Unlock the Best Wood Lathe of 2023

Are you looking for the best wood lathe in 2023? Look no further! In this review article, we will show you the top 8 wood lathe that will take your woodworking profession or passion to new heights. With so many options on the market, it can be confusing to choose the right one for your needs.

A good lathe can turn simple wood into remarkable and artistic shapes.We have expert peers in woodworking industry who have given us their valuable input and we did user research to identify their needs and cover benefits and flaws of each machine out there.

Wood Lathe

Here at Dizz as per the research, we have compiled a list of the best wood lathe that stand out for their features, performance, and affordability. These can be also good for beginners in the woodworking industry

We research, test, assess, and suggest the best items. Tech experts examine the articles for accuracy. To get more information about our way of doing things, Learn more about our process here. We may get a commission if you purchase by clicking on a link.

Reviewed & Approved

After conducting a meticulous evaluation and comparison of 8 remarkable wood lathes in 2023, the JET JWL 1221VS emerges as the Editor’s Choice. With its exceptional features, unparalleled precision, and user-friendly design, the JET JWL 1221VS surpasses its competitors. We wholeheartedly endorse it as the ultimate selection for individuals in search of a wood lathe that consistently delivers exceptional results.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall (JET JWL-1221VS)

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Best For Beginners (WEN 3424T)

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Best Mini Wood Lathe (RIKON POWER TOOLS 70-105)

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Best Bench Top Wood Lathe (MORPHON 12″ x 18″)

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Best For Professionals Wood Lathe (JET JWL-1440VSK)

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Best Wood Lathe under 500$ (PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turn Crafter)

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Best Wood Lathe For Money (SHOP FOX W1704)

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Best Wood Lathe under 1000$ (RIKON 70-150 VSR)

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Problems faced by wood lathe users

We found out the most common problems faced by wood lathe user which are as follows

  • Excess vibration generated that hinder the quality and precision of turning process
  • Occurrence of chatter which is the repetitive, irregular pattern on the turned surface due to improper setup, tool usage, and vibration produced
  • Improper turning and techniques cause tear out which means torn wooden fibers leading to the uneven and rough surface
  • Snags and catches of the turning tool cause jerk or spin-out scenarios which can cause injury to the operator and damage lathe components
  • Difficulty and complexity faced by beginners to align the piece in the center affecting the symmetry and geometry of the piece
  • Rigidness in compatibility with other tools available at the disposal of the owner makes them use unorthodox practices to get the job done.
  • The absence of dust collection and chip containment systems fails to provide a clean and safe turning environment which can cause health hazards
  • Lesser focus on safety hazards that arises due to the use of sharp tools, high-speed rotations, etc..
Wood Lathe Operations

Points to consider before buying

There are several important factors to consider before making a purchase decision for a wood lathe. Here are some key considerations that will help you ensure that you choose the right wood lathe that meets your specific needs and preferences

Size and Capacity: First step is to determine the size and capacity of the wood lathe that is required for the projects you plan to undertake. Consider the maximum length and diameter of the workpieces you plan on turning.

Construction and Stability: Identify the construction quality and stability of the wood lathe. A well-built and sturdy lathe will providing smoother and more accurate turning along with less vibrations.

Power and Speed Control: Consider the power and speed capabilities of the wood lathe as per your task undertaken. Look for a motor with enough horsepower to handle your intended purpose. Additionally, having the functionality of variable speed control allows you to adjust the lathe’s speed according as per different types of wood and turning requirements.

Tool Rest and Banjo: Assess the quality and adjustability of the tool rest and banjo. A reliable tool rest with multiple positions and sturdy banjo support will enhance your turning experience and allow for precise cutting.

Bed Length and Headstock/Tailstock Features: Examine the length of the lathe bed, as it offers larger workspace for larger projects. Evaluate the headstock and tailstock features, such as spindle thread size, locking mechanisms, and ease of adjustment, as these directly impact the usability and versatility.

Budget: Decide your budget range and seek a wood lathe that offers the perfect combination of features and qualities within our desired budget. The investment in a durable and reliable lathe will be beneficial in the long run.

Accessories and Attachments: Check for its compatibility with a several accessories and attachments, such as different chucks, faceplates, and live centers.

Expert Reviews and Recommendations: Read expert reviews and recommendations from trusted sources generally including fellow woodworkers or online communities or forums. Their experiences and insights can provide valuable guidance in making an informed decision.

Working of Wood lathe

How the list was compiled

The Process Behind Compiling the List: Ensuring Unbiased Opinions and Thorough Research

As an engineering professional at Dizz and our diverse expert network, we take pride in our commitment to delivering unbiased opinions supported by strong research. When we set out to compile our list of wood lathes, we dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort to thoroughly evaluate the huge range of options available in the market. This indeed presented us with undeniable challenges, but we approached it with a set of specific criteria to guide and refine our decision-making process.

Our primary goal was to select the wood lathe that satisfy the customer’s expectations to some degree. We did the selection initially on criteria like tool compatibility, user-friendliness, robustness, and ensuring outstanding conditions in unlikely scenarios.

No short corners were done in the research we considered safety and reliability features offered by various wood lath on the market. We at Dizz understand the frustration that arises shortly after the hefty purchase due failure of the machine. We have conducted comprehensive research and consistently evaluated the feedback and experience shared by owners of said lathe machine. This in turn helped us create a list of wood lathes for our users taking into consideration all necessary factors

So here is our collection of eight wood lathe that have passed the criteria and tough evaluation process. Each lathe here offers a fulfilling woodworking experience. Our goal is to always provide our readers with reliable and trustworthy information to help in making informed decisions. We recognize the importance of having the right tools for the right operation for the best output.

List of wood lathe

1.Best Overall (JET JWL-1221VS)

Best Overall (JET JWL-1221VS)
JET JWL wood lathe
613 Reviews
JET 12″ x 21″ Woodworking Lathe, Variable Speed, 1Ph 115V (JWL-1221VS)
  • Innovative Design: Ratchet-style belt tension system (patent pending)
  • Optimal Speed: Choose from three speed ranges (60-900/110-1,800/220-3,600)
  • Convenient Controls: Easy-to-reach controls and digital readout
  • Handy Storage: Includes a tool storage caddy on each end of the machine
DescriptionUnit
Power1 HP
Speed60-3600 RPM
DBC21″
SOB12.5″
Weight121 lbs. or 54.88 kgs

The first on our list is the JET JWL-1221VS lathe this is for people that value precision and control as the most important consideration for a purchase. This lathe delivers consistent and reliable power using an innovative rachet-style belt tension system.

The lathe is offered in three different speed ranges (60-900;110-1800;220-3600 RPM) to provide optimal speeds for turning. In our testing, the digital reader and easy-to-reach controls make it convenient. I also really appreciate the tool storage space provided at the ends of the machine which makes things organized and accessible as per needs. One of the key features to provide safety is the removable ON/OFF safety key features

In our testings, the smooth directional control allows for seamless motions for forward and reverse directions. We found out using a circuit size of 10 Amps makes this lathe cost effective and efficient. For all this reasons it is the best overall on our list

pros

  • Sufficient Power at 1 HP
  • Easily center positioning
  • Easy speed changeover for belting up and down
  • Stable and minimal vibrations
  • Responsive switches and LED indicators

cons

  • Requires more floor space
  • Slightly expensive

2.Best For Beginners (WEN 3424T)

Best For Beginners (WEN 3424T)
WEN LA3424 4.5-Amp 12-Inch by 18-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe
377 Reviews
WEN LA3424 4.5-Amp 12-Inch by 18-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe
  • Attack work pieces up to 18 inches long and 12 inches wide
  • Switch between five different speeds: 520, 900, 1400, 2150, or 3400 RPM
  • Includes 3-1/8 inch Faceplate for turning bowls, cups and other non-spindle work pieces
  • MT2 tailstock and headstock tapers allow for compatibility with a wide variety of Lathe Accessories
DescriptionUnit
Power4.5 Amps or 0.8 HP
Speed520-3400 RPM
DBC18″
SOB12″
Weight78.9 lbs. or 35.78 kgs

The second on our list is WEN 3424T Lathe best suited for Beginners. In our testing, we put it through difficulties and it cleared them all with flying colors. The 4.5A motor is robust and capable of handling 18″ by 12″ workpieces. It offers enough space to turn bowls, cups, etc. The 3-1/8 inch faceplate offers tight adjustments for workpieces.

This lathe offers 5 speed setting from 520-3400 RPM making it highly flexible to adapt to different project requirements and types of wood. In our testing, I found out it offers complete control and precision

This Lathe is highly compatible, the MT2 tailstock and headstock can accommodate various lathe accessories. It is equipped with an MT2 tailstock live center, an MT2 headstock spur center, an onboard accessory holder, and an 8-inch tool rest. We can confidently say it has everything in reach of the operator and ensures smooth operations

Pros

  • Sturdy Construction
  • Durable and User-friendly design
  • Easy Setup
  • Quiet Operations

Cons

  • Speed change for belt require to move belts to different size pulleys
  • Better tool Rest offered by Competitors

3.Best Wood Lathe For Money (SHOP FOX W1704)

Best Wood Lathe For Money (SHOP FOX W1704)
Sale
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
621 Reviews
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
  • Motor: 1/3 HP, 2 Amp, 110V, Single-phase, 60 Hz
  • 12-inch distance between centers
  • 8-inch swing over bed
  • Cast iron construction and infinitely variable speed control
  • Includes two tool rests
DescriptionUnit
Power0.75 HP
Speed700-3200 RPM
DBC13″
SOB8″
Weight48.4 lbs. 21.95 kgs

The Third lathe on our list is Shop Fox W1704 which is the best in terms of value for money. The paddle switch ensures better safety during operations. This also offers precision and control thanks to the MT-1 spur center and live center. It offers two different sizes of the tool rest 4.25″ and 7″ which made it easy to craft during our testing. This lathe is equipped with a 5.75″ faceplate which offers strong adjustments. You can go for this one if it fulfills your needs.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Precision in Variable speed control
  • Equipped with two different size of tool rest
  • Quieter and Less vibrations
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Equipped with MT-1 and not the more robust MT-2
  • Poor Machining of tailstock center adjustment

4.Best Mini Wood Lathe (RIKON POWER TOOLS 70-105)

Best Mini Wood Lathe (RIKON POWER TOOLS 70-105)
RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10' x 18' 1/2 hp Mini Lathe
203 Reviews
RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe
  • Rikon mini lathe: This Rikon mini lathe features a ½ motor that provides ample power for all turning needs. With a 10” swing and 18” between centers, this mini lathe also has a self ejecting tail stock and has easy access to speed change.
  • Sturdy and Dedicated: Designed specifically at the request of pen turners who wanted a sturdy, dedicated machine for their craft. This scaled-down, basic mini lathe is made from cast iron, so vibration is not a factor, unlike other lathes made of aluminum.
  • 5 speed ranger: This mini lathe has a 5 speed range that covers the bases for boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, turning to shape and finishing.
DescriptionUnit
Power0.5 HP
Speed500-3200 RPM
DBC18″
SOB10″
Weight75 lbs. or 34.1 kgs

The next lathe on our list is the Rikon Power Tools (70-105) which is the best mini lathe in this segment for Buyers and DIYers from whom space constraint is a major issue. Despite the miniature nature its 0.5 HP motor is punchy and provides enough power for turning operations. It has distance of 18″ inch between centers and a 10″ swing equipped with itself.

In our testing, we can say as intended by the manufacturers it is suitable for pen-turning projects. The use of cast iron offers low vibrations and precision operations. The multi-speed range of the lathe helps in roughing out pen billets, boring barrel holes and in other shaping and finishing processes. This lathe is inclusive of accessories like wrenches, a knock-out bar, a live center, a tool rest, etc. It can be a great addition to one’s desire and profession of woodworking

5.Best Bench Top Wood Lathe (MORPHON 12″ x 18″)

Best Bench Top Wood Lathe (MORPHON 12" x 18")
Mophorn Wood Lathe 12 x 18 Inch,Bench Top Heavy Duty Wood Lathe Variable Speed 500-3800 RPM, Mini Wood Lathe Regulation Digital Display
105 Reviews
Mophorn Wood Lathe 12 x 18 Inch,Bench Top Heavy Duty Wood Lathe Variable Speed 500-3800 RPM, Mini Wood Lathe Regulation Digital Display
  • Compact & Firm Structure: High-quality cast iron is used to construct the wood lathe, which improves the durability and longevity of the device. Distance Between Centers: 18″ / 460 mm Swing Over Bed: 12″ / 300 mm
  • 550W Powerful Motor: The mini lathe machine is equipped with a powerful and long-lasting 550W motor to handle materials of various sizes with precision and efficiency.
  • Stepless Speed Change: The mini wood lathe features a great speed range, 500 – 3800 RPM. By turning the rotary knob, stepless speed change is accessible, which is fully guarded.
DescriptionUnit
Power550W or 0.75 HP
Speed500-3800 RPM
DBC18″
SOB12″
Weight88 lbs. or 40 kgs

Let us now talk about the lathe that has the best-in-class bench top the Morphon 12″ x 18″ lathe. The cast iron construction makes it sturdy aids to its compact size. In our testing, the lathe provided ample space to carry out any woodworking project thanks to its impressive 18″ distance between centers and 12″ swing over bed.

The 0.75 HP motor equipped on this mini lathe offers precision and efficiency over a wide range of materials and sizes. It has step-less speed change for versatile and completely guarded operation ranging from 500-3800 RPM. We like the MT-2 spindle and faceplate center at the same level to provide better stability and performance. The added stability is due to the four rubber feet incorporated in the lathe

Pros

  • Highly Versatile
  • Capable of knurling, sanding and drilling etc.
  • Less expensive
  • 3 speed pulleys instead of 2 speed pulleys offered by competitiors
  • Easy belt adjustments

Cons

  • Difficulty in working with short pieces
  • Speed Control isn’t the best as others in the list

6.Best For Professionals Wood Lathe (JET JWL-1440VSK)

Best For Professionals Wood Lathe (JET JWL-1440VSK)
JET 14' x 40' Variable-Speed Woodworking Lathe, 1 HP, 1Ph 115/230V (JWL-1440VSK)
39 Reviews
JET 14″ x 40″ Variable-Speed Woodworking Lathe, 1 HP, 1Ph 115/230V (JWL-1440VSK)
  • Sliding headstock pivots 360 degrees with 7 positive locking positions (0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees)
  • Variable speed from 400-3,000 RPM
  • Positive locking tool rest with redesigned clamping
  • Acme thread in tailstock
  • Improved tailstock quill locking with anti-rotation key
DescriptionUnit
Power1HP
Speed400-3000 RPM
DBC40″
SOB14.5″
Weight400 lbs. or 180 kgs

Let us now move on to the lathe JET-JWL 1440VSK which is best for professionals on this list. This lathe offers 7 positive locking positions and the sliding headstock pivots 360 degrees making it convenient to work from any angle on the workpiece.

This Lathe has redesigned clamping and tool rest locking features to provide better stability and precision. In our testing, the Quill locking with anti-rotation and acme threads provided on the tailstock aids in enhanced performance. It is also easy to monitor speed with the RPM display provided in this lathe. Also, we tested that this lathe can easily accommodate larger projects thanks to its 60″ bed extension.

Pros

  • Superb Build Quality
  • Super Easy Adjustments
  • Quieter Operations and Reduced Vibrations
  • Easy Assembly Despite the Heaviness

Cons

  • Heavy and Large Size
  • Slightly Under Powered
  • Slightly Expensive

7.Best Wood Lathe under 1000$ (RIKON 70-150 VSR)

Best Wood Lathe under 1000$ (RIKON 70-150 VSR)
RIKON Power Tools VSR MIDI Lathe (RIK-70-150VSR)
78 Reviews
RIKON Power Tools VSR MIDI Lathe (RIK-70-150VSR)
  • Powerful 1HP DC Motor provides ample power for all turning needs
  • Electronic variable speed controls, wider range of operating speeds, digital RPM readout for forward and reverse rotation speeds.
  • Pivoting belt cover for easy access when changing belt speeds
  • Ball-bearing construction for smooth, precise spindle operation
DescriptionUnit
Power0.5 HP
Speed250-3850 RPM
DBC20″
SOB12.5″
Weight115 lbs. or 52.2 kgs

Now let us talk about the second last lathe on our list the RIKON 70-150 VSR. It has a strong 1HP motor which makes it a piece of cake to take up on any project and turning needs with sheer confidence. We vigorously tested the electronic variable speed control through a wide range of operating speeds to our surprise it does offer full control and balanced turning performance. While our time with the machine, we knew the exact forward and reverse rotation speed with the help of the digital RPM readout feature.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Perfect alignment of Quill and headstock’
  • Longest Quill extension
  • Easy Belt Adjustments
  • Accurate speed control

Cons

  • Heavier as compared to competitor
  • Frequent tool catches
  • Requires more space

8.Best Wood Lathe under 500$ (PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turn Crafter)

Best Wood Lathe under 500$ (PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turn Crafter)
PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turncrafter Commander 10' Variable Speed Midi Lathe
89 Reviews
PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turncrafter Commander 10″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe
  • KWL-1018VS replaces TCLC10VS. ETL Listed and certified by Intertek
  • Powered by 3/4 hp Variable Speed high performance motor(110V) & an SBC microprocessor. Two belt positions: 500-2000 RPM & 1500-3600 RPM
  • Headstock Thread 1″ x 8tpi. Headstock/Tailstock Taper #2MT. Distance between Centers 18″. Swing over Bed 10″. Cast iron base
  • Tailstock & Spindle Bore 3/8″. Quill Travel 1-5/8″. (24) indexing positions with spindle locking. Convenient built-in handles
DescriptionUnit
Power0.75 HP
Speed500-3600 RPM
DBC18″
SOB10″
Weight82 lbs. or 39 kgs

Lastly on our list is PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turn crafter. This powerful lathe is the perfect tool for both beginners and experienced woodworkers. With its 3/4 hp Variable Speed high-performance motor and SBC microprocessor, you have full control over your turning speed, ranging from 500 to 3600 RPM.

The sturdy cast iron base provides stability, while the convenient built-in handles make it easy to maneuver. With 24 indexing positions and a variety of included parts, this lathe offers endless possibilities for your woodworking projects. Upgrade your turning experience with the PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS and let your creativity soar.

Pros

  • Powerful Motor
  • Easy Setup
  • Good Build Quality
  • Equipped with two tool rest, tool holder, live center, spur center, etc.
  • Has range of position adjustments

Cons

  • No reversing Switch
  • Complex Belt Assembly
  • Lack of Torque Compensation

FAQ

How to sharpen wood lathe tools

To sharpen wood lathe tools, begin by grinding the edge with a bench grinder or sharpening system. Create a bevel angle of 20-25 degrees, ensuring a smooth and even surface. Then, hone the edge with a sharpening stone or sandpaper to achieve a sharp cutting edge.

How to use wood lathe

To use a wood lathe, secure the wood piece between the headstock and tailstock. Set the desired speed and turn on the lathe. Use handheld turning tools to shape and cut the wood while it spins. Practice proper tool positioning and technique for safe and effective woodturning.

What are different types of wood lathe tools

Different types of wood lathe tools include spindle gouges, bowl gouges, parting tools, skew chisels, and scrapers. Each tool is designed for specific woodturning tasks, such as shaping spindles, hollowing bowls, cutting threads, and creating smooth finishes on the wood surface.

What is the price of wood lathe chuck

The price of a wood lathe chuck can vary depending on the brand, size, and features. On average, a wood lathe chuck can range from $50 to $300 or more, with higher-quality and specialized chucks typically commanding a higher price.

Final Verdict

After conducting a meticulous evaluation and comparison of 8 remarkable wood lathes in 2023, the JET JWL 1221VS emerges as the Editor’s Choice. With its exceptional features, unparalleled precision, and user-friendly design, the JET JWL 1221VS surpasses its competitors. We wholeheartedly endorse it as the ultimate selection for individuals in search of a wood lathe that consistently delivers exceptional results.

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