Our Top Picks
Written by Douglas Smith
The reason why most of the woodturners go with the midi wood lathes is that these types of lathes offer all-in-one features in a small size. It can be challenging for some woodturners who have less space available in their workshop to buy a full-sized wood lathe that can offer premium features to them. But instead, they can always go for the midi lathes to solve their problems and hassles in a compact size.
Not only that, but midi wood lathes also tend to offer great feasibility to beginners or amateurs who have just entered the woodturning field. If you plan on starting your journey with woodturning, you might not want to start directly with a big machine. It is a good and fantastic idea to start with the smaller-sized lathes so that you can easily understand how woodturning is done and what the purposes of different options are. It will make it really efficient and easier for you to work in the future on any wood lathe you want. That is why I am actually going to review the 10 best midi wood lathes so that you can pick the best fit ever for your needs.
The 10 best Midi Wood Lathes to buy in 2021
Let’s have a detailed look at the 10 best midi wood lathes that you can get your hands on in 2021. Do not forget to keep your preferences in mind and then check the features of every lathe to pick the best possible midi lathe!
The Best Midi Wood Lathes
1.WEN 34018 Midi Wood Lathe
WEN might not be so famous in manufacturing full-sized lathes, but when it comes to producing some top-notch midi lathes, they are indeed one of the best currently available. The model we are currently talking about is the WEN 34018, which is the premium choice for woodturners who are on a tight budget. The best thing about this lathe is that, even in this low budget, it is offering exceptional features to the woodturners that cannot be ignored. You will get an excellent 4.5 amp motor which is enough even to control massive wood pieces. Just make sure that the wood pieces are not overly heavy, because then you will have to face some problems.
If we keep the motor aside, the RPM provided in this lathe can go as high as 3500. You will probably not find a lathe in this budget offering that much RPM along with all the other features. You are also allowed to adjust the RPM as per your preferences and project style. The maximum size of the wood piece that you can integrate on this midi-lathe is 12”x18”. This size is unquestionably not suitable for big projects, but if you want to have feasibility, you will have to actually compromise on some aspects. In this case, this is the only one! Aside from that, a digital display is also provided to check the RPM along with the tool rest to keep whatever tools you want while working. The premium iron construction will also serve you long enough to multiply your investment by multiple folds.
4.5 HP Motor
12"x18" Size Support
Tool Rest Offered
2.JET JWL-1015 Midi Wood Lathe
Jet is not only famous for its wide range of wood lathes available on the internet, but the brand has done remarkably well-satisfying customers throughout the world. If you are looking for a reliable wood lathe with good features, Jet can surely help you out with its lathes. But as we are talking about the midi lathes, I have included this great lathe that can also work well in many cases. The size support of this lathe is pretty more petite than the most midi lathes available. The maximum size of wood you can fit on this lathe is 10”x15”, which is undoubtedly low. But if you only work on smaller or medium-sized projects, this lathe can be a blessing for you because of its other features.
Jet also offers six spindle speeds in this lathe. The lowest speed you can opt for is 500, and the maximum goes to 3975. Now you can conclude how efficient this lathe can be while woodturning. Aside from that, there are 24 indexing positions available. Most woodturners do not change the position that often, but it is always a good idea to be on the safe side. The bed ways of this lathe are more comprehensive than the standard size, which can also create easiness for you while working.
24 Indexing Positions
Wider Bed Bays
Easy Access to Belts
Six Spindle Speeds
3.Grizzly Industrial H8259 Wood Lathe
Just like its name, this lathe is pretty unique and hard to find in the market. The increasing demand for this lathe has proved that it can offer what woodturners want from it. If you have a budget of little $500, you can quickly go for it and resume your woodturning journey once again. This particular wood lathe comes with half HP motor, which might not seem that powerful but is enough for medium-sized projects. As the size compatibility of this midi lathe is 10”x18”, this much HP is enough to handle the wood pieces that big. Not only that, but the RPM available in this lathe will make the work process even more convenient.
There are five spindle speed options available in this lathe that the users can choose as they want. But do note that the maximum speed you can pick is 3337, which is undoubtedly enough for medium-sized projects. The layout of this lathe is also pretty good, as almost every option and function is available right on the front. You will only have to press a single button without any rocket science, and you will be good to go. By keeping durability in mind, Grizzly has also made this lathe with Dust Cast Iron so that you can use it for long without any rust or weather effects.
1/2 HP Motor
5 Speed Modes
Tool Rest Included
4.SHOP FOX W1704 Lathe
If you are starting or you want to save your money by not buying a very expensive lathe, Shop Fox has something that can rescue you in this situation. The Shop Fox W1704 is a budget lathe that anyone can afford because of its size. You might really have to compromise on some of the features, but it will still be good to start and continue your passion. This lathe comes with a meager but efficient 1/3 HP motor with 2 Amp and single-phase compatibility. This is where this lathe lacks the most. But still, the users can get 3200 RPM even with this motor and make their work better with their skills.
Not only one, but Shop Fox has also offered two tool rests in this lathe to make it comfortable for the users to store their belongings. The size support of this lathe cannot exceed 8”x13”. So if you have small projects, you should go for it, but I would not recommend this lathe for more significant projects because of its meager motor and size. The speed can be controlled within the lathe along with all the other options.
3/4 HP Motor
2 Tool Rests
Easy RPM Control
5.WEN 3424T Midi Lathe
Well, here is another budget lathe so that every woodturner can work and craft the wood pieces with their unique skills. Unlike the previous midi lathe we discussed, this lathe can support a good size. The wood pieces that you can attach to this lathe can be of size 12”x18”. This size is pretty good, considering it is a midi lathe and also the budget. Instead of offering complete RPM control, WEN has offered five different speed modes that the users can choose while working. Users can opt between 520, 900, 1400, 2150, and 3400. This much RPM will surely be enough to work on different types of projects without much hassle.
This lathe also includes a 3-1/8 inch Faceplate so that the woodturners can also turn the bowls just as they want. The overall lathe is also very durable and sturdy. You will not face any vibration or unbalanced experience while working, thanks to its great built.
Great Size Support
Different Speed Modes
Easy to Control
6.RIKON 70-100 Wood Lathe
This lathe can be a good fit for those who already have experience in the woodturning field. This is because this lathe comes at a great price. Thus the features of this lathe are pretty good too. This midi lathe supports the maximum size of 12”xx16”. It is pretty evident that you won’t be able to place more significant wood pieces on this lathe due to its support. But rest assured, other features will make up for the size and will offer you the best possible experience. As it comes with a half HP motor, the RPM offered in this lathe is pretty awesome too.
The best thing or the greatest feature is, there are no restrictions on the speed, or there are not just a few modes available, but the users can adjust the speed just as they want without any restrictions. The indexing positions offered in this lathe are 12 rather than 24, but these many positions will be enough as per its size. To make the lathe user-friendly, the brand has done an excellent job making the features easy and convenient. You will not have to read different guides to control this lathe as it will be done right from the front.
1/2 HP Motor
Self ejecting Tailstock
7.PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Midi Lathe
This lathe is not like the simple lathes that you can find on the internet, but this variant is pretty unique and different. That is why you will also have to operate it a little differently than the others to work efficiently. Nevertheless, it will be easier to learn, and you won’t have to face serious troubles. If we talk about its specifications, it comes with the ¾ HP motor and variable speed control. You will certainly and surely not have to face any troubles adjusting the RPM, as it can be done directly from the lathe without any prior knowledge.
The RPM in this lathe ranges from 500-3600, which is pretty good, but the only disadvantage is that you will have to opt for specific modes rather than adjusting it at any number in between the limit. But of course, it won’t create many hassles while you are working. The maximum size support of this lathe is 10”x18”, which is again only suitable for medium-sized projects. The overall design and the durability of the lathe are also pretty awesome, and you can expect this lathe to serve you for years without a single problem.
3/4 HP Motor
Different Speed Modes
Massive RPM Limit
10"x18" Size Support
8.JET JWL-1221VS Midi Lathe
This lathe is unquestionably one of the most popular lathes among the woodturners due to its price and features. If you also want to be a woodturner who has owned this fantastic masterpiece, you will have to buy it for sure. If you think about what features make this lathe so famous among all, then the actual reason behind its massive popularity is the combination of its price and the massive size support offered in this lathe. You can fix the wood pieces of size 12”x21”, which is considered significant. You will really be able to place and turn some of your big projects on this lathe, but indeed, you will still have to face some problems with other big projects.
It also comes with variable speed, and the users are allowed t adjust the speed from 60 to 3600 RPM. It does actually not matter if you have a small project in hand or a big one; this much RPM will help you turn both of them with ease. The ratchet-style belt offered in this lathe makes it even more innovative for the users and adds a slight crispness to it while working. There are two hand caddies available too that can also be used for various purposes by the users.
24 Indexing Positions
Easy to Reach Controls
Tool Caddies Offered
9.WEN 34034 Midi Wood Lathe
Do not merge up this lathe with the previous WEN lathe we discussed before. Their looks might be the same, but they indeed differ in the specifications. That is why it is better to go through all the details to know which one is the perfect fit for you. If we look at the features of this lathe, you will find a powerful motor integrated into it. Instead of making this lathe less powerful, the brand has made it even more potent, but the price range has also increased. Other than that, you can attach the wood pieces of size 14”x20” to this lathe, which is only suitable for medium-sized projects. As you might know, midi-lathes are not suitable for supporting big wood pieces, so the case is pretty identical with this lathe too.
The maximum RPM this lathe can achieve is 3550, but you can adjust it from anywhere between 250 till the peak limit. If we take a practical and deep look at the design of this lathe, you will find it pretty diverse and colorful than the other lathes available in this range. All the controls are readily available and quickly accessible by the users for better working. There is also a 4” faceplate available in the lathe so that the users can turn the bowls too along with the other projects they want.
14" x 20" Size
3550 Max RPM
Quick Access Controls
10.RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR Wood Lathe
This lathe is neither a very powerful midi lathe nor a slow midi lathe; if you are looking for something amazing in the middle that can get your work done without any hassles, this lathe is what you are looking for. The reason why it can do all the work efficiently is that it has a 1HP motor which is pretty rare to find in the midi lathes. Not only that, the size support of this lathe is pretty good, too, as it can support the wood pieces of size 12”x24”.
There are 24 indexing positions available as well so that you can turn the bowls or other things as per the requirements and craft them just as you want. The RPM has also been increased as this lathe can offer you the maximum RPM of 3850, which is undoubtedly not meager. The overall specifications of this lathe are indeed worth its price, and as it is a midi lathe, this one is just too good for its features.
12"x24" Size Support
1 HP Motor
3850 Max RPM
24 Indexing Positions
Best Wood Lathes For The Money Buyers Guide & FAQ’s
What to look for when buying the best midi wood lathe?
If you do not do your homework before buying a particular thing, you might have to face the consequences later. To avoid that scenario, you should keep some vital things in mind when buying a midi lathe too! So, here you go:
- Size: As we talk about the midi lathes, it is better to check the size because most of the woodturners go for the midi-lathes because of their suitable size. It should not be very massive or too small, as the features will be compromised on the smaller lathes.
- Efficiency: It does not mean that the efficiency will be downgraded with the size of the lathe if you go for a midi wood lathe. You can still get a midi lathe with great power and efficiency to start working right away without any problem. So never go for the lathe that is offering meager HP, or else you will not be able to turn better.
- Layout: If you want to avoid hassles and quickly operate your lathe with ease, you will have to check the layout of your midi lathe. The layout will describe where all the buttons and features are placed. If they are right on the front, you will not face any problems as it will be easier for you to access those features and options.
- Rotations: Most of the midi lathes offer an RPM of 3000+. But it also depends on your preferences that how much RPM your projects will require. So keeping your projects in mind, decide how much RPM will be good for you and if your preferred midi lathe is offering that much or not.
- Durability: Midi lathes should be even more durable than full-sized lathes as midi lathes have to be moved on and off while working. So check what material is used in the manufacturing of your midi lathe and if it will easily offer its service to you for multiple years or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1- Should I go for mini lathes instead of midi lathes?
A- It is doubtful for the mini lathes to support medium-sized projects; that is why it is better to stick with midi lathes until or unless you only have small projects.
Q2- Are midi lathes reliable?
A- Of course! You will have to look out for their specs and see if they can handle your type of projects or not, and the lathe will work flawlessly for you.
Q3- Are midi lathes suitable for beginners?
A- Yes! In fact, they can be the most excellent fit for beginners or amateurs who have just started their career in woodturning. This is because midi lathes are easy to control and operate than full-sized lathes.
Q4- Are midi lathes less efficient than full-sized lathes?
A- In a way, yes! The reason behind less efficiency is that the midi lathes cannot support big wood pieces. This affects the whole lathes. Thus the efficiency decreases.
Q5- Do I need any more tools other than the wood lathe to start woodturning?
A- Definitely! You cannot turn the wood if you don’t have the other essential tools like chisels. So it is better to grab all the vital tools and then start woodturning.
These ten are indeed the best midi lathes you can find on the whole internet. You might find some significant differences among them, but the price will also increase or decrease in the same manner. So only choose the ones that can benefit you well; otherwise, the midi lathe will not serve you well.