Sure, heavy duty wood and metal working can be super fun. But there is quite a bit of satisfaction in working with smaller sized wood and metal projects as well, and if you are interested in such projects, you have got to go with a lathe.
Many full sized lathes take up a lot of space, though, so we have compiled a list of the best mini lathes to get the job done for you.
Comparison of the Best Mini Lathes
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Benefits of Investing in a Top-of-the-Line Mini Lathe
You want a mini lathe that is going to enable you to turn wood quickly and efficiently, so that you are able to get your projects done. You do not want a lathe whose motor is going to be cutting out all the time, or one that malfunctions in some other ineffective way.
Many top of the line mini lathes comes with safety features such as a safety switch so that the lathe cannot be accidentally turned on. These features are fantastic and an absolute must of you have children.
We can’t really think of a better way to say it – a lot of the cheaper lathes on the market are loud and/or they vibrate a lot, which can produce a lot of frustration in users. Skip all of that by investing in a top of the line mini lathe.
Review of the Best Mini Lathes
Since you now have a better idea of what to look for in a mini lathe, let’s check out some products:
The Rikon 70-100 really sets the industry standard when it comes to mini lathes. For something so small and compact, it is still extremely powerful and boasts a wide range of different turning speeds. Because of its size, it is an easy addition to any work bench and will not take up too much space if you have a smaller shop area.
This quality is especially great for beginners and those users who are new to wood turning – you can start to learn about the process of using a lathe without a huge (and more expensive) new tool that you will have to rearrange your whole shop around.
This lathe also has a number of other awesome qualities, such as a built in tool rack and a safety lock to prevent the motor from being turned on accidentally (a must have safety measure if you have curious kids!).
All in all, the Rikon 70-100 does nothing but impress and is the mini lathe to buy if you want a mini lathe.
The Rikon 70-100 is an excellent mini lathe and really sets the industry standard when it comes to these kinds of products. The process for changing the belt speed can be a little bit more complicated than on other models, but that is a small price to pay for a lathe of this quality.
Best Mini Metal Lathe:
Delta Industrial 46-460
The Delta Industrial 46-460 is the top of the line when it comes to miniature metal lathes. Like many of the other lathes described on this list, its small size may seem initially deceiving, but do not be fooled – this lathe packs a punch! It is quite powerful and clearly made out of hefty, high quality material.
Users report using this lathe for hundred of different projects on a wide variety of wood over the span of several years and this lathe still working just as well as it did fresh out of the box. If there do happen to be any weird issues with this lathe, it is covered by a five year warranty, so you do not have to worry about throwing your money away on this guy.
It is easy to use, so it is approachable for beginner wood turners and effective enough for seasoned wood turning veterans. Even changing the belts is a simple and intuitive process.
The Delta Industrial 46-460 is an awesome mini metal lathe that will be able to help you get all of your wood turning projects done. Unlike some of the other lathes on the market, it does not provide a digital speed readout for you to know exactly how fast the lathe is turning, but it is pretty easy to figure out the speed by feel, so that is not a huge issue.
Best Mini Wood Lathe:
Jet JWL 1015 Wood Working Lathe
The Jet JWL 1015 Wood Working Lathe is an excellent lathe and far and above the best one on this list when it comes to wood turning. It is well built and made out of high quality material, which makes it extremely smooth to operate. Multiple users have commented on how amazingly quiet this lathe is, which is a welcome change from some of the more shoddy and cheap models on the market.
Because this lathe is on the smaller side, you will easily be able to tuck it into the corner of your work bench in your wood shop and not have it take up too much space. Its size is definitely not any sort of compromise on its power and ability, though – this lathe is tough! It will be able to turn any wood you throw at it, and even some metal too.
It is definitely a notch above a beginner lathe, so make sure you have some experience with wood turning before you invest serious money in this bad boy.
The Jet JWL 1015 Wood Working Lathe is a fantastic lathe and the best lathe you can find for wood turning. Just know you may have to get your screwdriver out and tighten up some parts when it first arrives.
Best Mini Lathe for Pen Turning:
Wen 3420T Benchtop Wood Lathe
The Wen 3420T Benchtop Wood Lathe is the number one choice when it comes to wood lathes that are ideal at small wood turning projects. If you are trying to craft your own beautiful wood pens, this lathe is definitely the one for you.
Best of all, it is small enough and light enough that it is not much of a hassle to take it on and off your work bench, so you can easily store it away when you are done using it and want to move on to another kind of project.
The Wen 3420T Benchtop Wood Lathe is a great lathe for small wood turning projects like turning pens. Because it is on the smaller side, its motor can stall out if you try to cut too much, but as long as you stay within range, you will not have any issues.
Best Mini Lathe for the Money:
If you are looking for a high end mini lathe at a low end price, you will not be able to find a mini lathe that suits your needs better than the Grizzly H8259. This mini lathe comes in a fun bright turquoise color and will be able to provide you high quality wood turning enjoyment for hours and years to come.
The Grizzly Mini Lathe comes with a tool rest, a live rolling center, a spur center, and several wrenches. It has five different speed settings that are easily adjusted, and is lightweight and small enough to fit on any shop bench. It is great for turning wooden bowls, cups, and pens, and is easily used by beginners and users new to the world of wood turning.
If you are on a budget but still want a lathe that is high quality and provides good bang for your buck, the Grizzly H8259 is the way to go.
The Grizzly H8259 is the best lathe for the cheapest price that you will be able to find anywhere. It does have some considerations when it comes to the motor, though: it overheats easily and will need to be cleared of dust and wood chips fairly often.
If you are interested in crafting minute details or cylindrical shapes out of metal or wood, you need to invest in a good quality lathe. And odds are, with the amount of space most of us have available, you will probably want a mini lathe in order to take up the least amount of room in your wood shop. Mini lathes are a great choice for both novice and experienced craftspeople – invest in one today!
People Also Ask
If you still have questions, here are some that regularly come up about mini lathes:
What is a Mini Lathe?
A mini lathe is a tool that helps shape wood and metal into cylindrical shapes, such as bowls, or cups, or even something as small and minute as pens. Mini lathes employ a drill bit attached to a chuck, which is spinning very fast and powered by a motor, to shape items in this way.
Types of Mini Lathes
There are two main types of mini lathes: wood and metal. Some metal mini lathes will also work on wood, although, generally speaking, metal lathes spin at a slower rate and have more durable cutting edges, because cutting through metal is a more intense proposition than cutting through wood.
What Should I Keep in Mind While Looking for a Mini Lathe?
This is the whole point of you getting a mini lathe, right? The thing is, even mini lathes can vary pretty widely when it comes to the size and space they will be taking up. You definitely want to find a mini lathe that will fit your exact space specifications.
Are you going to be shaping metal or wood? Although many metal lathes will work with wood, if you anticipate doing a lot of wood work, you are probably going to want to invest in a quality wood lathe.
If you are a beginner or someone completely new to using lathes, you probably want a lathe that is specifically designed for people without lathe experience. If you are a bit more advanced, you might want to find a lathe more tailored for people at your level.