THE BEST WOOD LATHES

Best wood lathes under $300, $500, $1000, $1500 & $2000 dollars | Review [2018]

There are countless different wood lathes on the market, and some of them are very costly. Some of these costly lathes  are still not very good. Also, there are cheaper lathes that are still very good but may not all of the feature of a good more expensive model. I have reviewed the a range of models in each price class.

The best lathes for each price range are:

If you are just starting out, or perhaps you are somewhere in the middle and you want a lathe which is going to allow you to do the basic things but grow within your hobby, too, then you can usually find plenty of products that are more budget-worthy or even intermediate in price range. This is a much more sensible option, and one which will allow you to have the best of both worlds, without being seriously out-of-pocket in the process.

Since deciding which wood lathe to purchase can be confusing if they’re not grouped into particular categories, we’re going to review the best wood lathes based on five different price ranges: under $300, $500, $1000, $1500, or $2000.

Obviously, beginners may prefer focusing on the first two categories, while intermediate users looking towards the under $1000 mark, depending on your budget, of course. More professional users, those who need a lathe that provides the best and most features, should look towards the higher end of the price scale.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our reviews.

Wood Lathe Comparison Table

Name Type Price Weight Speed Ability Level
WEN 3420 8” by 12” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3420 8” by 12” Comparison

Benchtop $ 44.1lb Manual & variable Beginner
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 Comparison

Benchtop $ 50.8lb Manual & variable Beginner
Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe 10 Inch

Grizzly H8259 Comparison

Benchtop $ 77lb Manual & variable Beginner
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

Jet JWL-1015 Comparison

Benchtop $$ 77lb Manual & variable Beginner
NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12” x 16.5”

NOVA 46300 Comet II Comparison

Mini lathe $$ 82.4lb Manual & variable Beginner/

Intermediate

Central Machinery 12” x 33-3/8” Wood Lathe With Reversible Head

Central Machinery 12” x 33-3/8” Comparison

Freestanding $$ Manual & variable Beginner
Grizzly G0462 Wood Lathe With Digital Readout

Grizzly G0462 Comparison

Digital $$$ 354lb Digital & variable Intermediate
JET JWL-1221VS 12” by 21” Variable Speed Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS Comparison

Benchtop $$$ 137lb Digital & variable Intermediate
RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2” x 24” VSR MIDI Lathe

RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR Comparison

Midi lathe $$$ 124lb Digital & variable Intermediate
NOVA 1624 II 16 x 24” 8 Speed Wood Lathe Standalone $$$$ 273lb Digital & variable Intermediate/

Professional

Jet JWL-1440VS 1 hp Benchtop Lathe

Jet JWL-1440VS Comparison

Benchtop $$$$ 270lb Digital & variable Intermediate/

Professional

DELTA 46-715 9.8 Amp 14” Swing by 40” Between Centers, ¾ Horsepower Woodworking lathe

DELTA 46-715 9.8 Amp Comparison

Standalone $$$$$ 338lb Manual & pre-set Intermediate/

Professional

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10” Variable Speed Midi Lathe

 

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander Comparison

Midi lathe $$$$$ 89.5lb Digital & variable Intermediate/

Professional

Jet JWL 1440VSK Wood Lathe

Jet JWL 1440VSK Comparison

Benchtop $$$$$ 400lb Digital & variable Intermediate/

Professional

Compare more wood lathes, see this wood lathe comparison chart.

Best Wood Lathes Under $300

WEN 3420 8” by 12” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3420 8” by 12” reviewThis particular model is a benchtop wood lathe, which makes it ideal for beginners. It isn’t huge and it isn’t heavy, so you can easily move it around if you want to and it’s not going to cause you a huge amount of strain when you’re actually in the middle of turning wood either.

The price range is also a pleasing benefit of this wood lathe, although it probably isn’t going to be enough for a professional user, so it is certainly best considered for beginners or those who are somewhere in the middle of their wood use development.

The speed is adjustable, and he range is 750 to 3200 rpm, this is a manual adjustment, which makes it easier for you to get to grips with speed and how to use the machine. There is a 5” faceplate included in the pack, which is ideal for turning wood to make bowls and cups, or any other item which isn’t a spindle.

You can work on any piece of wood that is up to 12” in length, and up to 8’ in width too, which is a wide variety to work between, giving you flexibility. This is a relatively quiet machine, compared to some other budget options, and it has a soft start motor, which is perfect for those concerned about safety. This also helps the machine to last longer, as it minimizes impact and damage on start up.

The 2A motor is strong and powerful, and the machine includes a MT1 spindle and tailstock taper, as well as two work rests which are both interchangeable, depending on what you’re working on at the time. All of this comes with a two year warranty, to give you peace of mind.

Related: Best wood lathe for the money

Features:

  • Variable speed from 750-3200rpm
  • 5” faceplate for work which is non-spindle
  • Works with wood up to 12” long and 8” wide
  • Soft start motor for safety and longevity
  • MT1 spindle and tailstock taper included, as well as interchangeable work rests
  • 2 year warranty
Pros:

 

Cons:

 

Low cost making it perfect for beginners Not ideal for any users who is quite advanced in their skills
Variable speed over a large bracket Manual speed adjustment can be a hindrance if you’re used to a digital readout
Soft start motor easier to use and less worrisome for beginners  
Accessories included  
Long warranty  

You can buy the WEN 3420 model here.

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3 assessmentThis is another wood lathe that is a benchtop type. The name really gives away how you work this type of lathe, because it sits easily on a table, or benchtop, and it is designed to be more compact than a more large and rigid (and usually more expensive) lathe.

These are, as we mentioned, ideal for beginners because they aren’t as cumbersome and therefore easier to work. This particular lathe is under the $300 mark, and therefore makes it a sensible purchase for those who want to get to grips with wood turning and to see where it takes them.

The 1/3 horsepower motor is a strong option, and it runs at 2 amps and 110V, which gives it plenty of power for your work. There is 12” distance between the centers, so you can use various shapes and sizes of wood, making this a versatile choice, too.

The 8” swing over bed is spacious, which is another plus point in the beginner camp, and the cast iron build means that it is not going to move or vibrate whilst you are using it in whatever capacity. While it isn’t a particularly quiet machine, it is a strong and sturdy one, which is a good option for those who are trying to learn.

The speed control is manual and variable, so you can tailor-make your turning experience to your needs. It is best to start slow if you are learning, however you will get more control at a higher speed – this is something to practice and experiment with as your skills progress.

There are two tool rests included with the machine, so you can keep everything together in one place. This is a compact lathe, and while it is a little heavier than our previous choice, at 50.8lb, this is an average weight for this type of machine.

Features:

  • 1/3 horsepower engine
  • 12” distance between centres for versatility, and 8” swing over bed
  • Strong construction, made of cast iron
  • Wide range of speed variations
  • Tool rests included with the purchase
Pros: Cons:
Large speed variation, which makes for a versatile experience Again, the speed control could be an issue for thsoe who are used to dealing with digital read outs
Wide range of different sizes of wood can be used, thanks to the wide distances Slightly more weight to the machine, making it harder to move it around if you need to
Strong build, making it a sturdy choice for beginners  
Tool rests included in the purchase  
Great price  

You can buy the SHOP FOX W1704 model here.

Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe, 10 Inch

Grizzly H8259 evaluationThis is another benchtop option, and this one comes towards the top end of the under $300 mark. The brand name is quite well known within the DIY world, which does give peace of mind overall.

This wood lathe is a 10” option, which is more than adequate for projects, and again, is the perfect choice for those starting out, such as creating bowls, dishes, decorative elements, etc, in order to learn. Obviously a more advanced user may find this isn’t enough for their needs.

The ½ horsepower motor is certainly strong enough for most beginner needs, and the 110 V gives an extra boost. This is also a single phase motor, so it does make for less chance of any problems, due to a simpler nature.

In terms of speed, this is a variable choice, but you do have to choose between pre-sets, which are 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, 3337rpm. This is a wide enough range for those who aren’t that experienced, and the lower end will allow beginners to work up to higher speeds, building up confidence as they go.

Certainly, more intermediate users may find the five pre-sets frustrating and may want to move onto a product which has more pre-sets on board, or, yet again, a digital readout.

The machine comes with several accessories included however, such as a tool rest, to keep everything in one place and steady, a live rolling centre, a spur centre, and wrenches. The machine does weigh more than the other two options, at 77lb, but that does make it sturdy and not at all likely to move around. If you want to move this benchtop lathe however, it could prove tricky.

Features:

  • ½ horsepower machine, at 110V and single phase
  • Five pre-set speeds to choose from
  • Accessories included in the purchase, including a tool rest, etc
  • Low price
  • Big named brand
Pros: Cons:
Strong motor for the price Just five pre-sets could be an issue, as it doesn’t leave much range for those who are a bit more experienced
Five speed pre-sets to choose from, allowing beginners to build up to working at higher speeds Quite a heavy machine, at 77lb
Accessories included in the purchase  

You can buy the Grizzly H8259 model here.

Best Wood Lathes Under $500

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

Jet JWL-1015 analysisJet is a big0named brand, and the JWL range is very well known in the DIY world. This should give you confidence in your purchase, and a little research will show you that there is a wide range of this model, which goes from low cost, such as this choice, to the higher end wood lathes, which go high up in price.

This basic model is ideal for beginners again, but it is also good for the intermediate user who is still trying to learn. It is a heavy machine, at 77lb, which, as we mentioned with a few lathes before, can be a good thing or a bad thing.

On the plus side, it isn’t going to move around during use, and it isn’t going to vibrate easily either; on the downside, it isn’t easy to move if you want to do so.

There are six speeds with this particular lathe, which are pre-set, ranging from 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630, and 3975. This is certainly enough or a beginner and intermediate to work with, and it allows you to start low and work up, again to increase confidence.

If you’re used to working with digital readouts, however, and choosing your own speed to create a bespoke experience, this lathe could become frustrating for you.

Distance wise, there is 15.5” between centres and 24 position indexing to give you plenty of scope to create whatever it is you’re trying to turn. There is a high quality tensioning system, which has been improved after feedback from previous users, and this gives access to the belts much easier than before. There are also wider beds now which give extra rigidity when using the lathe.

Features:

  • 5” between centres
  • Six pre-set speeds, ranging from 500 to 3975
  • 24 position indexing integrated
  • Tensioning system has been improved and gives more access to belts
  • Wide bed ways
Pros: Cons:
Big named brand and range to give confidence Again, it comes down to speed pre-sets, as many users prefer a digital type
Six pre-set seeds, which span along a large range It is a heavy machine, at 77lb
24 position indexing for flexibility  
Improved tensioning system after feedback from users  
Good price for the quality  

You can buy the Jet JWL-1015 model here.

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12” x 16.5”

NOVA 46300 Comet II reviewAgain, NOVA is a big name brand, and this is a mini lathe type which is ideal for those who want to create smaller projects including more intricate items, such as bowls, spindles, etc. This is a great choice for those who are learning to make things which are a bit more ‘fiddly’ than basic projects, and for that reason, we have placed this as a beginner and intermediate choice.

The price is pleasing, and because of the big name brand, you feel confidence in your purchase.

The speed range is a big plus point this with lathe, and although it is pre-sets which control it, there is a huge range, from 250 to 4000rpm. The very slow speeds are ideal for creating intricate items, although his type of lathe isn’t really high quality enough to be making super intricate items. For practicing, though, this is ideal.

There is a 12” swing over bed and the distance between centers is a large 16.5”, which means you have a lot of versatility when it comes to the size of the wood you’re working with. There is a three step Pulley system, which is set in three speeds: low, medium, and high.

The different speeds give you more control over what you’re doing and allows you to create a bespoke turning experience that suits your level of wood lathing skill. The motor is also quite strong, at ¾ horsepower, and it has been improved in quality after feedback from users on the last model in the range.

Features:

  • Large speed range pre-sets, from 250 to 4000rpm
  • 12” swing over bed and a large distance between centres, at 16.5” – this means you have versatility in the size of wood you use
  • 3 step Pulley System, with three speeds
  • Powerful ¾ horsepower motor
Pros: Cons:
Large speed range which gives you flexibility, even though it is pre-set Quite a heavy machine, at 82.4lb, so it is not a machine that can be moved around easily
Large distance between centers and large swing bed, so you can use different sizes of wood
3 step Pulley System in three speeds  
Strong motor at ¾ horsepower  

You can buy the NOVA 46300 Comet II model here.

Central Machinery 12” x 33-3/8” Wood Lathe With Reversible Head

Central Machinery 12” x 33-3/8” assessment This wood lathe is a freestanding type of lathe, which doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. This is ideal for beginners who aren’t sure whether they are going to carry on with their wood turning hobby or not; however, for a more advanced user, this is perhaps too basic.

This lathe does have a lot of extras that makes it stand out as a possible purchase. The pivoting headstock means you can make larger bowls with ease, thanks to the head being able to turn to greater distances.

The rotation also locks into four different positions at 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees. The swing over bed measurement is 12”, which is large enough for most needs. There are also several speed pre-sets, although not to as high a range as some of the other wood lathes we have reviewed so far, or will review as we continue on to higher price ranges.

The wood lathe comes with a few accessories included, such as a stand, a tool rest, a drive centre, Allen wrenches, and a 6” disc. This means your purchase isn’t going to need to be supplemented with extras.

Features:

  • Rotating headstock which locks into four different positions
  • Large distance swing over bed at 12”
  • Several accessories included in the purchase, including a stand and tool rest
  • Pre-set speeds to choose from
Pros: Cons:
Rotating headstock for making larger items The lathe is quite bulky and it might be difficult to us for those who are used to more benchtop varieties
Several accessories included in the set
Several speed pre-sets to choose from  
Good price  

You can buy the Central Machinery model here.

Best Wood Lathes Under $1000

Grizzly G0462 Wood Lathe With Digital Readout

Grizzly G0462 evaluationAs we move up through the price ranges, we start to hit the wood lathes that have a different type of speed control. This Grizzly wood lathe comes from that particular bracket, and has 10 different speeds, between 600 to 2400rpm, with a digital readout, which gives you an easier experience when turning wood.

The distance between centres is also quite large on this machine, which gives a lot more flexibility ad space to work with, at 43”. This is what makes this machine much more suitable to advanced users, compared to those who are literally just starting out.

The wood lathe is made of strong and heavy cast iron, which explains why is it so heavy – this is not a downside however, as it means you can work with large pieces of wood without worrying about movement or vibration.

Obviously, this does mean you can’t move the lathe easily, so this is something to bear in mind when placing it in your workshop.

Finally, the lathe comes with a MT2 spindle and tailstock taper, which allows you to make more intricate items, such as decorate spindles, etc. Overall, this is a great lathe to further develop your existing skills.

Features:

  • 10 different speeds which are displayed digitally, ranging from 600-2400rpm
  • 1” x 8 TPH RH headstock spindle included
  • A large 43” distance between centres allows you to work with a large range of different sized woods
  • Heavy duty construction made of cast iron to ensure stability and lack of vibration when using the lathe
  • MT2 spindle and tailstock taper
Pros: Cons:
Large distance between centres, making for a more versatile experience when turning wood  It is a very heavy machine, so it is not going to be moved around a lot
Strong and sturdy construction
Included MT2 spindle and tailstock taper  
 Large range of speeds with digital readout  

You can buy the Grizzly G0462 model here.

JET JWL-1221VS 12” by 21” Variable Speed Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS 12” by 21” analysis We have another JET JWL wood lathe here, and it is a very high quality one to go for. This is towards the top end of the $1000 mark, but it is packed with extras that make it worthwhile and is a great choice for intermediate users who want to progress onward with their turning hobby and perhaps move into a professional capacity.

This particular lathe is also quite compact, so it’s not going to take up a lot of room in the place you decide to store it, but it is quite heavy (although, not as heavy as our last choice). At just over 100lb, you can expect to store it and leave it where it is, so you need to be very selective when placing it in your workshop.

This particular wood lathe has a variable speed with a digital readout, and goes between 60 to 3600rpm providing a huge range to work with and gives you a lot of control over your wood turning endeavors. Again, the slower speeds will help you create intricate designs, but the higher speeds will help you create the more basic shapes faster. You can experiment as you learn and find out which speeds suit your needs best.

Movement between forwards and backwards (reverse) is very smooth, without jerking or any need to stop or slow down too much. This transition makes learning and progression much easier overall.

There is also a ratchet style belt tension system installed on the wood lathe, which is innovative and one of a kind. This is what also helps this lathe stand out, as it is developing to make use much easier and smoother overall.

Features:

  • Digital readout speed control with a large range, between 60-3600rpm
  • Smooth transition between forward to reverse motion, without jerking
  • Ratchet style belt tension system, innovative and personalised to this particular wood lathe
  • Heavy but not as heavy as some lathes, and designed to minimalize and eradicate vibration and no movement
Pros: Cons:
Large speed range which is digitally read out Heavy duty feel makes the lathe difficult to move around
Easy movement between forward to reverse motion
Ratchet style belt tension system  
Solid construction to minimise vibration  
Big named brand and model for peace of mind in purchasing  

You can buy the JET JWL-1221VS model here.

RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2” x 24” VSR MIDI Lathe

RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2” x 24” reviewRIKON is another big brand name and this means that, again, you can be sure that you are getting quality in your purchase. When you are spending more money on your wood lathe products then you want to be sure that you’re getting something extra, compared to the lower priced products, which might suit your needs a little better.

For that reason, it is vital to check out features carefully. This particular product, however, does have enough features to make its slightly higher price tag suitable, and for intermediate users, this machine will do more than enough with room for growth, too.

The motor is strong, at 1 horsepower, and will be enough for any type of turning endeavors. There is a very large turning capacity, of 12-1/2” in swing diameter, which allows you to work with a range of different sizes of wood and thicknesses, including a 20” distance between centres.

Again, this means you can use a range of wood to create any piece that you’re working on. There is also a 24 position index capacity, which means you can work on more intricate patterns, such as spindles or bowls.

Speed-wise, there are many variable options which are clearly displayed on an LED screen. There are forward and reverse functions, too, giving you more control over your turning movement. The range of speed is from 250 to 3850rpm, which allows you to work up to higher speeds depending on the project you’re working on.

Features:

  • Strong 1 horsepower motor
  • Large turning diameter of 12-1/2” and 20” distance between centres
  • 4 positon indexing allowing users to create intricate patterns
  • Large variable speed allowance, between 250-3850rpm, with LED display
  • Forward and reverse functions
Pros: Cons:
Strong motor at 1 horsepower Heavy design means it is not easy to move
Large turning capacity and diameter swing A large number of extras makes it hard to learn on, so it is not suitable for beginners
24 position index head for intricate designs  
Large speed choice with LED design for easy use  

You can buy the RIKON Power Tools model here. 

Best Wood Lathes Under $1500

NOVA 1624 II 16 x 24” 8 Speed Wood Lathe

This is another big brand name and when you are spending over $1500 on a wood lathe, you want to know that it is going to do something different and more advanced than one that is cheaper.

This particular wood lathe is high quality, and has a very strong motor as a result. The lathe is versatile because it converts from a benchtop lathe to a standalone one, thanks to the included stand.

It is a very heavy lathe, so it really doesn’t need to be moved around too much. The solid cast iron construction means it is not going to move around when working at high speeds, and there is going to be very little in the way of vibration, if any at all.

The motor is very strong, at 1.5 horsepower, and is powered by traditional AC. This means the motor is reliable and has enough behind it to keep the lathe going at high speed for a long time.

The speed range is also very wide, from 100 to 3500 rpm, and is displayed on a digital display, so you can easily see where you are working and either move upwards or downwards through the range, depending on what you are doing. This is also something you will become second nature towards using.

In order to make larger items, the head also swivels a full 360 degrees, which allows you to make large spindles and bowls, as well as more intricate designs, working at a lower speed overall.

Features:

  • Very strong and powerful 1.5 horsepower motor
  • Large digital speed range, from 100 to 3500rpm
  • Included stand which converts the lathe from benchtop to standalone
  • Swivel head for working with larger items
  • Strong cast iron construction
Pros: Cons:
Very strong motor, allowing high speeds to be used over a longer period of time This is a very heavy and strong lathe, so is only really going to be used to the maximum with advanced intermediate users and professionals
Included stand to convert to a standalone lathe The price range would make it unacceptable for anyone with a lesser skill set
Fully rotating head, allowing larger items to be turned  
Large speed range with a digital display  

You can buy the NOVA 1624 model here.

Jet JWL-1440VS 1 hp Benchtop Lathe

Jet JWL-1440VS evaluationThe number of Jet JWL products on our list should tell you a lot about their high quality and popularity. That in itself is enough to point you in the direction of a purchase, but it is much more than that.

This particular lathe is a smart looking one, for sure. It is moderate in terms of weight when thinking about a highly intermediate to professional standard piece of equipment, and it is sleek in appearance.

The lathe has a sliding headstock which turns a full 360 degrees, and has 7 positions for locking, so you can be comfortable while using the lathe and you can use larger pieces of wood if you want to. There is also a variable speed range between 400 to 3000rpm, which is shown on a clear digital display to give you control over your turning.

There is a positive locking tool rest with a new clamping design, based on feedback from users in the past, and there is also an optional extension bed you can use, which increases the capacity distance between centres to 60”. This is certainly more than enough for most users to create large projects and intricate designs.

This particular lathe sits neatly on a benchtop, and can be moved around. As we mentioned, though, it is quite heavy. In terms of intermediate to professional use, however, it is a very good lathe to consider.

Features:

  • Sliding headstock which rotates a full 360 degrees and locks in 7 positions
  • Speed varies between 400-3000rpm, with digital display
  • Positive locking tool rest which has a new clamping design, based on feedback from previous users
  • Extension bed can be used to increase the capacity of the distance between centres to 60”
Pros: Cons:
Sleek and attractive design, as well as being compact High price range
Sliding headstock which turns a full 360 degrees, with 7 positions to lock into
Speed range is variable and large, from 400-3000rpm  
The optional extension bed means you can easily increase up to use larger pieces of wood to create bespoke projects  

You can buy the Jet JWL-1440VS model here.

Best Wood Lathes Under $2000

DELTA 46-715 9.8 Amp 14” Swing by 40” Between Centers, ¾ Horsepower Woodworking lathe, 120 Volt 1 Phase

DELTA 46-715 9.8 Amp analysisThis is another very well-known brand name, creating lathes over a range of different prices. This particular option is certainly for the more experienced user and has a price tag that would probably be unacceptable to the beginner user.

The downside of this particular lathe is that for the price you would probably expect it to be digital in terms of speed, but it actually has 10 pre-set speeds, which you choose according to the project you’re working on.

The motor is also ¾ horsepower, which is a little less than our other lathe of the same price range. This isn’t a huge problem, however, as it is only a small decrease.

The headstock on the lathe does rotate to at three different angles, namely 45, 90, and 180 degrees, allowing you to create many different project using larger wood cuts, or very small ones if you prefer. There is also a 24 position index on the pulley which means you create ornamental or intricate designs.

This is what this lathe is perhaps best used for, as the speed resets could put off some users, but it is very good in terms of intricacy.

The purchase includes several accessories, including a cast iron tool rest, which is large enough for most tools, at 12”, and steel stand which is strong enough to hold the heavy 338lb weight of the lathe itself. The switch for on and off is ergonomically positioned, above the motor, so you can reach it quite easily when you need it.

Features:

  • ¾ horsepower motor is strong and reliable
  • 10 speed pre-sets for all projects
  • Rotating headstock at three different angles
  • 24 position index on the pulley, for intricate designs
  • Cast iron tool rest included, as well as a steel stand
  • Ergonomic design
Pros: Cons:
Ergonomic design makes the lathe easier to use For the price, the motor isn’t as strong as some other lathes in the same price bracket
Strong motor For the price, the speed pre-sets aren’t digitalised
10 speeds to suit whatever project you’re creating  
Rotating headstock at three angles  
Intricate designs are easier with the 24 position index on pulley  
Tool rest and stand included in the price  

You can buy the DELTA 46-715 model here.

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10” Variable Speed Midi Lathe

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10” reviewPSI is a recognizable brand in the higher end of wood lathes, which is a good gold standard to add confidence to your purchase.

This particular lathe is very lightweight considering its extras an its quality, which means it can be moved around a little easier than some of the others. However, it is still quite hefty at just over 80lb.

This is a midi lathe, which means it is perfect for creating small to medium sized items. There are carrying handles on the lathe, so you can pick it up in a balanced way, if you do need to move it around.

The speed control is from 150 to 4100rpm, which is a very wide range, and goes much faster than most of the other lathes we have reviewed so far, as well as having a digital readout, to allow you to pick your own personalized speed.

This means you can work to the speed you’re comfortable with and learn to adapt your practice accordingly. This also allows you to shape much easier, by using lower speeds, before building up to whatever height you need to finish it off.

This lathe has specific SBC microprocessor technology built in, which means you have total control over your turning, as well as being a very reliable machine. There are 4 indexing positions as well as spindle locking, so you can create intricate designs with ease. The ¾ horsepower motor is strong and reliable.

There is a tool storage section on the lathe, so you can keep all your tools close by, and you can purchase an optional extra extension bed, which will allow you to turn wood up to 43”. The belt is also very easy to access, in case of need of repair or replacement.

Functions:

  • Variable speeds from 150-410rpm with digital read out
  • SBC microprocessor technology for precision and reliability
  • Carrying handles for easier movement
  • 24 indexing positions including spindle locking for intricate items
  • Tool storage included in the purchase and on the lathe, so you can keep all your tools close by
  • There is an extension bed you can buy as an extra, which allow you to increase the turning distance by up to 43”
  • Powerful ¾ horsepower motor
  • Easy belt access and removal in case of repair or replacement
  • 3 year warranty
Pros: Cons:
Digital read out of speeds with a wide range, so  you can choose your specific speed easily You need to buy the extra bed extension if you want to create projects up to 43”
SBC microprocessor technology Despite the carrying handles, this is still a  very heavy lathe to move around
Carrying handles to transport the lathe a little easier  
24 indexing positions included  
Tool storage for accessing your tools quickly  
Easy access to the belt  

You can buy the PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander model here.

Jet JWL 1440VSK Wood Lathe

Jet JWL 1440VSK assessment This is another of those reliable and high-quality Jet JWL products, and this one falls into our highest category in terms of price. Are there enough features to warrant the price? It is a high-quality option, but you could be paying a little for the brand name here.

This lathe is ideal for making intricate items again, as the sliding headstock turns a full 360 degrees, and locks at seven positions, including 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees. This not only means you can create large and more intricate items but it also means that you can work more comfortably, without strain.

You can vary the speed you work at, form 400 up to 3000 rpm, with digital readout to give you a true reading of how you are actually working. The tailstock quill locking has also been improved on previous models, thanks to user feedback, and there is now an anti-rotation key.

The tool rest is now positive locking and has a redesigned clamping mechanism. You can also use the optional extension bed mounts to create larger objects, in three different positions, to give flexibility to your turning and creations.

Overall, this particular lathe might have a large price tag, but it does have that peace of mind that comes with purchasing a big name brand. The Jet JWL range is high quality and well reputed for a reason, and that might be something which is vitally important to you when making a purchase.

Features:

  • Sliding headstock which rotates a full 360 degrees, with 7 locking positions
  • Speed varies between 400 and 3000rpm, with easy to read display
  • Tailstock quill locking with anti-rotation key is improved on previous models
  • Locking tool rest with new clamping mechanism also improved on previous models
  • Optional extension bed in three positions for larger items to be turned
Pros: Cons:
Big named brand to give you confidence when spending a larger amount of money High price
Sliding headstock gives you a range of positions and freedom when turning wood Quite a heavy lathe, so moving it around is not going to be easy
Variable speed is over a large range  
Easy to read display makes it easier to use the lathe  
Optional extension bed further extends use  

You can buy the Jet JWL 1440VSK model here. 

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

What is the best wood lathe for beginners?

As a beginner, it is best to start with a lower priced or budget priced option (though not necessarily the cheapest). However, you may also want something that is versatile. Once you have some experience with a cheaper more basic option you may then want to upgrade to a more complex and expensive one or you may decide that the inexpensive basic wood lathe is all you need for what you are making. Therefore, I recommend that the best wood lathe for beginners is the Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe it is a good lathe that is still very affordable and suitable for beginners and intermediate users.

What is the best cheap wood lathe?

The best cheap wood lathe depends on what you consider as cheap. The minimum that you can spend to get a good one is about $300, which is quite inexpensive as far as power tools go. A good cheap or budget priced wood lathe is my top pick under $300 the Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe 10 Inch.

Conclusion

Here again are my top picks for each price category:

When it comes to spending a large portion of cash on something, no matter what it is, you need to know that you’re getting a top quality lathe for your money.

Tools are products which allow us to perform jobs and carry out hobbies, and whether that is in a professional or domestic capacity, life would be rather difficult without them! For that reason, reviews are always the best place to head when you want to find out whether the item you’re looking at is really worth the case.

Point being, this review was curated to provide you with the best objective and most detailed information of wood lathes in the specified price ranges in order to help you select the best product for your woodworking needs (such as lathe fine woodworking).

We also provide guides such as How To techniques that can help teach any wood lathe owner how to use a scraper, texturing, or even a skew chisel tool, and much more!

If you are into woodworking you may be interested in my review of contractor & jobsite table saws for every budget, essential reading for anyone looking to buy a portable table saw. Just want the best table saw? Check out my review of the best table saw for the money.

Best Miter Saw

Another tool that every serious woodworker needs is a miter saw! Check out my review of miter saws here:

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