Mini Wood Lathe Machines Purchase – The Full Guide & Reviews

///Mini Wood Lathe Machines Purchase – The Full Guide & Reviews

Mini Wood Lathe Machines Purchase – The Full Guide & Reviews

A wood lathe is an incredible and extremely satisfying tool to use. It quickly becomes an indispensable part of any woodworking shop and allows the user to create perfectly symmetrical pieces which he couldn’t otherwise. A wood lathe represents a significant investment for most individuals and it is thus important to consider impactful wood lathe reviews.

For a home workshop, however, you might want to consider a smaller and less expensive type of lathe. These smaller, yet powerful counterparts are commonly labeled as mini, midi or benchtop lathes. These tools are great choices if you are looking for something within a budget, have restricted space or aren’t ready to commit to a full-size tool. They are an excellent choice for beginners as well as experienced woodworkers and can be used for a variety of applications or projects.

All that said, there are a lot of variables you should consider when investing in a wood lathe. We have compiled all the pieces of the puzzle for you in order to take the next step in your woodturning journey and mini wood lathe ownership. We will cover everything you need to know from common things to look out for to specific lathes you should keep an eye for. We will also dive into a discussion on owning a mini woodworking lathe and what advantages it has over the full-sized counterparts.

Model Speed Range Motor Size Weight
NOVA 46300 Comet II
Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
250 to 4000 3/4 HP 12″ Swing, 16.5″ Centers 77.2 lbs
RIKON Power Tools 70-105

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
500 to 3200 1/2 HP 10″ Swing, 18″ Centers 75 lbs
JET JWL-1221VS

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
60 to 3600 1 HP 12.5″ Swing, 20.5″ Bed 121.25 lbs
WEN 3420

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
750 to 3200 1/6 HP 8″ Swing, 12″ Bed 45 lbs
Delta Industrial 46-460

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
250 to 4000 1 HP 12.5″ Swing, 16.5″ Bed 97 lbs
SHOP FOX W1752

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
480 to 4023 1/2 HP 10″ Swing, 15.5″ Bed 138 lbs
Excelsior Lathe

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
760 to 3200 1/2 HP 10″ Swing, 18″ Bed 80.5 lbs
RIKON 70-100

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
430 to 3900 1/2 HP 12″ Swing, 16″ Bed 91.4 lbs
PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
500 to 3600 3/4 HP 10″ Swing, 18″ Bed 82 lbs
Central Machinery Lathe

Click Here for Current Price, Reviews and More on Amazon
750 to 3200 3/4 HP 10″ Swing, 18″ Bed 79 lbs

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Review

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Review
The NOVA Comet II is a newly released lathe from Teknatool. The company has over 60 years of experience in the woodworking industry and keeps pushing the boundaries through technological innovation.

The Comet is a perfect example of a compact wood lathe. The footprint on a table is about 7″ by 30″. If you are primarily interested in working with spindles, the lathe can be set as close as 3″ from the back wall. This will give you enough clearance to complete most of your projects comfortably. The swing of the lathe is 12″ and the distance between centers measures 18″ which is plenty for most projects. The position of the tailstock can be locked securely onto the bed.

Many users have reported being completely satisfied with their Comet II lathe. It has a particularly rich feature set with adequate power, excellent speed range, reversing capability, vibration-free operation, indexing pin, spindle lock, solid metal construction and much more. The patented VersaTurn adaptive technology sets the lathe above most competitors.

Stability is very important for tabletop lathes. The Comet is equipped with an excellent rubber footing system which keeps the lathe going without any disturbances. Users have reported that they have secured these rubber feet to a desk or table to further reduce any vibrations, while others mentioned it is completely unnecessary due to the rugged build of the lathe.

The NOVA lathe is driven by a 3/4 HP variable speed DC motor which delivers a lot of power to the spindle. The pulley system is composed of two three step pulleys bound by a drive belt. In other words, this allows for three different speed ranges which can be controlled by a knob on the control panel on the front of the lathe. This mechanism is quite clever but does require you to move belts around to move between the ranges. That being said, you simply release the motor lock handle to lift the motor slightly and you are all set.

Accessing the drive belt mentioned above is quite simple. The main cover on the headstock provides the user with an access to the entire drive system. Therefore, the process of changing your speed or replacing the belt can be accomplished in seconds. Speaking of speed ranges, they are as follows for the Comet: 250 to 680 rpm, 530 to 1420 rpm, and 1380 to 4000 rpm. Notice the overlap between the ranges; it allows the user to comfortably switch over while keeping the speed in order to safely resume the operation.

The controls on the lathe are very well thought out. You will find everything in one place. You have access to an industrial start/stop push buttons, a forward/reverse toggle switch and a variable speed range knob with an indicator.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Wood Lathe Reviews

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe Review
The RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe is an excellent entry-level tabletop lathe. It comes in at 75 lbs (34 kgs) and packs quite a bit of power and features for such a small lathe.

The swing over the bed on this tool is 10″; the distance between spindle centers is 18″. This gives you plenty of room for most medium to large size projects. Both hole sizes on the drive spindle as well as the tailstock are of a standard measurement of 3/8″ which is important for some of your tooling. The footprint of the lathe is 35.5″ by 10.5″ by 14.75″.

On the electrical side, this lathe comes equipped with a 1/2 HP motor which is tied into the mains at 120 VAC over a single phase. The rated speed of the motor is at 1700 RPM with no load. The speed ranges supplied for the user are governed by the pulley system inside of the lathe. These speeds are 500, 1175, 1850, 2225 and 3200. They are adjusted by moving the belt between the different positions on the two pulleys; fairly standard for a lathe of this size and price point.

The 70-105 is quite popular among woodturners who are looking for a solid lathe without all the fancy features. It comes in at a much lower price than some of the other lathes on our list but is still quite remarkable. Those of you who don’t mind the occasional belt change will love this lathe. Many have reported turning excellent wood pens on this lathe with great success. On Amazon, this lathe has received some of the top wood lathe reviews.

One major flaw which was noticed by several users was that the motor was suspended too low and required spacers to clear from the ground.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

JET JWL-1221VS Midi Lathe Review

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe ReviewThe JET JWL-1221VS is a completely different lathe from all the other ones from JET. It has been specifically re-designed in order to accommodate wider projects and thus has a wider bed frame than a lathe of a similar size. Therefore, this gives a better placement opportunity for the tool rest banjo as well as the locking footprint.

This lathe is driven by a 1 HP DC Motor. JET spared no expenses on the heavy duty bearings as well as the pulley system for this lathe. The same can be said about controls. You will find a nice panel which includes your standard ON/OFF switch as well as the forward and reverse buttons. This model is also equipped with a digital readout, a feature we rarely see on small lathes like this. It will record the spindle speed which should fall within the range of 60 to 3600 RPM.

The headstock allows a swing of 12.5″ over the bed and a distance of 20.5″ between the two centers. Both the headstock and tailstock are equipped with 2MT Morse tapers; the headstock spindle is able to accept M33 by 3.5. The lathe comes in at a hefty 121.5 lbs. If you are looking to invest in a sturdy piece of machinery, this lathe would be a great option.

The lathe supports three different speed ranges: 60 to 900, 110 to 1800 and 220 to 3600. Although you will need to relocate the belt on a pulley to switch between these ranges, once that’s complete, you have access to a variable speed drive function. Speaking of the belt, the change is completed by accessing one of the two doors: one on top and another on the bottom of the lathe. JET has provided the users with a unique way of accessing the bottom door through a magnetic mechanism. Once the motor is revealed, one can loosen a ratchet to release it from the position and relocate the belt where needed.

Turning a bowl on this lathe is an absolute pleasure. You can choose to use the lathe as is, or purchase some of the JET accessories which allow you to convert it to a full-size lathe through leg and bed attachments. During operation, the tool rest, as well as the tailstock, are properly secured through a locking mechanism; no evidence of these items causing any trouble has been reported. The lathe maintains an excellent speed throughout the procedure and is very pleasant to work with.

This lathe is quite powerful for the footprint. However, we aren’t particularly pleased with the way the controls were placed. We generally want to see something bigger and better positioned for a lathe of this price point. However, it is only a small inconvenience.

We would recommend this to an intermediate buyer as the lathe does have some advanced features that come at a price. It is also a great stepping stone toward a potential upgrade should you decide to convert to a larger tool.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

WEN 3420 Mini Lathe Review

WEN 3420 8-Inch by 12-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe Review

The WEN 3420 8-Inch by 12-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe is a great starter lathe. It comes in fully assembled; all you need to do out of the box is mount the spindle. The shipping packaging is excellent and the lathe arrives nearly ready to go.

The lathe comes in with a smaller sized motor than most of the other lathes. It is rated at 1/6 HP and takes 2A of current at 120 VAC. Although it may seem that you need more power, you should consider the uses for your lathe. This tool is plenty for most small to medium projects.

The WEN 3420 really is an entry level tool. It comes in at a much lower pricepoint than most of the other models, but does get the job done for the small projects. We recommend it to those who are either trying to get started in wood turning, have an interest in smaller projects or if you simply aren’t ready to fork out the money for a more expensive lathe.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe Review

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe Review

The Delta 46-460 is an excellent midi sized lathe. It comes with all the accessories you might need to get started and a large array of those you can purchase at a later time. The swing over bed is of 12-1/2″ with a distance between centers of 16″ which makes it a great lathe for small to mid-size woodturning projects. That being said, if you are looking for a compact tool with a powerful engine, this is exactly what you need.

The variable speed of the lathe is achieved through a patented technology on the belt drive system. This system allows the lathe to be driven at three different speed ranges: 250 to 750, 600 to 1350 and 1350 to 4000. The speed ranges can be varied through a knob on the lathe which makes it quite convenient for the low-end lathes which require you to stop and move the belts around.

For the price range of this lathe, you are getting quite a bargain. It comes with standard tooling as well as accessories needed to get you started.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

SHOP FOX W1752 Mini Lathe Review

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe Review

The Shop Fox mini wood lathe is an excellent purchase for a beginner or experienced wood turner. It comes with a sturdy cast iron base and handles quite well. The lathe has a swing over bed of 10 inches and a distance between centers of 15 inches. This is plenty for small to medium woodworking projects.

On the electrical side, the lathe is driven by a 1/2 HP motor rated at 110 VAC using a single phase and drawing up to 6 amps. The rated speed of this motor is 1725 RPM while no load is applied. The lathe is capable of spindle speeds between 480 and 4023 RPM.

Speed changes are done through the repositioning of belts in the headstock of the lathe. Opening the front cover and the side access plate, one can use the belt tension knob to release the pulley in order to move the belt. Here’s a complete guide as provided by the manual:

  1. Loosen the lock handle, remove the belt cover, and open the access plate.
  2. Loosen the belt tension lock knob, and move the belt tension lever up to reduce tension on the belt.
  3. Locate the desired speed on the speed chart on the belt cover, and move the belt to the desired grooves on the motor and spindle pulleys.
  4. Move the belt tension lever down, tighten the lock knob, and reinstall the access plate and belt cover

Based on the above procedure, you will end up with 6 different speeds depending on the position of the belt. These speeds are as follows: 480, 1270, 1960, 2730, 3327 and 4023 RPM.

The lathe has been reported to be a great tool and no major issues have been encountered by woodworkers and hobbyists. We definitely recommend reviewing the manual for the lathe to see if it’s the right fit for you. Take the time to read some of the excellent wood lathe reviews this tool has received all over the web.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

Excelsior Lathe Mini Lathe Review

Excelsior Mini Lathe ReviewThe Excelsior Mini Lathe is actually sold under several different brands. In other words, you may find the same exact tool with a different label on it, but the exact same build.

The Rockler Excelsior mini lathe features a durable cast-iron frame as well as a drive system coupled with a 1/2 HP motor. This small lathe provides enough power for small to medium projects as well as some of the bigger ones. Both the headstock and the tailstock are made from cast iron making sure that the lathe is rugged and ready for turning. The lathe can turn wood bowls of up to 10″ in diameter and work with spindles of up to 17.75″. Accessories such as bed and base extensions are available to complement it as needed.

Coming back to the drive system, the lathe has 5 manual speeds: 760, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM. Just like with some of the other lathes in our list, the speed changes are done through a shift in the belt system. Simply release the belt and move it into the desired pulley position. After only a few exercises, you will be completing this within seconds.

The lathe comes out of the box fully assembled; a nice touch few manufacturers provide. Before you start turning, you should glance through the manual and make sure that the drive system is tensioned and good to go.

Customers report that the lathe is very smooth running at higher speeds. Turning spindles at over 2200 RPM was absolutely no issue for this lathe. It is equipped with heavy-duty ball bearings which explain the perfect turning.

The Rockler Excelsior Mini Lathe is extremely well built for the asking price. It is upgradable through manufacturers accessories and will last for a long time. It provides the users with all the features a small workshop would need and is definitely to consider for a beginner or intermediate woodworker. It has a solid bed allowing you to work on most projects including bowl turning.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe Review

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe Review
The Rikon 70-100 Mini Lathe has a great project capacity; one of the largest among the lathes we have reviewed. In addition to the base lathe, the manufacturer has provided users with an option to purchase accessories to extend the functionality. The lathe provides a swing over bed of 12 inches and a distance between centers of 16 inches.

The Rikon is equipped with a powerful 1/2 HP motor which drives a pulley system adjustable for 6 different speeds: 430, 810, 1230, 1810, 2670 and 3900 RPM. Although the lathe does not have an adjustable knob to vary these speeds, Rikon has installed an easy access belt door which makes the swap quick and efficient. De-tensioning the belt from the system is done through a locking arm; the full process is described in the manual but is also quite painless.

The unique feature of the Rikon lathe is the head indexing for up to 12 positions. The workpiece can be locked in in multiple positions for increased accuracy and better detail work. Furthermore, the headstock allows the spindle to be locked in place for easy removal or replacement of tooling such as wood bowl chucks, face plates and more.

The lathe is quite versatile and can be upgraded as you develop our skill set. It’s an excellent choice for most projects due to the large capacity. The sturdy build translates to a quiet and smooth operation.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Mini Lathe Review

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe ReviewThe PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Mini Wood Lathe is packed with features. It is a variable speed drive lathe with three different ranges. The patented system allows the user to quickly access the belt system in order to change from one range to another and quickly get back to turning. While in a certain speed range, you can vary the speed freely with an external knob.

The lathe comes with two different tool rests 6″ and 12″, spur center for the headstock, heavy duty live center, spindle lock, a 4″ faceplate, knockout bar and a secured light. Other small accessories include the power cord with clips, handles and more. You will need to take some time to assemble this lathe after you receive it.

PSI Woodworking has done an excellent job on the tool. The entire lathe is cast iron and feels extremely sturdy. Every little piece of the lathe was machined to perfection which reflects on the way the lathe operates.

The lathe can be driven at two different speed ranges: 500 to 1800 and 1950 to 3800 RPM. As mentioned above, going from one range to the other is quite simple. You can release the belt with an external flip switch. The lathe is equipped with a digital readout which will provide you with the actual running speed of the tool. The display is located on the front of the lathe for convenience.

Customer support from PSI has been top notch according to many woodworkers. If you are looking for a reliable tool with all the features you will ever need, this is it. It is definitely an advanced lathe we would recommend to someone who’s invested in the woodturning hobby. Lastly, just like many other manufacturers, PSI gives you the option of purchasing several accessories including a bed extension which takes the lathe to a whole other level.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

Central Machinery Lathe Mini Lathe Review

RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe Review

The Central Machinery lathe is actually a complete re-skin of the Excelsior Lathe we’ve reviewed above. Depending on what the current price is, we recommend checking both of them out and picking the cheapest option. In other words, it’s exactly the same lathe, but with a different paint job and company label. Check out our review above to see what we thought about this lathe.

See Price On Amazon
User Manual

Wood Lathe Reviews Conclusion

A wood lathe is a long-term investment. Therefore, it’s important to pick the right tool for your particular situation. The best approach by far is to start with a general idea of what you’re looking for in terms of features, size, reliability as well as budget. Based on these parameters, you can start looking for lathes and evaluating the wood lathe reviews you find online. I highly recommend that you spend some time on Amazon as well as woodturning sites reading some of those reviews.

Happy Turning,
Vlad

By | 2018-05-08T15:02:38+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Lathe Tutorials, Woodworking|Comments Off on Mini Wood Lathe Machines Purchase – The Full Guide & Reviews

About the Author:

I'm an electrical engineer by profession and a maker by heart. I have enjoyed tinkering, building and assembling things since the age of 6 when I built my first radio. Nowadays, I take a lot of interest in electronics, programming, machining, CNC machines and 3D printing. I work a full time job as an electrical engineer and spend the rest of my time in my workshop and in my electronics lab.
error: Content is protected !!