Finding the best wood lathe for turning bowls can be difficult. There are so many on the market that it can be hard to know which one will be the best for your needs.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the seven best wood lathes for turning bowls. Each lathe has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your needs before making a purchase.
1. WEN 3421 Benchtop Wood Lathe
The WEN 3421 is a wood lathe that has been designed for hobbyists. It is easy to assemble and even easier to use, making it the perfect choice for those who are just starting in woodturning.
You can use it to make a variety of objects, such as cups, bowls, pens, and chess pieces. It comes with a cast-iron frame for increased stability, a variable speed motor that allows you to adjust the speed according to the task at hand and two interchangeable tool rests.
The WEN 3421 measures 12 inches by eight inches in size and has a three-point mounting system that ensures maximum precision. The 3.2-Amp generates over 50% more power than the average wood lathe, making it a great choice for larger projects.
Some buyers have complained about the loose tailstock quill and the machine breaking down soon after purchase. Another buyer said that the wood lathe doesn’t work well for drilling because the bit tends to wander.
- easy to assemble
- easy to use
- cast iron frame for stability
- variable speed motor
- two interchangeable tool rests
- loose tailstock quill
- wood lathe doesn’t work well for drilling
2. SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
Another best wood lathe for turning bowls is Shop Fox W1703. It has an infinitely variable speed that goes from 700- to -32000 RPM, which gives you more flexibility with the different types of wood you turn.
The Shop Fox W1703 comes with a four-and-a-half-inch tool rest and it also includes a seven-inch tool rest for various woodturning applications.
This benchtop lathe also comes with a 13-inch distance between centers and an eight-inch swing over the bed, making this wood lathe ideal for numerous woodturning projects.
Unfortunately, some users have said that the motor has very little torque and it’s also underpowered. Others have mentioned that the motor is a little weak, but with woodturning, you don’t want a lathe that has too much power or it can break your tools.
- infinitely variable speed
- four-and-a-half inch tool rest
- seven-inch tool rest
- underpowered motor
3. Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable-Speed Lathe
Another wood lathe for turning bowls is Delta 46-460. It is a 12-Inch lathe that comes with a powerful motor. The motor generates a speed of 1725 RPM, which makes it easy to handle wood projects.
The Delta 46-460 has a swing capacity of 12-Inch and variable speeds to handle the types of wood you are turning without having to change belts or slow down.
The lathe offers a patented belt tensioning system that is easy to use and provides quick speed changes. It is also adjustable, which gives you a comfortable working position and added stability when turning large bowls.
Some users have complained that the reverse and forward functions are reversed, however, this can easily be fixed by relabeling them. Others have said that the variable speed control knob doesn’t seem to be working properly, as it slows down when you turn the wood lathe from one to nine.
- Variable speeds
- Electronic belt tensioner
- Swing capacity of 12-Inch
- Index pin
- Adjustable wood lathe stand
- Reverse and forward functions are reversed
- The variable speed control knob doesn’t seem to be working properly
4. Grizzly Industrial G0462 Wood Lathe
The Grizzly Industrial G0462 wood lathe is a top-quality machine that is perfect for bowl turning. It has a 16″ swing over the bed, so you can turn large bowls with ease.
The 2HP motor is powerful enough to handle woodturning projects of any size, while the cast-iron construction ensures smooth operation. The G0462 also features a spindle tachometer with a digital readout, so you can always keep track of your turning speeds.
This wood lathe is also equipped with a shift-on-the-fly handle, which makes it easy to change the speed quickly and easily.
A user, however, has reported that the wood lathe vibrates a lot and it is very difficult to get accurate cuts. Another user complains that this wood lathe does not come with a reverse for sanding and no spindle stop for mounting and surmounting work.
- 16″ swing over the bed
- Powerful motor
- Cast-iron construction
- Spindle tachometer with digital readout
- Shift-on-the-fly handle
- Vibrates a lot
- Does not come with a reverse for sanding
5. RIKON Power Tools 70-105 Mini Lathe
Next, on our list of best wood lathes for turning bowls is the RIKON 70-105. This mini lathe comes with a ½ horsepower motor, making it perfect for all your turning needs.
It is sturdy, built from cast iron to ensure that there are no vibrations. It also comes with various features such as a self-ejecting tailstock and easy access to the speed changer.
Another great feature of this wood lathe is the five-speed range, perfect for a variety of tasks such as boring barrel holes, roughing out pen billets, and turning to shape. Meanwhile, its self-ejecting tailstock will help you save time and hassle.
However, there are a few downsides to this wood lathe. Some of the users have mentioned that when they received their product, the tailstock wheel was slightly bent. This does not affect the wood lathe’s functionality but it can be quite off-putting for some.
Additionally, the packaging arrived on its side for one user and the spindle cover was broken and cracked when it arrived.
- Cast iron built for no vibration
- Five-speed range
- Self ejecting tailstock
- The tailstock wheel can be bent
- The spindle cover broke and cracked on arrival
6. JET JWL-1015 Wood Lathe
The JET JWL-1015 wood lathe is perfect for woodturners of all levels, from novice to experienced. It comes with a range of features to make your woodturning experience easier and more enjoyable.
The wood lathe features a spindle speed of 500, 840, and 1440 rpm (no reverse), allowing you to choose the right speeds for your turning. For added convenience, it also features an easy-access belt tensioning system that makes changing belts simple and quick.
The JET JWL-1015’s increased rigidity is thanks to its wider bed ways, which also make it more stable when turning. This wood lathe is a great choice for those who want to turn bowls and other smaller objects with ease. It’s also very compact, making it perfect for those with limited shop space.
Although the JET JWL-1010 has many great features, some users reported issues. Some people found that the wood lathe was delivered with a broken plastic bezel on the ON/OFF switch. Others said that to adjust the RPMs, you need to shut it off and reset the belt to the desired speed.
- Wider bed ways for increased rigidity and stability
- Easy access belt tensioning system
- 500, 840, and 1440 rpm spindle speeds
- Compact design
- The broken plastic bezel on the ON/OFF switch
- Adjusting RPMs requires turning the wood lathe off and resetting the belt to the desired speed
7. NOVA Comet II DR Wood Lathe
The Nova Comet II DR is a wood lathe that has been designed for bowl turning. With its electronic variable speed, it can offer speeds from 250-4000 RPM, making it perfect for a wide range of woodworking projects.
For example, you can use a super-low speed for delicate work or a super-high-speed for faster stock removal. The digital readout is also a great feature, as it allows you to quickly dial in the correct speed for the job.
The three-step pulley system also offers maximum flexibility, with different speed ranges to accommodate wood-turning projects. This means you can use the wood lathe for a variety of projects, from delicate pens to bowls and spindles.
However, a user found that the Nova Comet II DR wood lathe has a problem with the main pulley loosening up and making a funny noise. In addition, another user also reported that the wood lathe’s plastic belt shield broke when they just unboxed it.
- Variable speed wood
- Digital readout for easy control of the RPM level
- Three-step pulley system for maximum flexibility
- The main pulley loosens up and makes a funny noise
- The plastic belt shield is broken on unboxing
Wood lathes are a woodworker’s best friend when it comes to turning bowls, spindles, and other woodworking projects. They offer convenience with variable speeds for easy control of the RPM level so you can dial in the right speed for your project or task at hand without wasting too much time.
If you’re looking for a wood lathe that’s perfect for bowl turning, the NOVA Comet II DR is an excellent option with its electronic variable speed and digital readout. However, if you want a wood that can be used for other projects as well, then the JET JWL-1010 is a great option with its wider bed ways and three-step pulley system.
Whichever wood lathe you choose, be sure to read the reviews before making your purchase to get an idea of what others have liked or disliked about the product.