A metal lathe is a machine that is used to shape the metal into the desired form. It can be used for different applications such as woodworking, machining, and sculpture. There are many types of lathes including horizontal, vertical, and turret lathes.

In this article, we will review nine of the best small metal lathes for consumer use. This blog post reviews what you need to know about purchasing a small-sized metal lathe from various brands on the market today so you can find out which one would work best for your needs.

Top 7 Small Metal Lathes Comparison Table

ImageNameSpindle SpeedMotorRating (1-5)
1. BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe 7" x 14"0-2500 RPM3/4 HP3.9
2. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch0-2500 RPM3/4 HP4.2
3. Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe0-2500 RPM1/2 HP3.6
4. CO-Z 1100W Mini Benchtop Metal Lathe50-2250 RPM 1-1/2 HP4.6
5. BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe 8x16”50-2500 RPM1/2 HP3.7
6. VEVOR Mini Metal Lathe 8.7"x16"50-2250 RPM1/2 HP5
7. Mophorn 7x12 Upgraded Version Metal Lathe50-2500 RPM1/2 HP3.3

Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Small Metal Lathe

Functionality

This is an important factor to consider when looking for the best small metal lathe. You must be aware that every brand out there will try and tell you that the products they are offering are the best in the market.

However, you need to know that you are the only person who understands the needs of your project in the best way. You need to get a small metal lathe machine that is versatile and can work with different metal types as well as other materials.

Ease of Use

Metal lathes come with several features to increase their efficiency. However, while some designs and features may be appropriate for experts, you should be careful while getting lathes with complex features especially if you are a beginner.

Go for a metal lathe that comes with user-friendly features and design. It is also important to buy a metal lathe machine that comes with a user manual. It helps you a lot while setting up the machine.

Budget

Before buying the best small metal lathe machine, you should check your budget. You should go for a metal lathe that is within your budget. There are models especially the garage models that have features relevant to domestic or home workshop usage.

Industrial lathes on the other hand are quite expensive because they have fabricating capabilities and advanced features. Make sure that you go for a small metal lathe machine that is within your budget.

Distance between Centers (DBC) and Swing over Distance

Swing over distance (SOD) is an important factor to consider when buying the best small metal lathe machine. The SOD is the maximum diameter of the workpiece that a metal lathe machine can handle.

On the other hand, DBC is the greatest length of material that the machine can handle while running. If the projects you are working on require you to work on large products, you should go for a metal lathe machine that with good DBC and SOD lengths.

If you are buying a small metal lathe for domestic use, it can have average to small DBC and SOD lengths.

Size of Your Work-Space

This is an important factor to consider when buying the best small metal lathe machines. Well, metal lathes are not easy to move around. Even the cheapest lathes designed for home use are heavily packed.

What this means is that moving lathes around in your workplace is not ideal. Before you go ahead and bring on board a carriage tooling device, you need to consider your working space area and the general environment.

Warranty

Before you go ahead and choose the best small metal lathes, you need to consider their warranty. Metal lathes are quite expensive and therefore a warranty will come in handy. The best thing to do is go for a small lathe machine that comes with a warranty.

Additional Features/ Accessories

Regarding the preferred usage or purpose of the small lathe machine, it is advisable to check on whether the lathe comes with some extra features or accessories. Some come with stands to hold it in place and also offer additional storage space.

Others are more advanced and come with additional speed ranges and lever controls. Make sure the small metal lathe you chose comes with some important accessories.

Customer Service

A lathe is a heavy-duty machine that requires regular maintenance. You wouldn’t like to buy a machine whose spares are hard to come by or whose manufacturer doesn’t have several servicing centers in different areas.

You need to look into things such as brand presence over the internet because you may need to regularly contact the manufacturer. You need to counter-check on how responsive a lathe manufacturer is away before you buy the machine.

Top 3 Best Small Metal Lathe Reviews

1. BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe

The BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe is made of high-grade iron. It is equipped with nylon gears and won’t wear out with ease. It comes with a powerful 550W motor. It also comes with a full-length splashguard that makes sure the user is guarded properly.

Another incredible thing about this small metal lathe is that it operates at variable speeds from 0-2500 RPM. You can forward and reverse at various speeds. You can operate it manually or with an adjustable auto-feed.

The accuracy and handiness of the v-slideways are obtained raw material, grinding, and heat hardening. It also has an emergency button for safety purposes.

This small metal lathe features a 3-jaw self-centering chuck that allows the user to set cylindrical materials steadily. There is also a backsplash guard included. Its spindle is supported by precision tapered roller bearings that enhance the spindle accuracy of about 0.01 millimeters.

The good thing about this small metal lathe is that it comes with a quick change tool post that enables you to attain ideal positions of internal cutting by simply changing the compound rest and altering the tool post angle.

It also features a professional cross slide that is designed with abrasive resistance allowing blades to move freely with the feed rod. Being driven by direct current motors, this small metal lathe can be used to cut different areas such as modeling works, ample processing, and precision parts processing.

Pros
  • It is durable
  • It can run at variable speeds
  • It can be used in a variety of applications
Cons
  • It requires a lot of adjustment to make it usable

2. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

The Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe is one of the best small metal lathe machines available. The good thing about this machine is that it can handle different activities from small to medium workloads. This small metal lathe will help you harness your metalworking skills.

Setting it up is quite easy because it doesn’t occupy too much space. It may be petite in size but it serves its purpose just right.

It features a 20mm spindle bore, a 2-1/2-inch tailstock, and a 2.75-inch cross slide travel. This small metal lathe thread ranges between twelve and fifty-two TPI and that’s a pretty decent number.

It also has a threatening dial director and a handwheel graduations for the convenience of the user. Both of these are in metric and imperial format.

The metal lathe is made of an excellent and sturdy design. It is made in a way that the vibrations through the spindle are minimized. It allows you to have more control and it can run at variable speeds as well. This is an ideal metal lathe for those beginning their metalworking journey.

Pros
  • It can operate at variable speeds
  • It is sturdy and durable
  • It can fit in a variety of applications
Cons
  • Learning how to use it is a little hard

3. Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe

The Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe is one of the best small metal lathes available on the market. It comes with internal and external chuck jaws and some other major components that play a vital role in its operation.

You will also have a user manual and eleven gears that are of feed rates. It can turn, cut and drill metals effectively as well as other materials with perfection. It can run at variable speeds and will take your metalworking skills to a whole new level.

It comes with a powerful motor of around 2500 RPM and can rotate on either side. It also features a thread indicator that helps users effectively turn the threads of the screws anywhere from twelve to fifty-two TPI. It has both imperial and metric.

Pros
  • It is durable
  • It can run at variable speeds
  • It features a powerful motor
Cons
  • The spindle tolerance is questionable

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Mini Lathe Turn Steel?

Yes, it can. A mini lathe can turn most metals including steel and stainless steel, brass, and aluminum as well. What you must pay attention to is that when you are dealing with harder metals such as steel with larger diameters, you need to make smaller cuts.

What Size Metal Lathe Should I Get?

Most people work with smaller pieces and you will commonly find people using a three-inch by fifteen-inch metal lathe. There is also the medium-sized one that measures 6 inches by 30 inches that is ideal for home use.

What is Considered a Mini Lathe?

A mini lathe is any metal lathe that has a twenty-inch or less capacity between centers and 12-inch or less swing (this is simply the diameter workpiece you can turn on the lathe).

The lathe typically comes with a motor that produces a half HP. It also comes with bed extensions that enable the user to turn longer spindles with ease.

What Can You Do With a Mini Metal Lathe?

There are many things you can do with a mini metal lathe. You can use it to make metal musical instruments, making barrels of guns, making screws, and do many other activities.

The good thing is that it will carry out all these functions and ensure that they are of the right size. For you to undertake a perfect metal-working project, you need to have a mini metal lathe with you.

Why are Mini Lathes so Expensive?

A mini lathe is quite an expensive investment. The reason behind their high cost is because they are made of cast iron bodies, their motors are other parts of the machine makes it quite costly to produce.

The process of making the parts of a mini lathe machine is labor-intensive and the finishing and calibrating of the final assembled lathe will add to the overall cost of the equipment. That is why a mini lathe is quite expensive.

What is the Smallest Lathe You Can Buy?

The smallest lathe was made in a research lab at the mechanical engineering laboratory of Japan’s ministry of economy, industry, and trade. It measures 32mm long, 25mm wide, and 30.5mm high. This mini lathe weighs around 100 grams.

What Can I Turn on a Mini Lathe?

A mini lathe can be used to turn many materials. Materials such as Delrin, wax, plastics, steel and aluminum, and many more can be used on a lathe machine. One key thing to note is that the different materials used must be within the size limitations of the machine.

The materials that you decide to use will also affect the different aspects of manufacturing like the rotating speed of the lathe machine. So you can see that a mini lathe machine can be used in a variety of applications.

Are Mini Lathes Dangerous?

Though small in size, a min lathe machine can compromise your safety if you do not use it appropriately. If your clothes get entangled in the moving parts of the machine, it may result in an injury. To be completely safe, ensure that you follow the instructions properly and follow the instructions.

What Should a Beginner Lathe Make?

You can make metal rings, metal mallets/hammers. These are great products to make for a beginner lathe machine operator.

Should You Wear Gloves When Using a Lathe?

No, you shouldn’t. They may get entangled in the moving parts of the lathe machine and that can result in injury. 

Final Thoughts

From this discussion, it is clear that a mini metal lathe machine can be used to carry out many metal-working projects. The factors you need to consider when choosing the best mini lathe machine are also highlighted perfectly.

If you are looking for the best small metal lathe, consider the ones we have reviewed in this article. You will get value for your money and take your metal-working skills to a new level.