Lathe in action

Best Budget Wood Lathes Under $500

Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, a high quality wood lathe is an essential piece of equipment for any woodworker to have in their toolkit. 

There are many different types of wood lathes available on the market to suit a wide range of projects and budgets. We’ve done the work to produce this handy guide to affordable wood lathes, answering frequently asked questions as well as exploring inexpensive options to take your turning projects from simple to spectacular. So if you’re looking for the best budget wood lathe, you’ve come to the right place! 

Check our top suggestions to help you choose the best budget wood lathe for you.


How much does a basic lathe cost?

Like most tools, the cost of a lathe can vary. Mini wood lathes cost around $200 to $400, midi can range from $400 to $800, and a full-size wood lathe will typically cost over and above $1000. But good news! This guide will help you to find the perfect, affordable lathe within your budget. 


Why are wood lathes so expensive?

The short answer to why wood lathes are so expensive is simply that they cost a lot to manufacture. They are typically made of cast iron or hardened steel and to work effectively for your project, a wood lathe needs to be built for precision and accuracy, but must also be easy to operate and durable for those longer projects.


How big of a wood lathe do I need?

Your required size of wood lathe depends largely on the project you are hoping to use it for. If you are going to try your hand at turning pens, handles or chess pieces, you will only need a mini wood lathe. A midi lathe can be used for turning table legs and bowls, while a full-size lathe will be needed for larger projects such as bed posts. Full-size and midi lathes can also be used to turn smaller projects, but are more costly and take up more workspace. 


How much should I spend on a wood lathe?

How much you are prepared to spend on a wood lathe likely depends on what you’re using it for – A beginner’s budget will likely be smaller than that of a professional woodmaker, but still, no one wants to waste their hard earned money on an inferior piece of machinery.

With such a wide range of budget wood lathes out there for you to choose from, we have used our woodworking knowledge to rank some of the best value wood lathes under $500 currently available.


Made in USA

Some or all of the products showcased in this article may be made in the United States of America


Best Budget Wood Lathes For Beginners

1. RIKON Power Tools 70-10510/10
[Editor's Choice]
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2. Shop Fox W17049.5/10
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3. WEN LA34249/10
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4. Grizzly Industrial T259209/10
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5. UOKRR 10"" x 18""8/10
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6. Stark 14"" x 40""7/10
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7. Mophorn 14"" x 40""6.5/10 Check Price
8. XtremepowerUS 14"" x 40""6/10 Check Price
9. VEVOR 14"'' x 40"''6/10
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1. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″” x 18″” 1/2 HP Mini Wood Lathe – $450

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, experienced woodworkers, smaller projects such as pens and toys. 

Rikon mini wood lathe

The Rikon mini lathe features a 1/2 HP motor that provides ample power for your small woodwork projects, making it a great choice of lathe for turning pens and toys. It features a 10” swing and 18” between centers and a handy self-ejecting tail stock.

The machine is made of cast iron so it is sturdy and heavy, meaning there is little to no vibration when it is in operation. Designed specifically with pen turning in mind, the Rikon mini lathe has a 5 speed range that covers the bases for boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, turning to shape and finishing, but can also be used for other small turning projects such as turning toys, handles and ornaments. 

When it comes to small, cheap wood lathes that get the job done with ease, the Rikon mini lathe is a great investment. 


5 speed rangeLacks power for bigger projects
Quick to set up
5 year warranty
Easy to switch speed on belts



2. Shop Fox W1704-8″” x 13″” Benchtop Wood Lathe – $400

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, experienced woodworkers, smaller woodworking projects.

Shop fox wood lathe

The SHOP FOX W1704 comes equipped with a powerful 1/3 horsepower motor that provides variable speed control, allowing you to work with precision and achieve great results for a variety of projects. Made from high-quality cast iron, this sturdy benchtop lathe is built to last for years to come, making it an excellent choice for those starting out in the hobby or those looking for a smaller machine to work with.

The machine features two tool rests and is designed to fit neatly on top of your workbench. One of its stronger points is the excellent faceplate, which provides a secure grip for any workpiece and promotes precision working.

Overall, the SHOP FOX W1704 lathe is one of the best value wood lathes. It is a great starter option for those looking for a good quality lathe for under $500.


Variable speed motorTailstock not always smooth
Ideal for pen turning and small projects
Sturdy cast-iron construction
2 year warranty


Enjoy this comprehensive review of the Shop Fox mini lathe by woodworking expert Mike! 



3. WEN LA3424 4.5-Amp 12“” x 18“” 5-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe – $315

Best lathe for: Hobbyists, experienced woodworkers, small or large woodworking projects. 

Wen wood lathe

The WEN LA3424 features a 4.5A motor to ensure you get precise results with every project. It can create workpieces up to 18” x 12”, making it a great lathe for turning cups, bowls and even table legs! It features five different speeds (520, 900, 1400, 2150, or 3400 RPM), although you will need to remove two protective covers to move the belt and adjust the speed.  

This great budget wood lathe features an MT2 spindle and tailstock taper to grip your workpieces, as well as a 7-7/8-inch tool rest for chisel and tool support and a lever clamping system to make adjustments to the tool rest and tailstock. It comes with additional features including headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, a flat wrench, a knockout rod, 2 hex wrenches (3 mm and 5mm), an accessory holder, and a 3-1/8 inch faceplate. 

If you are seeking a good quality, affordable lathe for woodworking, The WEN LA3424 could be the answer for you.


Suitable for larger projects up to 18” x 12”No reverse function
5 speed range
2 year warranty
Additional features


Enjoy this comprehensive unboxing and review of the WEN 12″ x 18″ mini lathe by woodworking expert Bart! He goes into great detail for both the assembly and unboxing of the lathe. Check it out:



4. Grizzly Industrial T25920-12″” x 18″” Variable-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe – $560

Best lathe for: Hobbyists, experienced woodworkers, small or large woodworking projects 

Grizzly wood lathe

Grizzly is another contender for the best cheap wood lathe for those on a tighter budget. It has variable speeds from 650 to 3800 RPM that provide a 10” turning radius to spindle up to 16-3/4 inches, so you can find just the speed you need for your woodworking project. It has the added benefit of a control knob, so you are able to adjust the speed level without needing to stop the machine, allowing you to work with perfect precision every time. 

This heavy duty, cast-iron lathe boasts a digital spindle speed indicator, live center, and a tool rest. The fit and finish of this machine is excellent, with the head and tail stock meeting in perfect alignment. It has a powerful motor which makes larger projects much easier to handle; although this affordable wood lathe is recommended for hobbyists and professionals, rather than beginners. 

The Grizzly features a one-year limited warranty for peace of mind, but will last for many years to come without any significant issues.


3 speed rangeNot suitable for beginners
Digital spindle speed indicator
1 year warranty


Have a look at Grizzly’s own promotional video for this top mini lathe, the Grizzly T25920!



5. UOKRR 10″” x 18″”1/2HP 5 Variable Speeds Benchtop Wood Lathe – $280

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, smaller woodworking projects. 

UOKRR wood lathe

The UOKRR benchtop lathe is equipped with a 1/2 HP powerful copper motor that provides ample power for all your woodworking needs. It features 5 variable speed controls (500, 750, 1150, 1800 or 3200 RPM) for precision and versatility when turning different workpieces, simply loosen the belt and change it to a different pulley. 

It features spindle threads measuring in at 1 inches by 8 TPI, attaches an MT2 headstock spur center and MT2 tailstock live center and a 3-1/8 inch faceplate for turning pens, bowls, cups or other projects without the need for a spindle. While you could turn much larger diameter pieces on this lathe, the power and functionality is much better suited to smaller projects. 

This scaled-down mini wood turning lathe is compact and suitable for those working in a limited space. The attached rubber feet ensure smooth and quiet running of the machine while in operation. 


5 speed rangeTailstock can be stiff when new
Free return or replacement within 30 days of purchase
Rubber feet so no vibration
3 year warranty




6. Stark 14″” x 40″” 1/2HP 4 Speed Adjustable Benchtop Wood Lathe – $170

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, small or large woodworking projects. 

Stark wood lathe

The Stark is a simple, affordable and fuss-free wood lathe. It has 1/2  HP and has 4 adjustable speeds (1100/1600/2300/3400 RPM), so you can tackle a wide range of different woodworking projects. 

It is the perfect lathe for home woodworkers, it is inexpensive and comes with several accessories so you can customize the lathe to fit your woodworking needs, including wood pattern projects & handwork, such as straight fluting, grooving, drilling and more. 

The Stark’s frame is made of solid steel and is sturdy enough to hold your woodworking projects in place, with the added benefit of rubber feet to minimize vibration. Despite its sturdy frame it is compact in size, so makes a great lathe for smaller workbenches. 

Overall, it is a sturdy, reliable and versatile lathe for home woodworkers who are exploring the hobby.


4 speed rangeOnly comes with one 5” face plate
Great value for moneyLacks power needed for professional use
Easy to operate
Compact design



7. Mophorn 14″” x 40″” 1/2HP 4 Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe – $190

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, smaller woodworking projects. 

Morphon wood lathe

The Mophorn lathe is a simple, affordable wood lathe that is aimed at those smaller projects for beginners and hobbyists. It comes with a 550W powerful motor and turns at 500-3800 RPM, which can be changed while the machine is in operation. The powerful motor provides maximum torque while the sturdy steel build of the machine prevents any unwanted rocking during operation.

The machine comes with an extensive work capacity, the distance between the center is 18 inches, and it is shorter in size with an additional extension, making it easier to store away when not in use. 

Overall, the Mophorn lathe is inexpensive and easy to operate, so it is an ideal budget wood lathe for beginners or for educational purposes. Due to its power and size, this lathe is not suited for professional woodworkers.


4 speed rangeLacks power needed for professional use
Sturdy cast-iron machineSlower than others
Rubber feet so no vibration
Easy to operate
2 year warranty



8. XtremepowerUS 14″” x 40″” 1/2HP 4 Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe – $340 

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, smaller woodworking projects. 

XtremepowerUS wood lathe

The Xtremepower US is a 1/2 HP benchtop wood turning lathe with 4 adjustable speeds (1100/1600/2300/3400-RPM). It is at the cheaper end of those on the market, making it a good starting lathe for beginners who are looking to give woodworking a try without breaking the bank.

The machine is made of solid steel, so it is strong, durable and heavy enough to prevent your workpieces from shaking when in use. It boasts great working space, with 40” distance between the center, giving you enough space to work while maintaining a low profile on your bench. 

The XtremepowerUS is a good, no-frills option for beginners who are on a tighter budget but still want to experience the joy of woodworking. It is an affordable option that provides the necessary features for beginners to learn and explore the hobby with ease.



4 speed rangeLacks power needed for professional use
Easy to assembleWeak motor
Easy to operateBudget design
Strong, durable steel design



9. VEVOR 14″” x 40″” 1/2 HP Benchtop Wood Lathe – $240

Best lathe for: Beginners, hobbyists, small or large woodworking projects.

VEVOR wood lathe

The VEVOR wood lathe is a 1/2 HP machine which is simple in design but has effective functionality, making it easy to use even for beginners. The 375W motor can handle materials of various sizes, so can be used for turning pens, knobs and even furniture legs. 

The speed has 4 ranges from 1100-3400 RPM which are easy to set and adjust, along with the rest of the lathe, which is simple to use and can tackle a variety of wood projects including cutting, sanding, knurling and drilling. It is made of hardened steel, so it is durable and long-lasting. The spindle and the faceplate center at the same level to hold workpieces tightly and diminish any wobbling. 

The VEVOR is a good value lathe that is simple but gets the job done, making it perfect for beginners or hobbyists to use. 


4 speed rangeNo frills design 
Easy to use
Durable hardened steel
30 day returns 


So there we have it, a comprehensive guide to some of the best wood lathes for under $500 currently available. We hope this will help you when it comes to purchasing your wood lathe. Let us know how you got on!


best budget wood lathe

Doug is a master woodworker with over 15 years of experience in the craft. Doug's passion for woodworking began at a young age, watching his father build furniture and learning from him the skills and techniques that have made him the expert he is today.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, Doug's blog is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their skills and knowledge in the craft.
Doug Mahoney

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