Best Wood Lathes For Bowl Turning

If you are a keen woodworker who enjoys bowl turning, you are probably looking for a wood lathe that can help you to get more out of your hobby. A lathe is an essential piece of equipment to add to your workshop, allowing speedy performance paired with excellent accuracy and the precision necessary to carry out controlled cuts and intricate design.

If you are looking for the best wood lathe for turning bowls, you will need to look out for a model that has a wider swing capacity of around 12 inches. You will also want to choose a model with a horsepower of at last 1/2 HP, although if you can afford it, a more powerful model with a 1 HP motor would be a good idea.

There are many excellent models on the market which are well within the reach of the home woodworking enthusiast, so if you are keen to try your hand at this popular and easy to learn hobby, you should take a look at our selection of the top five performing best wood lathe for bowl turning models on the market. We have outlined all of their key features and specifications so you can make an informed decision.

ImageNameWeightDimensionsRatingPrice
NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition82.4 lbs33 x 9 x 18 inches4
PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12" Variable Speed Midi Lathe106 lbs32 x 11 x 10 inches4
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe97 lbs36 x 11 x 17.8 inches4.2
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe77 lbs35 x 18.1 x 14.6 inches5
RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2" x 24" VSR MIDI Lathe124 lbs12 x 40.8 x 18 inches5

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 2013 Edition, 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch, Silver

This mini lathe from NOVA features a speed range from 250 RPM right up to 4000 RPM which makes it ideal for use in all kinds of woodworking projects. Thanks to its 12 inch swing over the bed and 16.5″ between the centers, it is ideal for all kinds of bowl turning projects.

The three step pulley system allows the user to quickly and easily dial in low, medium or high speed ranges while the 3/4 HP electronic variable speed motor is powerful enough to tackle all kinds of tasks.

This innovative and versatile small lathe is space saving which makes it perfect for use in small workshops and it is portable enough to transport between jobsites when necessary. Despite its small size, it is able to deliver the capacity and has all of the rugged stability of a larger machine. Thanks to its forward and reversing switch this model offers extra flexibility for a more superior finish.

This model also features a strengthened reinforced composite guard with a rapid access latch for easy access and a robust die cast motor housing. This model is also back up by a full replacement one year warranty on the electronics and motor as well as an additional 2 year limited warranty on other parts.

Pros

  • Space saving dimensions for small workshops
  • Forward and reversing switch for extra flexibility and superior finish
  • Strengthened reinforced composite guard and rapid access latch

Cons

  • Locking levers can be tricky to use
  • Fragile tail stock lock

 

PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS Turn Crafter Commander 12″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe

This Midi lathe is powered by a 1 Horsepower variable speed high performance induction motor for ample power. It offers two belt positions allowing for a speed of either 500 to 1800 RPM or 1950 to 3800 RPM for extra versatility and flexibility of use.

The distance between the centers is 18 inches and the swing over the bed is 12 inches, making this an ideal product for bowl turning.

The base is made from strong and robust cast iron for extra durability and a longer lifespan while the convenient inbuilt handles allow for easy movement and transportation between jobsites. This is the most intuitive, powerful and advanced lathe in its class that is also certified by Intertek.

It delivers precise control and promises lasting reliability while the integrated digital readout ensures the ability to work at a precise speed. This model comes complete with a host of handy accessories including a tool storage rack, a work light, tool rests, a set of 4 hex wrenches, a Phillips screwdriver and safety googles for even better value for money.

Pros

  • Comes complete with a range of handy accessories for better value for money
  • Certified by Intertek
  • Digital readout for precision

Cons

  • Poor assembly instructions
  • No reversing switch

 

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe

This midi lathe from Delta features a powerful 1 Horsepower 1725 RPM motor that enables it to handle a wide range of wood turning tasks. Thanks to the large 12.5″ swing capacity, it has the largest capacity in its class which makes it a perfect model for bowl turning projects.

Its electronic variable speed motor features 3 pulley speed ranges ensuring that the user can choose the most appropriate speed to turn each individual project conveniently without the need to ever switch the belt position.

This model also features a forward and reversing function which enables the turner to achieve a highly superior finish as well as a patented belt tensioning system for easier and quicker changes, setting the belt to the correct tension each time for optimal power transfer and a longer tool life. This product also has onboard storage which allows the user easy access to the adjustment tools. This midi lathe ensures smooth and rapid results as well as impressive control and consistency for an excellent and professional finish.

Pros

  • 5 year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Patented belt tensioning system for fast and easy changes
  • 3 pulley speed ranges for convenience and easy adjustment

Cons

  • No digital speed readout
  • Switch location is awkward

 

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

This wood working lathe from the popular Jet brand has a width of 15/5″ between centers making it ideal for use for a wide range of projects including bowl turning.

With its 6 different spindle speeds from 500 RPM right up to 3975 RPM it couldn’t be easier to choose the most appropriate speed to suit each individual project and to achieve exact precision.

This model also features integrated 24 position indexing and it also has an improved tensioning system that ensures easier access to the belts for the user’s convenience. The wider bed ensures better rigidity making this model the perfect choice for newcomers to woodturning who are looking for a user friendly and affordable lathe.

This lathe is also ideal for a professional who would like the benefits of a mini lathe with plenty of features in their small workshop. Sturdy and smooth running, this 15 inch lathe has plenty of versatility, precision and power to handle all kinds of projects and as it is well protected by a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, the buyer can enjoy complete peace of mind.

Pros

  • 5 year manufacturer’s warranty
  • 6 different spindle speeds for greater precision and accuracy
  • 15.5″ width between centers

Cons

  • Mounting holes are awkwardly located
  • Tail stock can move quite a lot unless the belt is tightened

 

RIKON Power Tools 70-220VSR 12-1/2″ x 24″ VSR MIDI Lathe

This midi lathe from the power tools brand Rikon features a powerful 1 HP motor which offers all of the power necessary for turning a wide range of woodworking projects including large platters and bowls.

Its large turning capacity of a 12.5″ diameter swing and 20 inches between centers make this a perfect model for all bowl turning woodworkers while the 24 position index head ensures accurate pattern and design work on all kinds of projects.

This model also offers variable speeds of between 250 and 3850 RPM making it easy to choose the perfect speed for each individual project and thanks to the LED display it is easy to achieve better precision. This machine also features forward and reverse functions for greater flexibility and it runs quietly, making it the ideal choice in spaces where noise levels are at a premium.

Pros

  • 24 position head index for more accurate design work
  • Large turning capacity of 12.5″ for turning large platters and bowls
  • Forward and reverse functions for greater flexibility

Cons

  • More expensive than many other rival models