What is the best "bang for the buck" in lathes?

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Forum topic by mazzy posted 02-03-2013 12:26 AM 9098 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 2821 days

02-03-2013 12:26 AM

I’m interested in getting into woodturning. I would like to turn bowls, pens, etc. I don’t have a lot of data about the art so would probably like a lathe that I could grow in to and could handle any projects out there.

I’m looking at a Jet 16” x 42” going for $2344.99. It seems pretty expensive. I’m sure that there are better choices. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


-- Mazzy, San Francisco Bay Area,

7 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2532 posts in 2376 days

#1 posted 02-03-2013 11:58 AM

Not much around in under $2500 price range with Electronic Variable Speed other than Jet 16-42 in 110V models. If have 220V service look at Rikon essentially same as Jet. Stay away from lathes with Asian Reeves drives except for HF starter lathe listed below. Of course might look at Delta, Jet, and Rikon mini lathes with bed extensions too.

RIKON Mod 70-300 will need 220V service, they go on sale or offer free shipping couple times a year.

GI 25-300M1 14×30-inch

if need less expensive look at reconditioned NOVA 1624-44 or DVR XP unless on sale will pay about the same for optional accessories. 1624-44 not EVS, move belts along pulley to change speeds, DVR has no belts.

HF 34706 starter lathe

I do not recommend Grizzly,Laguna, or Shop Fox reeves drive lathes because spare parts may be a problem. Not sure their EVS lathes much better mostly because of poor customer service.

-- Bill

View dean2336's profile


238 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 02-03-2013 09:39 PM

mazzy i have a shop fox 17-54 over the bed not sure how big you dare to turn if you rotate the power head have had it for two or three years now—-put about twenty to thirty hours a month on it—i have replaced the drive belt once—costumer service was great i had some damage when shipped—they replaced everything no problem and no waiting—-cost then was less than $700.00with free shipping—i have turned some monster pieces on it.check on azmon

-- dean2336,nebr.

View John Voloudakis's profile

John Voloudakis

12 posts in 2179 days

#3 posted 02-04-2013 06:15 AM


In that price range you might look at the Novas from Teknatool as well. A lot of people really like those. The DVR XP is sold through Woodcraft and is on sale a few times a year at a pretty substantial discount.

Before you buy anything, I strongly suggest you find your local turning club and talk to the members. They will likely have a variety of different lathes, and you will get some good advice. You may even be able to see and try out a few different models to help make up your mind. Our club often has used equipment for sale to members from other members. I picked up a used $5k lathe for $600 from the son of a member who died. Not saying you’ll get a deal like that, but you might be able to score something decent from someone who will likely have taken decent care of it. Some folks end up upgrading from mid-range models like the Jet you were looking at to Oneways, Robusts, etc., and you can get their old ones at a substantial discount.

Good luck,


View copcarcollector's profile


256 posts in 2358 days

#4 posted 02-04-2013 07:00 AM

I have the Grizzly G0733 Heavy Duty Wood Lathe 18” x 47”, $1845 delivered (USA)

I have used it very little so I cant comment about long term use or parts, etc. It did arrive with the tailstock quill and lead screw fused together, Grizzly sent replacement parts quickly.

I was originally going to get the Jet but was talked out of the Reeves drive and into electronic speed control. A similar size Jet with electronic speed control was a lot more money than the Grizzly.

If you buy a large lathe, be ready with the space to set it up, and a friend or two to help lift and assemble, or like me – use a forklift!

View Wildwood's profile


2532 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 02-04-2013 11:48 AM

Grizzly G0733 essentially same lathe as Laguna 18” x 47” lathe.

Actual user reviews say a lot about wood lathes and customer service. Majority of lathes sold today come from China and vendors do not always keep spare parts on hand for all models they sell.

-- Bill

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3889 days

#6 posted 02-04-2013 12:22 PM

Best “bang for the buck” is a used machine acquired from
a motivated seller or auction.

View mazzy's profile


56 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 02-04-2013 01:11 PM

Wow…thanks for all the replies. A lot of data to sift through. Probably the first thing I will do is to take a couple woodturning classes at Woodcraft. See if it something that I would like to pursue.

Thanks again for all of your time,

-- Mazzy, San Francisco Bay Area,

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