wood lathe comparison reviewIf you are going to do any serious woodworking you will need a good wood turning lathe in your shop.

The ability to turn wood is every bit as important as sawing or planing planks and drilling holes. If you don’t have access to a decent wood lathe the types of products you can produce are significantly reduced.

But, if you’ve started the search for a lathe you probably found that the number of lathes on the market is daunting. There are so many brands of lathe available and so many different features on each model that finding the best wood lathe for your money is tough to sort out.

We understand your frustration, which is why we put together a handy Wood Lathe Comparison Chart to help you cut through all the noise.

Wood Lathe Comparison Chart

Below is a handy table letting you compare and contrast what we feel are the best 5 benchtop wood lathes on the market.

Best Overall
JET JWL-1221VS 12"x21" Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719200)
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
Best Value
NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch
Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe with DRO
Least Expensive
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
Motor
1 HP
1 HP
3/4 HP
4.5 Amp
1/3 HP
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
60 to 3600 RPM
250 to 4000 RPM
250 to 4000 RPM
500 to 2500 RPM
700 to 3200 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT2
MT2
MT2
MT2
MT1
Head Spindle Thread
1”- 8TPI
1”- 8TPI
1”- 8TPI
1”- 8TPI
3/4"- 16TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT2
MT2
MT2
MT2
MT1
Swing Capacity
12-1/2"
9-9/16"
12"
12"
8"
Reviews
Price
$754.99
$998.57
Price not available
Price not available
$249.99
Best Overall
JET JWL-1221VS 12"x21" Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719200)
Motor
1 HP
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
60 to 3600 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT2
Head Spindle Thread
1”- 8TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT2
Swing Capacity
12-1/2"
Reviews
Price
$754.99
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
Motor
1 HP
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
250 to 4000 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT2
Head Spindle Thread
1”- 8TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT2
Swing Capacity
9-9/16"
Reviews
Price
$998.57
Best Value
NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch
Motor
3/4 HP
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
250 to 4000 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT2
Head Spindle Thread
1”- 8TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT2
Swing Capacity
12"
Reviews
Price
Price not available
Grizzly Industrial G0462-16" x 46" Wood Lathe with DRO
Motor
4.5 Amp
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
500 to 2500 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT2
Head Spindle Thread
1”- 8TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT2
Swing Capacity
12"
Reviews
Price
Price not available
Least Expensive
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
Motor
1/3 HP
Variable Speed
Spindle Speed Range
700 to 3200 RPM
Head Spindle Taper
MT1
Head Spindle Thread
3/4"- 16TPI
Tail Spindle Taper
MT1
Swing Capacity
8"
Reviews
Price
$249.99

1. JET JWL-1221VS

JET JWL-1221VS review

The JET JWL-1221VS

Let’s start as we mean to go on with this strong offering from Jet. Let’s be honest; this model comes with a pretty hefty price point. But, it’s easy to see why the second you delve into what this wood lathe has to offer. Jet claim that this is different from anything on the market, and they aren’t wrong. Even better, this entire lathe has been created with control in mind. And, given that better control leads to better woodwork; you could say that’s a fact which might work in your favor.

The most notable thing about this lathe by far is it’s unrivaled speed control. That’s right; this model comes complete with 60-3600 RPM variable speed, and controls which are located conveniently for your use. This adaptability ensures that experienced and newbie woodworkers alike can produce some fantastic pieces on a lathe like this. As if that weren’t enough, this lathe also comes complete with features which offer further ease, such as a smooth forward to reverse transition and 24 integrated indexing positions for improved performance. Not to mention that, unlike many woodworking options, this model is incredibly quiet once it’s up and running.

It’s this and much more which ensures the Jet JWL-1221VS gets an impressive 68% of five-star reviews on Amazon. If you want a quiet offering which adapts to any project or skill-set, then, this wood lathe won’t let you down.

Sale
JET JWL-1221VS 12'x21' Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719200)
317 Reviews
JET JWL-1221VS 12"x21" Variable-Speed Wood Lathe (719200)
  • INTEGRATED, SPRING-LOADED SPINDLE LOCK
  • CONVENIENTLY-LOCATED CONTROLS AND DIGITAL READOUT
  • INNOVATIVE RATCHET-STYLE BELT TENSION SYSTEM
  • INFINITELY-VARIABLE SPEED: From 60 to 3,000 RPM.
  • 24 INTEGRATED INDEXING POSITIONS

2. Delta Industrial 46-460

Delta Industrial 46-460 review

The Delta Industrial 46-460

Down in price but not necessarily quality; we’re transitioning from the most expensive model on our list to the least. Despite the drastically different price points, though, the Delta Industrial 46-460 is not all that different from the Jet selection mentioned above. In fact, this may be the cheapest offering, but you could argue that it stands the best chance against the Jet JWL-1221VS Both models provide continuous speed control with three pulley-speed ranges for better results at any level. The Delta also offers a forward and reverse switch for precise finishes on every single project.

All this comes alongside a patented belt-tensioning system for quicker speed changes and a cast iron construction for longer life. Pair that with Delta’s five-year guarantee, and it’s fair to say that this is an affordable lathe with a guaranteed long life in your woodworking studio.

When you consider the price difference between this and our first model, you could argue that this cheaper option is a no-brainer. And, it certainly gives those high-end lathes a run for their money. If you’re new to woodworking, then, or simply aren’t willing to part with the cash of more expensive options, this is most definitely the right wood lathe for your needs. In few other cheap models will you find such precision controls and adaptability to suit projects of any size you could imagine.