Benchtop lathes are small but versatile tools.
They are much smaller than industrial lathes but can be quite versatile.
A Benchtop lathe is a great tool to have in your workshop due to their low price and ease of use.
They are perfect for hobbyists and small businesses that do light metalworking or woodworking operations.
This article lists and reviews some of the best benchtop lathes for metalworking and woodworking applications.
What's in this article?
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Best Benchtop Metal Lathe
1. TECHTONGDA Metal Lathe
|TECHTONGDA Metal Lathe|
|Center Distance||11.8" - 23.6"|
|Swing||7" - 8.3"|
|Motor||0.8hp, 1.2hp, 1.47hp|
|Variable Speed||50 - 2,500 RPM|
|Range of thread manufacturing||8 - 44 TPI or 10 - 44 TPI|
A quick overview of the TECHTONGDA metal lathe
TECHTONGDA is a benchtop metal lathe that has an all-metal construction. It has three configurations available, 7" x 12", 8" x 16", and 8" x 23". Each has different setups.
|7" X 12" Lathe||8" X 16" Lathe||8" X 23" Lathe|
|Swing over bed||7"||8.3"||8.3"|
|Motor power||600W (0.80hp)||900W (1.2hp)||1100W (1.47hp)|
|Range of Threads||10 - 44 TPI||8 - 44 TPI||8 - 44 TPI|
|Footprint||27.9" x 11.8" x 13.0"||31.9" x 11.8" x 13.8"||38.2" x 11.8" x 13.4".|
|Weight||99 lbs||150 lbs||165 lbs|
Comparison of the variants of TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe
The 7" x 12" model's spindle is MT3 tapered. However, for the 8", x 16" or 8" X 23", it's MT5 tapered. But the tailstocks on all models are MT2 tapered.
The spindle on the TECHTONGDA metal lathe is powered by a brushless motor having forward and reverse turning capabilities.
A variable speed control knob, along with the digital screen that displays the spindle speed, can be used to precisely control the spindle's speed anywhere between 50 and 2,500 RPM.
TECHTONGDA metal lathe can make threads on workpieces in the range of 10 to 44 TPI.
It features a safety switch near the motor direction control switch. You can use it to immediately break the circuit in case of an emergency.
Although the lathe is shipped as a pre-assembled unit, it is advised to verify and reassure that all the fasteners and parts are assembled properly.
TECHTONGDA offers a 6-month warranty on their 8"X16" metal lathe. You'll get the contact details from the manual.
Each has different motor configurations.
TECHTONGDA provides it with a warranty for 6 months.
2. Sherline 17″ Lathe
|Sherline 17″ Lathe|
|Motor||90 volt DC|
|Variable Speed||Electronic speed control|
(70 - 2800 RPM)
A quick overview of Sherline 17" lathe
The 17" lathe from Sherline is a manually controlled lathe from their 4400 series of benchtop lathe machines.
It has a footprint of 32.5" x 8" x 8" and weighs around 31 lbs. The distance between centers is 17", and the over-the-bed swing is 3.5".
Distance Between Centers (DBC) in lathes denotes the space between the headstock and the tailstock. As DBC increases, the lathe will be able to house lengthy workpieces.
Swing Over Bed (SOB) on lathes is the distance between the bed and the center of the rotating axis.
17" lathe from Sherline is also available in CNC-ready and CNC variants. A CNC lathe offers high accuracy as these lathes can operate with the help of a computer.
A 90V DC motor powers the lathe. Its speed can be adjusted anywhere between 70-2800 RPM using its electronic speed control switch.
The 17" lathe is also available as a DIY kit that does not include motor, speed control, or headstock. This kit is a good option for users who want to customize their lathe.
The headstock of this lathe comes with the standard C3 bearing, which can be upgraded to C5 bearings, as per your requirement.
Sherline has both inch and metric versions of the 17" lathe.
The lathe comes in parts, and you need to assemble them with the help of assembly details provided in the user manual.
Sherline provides a 1-year warranty for the 17" lathe. For queries, you can contact them by phone. They also provide assembly and factory tours to potential customers.
3. Taig 3029 Manual Turn Lathe
|Taig 3029 Lathe|
|Speed||4 fixed speeds between 435-1800 RPM|
A quick overview of the Taig 3029 manual turn lathe
3029 Manual Turn Lathe from Taig is an all-metal micro benchtop lathe with steel and aluminum structure. It's the smallest lathe on this list.
Its footprint measures 24" x 31" x 14" and weighs around 90 lbs. It can house workpieces with a maximum length of 9.75" and a diameter of 2.25".
Taig offers their 3029 lathes in two sets of options, one for metal turning and the other for woodturning. Each comes with the following set of add-on components.
|Tool bit, unground, 1/4"||2" Faceplate|
|Tool bit post||2-1/2" Tool rest with base and post swivel|
|Cross slide||7/16" Cup center|
|Carriage with handwheel||3/4" Spur center|
|Rack with 4-40 capscrew|
List of add-on components provided with 3029 lathes
In addition to the above components, you'll get a 5/32 hex key, 3/32 hex key, and a 1" profile wrench.
3029 lathe uses a 1/4hp motor to drive the spindle. It allows you to adjust the spindle speed between 435-1800 RPM in four steps.
You'll have to adjust the belt drive onto different pulleys to change the motor speed.
For getting a counterclockwise spindle rotation, you'll have to reassemble the motor in opposite direction.
The headstock of the 3029 lathe, by default, comes with a 5C bearing, and it has two adjustable toolposts.
Note that it doesn't come with a tailstock attached to the bed. If you want to provide two-side support to your workpieces, you can retrofit a tailstock from Taig or another manufacturer.
Taig provides a 2-year warranty for their 3029 lathes. For support, you can contact them via phone or from the "send us a message" section on their contact page.
Best Benchtop Wood Lathe
1. WEN 3424T
|Speed||5 single speeds|
(520, 900, 1400, 2150, and 3400 RPM)
A quick overview of WEN 3424T benchtop wood lathe
WEN 3424T is a mini benchtop wood lathe made of cast iron, giving it a sturdy configuration.
It weighs 70 lbs and measures 30.25" x 8.75". Its swing-over bed is 12" wide, and the centers are at a distance of 18".
3424T's tailstock and spindle are MT2 tapered, making the lathe compatible with many different accessories.
The lathe comes with the following accessories.
|3-1/8 inch faceplate|
|8-inch tool rest|
The list of accessories comes with WEN 3424T
To change the spindle's speed, you need to manually loosen the belt and adjust its tension between the motor and spindle using different-sized pulleys.
On 3424T, you can switch between five fixed speeds. They are 520, 900, 1400, 2150, and 3400 RPM. A 4.5A 1/2hp motor drives the spindle.
WEN 3424T has a 7.8" tool rest to support the tools. It can be moved across the bed and locked using the locking lever.
The 3424T comes in parts, and you must assemble them to make a working lathe. The user manual contains detailed assembly instructions.
For their 3424T benchtop lathe, WEN offers a standard warranty of two years. For queries, you can reach out to them via phone or email.
Has different speed settings that you can switch between.
It is powered by a 4.5A 1/2hp motor.
Comes with a 2-year warranty
2. Delta Industrial 46-460
|Delta Industrial 46-460 Lathe|
|Motor||1-hp, 1725 RPM|
|Variable Speed||3 Speed|
(50 - 700, 600 - 1,800, and 1,350 - 4,000 RPM)
A quick overview of Delta Industrial 46-460 benchtop wood lathe
Delta Machinery's Industrial 46-460 is a midi-type wood lathe with cast-iron construction that ensures a stable operation.
Its footprint measures 36" x 11" and weighs 106 lbs. The lathe comes with a standard benchtop design, but in case you want to upgrade, Delta offers an iron stand for the Industrial 46-460.
The lathe has a center distance of 16" and a swing of 12". It is best suited for professional woodturners.
It features a universal MT2 tapered tailstock and spindle that are widely compatible with many parts.
|Faceplate, Faceplate wrench|
|Tool rest base, 6" and 10" tool rest|
|Hex wrench 3 mm|
The list of accessories comes with Delta Machinery's Industrial 46-460 benchtop lathe
The Industrial 46-460 benchtop lathe is powered by a 1hp motor that drives the spindle using a belt drive.
You can switch the belt between three pulleys to change the spindle speed.
There are three variable speed ranges at which you can work on, they are, 250 - 700 RPM, 600 -1,800 RPM, and 1,350 - 4,000 RPM.
The tool rests that come with the lathe are 6" and 10", respectively. The locking lever on the saddle allows you to move the tool rest along the bed and constrict it at a specific point.
The Delta 46-460 lathe is shipped as a DIY kit and you can assemble it according to the instructions provided in their detailed assembly manual.
Delta provides a 5-year warranty for the Industrial 46-460 wood lathe, and they have dedicated support lines for technical assistance.
Allows you to switch between three different speed settings.
It is powered by a 1hp motor.
Comes with a 5-year warranty.
3. RIKON 70-105
|Variable Speed||5 speeds|
(500, 1,175, 1,850, 2,225, and 3,200 RPM)
A quick overview of RIKON 70-105 benchtop wood lathe
RIKON 70-105 is a benchtop mini wood lathe with cast-iron construction. Its all-metal build allows it to work effortlessly on wood.
It can hold workpieces up to 18" in length and 10" in diameter. The footprint of RIKON 70-105 measures 35.5" x 10.5" x 14.75", and it weighs 75 lbs.
|Tool rest base, 6" tool rest|
|3mm & 4mm Hex Wrenches|
The list of accessories comes with RIKON 70-105 benchtop lathe
RIKON 70-105's spindle is belt-driven by a 1/2hp motor with a max speed of 1,700 RPM.
It does not have electronic speed control, and to shift the machine's RPM setting, you need to manually adjust the belt drive between the motor and spindle pulleys.
The lathe offers five different speed adjustments: 500, 1175, 1850, 2225, and 3200 RPM.
RIKON 70–105 ships in parts and needs to be assembled with the help of detailed assembly instructions provided in the user manual.
In case of breakdown, you can order spares and replacements from the official website of RIKON.
RIKON offers a 5-year warranty for their 70–105 benchtop lathes. For assistance, you can contact them via email or phone.
Has different speed settings that you can switch between.
It is powered by a 3.7A 1/2hp motor.
Comes with a 5-year warranty.
A benchtop lathe is a great tool for small-scale projects and is an affordable option for those who are just starting out in turning parts and don't have the room or budget for a full-sized machine.
These lathes are small in size but offer versatility to produce various different small-sized projects.
Benchtop metal lathes can be upgraded by installing a mist or flood type CNC cutting fluid delivery system to avoid overheating of metal workpieces.
Although metal lathes are significantly different from wood lathes, you can also use a wood lathe to perform simple machining operations on soft metal workpieces with satisfactory results, and vice-versa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much does a good wood lathe cost?
Wood lathes can cost anywhere between $500 to $2,000 depending on the machine configuration and its capability. Generally, mini wood lathes are cheaper than full-sized wood lathes.
What size lathe do I need for machining table legs?
The lathe size you need depends on the size of your table legs. For example, if you are using a 2x4 that is 16" long, then you will need to use a lathe that has a center distance of 16" or more and an 8" swing. If you are using a 2x4 that is 24 inches long, then you will need a lathe with a larger center distance of 24" or more.
What can I make on a benchtop lathe?
Using a benchtop lathe, you can make small parts and objects like pens, rings, cabinetry, players, bowls, metal hammer, metal scribers, etc.
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