The Best Mini Lathe UK Reviews & Buying Guide
If your a DIY woodworker then its likely you already know the importance of having a lathe in your workshop. Lathe machines have been around for a long time and can help with work like sanding, drilling, and cutting.
Lathe tools allow you to get a professional finish on your woodwork, even if it’s just a side hobby, however, these metal machines normally have a considerable size which might not be suitable to fit in everyone’s workshop.
That’s where mini machines come in, allowing you to make a range of woodwork designs on a smaller machine, they are available in many different speeds, designs, and accessories, so it’s important to get the best model for your projects.
So with that being said, we have rounded up the best mini lathe machines on the market and reviewed them, to help you find the best mini lathe machine for your woodwork projects.
Our Top Minature Lathe! –
Proxxon Micromot DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe (Editor’s Choice)
If you are looking for a more affordable small lathe this model by Proxxon could be worth looking at.
Feature-wise the metal woodturning device comes with 220-240V motor and has a variable speed control which has speeds ranging from 1,000-5,000 RPM. A 10mm bored through ball-bearing spindle is included as well as a faceplate for turning larger items.
The central distance of this lathes device is 250mm with a 40mm swing-through and a 25mm swing-over support. Six collets are further included to support woodwork. This small lathe machines aluminium design also has an adjustable tool rest in all directions.
To conclude, the Proxxon lathe device has some great features for its small price such as its spindle and faceplate which is very easy to function, it additionally is very quiet even during its most powerful motor speeds.
Downfalls of the Proxxon lathe tool are its available collets which are said to be poor-quality, the machine further is reported to loosen itself which could be a potential safety issue.
- Affordable price.
- Easy to function durable design.
- Variable speeds.
- Faceplate & spindle included.
- 250mm central distance.
- Collets included.
- Adjustable tool rest.
- Poor-quality collets.
- The machine is said to get loose.
Our Second Choice – VEVOR MC1018 Woodturning Lathe
The VEVOR woodturning device features a 230V copper motor which has a turning speed of up to 14000 RPM, along with a variable speed ranging from 500-3200 RPM.
Main specifications of this metal mini lathe are its one MT2 spindle and large size which has an 18-inch distance in between centres and a 10-inch swing over bed. The tailstock of this mini lathe is also adjustable and it has two different interchangeable tool rests of 150mm and 300mm.
Design-wise the one small device is made from cast iron for stability and it comes with numerous additions for different work. A manual, two clutches and a faceplate are further included with the lathes device.
Overall, this woodturning lathe by VEVOR is perfect for hobby woodworkers who are looking for a small-size lathe to better their woodwork. Its device is great value for money too due to its clutches and add-ons that are also included.
- Variable speed.
- Powerful motor.
- Easy to function & small sized.
- Comes with a clutch and add-ons.
- Cast iron design is durable.
- Generous capacity.
Draper 60988 300MM Mini WOODLATHE
This Draper mini wood turning machine comes with a 230V variable-speed motor and has a 200mm swing-over bed on the design.
Significant features of this lathe machine are it’s; 175mm tool rest, 50 mm and 100mm faceplates and 3/4-inch drive spur. The design of this lathe is additionally made from cast iron for extra support during woodwork.
Safety-wise the small lathe machine additionally has a no-volt overload switch to protect the user while using the tool.
The Draper lathe is a super great tool for buying if you want a small-sized lathe that can help you achieve a smooth finish on your woodwork, its design is also very durable and long-lasting.
Negatives of this device are it’s build features which have been reported to break down easily after a limited time, the tool rest of the machine is further said to have trouble locking.
- 200mm swing-over.
- Cast-iron design.
- Easy to use.
- Tool rest and faceplates included.
- No-volt overload protection switch.
- Variable speed.
- Poor quality features with bad reviews.
- Tool rest is said to have issues locking.
Small Lathe Beads Polisher Machine BACHIN
This budget machine by Bachin comes with torque ball-bearing motor that has a maximum speed of 8000 RPM.
Feature-wise the model has seven levels of a power adapter for changing speeds and an aluminium base, one steel drill chuck is also included.
In terms of design, the metal machine has a dustproof glass cover with a convective cooling hole, along with a shrinkable tube on the welding line. Other additions such as cutting pieces and sanding paper are included, as well as a manual for reference.
The Bachin small lathe tools model is overall great for its price and is suitable for hobby woodworkers who are looking for a small made motor and easy to use design that can help them finish small-sized projects.
Downfalls of this tools model have to be its low-quality chuck and off-centre tailpiece, however, this is most likely due to its low price.
- Adjustable speed.
- Dustproof glass cover with high-quality features.
- 8000 RPM max speed.
- Manual included.
- Steel drill chuck.
- Low-quality chuck.
- Off-centre tailpiece.
BACHIN Small Lathe Beads Polisher Machine
The BACHIN small hobby metal lathe device is one of the most affordable tools on our list and features a 24V motor which has speeds ranging from 5000-8000 RPM.
Specs-wise the one product has a maximum turning diameter of 70mm, along with a max clamping length of 180mm. The chuck clamping range of this device is in between 0.6-6mm and it comes with 3 hex shanks included.
In terms of design, the device has a thick aluminium base with an acrylic dust-covered motor, the design of the lathe is made with convection cooling holes too and a plexiglass shield.
Overall, this low-priced lathes device by BACHIN is a good turning wood tool to buy and work with for small projects or if you are looking to make better woodwork designs as a hobby.
It has all the basic features required such as good variable speeds and durable aluminium material.
Drawbacks of this one device have to be its tools that are included which are said to be of poor grade, the design and features of this lathe are also said to be very weak and come without acrylic and plexiglass parts that are stated.
- Very low-priced.
- Adjustable speed.
- 3 hex shanks included.
- Thick aluminium base.
- Turning diameter of 70mm.
- Tools included are of a poor grade.
- Stated parts are not included.
Our Final Judgement – Which Mini Lathe Is The Best?
To conclude, the best metal mini-lathe on our list to better your woodworking projects is the Proxxon Micromot DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe thanks to its well made higher grade design and great turning capacity which can handle a variety of woodworking projects with ease.
The small lathes design is additionally very easy to use, even for beginner hobby woodworkers and is also very quiet, allowing you to work on your projects anywhere without disturbance.
As a runner up we also suggest checking out the VEVOR MC1018 Woodturning Lathe due to its variety of features available such as its adjustable tailstock and large capacity which can fit different types of projects in.
What To Look For In The Best Small Lathe (Our Best Buying Guide)
Now we have compared and reviewed some of the top smaller lathes on the market you might be wondering what makes a good lathe.
You also might be wondering how to function a lathe and how you can maintain it to keep your tool in the best shape possible.
Well, not to worry, we have put together an extensive buying guide below that will tell you everything you need to know about buying your first small lathe below.
Let’s get into it!
What Is a Mini Lathe?
A mini lathe is the smaller version of a lathe and normally consists of a metal or glass design which rotates a workpiece around the axis of the lathe. This rotation allows you to perform various functions on your work like; drilling, cutting, sanding and more.
These tools usually have variable speeds depending on how powerful you would want your lathes rotation to be, they usually secure the work via a tailstock which should be adjustable on most lathes.
Why Do I Need a Lathe?
If you are looking to better your work and improve making woodwork items such as; furniture, jewellery or other projects that need detail then you will need a lathe.
These devices make it much easier to make shaped wood or other materials symmetrically and can save you a lot of time and effort than without.
Best Features To Consider In a Mini Lathe
If it’s your first time looking for a small lathe then you might find some of the parts and product features you need a little overwhelming, and with the large variety on the market, you must buy the best device with all the specs you need for your work.
Some top features to consider in your product are the bed of the lathe, the tailstock, and the headstock, you should also consider extras such as accessories.
We have got into some more detail below and listed out the key features you should be looking for in your new lathes device below.
- Material & base – The bed or base of your one steel/metal lathe should be heavy and stable to protect the design of the lathe from moving about too much during work, a good material to look out for is cast iron. The lathe spindle of your device should additionally be long enough to accommodate longer workpieces and include a high enough spindle to prevent back pain while using the lathe for a long period.
- Motor/Speed – If you want to be turning high power workpieces then you will most likely need a powerful motor, this motor should come with adjustable speeds ranging from at least 500 RPM-4000 RPM. You should bear in mind, however, the higher in power your motor then the higher the money price of your device, your tool will also most likely be heavier.
- Headstock & tailstock – The headstock of your metal lathes device should come with the ability to be rotated away if your looking to work with larger bowls, along with spindle, the tailstock of your lathe should also be adjustable and should be able to lock well into any position on the bed. For turning spindles, your lathe should include some faceplates.
- Tool rest – It’s important your small device does come with an adjustable tool rest that can lock onto the product in any position, you can always purchase an extra available tool rest to accommodate different size projects.
- Size and weight – Even though your device might be small, you should still consider what size lathe you should get and if it will fit in your workshop. If you would want a portable smaller lathe device then you should look for a lightweight, however, lighter weight does mean less stability, which is essential for producing a better-quality work.
- Accessories – Some additions to watch out for in your turning lathe are extra tools, LED screens, clutches, power switch positions, manuals, dust covers, collets and faceplates.
- Safety features – Your smaller lathe must come with some great safety features such as overload protection and an easy to use power switch.
- Warranty – For buyers confidence, your smaller lathe should have a one-year warranty minimum to protect you against any faulty, low-quality models that break after a short period.
What Are The Benefits Of Using a Mini Lathe?
There are many benefits one can get from using a smaller machine, from extra precision to portability.
Smaller lathes are also much less money than larger lathes and are great for hobby woodworkers who want to make more shaped and detailed work.
We have listed out some more benefits for you to consider below –
- Easy to function – One of the first advantages to a lathe is that they great to use if you are a beginner. Smaller lathes tend to come with fewer functions than a larger one, which can make them much easier to turn.
- Portable – A lot of small metal lathes are very portable, with most having the ability to be carried around, this makes them great if you want to carry around your woodworking tools to work or other places.
- Have more precision – These types of metal lathes have a lot of precision for woodworking in comparison to traditional tools, features such as high power motors for turning and a range of different speeds allow you to have more accuracy when making your project.
- Consistency – Once you get the hang of using your metal lathe you’ll notice that your results will be pretty consistent, this is great for woodwork in comparison to traditional methods which allow for more human error.
- Can perform a variety of functions – From cutting to sanding, a lathe whether small or large can do a range of functions for a smoother and more professional finish on your projects.
- Upgrades hobby work – If you are a beginner and are doing woodwork as more of a hobby, then a more miniature lathe is highly beneficial to your work.
Using Your Smaller Lathe
When it comes to using your lathe, you might find the process a little overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner woodworker.
We have put together some useful tips below and a little guide to get you started if its first time.
- Wet or dry wood – Using wet or dry wood with your metal lathe has advantages and disadvantages depending on the product your making. Wet wood tends to be the best for bowls but will need to be turned once, dry wood, on the other hand, is much more suitable for projects like boxes.
- Start slow – When starting your lathe it’s a good idea to start slow then work your way up in speed. Ensure your wood is well-centred before turning up the power.
- Types of wood – You should consider the type of wood you are turning, hardwood will be more difficult to turn and treated wood should ideally be left without pressure.
How To Function Your Lathe
- Set your tailstock and angle – One of the first things to do before switching on your lathe is setting the angle, the best angle to turn with is 90-degrees, after this, you would need to make sure your turn your tailstock wheel into position so as the tailstock is in the right place. You would also need to make sure this stock is very tight.
- Adjust your tool rest – Your tool rest on your lathe should be in line with your stock, this should be around 3/4-inch.
- Turn on your lathe – Where your power button is located, you can now switch the lathe on.
- Go for the lowest speed – It’s important as a beginner you start with the lowest speed on your lathe, for different types of wood, this can change.
- Drive your wood into your blade – As you drive your wood into the blade you will feel resistance which means the lathe is working, you should cover all directions when doing this.
- Adjust for feature designs – For feature projects, you can choose higher speeds and different tools depending on the results you desire in your woodwork.
How To Maintain a Mini Lathe
When investing in a good small lathe, its important you know how to maintain it so as the machine can perform correctly and last a long time.
Doing regular maintenance on your lathe can prevent larger problems and buying new parts in the future.
We have put together some essential routine checks to follow below.
- Get rid of rust – Wet wood and other types can cause rust on your device, this effects metal parts such as the bed, tailstock, and tool rest. Some ways to take off the rust and prevent it from building up is by using a cleaning solution or sandpaper to sand down any rust, you could also try using some steel wool.
- Keep it lubricated – Now and then it’s a good idea to lubricate the rails and tailstock to stop them from getting too stiff, this can be done with standard lubrication oil or wax.
- Dust & debris – Every time you use your device you should be wiping off the excess dust and dirt, however, its also a good idea now and then to take a vacuum and get rid of a lot of the debris in other hidden parts of your mini lathes design. Some important places to remove dust from are the tailstock and motor.
- Keep an eye on the tool rest – Over time, the one tool rest on your lathes design will take some beating, any rough areas can easily affect the rest of the parts on your lathe, so it’s important to file them down when you start to notice any damage.
- Check the belt – Now and then its a good idea to check the belt of your device, you should do this while your lathe is turned off and loosen it to make sure there’s nothing underneath too.
Safety Tips For Using Your Top Mini Lathe
There’s a couple of safety tips you should be aware of when you use your device so as you can be comfortable while working.
We’ve listed out a few of the most important ones below.
- Keep your work area clean.
- Ensure your tools and add ons are sharp and clean.
- You should make sure all fittings are secure on your lathe.
- Only use your device in good lighting.
- Wear eye protection when using the device to prevent debris from going in your eyes.
What price should a mini-lathe be?
This depends on the one device you buy and the features it comes with, on average these more miniature lathes can cost anything from £100 or lower in money to £200 and above if you get a higher-end model.
Is a lathe good for making furniture?
Yes, however, a mini lathe is a little less in capacity so could be used for smaller furniture detailing.
What top features should I look for in lathe?
The most important features to look for in a mini-lathe are; material, motor, variable speed, headstock and tailstock adjustability and the toolrest it comes with. You should additionally consider whether your device comes with accessories or not as this will determine its price.
Is it better to get a lightweight or heavy lathe?
Contrary to what many people think, it’s better to get one heavy small lathe as it offers more stability while working in comparison to a lightweight mini device which may be more portable but also more unstable.
Are these mini lathes unsafe?
No, as long you have basic woodworking skills and wear protective gear you should be fine when using a lathe, it is a good idea to also ensure all the fittings are tight on your device.
Should my device vibrate a lot when in use?
No, a lathe can vibrate when in use but not a lot, you should try recentering the wood on your device to avoid any unnecessary vibration and see if this solves the issue.
What is a lathe used for?
A lathe is used for many DIY wood projects such as detailing, sanding, cutting and more. You can buy various tools and additions to use with your lathe.
Can a beginner use a mini-lathe?
Yes, these lathes are very easy to operate as they come with fewer features than when compared to large lathes.
Why is it good for a lathe to have a variable speed?
Variable speed gives you more options and control over your one design, if you don’t have adjustable speed options then you would have to change the belt on your device every single time which can become a nuisance.
Our #1 Mini Lathe For All Your DIY Woodworking Projects
Our number one small lathe for making woodworking projects is the Proxxon Micromot DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe thanks to its easy to use design and quiet noise level which makes the product suitable to use anywhere.
We also suggested the VEVOR MC1018 Woodturning Lathe due to its range of features and high-quality build.