A lot of options can create confusion and affect our decision making power. This is the problem of many. When we decide to buy a mini wood lathe we are confronted with a similar problem- the problem of many alternatives.
We get seriously confused among many factors viz. features, size, price, portability, strength, etc. The question is, "Which one to choose and which one to lose?"!
Each of the sellers claiming to be the best in the segment, you either drop the idea of buying the machine altogether or end up paying for a wrong one! And both the situations are horrible. In one, you missed the opportunity of fulfilling, maybe your dream, and in other, you did a bad investment that cannot be reversed.
Then, what is the option?
Well, we understand your dilemma and wish to help you in selecting the best mini lathe according to your requirements including your budget.
After a thorough study of many mini-lathes available in the market, we have chosen the ten best for you. Each of these mini lathes has one or the other unique feature. And you can select the lathe with features that you are looking for.
Here are those top ten best mini-lathes for you.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best Mini Lathes For 2020
NOVA 46300 Comet II
Excelsior Mini Lathe
RIKON Power Tools 70-105
Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch
MicroLux 8 X 12 Wood Turner's Lathe
1. NOVA 46300 Comet II
NOVA is one of those portable mini-lathes that despite being compact give a good powerful performance. Its compact size provides tremendous scope for those who have space constraints.
It has a powerful motor of ¾ HP with a variable speed of 250 to 4000 RPM. This mini lathe is equally useful for the beginners as well as for the professionals. Yes, you don't require that much prior knowledge about the process of using a wood lathe if you decide to get this one.
NOVA 46300 has a distance between the center of 16.5”, extendable to 41” through bed extension and swing over bed of 12”.
It has a 12 point indexing feature. Besides, forward and reverse switch allow unmatched flexibility while ensuring accuracy & precision. Craftsmen feel extremely free in expressing the most creative of their imaginations on a piece of wood.
With a smooth working at all the wide-ranging speeds that it offers, this machine becomes one of the best mini-lathes in all aspects.
2. RIKON 70-100
RIKON is equipped with a ½ HP motor. It has a speed range from 430 to 3900 RPM. A 6-step motor is installed to ensure a smooth start & running of the machine.
RIKON 70-100 is a very compact yet high performing mini-lathe. It has 12 point indexing which allows for better precision. Carrying out straight fluting, drilling, and grooving becomes very easy because of this feature. In a small space, RIKON 70-100 offers too many useful features.
It has a self-ejecting tailstock. The tailstock can be moved with the bed.
The distance between the centers is 16” while over bed swing is 12”.
It is provided with many accessories like a stand to increase lathe’s height or a faceplate to make non-spindle items. These accessories add to the versatility of this mini-lathe.
Despite being a mini-lathe, RIKON is equally efficient for larger and smaller work-pieces.
3. WEN 3420T
WEN 3420T comes in one of the most affordable price ranges. It has a variable speed ranging between 750 to 3200 RPM. With advanced motor starters ensuring a jerk-free start, it is safe to operate and gives longer life to the motor.
5” faceplate is a very good inclusion to make non-spindle objects like mugs and bowls, etc. If you're looking for a lathe for bowl turning, this can be a pretty decent buy.
This mini wood lathe is ideal for those working on smaller projects. Its portability adds to its utility as it can be taken outdoors. Besides, it does not take a lot of space thus making it comfortable to work in smaller work areas.
Additionally, many accessories like tailstock cup center, flat wrench, and a knock-out rod, etc. also form part of the purchase.
High on Quality
4. Excelsior Mini Lathe
With a top-quality operation and high durability, the Excelsior mini lathe is one of the best mini-lathes for almost all types of craftsmen. It has a high power motor of ½ HP that provides five-speed range viz. 760, 1100, 1600, 2200, and 3200 RPM.
The tension system that provides much easier access to the belt drive offers high stability and durability.
Moreover, it has a strong base for high stability and a 6” tool rest for more convenience. Even at a quite affordable price, this machine is highly suitable for all kinds of jobs and overall, it offers significantly good quality to the wood-turners.
5. Jet JWL-1015
It is a good option for those looking for a sturdy mini-lathe. It has many user-friendly, simple-to-understand features supported by its smooth operation.
Craftsmen can open their wings of imaginations to create never-before wood-patterns through this powerful machine.
While owing to its simplistic functions this mini lathe is beginner’s delight, its many features make it a preferred choice for the professionals as well. Those loving to work through curves and fine cuttings with precision, for them Jet JWL 1015 is the right pick.
The machine gives six spindle speeds between 500 RPM to 3975 RPM. Most importantly, the improved tensioning system facilitates much easier access to the belts.
It has integrated 24 positioning indexing giving it great flexibility. Besides, the wider bed adds to the ease of working on this machine even further.
Pen Turner’s Pick
6. RIKON Power Tools 70-105
Thanks to the cast iron construction that makes RIKON Power Tools 70-105 a highly durable, stable and sturdier mini-lathe. At the same time, it makes the machine free of any vibrations as well.
A pen turner paradise, this mini lathe with its 5-speed range allows turners to freely experiment with their ideas and imaginations. Nonetheless, its many features make it a good choice even for the conventional craftsman preferring simpler job works.
Besides, a half HP motor assists woodworkers to execute varied projects providing much ease of working to the small wood-piece works.
Rickon 70-150 has a center to center distance of 18” and over bed swing of 10”. Moreover, it has a tailstock that has a self-ejecting feature.
7. Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch
With a significantly high power motor and professionally built body, Mophorn 10 X 18” is surely an impactful contender for best mini lathes.
This machine provides one of the most powerful motors running at 550W at a speed range of 500-3200 RPM. The speed can easily be monitored through a digital display. Besides, it has a 10” swing over bed and a 3” faceplate along with a 6” tool rest making it a highly flexible machine.
The machine runs quite effortlessly and is easily controllable. It consists of a cast iron construction that provides extra durability and stability. Moreover, it offers you a vibration-free operation for more precise wood crafting.
In addition to this, the machine has been built very professionally with high precision by giving proper attention in manufacturing even the smallest components of the machine.
All these features make it a highly suitable choice for industrial, commercial and other such purposes.
Sturdy and Durable
8. Jet JWL-1015VS
Another addition to the best mini-lathes list by Jet JWL is the highly durable Jet JWL- 1015VS.
With a wide range of variable speeds from 200-3600 RPM and 3-speed ranges of 200-1500, 300-1750 and 600-3600 RPM, it is a quite user-friendly machine suitable for multipurpose projects.
It has a motor of ½ HP power. And a 15½” distance between the centers. The wider bed ways provide additional rigidity. Moreover, it provides an enhanced tension system for more stability and a much easier speed change due to the easily accessible belts.
Besides, it has an integrated 24 position indexing. With a sturdy cast iron construction, it gains extra stability, durability, and rigidity. It offers a vibration-free stable & smooth operation for high precision in your projects.
The 15o indexing makes it very easy to set up, use and control.
Best for Beginners
9. WEN 3421
Made of cast iron this mini lathe is a vibration-free machine. With its 3.2A motor, WEN 3421 provides 50% more power than most of its similar-sized lathes.
Owing to the variable speed ranging between 750 to 3200 RPM, it can work on wood objects of different varieties. However, WEN 3421 is best suited for the carpenters working on small work-pieces with the fineness as their top priority.
It is a highly affordable mini-lathe, making it suitable for those with low budgets and beginners who do not want to put risks on their initial investments. At the same time, powerful features of the machine make professionals keep this in their pick list as well.
The lever clamping system ensures accurate adjustment of tool rest and tailstock. Besides, it offers a knock-rod and a 2.3” faceplate to assist working on non-spindle jobs without any hassles.
The positive indexing feature is yet another feature of WEN 3421, which makes carving very simple and easy. Thanks to the MT1 Spindle and the tailstock taper, the machine gives a firm grip to any work-piece within the specifications.
Sturdy and Durable
10. MicroLux 8 X 12 Wood Turner's Lathe
With a very less weight of just 41 pounds Microlux 8 X 12 is one of the most compact, portable, and user-friendly machines.
Having a satisfactorily strong ⅓ HP motor the machine does not comprise a lot with the features despite its low-cost and compact dimensions of 28” X 10” X 13”.
It has a sufficiently wide-ranging speed, adjustable between 750-3200 RPM. The mini-lathe consists of a 5¾” faceplate along with a 7” tool rest. It has a distance of 12” from the center to center and an 8” swing over bed.
Moreover, it includes a head spur drive and a live tailstock. The cast iron base provides good support to the lightweight machine.
Best Mini Lathes: Buying Guide
Form a large number of machines; we have come down to the ten best mini-lathes available in the market. Selecting the one best suited for your purpose would now be much easier.
However, before finalizing the machine we would recommend you to go through our buying guide. This guide presents the criteria you must consider while evaluating your need viz. a viz. features of different machines.
This would help you to assess your exact requirement and thereby in selecting the most suitable mini lathe for you.
Your budget is one of the most important criteria to buy any machine. And it would depend on many factors other than your capacity to invest in a mini lathe.
If you are a beginner you would need an entry-level budget machine that has the basic features. For a professional, it depends on the project requirements viz. a viz. the budget.
Study the features of each of the machines carefully and make an optimum choice which is neither too expensive nor too under featured.
2. Strength & Stability
This is also one of the major factors that you should consider while finalizing on mini-lathe. This single factor can affect your experience of turning and can be a big deciding factor between a superior and an inferior mini-lathe.
The material used in constructing lathe is responsible for its strength and stability. Cast iron made lathes have a pretty strong base which provides good stability to the machine.
And a stable machine gives a vibration-free operation which otherwise can lead to inefficient operation and lead to loosening of parts and disturbing settings.
Not a good-to-have experience!
3. Length of the Bed
Bigger the length, more flexible would the lathe be. But you may have to trade it off with the working space it occupies. Assess what you want from the machine and select accordingly.
There is an option to have an add-on to extend the length of the bed. This provides you good flexibility to select the machine of your required size without compromising on the length.
4. Working Height of the Lathe
This is also an important factor particularly if you intend to work long hours on the machine. If the spindle is too high it doesn’t give enough control over the settings and the operation.
On the other hand, if the spindle is too low below your elbow you may be required to bend that can badly affect your efficiency and ability to work long hours.
How much power is powerful for you? This requirement is different for different purposes.
For large work-pieces higher power is needed while for the smaller ones you do not require a high power machine.
Assess your purpose and then select the machine.
6. Tool Rest
You would never want a machine in which you are not sure whether the tool rest is locked properly in its position or not. Because the tool rests on the tool rest and having an insecure tool rest is highly unsafe.
We realized your difficulty in finding out the right mini-lathe for yourself. Hence, we have shortlisted ten of the best mini-lathes available in the market. These machines include lathes, with many powerful features making the machine versatile and also those which have an affordable price range along with useful features.
Besides, the list also includes some highly portable models and some, though good for all types of jobs in general yet particularly suitable for specific type of work-pieces.
And, as though, the lathes selected have many different unique features yet one factor that is common among all is that each one of these ten machines is top-ranked on shopping websites.
Hope these efforts help you in fulfilling your objective of buying a lathe for your need,
In case you still find it difficult to finalize on the one out of the ten, we have provided a quick reference buyer’s guide for further assistance.
Even after that, if you can't pinpoint that single one, we recommend you to go with NOVA Comet II for its highly powerful features making it an excellent choice both for the beginners and the professionals at a reasonable price range.
As the second alternative, you can go with RIKON 70-100 for its versatility, durability and plenty of features offered in a compact size.
And if you are particularly interested in a budget machine with good features WEN 3420T is our recommendation for you.
Finally, with these recommendations, we hope that you could decide the one that fulfills your wood crafting requirements at your preferred price range.
For any further queries, pls. write to us in the comment section below.