Best Mini Metal Lathes – Reviews and Buyer's Guide

If you are a hobbyist or a Do-It-Yourself enthusiast who largely works with metals, you might need to invest in your own lathe machine at some point. However, conventional lathe machines come in huge sizes and they are typically designed for professional purposes.

Not only that they are meant for heavy-duty tasks, but they are also relatively expensive. And this might be a real challenge for hobbyists and DIY-ers.
Fortunately, there are miniature metal lathe machines that are much more suitable for every simple metal project or task. And if you are looking for one, this review might just be the one that could help you in your search!

Hot Picks for The Best Mini Metal Lathe

But if you’re really super busy and have no time to read the entire review at the moment, we present to you two of our hottest picks below.
central machinery precision mini lathe
Central Machinery Mini Lathe
Very easy to use
The speed is easy to control
It comes with an automatic feed
Most Powerful Mini Metal Lathe
delta industrial midi lathe
Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe
Great warranty term
The belt system is patented
Powerful mini lathe
Cost-Effective Mini Metal Lathe
shop fox w1704
SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
Very functional
Fully features mini lathe

All About Mini Metal Lathe

Mini Metal Lathes are actually the miniature versions of the conventional engine lathes. They are portable, compact, and very inexpensive in comparison to the general center lathes.
Usually, the ones who prefer this type of lathes are the hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts. Although, people who have home workshops and garages do also have this lathe. This is because the only difference between the mini lathes and the conventional ones is their size and power.

And as it happens, the general advantages and drawbacks of these tools apply to all types of lathes.

On an average note, mini lathes have swing ratings in between 3 and 7 inches of diameter or 1.5 and 3.5 inches of radius. Anything higher than these figures may already be considered as conventional lathes.
As for its specification, mini metal lathes are originally designed for metals. But even so, the versatility of lathes these days enables the accommodation of different materials like plastics and other hardened materials.

Benefits of Mini Metal Lathe

Historically, lathes are apparently invented by the Egyptians. But, these tools are well-innovated by the Romans after the tools’ first appearance. And they are naturally designed for metal fabrication, carpentry, and glass works.

Ever since its first designs, the benefits are already established. Which is why, today, a lot of people and professionals utilize lathes almost every day. But, why would you need a miniature type if the conventional lathes are beneficial already?
Here are some points that may help you answer such queries:
  • Just like the general center lathes, the miniature versions can also accommodate stainless steel, steel, brass, and aluminum
  • Along with metals, mini lathes can also be used on plastics. And such plastics include nylon, acetal, Teflon, Delrin, and plexiglass
  • Mini lathes can also produce cylindrical, tapered cylindrical, and cubical designs
  • These mini versions can also drill holes into metals and other hardened materials
  • All types of lathes can remove oxidized residues from metals
  • Similar to any general lathe, mini lathes are also powerful tools that can help people finish their respective projects
  • And finally, these lathes are very portable that you can bring it anywhere with you

The 5 Best Mini Metal Lathes of Today

Here are the 5 best mini metal lathes on the market today. You may want to check each of these products and learn which one would fit your projects and requirements!

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Power: ¾ HP | 110V | 250W
  • Size: 7” x 12”
  • Weight: 89.2 lbs
  • Speed: 0-1100 RPM | 0-2500 RPM
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: Below $750
The Grizzly G8688 7x8 Mini Metal Lathe is quite strong. You can expect real power in this mini lathe. With its ¾ HP motor, along with its variable speeds that can reach up to 2500 RPM, you can pretty much rely on this tool in every metal work you do.
Apparently, it features 7-inch swing, 2 ½-inch tailstock travel, 2 ¾ - inch cross slide travel, and a 12-inch distance between centers. Additionally, it has 20 mm of spindle bore.

As for its durability, the materials used in its construction are all from the finest qualities. Actual users state that this lathe has lasted long in their possession. So, durability is out of the question.
All in all, this mini lathe is very ideal for beginners. It’s easy to use and easy to manage.
Ideal for beginners
Reliable customer service
Powerful motors and features
Not useful for professionals
There are apparent issues at the thread and carriage handwheels
Difficult to align with great accuracy

SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Power: ⅓ HP | 110V
  • Size: 8” x 13”
  • Weight: <52 lbs
  • Speed: 700-3200 RPM
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: Below $250
The Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe is one of the most popular mini lathes of today. Aside from the good after sales that the company is offering to its clients, this tool is quite handy.
But while it’s not that powerful, its features are still pretty on point. And considering its inexpensive cost, this is already a decent mini lathe that is ideal for home projects.

This mini lathe features a safety paddle switch. Plus, an MT 1 Spur Center, MT 1 Live Center, 4 ¼ inches and 7 inches tool rests, and ¾ x 16 inches of RH Spindle.
Another feature that makes the Shop Fox W1704 quite more interesting is that it comes with 5 ¾” inches of faceplate. And this actually threads to the headstock spindle. Surprisingly, this is very useful in making bowls.
As for the material used in its build, the W1704 mainly uses cast iron which is pretty decent when talking about the durability.
Very functional
Fully featured mini lathe
Not very powerful
Spare parts are difficult to find
The design is not very pleasing
Finding an all-inclusive mini metal lathe? You might want to check the Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe.

Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Power: ¾ HP | 110V | 250W
  • Size: 7” x 10”
  • Weight: 87 lbs
  • Speed: 0-1100 RPM | 0-2500 RPM
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: Below $750
The Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe is pretty much a clone to the famous Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe. If you are looking for the same power and features but has a much lesser cost, then this might be the ideal mini lathe for you.
But while this lathe is more often than not compared with the Grizzly G8688, this one has a much slimmer width by 2 inches. And this is a perfect lathe for your small projects, hobbies, and several applications. Which is why a lot of entry-level users prefer to have this one over the others on this list.
Some features that make the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe stand out a bit include the microswitch from the chuck guard and the automatic feed equipped in this model.
Very easy to use
The speed is easy to control using the knob
It comes with an automatic feed
Not very durable
The instruction manual is difficult to understand
Spare parts are difficult to find
A mini metal lathe that comes with an automatic feed? Try the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe now!

Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Power: 1 HP | 110V | 250W
  • Size: 12 ½ inch capacity
  • Weight: 97 lbs
  • Speed: 0-1725 RPM
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Price: Below $750
The Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe is the strongest and most powerful mini lathe in this list, by far. With a maximum power of 1 HP along with a 1725 RPM motor, this miniature lathe can help various projects whether small or huge.
Its swing capacity is also significant as it can provide a 12 ½-inch capacity. And this is quite the largest in its class. The drive spindle is rated at 1 inch and 8 RH TPI thread.
It also comes with a patented belt tensioning system that is really helpful in transferring maximum power. Plus, it helps preserve the tools for a much longer period. Aside from the preservation of the quality, this model comes with a 5-year warranty which is very beneficial to its users.
Great warranty term
The belt system is patented
Powerful mini lathe
Poor customer service
The design is not pleasing
After sales support is almost non-existent
Are you looking for a mini lathe with a patented belt system? Check the Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe!

Erie Tools Precision Benchtop Mini Metal Milling Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Power: .53 HP | 120V | 400W
  • Size: 7” x 14”
  • Weight: 104.2 lbs
  • Speed: 50-2500 RPM
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: Below $1000
The Erie Tools Precision Benchtop Mini Metal Milling Lathe is very ideal for beginners who always work on cutting metals. And with its smart features like the digital readout when making adjustments, it helps the new users understand the whole tool itself.
In addition, it has a thread indicator that allows the users to adjust meticulously the threads from 12 to 52 TPI. And it can accommodate both metric and imperial ratings or pitches.
Another great feature that makes the new users comfortable with this lathe is that it comes with an emergency switch. And through this switch, the motors and system can be stopped in the middle of usage and not inducing any damage in the long run.
For a price that falls below $1000, you can already have an all-inclusive package that includes adapters, cutter kits, slides, carbide-tipped kits, and plastic change gears.
All-inclusive package
Great for learning users
It comes with an emergency switch
The instruction manual is very difficult to understand
The whole assembly and setup takes time
Do you want to learn how to use a mini lathe effectively? Start with the Erie Tools Precision Benchtop Mini Metal Milling Lathe and learn!

Being Safe With Mini Lathes

Mini lathes, even in a miniature version of the conventional one, still requires the proper handling and safety precautions. As it happens, mini lathes are still powerful tools that can cause several risks and injuries.
So, when you are using or working with mini lathes, you must always think about your safety along with the safety of your environment. And here are some points that you may want to apply:
  • You must wear protective gear
  • Keep your eyes protected
  • Refrain from wearing jewelry when using the lathe
  • Establish your working area
  • Before using the lathe, check every part and aspect of the tool
  • Clean the tool after use and make sure to maintain the quality

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Mini Metal Lathe

Apparently, there are quite a lot of things to regard when you are choosing a mini metal lathe. But, more often than not, they would largely depend on the users.
Nevertheless, here are some factors that you may want to consider as well. This might help you in deciding which mini lathe might fit your requirements:

Build and Design

Most people would think that the design and build of the lathe must not be really considered since it somewhat relates to vanity alone. The truth is - every actual user of lathes, whether mini or any other type, would always check the build and design first.
An ergonomic and pleasing build of a lathe can largely help one in finishing projects. Also, one should prefer to have a mini lathe that mainly uses the finest qualities of materials. Of course, you don’t want to replace your new mini lathe just after a few months of use, right?

Features and Functionalities

Mini lathes, in general, have the same sets of features and functions. But, thanks to the many innovative solutions equipped in the new generations of lathes, the functionalities of these lathes have become more flexible and versatile.

This is another factor that you need to consider as it will help you learn if a certain lathe will fit your requirements.

The Best Mini Metal Lathe of Today

All the mini metal lathes in this list are all great and efficient. And actual users of these power tools are quite satisfied with their respective purchases. But the one mini metal lathe that stands out the most is the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe. 

Primarily, it’s very ideal for beginners. It’s size, portability, and compact build makes it even more beneficial to use. Secondly, the features and functions are all pretty on point that even professional recommend this tool.

And thirdly, Grizzly has a great customer service. So, even if you encounter a few problems with the tool, it can be easily resolved with the help of their customer support.

All in all, mini metal lathes have become very useful these days. And if you are going for a great power tool to work with your metal works, you might want to get yourself a very functional, reliable, and efficient mini metal lathe now.
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