The Best Mini Wood Lathe Buying Guide and Review

Not all woodworking enthusiasts need a full-sized wood lathe in their workshops. In fact, purchasing machinery of this size might even be impractical in some cases as they are quite expensive and require a lot of floor space due to their massive size.

For woodturners who only work with small-scale wood detailing projects, the smaller-sized mini lathe - which features a swing capacity of 8 to 10 inches and between centers capacity of 12 to 15 inches - might be a better option. Aside from the size limitation, this woodworking machine basically does everything its bigger cousin is capable of doing.
For this reason, we’ve handpicked some of the best mini wood lathes and present them in this buying guide. Take a peek at our selection.

Our Top Picks

In case you’re really in a hurry and want to know what products we highly recommend, we’ve come up with two products that caught our eye. They are:
Best Overall Pick
jet jwl-1221vs
JET JWL-1221VS WOOD LATHE
Very versatile with its wide range of spindle speed options which can even go as low as 60 rpm
Smooth and quiet operation
5-year warranty
CHECK PRICE
Best Cost-Effective Pick
grizzly h8259 bench-top wood lathe
Grizzly H8259 Wood Lathe
Very affordable
Great value for its price
Lightweight enough and can be moved around if necessary
CHECK PRICE

Top 5 Best Mini Wood Lathe Reviews

We’ve actually reviewed 5 of the best mini wood lathes currently available on the market which include the two we’ve just introduced as our top picks for the best cost-effective and best overall categories. Take a closer look at what each of these 5 machines has to offer, we’ve included not only their best features but also their cons to give you a more balanced viewpoint before you make your decision.

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Price: Under $250
  • Item Weight: 41 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 36 x 11‐1/2 x 15 inches
  • Footprint: 29‐1/2 x 7‐1/2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 52 pounds
  • Shipping Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Swing over Bed: 8 Inches
  • Between Centers Capacity: 13 inches
  • Construction: Cast Iron
  • Motor: 1/3 HP, 110V, Single-phase, 60 Hz
  • Spindle Speed: 700-3200 rpm variable speed
  • Warranty: 2 years
If you are looking for a mini wood lathe that’s perfect for beginner-level woodturners as well as seasoned craftsmen who only want to do small detailing projects, then the SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe might be the machinery you are looking for.
One of its best features is its infinite variable speed controller – you are basically given a free hand when it comes to spindle speed. By turning a knob, you can set its speed of rotation anywhere between 700 and 3200 RPM as there are no pre-set speed settings. In addition, it is also durable with its cast iron construction.
Neil Rosenthal, who bought the lathe on Amazon, wrote:
“The Shop Fox @1704 1/3-Horsepower benchtop lathe is a fantastic machine easy to learn and use, I have been using it for about 4 weeks. I needed to purchase chuck and large and small wood chisel sets, I am very pleased and would recommend this machine highly.”
PROS
Infinite variable speed controller – you dictate the speed of the spindle’s rotation
Durable cast iron construction
Ideal for small turning projects
Reasonably priced – great value for its price
Cheaper compared to other brands
Perfect lathe for beginners
CONS
Working with wood pieces nearing its maximum recommended dimensions may result in some stabilities issues which can be solved with clamps or additional weight to keep the machine from moving
This mini lathe offers the best value for your money. Click here to get your SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe.

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Price: Under $900
  • Item Weight: 129.8 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 33-3/5 x 11 x 17-7/10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 160 pounds
  • Shipping Dimensions: 32.8 x 14.6 x 21.2 inches
  • Swing over Bed: 12.5 Inches
  • Between Centers Capacity: 20.5 inches
  • Construction: Cast Iron
  • Motor: 1 HP, 115V
  • Spindle Speed: 60-3600 rpm variable speed
  • Warranty: 5 years
If you are looking for a lathe with more power and one that can accommodate larger wood pieces, then the JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is perfect for you. It has a swing capacity of 12.5 inches and a between centers capacity of 20.5, which coupled with its more powerful 1HP motor, is ideal for larger sized woodturning projects.
There are 3-speed ranges enabling you to control the spindle speed for as low as 60 rpm or as high as 3600 rpm. Those who have tried it say it’s very stable and there is minimal vibration while the machine is being used. Amazon buyers gave it an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars based on 119 reviews.
Amazon customer Cal Wiemers wrote:
“This machine is very quiet and smooth. It has a soft start and good power. The base is heavy enough by itself for most work. You still have to change the belt to get the full range of RPM but that is easy to change.”
PROS
Very versatile with its wide range of spindle speed options which can even go as low as 60 rpm
Smooth and quiet operation
5-year warranty
CONS
Some parts are made out of plastic such as its belt speed adjustment access hole
Hand wheels are painted and not chrome plated
More expensive than other products in its class
This mini lathe is perfect even for those who work on medium sized projects! Get your own JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe now!

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Price: Under $700
  • Item Weight: 97 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 36 x 11 x 17-3/4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 106 pounds
  • Swing Capacity: 12.5 inches
  • Between Centers Capacity: 16 1/2 in. (can be extended to 42 inches)
  • Construction: Cast Iron
  • Motor: 1 HP max, 120V, 60 Hz, 1 Phase
  • Spindle Speed: 3 speed ranges at 250-700, 600-1,800 and 1,350-4,000 RPM
  • Warranty: 5 years
With the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe, you’ll be getting something not all mini wood lathes offer – a generous 12.5-inch swing capacity as well as a 16.5 inch between centers capacity that can even be extended up to 42 inches. This means that you’ll be able to work on larger and lengthier turning projects that other mini lathes just can’t handle.
It has a durable cast iron construction and a 1HP motor that offers plenty of power to drive the spindle to its 3-speed ranges that can go as low as 250 to as high as 4000 RPM. This is one versatile machine and a must-have for all woodturners especially considering that it is covered by a 5-year warranty. Amazon buyers just love this and gave it an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Amazon buyer Michael L. Kent wrote:
“I have found that reading the reviews sometimes makes it harder to select a good product as someone ALWAYS hates it, and the reviews that are a page long seem fake. I have had this product now for several weeks and put in several hours of use. So far I am very pleased. The item seems well built, is easy to use, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in woodturning. This is also the same lathe that Carl Jacobson uses in his hundreds of videos [...] It seems reliable and well made.”
PROS
5-year warranty
Swing capacity of 12 ½ inches allows you to work on bigger projects that can’t be handled by other mini-lathes
Can accommodate longer wood pieces - between centers capacity can be extended up to 42 inches
1HP motor give you power when needed
Variable speed gives you the flexibility to go as low as 250 rpm or as high as 4000 depending on the project you are working on
CONS
More expensive than other brands
Replacement of parts can take a while to arrive
One of the most versatile mini lathes of its class! You can’t go wrong with the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. Click to get one now!

SHOP FOX W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

Quick Summary

  • Price: Under $350
  • Item Weight: 99 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 37 x 15 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 138 pounds
  • Shipping Dimensions: 37.3 x 18 x 12.3 inches
  • Swing over Bed: 10 Inches
  • Between Centers Capacity: 15.5 inches, can be extended up to 38 inches with the W1753 Extended Bed
  • Construction: Cast Iron
  • Motor: 1/2 HP, 120V, single-phase, 6A
  • Spindle Speed: 6 speed settings - 480, 1270, 1960, 2730, 3327, 4023 RPM
  • Warranty: 2 years
Woodstock International’s Shop Fox line of power tools is known for its high quality yet affordably-priced product offerings. As you might have noticed, the SHOP FOX W1752 Mini Wood Lathe is the brand’s second machine included in this buying guide. Basically, it’s a souped-up version of the W1704 with its larger swing and between centers capacity, more powerful motor and wider spindle speed range which justifies its higher price.
It features a clamping system for stability. Operating the machine is super easy and you can even adjust the tool rest to your preferred height and distance from the wood.
Beckey Dorn, who bought this lathe from Amazon, wrote:
“I have been happy with this Lathe. I've had only a couple of minor parts that needed replacing and had them in hand within a week, no questions asked. Great company to work with.”
PROS
At 1/2HP it has a more powerful motor compared to the W1704 (1/3HP)
Greater spindle speed range with its six-speed settings at 480, 1270, 1960, 2730, 3327, 4023 RPM
Adjustable tool rest
Great value for its price
CONS
Complaints about some quill handles already broken when buyers received their machine
Buy the SHOP FOX W1752 Mini Wood Lathe now and get the best value for your money.

Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe, 10-Inch

Quick Summary

  • Price: Under $300
  • Item Weight: 73 pounds
  • Item Dimensions: 36 x 11‐1/2 x 15 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 78 pounds
  • Swing over Bed: 10 Inches
  • Between Centers Capacity: 18 inches
  • Construction: Cast Iron
  • Motor: 1/2 HP, 110V, Single-phase, 60 Hz
  • Spindle Speed: 5 speed settings – 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, 3337rpm
  • Warranty: 1 year
For its price, the Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe gives you a surprising set of features. It has a 10-inch swing and 18-inch between centers capacities which makes it ideal for small-scale woodturning projects. For its price and ease-of-use, this is also the ideal machine for those still starting on woodturning.
It has a 5-spindle speed setting which should be able to appease most users. However, this discreet spindle speed control might not satisfy those who want to have a total control on the spindle speed.
Amazon buyer James E. Egizio gave the tool a 5-star rating and wrote:
“Good tool, great return service.”
PROS
Very affordable
Great value for its price
Lightweight enough and can be moved around if necessary
CONS
1-year warranty
Discreet spindle speed control – there are only 5-speed options to choose from
You can’t go wrong with a Grizzly. Get your very own Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

We know that not all buyers have the same needs and preferences when it comes to choosing the lathe of their dreams. That is why we’ve included different brands and products at different price levels to introduce variety into this Mini Wood Lathe buying guide.
If price is your number one consideration, you can either go with the Shop Fox W1704, the Grizzly H8259 or the Shop Fox W1752. These machines are ideal for smaller wood detailing projects such as pens and small bowls.
But if you want more functionality from your mini wood lathe, the Jet JWL-1221VS and Delta Industrial 46-460 are good choices as both are capable wood lathes. However, they are also more expensive compared to other products in their class.
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