Threading metal pieces is easier when you have the best small metal lathe. But with so many models available on the market, how to choose the best one? Metal lathes come in a wide range of styles and sizes. Some machines are engineered for metal working alone, while others can turn wood and plastic workpieces too.
Then, you must consider the overall resistance and robustness of the machine, its durability, and its value for money.
Here's a list of Best Small Metal Lathe
Best Small Metal Lathe
We know it’s not easy to make a choice unless you’re an expert, that’s why we put together this list of the most promising tools. Check it out below, but before, learn what features to look for when buying a metal lathe.
How to Choose the Best Metal Lathe
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before buying a small metal lathe is its speed. Threading and turning metal doesn’t require the same high speeds wood lathes are famous for, but you’ll still need a good amount of speed and power to shape your workpiece.
Speed is closely related to the power. Powerful motors are capable of spinning the wheels at higher speeds, and your options include machines that output as many as three horsepowers or more.
If you’re a beginner though, we recommend starting off with a less powerful machine of one horsepower or lower. Otherwise, you might find it difficult to master it.
The most important component of a lathe is its chuck or chucks if it has more than one. The chucks are the parts that will keep your workpiece firm while turning it, so it’s essential to pick a machine with three-jaw chucks that can grip and hold firmly pieces of all materials.
Turning metal requires power and stability, that’s why you need a heavy machine. The average size of a metal lathe varies from around 80 to 500 pounds, so there are many options to choose from. The best small metal lathes are made from cast iron, although aluminum is another great choice. Before buying, don’t forget to check the workbench too. Make sure the surface is robust enough to withstand the machine’s load, or invest in a separate stand.
You must also check the design of the machine, considering above all its ease of use. The control panel must be easily accessible and intuitive, and so must be the on/off switch. Safety features must include an overload break.
Sometimes, you might want to use your small metal lathe to turn other materials too. If that’s the case, invest in a machine compatible with both wood and plastic besides metal. Getting a versatile machine is a big plus especially for amateurs, who might want to test their skills on a variety of materials, not only on metals.
And now, let’s see which are the best small metal lathes on the market.
Top 5 Best Small Metal Lathes
1. Erie Tools Mini Metal Lathe
Undoubtedly the best small metal lathe on the market, the Erie Tools model boasts high adjustable speed that goes from 0 to 2,500 revolutions per minute. A wide range of accessories ensures suitability for a wide range of projects, from turning wood and plastic to threading metals.
Besides the lathe itself, the box includes a five-piece carbide tipped cutter kit, an internal and external chuck and chuck key, 11 feed rate gears, and a comprehensive user manual. Thanks to all these accessories, the lathe is perfect for beginners and experienced users alike.
Designed for precision drilling, cutting, and turning of a variety of materials, this lathe is undoubtedly one to consider for your workshop. It comes with a variety of accessories and boasts a thread indicator feature which allows screwing threads between 12 to 52 TPI. Then, the dual rotational direction allows making left-handed threads.
Erie Tools Mini Metal lathe Video Review
Dual Operation Mode
Designed with both beginners and experienced users in mind, the WEN 3455 boasts a dual operation mode that allows turning the pieces either manually or automatically. The adjustable auto feed rate is easy to use and allows setting it to your needs.
The main feature to look for in a lathe is its speed. This one comes with a variable speed control which allows turning in either direction from 100 to 2,500 revolutions per minute. Just what it takes for working with most materials, including wood and plastic besides a variety of softer or harder metals.
A tad less powerful yet still a reliable mini metal lathe, the WEN 3455 is perfect for those shopping on a budget. It allows a wide variety of threading and permits working with other materials too. The universal base also allows for compatibility with most metal lathes on the market, for a more than convenient operation.
WEN 3455 Metal lathe Video Review
3. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe
Dual Variable Speed
If you’re looking for a professional metal lathe ready to stand by your side no matter what you’re throwing at it, then you’re going to like the Grizzly G8688. This mini metal lathe comes with a dual variable speed control which allows you to choose from a low range between 0 and 1,100 revolutions per minute or a high range from 0 to 2,500 revolutions per minute.
Forward and Reverse
Ideal for threading and not only, but this machine is also designed to turn in either direction allowing forward and reverse operation at all speeds. This not only ensures versatility but allows you to turn a variety of workpieces made from metal or other materials.
Designed for amateur use but withstanding professional demands, this metal lathe brings versatility thanks to its incredible capabilities. It has two variable speed ranges, a metric dial, and a bunch of other accessories that make using this lathe a breeze. What else could you wish from a mid-range unit?
Grizzly G8688 Metal Lathe Video Review
4. BestEquip Metal Lathe
Another mini metal lathe ideal for both hobbyists and professionals, the BestEquip machine boasts a powerful motor capable of outputting 750 watts. Combined with a wide spindle speed range, you’ll be able to use this lathe for a wide variety of purposes. The speeds vary from 50 to 1,250 revolutions per minute on low and from 100 to 2,500 revolutions per minute on high setting.
This mini metal lathe is ideal for a wide variety of purposes. Equipped with all metal gears and built-in wear-resistant materials, you can use this workshop equipment for mini precision parts processing, modeling works, or sample processing.
Ideal for most projects and capable of turning much more than metal, this lathe is perfect for most workshops. Whether you’re a hobbyist or beginner, this lathe will undoubtedly bring all you need. However, quality comes at a price, so expect to spend some bucks if you want to enjoy all this versatility.
5. Shop Fox M1015
Convenient Control Panel
Designed with the beginners in mind, the Shop Fox M1015 comes with an easily accessible and intuitive control panel that contains a variety of functions for straightforward lathe operation. You will also be able to choose between manual and automatic feed control, so you can easily adjust the settings to your needs or level of expertise.
Perfect for thread cutting and suitable for a variety of other operations, this metal lathe has the ability to cut between 16 and 24 threads per inch in either direction. A speed up to 2,000 revolutions per minute ensures suitability for most applications, while a gear ratio threading chart helps determine which gear to use to achieve the desired results.
Designed for precision threading in most metals, easy to use and coming at a convenient price, this mini metal lathe is perfect for most beginners and DIYers. It easily fits even in a smaller workshop and comes equipped with a powerful motor that will last for the years to come. Just what you need from a best-value machine.
Shop Fox Metal Lathe M1015 Video Review
A mini metal lathe is an essential tool in a workshop. Whether you want to thread workpieces or turn metals and other materials, this machine brings all the versatility you need. Finding the best though is not always easy. There are various things to consider, from budget to capabilities. All the models featured in this list address both professionals and amateurs, and now you know which are some of the best small metal lathes on the market. All you need to do is pick the right one for you.