Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: March 24, 2021
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What makes a mini wood lathe better than its competitors? Perhaps it’s the functionality? Or is it instead of the price point and dimensions? Of course, it’s hard to know exactly which mini wood lathe to invest in without diving into the pros and cons of the available products on the market. And what’s a better way to decide than a side-by-side comparison of leading models?
It’s important to keep in mind that even the most professional mini wood lathes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, some of the fanciest looking lathes are of lower quality points than their less fancy looking peers. If you’re on the hunt for the best mini wood lathe for your needs, then you’ll love our comparison of working size, motors, speed, dimensions, and weight – the most important factors you should be considering when deciding on your next purchase. This guide details five of the top miniature wood lathe options on the market today.
This small wood lathe meant for tabletop use is perfect for turning your own pens, chess pieces, figurines, and more. The WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe is a great choice for your home project needs. If you want to churn out an entire chessboard of wood pieces, you’ll enjoy working with this affordable and compact tabletop lathe.
The working size of this unit is great for small crafting needs. On top of that, the variable speed is incredibly convenient for personal use. If you decide you want to change projects on the fly, it’s super easy to do so.
Finally, the WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe is the perfect size for use in a home workshop, and the weight makes it easy to move around a workshop. At just under 45 pounds, this mini lathe is a great option at a great price!
What we liked: This tabletop lathe is compact, easy to operate, and is incredibly durable compared to its peers. On top of that, the construction is sturdy, and the lathe has a no-nonsense design. At just over $150, the price is right for home use.
What could be better: We wish this lathe had a better warranty – it’s only two years longer compared to other models which offer five-year coverage.
The Delta Industrial 46-460 is a premium mini wood lathe and is associated with that reason with a higher price point. However, consumers will love that they get a five-year warranty to support the long life of this multi-function machine. The large capacity, the patented technology, and the forward-reverse function make this machine one of the best mini wood lathes on the market.
The Delta Industrial 46-460 is a great mini lathe for those who want to splurge on a professional piece of equipment in their home workshops. Don’t let the small operating size fool you – this mini lathe offers speeds of 1725rpm and packs quite a punch in its small frame.
On the other hand, the Delta Industrial 46-460 isn’t the most portable option on this list. At just under 100 pounds, it takes quite a bit of effort to move it from one place to another in your home garage or workshop. When you set up this machine, you won’t want to move it around. That being said, it’s a lifelong purchase and will last far into the future. And Delta certainly stands behind their product. The company offers a five-year warranty, meaning they’re confident their machines will function at full capacity for years to come. When you buy the Delta, you know you’re buying a good product.
Rather than the lower price point of its peers, the Delta Industrial 46-460 comes in at $600, which is a huge jump from something like the WEN 3421. All in all, this model doesn’t really offer much more than its lower-priced peers.
What we liked: We love the sturdy construction, even though the weight might be a bit of a downer to some buyers. We also really like the long warranty, which means that Delta is confident in their product. Finally, the large operating capacity makes this model a convenient choice for more than just mini needs.
What could be better: Compared to other models, this particular mini lathe is quite expensive. That being said, you’re buying quality and product assurance. When you buy this model, you know you’re investing in a lifelong tool.
The RIKON 70-105 is one of the best mini lathes available on the market. It’s got a self-ejecting stock for user-friendliness and convenience to access controls for ease of use.
If you’re looking for high quality and sturdy machine, then you’ll want to take a look at the RIKON 70-105. This machine is one of the best mini wood lathes on the market and is smack dab in the middle of our list in price versus function.
The RIKON 70-105 boasts user control that blows all other models on this list out of the water. The five-speed control lets crafters and hobbyists choose their crafting style, meaning you can work on one project with multiple components (or even multiple projects) without ever having to change machines.
On top of that, this machine is incredibly sturdy and weighs in at the middle of our product list. If you want a mini wood lathe that is strong without being too burdensome to move from place to place, then the RIKON is a great option.
What we liked: We love the five-speed control, user-friendliness, and overall functionality of this machine. The mid-tier weight makes this a sturdy and reliable option, but not too heavy to move around from place to place.
What could be better: The larger dimensions of this mini woodturning lathe mean that crafters and professionals with small workspaces might not be able to use this machine in their workshops. The lower power of this machine might also mean that high use workshops won’t invest in this model, but it keeps the price point reasonable for consumers.
The Morphon Wood Lathe is a great option for crafters and professionals looking to craft for short periods of time, long periods of time, or maybe just casually on weekends. The construction is sturdy, making this one of the best small woodturning lathes on the market.
The Morphon Wood Lathe is one of the best small lathes available for consumer purchase and won’t disappoint crafters of both professional and amateur skills when it comes to price, speed, and overall features.
The cast iron construction means the machine is super sturdy and will be resistant to wear and tear over time. On top of that, the 1/3 horsepower pull means that serious crafters, or those looking to churn out a lot of product, will almost certainly love their machine.
If you’re looking for a well-constructed machine at a great price, then the Morphon Wood Lathe is certainly worth consideration.
What we liked: We love the cast iron construction, the large working space, and the professional rests that add to this machine.
What could be better: We would love to see a more compact dimension size on this model.
The WEN 3420T is a great mini wood lathe for budget-conscious shoppers who want to break into the world of wood-crafting.
If you’re looking for one of the best small woodturning lathes on the market, then you won’t want to pass up the WEN 3420T Benchtop model. This mini wood lathe is super budget-friendly and is a great option for consumers looking to enter the world of small wood crafting.
This 2-amp machine has variable speeds from 750 to 3200 RPM and is a super lightweight option compared to its peers. On top of that, the WEN 3420T has tool rests for user convenience and professional features for those who want to know they’re getting the most out of their machine.
What we liked: We love that this model comes in at a fairly low price compared to its peers. On top of that, the 3420T has a low weight and lots of features, which buyers will love.
What could be better: We’d love to see an even larger working size and a long warranty.
Things to Consider
If you’re on the market for a new woodworking tool and you’re looking for the best mini wood lathe on the market, then we’re sure this guide will get you there. Of course, there are a lot of things to consider beyond the item breakdown, so keep reading to learn how you can make the most informed decision about your next investment.
What do you need a mini wood lathe for?
If you’re looking for a small woodturning lathe for your home projects, you might be wondering what benefits you might gain from owning one. What can you possibly create with a mini lathe?
A mini lathe is a great took to have in your workshop arsenal for a number of purposes. If you want to make figurines and set pieces for Dungeons and Dragons, then you’ll have the absolute perfect tool to do it! You can’t easily buy those at the store or online, so you’ll be able to design and create straight from your imagination.
If you’re simply looking to make new chess pieces for an antique board, you’ll impress your friends and family with hand-crafted wooden pawns instead of buying cheap plastic or composite pieces online.
Or maybe you’re looking to create other small wood-based projects like birdhouses, pencils, pens, or custom phone cases. Whatever the project, a miniature woodturning lathe is a great investment option for your small wood crafting needs.
Features to consider before you buy a mini wood lathe
Before you go out and purchase a mini wood lathe, you’ll want to make a list of the most important things to you for your personal needs. For example, you might consider the working size of your machine if you plan to create a variety of crafts. Or perhaps it’s your workspace that calls the shots on your eventual purchase. Whatever your limitations in your buying options, you should consult this list to be sure you’re crossing all of the “t”s and dotting all of the “i”s.
When you’re considering a mini wood lathe for your home workshop, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is the working size of the machine. For this, you’ll need to think about the projects you’ll want to take on with the lathe. Try to think long term, if possible. Maybe this week, you want to make personalized jewelry pieces, but what might you want to make in six months or a year? Maybe you’ll want to expand to tree ornaments or an iPad case. If so, you’ll want to know the maximum operating size of your machine to be sure you’re choosing the right model.
If you know you’ll want to work on large projects eventually, you’ll want to invest in a machine like the Rikon 70-105 with a 10 inch by 18-inch operating size. However, if you know you’ll stick to smaller projects, then you’ll be safe with a machine the size of the WEN 3420 T.
Of course, once you narrow down your minimum and maximum working size, you’ll want to move on and consider other important features of your miniature lathe.
The next consideration is how much power you need out of your machine. The motor power will determine the thickness of the material you’ll be able to cut through and the length of time you’ll be able to work before your machine needs a cool down. If you know you’ll only be doing small customized fountain pens on Saturdays for an hour, then you can choose a machine with a basic motor size like the Rikon 70-105. But if you want to turn iPhone cases for six hours five days a week, then you’ll be wise to invest in a machine with a more robust motor like the 2-amp motor of the WEN 3420 T.
Next, you’ll want to think about the intersection of the price of the machine versus the price of your personal time.
If you know you’ll be using your tabletop mini-lathe day after day, then you might invest in a more expensive machine that churns out crafted pieces fast – over time, that will save you money since you’ll be able to create more in a short period of time.
For that, the Mophorn and the WEN 3420T are both great choices as their max speeds are might higher than their peers. However, if you’re fine with a casual speed and don’t need to power through pieces to make a profit, then you might take it easy with a slower model like the Delta Industrial 46-460.
Next, you’ll need to measure your workshop or tabletop to be sure you have the floor space for the model you want to be based on the other categories in this list. If you know you need a larger machine for a larger operating space, then you’ll want to make sure you can fit the machine in your area.
If you can’t fit the machine you want right away, you can try to clear space. Otherwise, you might have to make a sacrifice in one area or multiple areas in order to get a machine that works for your needs.
For example, the Morphon Wood Lathe is the most compact item on this list, which is great for those with small work areas. But the Morphon also only offers 1/3 hp in motor strength, so that might not fit the bill based on what you’re planning in crafts.
When considering which mini wood lathe is the right option for your home workshop needs, you’ll want to take into consideration the weight of the machine. This is especially important if you plan to move the machine from location to location (for example, for craft fairs) or if you know you’ll want the ability to move the machine in and out of storage regularly.
If you’re looking for a portable option, then you might consider the WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe, which is a lightweight and portable option for small wood crafting. Similarly, the WEN 3420T is the lightest weight model on this list and is super transportable. However, you’ll want to consider the heavier weights of the Delta Industrial 46-460 and the Rikon 70-105 if you plan to move your mini wood lathe around.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the warranty offers on the machines you’re considering for your mini wood lathe needs. This helps with both knowing your machine is covered if something goes wrong with its construction, and it also helps you determine the confidence that the manufacturer has in their product.
We loved the long warranty offering of the Delta Industrial 46-460. Five years is a great indication that a manufacturer can stand behind their product with confidence, which instills confidence in consumers. However, we didn’t love the shorter warranty of the WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe. Although it’s a great product for other reasons, the shorter two-year warranty leaves something to be desired.
If you’re hoping to start crafting your very own customized small wood goods, then you might feel like you’re in over your head with tech specs on machines. But have no fear! Learning how to use a mini wood lathe is as easy as just following the manufacturer’s instructions and watching a few video tutorials online. In fact, the models on this list are so user friendly that with just a little bit of safety preparedness, you’ll be ready to start crafting in no time! Simply prepare your workspace and make sure you don’t have any dangling cords or loose pieces of wood or metal. This is especially important to prevent the potential for accidents because of an unforeseen hazard. Then, grab your personal protective equipment (mask, goggles, gloves), and double-check that your machine is properly set and adhered to your work surface. Finally, begin crafting your project. Easy!
If you’re considering a mini wood lathe as an addition to your home workshop, you’ll want to know how to best maintain your new machine to keep in the running long into the future. This isn’t just about cleanliness – although that’s a perk – it’s about preventing damage to your machine by keeping it at tip-top condition. Wood lathes must be completely wiped down after each use. This might take a bit of time, given the propensity of a mini wood lathe to heat up. In some cases, it will need time to cool in order to be able to wipe it safely. On top of that, a miniature wood turning machine has a lot of nooks and crannies that need to be carefully wiped. It’s always a good idea to keep cleaning tools on hand, like wood fiber brushes, to make sure you can reach all of those hard-to-access areas like joints and indentions. Finally, you’ll want to cover your machine when you’re not using it in order to make sure dust and other debris doesn’t have a chance to settle into the machine and damage it long term.
A mini wood lathe is a great tool for creating a number of small wood crafts and goods. If you can think it, you can do it on a mini lathe. For that reason, a mini wood lathe is absolutely essential for your workshop if you want to create small figurines, game board pieces, personalized writing instruments, chopsticks, eating utensils, and more. And if you get a mini wood lathe with a larger operating space, then you’ll be able to make items that are a bit larger than figurines, for example, phone cases, tablet cases, book covers, laptop protectors, and other items that are less than a foot large. From that perspective, you can do a lot with a mini lathe!
If you’re looking for the best mini wood lathe on the market, we’re sure you won’t go wrong with any of the products on this list. However, you’ll want to take into consideration the pros and cons of each option to be sure you’re getting the best bang-for-your-buck while also getting all (or most) of the features you desire.