Best Wood Lathes Under $300 – Are They Worth the Money?

Best Wood Lathes Under $300

Wood lathes are an essential tool for woodworkers. They can be used to create all sorts of projects, from bowls and furniture to toys and more.

They are so popular because they allow the user to shape the piece of wood by hand- turning it on a pivot point while keeping pressure against its surface with a chisel.

But not every person has room in their budget for one of these tools, which typically cost well over $800 new! So what can a crafter do? They go for the cheaper options. So, if you’re looking for the best wood lathe under $300 then read on!

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Best Wood Lathes Under $300

Image Product Details   Price
backpac WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe MT1 spindle and tailstock taper Check Price
backpac WEN 3424T Benchtop Wood Lathe MT2 tailstock Check Price
cordlessblower Mophorn Wood Lathe MT2 headstock and tailstock taper Check Price
cordlessblower SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe MT No. 1 spur center, an MT No. 1 live center Check Price

Cheaper is usually associated with low quality. But that’s not necessarily true when it comes to wood lathes. There are actually plenty of good wood lathes under $300, and most will do a great job for the average DIYer who is looking for a simple tool to use from time to time.

Here are our top picks for best wood lathes under $300 in 2021.

WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

A new mini benchtop wood lathe is perfect for any project. With over 50% more power than most 8-inch lathes, you can create whatever your heart desires with the WEN 3421! You’ll have no problem making pens, bowls, cups, furniture pieces.

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8" by 12" Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

This versatile little tool will even handle chess pieces and other small projects up to 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. It only takes 3 minutes to assemble this nifty new woodworking tool before getting creative in the workshop! 

Lightweight at only 44 pounds it’s not hard to get this equipment set up anywhere in your workspace or home studio.

Bestseller in our woodworking department, the WEN 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe will allow you to make all your little creations with ease.

With an MT1 spindle and tailstock taper, the 3.2-Amp motor will turn your workpieces fast to give you a beautiful finished product! If you need a bigger but similar lathe you can see the next product on the list.

WEN 3424T Benchtop Wood Lathe

With its 4.5A motor, the WEN 3424T is the perfect benchtop wood lathe for turning bowls, cups, and other non-spindle workpieces.

WEN 3424T 4.5-Amp 12-Inch by 18-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

The 3-1/8 inch faceplate allows you to turn projects that are up to 18 inches long and 12 inches wide.

Switch between five different speeds for more accuracy at every task: 520 RPMs, 900 RPMs, 1400 RPMs, 2150 RPMs, or 3400RPMs.

This lathe also includes an MT2 tailstock live center as well as a headstock spur center compatible with a variety of additional attachments.

The 8″ tool rest provides space for your most important tools while the onboard accessory holder organizes any loose items within easy reach.

Your hobby will be more productive and enjoyable when using this versatile machine!

Mophorn Wood Lathe

The Mophorn Wood Lathe is a product for woodworkers who have been looking around for their perfect tool at a cheaper price.

The powerful motor and digital readings let you work at precise speeds, the wide bed provides plenty of space to be creative with your projects.

Mophorn wood lathe review

The Mophorn Wood Lathe is a full-featured lathe with wide capacity, capable of turning pieces up to 18″ long and 12″ wide.

It comes equipped with an 850W high-performance motor and adjustable speeds so you can work at precise speeds too.

Durable cast iron construction means this versatile wood lathe will serve you for years, whether your aim is delicate handwork or precision milling.

An affordable benchtop wood lathe that’s perfect for labs, workshops, engineering, and education.

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

This stand-alone benchtop lathe is ideal for any small garage or workshop, and now with the addition of infinitely variable speed control, there’s no need to change belts when working on different materials.

SHOP FOX W1704 Wood Lathe

The Shop Fox W1704 offers an innovative 8-inch swing over the bed that lets you spin larger diameter workpieces than other comparable models.

It has a 12-inch distance between centers for bigger projects too, plus a single-phase 110V motor with 1/3 HP at 2 Amps which gets the job done quickly without overheating or draining your bank account.

The infinitely variable speed range of 700-3200 RPM is useful for turning hard or softwoods.

The Benchtop Lathe comes with a 5-3/4-inch faceplate that connects to the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning (usually used for producing bowls or other objects that can’t be supported from the tailstock).

The Shop Fox W1704 is one of the best benchtop lathes under $300 that’s perfect for any beginner or DIY woodworker!

Pros and cons of buying a wood lathe for under $300

Buying a cheap wood lathe might seem like a gamble but it’s not always the case.

Even though they are cheaper, most of the time they can still perform the same tasks as bigger and more expensive models.

On the other hand, there might be some issues regarding their performance which you should consider before buying one of these machines.

Usually, cheap lathes are very basic but can be used for smaller and less demanding jobs. They can be used for your hobbies, but they are not very suitable for professional use.

If you’re just looking to do some experiments or work on small projects, one of these machines is probably enough for you.

On the other hand, if you need a powerful machine that’s suitable for professional use, you should probably buy a more expensive product.

Pros

  • Less expensive than bigger machines
  • Suitable for small projects and experiments
  • Great for starting out in woodturning

Cons

  • Not suitable for professional use
  • You might run into some quality control problems but you are always covered by the guarantee

How to choose the best one from all your options

When choosing a cheap lathe, there are several factors you should consider.

The first thing that comes to mind is usually the price. But since these machines are cheaper this does not matter that much. Overall they are quite similar anyway.

Another important thing to consider is the size and capacity. This will determine what you can do with your machine. Wood lathes under 300 dollars are not going to allow you to turn big items like table legs. You could buy a bed extension if that is supported.

The best option is to find a product that best suits your needs. If you’re just starting out in woodturning, then the best thing would be an inexpensive model without many fancy features. Since these can get confusing and difficult to use at first.

It’s also important to learn more about how they work before buying one of these machines. This way you’ll know if it’s something for you or not.

Features like a digital readout are really nice to have but they are not always available at this price range. The Mophorn wood lathe has that feature but is also one of the most expensive on our list.

Final thoughts

The best wood lathes under $300 are a great option for those just starting out in their woodworking hobby.

They’re economical and won’t break the bank, but they still have enough power to get you going on your projects.

You might be surprised how many people don’t realize that there’s such an affordable option available! That’s why we’ve put together this list of our favorite models. So you can find one that suits your needs without having to spend more than necessary.