Best Woodturning Lathes For Beginners [Review]

by | Jan 22, 2021

Our Top Picks 

Best Value

WEN 3421 3.2 Amp Woodturning Lathe

WEN 3421 3.2 Amp Woodturning Lathe

Top Choice

JET JWL-1221VS Woodturning Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS Woodturning Lathe

Premium option

JET JWL-1440VSK Woodturning lathe with legs

JET JWL-1440VSK Woodturning lathe with legs

Written by Douglas Smith

I have been a woodturner since a very young age, My Father taught me everything I know and I enjoy taking on new and quirky projects.

Top 7 Best Woodturning Lathes for Beginners

Choosing a good woodturning lathe as per your preferences has always been a difficult task. No matter if you are a beginner or an experienced woodturner, you will have to choose the one that suits you and your expertise well. Multiple aspects need to be cared about when buying the best woodturning lathes for beginners so that you can craft exactly what you want.

Crafting wood might seem easy, but it is not, especially for beginners. Beginners tend to explore things and learn how to craft in different ways, but it is only possible with a good woodturning lathe.

If you are looking for some woodturning jackets then look at our best woodturning jackets article.

What to look for when buying a woodturning lathe?


As I stated earlier, multiple aspects need to be in mind when buying a woodturning lathe. Some of them are stated below:

  • Size: If you plan to accept the big projects, you will have to go for the full-sized lathe for a hassle-free experience. If not, mini-lathe can do the job!
  • Power: It is unquestionably one of the most important aspects to look out for. The power is usually measured in HP, and it states how fast the lathe will rotate, making it easy and fast to craft.
  • Swing Capacity: Swing capacity tells how big of the wooden piece you can mount on the lathe without facing any difficulties. It must not exceed the limit, or you might have to face the consequences.

The Best Woodturning Lathes for Beginners 

1.JET JWL-1221VS Woodturning Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS Woodturning Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS is undoubtedly one of the best woodturning lathes for beginners because of its easy features and functions. The size support of 12×21 is pretty good and comfortable for beginners to work with. There are also 24 integrated indexing positions so that you can set it just as you want.

The maximum speed of this lathe is about 3600 RPM as it comes with one horsepower. The speed can be adjusted easily as per the preferences of the woodturner. As we are talking about the beginners here, all of the controls are easily locatable, along with the digital readout making it easy for them to start their journey. You can easily place or fix it on the table or get a specific woodturning stand to start working and craft something unique.

Key Features

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1 HP

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Up to 3600RPM

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Size support of 12x21

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Portable

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Spring-Loaded Spindle Lock

2.WEN 3421 3.2 Amp Woodturning Lathe

WEN 3421 3.2 Amp Woodturning Lathe

If you are looking for something straightforward, easy-to-use, and with excellent portability, then this can be your best bet! WEN 3421 3.2 amp is a tabletop or benchtop woodturning lathe that offers an RPM of about 3200. Users are allowed to set it anywhere between the range of 750 and 3200. As it comes with 8×12, you can craft smaller things with ease with better handling.

If we talk about the motor efficiency, the one integrated into it runs on 3.2 amp offering 50% more power than most of the woodturning lathes of this size. There are not many options and complicated looking controls integrated on the lathe, making it better for beginners. Just adjust the plank, set the RPM, tighten it, and you are good to go!

Key Features

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Max RPM of 3200

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3.2 AMP Motor

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Relatively Lightweight

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Easy Controls

3.JET JWL-1440VSK Woodturning lathe with legs

JET JWL-1440VSK Woodturning lathe with legs

We previously discussed a lathe of JET, but this time, it is something more significant. This variant supports the size of about 14×40, which is pretty big. So if you are really looking out for the best woodturning lathes for beginners but planning to go big, then this is what you want! This model’s variable speed can range from anywhere between 400 to 3000 RPM, and you can set it as per your preferences. There are also seven locking positions available so that you can set the wood and lock it in any direction with ease.

There is also an easy-to-read RPM display available so that you can quickly check out the RPM of your lathe. Other than that, the one horsepower integrated will never disappoint you in terms of power. The best thing is that it comes with its support or legs, you can say, so you will not have to arrange a table for it.

Key Features

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3200 Max RPM

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CSA Certified

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7 Locking Positions

4.Mophorn 14×40 Wood lathe

Mophorn 14x40 Wood lathe

Mophorn 14×40 lather is also one of the best woodturning lathes for beginners. It comes with four-speed modes, which the users can set as per their work preferences. You can set the speed to 1100, 1600, 2300, and 3400 RPM, which is pretty great. Aside from that, it is equipped with a ½ horsepower motor offering low-noise and efficient workflow.

As it comes with the 14×40 size, you can mount relatively more significant wood pieces and craft them as you want. Its durable structure will also offer you a sturdy and steady experience with less vibration. This lathe also comes with wrenches’ set to adjust different aspects of it without any extra equipment. The lathe’s overall controls and adjustments are also very elementary, and any beginner can understand them with ease.

Key Features

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4 Speed Modes

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Max RPM of 3400

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Durable

5.Powermatic 1352001 Woodturning Lathe

Powermatic 1352001 Woodturning Lathe

If you are comfortable spending a fair amount and want to get your hands on one of the best woodturning lathes for beginners, then Powermatic 1352001 can help you out. It is a full-fletched woodturning lathe that supports the size of 20×35, meaning you can easily place massive wood pieces on it without any problems. This lathe comes with a 20-inch swing along with a digital RPM meter so that you can know which speed the lathe is running on.

It comes with a hefty two horsepower motor to offer the best and reliable experience. It also comes with a durable spindle lock and other vital accessories to not face any circumstances later. This lathe structure is made of heavy-duty iron to ensure that all woodturners would get a steady experience.

Key Features

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2 HP

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Digital RPM Meter

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Adjustable Speeds

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20-Inch Swing

6.WEN 34018 Wood Lathe

WEN 34018 Wood Lathe

WEN 34018 is another excellent wood lathe, but it is more affordable and portable. The massive rotations of 3500 can be adjusted directly from the lathe without any concerns. Users can keep the RPM as low as 450, and the maximum goes to 3500. Not only that, but you can actually attach the wood pieces of size up to 12×18. This lathe is also integrated with the 4.5 amp motor, making a perfect combination with 3500 RPM.

This lathe comes with multiple accessories, including a digital display for checking out RPM, a tool kit, a faceplate, and some other things. Its durable body ensures that the lathe serves you for years without getting rusty or damaged from any part. That is why it is one of the best woodturning lathes for beginners.

Key Features

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3500 Max RPM

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Digital RPM Meter

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3.5 AMP Motor

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Great Size for Beginners

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Easy to Use

7.PSI KWL-1218VS Woodworking lathe

PSI KWL-1218VS Woodworking lathe

This variant might seem a bit complicated than the other ones because of its features, but if you want to explore all of the features right from the start, then lathe can help you out. This woodworking lather is integrated with a 1 HP motor that can offer two different belt positions. The first one ranges between 500-1800 RPM, and the second one ranges between 1950-3800. Getting this much RPM in this price tag is pretty rare, which makes this deal worth the price.

It also comes in a size of 12 inches to efficiently support the wooden pieces. There are also 24 indexing positions available along with the tailstock and spindle bore to adjust the woodworking lathe as you want.

Key Features

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1 HP

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3800 RPM (Max)

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More Features Available

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24 Indexing Positions

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10" Swing

Best Woodturning Lathes for Beginners Buyers Guide & FAQ’s

Are lathes dangerous?

Lathes are not dangerous if used correctly and in the proper way. But they can also cause consequences if you forget to tighten up the essentials or mount the wood piece correctly.

What is the perfect lathe size for beginners?

It is excellent to start with smaller sizes and gradually increase them as you get experience. You might find difficulties starting right from a lathe with a bigger capacity.

What wood type you should use as a beginner?

If you are beginning your woodturning journey, pine can be a great fit to start with because of its soft surface.