers
  • Motor: 3/4 HP, 110V, single-phase, 5.3A
  • Speed: 650- 3800 RPM
  • Variable speed
  • Swing over tool rest base: 9-1/2″
  • 5-7/8″ Tool Rest with 5/8″ Post
  • Spindle tapers: #2MT
  • Tailstock taper: #2MT
  • Spindle thread: 1″ X 8 TPI RH
  • Weight: 84 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Grizzly T25920 is a worthy product suitable for beginners who want to initiate their way woodworking. It features an effective and powerful motor, working at 110 Volts during a single-phase and 5.3 Amps.

Furthermore, this motor is capable of producing enough energy allowing the machine to work at 650 RPM and able to reach up to 3800 RPM.

With this motor, every user has the comfort of knowing the machine will keep up with their ideas. It is a great power source to complete a variety of projects regardless of their type.

The machine also features a speed indicator, both a live center and a spur center. It includes a 3-1/4 inches faceplate. All of these highlights make up for a solid performance, and it gives the users the control they need.

We all know that one of the best qualities of a wood lathe is the capacity to shape materials on our own accord. By far, all the control this machine gave is quite impressive.

My top pick and reason: Grizzly G0766

You can turn a small thing on a large wood lathe, but you cannot turn a big chunk on a small one. That’s the reason I would prefer the full size.

I can turn up to 22” bowls with a low range of 100 to 1200 RPM with Grizzly G0766. That’s enough low for a rough cut.

Besides, I am getting the electronic variable speed control with a digital readout. The tool rest is 14” in length, which is pretty big to cover a table leg without moving the tool rest during my work.

If we talk about the weight, 584 pounds is also firm enough to absorb the vibration while turning any large and unbalanced wood blanks. And I can put sandbags to make it more stable if I need it.

The only concern for me that I would love to get a warranty above one year, but I think that’s all you need to face any factory defects for them to come and replace the parts.

I know so many turners are working with this heavyweight wood lathe, and they are all satisfied.

After considering the capacity and motor power, I think this lathe would save me a handful of amount without compromising the performance. I can spend more on cutting tools, dust collectors, safety shields, or any other accessories I might need.

So, I’ll go with the Grizzly G0766 if I ever need to upgrade to a bigger lathe.

Let me know in the comment what you think you would choose.

Important questions people also ask:

Where to find the user manual sheet?

Please visit the official web page of the manufacturer. Type your lathe’s name, and you can see the specification datasheet or link to that. These links are mostly pdf to download. Download it and then find the user manual or the specification you are trying to find.

Or try the as an alternative.

What are the crucial considerations before buying a wood lathe?

  • Okay, first thing first, you have to decide what type of wood lathe you need, and It depends on what you want to turn.
  • Consider your floor capacity.
  • Now plan your budget according to the size you think would be suitable for you. I think I have given every possible option for each category. Suppose you want a midi lathe for both home and semi-commercial uses. Now, if you don’t have the budget for a 1221vs, then go for the Delta. I hope you got it.
  • Consider the speed range, and try to go for the variable speed.
  • Don’t go below 1 hp if you have plans to turn bowls. Your motor needs to produce enough torque for the low RPM.
  • Make sure to read the manuals. Take a look at the supply voltage and phase. See if you have the power socket to match the supply specifications.

How big of a lathe do I need?

It depends on your projects and plans with turning. Is it for home use, semi-commercial, or commercial use? You need to decide that.

For home or miniatures, you can opt a half HP mini wood lathe. Midi lathes would allow you to go semi-commercial from home. But if you have any plan to go commercial, a full-sized lathe is what you need.

What lathe is ideal for beginners?

Please go through my beginner’s wood lathe guide, where I have listed some of the best options you can find as a beginner. I hope this helps you.

Ideal measurement that can do most type of work

  1. 12″ swing
  2. One HP
  3. Electronic variable speed
  4. Morse taper 2 headstocks and tailstock
  5. Common headstock thread (1″x8 in US)

This gets you a lathe that can do most types of turning and turn decent sized pieces. You will also be able to buy accessories easily.

Last Few Words:

Turning wood is an addictive profession for every woodturner. Once you’re in, you are likely to get drowned into a deep blue ocean of passion and latent happiness of creativity. And you need a strong vessel to sail through that ocean with great navigation.

This is not just another hobby, but a wonderful and one the most historical profession that’s been giving so many people the bread and butter they need. So, choosing your lathe wisely is critically essential.

Whether you are a veteran or just a beginner wanting to take your ride and understand, I think this guide will be enough to help you with your purchase.

If you think I missed any lathe that should be in the list, please let me know in the comment, I will update the list.

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

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