Best Wood Lathes for Beginners

Best Wood Lathes for Beginners

For exceptional turning works, including creating patterns along with other beautiful designs on wooden workpieces, go for the best wood lathes. These power tools have a dedicatedly-engineered system to carry out anything related to woodturning. 

But what of the best wood lathes for beginners? When it comes to power tools, it might not be best to recommend professional-grade ones to beginners. Beginners need more user-friendly machines since they have no prior experience. 

Ease of use should also accompany a durable build, reliable power, and changeable speeds. Here is my review of the best wood lathes for beginners to help you decide!

My Top Pick: Nova Comet II 

This incredibly efficient tool from Teknatool is my top pick for the best wood lathes for beginners. Why? It delivers premier performance and comes equipped with top-quality features. It not only includes a potent motor that will work fast and efficiently, but it also has a sturdy build that can endure abuse in the workshop or job site. 

Want to know more? Here is my in-depth review of the Nova Comet II Bench Lathe:


Weight: 77.2 lbs.

Voltage: 110V

Length between centers: 16.5 In.

Horsepower: 3/4 hp

Speed range: 250 to 4,000 RPM

What I Like 

  • It is portable at 77.2 lbs.

  • The variable speeds make it handy in different situations 

  • It is customizable due to its handy accessories and extendable capacity

  • Easy-to-use speed options

  • It lets you go forward and backward for a top-quality finish

  • It includes a 2-year warranty

What I Don’t like

  • It doesn't come with extendable accessories. 

Key Features 

Variable Speed 

The speed range is among the few features you should look for in a wood lathe. A good lathe comes with a passable speed range coupled with a generous number of adjustable speeds. 

With that in mind, the Nova Comet II has a speed range of 250 to 4000 RPM. Additionally, it features a 3-step pulley mechanism that gives room for three speeds (low, mid, and high), making it possible for you to change the speed depending on the project you're working on. 

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The Nova Comet II lathe is a 12 by 16.5 In. machine offering unmatched versatility and functionality. Its weight stands at 77.2 pounds, and with this, it's clear it's a compact and portable mini lathe, but it operates just as effectively as the large wood lathes. 

Next is the built-in powerful motor with a horsepower of 3/4 hp and variable speed. The reverse and forward feature gives you additional options for a smoother finish. You can work on a wide range of products on the 12In. swing bed, the 16.5 In. space between the centers and the 41In. space with the bed extension adapter. 

The sturdy composite guard features a swift entry latch for improved and faster access, while the on/off button is user-friendly and easily accessible. Moreover, this is an adjustable mini lathe; hence it boosts the turning process. Besides, the guard has a no-vault release for additional safety. 

Lastly is the motor, which sports a robust die-cast cover. By adding a few more accessories, I turned my already impressive Nova Comet II into a complete woodturning station. 

Swing Capacity

This mini lathe comes with a 12-inch swing amplitude on the bed, giving ample space for platters and bowls, while the 16.5-inch gap between the centers can handle many small spindle projects. To increase this space to 41 inches, I purchased the TK-47001 bed expansion adapter. 

When it comes to the spindle thread, the measurements stand at 1 x 8 inches, and the tailstock and headstock feature Morse II Tapers. Consider purchasing the Nova G3 chuck to get the most from this mini lathe.


The Nova Comet II Mini Lathe comes with a live center, drive center, four spindles, grinding wheel, wire wheel fixed to the bed extension, disk, and belt sanders. 

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Cost & Comparison

The Nova Comet II Lathe goes for $450 to $520, which is somewhat pricey for a beginner wood lathe. That said, it is worth every penny!

When it comes to other worthy competitors, for instance, the Jet JWL 1015s sells at $480 to $600 while the Laguna is the most expensive at $2700 to $2800. 

Worthy Competitors 

Jet JWL 1015 Wood Lathe 

The Jet JWL wood lathe is an excellent starting point for beginners. It includes numerous standard and user-friendly features which let anyone, regardless of skill level, utilize it. In addition, it comprises a durable construction that allows it to serve you for a long time. 

Further, the Jet JWL has a 1/2 hp motor, which is slightly less potent than the Comet's though they both have three speeds. The ranges are as follows:

  • 200 to 1050 RPM

  • 300 to 1750 RPM

  • 600 to 3600 RPM

And while these ranges aren't all that powerful, they're ideal for small projects and beginners. 

Regarding the design, this wood lathe has a 15.5-inch space between the centers, providing you the capacity to work with large workpieces. It also has 24-placement indexing, allowing you to place your workpiece into 24 varying placements for maximum productivity. 

This placement indexing facilitates utmost customization, and it even aids in enhancing the lathe's tensioning mechanism. Besides, the belts are easily accessible with the tensioning system, eventually offering additional control when utilizing this machine. 

Finally, this woodworking lathe features more expansive beds, which increase the lathe's firmness. This is handy when you're using wood of different sizes, and it makes this machine safer and more user-friendly. 

Laguna MLAREVO 1836 Lathe 

The Laguna is my last recommendation for the best wood lathes for beginners. While expensive, this lathe will take all your woodturning troubles away. Its bed is made of stainless steel, offering a smooth rail for the headstock to move effortlessly. This reduces wear & tear, which may reduce this tool's lifespan. 

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Furthermore, this tool has a variable speed button that can turn the 1-phase output to 3 outputs, surging its efficacy. The two range speeds comprise 135 to 3500 RPM and 50 to 1300 RPM for the low rate. This is slightly less than Nova's 4000 RPM, but it'll do. 

Also, the Laguna MLAREVO is rather huge, with the distance between centers standing at 36 inches. This makes it the largest wood lathe in the write-up. It allows you to use materials of different lengths. It also uses a spindle lock with an optimum outboard swing of 32 inches for maximum firmness and flexibility. 

Why Buy the Nova Comet II Mini Lathe?

With these three wood lathes, It's clear they all have something to offer beginners. But the Nova Comet II is my top pick because, first, it is user-friendly. This means that even though you've never used a wood lathe before, you'll quickly understand how to utilize the Nova Comet II thanks to the easy-to-understand functions. 

Second, it is incredibly versatile, so you can effortlessly make wonderful creations. The variable speeds allow you to work with different types of wood, while the spacious bed lets you turn different-sized objects. Also, it is compact; hence you needn't worry about space. 

Clearly, it has all the essential features you'll need for your woodturning projects, regardless of your skill level. However, an amateur may enjoy using this magnificent beast much more than an advanced woodworker.

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