Top 10 Best Wood Lathes (Reviews & Buyers’ Guide 2021)

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JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe 719200
  • Best wood lathe of 2021 overall
  • 1-horsepower motor with a ratchet-style belt tension offers a variable speed from 60 to 3,600 rpm
  • 24 integrated indexing positions for precise carving
Our Rating: 5.0/5.0
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#1-Top Expert Choice
Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe
  • Best wood lathe for the money
  • 2 tool rests for securing woodturning tools and 5 3/4" faceplate for non-spindle turning
  • 1/3-horsepower motor delivers a variable speed from 700 to 3,200 rpm
Our Rating: 4.9/5.0
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#2-Premium Choice
RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe
  • Best wood lathe for pen turning and other small woodworking projects
  • 1/2-horsepower motor delivers 5 speeds from 500 to 3,200 rpm
  • Self-ejecting tailstock and 6” tool rest for securing various tools
Our Rating: 4.8/5.0
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#3
Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe
  • Biggest wood lathe on the list; Powerful 2-horsepower motor, 46” distance between centers, and 16” swing over bed make it the best wood lathe for large woodworking projects
  • 10 speed options ranging from 600 to 2,400 rpm
  • Headstock can be positioned at 0, 60, 90, 120, and 180 degrees
Our Rating: 4.7/5.0
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#4
Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe
  • 550-watt motor delivers a variable speed ranging from 500 to 3,800 rpm
  • Easy-to-read digital readout for precise speed adjustments
  • Cast iron construction with rubber feet for stable and smooth operation
Our Rating: 4.6/5.0
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#5
PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Variable Speed Midi Lathe
  • 3/4-horsepower motor and SBC microprocessor for powerful and accurate performance
  • 2 belt positions for various speeds: 500 to 2,000 and 1,500 to 3,600 rpm
  • Comes complete with different accessories, including 2 tool rests, tool storage rack, work light, hex wrenches, screwdriver, safety goggles, and more
Our Rating: 4.5/5.0
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#6
Mophorn 8” x 12” Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
  • Most affordable of the best wood lathes
  • Variable speed from 500 to 3,200 rpm
  • Comes with moving tailstock and 2 interchangeable tool rests
Our Rating: 4.4/5.0
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#7
JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe 719400K
  • 14 1/2" x 40" lathe size for a wide range of woodturning projects
  • 36 indexing positions for accurate woodturning
  • Variable speed from 400 to 3,000 rpm
Our Rating: 4.3/5.0
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#8
RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe
  • Midi wood lathe with LED screen displays current speed
  • 24 index positions and forward and reverse functions
  • Variable speed from 250 to 3,850 rpm
Our Rating: 4.2/5.0
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#9
Grizzly Industrial H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe
  • 5 speeds ranging from 826 to 3,337 rpm
  • Heavy-duty cast iron construction and adjustable leveling feet for stability
  • Comes with tool rest, wrenches, and other wood lathe accessories
Our Rating: 4.1/5.0
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#10

View the Best Wood Lathes in the Market Below:

1. JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe 719200

First up on the list of the best wood lathes is an instant favorite among professional woodworkers and hobbyists alike: the JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe 719200. Yes, lots of people are raving about this JET wood lathe, but why is it our top pick? One word: control.

Each and every inch of this JET wood lathe is built for smooth operation. Boasting 24 integrated indexing positions, it provides you with better control when you need to create evenly spaced grooves, flutes, and other patterns. It also allows for a smooth transition between forward and reverse modes.

To add to its ease of control, this JET wood lathe features an innovative ratchet-style belt tension system and offers a variable speed from 60 to 3,600 revolutions per minute. With this wide variable speed range, you can get the perfect speed when working with any type of wood.

With an Acme thread in its tailstock, this mini wood lathe moves and locks in place without any difficulty. Plus, its controls and digital readout are conveniently located at the front of the wood lathe, letting you adjust its settings with ease.

Users agree: the JET wood lathe’s drive belt is easy to move when changing the speed. Other things that they love about this wood lathe are its ultra-quiet operation and its solidly built cast iron construction, which keeps the lathe completely stable.

Includes ET JWL-1221VS Variable-Speed Wood Lathe 719200, tools, hardware, 6- and 10-inch tool supports, tool caddies, and knockout rod
Swing over bed 12 1/2 inches
Distance between centers 21 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 33.6 x 11 x 35.8 inches
Speed 60 to 3,600 revolutions per minute
Power output 1 horsepower
Voltage 120 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 121 pounds
Warranty 5-year warranty
2. Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe

One of the cheapest of 2021’s best wood lathes, the Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. Included with this mini wood lathe are two tool rests (4 1/2- and 7-inch) to secure your gouge, scraper, and other turning tools.

Despite its fairly low price, this Shop Fox wood lathe boasts a powerful performance and heavy-duty cast iron construction. Users report that they were hesitant to buy this mini wood lathe at first because of its low price, but they’ve used it daily without any problem at all. Plus, they like how easy it is to speed up or slow down and how quiet it operates.

For non-spindle turning, this Shop Fox wood lathe comes equipped with a 5 3/4-inch faceplate. It threads onto the headstock spindle, so you can easily round out bowls and more.

Powered by a 1/3-horsepower motor, this mini wood lathe delivers variable speeds ranging from 700 to 3,200 revolutions per minute. Whether you’re working with softwood or hardwood, you can surely turn it with the utmost ease and precision when you use this lathe.

Includes Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe and 2 tool rests
Swing over bed 8 inches
Distance between centers 13 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
Speed 700 to 3,200 revolutions per minute
Power output 1/3 horsepower
Voltage 110 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 48.4 pounds
Warranty 2-year warranty
3. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe

Specially designed for pen turners, the RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe offers just the right features for small woodturning projects. It features a 1/2-horsepower motor, which delivers five speeds from 500 to 3,200 revolutions per minute—perfect for roughing out pen billets and creating barrel holes.

Customers have used this mini wood lathe not only for turning pens but also for making bowls, ornaments, toys, and tool handles. They like its smooth, quiet, and powerful performance and that it’s stable without the need to bolt it down.

With a self-ejecting tailstock and a 6-inch tool rest, this RIKON wood lathe can secure tools for woodturning, drilling, threading, and more. It also comes equipped with an MT2 taper for pen mandrels and a nylon faceplate washer, making it the best wood lathe for pen turners and anyone working on small wood projects.

Includes RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe, live center, spur center, 6-inch tool rest, knockout bar, wrenches, and user manual
Swing over bed 10 inches
Distance between centers 18 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 35 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 14 3/4 inches
Speed 500, 1,175, 1,850, 2,225, and 3,200 revolutions per minute
Power output 1/2 horsepower
Voltage 120 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 75 pounds
Warranty 5-year warranty
4. Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe

Featuring a powerful 2-horsepower motor and a 16-inch swing over bed, the Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe is the best wood lathe for professionals who frequently handle small and large woodworking projects. It combines a wide swing over bed with a 46-inch distance between centers, making it the biggest wood lathe on the list as well.

Users are impressed with how heavily built this large wood lathe is and how easy it is to set its speed. It offers 10 speed options ranging from 600 to 2,400 revolutions per minute. It also comes with a digital tachometer for an easy way of viewing the exact spindle speed.

Whatever turning tool you’re using, this large wood lathe can provide it with proper support. It has a three-way adjustable tool rest with an extension and easy-to-use locking handles, so you can easily adjust your tools to your desired height and distance.

Working with various sizes of workpieces won’t be a problem at all with this Shop Fox wood lathe. Its headstock can be positioned at five angles: 0, 60, 90, 120, and 180 degrees. What’s more, its precision tailstock features a cam-action clamping system, ensuring a secure attachment to the lathe bed.

Includes Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe, 6-inch faceplate, MT2 spur center, MT2 live center, and tool rest with swivel arm base
Swing over bed 16 inches
Distance between centers 46 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 76 1/2 x 19 x 48 3/4 inches
Speed 600 to 2,400 revolutions per minute
Power output 2 horsepower
Voltage 110 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 338 pounds
Warranty 2-year warranty
5. Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

When you have the Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe, you can work with the utmost precision on various projects.

Equipped with a powerful 550-watt motor, this mini wood lathe delivers a variable speed ranging from 500 to 3,800 revolutions per minute, giving you optimal control over all kinds of wood. It also features an easy-to-read digital readout for precise speed adjustments.

Reviewers particularly like how easy it is to adjust the speed and how wide its speed range is. Professionals and even beginners without any lathe experience had no trouble assembling this mini wood lathe.

Constructed with cast iron and rubber feet, this mini wood lathe can stay stable—even in the busiest of projects—while ensuring a smooth operation. It also features MT2 headstock and tailstock tapers, a 12-inch swing over bed, a 3-inch faceplate, a 6-inch tool rest, and a live center. In other words, it lets you work with different tools and a wide range of wood objects without any difficulty.

Includes Mophorn 12” x 18” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe, tool set, and user manual
Swing over bed 12 inches
Distance between centers 18 inches
Package dimensions (L x W x H) 34 x 19 x 12 inches
Speed 500 to 3,800 revolutions per minute
Power output 550 watts
Voltage 120 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 88 pounds
6. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Variable Speed Midi Lathe

As long as you have the PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Variable Speed Midi Lathe, you won’t ever have to purchase additional lathe accessories. Included in this set are two tool rests, tool storage rack, work light, faceplate, spur drive and live centers, hex wrenches, screwdriver, safety goggles, and more—making it one of the best wood lathes for the money.

Creating flutes, grooves, and other carvings won’t be a problem at all with this midi wood lathe, along with its 24 indexing positions. Powered by a 3/4-horsepower motor and an SBC microprocessor, it delivers a powerful performance with pinpoint accuracy.

With two belt positions, this midi wood lathe offers a wide range of speeds, from 500 to 2,000 and from 1,500 to 3,600 revolutions per minute. And for better accuracy, it features a digital readout, which displays the precise speed setting.

Includes PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander Variable Speed Midi Lathe, tool storage rack, work light with 18-inch flex cable, 6-inch tool rest, 12-inch tool rest, 3-inch faceplate, spur drive center, tailstock live center, 4 hex wrenches, 4 rubber feet, knockout rod, screwdriver, tailstock handle and bolt, safety goggles, and user manual
Swing over bed 10 inches
Distance between centers 18 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 32 x 9 x 17 inches
Speed 500 to 2,000 and 1,500 to 3,600 revolutions per minute
Power output 3/4 horsepower
Voltage 110 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 82 pounds
Warranty 3-year warranty
7. Mophorn 8” x 12” Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

The cheapest wood lathe on the list, the Mophorn 8” x 12” Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe offers every lathe feature you need at a super affordable price. Reviewers agree that it’s a great mini wood lathe at the best price available.

Of course, its price isn’t the only thing that makes it one of the best wood lathes on the market. Featuring a 1/3-horsepower motor, it delivers a powerful performance at a low noise level. It also offers a variable speed, ranging from 500 to 3,200 revolutions per minute. With this speed range, you can work on any project with better control and precision.

For different woodworking projects, this mini wood lathe comes complete with a moving tailstock, which lets you adjust the distance for specific workpieces, and two interchangeable tool rests, which can secure a variety of woodturning tools.

Includes Mophorn 8” x 12” Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe, 6-inch faceplate, 2 tool rests (5.9 and 11.8 inches), set of accessories, and user manual
Swing over bed 8 inches
Distance between centers 12 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 27.95 x 13.39 x 8.27 inches
Speed 500 to 3,200 revolutions per minute
Power output 1/3 horsepower
Voltage 110 volts
Material Cast iron
8. JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe 719400K

Versatile and powerful—these are the words that best describe the JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe 719400K. It offers various features that can take on a wide range of woodturning projects—making it one of the best wood lathes on the market.

With a 14 1/2- by 40-inch lathe size and 36 indexing positions, this large wood lathe can help you accurately turn any of your ideas into well-crafted workpieces. It also lets you adjust the spindle speed from 400 to 3,000 revolutions per minute and displays the speed setting on its digital readout, giving you the right speed setting for the job.

This JET wood lathe comes equipped with a sliding and pivoting headstock and an improved tailstock with an anti-rotation key, providing you with maximum versatility and precision for any woodturning project. And because this JET wood lathe comes with full-size cast iron construction and stable legs, it completely meets the needs of professionals working on large-scale woodturning projects.

Includes JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe 719400K
Swing over bed 14 1/2 inches
Distance between centers 40 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 88 x 58 x 39 inches
Speed 400 to 3,000 revolutions per minute
Power output 1 horsepower
Voltage 115 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 400 pounds
Warranty 5-year warranty
9. RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe

Heavier than a mini lathe, more portable than a large freestanding lathe, the RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe solves the Goldilocks conundrum of woodturners by offering just the right lathe size. Equipped with a 1-horsepower motor, it delivers a variable speed from 250 to 3,850 revolutions per minute—perfect for turning small platters, large bowls, and more.

This midi wood lathe features an LED screen, which displays the current speed setting. It also comes with convenient forward and reverse switches, so you can get the right woodturning direction for your project.

With 24 index positions, this midi wood lathe lets you create various patterns and designs with the utmost precision. Plus, it includes a tool rest, wrenches, a knockout bar, and more—giving you a complete set of wood lathe accessories.

Includes RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR VSR MIDI Lathe, spur and live centers, 3-inch faceplate, tool rest, knockout bar, wrenches, and tool holder
Swing over bed 12 1/2 inches
Distance between centers 20 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 40 3/4 x 12 x 17 5/8 inches
Speed 250 to 3,850 revolutions per minute
Power output 1 horsepower
Voltage 120 volts
Material Metal
Weight 115 pounds
Warranty 5-year warranty
10. Grizzly Industrial H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe

Although the Grizzly Industrial H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe comes last on the list, it’s equipped with just the right amount of features that make it one of the best wood lathes today. With a 10- by 18-inch lathe size, this mini wood lathe is the perfect benchtop machine for small woodturning projects.

Powered by a 1/2-horsepower motor, this mini wood lathe features five speeds ranging from 826 to 3,337 revolutions per minute. While its variable speed range isn’t as extensive as the other lathes, it’s wide enough for most woodworking projects.

Constructed with heavy-duty cast iron, equipped with adjustable leveling feet, this Grizzly wood lathe can stay stable and level even in the busiest of projects. It also comes with wrenches, a tool rest, a live rolling center, and a spur center for a convenient and complete set of wood lathe accessories.

Includes Grizzly Industrial H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe, tool rest, live rolling center, spur center, and wrenches
Swing over bed 10 inches
Distance between centers 18 inches
Overall dimensions (L x W x H) 36 x 11 1/2 x 15 inches
Speed 826, 1,205, 1,713, 2,422, and 3,337 revolutions per minute
Power output 1/2 horsepower
Voltage 110 volts
Material Cast iron
Weight 77 pounds
Warranty 1-year warranty