8 Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Image of Laguna MLAREVO 1836, the Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

Though not commonly used, a wood lathe is a crucial tool in woodworker’s workshop. You can do several tasks on your woodworking projects, but to get the very best level of smoothness, you will need to use a wood lathe; otherwise, it would take you a lot of time to achieve the same smooth finish.

If you are a specialist on woodturning, then acquiring the best wood lathe for turning bowls would be the first step and essential one, towards getting your projects handled successfully.

You must get it right when shopping for wood lathes for turning bowls because most of these products are expensive, and it would be disastrous to spend on the wrong tool. To help you land on the right products in the market, I reviewed the best tools that you should consider buying for woodturning tasks:

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

This tool is the overall best wood lathe for turning bowls if you are into wood crafts. If you are dealing with more significant projects, like a sculpture, or smaller tasks, like a bowl, then this tool is what you need. The Delta Industrial 46-460 is a midi lathe that comes with so much versatility; it comes with an adjustable speed setting of up to 1725 RPM, which is enough power to work your projects smoothly.

One unique aspect of this tool is its swing capacity that stands at 12.5 inches; there is no other tool with the same capacity in the same class as the delta. Additionally, you can throw it into reverse by flipping the switch. 

This tool’s belt tension system allows you to change speed without necessarily having to reset the belt. Finally, there is a cast iron base that makes this wood lathe for turning bowls last longer.

It comes with a 5-year warranty.

The Summary of Top Features

  • Powerful 1 hp max, 1,725 rpm motor
  • The tool comes with a large 12-1/2-inch swing capacity that provides the largest capacity in its class. 
  • It has a drive spindle of 1 inch -8 RH TPI thread.
  • The machine comes with an electronic variable speed with three-pulley speed ranges to give enough speed for woodturning projects without changing the belt position.
  • It comes with forward as well as reversing function that allows the turner to achieve a superior finish.

Advantages

  • The tool has an ingenious design
  • It comes with a full reverse mode
  • The changing of speeds is easy
  • Has a 5-year warranty

Disadvantages

  • It’s expensive
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2. Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

If you are a starter in the woodturning and looking for the best wood lathe for turning bowls, then buy the Jet 1015. This tool is affordable and, above all, delivers when it comes to performance. You should only buy this machine is you need something for small or medium size woodworking tasks.

Amazingly, this tool comes with six different speeds, with the maximum being 3975 RPM, which is higher than the best overall product on this list. One thing that is more of a downside on this tool is the fact that it uses a standard tension belt that requires that you readjust it when you are changing the speeds.

Another thing about this tool is that it does not have the reverse feature, like in the case of Delta Industrial 46-460. Having considered all these features, I’d recommend that you remain a little patient, save and buy the first product on this list as it will give you so much for your woodworking tasks.

Overall, it is great for learning if you are a beginner. Also, the tool comes with a five-year guarantee, with solid construction.

The Summary of Top Features

  • The tool has 15-1/2″ between centers
  • It comes with six spindle speeds of 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 and 3975
  • The machine comes with an integrated 24 position indexing
  • Has an improved tensioning system with easier access to belts
  • Its broader bed ways offer an increased rigidity

Advantages

  • The pricing is fair
  • It comes with amazing qualities
  • It’s an excellent tool for beginners
  • It is powerful
  • The machine comes with a 5-year warranty.

Disadvantages

  • It has no reverse option
  • Not great for huge projects
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3. NOVA 1624 II 16 x 24″ 8 Speed Wood Lathe, Black (SKU 24221)

The NOVA 1624 II is the best wood lathe for turning bowls amongst the distinguished NOVA wood lathes. This tool comes with some fantastic features which give you a smooth experience with your turning projects. It’s capable of delivering excellent turning functionality for several years.

This tool features a powerful 1.5HP motor with 8 speeds ranging from 215-3600 rpm for US and Canadian citizens. Other parts of the world get 178-3000 rpm. Such a speed does so much when it comes to woodturning. You will find it easy to operate this machine using your left hand that to its comfortable design. 

Then there is the 360 degrees swivel head that will allow you to out your piece anywhere you wish to make comfortable turns.

It has an ergonomic design that incorporates high-quality steel and a cast-iron stand that provides you with a stable platform for easy woodworking tasks. This tool perfectly fit wood enthusiasts with large workshops and desires to work with a larger wood lathe. With its 360 degrees swivel head, this lathe is ideal for turning larger bowls.

The bed of this wood lathe is extendable to allow you room to handle even long projects comfortably. Its bowl turning capacity stands at 16-inch when onboard and 29-inch outboard.

I’d advise you to buy this wood lathe because of its full replacement warranty of 2-year plus the additional 3-year warranty on every other part but the motor, consumables, and electronics.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It comes with a 1.5HP AC motor
  • Has a variable speed range of 215 – 3600 rpm
  • The tool comes together with a stand included
  • Has a full 360° swivel head
  • The machine has a solid cast iron
  • It comes with a 16″ swing capacity.

Advantages

  • The tool has a solid built thanks to the steel and cast iron structure.
  • It is easy to assemble and operate this tool.
  • The machine comes with a reasonable price.

Disadvantages

  • Its manual speed adjustment makes it hard for some to operate the machine.
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4. Laguna Tools Revo, Model MLAREVO 1836

The Laguna REVO 1836 lathe is one of the best wood lathes for turning bowls that you can buy out there. This machine has a new design loaded with a host of excellent features that gives you virtually everything you’d want for woodturning. One such aspect of this tool is the ergonomically angled control panel created using anodized aluminum.

When you buy this machine, you get a powerful 2HP motor that operates on 220 volts. The motor has a top speed of 1725 rpm. This speed is an electronic variable achieved through the VFD that converts a single-phase input to a 3-phase output. In turn, it gives you an excellent torque even at low settings. Also, this machine comes with a two-range speed of 135-3500 higher rpm as well as a 50-1300 low rpm.

One other unique thing about this tool is the ergonomically fitted knurled control knob. The knob has a rubber grip that gives an added comfortability of operation. The bed of this machine has a construction that enables the cast iron headstock to travel with ease.

Additionally, this machine comes with a tailstock, and headstock lock handles positioned strategically (on the back) to eliminate potential interruptions that may affect your projects. The ergonomically designed handles use a cam lock that guarantees you a firm feel with no deflection.

Setting up of REVO 1836

The Summary of Top Features

  • The tool has a spring-loaded spindle lock with a maximum outboard swing of 32″.
  • It comes with a 3 phase output poly-groove drive belt. 
  • The machine has a high of 135-3500 RPM and a low of 50-1300
  • It operates on a 2HP motor running on a 220 volts power.

Advantages

  • The tool features an ergonomic design plus a superb finish
  • It comes with a powerful 2HP motor
  • The machine offers a smooth and quiet operations
  • The minimum speed of this machine is 50 RPM.

Disadvantages

  • It’s a bit pricey
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5. WEN 3420T 2-Amp 8 in. x 12 in. Variable Speed Benchtop Mini Wood Lathe

WEN 8-Inch by 12-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is another product on our list if you are looking to buy a wood lathe for turning bowls. This fantastic tool allows you to adjust the variable speed anywhere between 750 to 3200 rotations per minute. 

This machine has an MT1 spindle plus tailstock taper that plays a vital role in the gripping of workpieces. Also, it has two tool rests (4-1/2 inch and 7 inches) that give support to the chisels and other tools while you work out your projects. Additionally, this tool operates on a 2A motor that helps in woodturning projects. 

It is easy to adjust both the tool rest and the tailstock, thanks to the easy-to-use lever clamping system. When you buy this machine, it comes with a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, a knockout rod, a tailstock cup center, a 5-inch faceplate for turning bowls, cups, and other non-spindle projects. 

You don’t have to worry about malfunction issues within the first two years of purchasing this wood lathe because it comes with a two-year warranty, as well as a nationwide network of skilled service representatives. Above all, their customer service is just fantastic!

The Summary of Top Features

  • It has an adjustable variable speed from 750 to 3200 rotations per minute.
  • The tool includes a 5-inch faceplate for turning bowls, cups as well as other non-spindle projects. 
  • It fits projects with up to 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width.
  • The machine comes with a 2A motor, an MT1 spindle plus a tailstock taper. Furthermore, this tool has two interchangeable work rests.

Advantages

  • The tool comes with multiple Accessories
  • It has Slow Start Tech
  • This wood lathe comes with a Simple Speed Dial.

Disadvantages

  • The RPM range of this tool is short.
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6. Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe

Shop Fox is another great option to consider; it is a midi lathe and has the ability to handle large projects comfortably. With all honesty, this product is expensive, yet it has fewer features than Delta but would still handle most of your projects.

This tool comes with a 2 years warranty, which is less impressive; however, it has a solid build and will surely last. It doesn’t have a reverse feature, though.

One superior feature of this tool is its powerful motor that can achieve a maximum speed of 2400 RPM; this speed is faster than the Delta. This lathe gives you so much versatility in smaller projects because of the larger plate size. You can choose to replace the plate though it will take some effort considering its non-standard post size.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It has a motor of 2 HP, 110V, single-phase
  • The tool comes with so much precision ground cast iron bed and cast iron legs, that ensure its stability and reduced vibration
  • It has a speed range of 600 – 2400 RPM

Pros

  • It is a powerful tool
  • This lathe comes with a solid construction

Cons

  • It does not have the reverse feature.
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7. Grizzly Industrial G0800-24″ x 48″ Heavy-Duty Wood Lathe

It is arguably the best wood lathe for turning bowls if you are working on heavy-duty projects. The entire structure of this tool is solid cast iron, which makes it very durable.  

This tool comes with endless functionalities for various woodworking projects, such as turning of fine spindles or large bowls. The point where the chisel meets the grain is fully-adjustable 14-1/4″ tool rest that has a heavy-duty locking handle and 1″ post diameter.

You can position the headstock assembly anywhere along the bed; you will have the tailstock swinging aside on the hinged bed when not in use. This allows for maximum workpiece clearance. The tool turns at speeds of 60-3500 RPM, and this attributed to the 3HP; the three-phase motor has a crystal-clear digital readout plus forward/reverse spindle function. Its large 1-1/2″ tailstock quill diameter provides increased rigidity that minimizes vibration and extends to 4-1/2″ maximizing the workpiece contact in the process. 

The Summary of Key Features

  • It comes with electronic variable-speed spindle control that has a digital RPM readout
  • The tool comes with forward/reverse switch
  • You can position its headstock anywhere along the bed
  • It has a built-in tool holder
  • This lathe has an adjustable feet
  • It’s durable thanks to its all cast iron construction

Pros

  • Gives a professional level results
  • You can use it for both small and large projects
  • It’s durable

Cons

  • It’s expensive
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8. PSI Woodworking KWL-1218VS 

If you have experience with wood lathes, then you need this tool. It is arguably the most advanced, potent, and easy to use lathe that you can buy today. This machine comes powered by a 1 hp high-performance induction motor plus an SBC microprocessor, developed for automotive uses, and delivers precision control and lasting reliability. 

Other features of this excellent wood lathe are the presence of a digital readout that allows you to work at a speed that you prefer. The headstock Thread of this tool stands at 1″ x 8tpi while the Headstock and Tailstock Taper is #2MT. Also, the distance between Centers is 18″ while the Swing over Bed measures 12″. 

This tool is a reliable one, built to last, and will give you professional-grade results on your different woodworking projects.

The Summary of Top Features

  • The tool is powered by 1hp Variable Speed high-performance induction motor(120V-60HZ) and an SBC microprocessor.
  • It comes with two belt positions: 500-1800 RPM and 1950-3800 RPM.
  • The headstock thread of this machine stands at 1″ x 8tpi with a Headstock/Tailstock Taper #2MT. 
  • The Tailstock and Spindle Bore of this machine measure 3/8″ while the Quill Travels up to 1-5/8″.

Pros

  • The tool is durable
  • It is advanced and allows you to handle most woodworking tasks
  • The machine comes with a digital readout for a comfortable setting of your preferred speed
  • It offers an excellent precision

Cons

  • The lighting on this tool is not well-positioned.
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Best Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls Buyer’s Guide

You don’t have to buy a bowl if you are a woodworker, just make one, and all you need is a wood lathe for turning bowls. 

In this guide, I’m going to guide you through the essential parts of a wood lathe for turning the bowl as well as factors that you need to consider to land the best wood lathe for turning bowls. Here’s what to look at:

Component of Wood Lathe for Turning Bowls

The Bed of the Bowl

The bed is where all the components of your lathe rest. In other words, it is a rectangular frame where the carriage moves along. This surface plays an essential role in measuring the swing of the tool. Go for a lathe that gives you the best possible bed.

The Tailstock 

Tailstock refers to the end of the bed that holds your workpiece. This part of the machine can slide and adjust to handle different workpieces.

The Tool Rest

It is the component of the wood lathe that moves along the bed. Primarily, this part holds virtually all the tools that you will likely need for your various tasks: Moreso, the chisels.

The Chuck

It is attached to the spindle that rotates your projects. Its primary job, however, is to hold the workpiece. Typically, the chuck has a three-jaw or a four-jaw depending on different types of machines.

The Spindle

The spindle does the turning of the workpiece. This part is connected to the motor via a long shaft that rotates the spindle. The spindle attaches to the chuck, which holds your woodworking projects.

Speed Gauge of the Lathe

It is an integral part of a wood lathe. This part gives you the liberty of adjusting the speed of the turn. Ensure that your machine has an easy to read and an effective speed gauge.

Here’s a video on how to use wood lathe for turning bowls:

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Lathes for Bowl Turning

Here are some of the features to note as you look to get the right lathe for your woodworking projects.

Variable Speed

You must settle for a wood lathe for turning the bowl with a variable speed. A tool with this flexibility level gives you the freedom to decide how fast you need to get your projects done.

Slow Start Motor

The slow start aspect of a motor enhances the security of operating this tool. For example, if you are working on a large block of wood, you need a lathe that comes with a slow start. Motors without this feature can always result in wood flying your way if they are not well attached, and the motor starts at high speed.

The Cast Iron Bed

It might be minor, but it remains one of the essential features of a wood lathe. The cast-iron offers protection to your tool preventing it from accidental damages.

Conclusion

There are different types of wood lathes. They are responsible for various woodworking tasks. You need to shop for the best wood lathe for turning bowls if you are so much into woodturning.

My top pick for this type of a wood lathe is the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi LatheThis tool gives you virtually all the features that you might need in a wood lathe. And, acquiring one would be money well spent.

I have reviewed only the very best products in the market, remember to make your choice depending on the intensity of your work.

Finally, consider sharing your opinion with me through the comment section below. In the meantime, I hope that you have your shopping!