Best Mini Wood Lathe

A wood lathe is something that is commonly sought after by woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike and mini lathes, in particular, are ideal for individuals who specialize in smaller projects. 

A mini wood lathe is a perfect addition to your benchtop or work surface. Despite being smaller than their larger counterparts, they are super convenient courtesy of their compact size and still boast impressive motors or speed ranges themselves, just on a smaller scale of course. 

Best Mini Wood Lathe

If you are a little unsure when it comes to selecting the best mini wood lathe for your needs, we have browsed the market selecting our top five picks of the best products that are going to enable you to create your projects with ease.

Are you in a hurry? If you don't have the time to continue reading, we have selected our top pick for you below.


Top 5 Best Mini Wood Lathe

OUR TOP PICK

WEN 3420T 2-Amp 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe

If you are new to the craft of woodturning or are simply looking for an affordable machine, the WEN 3420T mini wood lathe could be an excellent choice for you. 

Featuring a 2 amp motor, it will start slowly before gradually speeding up which prevents the occurrence of any damage to the motor as a result of immediate and rapid start-ups while ensuring your safety too. Due to its ability to build up speed at a slower pace, it is an ideal lathe to grow and develop your skill with. Designed with an MT1 spindle and a tailstock with threads this unit accommodates workpieces measuring up to 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width. The 5-inch faceplate is intended for spinning non-spindle workpieces. 

Courtesy of the variable speed operation, you can adjust the speed from an impressive 750 to 3200 rotations per minute and this can simply be done by turning the speed knob when you need to change the speed. This wood lathe also features an easy to use lever clamping system which allows you to make simple but precise movements to the tool rest and tailstock.

Pros

  • This is an affordable option for those who are beginners in using a mini wood lathe.

  • The variable speed can be simply controlled using the knob. 

  • There is a reduced risk of the motor becoming damaged thanks to the soft-start variable speed motor. 

  • The lever clamping system is easy to use. 

  • Courtesy of its sturdy build it is likely to see you through many uses without deteriorating. 

Cons

  • The tailstock locking mechanism is prone to loosening and failing to stay in place.

EDITORS CHOICE

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

The Jet JWL wood lathe offers unrivaled speed control, despite being small it is packed with power. 

With a 1 HP motor, this wood lathe functions using more power but it also offers an impressive speed range. Courtesy of the 60-3600 RPM variable optimally designed speed ranges, there is a variety in the speeds that you can work with and this can be catered to the product that you are creating. 

This lathe has a bed swing of 12 inches which extends to 21 inches for the center to center capacity. The innovative ratchet belt tension system results in a smooth forward to reverse transition. This also helps to minimize any pressure put on the motor that poses a risk to the motor itself and your safety. Operation is also a stress-free process thanks to the clearly indicated controls so that you are always aware of the status of your lathe when it is in use. Conveniently, this lathe also features a tool holder that provides a safe place for storing your tools when they aren't in use, helping to ensure that they don't get lost or damaged. 

Pros

  • This mini wood lathe has been designed with a powerful motor and impressive speed capabilities.

  • Designed with improved features you are given greater control throughout the turning process.

  • A tool holder incorporated into the design provides a convenient place for storing your tools.

  • All of the controls are clearly indicated for easy use.

  • There is a minimized risk of any damage occurring to your motor courtesy of the smooth forward to reverse transition.

Cons

  • Retailing at a higher price, this isn't an ideal choice for those who are on a budget.

BEST VALUE

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

Delivering both power and speed, the Delta Industrial 46-460 midi lathe is a great choice for hobbyists and professional woodworkers alike.

Powered by a 1 horsepower max 1,725 rpm motor, this lathe has enough torque to handle highly configured pieces of wood too. The electronic variable speed easily allows you to select the speed that is required to turn the wood for the project that you are creating without having to change the belt itself. The forward and reverse functions allow you to create and sand projects with greater precision and accuracy for the best quality finish. 

The patented belt tensioning system allows for quick speed changes and the maximum power output is likely to result in longer tool life. As well as creating smaller projects the six groove belt also allows you to create larger projects with ease. Impressively, this wood lathe also features a 3-inch tool plate.

Pros

  • Backed with a five-year warranty, there is help available should you happen to experience any issues with your wood lathe.

  • Impressively, this machine has a 12-1/2 inch swing capacity which is particularly large when compared to competitors on the market.

  • Courtesy of the variable speeds this wood lathe is compatible with working on a range of tasks without you needing to change the belt position beforehand. 

  • This mini wood lathe has been designed with 6 inch and 10-inch tool rests for greater tool support.

  • Your projects will be finished to a great and precise standard thanks to the forward and reverse functions.

Cons

  • Your machine may be prone to issues with the variable speed control function. 

RUNNER UP

Nova 71118 Comet II DR - Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System, 12”, Powerful Electronic 3/4 HP variable speed

For woodwork enthusiasts that are looking for a compact machine that can fit easily into a slightly confined workspace, look no further than the NOVA 71118 midi lathe. This flexible woodworking system may be smaller in size but it does not compromise when it comes to quality and performance.

Whilst this is a small benchtop style lathe, it is equipped with a 3/4 HP motor, so it is most definitely packed with all of the power that is needed to create your small woodworking projects. It also has an impressive variable speed range of 250-4000 rpm so it can create a range of different small scale projects working at high and low speeds when necessary. The dial also allows you to easily transition between these speeds depending on the project that you are tackling. The digital reader also creates a more immersive experience for you as the user courtesy of the quick dial which enables you to input the correct speed for the job and materials that you are working with, therefore you aren't restricted to working at dangerous fixed speeds.

Thanks to the forward and reverse switch you are provided with increased flexibility to achieve a great quality finish. The lathe also has an impressive turning capacity with the swing capacity over the bed being 12 inches and the center capacity being 16.5 inches, although this can be expanded to 41 inches thanks to the bed extension accessory provided.

Pros

  • Courtesy of the compact design, this midi lathe is ideal for hobbyists with tight workspaces or those who want to take their machine on the go with them.

  • The 3 step pulley system provides greater flexibility with an impressive speed range. 

  • Thanks to the digital display, you can easily see the speed that the lathe is currently turning at. 

  • You can change between the speeds easily by using the dial.

  • There aren't any vibrations which makes this lathe much easier to use.

Cons

  • The tool rest is a little small and is sometimes prone to breaking.

RUNNER UP

RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10' x 18' 1/2 hp Mini Lathe

Combining a powerful motor and variable speed range, the Rikon Power tools mini lathe is not going to disappoint in helping to create your desired woodwork projects.

With a 1/2 HP motor and a variable speed range of 500 and 3,200 rpm, you have all of the turning power that is needed to create smaller projects with ease. The 5-speed range doesn't result in any downtime when it comes to altering the speed for the task in hand.

Impressively, the sturdy design makes this an ideal product that is suitable for beginner and professional woodworkers alike. With a scaled-down design compared to many on the market, this may be a more basic model but it has everything that is needed on a mini wood lathe. Made from cast iron there is also a reduced occurrence of vibrations, which allows you to work with ease and greater accuracy.

Pros

  • An affordable lathe that is an ideal choice for woodworkers who are on a budget.

  • You can easily change between the different speed settings.

  • Thanks to the sturdy cast iron construction there is a reduced likeliness of vibrations. 

  • Impressively, this lathe is backed with a 5-year warranty so if you should experience any issues there is help available.

  • When operating this machine is relatively quiet so it isn't likely to be distracting. 

Cons

  • Unfortunately, some parts of this lathe are prone to breaking and becoming easily damaged. 

Best Mini Wood Lathe Buying Guide

A mini lathe is a must-have for woodworkers or those who simply enjoy creating crafts using wood. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or you have been familiar with woodworking for a long time, there is a mini wood lathe available for you.

Before purchasing your mini wood lathe there are several factors that you will need to consider which will help you when choosing the right lathe for your needs. It is important to consider build quality and performance as this is going to influence the quality of the projects that you can create using your lathe. 

The Power

When it comes to choosing your mini wood lathe, the power is going to be largely influential in the option that you choose. Ideally, it is recommended to opt for a lathe that has a powerful motor as it is going to have greater capabilities when it comes to turning tougher pieces of wood. Of course, a smaller lathe isn’t going to have the power that is on the same scale as a larger lathe, however, for the smaller projects that you are likely to be undertaking using this lathe, the power is going to suffice in satisfying your requirements. 

The Tool Rest

The tool rest is the adjustable, horizontal surface that serves the purpose of supporting and guiding the wood as it turns to create your projects. It is of paramount importance to ensure that you select the best tool rest that locks safely and securely into place.

The Size

One of the main benefits of a mini wood lathe is the compact size. They are going to fit into smaller and more confined workspaces with ease, so if you are restricted with the room that you have available, this needn't be a worry as this size lathe is likely to fit easily. However, it is also necessary to note that just because they all come under the umbrella of mini-lathes, they aren't all going to have the same dimensions. Some may be slightly larger than others, so it is important to evaluate the size of the space where your lathe is going to be housed to select the lathe that is going to fit there with ease. It is also important to ensure that you select the correct sized lathe for the projects that you intend on creating.

The Speed

Different brands and models of mini wood lathes are going to function at different speeds. They aren't all going to work at the same speeds and you might notice slight differences between models. Ideally, your lathe should be capable of starting at a low speed before gradually building up to a higher speed. Not only does this make it safer for you but it poses less risk to your lathe itself  becoming damaged too. A lathe with variable speeds tends to be much more versatile and the lever or knob allows you to change through the speeds quickly when necessary providing greater convenience. 

The Build Quality

Of course, when investing in any product regardless of the price you expect it to be made of the best quality. Ideally, your lathe should be durably and sturdily constructed to withstand frequent and daily use with ease. You don't want to be part way through creating a project only to be faced with different parts of your machine breaking or rapidly deteriorating in quality. Cast iron is a particularly good choice as it is sturdy enough to deal with tougher types of wood too. 

The Ease of Assembly and Using the Lathe 

A lathe that is difficult to assemble and use can be rather inconvenient, particularly if you are unfamiliar in regards to how the machine operates and functions. Ideally, your lathe will be relatively simple to assemble for a hassle-free process and greater convenience for beginners in particular. Using the lathe itself ideally should be easy too, no one wants to be confronted with a machine that has difficult controls or parts that are difficult to move. Most tend to feature an LED display which gives you an indication of the status of your lathe.

The Price

For many, the cost of the lathe is one of the most important factors to consider. If you only intend to spend a specific amount, it is recommended to set yourself a budget to stick within. Although they are smaller, mini wood lathes can still retail at relatively high prices. However, if you are on a budget do not be put off as there are many options available that are ideal for woodworkers who have tighter budgets to work with.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you create using a mini wood lathe?

There are many different projects that you can create using a mini wood lathe. You may choose to use them to create parts that are an accompaniment to other projects. They are also great for turning pens, bowls, platters, bottle stoppers, drawer pulls and table legs, so do not be put off by their smaller size as there is still a great range in what you can create. 

What are the benefits of using a mini wood lathe?

There are several benefits associated with using a mini wooden lathe. Not only are they a great option for those who are restricted in the space that they have available but now most are designed with the impressive features that you will find in the larger machines but are available at a fraction of the size. Of course, you are unlikely to be able to create projects on the scale that you would be using a larger wood lathe, but they bring benefits in the form of convenient portability and price. 

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