For this post, I have put together a collection of the best wood lathes currently available.
Whether you are a woodworking veteran or a casual DIY'er these lathes will perfectly compliment your workshop.
The following wood lathes use the latest innovative components to meet your needs and help to ensure you do your best work.
So here is my list of The 10 Best Wood Lathes.
1. Powermatic Model 3520B Wood Lathe
The Powermatic 3520B Woodworking Lathe retains all the features of classic Powermatic lathes including a sliding headstock, electronic variable-speed control, and a spindle lock plus some great innovations. Get classic reliability and advanced technology, the best of both worlds to help you handle your most important jobs.
Features a 20-inch swing and 34-1/2 inches between the centers to accommodate a huge range of project sizes.
For additional versatility, the included pin can be screwed into the spindle housing to provide up to 24 indexing positions for drilling hole patterns or routing flutes and other equally spaced decorative finishes.
Digital RPM readout makes it a snap to keep track of your speed, a redesigned tailstock offers internal storage, and a laser etched quill conveniently self ejects.
Driven by a two-horsepower, 220-volt, 6.2-amp, TEFC (totally enclosed fan-cooled) motor, the Powermatic 3520B offers plenty of muscle to get the job done.
Built with precisely machined, thick-walled iron castings, this 682-pound lathe is rigid and stable.
2. Jet JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe
The 1440 lathe from JET can be tailored to accomplish a wide range of projects. Featuring a sliding and pivoting headstock, variable speed, and many other great features this lathe meets the needs of woodturners.
Experience the 1440 lathe and see how Versatility Takes Shape.
Sliding headstock pivots 360 degrees with 7 positive locking positions at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees for maximum variability and optimal user comfort.
Variable speed from 400-3000 RPM.
Positive locking tool rest with redesigned clamping.
Optional extension bed mounts in 3 separate positions for larger outboard turning or 60" between centers.
Acme thread in tailstock.
Improved tailstock quill locking with anti-rotation key.
Easy-to-read RPM display.
3. Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Wood Lathe
Featuring a ball-bearing live center, heavy-duty steel knockout bar, and onboard storage for easy access to adjustment tools, the Delta 46-460 industrial 12-1/2-inch variable-speed midi lathe handles even heavy-duty jobs with ease.
Ideal for professional woodworkers, this machine gives you fast, smooth results and offers variable speed for consistency and control.
Powered by a 1-horsepower max, 1,725-rpm motor, the Delta 46-460 industrial 12-1/2-inch variable-speed midi lathe provides a 12-1/2-inch swing capacity.
Three pulley-speed ranges makes it easy to select the required speeds needed to turn a project without changing belt position.
Forward and reverse functions allow the turner to achieve a superior finish.
Patented belt-tensioning system makes for quick speed changes, and sets the belt at the correct tension every time for maximum power transfer and longer tool life.
And large objects are no problem with the six-groove belt that provides superior power for effortless turning.
Durable and stable with all cast-iron construction, the 46-460 also includes a three-inch face plate, and 6-inch and 10-inch tool rests for tool support in a variety of turning applications.
Don't forget the chisels.
4. RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR Midi Wood Lathe
12-1/2” x 20” Variable Speed Midi Lathe #70-220VSR is basically a scaled down, portable version of larger, free-standing lathes using tools rests with 1” diameter posts.
Designed and constructed heavier than the mini lathe for added stability.
Powerful 1HP motor, electronic variable speed controls, wider range of operating speeds.
Digital RPM readout, forward/reverse drive, index settings, and larger diameter and spindle length turning capacity.
Includes spur center, live center, 3” faceplate, tool rest, knock-out bar, wrenches and tool holder.
12-1/2″ Swing / 20″ between centers.
24 position index head.
Easy access speed change.
Self ejecting tail stock.
5. JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe
The JET 1221VS is has extremely fine speed control.
60-3600 RPM variable speed.
Optimally designed speed ranges.
Forward to reverse is a smooth transition.
Innovative ratchet style belt tension system (patent pending).
Integrated, spring loaded spindle lock.
Conveniently located controls and DRO.
Acme thread in tailstock.
24 integrated indexing positions.
6. Laguna Tools MLAREVO 1836 Wood Lathe
The 18|36 Lathe features a brand new design and details that will excite any serious bowl turner.
Ergonomic angled control panel made from anodized aluminum.
Bed is made from steel which allows the cast iron headstock to travel smoothly.
Electronic variable speed is obtained via a VFD that converts 1 phase input to 3 phase output, so even at low settings you will get an incredible amount of torque.
The DRO gives you an accurate RPM readout at all times any fine adjustments are made electronically.
Changing from high to low settings is made easy by using the quick release handle.
Headstock and tailstock lock handles are situated on the back to eliminate any interruptions to your work flow.
Ergonomically designed handles use a cam lock resulting in a firm feel with no deflection.
7. NOVA 46300 Comet II Wood Lathe
NOVA 46300 Comet II 12 Inch x 16 1/2-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe is a versatile and innovative smaller lathe.
Powerful 3/4HP electronic variable speed motor offers a wide speed range from 250-4000rpm.
Forward and reversing switch offers additional flexibility for a superior finish.
12" swing capacity over bed and 16.5" between center capacity, expandable to 41" with the optional bed extension accessory.
Strengthened reinforced composite guard, the guard has a rapid access latch for even faster and easier access.
3 Step Pulley System offers different speed ranges while providing maximum flexibility.
Solid cast iron construction throughout delivers optimum strength and rigidity while absorbing any vibration.
8. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Wood Lathe
Powered by a 1 hp high performance induction motor and an SBC microprocessor, developed for automotive applications, delivering precision control and lasting reliability.
1hp Variable Speed Motor (120V-60HZ).
Two belt positions:
Position A 500-1800 RPM &
Position B 1950-3800 RPM.
Digital readout allows you to work at precise speeds.
Headstock Thread is 1" x 8tpi.
Headstock and Tailstock Taper is #2MT.
Distance between Centers is 18".
Swing over Bed is 12".
Convenient built-in handles.
Cast Iron base accepts optional extension bed for turning projects up to 42".
9. SHOP FOX W1704 Wood Lathe
Tackle pen turning or other small cutting or shaping projects using the Shop Fox W1704 bench-top lathe from Woodstock International.
Made of cast iron, and designed to fit neatly on a workbench, this lathe features a 1/3-horsepower, variable-speed motor.
Delivers spindle speeds between 700 and 3,200 revolutions per minute (RPM).
Includes both a 4-1/2 and 7-inch tool rest for various turning applications.
13-inch distance between centers and an 8-inch swing over the bed this lathe is ideal for a variety of turning projects.
Includes a 5-3/4-inch faceplate which threads onto the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning (usually used for making bowls or other items that cannot be supported from the tailstock).
12-inch distance between centers.
8-inch swing over bed.
10. WEN 3424 Wood Lathe
5 different operating speeds, you’ll be able to turn workpieces at 520, 900, 1400, 2150, or 3400 rotations per minute.
4.5A motor provides maximum torque while the sturdy 70+ pound build prevents walking and wobbling during operation.
Features an MT2 spindle and tailstock taper to tightly hold your workpieces, along with a 7-7/8-inch tool rest for chisel and tool support during operation.
Easy-to-use lever clamping system makes adjustments to both the tool rest and the tailstock simple and precise.
Includes a headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, a flat wrench, a knockout rod, 2 hex wrenches (3 mm and 5mm), and an accessory holder.
3-1/8 inch faceplate for turning bowls, cups and other non-spindle workpieces.
I hope this list of the best wood lathes was helpful.
If you think I left out one that is important or have a suggestion for a future article, let me know in the comments below.
Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C