Best mini wood lathe 2020 : reviews and Buying Guide

Finding the right lathe can be very tricky. Today, you have lots of lathe models, but what’s popular is mini wood lathes. They’re small, easy, convenient and get the job done. you can find so many different models and manufacturers of mini wood lathes.

Tons of choices out there, and a wide assortment of options. So, in this review, we’ll take at some of the models that tend to sell out faster than others.

Best mini Wood lathe reviews 2020

#1. WEN 3420T 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe

This WEN 8-Inch by 12-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe has been made for those who want to turn their own pens. You can adjust the variable speed anywhere from 750 to 3200 rotations per minute. With that you even get useful features like the MT1 spindle and tailstock taper to tightly grip workpieces, two tool rests (4-1/2 inch and 7 inches) to provide needed support for chisels and tools during operation and a 2A motor to keep things turning.

It even has this easy-to-use lever clamping system for easy adjustments on the go, to the tool rest and the tailstock simple and precise. For optimal use even in the long hours, this WEN Wood Lathe also includes a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, a knockout rod and a 5-inch faceplate for turning non-spindle workpieces, and other accessories that you may require.

Pros:

  • Perfect for pens,
  • chess pieces,
  • and other small workpieces,
  • Soft start variable speed motor adjusts anywhere from 750 to 3200 RPM,
  • Includes a 5-inch faceplate for turning non-spindle workpieces,
  • Fits workpieces up to 12 inches long and 8 inches wide (max recommended working diameter: 5 inches),
  • Features a 2-amp motor,
  • an MT1 spindle,
  • and tailstock taper,
  • and two interchangeable tool rests

Cons:

  • the motor stops at the slightest touch,
  • even after adjusting the motor / RPMS,
  • no mounting hole

Value for money:

The only con this best mini lathe has is that the motor stops at the slightest touch and adjusting RPMS doesn’t really help at all. This is because it’s a 2 Amp Slow Start Motor, that starts gradually to prevent motor damage and maximize safety.

If you are okay with this, then this lathe is a good choice because it does have variable speed operation, that lets you choose from a range of 750 to 3200 rotations per minute with the simple turn of the variable speed knob.

With threads measuring in at 1 inch by 8 TPI, the MT1 spindle and tailstock that come included can support a variety of accessories. Most of the accessories come with the lathe, so it’s really more like a bundled package – a knockout rod, two tool rests, a faceplate, a tailstock cup center, a headstock spur center, and more.

This lathe is suitable for small projects such as pens, key chains, small pots and other small projects.It says it is capable of up to 8-inch diameter projects, but you can only achieve this if you have some good clamps and patience. Only then are you able to get semi rough forms to manageable sizes. You can turn out other small projects, but overall, this is a great introductory lathe for small projects. It even lacks mounting holes.

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#2. Excelsior Mini Lathe

This best mini lather from Rockler has a solid cast-iron construction and a robust 1/2 hp motor fitted together with a precision-machined live center. The body provides mass for minimal vibration, stable turning and maximum durability.

This little wonder machine can rival bigger lathes and can turn out bowls of almost 10″ in diameter and spindles up to 17-3/4″ in length, making it perfect for chair legs, small table legs and an endless array of decorative turnings.

Ease of use this next big thing about it –you have a convenient door that provides easy access to the belt that can move at five different speeds: 760, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM.

Pros:

  • Spur center on headstock,
  • Ball-bearing live center on tailstock,
  • Heavy-duty knockout bar for spur center,
  • Cam-locking ratcheting adjustment levers,
  • Convenient belt access door,
  • Chrome-plated hardware,
  • Removable safety switch,
  • Non-slip feet

Cons:

  • lightweight work,
  • cannot work with bed extension

Value for money:

This is a great little lathe that has plenty of power and takes standard accessories. The motor does run a little hot, but this is because of it is an induction motor. Overall, the build is solid, and it performs well, even the motor and is best suited for small projects and for making tobacco pipes.

The build is also of high quality, enough to let you do very good work and the spindle runs true, not more than a couple of 0.001s out. Tailstock is tight too, but the track in the ways is too wide. With that, the tail stock is a little difficult to center up left-right but is fine up-down.The tool rest and tail stock lock in place with simple camming mechanisms but lock down tight. The entire headstock is rock solid.

One more issue is with changing the speeds, that is a very slow process, and this can be annoying if it has to be done regularly. The motor has a lot of power but can be stalled and it could have been better if it were outbound instead of being mounted below for saving space. One good thing is that there are a ton of accessories available.

If you do put onan extension for a longer piece of wood, the strain on the motor will cause it to quit. It also develops this bad wobble that could get all your turnings round. Then, the tail stock does not sit tight on the bed, so alignment is never good. All three cons are smaller and barely noticeable but if you’re a pro, you may.

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#3. Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch Wood Lathe

The 370W motor has a turning speed of 500-3200 RPM and has a power of 120V/60Hz. It does start up very softly so as to maximize safety and you can choose from five different speeds between 500-3200 RPM. It is capable of high precision and can turn out standard qualified work.

Small in size, but delivers on high work capacity, complete with the necessary features – MT2 headstock and tailstock taper, 18″ (457 mm) distance between centers, swing over bed 10″ (254 mm), 6″ (150 mm) tool rest, 3″ (75 mm) face plate, top drive and live center.

The lather uses table operation and is built out of cast for increased stability and smooth operation. The rails have been quenched with high frequency and elaborate milling. All gears and shafts in headstock have been precisely grounded and hardened for longer service life and mute operation. High quality electronic units are applied throughout the machine.

And with all this you have a lathe that’s got a long operating life, high torque and delivers on a wide range of application. It is ideal for use in labs, workshops, engineering and showcasing.

Pros:

  • wide application,
  • high torque,
  • long operating life,
  • stable operation,
  • power motor,
  • 5 speed variables

Cons:

  • underpowered,
  • weak plastic covers,
  • could use a chuck

Value for money:

This best mini wood lathe is good for those who are new to wood turning. Its fun, different, has less vibration and it’s a belt-adjusted speed that quick and easy to change.Everything on it works great as itsheavy and well made, completely out ofcast iron construction. All adjustments work well and stay locked in place.

The machine was very quiet too and you should get it basically for finishing, as itis made for small jobs and not for a large laid replacement. Directions and documentation are a little thin, so the set up can take a while if you’re new, but not issue at all if you’ve used a lathe before. Either way, it’s no issue as the lathe comes almost completely assembled and is easy to set up.

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#4. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

The Shop Fox W1704 has been specially designed to provide many years of trouble-free service. Close attention to detail, ruggedly built parts and a rigid quality control program ensure safe and reliable operations every time. The W1704 lathe has been made for pen turning or other small cutting or shaping projects.

This best mini wood lathe has been made out of cast iron, and designed to fit neatly on a workbench, this lathe features a 1/3-horsepower, variable-speed motor and delivers spindle speeds between 700 and 3,200 revolutions per minute (RPM). With that you even get a safety paddle switch, an MT No. 1 spur center, an MT No. 1 live center, 4-1/4-inch and 7-inch tool rests, a 5-3/4-inch faceplate, and a 3/4-by-16-inch TPI RH spindle.

Pros:

  • Motor: 1/3 HP,
  • 2 Amp,
  • 110V,
  • Single-phase,
  • 60 Hz,
  • 12-inch distance between centers,
  • 8-inch swing over bed,
  • Cast iron construction and infinitely variable speed control,
  • Includes two tool rests

Cons:

  • for small projects

Value for money:

Just the kind of lathe you can use almost daily. It’s got decent power, it was well centered, and does exactly what you need it to do. the tool rests are made with a “texture” which extends to the top where your tools are supposed to glide smoothly and evenly in order to make a clean smooth surface on what you’re turning. This can interrupt turning work.

Also, if you are looking for a lathe to turn very hard woods or big pieces, this isn’t the lathe may not suit you. This works great for small items like pens, rings, and small bowls. If you’re having trouble with it stopping while you’re at work, then turn up the speed and take more shallow cuts making sure your tools are good and sharp and the lathe does the rest.

As others have said the lock down screws with the ball ends do vibrate apart. The tail stock adjuster takes some getting used to if you’re an absolute beginner.

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#5. PSI Woodworking PENPAL Portable 15-Pound Mini Penmaking Lathe

This PENPAL Portable 15-Pound Mini Penmaking Lathe from PSI Woodworking is meant for pen turning. At only 15lbs, this fully featured pen turning workhorse can be taken outside the home or conveniently goes or stores pretty much anywhere in your house. It also doubles as a second lathe for sanding, finishing or making extra pens.

Precision engineered and easy to set up and use, it is equipped with a 2″ Dust Collection Hood for cleaner air and less dust, a heavy duty tool rest pre-set to minimize adjustment, mounting holes and flange to securely mount or clamps your lathe to almost any surface.

The lathe body is made out of extruded anodized aluminum and is capable of speed from 0 – 4300 RPM.

Number 1 Morse taper in the tailstock. The headstock contains a collet type mandrel. Includes: pen mandrel shaft with collet closer nut for mounting, mandrel saver, (5) 7mm bushings, 7mm drill bit, (2) collet wrenches

Also includesa mini dust collection hood with 2″ port, 2″ hose clamp, and hood mounting bracket

Pros:

  • 1/5hp 110V variable speed motor (0-4300 rpm);
  • Lightweight at 15 lbs;
  • Portable; Small footprint (20x6x6 inches),
  • Headstock threaded to 3/4″ x 16tpi;
  • Tailstock uses #1 Morse Taper mount (1MT),
  • Anodized aluminum base with mounting holes and flange to mount lathe on most surfaces;
  • Swing over bed 5-1/2

Cons:

  • lacks features like a drill press,
  • band saw,
  • compact size makes it good for pens only

Value for money:

If you travel a lot and want something that would be light, precise, and very functional, this is it! It has this amazing precision from extruded aluminum an about .020 worth of play in tailstock side. The motor doesn’t have a lot of grunt as it is direct drive and the digital speed control is wonderful and works very well.

One concern is that it doesn’t have space for a drill press, band saw, etc. Don’t expect to turn large bowls on this unit. It is fairly easy to turn blanks but you might face some trouble roughing them to barrels as this item is really only capable of making pens. Which it does very well. Everything about the lathe seemed to be of high quality.

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#6. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe

This mini lathe from Rikon has a ½ motor that provides ample power for all turning needs. There is also a10” swing and 18” between centers and it comes with a self-ejecting tailstock and has easy access to speed change.

Designed specifically for pen turners that want a sturdy, dedicated machine for their craft.This scaled-down, a basic mini lathe is made from cast iron, so vibration is not a factor, unlike other lathes made of aluminum. There are five speeds that cover the bases for boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, turning to shape and finishing.

Includes: This lathe includes a live center, tool rest, knock-out bar, and wrenches.

Pros:

  • includes mains tools,
  • low vibrations,
  • designed for pen turning

Cons:

  • only for pen turning and other basics

Value for money:

This best mini lathe run just warm as its very well balanced and has no vibration.It is heavy and smooth enough so that you don’t have to bolt it down for fear of it moving, even when larger pieces of woodare being handled on it. A great little lathe for turning pens and toys or small projects and for getting beyond the basics.

This miniature lathe is well constructed and operates smoothly. You do have to purchase a chuck for the drive side separately, but this was not a surprise. The lathe came completely assembled with just a few adjustments needed before turning it on and suits most need very well.

Recommended for use with small projects from tops to pens to wand to icicles and it works great. There is a slight hassle with having to move the belt. The only issue we have with the lathe is that the holes that receive the bolts for the rubber feet were not properly tapped.

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#7. NOVA 71123 Comet II Industrial Lathe Cast Iron Bed Extension 23

Now you can extend the spindle turning capacity of your NOVA Comet II Midi Lathe using this bed extension. It adds about 25-1/2″ in length, extending the NOVA 71123 Comet II Industrial Lathe to 42″.You can even connect it up to multiple bed extensions for even longer turnings.

It has solid cast iron throughout for durability, vibration-free turning, maximum strength, and rigidity. The NOVA Comet II versaturn bed extension accessory also fits the NOVA 46000 Comet II Midi Lathe too.

Pros:

  • bed extension adds 23.4-inch per length,
  • has solid cast iron for vibration dampening throughout the bed width and length,
  • the accessory is easy to add and remove,
  • the perfect accessory for longer spindle projects

Cons:

  • alignment hiccups,
  • difficult Allen head bolt

Value for money:

This extension gives you some serious room to turn down long items. The quality is excellent, but the Allen head bolt in the upper left quadrant is very difficult to access and tighten.

But this is with all units and is usually solved with a long reach Allen wrench. Of course, alignment is key and that can be seen here as well. If tightened when the alignment is off, you could have some tuning issues. With the extension, you won’t have any of that because it lets you ensure that the tailstock slides smoothly across the intersection.

For the price, this is a great buy. It is a little difficult to adjust the extension, but once done it all works fine, works as expected and is highly recommended for someone with a smaller workshop.

It claims to be quick and easy to install, but the tailstock does not go over the seam perfectly smooth. It takes a while because the screws are limited to 1/4 turns and the bed takes a little work to align properly.The bed extension came with threaded holes where it joins to the bed. The bed is also threaded, so you know that it isn’t going to work.

The supplied washers, bolts did not fit in the narrow space – and to get the holes to match up accurately some have tried to drill holes in them to get rid of the excess iron.

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#8. Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

The JET 1015 is mostly for the novice woodturner looking for an affordable, user-friendly first lathe. It is also cut out for advanced enthusiasts or professionals looking for a full-featured mini-lathe to the shop.This sturdy, smooth-running 15″ mini-lathe has the power, precision, and versatility to turn out any number of projects.

Pros:

  • 15-1/2″ between centers,
  • six spindle speeds: 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 and 3975,
  • Integrated 24 position indexing,
  • Improved tensioning system with easier access to belts,
  • Wider bed ways provide increased rigidity

Cons:

  • manual belt adjustment,
  • minor adjustments to stop vibrations

Value for money:

A very well- built and smooth operating machine that is perfect for turning pens and bottle stoppers.Changing speeds is quick and easy, and you can turn both wood and brass without issue on this lathe, the motor is plenty powerful.Overall it does everything you could possibly want from a wood lathe.

You do have to tighten the motor tench-en to stop it from rattling and tighten the belt to keep the tailstock moving all the way.

You can use it as a nice bench top lathe, the only thing is that you have to move the belt, but it is not hard to adjust the belt.The other downside to this particular lathe is that in order to adjust the RPMs you need to shut it off and reset the belt to the desired speed. If this is not to your liking, they have another option where you can adjust the speeds using dials. Though more expensive than your beginners’ lathe, you get what you pay for and could use little more power.

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Conclusion

Best Mini lathes can be a very versatile DIY tool that can help you with running activity safely and effectively. Your choice ins finding the right one will depend on what you do, the amount of space you have available and the budget.

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