Top 5 Best Wood Lathes In 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

A wood lathe is an essential machinery that a DIY hobbyist or a professional carpenter needs in almost all of the woodworking projects. Its main responsibility is to cut, to sand, and to knurl in order to provide smoother pieces of wood without much effort.

In order to choose the best wood lathe that suits all of your needs and requirements, you need to look for various features. They include the power, speed, ease of use and the types of wood which the lathe can shape.

In case you are looking for the best wood lathe reviews, we also introduce our top picks of the best wood lathes you can find on the market in the end.

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Features to Consider When Hoosing a Wood Lathe

First, let’s have a look at the most important features that you have to consider when you go shopping for a wood lathe. Doing your homework carefully will help you make the most informed choices as there are quite a few types of wood lathes that you can find on the market:

1. Types of wood lathe

There are 3 main types of wood lathes and they are used for different pieces of wood

  • Standard Lathes: This type of lathe comes with a rugged cast iron and an adjustable rail. You can use this type of lathe to work with most of the functional items of the average sizes and wood sculpture.
  • Mini Lathes: Mini lathe is smaller than a standard lathe. Hence, it is more suitable for small pieces of wood. In case you want a high level of precision, you can also opt for this type. In addition, it is less powerful, but will be more portable.
  • Wood Lathes for Wide Items: This type of lathe doesn’t have the horizontal rail like the standard lathe. Hence, it is more suitable for a wide item rather than a long item. You shouldn’t opt for this wood lathe if you have a limited working space.

2. Power, motor, and speed

These features of a wood lathe are closely linked together. When you buy a wood lathe with a high power, it will be able to operate at a high speed and surely has a strong motor as well. If you are a professional carpenter, you will want a wood lathe with a high power. It helps you do a lot of woodworking projects in a short amount of time.

Also if you have to deal with a lot of complex projects, you would need a powerful power and motor. Go for a wood lathe with adjustable speed settings as well.

3. Size of the lathe

There are quite a few things that you need to consider when you think about the size of the lathe that you want to buy. First is how much space do you have at the working station. Second is how big are the pieces of wood that you want to work with. If you want a compact and small lathe for small projects, go for a mini wood lathe. However, a floor lathe is more powerful but surely takes a lot of space.

4. Capacity

The capacity of a wood lathe refers to the distance between the centers of the wood lathe and the maximum swing account. The higher the capacity is, the longer the pieces of wood you can work with. A wood lathe with a high capacity will also be bigger.

5. Vibration

The vibration of the wood lathe is partly influenced by the weight of the machine itself. In case you want a lightweight wood lathe, you will see that it vibrate quite often. As a result, it is harder to control the machine and you might not get smoother pieces of wood.

6. Other factors

Finally, make sure that the wood lathe that you are about to buy can work with the types of wood you often work with.

Other features that you also need to consider when you go out choosing the best wood lathes including the budget. In most of the case, the higher the prices you are willing to pay, the higher the quality of the wood lather.

Choosing the reputational brands is also a good way for you to choose a high-quality wood lathe. You can check out some of the most famous brands on the markets including Powermatic, Jet, Delta, or Fisch.

Top 5 Wood Lathes in 2019 – Reviews of the Best on the Market

Here are our top picks for the best wood lathes. They have different features, pros, and cons. Read them all to see which one is more suitable for your woodworking’s needs and requirements.

Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lathe is 1 HP. It features 24 indexing positions. The variable speed of this wood lathe ranges from 60 to 3600 RPM variable speed. Like other Jet’s wood lathes, this wood lathe comes with an innovative ratchets style belt tension system and integrated a spring- loaded spindle lock.

Pros

  • It can be used for both light and medium level wood lathing. The sturdy construction, as well as the heavy weight of this lathe, ensures that it doesn’t vibrate a lot. As a result, you would have many clean and smooth pieces of wood.
  • There is a wide selection of torque at a lower speed. In addition, there is constant digital speed control with 3 variable speed changes. You can change these speed easily for different woodworking projects.
  • The forward to reverse transition is very smooth.

Cons

  • Like some of the models of wood lathes produced by JET, the main concern of this wood lathe is that it comes with a loose headstock.
  • The hand wheels are painted. Hence, the paint would come out easily (other models might have these hand wheels chrome plated).

Verdict: This versatile wood lathe is suitable for both home uses and professional uses. With a lot of features, this wood lathe is suitable for a wide range of projects- from the small to the big one.


Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lathe is 1 HP motor. It can run at over 1700 RPM. The capacity of this wood lathe is 12.5 inches. The center to center distance of this wood lather is 16.5 inches. It features the electronic variable speed with 3-pulley speed ranges. Other features of this wood lathe include the tailstock hand wheel and the tool rest.

Pros

  • Just at a twist of a knob, you can easily change the speeds of this wood lathe for different projects.
  • Moreover, it has the forward and reverse functions to help you have the smoothest pieces of wood as possible.
  • All of the materials which are used to make the wood lathe are of top-notch qualities which promise to last for a long time.
  • The belt tensioning system allows you to easily change the speed while having the correct tension all of the time.

Cons

  • It is a little bit small.
  • While it has the 1 HP motor, it can only run at over 1700 RPM.

Verdict: This wood lathe is suitable for small to medium woodworking projects. It is more suitable for recreational uses rather than professional uses.


Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lather is 2 HP. It has the 34.5-inch distance between centers and 20-inch swing over bed. It is made of cast iron construction. Other features of this wood lathe include the variable speed control, the guard, tool rest, and the spindle lock. It also features the digital RPM readout. It weighs 682 pounds.

Pros

  • With 2 HP, this wood lathe is the strongest wood lathe that you can find on the list. It also has a high capacity, allowing you to work with a lot of huge projects.
  • This wood lather is built with durability as well as high resistance to vibration. The large-scale iron casting of this wood lathe is very durable and long lasting as well.
  • There are a lot of features on this wood lathe for you to choose from such as the spindle lock and sliding headstock.
  • The tailstock and the headstock of this wood lathe are conveniently and securely situated on the machine for you to have a quick access to the features of the wood lathe.

Cons

  • The warranty period of this wood lathe is quite short. Most of the other wood lathe manufacturers offer the warranty period of up to 5 years while this one is backed with 1-year warranty only.
  • It is the heaviest model of wood lathes that you can find on the market.

Verdict: This wood lathe is suitable for professional carpenters with large wood lathing projects


Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lather is 1 HP. It has the 15.5-inch distance between centers. The six spindle speeds are 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630, and 3975. It weighs 137 pounds.

Pros

  • The bed of this wood lathe is wider than most of the other beds from other wood lathes, offering an increased rigidity. As a result, there would be less vibration and you can make smoother pieces of wood.
  • The tensioning system of this wood lathe is improved with easier access to belts. The forward to reverse is a very smooth function. It is very convenient and easy for even beginners to operate this machine.
  • With 3 speed ranges and continuous digital speed control, you can easily adjust the machine for it to run at different needs of yours.

Cons

  • While the JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe weighs only 45 pounds, this wood lathe weighs around 137 pounds, making it a very heavy and bulky wood lathe.
  • The headstock of this wood lathe might come loose from time to time. The tailstock and the headstocks often go out of line as well.

Verdict: This wood lathe is suitable for a woodworker to need a powerful machine for working with woods of different sizes.


Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lather is 1/3 HP. It has the 12-inch distance between centers and 8-inch swing over bed. There are 2 tool rests including the 4.5 and 7-inch tool rests. It is made of cast iron construction and variable speed control. It weighs 45 pounds.

Pros

  • This wood lathe features basic operations, which makes it very easy, even for beginners to use and control the machine. It is also very easy to set up this wood lathe.
  • This wood lathe is made of high quality and rugged materials. In addition, it is made with solid construction for a very reliable wood lathe to last for many years.
  • It comes with a lot of helpful features such as the variable speed settings and the variable spindle speeds.
  • It is small and compact. If you have a small working station, this machine is your ideal choice.

Cons

  • It is not a powerful wood lathe with a low-level motor.

Verdict: This wood lathe is suitable for small woodworking projects. It is also the best choices for beginners and DIY hobbyists.


Its Main Features: The motor of this wood lather is 1.5 HP. It has the 42-inch distance between centers and 16-inch swing over bed. There are 2 tool rests including the 4.5 and 7-inch tool rests. It is made of cast iron construction and variable speed control.

Pros

  • This wood lathe is one of the most powerful wood lathes that you can find on the market. As a result, it has a wide range of speed for different woodworking projects as well. The low range speed of this wood lathe allows high torques. On the other hand, the high range allows the precise turning of small pieces of wood.
  • The handles for belt tensioning are placed in the front of the machine, making it easier for you to control the speeds. The belts and the pulleys are also very easy for you to get hold of as well.
  • This wood lathe is very stable that can operate without vibrating a lot.
  • With the 42-inch distance between centers and 16-inch swing over bed, this wood lathe has the largest capacity in comparison with other wood lathes that you can find on the list. As a result, you can work with large pieces of wood with this wood lathe.

Cons

  • It is a little bit complicated. Beginners at woodworking might find it challenging

Verdict: This wood lathe is suitable for professional carpenters and advanced hobbyists to consider as well. You can consider buying this wood lathe if you work on medium to large wood lathing projects.


Conculsion

While the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe is more suitable for a smaller and home project, the JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is the great option for both recreational and professional uses.

 In case you are looking for a high-quality wood lathe that is easy to use and long lasting, consider buying the JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe. You are about to make one of best investments in woodworking tools.

As you can see, there are quite a few things that you need to consider in order to find the best wood lathe that you can find on the market. You need to check the motor of the lathe as well as the speed, weight, size, and capacity, to name just a few.

A high quality wood lathe should be made with high quality materials, sturdy constructions, and adjustable settings. With a lot of options on the market, you need to do your homework carefully and considering all of the options you have in hand.

 As long as you spend time and effort for the search of the best wood lathe, you would be able to find the best wood lathe to meet all of your needs and requirements. And I hope this article provides you with essential and helpful information for your search as well.


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