What Is the Best Lathe for Turning Bowls

What Is the Best Lathe for Turning Bowls

In woodwork, bowl turning is something that cannot be left aside. With bowl turning, you can take a plank of ordinary wood, and turn it into a unique piece. Many woodworkers see the chore of turning a bowl as an art because it involves creating something magical from just a piece of wood. However, to get this desired effect, one thing stands out, the lathe.

The power and speed of the lathe, together with its accuracy, determine the best machine for turning bowls. Moreover, a high-end bowl lathe enables a woodturner to design intricate craft cuts, marks, and patterns on the bowl. With this in mind, it becomes necessary to choose the best lathe for turning a bowl. This way, with just a mundane and simple piece of wood, you can make a masterpiece.

Buying a Bowl turning lathe.

There are different types of bowl turning lathes in the market, and they all come from various brands. Most of these brands may offer high-quality bowl turning lathes that will be perfect for your woodwork. Some may charge an exorbitant and over-priced amount for a lesser valued bowl lathe. To know the best lathe that will work for bowl turning, there are three factors you need to consider. These factors will help you get the best value for the money. Consider the following:

·      The Right Size

Many people who engage in woodwork do it as a hobby and because of this, prefer to get a smaller bowl lathe. For these people, buying a smaller one means low-cost. But the thing about a bowl turning lathe is that although the small benchtop models are a great option for their hobby, they do not work well for bowl turning. Even the lighter weights and free-standing lathes do not have the necessary bulk to handle tougher woods used in bowl turning.

The best lathe for turning bowls should have about 16 to 20 inches of swing. This way, you can turn bowls that are about 17 to 18 inches wide.

·      Weight

Also, the weight of your bowl turning lathe will play a huge role in safely turning your woods. For instance, when you start turning on a bowl lathe, if it is too light, it may probably start vibrating. You could bolt your lathe to the floor, but some floor lathes still won’t be able to handle the size of your wood as the size may Max out their capacity. Hence the best lathe for turning bowls should be able to handle larger weights.

·      Motor Power

There are different ranges of motors, 1.5 HP, 2 HP, and 3 HP. Depending on the type of wood you use and its weight, you can use any motor power for turning bowls. But keep in mind that the bigger the power, the more money you spend on bills.

The Best Lathes for Turning Bowls?


1.     Grizzly G0838

One of the best brands to get your bowl turning lathe is Grizzly because they have a powerful motor power that speeds up your work. The Grizzly G0838 has a 2HP electric motor power, a 16-inch swing, and comes with a measured weight of 352 pounds. Although the mass of Grizzly G0838 looks lighter than usual, the lathe comes with a high-end leg design that allows you to put it on a shelf. When you add a rack at the bottom of this lathe, it increases the standing power and stabilizes the lathe.

2.     Problematic 3520B

This bowl turning lathe comes with a 20-inch swing that can capably handle heavy sized wood. Its motor power is 2 HP and can operate with a two or three-phase input. With its measured weight of 682 pounds, problematic 3520B has a rigid and stable build. With this type of weight, it becomes easier to work on larger woods ad it does not vibrate or walk from its spot.

3.     Nova Cement II

If you are looking for a midi lathe, Nova Cement II could be the best lathe for both industrial and personal woodwork. It has a 12-inch swing that can help with your bowl turning work. With its speed range at 250 RPM to 4000 RPM, you can practically use this lathe for any workpiece. Nova Cement II has an electronic motor power of ¾ Ho that makes turning your wood easy. For beginners, this lathe with its variable-speed motor will work well for any woodwork project you may have.

For small business owners, this bowl lathe is also great to use because its small size is space-saving and portable. So, you can easily transport it to any location you would want to work. Despite its size, Nova Cement II ensures that you create a masterpiece with its stability that works like a larger machine.

4.     PSI KWL-1218VS

This lathe has a 1 Horsepower speed motor that helps rotate your wood. With a 12-inch swing, it offers an 18 inches distance between the centers, with its base made from a cast iron material. You can easily move this bowl lathe around because it is lightweight.

5.     RIKON 70-100

This mini lathe is one of the best lathes for bowl turning because it can work well in less space. It has a 12-inch swing on the bed and a 16 inches distance between the centers. One distinct feature of this lathe is that it has about six variable speeds, from 430 RMP to 3900 RMP. So, you can change them at will. It gets powered by an electronic motor speed of ½ Horsepower and can conveniently work with large woods.

The Bottom Line

Getting the best lathe for bowl turning can be tasking, most especially when there are various brands and bowl turning tools in the market. However, before you decide on buying any bowl turning lathe from any brand, make sure to check for the size that can handle heavy-duty projects, its weight, and the motor power range. Knowing these things will help you choose the best lathe for turning bowls.


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