7 Best Wood Lathe For Beginners of 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

You will need the best wood lathe for beginners to create unique designs and patterns on wood. A high-quality wood lathe can handle everything - from light to heavy woodturning tasks.

These machines are equipped with a strong motor that supplies the energy needed to do a specific job. The maximum power that an engine can produce will depend on its design. Beyond that, you can also modify the motor's speed suitable for the woodturning project.

The best wood lathe for beginners is also ideal to use on working large wood pieces. Most lathe models come with an extendable center distance, a feature allowing anyone to use the machine for heavier woodturning works. This tool also comes with well-designed control systems and belts you can access easily for convenient tension adjustment.

Since the market offers thousands of wood lathes, choosing the best wood lathe for beginners might be a tiring task. Worry no more! The following are the best starter lathe you may consider.

Read on to know further.

NameImageSpecsRating
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Jet JWL-1221VSDimensions: 33.6 x 11 x 35.8 inches9/10 Buy On Amazon
Jet JWL-1015VSDimensions: ‎26 x 7 x 14 inches9.6/10 Buy On Amazon
Wen 3421Dimensions: 28.15 x 13.4 x 8.1 inches
8.8/10 Buy On Amazon
Mophorn Wood Lathe 14" x 40"Dimensions: 35.2 x 15 x 9 inches8.2/10 Buy On Amazon
Wen 3424TDimensions: 30.5 x 8.75 x 16.25 inches9/10 Buy On Amazon
Jet JWL-1440VSKDimensions: ‎88 x 58 x 39 inches9.4/10 Buy On Amazon
Rikon 70-105Dimensions: 35.5 x 10.5 x 14.75 inches9.2/10 Buy On Amazon

Top 7 Best Wood Lathe for Beginners Review

JET JWL-1221VS 719200

Highlighted Features:

  • Digital readout
  • Ratchet-style belt tension
  • Detachable on and off safety controls

JET offers two models of 1221 wood lathe, including this JWL-1221VS. This model comes with a unique set of features, excluding whistles and bells that you can find on its sibling. The JET JWL-1221VS model focuses on helping you to have a better woodturning experience.

JET designed this model to help its users better control this machine. After the brand launched it to the public, they stated that this model is unique from the other lathe tools for beginners available on the market. They are confident that this JWL-1221VS wood lathe is the ideal starter kit that everyone should have for the best woodturning experience.

The lathe's bed is made from cast iron, offering reliable and durable performance. Although this model is quite heavy, weighing more than 58 kilograms, many still love how this machine works.

The total weight of the JWEL-1221VS lathe reduces the vibration produced during woodturning. As a result, you can create more precise and accurate work. Beyond that, it also works quietly, making it a perfect tool for home and outdoor use. Considering its dimension, it will not eat up too much space in your room. Aside from being a versatile tool, the compact design of this lathe allows for easy storage.

Another thing you would love about this lathe is that its controls are located in one area. This feature allows you to have convenient access to its controls. A knob-like part of the lathe enables you to control its speed.

In addition, JWL 1221VS also sends you notifications to ensure a balanced RPM. Besides its RPM readout feature, you will see the reverse and forward sliding switch.

Different woodturning projects need different speeds. Luckily, this wood lathe from JET features a variable pace ranging from 60 to 3,600 RPM.

You can modify the motor speed by pushing its rotating knob. This tool also comes with a 24 Indexing Positions feature. This specification gives you an added versatility when turning any project. You can also use its indexing head in using different woodturning techniques, including grooving and drilling. One good thing about this feature is that it gives you more accurate turns.

PROS

  • Smooth transitions
  • Innovative design
  • 60-3,600 maximum speed
  • Easy and convenient controls
  • Easy to store

CONS

  • Expensive

JET JWL-1015VS, 10" x 15" Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719110) 

Highlighted Features:

  • 200-3,600 maximum speed
  • Wider bed
  • Quality tensioning system

If you are looking for a compact-sized wood lathe, then this Jet JWL-1015VS is perfect for you. Despite the size of this lathe, it is equipped with high-quality features. One of the good things about this machine is that it allows you to control the wood you are working on. The JWL-1015VS is designed for amateur and professional woodturners.

JET is a well-known brand that produces top-rated wood lathes for beginners. One of their creations is the JWL-1015VS. This JET lathe model works quieter and smoother than the other woodturners on the market. Since it is small, this device is also lightweight. It weighs less than 80 pounds, which means you can take it wherever you go. Compared to other woodturning lathes for beginners, this one can is comfortable, convenient, and hassle-free to operate.

Compared to the first wood lathe, this JET JWL-1015VS is more affordable. It also comes with convenient and easy-to-access controls.

The tool comes with six-speed types, allowing you to control it efficiently. Professional turners who are looking for a small yet fully-equipped wood lathe would probably love this product. Remember, not all experts need professional tools to work and get the best results.

The product's bed is made from cast iron. It is extra broad, providing you with additional stability and reduces vibrations. Aside from that, it is also packed with 24 index positions, giving you a better experience of cut veining and fluting.

The product offers versatility, precision, and enough power in turning acrylic handles and corks, despite being small.

There are several reasons that make this JWL-1015VS wood lathe. These include stability. The product has bigger feet, which are ideal for greater stability. Also, its wider bed provides extra firmness, which is helpful when working on woods. You may not want to use an overturning wood lathe when doing your project.

Another factor of this product that makes it admirable is its simplicity and quality. Its simple design is a great factor that contributes to the user's safety. It has a simple and uncomplicated design that helps you to save energy and time as you can use it easily.

PROS

  • Durable and can last for many years
  • 5-year warranty
  • Variable speeds
  • Convenient and easy to access controls

CONS

  • Relatively expensive for some customers

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Miini Benchtop Wood Lathe 

Highlighted Features:

  • Small, soft start engine
  • 750 to 3,200 RPM
  • Ergonomic design

If you are a beginner in woodturning, then this WEN 3421 wood lathe is perfect for you. You can use it for working on smaller workpieces, such as pens, bowls, cups, and more. It is powered by a 3.2 Amp engine that produces enough amount of power to finish minor projects.

The product has a variable speed ranging from 750 to 3,200 RPM. Also, its 12-inch bed is enough to hold small to medium-sized workpieces.

Wen is a well-known brand name that manufactures power tools designed for different purposes. They started their journey in the tool-making industry in 1951. Their line of well-built wood lathes gains so much attention from the public, especially their 3421 lathes.

There are two reasons this Wen 3421 wood lathe is popular. The first reason is that it is beginner-friendly.

The product has a simple design, allowing anyone to use the tool hassle-free. Beyond that, you can create error-free and more accurate projects using this small and basic wood lathe.

Although the Wen 3421 has a 3.2 amp engine, this does not mean it cannot deliver enough power to do simple and basic woodturning projects. In fact, it can produce 50 percent more capacity compared to other small-sized wood lathes you can see on the market these days. This tool is perfect for beginners in woodworking without being overwhelmed.

Another reason behind its popularity is that this product is packed with other accessories for better convenience. It comes with an interchangeable tool, MT spindle and tailstock, and faceplate measuring 2.3 inches. All these accessories contribute to hassle-free storage and more convenient workpiece placement.

The Wen 3421 wood lathe is ideal for beginners for its soft start motor feature. For those new to woodworking, you might get overwhelmed and startled when starting a lathe engine. The soft-start engine of this tool promotes a slower yet comfortable buildup of power.

PROS

  • Powerful
  • Small
  • Budget-friendly

CONS

  • Designed for small- to medium-sized woodturning projects

Mophorn Wood Lathe 14 inches x 40 inches

Highlighted Features:

  • Powerful motor
  • For varieties of speed
  • 14 x 40 inches work capacity

Mophorn created a wood lathe that could give you a more polished finished product. The product measures 14 x 40 inches, which is relatively small and perfect for indoor and outdoor use. Unlike the other wood lathes mentioned above, this one comes with four variable speeds, including 1,100 RPM, 1,600 RPM, 2,300 RPM, and 3,200 RPM.

Although it is small, the Mophorn wood lathe can produce an outrageous amount of power. This helps you to finish any woodworking project. Beyond that, it also features a digital readout, where you can view the motor speed. This allows you to know how much power you are currently using.

The product is also equipped with a wider bed, which only shows that it can hold any size of wood without the hassle. Since this lathe is designed for benchtops, its bottom part features rubberized feet. This feature gives the product greater stability, allowing you to work on different surfaces.

The Mophorn wood lathe is small and lightweight. This means it is the best product you can store and transfer with ease and convenience. If you do your woodturning projects in your garage, you may consider making small storage space for storing this machine.

The tool is made from steel, which means it is sturdy and durable. With this in mind, you can ensure smooth operation and improved stability while working. The package also includes chisels and wrenches for free. You will receive three wrenches and chisels for maintaining the machine once the package arrived at your home.

Since the product has a spacious application bed, you can use it for different woodworking operations, such as deformation, drilling, knurling, sanding, and cutting.

The fact that you can get all these benefits for less than 500 US Dollars is beneficial for those with a tight budget. Despite being cheap, the product has lots to offer that you cannot get from its more expensive counterparts.

PROS

  • Easy to control
  • Stable and durable
  • Free chisels and wrenches
  • Made from solid steel materials

CONS

  • Misaligned back and front ends

WEN 3424T 4.5-Amp Benchtop Wood Lathe 

Highlighted Features:

  • 4.5-Amp engine
  • 5-speed operation
  • MT2 Tailstock
  • 3-1/8 inches Faceplate

A wood lathe is a must-have, especially if you want to create customized designs using woods.

Using WEN 3424T wood lathe, you can give yourself rewarding and impressive woodturning work. The product allows you to produce uniquely designed things. Show off your creativity using this 3424T wood lathe from WEN.

If you plan to start your journey in woodturning, you may consider starting it with this WEN 3424T wood lathe. WEN has been in the industry for many years. They had created affordable power tools, including their 3424T model.

Although the product is the oldest model in the WEN 342 line, it still provides powerful punches. It is powered by a 4.5-amp engine that offers several varieties of speeds.

Although this model is available at a meager cost, WEN still packed it with impressive and powerful features.

Unlike the other wood lathes mentioned above, WEN 3424T has five impressive variable speeds. This feature allows you to use paces between 3,400 RPM, 2,150 RPM, 1,400 RPM, 900 RPM, and 510 RPM. You can choose between these speeds by turning on its variable speed knob.

If you are working on smaller and more intricate woodturning projects, you can use the lower speeds offered by this lathe. Working with lower speeds ensures no damage to your wood and cutting materials. Rest assured that it will produce enough powers when you use higher speeds because it uses a 4.5-amp engine.

Another good thing about this product is its wider bed, measuring 12" wide and 18" long. This means that you can attach any size of workpiece to it. It also comes with a 3-1/8 inches Faceplate. This feature is designed for turning non-spindle items, such as cups and bowls.

PROS

  • Wider bed
  • Powerful motor
  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Perfect for beginners and professional turners

CONS

  • Not durable to last for years

JET JWL-1440VSK 14"x40" (719400K)

Highlighted Features:

  • 40 inches centerpiece
  • Sliding headstock
  • Variable speed control

If you are currently in search of a versatile wood lathe for your woodturning crafts, then you should not look further than the JET JWL-1440VSK. This wood lathe is equipped with high-quality features, allowing you to do any woodturning projects effortlessly.

Despite its relatively small size, the Jet 1440VSK will surprise you with its impressive motor. The tool also features pre-built cast iron legs. This feature allows you to choose from its different speeds, ranging from 400 to 3,000 RPMs.

The wood lathe has a professional design, which will constantly motivate you to do several woodturning projects. By looking at its overall construction and features offered, this tool is made with precision and professionalism in mind.

No one would want to use a wood lathe that produces sound after it got turned on. Luckily, this Jet JWL 1440VSK features well-designed feet, giving you more stability and versatility while working.

Also, the tool weighs 352 pounds, which is quite heavy compared to other wood lathes mentioned. But its weight still adds to the stability it offers.

You also want a wood lathe with a powerful motor. Although it houses only one horsepower motor, it is still efficient and powerful enough to meet your woodturning needs. Its engine can last for several hours, which allows you to do your craft continuously without any disruption or hassle.

The Jet JWL 1440VSK offers several varieties of speed. If you are new to woodturning, you may be asking how to change the motor speed. Well, the tool comes with a knob regulator that looks like the knobs you can see in an aircraft. All you need to do is to turn it in.

The product offers an RPM ranging from 400 to 3,000. You can turn the knob to your preferred speed covered by the RPM range. Through this, you can finish your crafts according to your desired speed without compromising precision and accuracy.

PROS

  • Conveniently change the RPM speed
  • Wide crafting bed
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Heavy

RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10" x 18" 

Highlighted Features:

  • 5-speed range
  • 3.7-amp powerful motor
  • Knock-out bar
  • Tool rest

Are you one of the amateurs and professional pen turners out there? If so, you have found the perfect mini lathe for you. The product works without producing terrible vibration, weighing only 75 pounds. Compared to other aluminum-made lathes out there, this one comes with a tailstock, headstock, and bed made from pure cast iron.

The tool features multi-rib pulleys that hold a shifting belt used for changing the speed. In terms of speed, this mini lathe produces power ranging from 500 RPM to 3,200 RPM.

Even though this lathe is small, it features ten inches of bed and 7 inches of tool-rest. This means that you can also use this product for turning almost anything. Beyond that, it can hold up to 18 inches of spindles.

This mini lathe is durable and can last for several hours since it uses a 1/2hp motor to work. Also, you can turn it on and off easily through its safety switch. This product is perfect for starters and professionals in turning since it comes with ergonomic wheels and handles. These features allow you to adjust the tool for several purposes.

One good thing about RIKON Power Tools is that it is packed with essential tools that would help you to do your woodturning job properly. These accessories include wrenches, knock-out bar, live center, and tool rest - probably all necessary for different woodturning projects.

Beyond being compact and powerful, the Rikon Power Tools become popular because it is very simple and easy to use.

You can set your preferred RPM by looking at its digital readout. Thus, allowing you to have a better, more accurate, and reliable turning experience. Amateur woodturners would love how simple and small this wood lathe from Rikon is.

PROS

  • Packed with essential woodturning accessories
  • Compact size
  • Ease of use
  • Decent motor power
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Lacks more-advanced features
  • Perfect for small workpieces only

Best Wood Lathe for Beginners – Buying Guide

Best Wood Lathe for Beginners

Woodworking is a good hobby to start. You can also sell your woodturning crafts and establish a business over them.

To create high-quality woodturning projects, you should use a top-notch wood lathe. Using this powerful tool, you can make almost everything - pepper mills, bangles, spoons, wooden bowls, table legs, door handles, drawer pulls, and many more. In fact, you can create customized products you can give to yourself, loved ones, and friends.

When you visit the market, you will be welcomed with an overwhelming number of wood lathes. Each of them is made by different manufacturers.

If this is your first time buying a wood lathe, you might get a hard time picking the best wood lathe for beginners. So, here are the factors you need to consider to find the ideal wood lathe for your needs.

Chuck Type

There are several chuck types you can see on the market to use with your wood lathe. There are three types of chuck, such as 6-jaw, 4-jaw, and 3-jaw. There are lots of things you must know about the type of chuck to use with your lathe. These three types of chucks are designed for mini wood lathes. You can move an individual jaw separately.

You can use 3-, 4-, 6-jaws when working on an irregularly shaped workpiece. This is also ideal to use in setting off centerpieces for different purposes. Each chuck can provide you with several benefits and can handle several tasks.

Lathe's Weight

If you are a type of woodturner who frequently changes the position of his tools and equipment, you must consider the weight of the wood lathe you will buy. If you prefer heavy wood lathes, you might find it hard to rearrange them in your working area. A small-sized lathe would be an ideal power tool if you only do small to medium woodturning projects. A mini lathe is also portable enough to transport from one place to another.

Spindle Speed

Different woodturning projects need a specific speed. With this in mind, you should look for a wood lathe with several variable speeds. This will help you to perform several woodturning tasks without any hassle. Aside from speed, you must also consider the capability of the lathe to go reverse and forward. This feature is necessary, especially when doing table legs and other similar woodworks.

Ease and Convenience of Use

You can find some wood lathes with complicated features. This is because they are designed for professional use. But you do not have to worry if you are a beginner in woodturning. You can find lots of beginner-friendly wood lathes on the market.

When buying the best wood lathe for beginners, ensure that its features can meet your needs and complements your skill. If you are a new woodturner, consider the wood lathes mentioned above - all of them are user-friendly.

The Size of Your Working Space

Most of you might be tempted to purchase bigger wood lathes. But if you will do so, make sure that the available space in your home can handle its size for easy storage. Before heading to the market, make sure to measure the available room in your area and make some allowances. This will allow you to move around hassle-free. If you are a beginner, it would be better to purchase small-sized lathes before investing in bigger ones.

How Small or Large Your Woodworking Tasks Will Be

A mini wood lathe can handle small woodworking tasks, such as making bangles or door handles. If you are only producing basic turning projects, it would be best to invest in small to medium-sized power tools. Investing in a huge-sized wood lathe would be just a waste of money, especially if you only work on simple tasks. Take note, the bigger the lathe, the higher the cost.

As a beginner, your woodturning skills will improve over time. This means that you will do bigger projects that mini lathe cannot handle. In that case, it is time to invest in a more powerful and massive machine. Make sure to buy the machine with more powerful swing capacities and more spacious beds to hold bigger woods.

Budget

If you will make turning projects, take note that there are other things you need to purchase aside from a quality wood lathe. A lathe is a powerful machine that gives you enough space to rotate your wood piece at your desired RPM. In other words, a lathe works like your car engine. Remember that after starting the car, you need to operate it to reach your destination.

So, despite the size and type of your turning projects, you will need to invest in woodturning tools and accessories. Thus, you must set a budget for your wood lathe and its corresponding tools and accessories.

Motor

You must also consider how much power your lathe's engine can produce. The motor is an essential part of your lathe to work efficiently. This means that it is one of the crucial considerations you must keep in mind.

When buying a wood lathe, make sure to look at its power requirement to determine if its energy could meet and satisfy your woodturning needs. If you will work on larger projects, opt for a lathe that has a powerful motor.

Quality Tailstock

The tailstock is an essential feature you must consider, especially when working on longer workpieces. This feature works by spinning and holding the extended wood piece to ensure it does not slip from the bed. This also contributes to a smoother rotation.

The tailstock is made from different parts, including the quill. The quill works by moving the tailstock, giving you more support. It also helps when boring and drilling the workpiece. Make sure to check how long a quill can travel smoothly and hassle-free. In addition, determine if the wood lathe comes with a self-ejecting feature.

Sturdy and Solid Base

A solid base is an essential feature to consider when buying a wood lathe. It helps you to create top-rated turned objects. A sturdy bed is what makes a strong foundation. The wood lathe's bed refers to the bean placed horizontally across the machine. In most cases, this lathe's bed is made from cast iron. Although you can expand the bed of other mini-lathes, it would be better to invest in a bigger-sized tool, especially if you are working with spindles measuring more than 36 inches long.

The bed must be heavy to reduce the vibration when you start the engine. If there is a vibration happened while using a machine, it will make your woodturning unsafe and difficult. So look for a lathe with a heavier base for easier turning.

Power Switch

Most amateur and professional woodturners do not pay importance to the power switch placement. What you did not know is that the proper power switch placement is an essential factor to consider. It must be placed in an area where you can have easy access to it. Through this, you can turn the machine on and off with ease and convenience.

Beyond that, make sure to purchase a wood lathe that can meet your specific turning requirements. A simple lathe would be better if you only do basic woodturning projects. On the other hand, if you want to make some money out of woodturning, you must invest in something that is equipped with more advanced features.

Tool Rest

The tool rest is another crucial factor that must be taken into consideration when planning to invest in a wood lathe. As you turn a workpiece, make sure that the tool rests conveniently and tightly to its tool rest.

Make sure that the tool rest allows you to adjust the turner vertically. Once the wood is set, the tool rest must hold it in a tight position.

As the general rule of thumb, look for a tool rest that measures 10 inches long. Also, it should be made from pure cast iron to reduce vibration. Avoid purchasing a wood lathe with loose tool rest as it can lead to a dangerous woodturning experience. So, make sure to check each part of the lathe to ensure your safety and the final product's quality.

Conclusion

If you spend some years in woodworking, you probably have plans to try woodturning.

Investing in a high-quality wood lathe, no matter the size is a crucial step towards having a better woodturning experience. Aside from wood lathe, you will also need some parting tools, skew chisels, and sharp gouges. Make sure that these tools are maintained sharp to make more accurate and efficient cuts.

Aside from having the best woodturning experience, a good lathe also allows you to create unique and customized workpiece designs. All you have to do is to allow your creativity to come out.

If you still do not know what wood lathe is perfect for you, consider the best wood lathe for beginners listed and reviewed above.

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