4 Best Mini Lathe for Metal in 2021 – Reviews & Guide

When it comes to finding the best mini lathe for metal, there are so many different products available that it can be difficult to know which one to get.

Lathes are great for their ability to shape different materials, and metal is the second most common material to use with them.

One thing that you might notice among the sea of available products is that the majority of lathes are designed for use with wood, and not as many are suitable for metal. This can often make it quite difficult to find the product that you need as wood lathes cannot be used for metal.

So, if you are looking to shape metal, you are going to need to get your hands on a metal lathe. To help move your search along, we have come up with a list of some of the best mini metal lathes available. This way, you can make a quick decision and know everything that you need to know about these products.

best mini lathe for metal

If you have a project that needs to be started as soon as possible, you might be looking to get a mini metal lathe sooner rather than later.

We can understand why you might be in a rush to get your hands on the product you need quickly, which is why we will leave our top pick here for you to browse.

After researching everything there is to know about mini metal lathes, we have found that the best product available is the Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed Lathe.

This product will provide you with everything that you need from a metal lathe, and it is the perfect size for not taking up too much space.

It is ready to use straight out of the box and it comes with all the tools that you will need to shape metal.

In a hurry? Here are the Best Mini Lathes for Metal

OUR TOP PICK

Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed Lathe 7' x 12' Drilling Machine

The Eastwood mini metal lathe is 7x12 inches and it allows you to machine your own parts at home with accuracy.

This product is easy to use and it can turn  Steel, Aluminum, Nylon, Delrin, Brass, and Oil Impregnated Bronze. It also includes HSS cutting tools, so this product is ready to use straight out of the box without any complications.

This is a tool that has a ¾ HP motor that is capable of taking a .010" cut in steel, which allows you to make real parts for your project.

All of the tools that you might need are included with your purchase, so you can save money from having to purchase them separately.

This machine is a home workshop-friendly size, and it features auto feed and selectable gear train components.

Additionally, the inside and outside 3-jaw chuck set is included, and it comes fully equipped with everything you might need.

Pros

Cons

👍 Auto feed and selectable gears - These allow for complex threading operations with the best possible accuracy and precision

👍 3-jaw chuck This will work to accommodate a wide range of workpieces for most turning and cutting operations

👍Includes HSS tools - Not all lathes will come with these extra tools, so you will save money down the line

👎 Some users have had trouble with the reset switch only working intermittently

EDITORS CHOICE

BestEquip Metal Lathe 7' x 14',Mini Metal Lathe 0-2500 RPM Variable Speed,Mini Lathe with 4' 3-jaw Chuck,Bench Top Metal Lathe, Benchtop Lathe, for Various Types of Metal Turning

The bed of this mini metal lathe is made of high grade iron that you can rely on. It is also equipped with nylon gears, and the lathe itself is wear-resistant, durable, and professional.

One of the best features of this product is that it can provide you with more accurate rotation, and it features a 550 watt motor power.

Additionally, it has a full-length splash guard that will provide excellent protection.

This product is driven by a DC motor, and it has variable speeds from 50 to 2500 RPM.

It can either be operated manually or with the adjustable auto feed rate, and the accuracy of the v-slideways is obtained by raw material, heat hardening, and grinding. There is also an emergency stop button just in case.

It features an accurate 3-jaw chuck that is self-centering, which works to set cylindrical materials steadily. The spindle is supported by precision tapered roller bearings, with spindle accuracy within 0.0004"(0.01mm)

You can use the mini metal lathe quick change tools post to achieve positions of internal cutting, face cutting, and bevel cutting by changing the tool post angle and adjusting the compound rest.

You should also note that the professional cross slide has been designed with abrasive resistance to move blades freely.

Pros

Cons

👍 Sturdy construction - This product is made using strong and high-quality materials that are going to be as durable as possible and last for a long time

👍Wide application - This lathe can be used on a variety of different metals and it can be used for mini precision parts processing, sample processing, and modeling works.

👍Variable speeds - This versatile machine can work forwards or in reverse at all speeds between 50 and 2500 RPM, depending on what you need

👎 Additional cutting tools are sold separately, so you may need to spend more money, depending on what tools you need

BEST VALUE

BestEquip Metal Lathe 8x16 Inch,Mini Metal Lathe Infinitely Variable Speed 2250RPM,Precision Lathe Machine 750W,Metal Working Lathe, Small Metal Lathe,for Precision Parts Processing

This mini metal lathe features an LED screen that will show you a clear and accurate speed for accurate working.

You will be able to operate the machine either manually or with the adjustable auto feed rate. The spindle accuracy is between 0.01mm and 0.03mm, and the lathe features a 3-jaw chuck.

Additionally, the swing over bed and swing over cross slide will offer even more possibilities for large size or heavy workpieces. A 4-jaw chuck is also included.

There is a quick change tool post within the mini lathe machine that you can use to achieve positions of internal cutting, face cutting, and bevel cutting by changing the tool post angle and adjusting the compound rest.

There is a soft start change over switch that allows for clockwise or counter-clockwise spindle rotation.

This machine comes equipped with all-metal gears and a backsplash guard, and it is guaranteed to ensure chatter-free operation.

The tailstock is also adjustable, and you can rotate the lever clockwise to lock the spindle and rotate clockwise to advance the handwheel.

In order to offset the tailstock for cutting tapers, you will need to adjust the four set screws on the base of the tailstock.

Pros

Cons

👍 Variable speed - This mini metal lathe is driven by a powerful motor and the variable speed is 0 to 2250 RPM.

👍 4-jaw chuck - Your purchase also includes a 4-jaw chuck to provide you with even more possibilities, as opposed to the many products that only feature a 3-jaw chuck

👍 LED screen - This machine, unlike many others, features an LED screen that allows you to easily see what settings you are using

👎 This product is quite expensive in comparison to some others

RUNNER UP

Mophorn 8x16 Luxury Version Metal Lathe 750W Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 50-2500 RPM Nylon Gear (8x16 inch)

This mini metal lathe has a motor power of 750 watts, and the spindle speed can be adjusted from 50 to 2500 RPM.

The small size is convenient for space-saving and it measures at 8 x 16 inches. It is also equipped with all-metal gears and is resistant to wear to ensure that it is as durable as possible.

In addition to this, it has telescopic sets with scale, so you can intuitively see the length of the telescopic handle scale, and imprecise scaling can be digitally standardized or adjusted through lateral movement.

This machine is perfect for both hobbyists and professionals that are looking to add finite details to their projects.

Pros

Cons

👍 Small and compact - This mini metal lathe is small enough to be used within home workshops and it is convenient for use with smaller workpieces

👍 Adjustable speed - The speed of this lathe can be adjusted from 50 to 2500 RPM, depending on your specific needs

👍 Accurate and precise - This machine is highly accurate to ensure that you are able to get professional results

👎 Replacement parts can be difficult to find

Best Mini Lathe for Metal Buying Guide

There are lots of things that you will need to consider when it comes to buying your own mini metal lathe, and we are going to walk you through all of the things that you might need to know below.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of what you need to look out for with these machines.

Project Size

The first thing that you will need to consider is the overall size of your project. This will determine two of the most important specifications that the machine needs to have, which are the swing over distance and the distance between centers. 

The swing over bed is the maximum diameter of the workpiece that the mini lathe will be able to handle. Essentially, this is how thick or wide your project can be for it to be able to be used on the lathe. The distance between centers is the maximum length that your project can be to be use with the lathe. 

Further reading: What size of metal lathe should you buy?

So, before you go ahead and buy your mini metal lathe, you should make sure that it will be able to accommodate your desired project. Otherwise, you will not be able to use the lathe and you will have no use for the machine. The dimensions and size requirements are really important. 

Available Space

Another important thing to think about is the space that you have available to you, as you need to have sufficient room for the lathe.

You should check the actual dimensions of the lathe to make sure that it will fit where you intend to put it. 

You will also need to ensure that you have enough space to move around the lathe while you are working.

Overall Cost and Budget

You will also need to factor in the overall cost of the lathe and see if it fits within the budget that you have available to you.

Once you have a budget, you can start to look at machines that fit within your price range. Something to bear in mind is that these machines can become quite expensive, especially if you are looking at ones with as many features as possible.

Some machines are going to be significantly more expensive than others if they have more to offer, so you might not always be able to get the best of the best, but you can certainly get good value for money if you are on a budget.

Power

There are a few different options when it comes to powering a lathe, and these are typically going to be household AC, three-phase AC, and DC.

A household AC machine will typically use belts or gears to change the speed. A three-phase AC is one of the most common, and you will be able to change the motor. 

One of the best things to have included with the lathe that you choose is a variable frequency drive, as these are some of the best and they make more sense for certain applications.

They are both small and easy to use, and they will provide you with variable speeds.

Power Feed Options

The majority of lathes will have power feed, but it can come in many different forms. This is something that is really valuable, as it helps you to create better surface finishes and it takes the hassle out of long operations.

It is also how single-point threading is done as the drivetrain is synchronized to generate the right helix for the thread you need.

Most machines will have a half-nut that will clamp to the lead screw for the cutting of threads. Those machines that are lower-cost will usually rely on this for power feed.

Those machines that are of a higher quality will have a separate clutch for driving the carriage. The most high-end machines will have a dedicated driveshaft that runs parallel to the lead screw to drive the carriage.

Some of these higher end benchtop machines are also starting to offer power cross-feed, which is great for larger diameter pieces.

You should try to look for a machine that has a quick change gearbox with multiple different speed options.

Some of these machines will also have a reverse feed option, which can come in really handy at times. Some of the more expensive machines will have many different speed and direction options, and these are perfect for a variety of uses.

Warranty

Something that is great to have with any high-expense purchase is a warranty. Not all products will come with a warranty, but the majority will.

Warranties can come in really handy if something were to go wrong with your machine that wasn’t your fault. There may also be warranties that cover parts, so you can replace things if they break.

Accessories

The final thing that you will need to check is what actually comes with the machine. Sometimes, the pictures of the product can be deceiving, and your purchase might not include all of the accessories in the pictures.

This is why you should look carefully at the product description to find out what accessories are included with your purchase. Some machines won’t come with the tools that you need, meaning that you will have to buy them separately. This will make costs add up very quickly, and you might not have the budget available for this.

Some lathes will come with more than one chuck, but others will come with two. One of the best is a 4-jaw chuck, as this is the most versatile. They are the best for precision work and will provide you with the most accuracy. 

However, you can settle for a 3-jaw chuck if need be as these are still convenient and useful. There are many machines that will include both of these options, which could be perfect if you are looking for the best of both worlds.

A good set of tools is essential, but not all machines will come with everything that you are going to need. This is why it is so important to read up on the product, to make sure that it is suitable for you.

The last thing you want is to order your machine and find that it did not come with the tools that you were expecting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Metal Lathe FAQ

What is the Difference Between a Metal Lathe and a Mini Metal Lathe?

A metal lathe is typically designed for metalworking, but it can also be used for harder plastics. A metal lathe is any type of lathe that can be used on metal.

A mini metal lathe is simply a smaller version of this. These are actually the most common choice as they are smaller and more compact, allowing you to save space.

They will typically have swing over distances between 3 to 7 inches, and diameters of 1.5 to 3.5 inches. They are also much more affordable and perfect for smaller projects.

Final Words

If you have a project that needs to be started as soon as possible, you might be looking to get a mini metal lathe sooner rather than later.

We can understand why you might be in a rush to get your hands on the product you need quickly, which is why we will leave our top pick here for you to browse.

After researching everything there is to know about mini metal lathes, we have found that the best product available is the Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Variable Speed Lathe.

This product will provide you with everything that you need from a metal lathe, and it is the perfect size for not taking up too much space.

It is ready to use straight out of the box and it comes with all the tools that you will need to shape metal.