Choosing the Best Mini Wood Lathe

Mini lathes are the smallest brothers of the full-sized lathes. These lathes are portable and lightweight, which means that they can easily be moved from place to place. The mini lathes are also much cheaper than the midi and full-sized lathes and theyshould be the perfect starting point for anyone looking to turn smaller pens and get into the world of woodturning as a hobby.

We have decided to look at a few of the benefits that you could find from a mini lathe as well as see where they lack when compared to many of the other lathes. We have also included our selection for the top 4 mini lathes that you could buy. This should be a great starting point to anyone who is not yet familiar with the features of lathes and what to look for in a mini lathe.  Keep reading to learn more about mini-lathes and the best ones available today.

Interested in learning more about lathes in general?  Check out this overview.

Mini lathes are the smallest brothers of the full-sized lathes. These lathes are portable and lightweight, which means that they can easily be moved from place to place. The mini lathes are also much cheaper than the midi and full-sized lathes and they should be the perfect starting point for anyone looking to turn smaller pens and get into the world of woodturning as a hobby.

We have decided to look at a few of the benefits that you could find from a mini lathe as well as see where they lack when compared to many of the other lathes. We have also included our selection for the top 4 mini lathes that you could buy. This should be a great starting point to anyone who is not yet familiar with the features of lathes and what to look for.

Model

Weight

Motor

Swing

NOVA 46300 Comet II

82.4 lbs

3/4 HP

12 inch

JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 

What we like:

  • Cast iron / stable for a mini lathe
  • Wide range of speeds
  • Beautiful design
  • Great price

What we don't like:

  • Nothing!  This is a wonderful lathe.

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-inch Mini

Powermatic 1352001Model 3520B

91.4 lbs

1/2 HP

12 inch

JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 

What we like:

  • Very stable and smooth operating
  • Variable speeds
  • Great value

What we dont' like:

  • Its hard to find fault with this lathe.  Truly a nice machine.

Jet JWL-1015VS 10-Inch X 15-Inch

Jet JWL-1015VS 10-Inch X 15-Inch
Shop Fox W1758
Powermatic 1352001Model 3520B

73 lbs

1/2 HP

10 inch

JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 

What we like:

  • Cast iron 
  • Wide bed helps keep it stable

What we dont' like:

  • A little light for our tastes
  • Its a little more expensive, although it comes with a 5 year warranty

Pros and Cons of Choosing a Mini Lathe (over a larger lathe)

Pros:

  • Price: The first thing that jumps out is the price. The mini lathes are much cheaper than the midi or full-sized lathes. This makes them ideal for those looking to start out or just looking to add a smaller lathe to their collection.
  • Control: The mini lathes are known for being smaller and this should give you much more control over what you are doing. The control is an important aspect when it comes to working accurately and this is much more important as you work with smaller and more intricate wood pieces.
  • Portability: The mini lathes are much more portable and they can easily be moved from place to place where you might need them. If you have your own shop and you plan on turning at home for the weekend, this is the perfect lathe to take with you.
  • Fits anywhere: The mini lathes are also smaller when looking at the dimensions and this means that they could easily fit in the smallest of spaces. When looking for a good lathe for your home, you will need to take the available space into account and this is where the mini lathes will excel.

Cons:

  • Lacks stability: The mini lathes are not as heavy, which means that they will not be as stable when turning. This stability should not really be an issue if you do turn smaller objects on them as recommended. You should also be sure to mount it securely before use.
  • Weaker motors: The weaker motors are perfect for turning pens and smaller items, but it does lack sometimes when it comes to turning bigger items like bowls and even chair legs. This lathe will give you great accuracy, but you should use the right-sized wood.

Beside these two problems, the mini lathes are actually quite effective and they should be the ideal lathe for any beginner to start out with. The mini lathes are designed for beginners but, many pros are also using them. Here are the top mini lathes that we have selected to help you get started in turning:

Pros:

·         Price: The first thing that jumps out is the price. The mini lathes are much cheaper than the midi or full-sized lathes. This makes them ideal for those looking to start out or just looking to add a smaller lathe to their collection.

·         Control: The mini lathes are known for being smaller and this should give you much more control over what you are doing. The control is an important aspect when it comes to working accurately and this is much more important as yu work with smaller and more intricate wood pieces.

·         Portability: The mini lathes are much more portable and they can easily be moved from place to place where you might need them. If you have your own shop and you plan on turning at home for the weekend, this is the perfect lathe to take with you.

·         Fits anywhere: The mini lathes are also smaller when looking at the dimensions and this means that they could easily fit in the smallest of spaces. When looking for a good lathe for your home, you will need to take the available space into account and this is where the mini lathes will excel.

Cons:

·         Lacks stability: The mini lathes are not as heavy, which means that they will not be as stable when turning. This stability should not really be an issue if you do turn smaller objects on them as recommended. You should also be sure to mount it securely before use.

·         Weaker motors: The weaker motors are perfect for turning pens and smaller items, but it does lack sometimes when it comes to turning bigger items like bowls and even chair legs. This lathe will give you great accuracy, but you should use the right-sized wood.

Beside these 2 problems, the mini lathes are actually quite effective and they should be the ideal lathe for any beginner to start out with. The mini lathes are designed for beginners but, many pros are also using them. Here are the top 4 mini lathes that we have selected to help you get started in turning:

Top 3 Mini Wood Lathes and Their KeyFeatures:

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 

Weight: 82.4 lbs

Dimensions: 33 x 9 x 18 inches

Swing Size: 12 inches

Motor: 3/4 Horsepower

The NOVA 464300Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe is quite heavy for a mini lathe. The lathe has been constructed from durable cast iron and this also greatly adds to the stability that it will provide when turning. The lathe also includes an impressive and stylish design.

The distance between the centers are around 16.5-inches but, this can also be extended when needed and the added extension might be expensive but, improve the functionality of the lathe. The speeds of this lathe are between 250 and 4000RPM, which is more than enough for a mini lathe.

This lathe is really affordable and includes a basic limited 1-year warranty to keep you protected. The lathe will be the ideal lathe for beginners to start with or to simply add to your collection already.

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-inch Mini Lathe

Weight:  91.4lbs

Dimensions: 33.8 x 18 x 11.5 inches

Swing Size: 12 inches

Motor: 1/2 Horsepower

TheRikon 70-100 mini lathe is another really affordable lathe that you could lookinto if you are just starting out. The lathe offers great stability and shouldhelp you when it comes to turning those smaller pens and smaller bowls.

Thelathe also features a self-ejecting tailstock, which should help minimize theuse of a knockout bar to remove the center. The Rikon is capable of giving youspeeds at different intervals, which range from 430-3900 RPM.

Thislathe includes a decent 2-year warranty and if you are looking for even morecontrol, you could buy the variable speed kit additionally. The overall priceon this lathe is really affordable and should give you great value for yourmoney.

The Rikon 70-100 mini lathe is another really affordable lathe that you could look into if you are just starting out. The lathe offers great stability and should help you when it comes to turning those smaller pens and smaller bowls.

The lathe also features a self-ejecting tailstock, which should help minimize the use of a knockout bar to remove the center. The Rikon is capable of giving you speeds at different intervals, which range from 430-3900 RPM.

This lathe includes a decent 2-year warranty and if you are looking for even more control, you could buy the variable speed kit additionally. The overall price on this lathe is really affordable and should give you great value for your money.

Jet JWL-1015VS 10-Inch X 15-Inch Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe

Weight: 73lbs

Dimensions: 35 x 18.1 x 14.6 inches

Swing Size: 10 inches

Motor: 0.5 Horsepower

The Jet JWL-1015VSVariable speed woodworking lathe is designed to give you full control over the lathe and all the speeds. The lathe is also very lightweight and it has been constructed from durable cast iron to make it much more stable.

The bed is around 15.5inches between the centers and this wider design will give you much better rigidity. This lathe 3-speed features that can be chosen from. These range from200-1050 RPM, 300-1750 RPM, and 600-3600 RPM.

The lathe is a little more expensive than most of the other mini lathes but, you will also be fully covered for 5 years with a great warranty on the parts and the motors. This lathe should be ideal for more advanced hobbyists.

Final Thoughts:

In comparing these lathes to the midi and the mini lathes, you will find that they actually are a little better and more durable. The designs are much more durable and they offer great stability. These 4 full-sized lathes are currently at the top of the range and they would be highly recommended by most experts.

The Jet JWL-1015VS Variable speed woodworking lathe is designed to give you full control over the lathe and all the speeds. The lathe is also very lightweight and it has been constructed from durable cast iron to make it much more stable.

The bed is around 15.5 inches between the centers and this wider design will give you much better rigidity. This lathe 3-speed features that can be chosen from. These range from 200-1050 RPM, 300-1750 RPM, and 600-3600 RPM.

The lathe is a little more expensive than most of the other mini lathes but, you will also be fully covered for 5 years with a great warranty on the parts and the motors. This lathe should be ideal for more advanced hobbyists.

Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout

Weight: 307lbs

Dimensions: 76.5 x 19 x 48.75-inches

Swing Size: 12-inches

Motor: 2.0 Horsepower

The Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe is a good digital wood lathe that has also been constructed from durable cast iron. The 2.0 HP motor should work perfectly for you and the single phase 110 volt output will be good for turning medium-sized pieces.

The lathe is capable of adjusting the speed in 10 different ways and this should be ideal when it comes to versatility. The turning capabilities will range between 600-2400RPM. The headstock is also capable of rotating up to 180-degrees to give you further versatility.

This wood lathe includes a decent 2-year warranty that should keep you protected and even though it is still large, the price is really affordable and you will get great value for your money. This full-sized lathe will be ideal for beginners to the industry.

Jet JWL-1440VSK 1 HP Wood Lathe with Legs

Weight: 413lbs

Dimensions: 88 x 58 x 39 inches

Swing Size: 14-inches

Motor: 1.0 HP

The Jet JWL-1440VSK 1HP wood lathe is a great affordable alternative to the first lathe from Jet. This lathe is a little smaller, but the construction is still rather affordable. The decent 1.0 HP motor will be ideal for turning large-sized pieces.

The lathe features a headstock that can pivot up to 360-degrees and the tool rest can slide to virtually anywhere on the lathe. This gives you great functionality. The lathe also has various speeds that range between 400RPM and 3000RPM.

Ideally, this large lathe will be ideal for turning on a large scale and it might not be perfect for every home. The lathe includes a 5-year warranty that should keep you covered and the reasonable price will give you great value for your money.

Final Thoughts:

In comparing these lathes to the midi and the mini lathes, you will find that they actually are a little better and more durable. The designs are much more durable and they offer great stability. These 4 full-sized lathes are currently at the top of the range and they would be highly recommended by most experts.

4 top wood lathes and their key features:

The full sized lathes are a little different from midi and mini lathes in multiple facets. They are large and they are heavy, while the smaller lathes are more ideal for turning smaller pieces. Here are a few of the pros and cons of buying a bigger lathe over the smaller ones:

Pros:

·         Allows for bigger projects: Bigger projects require a bigger lathe and these full sized lathes are perfect for turning larger chunks of wood. Thanks to the bigger swing and spindle, you could be turning wood pieces of up to 300 lbs.

·         Stability: The bigger the lathe, the heavier it will obviously be and this could potentially help with stability. While you might take chances on your midi lathes, the bigger lathe will give you great security and stability when turning bigger wood pieces.

·         Enhanced Durability: The materials used in the construction of bigger lathes have to be much more durable. This is one of the reasons they are so much more expensive. Great durability is something that is needed when turning bigger chunks of wood.

·         Bigger and more powerful motors: While the midi lathes still have decent motors, the full sized lathes have better motors to help turn those bigger projects. The more powerful the motor, the better and more efficient your results will be.

Cons:

·         Expensive: The bigger lathes are much more expensive and since they have a ton of key features, this will add to the price. The lathes also take longer to construct and this does give them a little more durability. These lathes will cost you a big price, but they will last you for multiple years.

·         Not as much control: The bigger lathes might offer you much more stability and this will be great, but you will not have as much control over what the lathe does. Moving around it will also take a little more time and you will have to fully rely on the settings to ensure that everything is perfect.

·         Large and heavy: These big lathes might not be ideal for any home garage and this could potentially make them harder to move and to get where you would like them to be. The lathes are designed for industrial and professional use at this size and getting one in your tiny workshop might not be the best option.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the top wood lathes can offer you, we have decided to choose a few and look a little deeper at them. These 4 lathes are the top of the range and using them to judge any new ones will be highly beneficial.

Full-size wood lathes are designed for the serious woodturner and they are generally used for industrial purposes or people making serious money from wood turning. These huge full sized lathes will be perfect if you plan on turning bigger chunks of wood and you like to get serious about the wood turning business.

The full sized wood lathes are designed for industrial purposes and they are also much heavier. The motors are a little bigger and they can easily handle those larger chunks of wood that you might need to turn into bigger products. These lathes also require a ton of space and might not be ideal for the backend of the garage.

  • October 16, 2017
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