Top 3 Best Lathes For Bowl Turning In 2023

Best Lathe for Bowl Turning

As an artisan, you often face the challenge of deciding on which type of lathe to purchase. There are many different types of lathes with each one being used for different purposes.

Is your goal to create small, intricate bowls or large objects? Do you want a lathe that can handle any task? How much space do you have in your workshop? These are just some of the questions that come into play when making this decision.

In this article, we are going to review the best wood lathe for bowl turning so you can decide which one is going to be perfect for you.

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Best Lathes For Bowl Turning

Image Product MT   Price
71h8NO5y2iS._AC_SL1500_ (1) JET JWL-1221VS, 12″x21″ Wood Lathe #2 taper SEE BEST PRICE
71JRrqfIfNL._AC_SL1500_ (1) RIKON Power Tools 70-105 #2 taper SEE BEST PRICE
51rNXcd7TcL._AC_SL1000_ SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe #1 taper SEE BEST PRICE

As many people know, turning wood on a lathe is one of the most common methods for shaping wood. Whether you are turning bowls or other objects, there are plenty of options to choose from.

JET JWL-1221VS, 12″x21″ Wood Lathe (Best Lathe for Bowl Turning)

JET JWL-1221V Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

The JET 1221VS lathe was built to give you absolute control over your turning projects. The design and quality of this wood lathe will make you feel like it was made just for you. Because of its quality and features, you can expect to get great results with this lathe.

The Jet JWL-1221VS 12″ x 21″ Wood Lathe is the perfect product for woodturning small to medium projects! The lathe can be adjusted to run at 60-3,600 RPMs which allows the user to work with different types of wood.

The digital readout is integrated and conveniently located on the side of the machine – no more bending over to change speeds when you’re working!

The lathe can be operated in reverse by flipping a switch. It also has a tachometer that is helpful in returning to a speed that worked in the past time.


  • Solid construction
  • Quiet
  • Excellent user manual
  • Digital readout and speed control


  • Expensive

RIKON Power Tools 70-105 (Best Starter Lathe for Bowl Turning)

RIKON Power Tools 70-105

The 1⁄2 hp motor of his Rikon mini lathe provides enough power to turn bowls and other similar objects. It has a swing of 10″ and a distance between centers of 18″. In addition, this lathe has a tailstock that self ejects.

This wood lathe was designed for pen turners but it can work just as well for any other project. This mini, scaled-down lathe is made entirely of cast iron, so vibration is hardly an issue, unlike machines made of aluminum. The rubber feet will also help lower vibration and provide stability.

The Rikon 70-105 mini-lathe has five different speeds that cover turning to shape and finishing. The lathe is equipped with a live center, tool rest, knockout bar, and wrenches.


  • Easy to use
  • Great turning capacity
  • Quiet and stable


  • No electronic speed control

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe (Best Budget Wood Lathe)

Take on small woodturning projects using Woodstock International’s Shop Fox W1704 bench-top lathe.

Made of cast iron, this machine is designed to fit nicely on a workbench. It’s electric motor has a 1/3 horsepower capacity, variable speed, and the speed ranges from 700 to 3,200 RPM. The infinitely variable speed (from 700 to 3200 RPM) is advantageous when turning different kinds of wood.

This table-mounted lathe has included a faceplate with a diameter of 5-3/4 inches. This can be used for items that are too small to be supported by the tailstock. This is a great addition for people that want to turn bowls on this wood lathe.

With a 13-inch distance between centers and an 8-inch swing above the bed, this lathe is well suited to creating various turning projects.


  • 700 – 3,200 RPM spindle speed
  • Cast-iron construction
  • Safety paddle switch
  • 5-3/4-inch Faceplate Included


  • Tool rests could have been better quality.

Best Lathe For Bowl Turning Buying Guide

There are many different lathes out there for turning bowls. But how do you find the one that is right for your needs? Here are some things to keep in mind before choosing your wood lathe:

Variable speed

There are benefits to choosing a lathe with variable speed. When you have a situation where the cutting speed needs to be adjusted for different materials, a variable-speed lathe is crucial.

This allows the user to slow down or speed up the cutting speed depending on what type of material is being cut. If you’re working on smaller pieces of wood, it’s best to have more control over the speed in order to get a smoother finish and not risk stripping off too much material.


Lathes come in a variety of sizes. While the size is not as much a factor, personal preference and space considerations should be taken into account.

Larger lathes typically have more speed settings and a greater turning capacity. If you are considering using your lathe to do something other than turn bowls, this is something to keep in mind.

Read: How High Should a Wood Lathe Be?

Turning capacity

This will determine the maximum size of your woodturning projects. If you want to turn larger bowls you will need a lathe with a bigger swing over the bed. The JET JWL-1221VS should provide plenty of room with its 12″ swing over the bed.


You want to get the best value for your money. You want to find a lathe that is right for the type of woodturning that you plan on doing.

If you feel like you can work without a digital readout for example, then you can go for a cheaper wood lathe.

To sum up

Having a wood lathe with cast-iron construction is usually a good idea because it reduces vibrations and is quite sturdy.

Don’t neglect the design of the lathe. Having the digital readout and knobs located in an easy-to-reach area is great.


In conclusion, I recommend the JET JWL-1221VS as the best lathe for bowl turning, as it has a list of features that specifically cater to this trade. It is powerful and you have a range of speeds from 60 to 3,600 RPMs.

Bowl turning can be an excellent way to spend time doing what you love, but it is important to be sure that you have the right equipment.

I hope this article has helped you with your decision.