Midi lathes are one of those machines that are one in a million because you won’t find an alternative for them. It’s been a favorite of woodworkers for a long time as it offers all the features of a large lathe in a shorter version.
It doesn’t take long to buy a tool online, but high quality is not always guaranteed. Usually, people end up regretting their purchase, but you won’t be one of them if you just consult our guide.
If you put some effort into choosing the right midi lathe, it will be a great investment that rewards you tenfold.
We have chosen the 9 best midi lathes because they ticked all the boxes. So, let’s get right to it!
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
5 out of 5
WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
5 out of 5
Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe
4.5 out of 5
SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
4 out of 5
Jet JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe
4.5 out of 5
Our Recommended Top 9 Best Midi Lathes Reviews 2021
1. Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Wood Lathe
The first product on our list is a heavy-duty benchtop lathe from Delta Industrial that has both the essential and exclusive features to win customers’ hearts.
Since the equipment is constructed out of iron, the stability and durability are second to none. The belt allows you to change the speed smoothly and swiftly. In the package, there is a 3-inch faceplate, 6-inch tool rest, and 10-inch tool rest.
Apart from having the biggest swing capacity of 12.5 inches, this machine has 6 groove belts that supply a huge amount of power to turn bulky objects.
If you want to decorate the piece, the index locking pin makes it possible as it can lock the spindle in a very precise manner with the 24 holes that are 15 degrees distant.
For a nice finish, use the forward and reverse modes to manipulate the turner. Instead of sanding each piece, rotate it in both directions, and get a super smooth finish.
Unlike its counterparts, the 46-360 does not require you to remount the object. This is because the over headstock switch has the option to turn it on and off.
Storing is not a big deal because it is compact, measuring at only 36 x 11 x 17 ¾ inches in dimensions and a weight of 97 pounds.
Most of the weight is contributed by its cast-iron body, which is also one of the reasons, besides the 1 HP belt induction motor, as to why there is no vibration. Thus, there is also no sound created when it’s in use regardless of how fast or slow the speed is.
- Large swing capacity and three pulley speeds make it viable for a range of projects
- Belt-driven system reduces noise and makes changing speeds quick
- Cast iron construction increases stability and durability
- Compact machine for easy storage
2. WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
For smaller objects, this machine is an excellent choice, especially for beginners, as it is both effective and comfortable to use. The work area is 8 x 12 inches, and the variable speed has a large range from 750 to 3200 rotations per minute.
The 3.2-ampere motor, flat wrench, tailstock taper, tool rests, 2.3-inch faceplate, headstock, and MT1 spindle all do a great job at turning any objects as quietly as possible.
It is so powerful that it decreases the probability of any damages. Furthermore, the unit maintains a high rate of speed that can be changed quickly.
The good news is no sound is created by this piece of equipment since it does a good job of minimizing the vibrations. The MT1spindle enables all the parts to fit together and remain in a fixed position throughout the duration of the use.
In addition, the restraint system single lever allows you to adjust tools and counterpoints. Despite having so many fantastic features, the price is very reasonable. Every component is built to last so you can expect good quality for a long time.
- Great value at an affordable price
- Ideal for pens, cups, bowls, and other small pieces like this
- Huge range of adjustable speed
- Built for durability and portability
3. Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe
The Nova 71118 Comet II is a compact tool that can carry out a wide spectrum of applications, making it one of the best midi lathes. This is enabled by its ¾ HP motor with 230 volts and 60 Hertz frequency in a single phase. The motor also has a variable speed range between 250 to 4000 RPM.
It measures 16 by 42 inches which is a suitable space for pens, chess pieces, cups, and the likes. The forward and reverse mechanisms give the machine its versatility. Since it is only 82 pounds, it is quite easy to carry the unit from one place to another in case you need to switch positions.
To add to your convenience, there is a digital display that shows stats such as speed. Now you can directly control the regulations as there is no guesswork involved. The inboard retains a capacity of 12/300 mm. So, you get more stuff done in less time and space.
It comes with a 3-inch faceplate, 6-inch tool rest, spur-drive center, live tailstock center, knockout bar, and lathe handwheel unit. The solid cast iron built gives it the strength similar to larger lathes.
Additionally, there is a bed extension with a swing capacity of 12 inches and 16.5 inches between the centers. It can also be expanded to become as large as 42 inches with a bed extension that has to be bought separately.
For safety purposes, there is an on and off switch that you can use as per your needs. The intermediate turns are pretty straightforward to make and overall, it is quite easy to operate.
- Digital display shows speed range which improves accuracy
- Forward and reverse switches ensure that it’s easy to use
- Durable and lightweight for better quality
- Completes and adapts to any small projects quickly
4. SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe
This one uses a 1/3 horsepower and has a speed that ranges from 700 to 3200 RPM. The cast iron construction gives it an unmatched rigidity and durability.
Despite being made of a heavy material like iron, it only weighs 48.4 pounds, making it one of the lightest lathes in the market.
The two tool rests and 8-inch swing over the bed extension allows you to get a variety of work done. The ease with which you can access and change the speed proves that it is more than up to the task.
Furthermore, there is a safety paddle switch, MT1 spindle, MT1 No. 1 live center, 5 ¾ inch faceplate, ¾ by 16 inches TPI RH spindle and two tool rests, one is 4 ¼ inches and another is 7 inches. You can turn any objects smoothly as well as quickly.
Equipped with a safety lever switch, the user can turn it on or off depending on their duration of use.
This avoids any possibilities of electric shocks or other accidents. The resistant gypsum ferrous material makes all your tasks more efficient.
- Constructed with cast iron for stability and a longer lifespan
- Infinitely adjustable variable speed
- Swing and spindle capacity makes it ideal for any type of wood
- 75-inch faceplate gives it more flexibility
5. Jet JWL-1221VS
Featuring a powerful motor, this particular tool is a master at smooth operations. For experts, this is an excellent match, and for beginners, this will be a great learning tool.
The spindle speed is between 60 to 3600 RPM which is the largest range we have seen so far. There is a control knob that can be used to adjust the speed as per your requirements.
Moreover, you can trust the motor and the ratchet style belt tensioning system to cut down on the noise by a great extent.
There is a 15 inches space in the middle which is more than enough to turn wood, brass, or other materials. This coupled with the bed extensions makes it capable to turn objects smoothly.
A spring spindle lock is loaded onto this equipment along with the controls and DRO is situated in a way that is easy to access.
Other than that, the 24 position index heads and acme threat in the tailstock are also integrated. Every feature is designed in a way that gives prominence to speed control and a better turning method.
Even though it is a bit heavier than other tools on our list, that is not a deal-breaker. What might cause a little issue is how shavings fall underneath the headstock. But you would have to clean up by the end of the process anyway.
- Powerful motor ensures successful and smooth operations every time
- Larger bed and working area to operate many objects
- A modern ratchet style belt tensioning system for adaptability and noise reduction
- Speed is incredibly easy to manipulate
6. RIKON Power Tool Mini Lathe
Nothing seems to be the issue with this handy lathe from RIKON. It has been engineered to be robust and dedicated to easy operations of many objects starting from pens to bowls. The unit includes a live center, knock-out bar, wrenches, and only one tool rest.
With a ½ horsepower motor, a 10-inch swing overall, and an 18-inch swing in the middle, this machine has so much to offer.
Not only that, but there is also a self-ejecting tailstock to ease removing a center and thereby reducing time and worries. 12 positioning index heads guarantee improved precision and accurate results. If you want to decorate, the index heads also help in that area.
The handy chart is available for you to manipulate the spindle speed however you want. The liver and locking systems are pretty straightforward to handle as well. For the de-assembly process, you can use the unlocking head and detach the faceplates and other components.
In addition, this lathe possesses a 5-speed range for all kinds of heavy-duty projects. Efficiency is second nature as the speed can be varied from 430 to 3900 rotations per minute. In this way, you can bring versatility to your work.
Altogether, it is extremely easy to operate and the model keeps performing well over a long period of time. There is no room for disappointment.
- Impressive tool that is ideal for people who prefer to do detailed work
- Self-ejecting tailstock is added for quick operations
- 5-speed range for various projects
- Cast iron construction ensures there is no vibration
7. Mophorn Wood Lathe
Known as the best midi wood lathe, the power capacity of this one is very large, but it does not create any issues with the noise.
The user can move the tailstock to change the distance which is 18 inches in the center and the swing over the bed is 10 inches. This is just the perfect tool for workshops, laboratories, and education purposes.
There are 5 optimal speed options from 760, 1100, 1600 to 2200 and 3200 rotations per minute. The belt system allows you to control the speed levels so you can turn the specific object. Additionally, there is a 6-inch tool rest whose position you can change for different turning methods.
The 10 inches by 18 inches lathe and feet are made of cast iron and rubber respectively which are both responsible for their stellar stability and quality to reduce noise. Apart from the swing bed, the other features are a tool rest, a 3-inch faceplate, an MT2 taper of spindle bore, and an MT2 taper of tailstock quill.
Besides carrying out multiple projects successfully, you can expect to get a refined finish on each object. Since it is 81 pounds heavy, portability is bit of a problem, but it also means that you can create larger bits and pieces.
- Working space is large enough for resting objects neatly
- Powerful motor ensures safety and low noise production
- Constructed for extended life and rigidity
- Advanced tool rests that are easy to replace and suitable for several different works
- Outstanding speed control for heavy-duty applications
8. Grizzly Industrial T25920 Benchtop Wood Lathe
Do you want to turn your ideas to fruition? Then, this benchtop wood lathe is a must-have for you as its features are designed in such a way that you are bound to be successful at your tasks. To begin with, the different speed ranges which can be read out on a digital screen are great for turning applications.
What is more, the lathe has a turning radius of 12 inches and spindles up to 16.5 inches. There is also a live center, spur center, 3 ¼ inch faceplate, and knockout bar – all at a knock-down price. Who does not want to enjoy a cost-effective machine of stellar quality?
The 5-7/8-inch tool rest has a 5/8-inch post so you can adjust the bar as much as you want. Swing capacity over the bed is 12 inches and over the tool rest base is 9.5 inches. If comfort is your priority, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a quick-release on rest and tailstock to enable that.
Due to the three-step pulley system, there is supreme flexibility. Generally, the mid-step runs at a speed that is applicable for woodworks. The supplementary 2 steps are there for some extra torque in order to tackle bulkier objects.
- Meets all the requirements at a low price
- Has a digital speed indicator for easy readout
- Powerful horsepower for an effective performance
- Perfect for refined finishes
- Working space can handle both small and large objects
9. PSI Woodworking Midi Lathe
Finally, we present to you the last midi lathe that is equipped with advanced technology. It has a ¾ horsepower motor, an SBC microprocessor, and two belt positions, one of them uses 500-2000 RPM and the other uses 1500-3600 RPM.
The digital dreher screen feature comes in very useful when you’re changing speed levels. There is plenty of space for your projects as the center space is 18 inches long with a 10-inch swing capacity.
Moreover, there is a 3/8 inch tailstock and spindle bore, 1-5/8 inch quill travel, and 24 index positions along with spindle locking. The handles are integrated for the expediency of the user.
The base is constructed of cast iron to give it improved stability. You can add a bed extension to increase the length of the working area to 42 inches for larger objects. The torque is pretty great and doesn’t lower the RPM when you’re exerting pressure.
The whole package includes a 3-inch faceplate, spur drive center, work light and an 18-inch cable for it, tool storage bracket, knockout rod, screwdriver, safety goggles, tailstock handle, 4 rubber feet, 4 sets of hex wrench, live center, 6-inch and 12-inch tool rest.
The addition of light is impressive, but the bulb is not bright enough because it protrudes out of the shade. Unfortunately, the shade accumulates sawdust which is a big safety risk.
Midi Lathes Comparison Table
Delta Industrial 46-360
WEN 3421 3.2-Amp
750 to 3200 RPM
Nova 71118 Comet II DR
SHOP FOX W1704
700 to 3200 RPM
60 – 3600 RPM
RIKON Power Tools
430 to 3900 RPM
Mophorn Wood Lathe
760 – 3200 RPM
650 to 3800 RPM
500 – 2000 RPM & 1500 to 3600 RPM
Things To Consider Before Buying Midi Lathe
9 products can be a bit difficult to choose from. So, we bring you a buying guide. Take a look at what things to consider before finalizing the bill.
RPMs and Horsepower
Naturally, everybody wants to finish their work successfully and as quickly as possible. That is the job of RPMs and horsepower which are usually used on a higher level. However, if you are not experienced enough, the task will be time-consuming regardless of these aspects.
Distance Between Centers
The middle portion is where your objects will be shaped, turned, and drilled. A larger distance allows larger objects to be created and vice-versa for smaller distances. Sometimes, lathes have the option to add a bed extension to increase the distance.
This plays a crucial role in the quality of your work. When your equipment is equipped with speed controls that are easy to access and operate, it’s a real prize winner.
There are many ways to adjust speed but the easiest one is using the dial. These days, technology has made it possible to record the previously used speed to reduce time.
Keep this factor in mind as it determines the ease of assembly, storage, stability, and portability. You should be able to work the machine without the weight being an issue. A heavier one is usually expensive but minimizes vibration and gives an unrivaled rigidity.
Since it backs up the cutting tools, there should be a direct way to handle its setups. Whether it’s a quick-release or a lever, the best midi lathe must let you lock it in a fixed position from the front side of the machine.
It is responsible for supporting the rotating axis and keeping the tools fixed. Therefore, you should ensure that it glides freely in any direction while locking everything tightly on the bed.
Reverse and forward directions provide flexibility during sanding and clean up in the end. This is also a good safety measure. So, it’s good if your machine offers this, but a lot of them don’t.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Maximum Speed of a Wood Lathe?
Answer: This depends on the model and price of your lathe. There are definitely lathes available in the market that delivers more than 4000 rotations per minute.
2. Are Small Lathes Better Than the Large Ones?
Answer: A small lathe is preferable if you don’t have huge tools and space to store.
3. Do I Need A Lathe That Has A Variable Speed Range?
Answer: Many objects need to be turned with different speed controls. To give an example, for polishing, higher speed is required while gouging is done at low speeds.
4. What is the Difference Between A Wood Lathe and a Metal Lathe?
5. How to Decrease Vibrations to a Minimum?
Answer: Make sure that the lathe is centered properly, all the parts are sharp, and the lathe is lubricated.
That is all from us! We hope that our midi lathe reviews combined with the buying guide were helpful to you. With a deeper understanding of the best midi lathes available in the market, you can now decide what to get.
For a good experience in removing materials from a workpiece, it is important that the essential features are all integrated onto the lathe. Or else, you’ll either ruin the piece or cause an accident.
Get a midi lathe today and develop your woodworking skills!