Just like any skill, when it comes to metal work, you need some essential tools to ensure that you will succeed. In metal work, one important piece of equipment that you need on your side is a metal lathe. But, as well as a regular metal lathe, you should also consider investing in a mini metal lathe. Especially if you are someone who regularly completes metal work with smaller pieces of material.
With a skill like metal work, it is not only important to have tools on your side, but it is also important to have good tools on your side. However, finding good tools is actually a lot harder than you might expect it to be. And finding a good mini metal lathe is even more difficult.
But there’s no need to worry. In this ultimate guide, we’re giving you 10 of the best mini metal lathes on the market to choose from. So with no further ado, let’s jump right in.
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite mini metal lathe on the market is the Grizzly G8688. This is a wonderful option because it is great value for money and even comes with additional accessories included.
With a chip tray and backsplash included in the price, this lathe is safer and cleaner to use, making it the perfect choice for a home workshop. Additionally, it has the ability to go forward and reverse at all speeds, and even has a threading dial indicator. It is a combination of all these things that make it the best choice on the market.
- Forward and reverse - You can use this mini metal lathe to go forward and reverse at all speeds, making it perfect for any job.
- Chip tray and backsplash included - In terms of additional accessories, this lathe comes with a chip tray and backsplash to make the process easier and cleaner.
- Threading dial indicator - Track the revolutions of the lead screw that you are using when threading on your mini metal lathe.
- It Takes Practice - This machine is unique, and because of this it takes a little while to adjust to using this mini metal lathe.
We also love the Jectse mini lathe tool. This is a high turning tool, which is excellent because it provides ample support for the metal that you are using in the lathe. It also comes with a belt protection cover, which keeps your mini lathe protected every time that you use it.
This is very important when you consider the price that you are paying for the lathe. With this and an incredibly powerful motor, you will get lots of use out of this lathe, and that is why we love it so much.
- Max motor power of 60W - The top end of this mini lathe’s motor power is very high, meaning no task will be too big for this tool.
- High turning tool - Ensures a soft process, with no stress or pressure placed on the material that you are turning.
- Belt protection cover - Covers the belt of the mini lathe to ensure that it is protected at all times when you are using this machine.
- Best for learning - As you gain experience, this lathe will become unsuitable, but it is perfect for beginners at metal work.
Another great choice is the Eastwood Benchtop Mini metal lathe. This lathe is designed for home workshops, so it is perfect if this is what you were hoping to do with it.
Additionally, it has selectable gear options, as well as auto-feed ability, allowing you to switch between the different modes as and when necessary. With this, and the fact that it promises additional precision because of the included 3 jaw chucks set, it is clear this is one of the best options on the market.
- Designed for home workshop - This mini metal lathe was designed with homemade lathes in mind, so its size and weight is perfect for this purpose.
- 3 Jaw Chuck Set included - Never worry about your materials moving out of place as this set comes with the tools to hold everything right in place.
- Auto-feed and selectable gear options - Switch between the different modes on this mini lathe to find the options that work for you.
- Toolholder isn’t the best - Some customers choose to upgrade the toolholder on this lathe for something better suited to the job.
You should also consider the Mophorn Metal Lathe. This is different to the other models that we have looked at so far because it comes with a professional compound rest for higher comfort, and more precision.
Just like some of the other models we have looked at, it has a variable speed range between 50 and 2250 RPM in both forward and reverse. It is also incredibly versatile, perfect for sample processing, model works and mini precision parts. So, this is a great mini metal lathe to consider.
- Professional compound rest - Easily adjust the hand rest of this lathe so that you can complete different tasks and remain comfortable.
- Variable speed options - Adjust the speed between 50 and 2250 RPM in both forward and reverse for different tasks.
- Highly versatile - This lathe is suitable for mini precision parts, sample processing and model works, so it is very versatile.
- Cheap Design - This lathe is affordable, and it is great for the job, but its cheap design means that it is unlikely to last.
Additionally, you should think about choosing the BestEquip Metal Lathe. This lathe has a sturdy metal build of high grade iron which will last for years to come.
It also comes with a variety of safety features to ensure that you are completely safe every single time that you use this lathe. With this, plus the fact that it comes with a 3 jaw chuck for ultimate accuracy, there’s no denying that this is one of the best mini metal lathes currently available.
- Sturdy metal build - This lathe is made with high grade iron and other sturdy materials to ensure that it will last, and you will get value for your money.
- Highly accurate - It comes with a 3 jaw chuck that will hold materials in place, ensuring a perfect finish when you use this lathe.
- Safety precautions included - Includes an emergency stop button so that you can shut down the machine immediately if anything goes wrong.
- Unsuitable for intense workshops - This lathe is only built for irregular use, it is not built to be used 24/7, so it is not suitable for work purposes.
We also love the Erie Tools benchtop mini metal lathe. Just like the lathes that we have looked at so far, this is an excellent option for lots of different reasons. It has a variable speed motor which can be adjusted all the way up to 2500 RPM.
Additionally, it has a thread indicator to allow you to track progress throughout. Also, included in your money, you will get a variety of additional accessories that will make the task easier. So, this is definitely a mini metal lathe to consider.
- Thread indicator included - Easily track the revolutions of the lead screw throughout the process using this built in indicator.
- Variable speed motor - Easily adjust the speed of this mini lathe all the way up to 2500 RPM in both directions.
- Additional accessories included - Comes with additional accessories including internal/external chuck jaws, feed rate gears, and a carbide-tipped cutter kit.
- Only works for small projects - This lathe is completely unsuitable for large projects, so don’t buy it if this is what you are looking to do.
You should also think about the TECHTONGDA inch thread metal lathe. This is similar to the others that we have looked at, in terms of variable speed and maximum speed. It is also fairly similar as it comes with a variety of safety precautions to ensure you can shut down this machine should an emergency occur.
But, this model is different because it has a brushless motor, which makes completing the maintenance on this lathe a lot easier than the other models we have looked at. This is why we think it is one of the best options available.
- Variable speed - Adjust speed anywhere between 50 and 2500 RPM depending on whatever project you are planning on doing.
- Safety precautions included - Includes an overload protection device, and an emergency stop switch so that you can easily shut down this machine in an emergency.
- Brushless motor - This model is upgraded to a brushless motor to save you the hassle of changing the brush on your mini metal lathe.
- Only suitable for home use - Again, this metal lathe is not suitable for large projects, it should only be used for small tasks completed at home.
If you want a versatile lathe that you can use for other DIY projects, you should consider buying this Iglobalbuy mini metal lathe. This lathe has a low price point, but it is actually a 6 in 1 tool that can be used as a grinder, driller, wood lathe, miller, and sawing machine too. So, you really are getting value for your money.
It also has a very solid build, which ensures that it will last for lots of DIY projects. So, you should definitely consider this if you have a limited budget and want a tool that can do lots of different jobs.
- 6 in 1 Tool - It can be used as a mini metal lathe, but also as a grinder, driller, wood lathe, miller, and sawing machine.
- Perfect for DIY tasks - The best machine for model makers, DIY fans, and those who are new to metal work.
- Solid build - This machine is built with an aluminum base and a plastic shell to ensure that it lasts.
- You get what you pay for - This mini lathe is definitely a budget option, so you shouldn’t expect wonders from it.
Another brilliant option is the VEVOR mini metal lathe. This lathe has a durable build of cast iron, and is extremely precise as it has a built-in external/internal 3 jaw chucks to ensure that the materials do not move during the process.
Due to this addition to its design, this lathe is also extremely fast and effective. So no matter what project you are completing, this is a tool which you want to have on your side.
- Durable build - This machine is built with high-quality cast iron which will not wear and tear, and will not break for a long time.
- Extremely Precise - Includes a 3 jaw chuck to ensure extreme precision every time you use this tool.
- Fast and Effective - With variable speeds and a unique design, this machine is incredibly efficient.
- Expensive Choice - This lathe is expensive, but it comes with lots of additional accessories that are included in this price.
Finally, you should consider the CO-Z mini bench top metal lathe. This is one of the most expensive models that we have looked at, but it is definitely worth the money. This model has an incredibly powerful motor, which ensures that this lathe can tackle pretty much any metal project.
It also comes with a variety of added features that have been included to support you throughout the process. If that wasn’t enough, this lathe also comes with safety features to protect you, so it is definitely worth your money.
- Powerful Motor - This machine has an incredibly powerful motor, which makes it perfect for a variety of metal projects.
- Supportive - Every single aspect of this lathe is designed to support those who are just beginning with metal work.
- Protects You - Includes safety features, such as a backsplash guard, to protect you when using this device.
- Expensive Option - This is one of the priciest lathes that we have looked at, but you get excellent value for money.
Best Mini Metal Lathes Buying Guide
The mini metal lathes that we have looked at above are some of the best options on the market. But, it is likely that you still want to learn more about these devices. If this is the case, keep on reading because we’ve put together this quick buyer’s guide to help you.
Size of your Work Area
If you are considering buying a mini metal lathe, then one of the first things that you need to consider is the size of your work area. This is probably an important factor if you are looking for a mini metal lathe, because it is likely that you are limited on space.
But physical size, in terms of width and length, isn’t the only thing you need to consider when thinking about the size of your working area. There is one other thing that will majorly affect the suitability of a mini lathe for your workspace, and that is weight.
Even smaller lathes tend to be very heavy, so it is important that you remember this. When you are buying a lathe, ensure that your work desk is suitable for the weight of your lathe. Don’t be misled by their small size, mini lathes are still rather heavy.
Something else that you need to consider is the warranty for your lathe. Lathes of any size are usually very expensive, so you want to ensure that your lathe is covered should anything go wrong with it.
Not all companies will offer warranty with their products, but most will. When you are shopping around for a mini lathe, you should try to search for a lathe that is excellent value, but also comes with great warranty.
When you are first buying something, it is easy to brush off a warranty as unimportant, simply because you expect that product to work. But, this doesn’t always happen. You will be spending a lot of money on the mini lathe that you choose to buy, so ensure that you are covering your back by purchasing a lathe with a good warranty policy.
No matter what you are buying, budget has to be one of the biggest factors that will impact your purchase. As we have mentioned, mini metal lathes tend to be rather expensive, so if you have a low budget, then you might be restricted in terms of the options that you have to choose from.
If you are looking for an affordable mini metal lathe, then your best choice is probably a garage model of mini lathe. These tend to be toward the lower end of the price scale, and because of this they are better suited for those who have a limited budget.
But, it is very important that you do not let your budget cause you to buy a bad mini metal lathe. Yes, your budget should influence what you buy, but you shouldn’t settle for a sub-par lathe because this is all your budget allows. If you do this, you will just end up spending more money on replacements.
So, if it comes down to it, it is probably best to save your money and wait to buy a good lathe, than to settle for a cheap one that clearly isn’t that great.
Additionally, your level of experience with using a mini metal lathe will also hugely impact which is the best option for you to buy. If you lack experience with these devices, then a mini lathe is actually the perfect place to begin, and this might actually be the reason you are looking for a mini metal lathe.
Generally speaking, mini metal lathes tend to be a lot less complex than regular metal lathes, and this is why it is a great starting place if you are a new metalworker. As machines get bigger, they tend to become more complex and difficult to use. So, if you lack experience, start off with a mini metal lathe.
Alternatively, you might be looking at a mini metal lathe because you are experienced with metal work but have limited work space, or only need to complete a small job. In this situation, you will be more than experienced enough to use a mini metal lathe, so there’s no need to worry.
Ease of Use
Finally, you need to consider the ease of use of the mini metal lathe that you are buying. Metal lathes are often very complex devices, and this can make them tricky to use. This definitely isn’t ideal if you are new to metal work.
If you are new to metal work, then a mini metal lathe is the perfect choice if you are looking for ease of use. As we said earlier, mini metal lathes are a lot less complex than larger lathes, which makes them the perfect option for beginners, and those who lack confidence in their abilities.
However, some mini metal lathes will be a lot more complex than others. So, if you are specifically looking for a lathe that is easy to use, we would recommend checking the user manual to check if the lathe is suitable for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a mini lathe?
If you are struggling to choose a mini lathe, we would always recommend starting out with research. We have given you a lot of information in the buyer’s guide above, and this is a great place to start.
Once you have a good understanding of mini metal lathes, you can then begin looking at the different makes and models available to compare them and figure out which option works best for you.
Why are mini lathes so expensive?
If you are in the market for a new mini metal lathe, then you probably will have been alarmed by the arguably extortionate prices for these devices. Most mini metal lathes are made with solid cast iron bodies, and this material is not cheap.
This partnered with the cost of building the lathe, and the other parts needed for it, is what causes mini metal lathes to be so expensive.
Can a mini lathe turn steel?
Yes, you absolutely can use your mini metal lathe to turn steel. In fact, there are very few types of metals that you can’t turn on a mini metal lathe. From brass to steel to aluminum to stainless steel, a mini metal lathe can work with all sorts of metal.
So, yes, a mini lathe can turn steel, and its abilities do not stop there.