10 Wood Lathe suitable for beginners – These Are the Best (2024)

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Looking for a wood lathe suitable for beginners? There are a lot of options, which is why I tested some of the most popular ones to help you find the best for your needs. Here’s my list of the best wood lathes for beginners you can buy.


Are you in a rush? Hold on for a while and have a look at our top pick as the recommended wood lathe for beginners. WEN 3421 is the best choice for beginners’ wood lathe projects as it is coming with an 8 by 12 inches benchtop with a variable speed motor of 3.2 amperes.  

Best Wood Lathe for Beginners

If you are planning on getting your hands on an affordable and efficient wood lathe device then go down the lane to find yourself reviewing the ten best products available in the market that will improve your woodturning skills. All of these wood lathe devices are well-engineered and have efficient working reviews and recommendations from both customers and critics making a great deal out of money.

1. WEN 3421

If you are a novice woodturner who is looking for a versatile wood lathe then you should try this WEN 3421 product. It is a great quality lathe machine that is capable of taking on challenging woodturning jobs.

It is suitable for small workpieces like a pen, chess pieces, bowls, cups, and other similar stuff that requires the services of a small lathe.


This wood lathe comes with a small yet efficient motor of 3.2-ampere strength that is very capable of working with small wood pieces. The strength of the motor is more than enough for the desired wood projects and this will also save 50% of power, making it a power-consuming device.

Variable speed options are the most noteworthy feature of any wood lathe machine and this is a strong point for WEN products as their users can enjoy the variable motor speed raging from 750 RPM to 3200 RPM. 3200 RPM is the maximum speed of the motor which is an average value way lesser than most high-tech lathe machines.

Therefore, this mini motor is more capable of working with small wood items than turning large workpieces.  The tailstock taper and an exquisite MT1 spindle coming with this wood lathe make the grip on workpieces enhanced than most large wood lathe devices, and this makes it a perfect choice for small wood-turning projects like pen and chess pieces.

  • Variable speed motor
  • Plenty of onboard accessories
  • Slow motor start for longevity
  • Durable steel construction
  • 2 years warranty
  • A poor quality locking mechanism


This is an 8-inch wood lathe that is known for its power-consuming motor and is capable of turning small wood pieces into marvelous masterpieces that are worth investing time and effort in.

2. JET JWL -1221VS

If you are not satisfied with the narrow speed variation range of the WEN 3241 wood lathe and looking for a more versatile machine then you should spare some time to dig deep into the features and technical specs of this JWL 1221 VS wood lathe.

It is a popular model that is famous for the variable speed range that makes it fit the most challenging roles for a carpenter.


The most praiseworthy feature of this wood lathe is its variable speed range that allows the device to work from 60 revolutions per second to 3600 RPM. This range is way too better than the aforementioned product which was solely designed for small workpieces. But this wide speed range makes it possible to take on multiple ranges of woodturning jobs.

This JWL wood lathe is not solely responsible for woodturning and can also work for sanding, cutting, facing drilling, and wood deformation. This makes it a highly versatile product that is a matchless wood lathe device with multi-functional operations. For beginners woodturners, this mache is offering a digital readout (DRO) technology that will automatically adjust all the settings to make it operate comfortably for novices.

The safety features of this wood lathe are also amazing and well worthy of investment. The spring-loaded spindle lock coming with this machine makes the wood lathe secure from accidents that would otherwise have been caused by the high-speed rotation of chucks.

  • Spindle lock
  • Belt tension system
  • Distinct index positioning options
  • Smooth Forward to reverse transition
  • 5 years limited warranty
  • Noisy


This quality lathe machine is an amazing product that is more than capable of mere woodturning jobs and will be a great investment initiative for enhancing your woodturning skills.

3. SHOP FOX W1704

If you are a professional woodworker who is just starting with this professional journey and want to outgrow the acquired woodturning skills then you ought to try this Shop Fox wood lathe.

Shop Fox is a prestigious manufacturing firm that has a wide plethora of heavy-duty commercial products that are highly demanded by customers and recommended by critics.


This outstanding wood lathe is available for under 1000 USD and has many great features that are designed for professional woodworker projects.  The heavy-duty 2 HP motor is a noteworthy feature of this lathe machine and is way better at cutting and ripping projects than its rivals with similar price tags.

It is made up heavy-duty of cast iron that retains its durability and reliable performance. Featuring a 110-volt motor with a single-phase design it is a perfect option for all those woodworkers who are looking for a cost-effective yet affordable product.

The rugged appearance of this lathe with its minimal vibrations and high-speed settings gives this product much-desired hype in the market. Speed adjustments are pretty much simple with their lever design and can be regulated suiting the needs of different projects.

  • Durable cast iron construction
  • Quick-lock mechanism
  • Variable speed adjustment
  • 10 different speed options
  • Head and tailstock
  • Pricey


This simple yet efficient wood lathe has a 10-speed adjustment level with a simple lever control and a 2 HP powerful motor. All of these features add on to make this product a worthy lathe device worth investing time and effort in.

4. Mophorn Wood Lathe

Mophorn is a relatively lesser-known brand than its rivals in our selection of the best wood lathe for beginners.

But the last few decades have increased the hype of the Mophron products due to their affordable price tags and effective performances.


This is an 18-inch wood lathe that is built for large wood-turning projects and has a rugged outlook to suit professional woodworkers looking for a heavy-duty wood lathe device. The working capacity of this lathe is to swing over the bed 12 inches and the distance between two swinging beds is up to 18 inches.

This wood lathe also features a 6-inch tool rest that makes the accessory storage and organization clutter-free and appealing without any messy look. The faceplate, top drive, and live center are all important in ensuring its effective performance.

The construction material of this wood lathe is cast iron which is complemented by rubber feet. Both of these materials provide the desired stability for woodworking projects.  The benchtop design of this lathe is perfect for use in labs and workshops.

  • 3800 RPM Motor strength
  • Digital display
  • Variable speed options
  • Cast iron body
  • Limited safety option


This wood lathe is the right choice for newbie woodworkers who have a limited budget but are not ready to set for anything less than the best.

5. JET JWL-1015

JWL is a prestigious and well-known manufacturing firm that is recognized globally for its acoustic audio devices and studio speakers. The prestige of this JWL manufacturing firm is no exception in the woodturning industry as it is in audio devices.

This wood lathe by JWL is a mini device that is designed for newbie woodworkers who are looking to outgrow their skills while staying within their budget requirements.


This wood lathe is known for its variable speed motor which is the most demanding feature of any wood lathe device be it designed for woodturning or other versatile operations. The speed range of this motor lies between 600 to 3600 revolutions per minute. This speed range is best suited for multi-functional woodwork such as turning. Spalding,  ripping, and cutting.

This versatile motor is not only good for cutting and ripping but is also equally suitable for drilling and polishing. This makes this mini wood lathe a perfect choice for a wide range of woodwork.  The construction material of this machine is cast iron which is the most durable product in terms of its dependence and reliability.  

For efficient woodturning performance, this wood lathe has a hollow boring passing through the headstock and features a hollow tailstock. Both of these features help make the turning process better and enhanced.  For better speed controls the operator switch has 6 spindles that give the distinct indexing positions varying at 15 degrees.

  • Three variable speed range
  • Wide center distance
  • Different index positions
  • Wide bed way
  • Compact and sturdy motor
  • Versatile running
  • Little pricey


This cost-effective wood lathe is a cool and efficient product that will make the woodturning process more effective and convenient.  The in-built tool rest and cam lock provide safety features and this will help secure the woodturning performance for goods.

6. RIKON 70-100

For all those woodworkers who are looking forward to working in a fast-paced working environment then this RIKON wood lathe is the ideal product for you.

This wood lathe ought to be tried for having easy access to speed changes and offers a variable speed range that can easily be adjusted to suit the needs of specific projects.


This wood lathe offers a small yet efficient motor coming with ½ HP horsepower. This motor is power-consuming and this makes it best suited to small woodturning projects including small workpieces in need of turning and polishing. The ideal products for this wood lathe machine are chess pieces, pens, cups, and similar stuff.

If you are not only satisfied with the small workpieces and are more inclined towards the larger workpieces then you can transport the lathe machine to the job site using the extension. These extensions make it possible to handle larger woodturning projects.

The best thing about this device is that it is a mini lathe machine and transporting it to multiple job sites will not be a difficult task.  The lightweight and small-sized body is a desired feature that is required by most woodworkers for having a multi-functional machine capable of taking on different projects.

  • Self ejecting tailstock
  • Durable motor
  • 5 years long-lasting warranty
  • Laser engraved ram
  • Easy speed access
  • The headstock cover doesn’t close completely


This laser engraved ram motor and an extendable wood lathe is a great product for all those woodworkers who are looking for a versatile device capable of taking on different and challenging woodturning projects.

7. Excelsior Mini Lathe

If you are a novice woodturner who is looking forward to purchasing a versatile product that is not demanding them to break their banks then this mini lathe is a suitable candidate.

This Excelsior wood lathe is a mini device that is designed for multiple wood-turning jobs. The best feature of any mini lathe device is its portability and ease of transporting.


The mini lathe is a portable device that can be taken anywhere the job requires its use. Transporting this device is not a difficult task as it is a very portable device that is only a few pounds in weight and changing the job site will not be physically challenging for these mini lathe users.

Besides being a small item this device is not only suited for small tasks and offers an efficient performance that is worth investing money in. This mini lathe is made up of cast iron which is a durable product for the manufacturing of heavy-duty products. Cast iron will not only enhance the durability of the product but will also be great for enticing customers with its reliability and long-lasting use.

The distinguishing feature of this device is that it offers a spur center and a tailstock with the live center. The headstock is put on the tailstock and a special ball bearing helps in the knockout bar that is properly placed for the spur center.  The speed variation is possible for five different ranges that lie from 760 revolutions per minute to 3200 RPM.

  • Five variable speed options
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Powerful and sturdy moto
  • Onboard tool rest
  • Low center distance


This wood lathe is an affordable product that offers a range of features helpful for the ineffective performance of woodturning projects.

8. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS

If you are on the hunt for an affordable and cost-effective wood lathe for beginners then give this PSI woodworking lathe a try.

This is an entry-level gadget that is specially tailored for novice woodworkers who are restricted by their budget and are looking forward to outgrowing their woodturning skills.


This preferable kit has 8 distinct tools that are required for plenty of precise woodturning operations.  This wood lathe can be used for small workpieces such as bowls, pens, spindles, chess pieces, and similar small-sized pieces. 

However handling small workpieces is not everything about these projects as it is capable of taking on large projects equally as it can perform with small workpieces.  It is made up of carbon steel that is complemented by the M2 super motor that offers high speed and 5.1/4 inches carbon blades.  The 8 chisels included in this package are designed for multiple jobs.

One of them is a parting tool of 3/16 inches. One is a skew chisel of 1 inch and two scrappers for round and spear woodturning projects. Three chisels are made for gauges such as spindle gauge, bowl gouge, and roughing gouge.

  • Dual-position belt
  • Variable speed
  • Onboard hex wrench
  • Stable rubber feet
  • Onboard safety goggles
  • 3 years warranty
  • Issues with the work lamp


This is an all-inclusive woodturning kit that is a perfect partner for newbies and has many different tools that are required for a variety of woodturning jobs.

9. Laguna Tools Revo Lathe

If you are out there browsing for a powerful wood lathe tool then hold on for a second and have a look at this mighty Laguna Revo lathe which is a prestigious and cost-effective product in the said category.

This wood lathe is a tough-looking product that comes with many great features to make it top the chart for best wood lathe for beginners.


This is a highly demanding wood lathe that is much-hyped in the market due to its powerful, compact, and sturdy 2HP motor featuring variable speed controls. The speed range of this motor can be adjusted up to 10 different speed settings to suit the needs of multiple woodworking projects.

Its control panel is another noteworthy part of the device and is made up of anodized aluminum that is designed with an ergonomic outlook and will be better suited to control the operations of the wood lathe than simple and ordinary control panels.

  • Powerful motor
  • 3500 RPM motor speed
  • Anodized aluminum control panel
  • Durable steel construction
  • Issues with headstock


The stylish and effective wood lathe by Laguna will give you the best bang for your buck as it is capable of giving you the desired woodturning performance.

The 2 HP motor features a slow speed performance of 1725 revolutions per minute which is good enough for small workpieces but can also be used for some of the bigger projects that the woodworker wants to embark on.

10. Grizzly Industrial T25920

For all those users who are trying hard to get their hands on a durable and long-lasting wood lathe tool then you might need to focus your attention on the construction material of these wood lathe devices.

Plenty of lathe machines are available in the market that come with cheap construction products and will not last a few months urging you to go for buying a new product altogether again.


Buying a durable product will not only save you from wasting your hard-earned bucks on buying the same product over and again but will also help achieve the desired performance that will improve your woodworking skills.

This wood lathe is made up of cast iron is the best insurance for its durability and represents customer trust in the device. The 10 spindles featured in this lathe machine make sure it can be used for small lathe projects but an optional bed extension will help in the completion of bigger projects.

Originally this lathe was designed for turning plates and bowls but its powerful motor and speed variation ranges make it suitable for working on different pieces and carving different designs.  This lathe is also exceptional in resurfacing the wooden pieces and thus makes them aesthetically appealing and entices the customers to purchase those items.

  • Cast iron finished body
  • Optional bed extension
  • Sturdy and compact motor
  • Six-speed options
  • The motor is not very powerful


This is a fast-paced wood lathe that is capable of working on rough surfaces and has six-speed settings to suit the needs of a variety of workpieces. This makes the wood lathe an amazing and cost-effective product that ought to be tried for.

Also, read about How to Make Wooden Chess Pieces without a Lathe

Buyer Guide: Things to look upon before buying the best wood lathe for beginners

With the rapid growth of woodturning projects and their appeal to consumers, the demand for wood lathe machines is immensely growing. The overwhelming options available in the market for suitable lathe devices complicate the task of finding the right product and to help you sort out your queries we have come up with this buying advice.

We have compiled a list of necessary features that will enhance the working of lathe machines and yield excellent quality pieces including both wood and metals.

These features are not only crucial for improving the working of lathe devices but also will be necessary for maintaining the work efficiency that is a prerequisite for starting the wood lathe work.

Material type

The foremost consideration before buying a wood lathe is to decide what type of turning material you want to work with. If your projects are going to deal with only woodwork then a low-budget wood lathe coming at affordable prices will be sufficient for your needs.

But if you plan to use your lathe device for turning metals besides wood then a high-tech lathe that is capable of turning brass, bronze, aluminum, and steel will be required.


After deciding on the type of material that you want to turn into your lathe, it is time for you to decide the sizing of the wood pieces that you have to work with. You have to determine how much space is available in your workshop for placing the lathe and this will determine the sizing of wood pieces that your lathe needs to work upon.

 Having a large lathe is a suitable choice since it is capable of working with both large and small pieces while a smaller one will only be equipped to deal with mini-lathe work projects. 

Furthermore, the size of the tabletop and cutting blade will determine how much wood you can turn at a time. Therefore you have to buy a product that resembles your needs such as buying an 8 by 12 lathe machine for compatible wood pieces.

Motor strength

The most critical part of a lathe machine that determines the overall efficiency of work is its motor. Having a powerful and heavy-duty motor is a prerequisite as it will determine how effectively you can work on your projects.

A powerful motor is way more capable of efficiently working on metal lathe projects than a small incapable motor. Many average wood lathe devices come with 2 or 3 HP motors and this much power is enough to do the majority of jobs.


The most critical factor determining the worth of your purchase is undeniably the budget of that product. You have to strictly keep your budget in mind before buying a wood lathe since it is not the only item that will be required for wood-turning tasks.

You should buy a product that is efficient and effective while coming at reasonable prices within your restricted budget. This is because you will have to purchase many related accessories for completing your wood lathe projects and buying them is going to cost you a fortune.


What is a good wood lathe for beginners?

WEN 3421 is the best wood lathe for beginners as it comes with a mini benchtop with a variable speed motor and a powerful 3.2-ampere motor.

It fits workpieces 8 by 12 inches and has two interchangeable tool rests for efficient tool storage.

What is the best wood lathe for the money?

SHOP FOX W1704 is a great product that offers good value for the money. It is an 8 by 12-inch lathe that is great with iron turning and is most frequently used in the iron construction industry. Its variable speed and heavy-duty motor make it great for beginners.

How much does a good lathe cost?

The standard wood lathe will be available within the price range of 600 to 800 USD and these devices are capable of turning brass or to some extent aluminum. Some high-quality lathes can also be used with steel stocks.

For better quality lathe devices the price range may move up to 2000 USD while the high-tech product for professional woodturning projects is also coming at skyrocketed price tags of up to $4000.

What should I look for when buying a wood lathe?

Before buying a wood lathe users need to ensure that this product is designed for working with the type of material that they intend to work with.

This is because many inexpensive wood lathe machines are not capable of turning metals therefore you need to buy a suitable product for your turning material.

After that, you have to look for your working space and budget to choose the product within your boundaries and requirements.

Can you turn metal on a wood lathe?

The wood lathe is generally not designed for turning wood but it is possible to turn small wood pieces. In addition to the wood, these lathe machines can also turn brass, aluminum, and even steel on some high-quality lathe machines.


This review article on the best wood lathe for beginners has provided you with an extensive and detailed review of the top-notch woodturning devices. All of these wood lathe machines are high-quality and enjoy a reputable standing in the market.

These devices are well-built and engineered with utmost precision and accuracy. These wood lathe machines are also capable of turning other metals including brass, aluminum, and even steel.

So, if you choose any of these products it would be a profitable decision as these wood lathes are for beginners. These lathe machines will help you in outgrowing your skills and provide an excellent woodturning experience.

Furthermore, this review has highlighted the crucial features and necessary things that need to be looked upon before buying a wood lathe. After going through this extensive and elaborate review you would be in a better position to choose for yourself the best wood lathe for beginners.   

Kenneth Wafer Woodnami

Kenneth Wafer is an aspiring woodworking expert from Los Angeles. He loves reading and writing about all the best woodworking tools and accessories available in the market.
He is a Finance professional and recently completed his foundation course from CFA Institute, USA.

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