Mini Wood Lathe Reviews: The 8 Best Options on the Market

Disclosure: If you click on some of the links, we may earn a small referral fee. Please know that we only recommend products that we use and believe will add value to our readers.

If you’re in the market for a mini wood lathe you will notice that there are plenty of options out there. With all these options and models from different brands, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

That’s where we come in. In this post, we’ve gathered the best mini wood lathes to help you decide which one perfectly fits your needs.

Although this review is tailored for those new to woodturning, if you a seasoned pro don’t cancel out. There’s still a chance you’ll pick up a few new ideas.

Related Article: 17 Wood Lathe Projects for All Skill Levels: From Novice to Pro

A Brief Overview of Mini Wood Lathes

Mini wood lathe represents the smallest size of lathes. Some call them benchtop lathes. It is the most affordable and the most suitable option for woodworkers who are new to woodturning, have a small workspace and build small projects.


A mini wood lathe can also come in handy for DIYers, who like to experiment with designing multiple household items, including table, chair legs, boxes, plaques, and fancy wood spindles for the staircase. Not to mention, some enthusiasts also use the tool to carve out kitchen utensils, bowls and frames.

For full details on the lathe power tool see our beginner’s guide to wood lathe for woodturning.

Best Mini Wood Lathes—Recommended Options

Here is a list of the best mini wood lathes available on the market. These lathes offer excellent value for money.

Mini wood Lathe Image Power rating Variable speed Remark Price
JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe 1hp Yes Best Overall Check Price
SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe 1/3 hp Yes Most affordable option Check Price
WEN 3421 Benchtop Wood Lathe WEN 3421 Benchtop Wood Lathe - Mini wood lathe reviews 3.2A Yes Good for beginners Check Price
Excelsior Mini Lathe Excelsior Mini Lathe 1/2 hp Belt Pulley Best for heavy-duty use Check Price
NOVA 46300 Comet II Mini Lathe NOVA 46300 Comet II Mini wood lathe reviews 3/4 hp Yes Most compact in size Check Price
Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe 1/2 hp 5 speed ranges Most firmly built Check Price
RIKON 70-105 Mini Lathe RIKON 70-105 Mini Lathe 1/2 hp 5 speed ranges Designed for pen turners Check Price
Delta 46-460 Midi Lathe Delta 46-460 Midi Lathe - 2 1 hp Yes For advanced users Check Price

1. JET JWL-1221VS Mini Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe - Mini wood lathe reviews

This JET woodworking Lathe is designed for ease, gives control to the woodworker, and makes the turning experience smooth.

The JET wood lathe is designed with a ratchet-styled tension belt system and allows speeds ranging from 60 to 3,600 RPM. This speed range gives woodturners more control over their projects.

Additionally, the motor in this wood lathe offers 1hp and an amperage 10 amps. Its 121-pound weight and cast iron composition allow it to reduce vibrations. In addition, it has 24 workpiece positions that a woodworker can use at their convenience.

  • It features a powerful 1hp motor for turning small to medium scale projects
  • The controls are convenient and easy to use
  • It features forward to reverse transitions
  • It comes with a variable speed control feature
  • It gives a clear digital display
  • It is slightly expensive for a mini wood lathe
  • It is not very portable

2. SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe - Mini wood lathe reviews

Shop Fox is known for being budget-friendly and offers a discounted W1704 benchtop lathe, making it one of the cheaper options. This wood lathe by Shop Fox is made of cast iron and explicitly designed, making it convenient to keep on any workbench.

The motor of W1704 offers 1/3 horsepower along with a variable speed motor that enables the speed to range from 700 to 3200 RPM, which proves to be convenient when dealing with hardwood or softwood.

Moreover, the benchtop faceplate is 5-3/4 inches and can be threaded onto the headstock spindle, making it easier to carve round objects. It has two tool rests that are 4-12 and 7 inches, which makes handling the carving tools easier.

Also, the 8-inch swing-over bed and 13-inch distance between centers make it suitable for projects that demand a lot of turning.

  • It is very affordable
  • Its cast-iron composition makes the lathe stable with less vibrations
  • The 5-3/4 inches faceplate means it is ideal for turning bowls
  • It comes with variable speed controls
  • It comes with two tool rest
  • The 1/3hp is not powerful enough for large scale projects

3. WEN 3421 Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3421 Benchtop Wood Lathe - Mini wood lathe reviews

The WEN 3421 Wood Lathe offers a speed that ranges from 750 to 3,200 RPM that gets controlled with the help of a knob. This wood lathe comes with an MT1 spindle, providing a beginner with the best experience in learning their craft.

Furthermore, its light weight allows it to move from one place to the other quickly. The motor runs on 3.2 amps and starts steadily to prevent any harm.

It also comprises a flat wrench, tail-stock cup center,  a knockout round, a headstock spur center, and a 5-inch faceplate used to move non-spindle objects. The lever clamping system is very convenient to use.

  • This is a compact and light-weight lathe
  • It is affordable for newbie woodturners
  • It has variable speed change controls
  • It comes with a 5″ integrated faceplate for turning non-spindle pieces
  • It has dual tool rests
  • The motor is not very powerful
  • It is not suitable for turning bowls

4. Excelsior Mini Lathe

Excelsior Mini wood lathe reviews

The Excelsior Mini Lathe is made of cast iron and is worth its price as it offers heavy-duty 1/2 horsepower at 370 W and 83 lbs. It can turn 10-inch-diameter bowls and spindles up to 17-3/4 inches in length.

Excelsior Mini Lathe comprises a convenient door that enables access to the belt and offers a speed ranging from 760 to 3200 RPM. It consists of a spur center on its headstock and a tailstock center that is ball-bearing. The safety switch is removable. It has a rubber base and is stable at high pressures.

  • Its motor is quite powerful for a mini lathe
  • A solid cast iron build means it doesn’t vibrate
  • It has a convenient belt access door.
  • It is capable of running for long periods without overheating.
  • This lathe is pretty tough and can withstand harsh environments
  • It’s not very portable like the other options

5. NOVA 46300 Comet II Mini Lathe

NOVA 46300 Comet II Mini wood lathe reviews

This NOVA Mini Lathe comprises a 3/4 horsepower electric variable speed motor that offers a range of speeds from 250 to 4,000 RPM. Its forward and reverse switches provide extra flexibility for a top-notch finish.

In addition, the 12-inch swing over the bed and the 16.5-inch swing between centers make it capable of turning projects of a wide variety.

The 3-Pulley System provides it with flexibility over different ranges of speed. Its solid iron cast composition gives it strength and absorbs vibrations. The overall experience is smooth, requiring the minimum time for the finishing process.

  • It features an improved ¾ horsepower motor
  • Good speed range from 250 to 4000 rpm
  • The 3 Step Pulley System allows a smooth experience over different ranges of speed.
  • It has a 12” x 16 ½” capacity which is suitable for most small scale projects
  • The lathe is lightweight and compact
  • It is a little bit expensive

6. Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe

Grizzly H8259 Benchtop Wood Lathe

This Grizzly Bench-Top Wood Lathe offers a 1/2 horsepower motor that is single-phased and runs on 110 V. This motor is kept in a solid cast-iron frame, ensuring the lathe does not vibrate during work.

Moreover, it has an easy-to-use belt system that offers speed at 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, and 3337 RPM. The wood lathe features an 18-inch swing between centres and a 10-inch swing over the bed. The frame includes a tool rest for keeping turning tools handy.

It has a live rolling centre that adjusts the centre variation without damaging the workpiece.

  • It runs on a ½ Hp motor which is fairly powerful
  • It has a solid build which means there is little to no vibration
  • Its tool rest gives you flexibility with your turning tools
  • The live rolling center reduce any chance of damaging the workpiece
  • It comes with wrenches for maintenance and adjustments.
  • The motor gets hot easily
  • The price is a little bit on the high side

7. RIKON 70-105 Mini Lathe

RIKON 70-105 Mini Lathe

The Rikon 70-105 mini lathe functions from a 1/2 horsepower motor that runs on 120 V and 375 W. It comprises of cast iron and weighs around 74 lbs, which absorbs vibration.

This wooden lathe has a 10-inch swing and an 18-inch swing between centers, making it suited for turning objects of various kinds. It also offers a self-ejecting tailstock and allows easy access to speed changes.

This wood lathe was manufactured for pen turners who demand a machine suited to their craft. The wood lathe has a pulley system to adjust to different speeds that are 500, 1,175, 1,850, 2,225, and 3,200 RPM.

  • It is easy to setup
  • It has a pulley system to adjust to different speeds.
  • It is designed for pen turners
  • It is very stable and doesn’t vibrate during operation
  • It is affordable for beginners
  • It has no faceplate

8. Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe

Delta 46-460 Midi Lathe

Technically, this lathe is a notch above a typical mini lathe, but permit me to include it for the advanced newbies (if there is a word like that) out there.


The Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Midi Lathe runs on a one-horsepower motor, and 110 V. The variable-speed motor has a 3-pulley system, providing the speed range needed to turn the workpiece without meddling with the belt.

It has a belt comprising six grooves that can generate enough power to turn large objects. It is made of cast iron, providing a stable position and making it durable. The wood lathe has an on/off switch on the headstock that is easily accessible.

The speed ranges are 250-700, 600-1,800, and 1,350-4,000 RPM. It has a live ball-bearing center to reduce the chances of damaging the workpiece.

  • It is very easy to setup
  • It features a heavy-duty 1hp motor
  • Its large swing capacity makes it suitable for small, medium and large scale projects
  • It uses a 3-pulley system for optimal speed selection
  • It comes with forward and reverse function.
  • It doesn’t have a digital display

Final Thoughts

We have provided you with the pros and cons of each mini wooden lathe. most of them are budget-friendly and offer a smooth experience.

It will help you if you buy a wood lathe that fulfils your present needs while offering you room for expansion. That is why, overall, we recommend the JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe.

Remember to prioritize your safety as you use the wood lathe by wearing safety goggles, gloves, and a mask.

Also, see our article on the top midi lathes for beginner & intermediate woodturners.

Enjoy our articles? You can follow us on Pinterest for more woodworking power tools tips and tricks.

Save on selected power tools from top brands - Shop Now on Zoro.

DIY Wooden Plans - Editorial Team
DIY Wooden Plans - Editorial Team

We’re a small team of skilled woodworkers and engineers with a combined experience of over 15 years using power tools for woodworking. We have been creating power tool tutorials since 2020. Our aim is to become the largest free woodworking power tool resource website in the industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *