Why Are Wood Lathes So Expensive? (5 Reasons You Need To Know)

expensive wood lathe

Wood lathes are an expensive item to purchase, but there are many reasons why they can be worth the investment. They offer a variety of benefits that make them well worth the price tag. In this article, we will talk about five different reasons why wood lathes have such a high cost and how you can benefit from purchasing one for your business!

Lathes are expensive because the body, motor, and parts used to build them are costly. Labor for machining and calibrating is also involved, as well as shipping costs.

There are many things to consider when choosing a lathe. Lathes, like other machines, can differ in price depending on size and quality. The best option for you will depend on what kind of work you want to do and some of the different components that woodworkers use with them.

Cost Ranges

Lathes are priced according to their size and functionality, and the low-end models tend to start at around $200.

Mid-range lathes can cost anything from $400 to $800 and are ideal if you’re more serious about woodturning. They are bigger and include more features.

The high-end wood lathes available on the market today can cost thousands. Factory lathes with automatic chip removal and other advanced features may be worth it for some individual woodturners but not for many others.

You can also read: What is the difference between a wood lathe and a metal lathe?

How Much Does A Good Lathe Really Cost?

Wood lathes can vary in price, but an average quality one will cost between $600 and $900. The models that turners like are offered by brands such as Jet, Rikon, Nova, and Laguna.

If you are a beginner you can check out our article about the top wood lathes for beginners.

Why Are Wood Lathes So Expensive?

Here are the main reasons why wood lathes are so expensive:

The base of the lathe

Wood lathes are quite expensive because the bed of the lathe is made out of cast iron.

A lathe is a device that turns wood or other material. When you work on it, any vibrations or movement will affect the outcome of the product being created.

With a heavy bed made of solid cast iron, a lathe is not as likely to wobble or shake during the cutting process because it can absorb shock without difficulty. Usually, the more money you pay the more stable the wood lathe is.


When you look at a lathe, on one side of the bed you will find the headstock, and on the other end, the tailstock. The distance between these two parts determines how big of a piece we can turn.

Mophorn wood lathe review

What you want to make will determine the length of lathe that you need, and this will naturally influence the price.

Your lathe also needs to be the correct height. While a tabletop lathe is perfect for height, it is limited in size.

You can put your lathe on bricks or other things to give it more height, but it might not be as stable so you should buy a cutter that is the right height for you.

The Motor

Lathes are specially designed for use with wood to speed up and simplify the process of creating furniture or other items that would be time-consuming if done by hand.

Lathe motors also come in various sizes and are graded according to speed. Heavier or more powerful motors can turn larger pieces of wood for products, as well as giving you greater versatility by controlling the speed of their turning.

Of course, the bigger and more powerful the motor is on a lathe, the higher the cost.

Tool Rest

When creating a variety of shapes, grooves, and textures on the wood you are turning, multiple tools are necessary.

Different lathes have different tool rests. For the sake of safety and precision, you need to place tools on a secure surface for them to work. The tool rest is what allows for this stability.

A loose tool rest is very dangerous because it can severely hurt or injure you. So make sure that you have a reliable and tight tool rest while turning your wood piece.

Extra functionality

Wood lathes have many moving parts that must work together really well. This means that you need to make sure all the pieces are machined and calibrated so they work in harmony.

These types of machining and calibration procedures are expensive because they demand a high level of care.

The Demand

We have a good idea of what lathes look like and how they work, so we know why they are expensive. It’s important to take into account the demand for them as well.

Woodturning is a skilled craft that requires training, quality tools, and strict safety precautions. Lathes that have more safety features will be more expensive than the ones that lack all of those features.

It is hard to find a worker with the right skills for woodworking, and an appropriate lathe can be expensive.

Wood lathes are not produced on the same scale as other tools because there is less demand. As such, they cost more than other types of machines.

You can’t turn wood without a lathe, but once you have a lathe to work with, the opportunities are endless. You will be able to turn legs for tables and chairs, bowls, sculptures, musical instruments, lamps, and many more.

Should I Get A Cheap Lathe And Upgrade Later?

So the question you might be asking yourself is whether it’s better to invest in a cheap lathe first and upgrade later or go all out and get an expensive one that will last for many years.

It is very hard to give a perfect answer but here are some tips:

You should first learn how to use the lathe. You should do this in a class or at a shop that will let you use their lathe for a little while before deciding on which lathe to buy.

Doing this will enable you to make an informed purchase of a lathe. You can also browse our blog to see what lathe is best for your needs.

Purchasing a cheap lathe can lead to issues such as durability and comfort.

On the other hand, if you start with an expensive lathe and decide that woodturning is not for you then you waste a lot of money. That is not always a problem because you can sell your wood lathe to other people that need one. That way you get back a big part of your money.

Joining a class and practicing the lathe for a few weeks lets you know what type of woodworking you gravitate to, which will help to purchase the lathe that is right for you.

Read: 4 Best Wood Lathes Under $200: Buyer’s Guide


Purchasing a wood lathe is an investment that will pay off in the long run. You can use your new equipment for years to come, and it will help you produce higher quality products with less work!

Whether you are a woodworker, carpenter, or just someone who likes to work with their hands in the garage, there is no denying that having a good wood lathe can make your life easier.

Thank you for reading our article about why are wood lathes so expensive.