The Best Wood Lathe Under $500 – Buying Guide

Best Wood Lathe Under $500

Wood lathes are a great tool for woodworkers and people who enjoy arts and crafts. They allow you to make beautiful things out of the best materials, turning them into works of art.

But not all wood lathes are created equally! There is a wide variety on the market, with different features that will appeal to different people. Some have variable speeds, some come with attachments like sanders or chucks for holding tools on their spindle (the part that spins), while others offer more power than other models at this price point.

We looked at over 30 models across various prices points and came up with our top 4 picks for best wood lathe under 500 USD.

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Best Wood Lathe Under 500 Dollars

Image Product Speed Price
backpac JET JWL-1015, 10″ x 15″ Wood Lathe 6 different speeds (500/840/1,240/1,800/2,630/3,975 RPM) Check Price
backpac Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch Wood Lathe Variable speeds (500-3800 RPM) Check Price
cordlessblower Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe Variable speeds: 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, and 3337 RPMs. Check Price
cordlessblower Grizzly Industrial T25920-12″ x 18″ Variable Speed: 650-3800 RPM Check Price
cordlessblower Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop lathe Variable speed from 700-3200 RPM Check Price

Here is a list of the best wood lathes under 500 dollars, in no particular order.

JET JWL-1015, 10″ x 15″ Wood Lathe

Logically priced for a novice woodturner or people with limited shop space, this lathe provides high quality at the right price.

JET JWL-1015VS 10"x15" Variable-Speed Wood Lathe

The 10″ x 15″ bed-way is an essential feature in the compact turning ability of 15-1/2″ between centers. Pros will admire the improved tensioning system, increased rigidity, and optional accessories that expand your turning capabilities.

The 6 different speeds (500/840/1,240/1,800/2,630/3,975 RPM) vary to fit your needs on any project you have in mind from coarse shapes to finishes by winging it faster or slower than ever before! 

No matter if you’re just starting out and need a sleek modern tool to begin turning wood bowls or are experienced turners who want a technical touch but still need to save space, this wood lathe is for you.

Pros

  • Variable speeds
  • Wider bed ways for increased stability
  • Easy to use
  • Compact

Cons

  • Designed for small workpieces but can be expanded with a bed extension

Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch Wood Lathe

The Mophorn 10 x 18 Inch Wood Lathe is a precise tool with robust features so you can work with consistent delicacy.

Mophorn Wood Lathe 12 x 18 Inch

A powerful motor, variable speed settings, and 550W power provide the horsepower to get through tough woodworking tasks.

The cast-iron frame on this lathe helps provide stability while operating smoothly from start to finish across all surfaces for fine control and small detail work.

This wood lathe features an MT2 headstock and tailstock taper, 18″ (460 mm) distance between centers, swing over bed 12″ (300 mm), 6″ (150 mm) tool rest, 3″ (75 mm) faceplate, top drive, and live center.

The Mophorn is ideal for those who work in labs or workshops or teach undergraduate courses because this benchtop unit can do delicate turning jobs too! Forget the noise-making traditional lathes. The Mophorn is muted yet powerful when it comes to making sure all of your finely turned items are error-free at every point in the process.

Pros

  • Variable speeds (500-3800 RPM)
  • Digital readout
  • 18″ distance between centers
  • Cast iron construction
  • Cons

  • No customer support
  • Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe

    The Grizzly H8259 Bench-top Wood Lathe is the perfect introduction to turning wood. Affordable and compact, it can tackle a variety of jobs while saving space in your workshop.

    grizzly h8259 wood lathe review

    The H8259 features a powerful 1/2 HP motor that runs on 110V single-phase power and has variable speeds for projects using different types of wood; 826, 1205, 1713, 2422, and 3337 RPMs.

    It’s quiet and there is no vibration to distract you as you finish your masterpiece. The included tool rest, live rolling center, spur center, and wrenches will get the job done in a snap.

    Its compact size makes it ideal for hobbyists who want to get started or for small jobs around the house. It may not be the cheapest on our list but it is well worth it.

    Pros

  • 5 variable speeds (826, 1205, 1713, 2422, 3337 RPM)
  • Compact size
  • 18″ between centers
  • Adjustable Leveling Feet
  • Cons

  • Not best suited for larger projects that require a lot more power
  • Grizzly Industrial T25920-12″ x 18″ Variable-Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

    This 12″ x 18″ benchtop lathe can turn logs into finished pieces with great speed thanks to variable speeds ranging from 650-3800 RPM.

    Grizzly Industrial T25920 - 12" x 18"

    That is easy enough for the most novice of craftsmen, but rugged enough for the pros. It includes a quick-release on the tool rest and tailstock, so removing them is never more complicated than pushing a button.

    This product also has a digital spindle speed indicator and was made in an ISO 9001 factory compliant.

    If you’re looking for a variable-speed wood lathe that is tough, reliable, and durable in even the most demanding of conditions – then this should be your go-to.

    When it was released it quickly became popular due to its solid construction and easy adjustment features. 

    Pros

    • Heavy-duty construction
    • Variable Speed: 650-3800 RPM
    • Digital spindle speed indicator
    • Quick-release feature on the tool rest

    Cons

    • Cannot handle bigger projects

    Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop lathe

    Benchtop lathes are perfect for project work when both heavy machining and light finishing is needed.

    Now Shop Fox has launched the W1704, one of the most compact benchtops around! The 1/3 horsepower single-phase motor means you won’t have to worry about your machine bogging down under demanding jobs or stalling out at full speed.

    SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

    With an 8″ swing over the bed as well as a 12″ distance between centers, this product is ideal for smaller projects like pens, small bowls, and other similar objects. The included tool rests provide stability so that every job comes out looking (and feeling) great! 

    The Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe is an all-around utility machine that’s perfect for hobbyists, weekend warriors, and other woodworkers.

    Pros

    • Infinitely variable speed control
    • Includes two tool rests
    • 13-inch distance between centers
    • Cast-iron construction
    • Ideal for pen turning and small projects

    Cons

    • Decent wood lathe for the price but it needs a few improvements

    Buying Guide – Choosing Best Wood Lathe Under 500 Dollars

    For the best results with your work, it’s important that you have a reliable tool. A good quality benchtop wood lathe will come equipped with variable speeds and perfectly suited for smaller projects, but still rugged enough for bigger jobs.

    Some other features to look for are a quick-release on the tool rest and tailstock, adjustable leveling feet, a digital spindle speed indicator, heavy-duty construction, and cast iron parts that will last you through years of tough use.

    One more thing: if you don’t have much room in your workshop or garage, then best to choose a smaller, more compact machine.

    For under $500 you cannot expect to find the world’s best wood lathe but these wood lathes are a good start. If you are looking for a wood lathe to turn baseball bats for example you need something a lot more powerful.

    The best wood lathe under 500 dollars is Jet JWL-1015 but is not the cheapest on our list. So, if you are looking for something that is cheaper and offers decent value we recommend the SHOP FOX W1704.

    Conclusion

    With so many different options, it can be hard to find the best wood lathe for you. Luckily, with a little research and experimentation, you should have no problem finding one that suits your needs! 

    Nowadays there are plenty of great models on the market at an affordable price point.