best full size wood lathe

10 Best Woodturning Lathes for the Money 【Updated 2023】

lathe for wood

 What is the best wood turning lathe for you – mini, midi, or commercial lathe? 

 You have yet to decide. 

But the decision depends on the knowledge of the pros and cons that accompany each type of lathe. Also, you may benefit from knowing detail about the perfect woodturning lathes in every category and their features. It’s your right to know the benefits and challenges that come with every option you consider for your woodturning ventures.

And Guess What?

This guide does exactly the same. It gives the lathe reviews so you remain informed about the different options available. Plus it also tells you the target users these professional woodturning lathes help most.

Things to look for when Buying a Wood Lathe:

There are many factors including, the size of the machine, power of its motor, speed variability, ease to change direction, and rotating headstock. We should also not forget the budget which can limit the number of lathes available for shopping. The best approach to investing in any lathe is to study well-research woodturning lathe reviews to get an idea.

Size matters for those small- and medium-sized craftsmen who haven’t taken up this skill commercially. Their prime motive behind this skill is a hobby or DIY project. Consequently, these people don’t want to worry about these machines taking up a lot of space at their workstations. Not surprisingly, these people also want affordable lathes. Another implication of the size of a wood lathe is that the lathe for turning large bowls often takes up more space at the workstation. It’s a remarkable trade-off every woodworker has to make. The motor power of the wood lathe for bowl turning makes another considerable factor because higher motor power often translates into smoother and uninterrupted operations.

Speed variability and ease of changing the direction of rotation are two factors that determine the efficiency of operation of a professional wood-turning lathe. Another factor that influences this efficiency is the rotating headstock.

Let’s Dive in

Best Woodturning Lathes 2023:

Here are our top picks for the top woodturning lathes you can buy:

1. Grizzly Industrial G046210/10
[Editor's Choice]
2. Jet JWL-1440VSK 8.5/10
3. Delta Industrial 46-460 8.5/10
4. Jet JWL-1221VS9/10
5. NOVA 46300 Comet II8.5/10
6. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-8.5/10
7. Shop Fox W17588.5/10
8. PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS8/10
9. Grizzly H8259 8/10
10. RIKON 70-100 8/10


1. Grizzly Industrial G0462-16” x 46”

woodturning lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Allows 16-inch swing over the bed
  • Reverse rotations
  • Varied speed options
  • Motor power: 2 HP
Easy to maintainlowest speed is 600rpm
46-inch distance between centers
Sturdy build with cast iron legs
Industrial grade quality

2. Jet JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe

best woodturning lathes

Why we Love It:

  • Above-average value for swing over bed
  • The huge distance between centers allowed
  • Infinite speed options between 400 and 3000 RPM
  • Easy-to-use speed control
Elite motor performanceAutomatic reverse switching not available
Headstock pivot
Strong build
Wide speed range

Also, check our picks for the best mini wood lathe.

3. Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Wood Lathe

best midi lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Huge swing over bed of up to 12.5 inches
  • Small footprint
  • Efficient design
  • Efficient system to adjust belt tension
Variable SpeedNarrow speed range
Easy Reverse rotation
24 indexing positions

4. Jet JWL-1221VS

variable speed wood lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Easy access to maintenance
  • Innovative ratchet style tension system for belt
  • Widest speed range
  • Efficient speed control
  • 3600 RPM, on the other hand
Variable SpeedNarrow speed range
Easy Reverse rotation
24 indexing positions

You may also like our comprehensive guide to wood planers.

5. NOVA 46300 Comet II

best wood lathe

Why we love it:

  • The lowest speed is 250 RPM
  • 3 step pulley system
  • 3/4 to 1 horsepower electric motors
  • Extendible bed (optional)
Wide speed rangeOnly 3/4 HP motor
Small footprint
Infinite speed options available

6. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

best woodturning lathe

Why we love it:

  • Most reliable mini-lathe
  • Variable speeds
  • Easy speed management
  • 700 RPM as the lowest
Two tool restsOnly 1/3 HP motor
Value for money

 Learn more with this ultimate guide to wood lathes.

7. Shop Fox W1758

best woodworking lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Value for money
  • Powerful electric motor
  • Rotating headstock
  • Can turn huge wood pieces
10 different speed optionsMinimum speed is 600 RPM
Sturdy buildNarrow speed range to choose from
Lightweight despite a strong design

8. PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS

variable speed midi lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Durable and strong mini-lathe
  • Variable speed
  • Value for money
15-degree indexing incrementsLighting issue
Easy speed control
Speed can be as high as 3600 rpm

Don’t miss our ultimate guide to wood paint.

9. Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe

benchtop lathe

Why We Love It:

  • It’s very Reliable mini-lathe
  • It’s very Sturdy build
  • Speeds available are 1205, 1713, and 2422 RPM
  • Easy to set up
  • User-friendly design
  • Low maintenance
Variable speedsLowest speed range is 826 RPM
Value for money
Ideal for beginners

10. RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe

benchtop lathe

Why We Love It:

  • Auto eject tailstock
  • Durable
  • 33 inches long and 11 inches wide
  • 1/2 and 3/4 horsepower
  • Variable speed
User-friendlyRough design in some units
Light weight
Largest lathe in its category

Be sure to check our pick for the best wood lathe for beginners.

Buying Guide

best woodturning lathes

What factors make the best woodturning lathes is not a question with a clear answer. Rather the skills and needs of craftsmen decide the answer.

Be sure to check out our detailed guide to wood sanders.

What is the Best Wood Lathe for the Money?

  • Grizzly Industrial G0462-16” x 46”
  • Jet JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe
  • Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Wood Lathe
  • Jet JWL-1221VS
  • NOVA 46300 Comet II Wood Lathe
  • SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Also, check our picks for the best wood lathe for the money.

What is the best beginner wood lathe?

Best beginners wood lathes are:

  • SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
  • PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS
  • Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe
  • RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe

What Should a Beginner Wood Lathe Make?

The best wood lathe for beginners should make simple wooden objects such as bangles, pens, rings, goblets, and bowls. They use it to practice the skill and also become confident in their skills through this practice. If a project is too difficult, they may get discouraged and opt-out of this skill.

What Kind of Wood Lathe Do You Need to Turn Bowls?

You can turn bowls with any lathe whether it is mini, midi, or full-size. However, the best value wood lathes for medium to large-sized bowls are midi lathes.

What is the most amazing Full-Size Wood Lathe?

The two best wood lathes for money in full size are Jet JWL 1440 and Grizzly Industrial G0642.

Doug Mahoney

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