5 Best Full-Size Wood Lathe [Most Affordable]

best full size wood lathe

A full-size lathe can tackle any turning task form pen turning to large bowls

And the main features of the best full-size lathe are a powerful motor, a large bed, and variable speed control. One such full-size lathe that provides value for your money is Jet JWL-1640EVS.

We have compiled some of the best full-size wood lathes for the money and a handy guide on purchasing the best one. Let’s check them out -

  1. 1
    The best - Jet JWL-1640EVS
  2. 2
  3. 3
    Best for the money - Nova 1624
  4. 4
    Best for hobbyist - Jet JWL-1440VSK
  5. 5
EDITORS CHOICE
1. Jet JWL-1640EVS
Why it's our top pick:
  • ​Affordable
  • Infinitely variable speed from 40 to 3,200 RPMs
  • Sliding headstock
  • Well-built and sturdy

Full Size Lathes 

Bed Size

Power

Speed

Price

2. Powermatic 1352001

20*35"

2HP/220 V

-

3. Nova 1624

16*24"

1.5 HP, AC

215 – 3600 rpm

4. Jet JWL-1440VSK

14*40"

1 HP

400-3000 RPM

5. Shop Fox W1758

19*48"

2 HP/ 110 V

600 - 2400 RPM

Beyond Lathes...


5 Best Affordable Full Size Lathes (Quick Reviews)

1. Jet JWL-1640EVS - The Best 

Our Thoughts

A full-size lathe made with attention to the tiniest of details. This lathe incorporates some little aspects that make a world of difference when turning wood. 

Without much ado, we present to you the best full-size lathe for 2020: the Jet 719500.

Listen to music while you turn wood

1.5 hp DC motor, 120V.

What does this mean for you?

This lathe runs so smoothly and quietly that you can listen to your favorite playlist while you work.

Wait, there’s more:

You can also vary the speed of the lathe infinitely from 40 to 3,200 RPMs. And it's the quietest at its fastest.

Durability at its best

One particular thing we loved about this full-size lathe is its ability to stand the test of time and the agents of wear and tear.

It’s sturdy, well-built, and likely to outlive many other tools in your workshop.

Some of the features that make the Jet 719500 full-size lathe a force to reckon with include:

  • A sliding headstock for maximum versatility

  • Heavy, solid, and tight tool rest tighteners

  • Side mount tool holder

  • Newly-designed headstock locking handle

  • Sliding headstock

Convenience is on the table

One benefit that gives this lathe an edge over the others in this list (and the main reason why it tops the list) is how convenient it is to use.

This lathe was manufactured with the strictest attention to detail we’ve ever seen in a lathe. 

Acme threads on tailstock for smoothness and durability; anti-rotation key on quill locking mechanism; extended spindle nose; and a locking wedge system for the tool post are some of the stand-out features that make it blissful to use this lathe.

A short faceplate?

This lathe includes a welcome addition of a reversible three-inch faceplate. 

While this faceplate is useful, larger projects require a longer one. How we wish it was at least six inches long.

  • Sliding headstock
  • Has infinitely variable speed
  • Features a spindle lock and has a digital scale
  • Has a three-inch reversible faceplate
  • Spindle nose is extended
  • Could use a longer reversible faceplate
  • Not friendly to the GFI breaker.

2. Powermatic 1352001 - High End 

Our Thoughts

Can possibly be the last lathe you ever buy. It may put a nice dent in your wallet but it will be totally worth it.

The Powermatic 1352001 full-size lathe: reliability meets advanced technology.

This full-size lathe from Powermatic warmed our hearts since it’s made with advanced technology and boasts of some critical features that make woodturning a great experience.

Powerful motor that gets any woodturning job done

 A two-horsepower, 220-volt, 6.2-amp, motor.

Any idea what this means?

This powerful motor will work on just about any woodturning job under the sun with great efficiency.

Rigid and stable cast iron monster

I call it a woodturning monster for some reason.

First, it’s heavy, rigid, and made of solid cast iron. This means that it’s vibration-free, quiet and smooth.

This beast has a reputation of getting any job done thanks to the following features:

  • Heavy-duty cast iron

  • Spindle lock

  • RPM digital readout

  • Electronic variable speed control

Great tech support and amazing customer care

Powermatic backs up a woodturning beast with great tech support and customer care.

Having problems setting it up?

A quick call to tech support and you’ll get a detailed walkthrough.

You’ll need extra manpower setting it up

This Powermatic 3520B is heavy (682 pounds).

Unless you are the strongest man on earth, you will need some extra hands in lifting and assembling the lathe.

Susceptible to power surges

This lathe is susceptible to power spikes and could damage inverters.

  • RPM digital readout.
  • 2-horsepower variable speed motor
  • Sliding headstock
  • Redesigned tailstock with internal storage
  • Has a self-ejecting laser etched quill
  • Heavy and difficult to assemble on your own
  • Susceptible to power surges
    Could use a remote switch

3. Nova 1624 - Best For The Money

Our Thoughts

Powerful, easy to assemble lathe that saves on workshop space.


If you ignore the little annoyance manually adjusting the speed brings, you can have a powerful woodturning buddy to celebrate anniversaries upon anniversaries with.

A notable runner-up is the NOVA 1624. A nifty lathe that gives you the best value for your money.

360° Swivel head

You know what this means, don’t you?

You can now turn larger items comfortably and efficiently.

And as if that isn’t enough, the 360° swivel head helps you to save on space. 

It’s cast iron, baby

Most of you probably know this, but I am going to say it anyway:

The level of noise a lathe makes depends on the dominant material the lathe is made of.

And nothing silences a lathe better than cast iron.

Ease of assembly

Putting this lathe together straight out of the package is a piece of cake.

Novices may find it a little harder but that’s where the handy assembly manual comes in.

Value for money

What this lathe gives you and what you pay isn’t exactly proportionate.

I think you will get more than what you pay for.

A sturdy lathe with plenty of power

The 1.5 hp motor packs more than enough torque for any woodturning project.

Beginners and professionals alike will be impressed by the lathe’s sturdiness and power.

So, does this lathe have any drawbacks?

You bet!

Motor speed has to be adjusted manually

While this doesn’t give the lathe any structural or operational deficiencies, some woodturners may find it annoying.

Good news: 

It’s actually hassle-free to change the motor speed on this lathe without causing much of an inconvenience.

  • 8 variable speed ranges
  • Leg stand included
  • Full 360° swivel head
  • Sturdy and has plenty of power
  • Runs quietly and has a reverse switch
  • Motor speed has to be adjusted manually
  • Jiggling tailstock

4. Jet JWL-1440VSK - Best For Hobbyist

Our Thoughts

A beginner-friendly full-size lathe that can also make a professional happy. This lathe is a welcome addition to your workshop whether you’re a veteran or a beginner getting your feet wet. 

If you’re an ambitious woodturning newbie, then we’ve got just the right lathe for you.

A well-built, high-quality lathe

Let’s face it:

As a woodturning beginner, you want a full-size lathe that turns with less effort, less know-how, and a not-so-steep learning curve.

The Jet JWL 1440 is solid, well-built, has plenty of torque, and will allow you to learn woodturning on the job.

Runs quietly

If you’ve been following so far, you realize that one thing we love about the full-size lathes on this list is their smooth and quiet operation.

This beginner-friendly full-size lathe is no exception: its motor is relatively quiet 

Pivoting sliding headstock

One welcome addition to this lathe is its sliding headstock that pivots 360 degrees.

What does this mean?

Enhanced woodturning comfort and maximum variability.

Let’s open the closet now, shall we?

Lowest RPMs may not be enough

Some woodturning projects require way lower speeds.

For such projects, this lathe’s lowest speed (400 RPMs) may not cut it.

  • Sliding headstock that pivots 360 degrees.
  • Variable speed from 400 to 3000 RPMs
  • Tailstock has an anti-rotation quill locking mechanism
  • Plenty of power
  • Solid, smooth, and quiet
  • 400 RPMs may not be low enough
  • Extension bed is necessary for larger outboard turning
  • Speed knob may need some getting-used-to

5. Shop Fox W1758

Our Thoughts

Most beginner woodturners start the euphoric woodturning journey by turning a pen. And these carbide cutters from Savanh are ideal for beginner to get off to a flying start.

Our recommendations will never be complete without the Shop Fox W1758 full-size lathe that’ll give you value for your money. 

So, what makes this lathe an awesome addition to your workshop?

Let’s find out.

Focus on outboard turning

This lathe puts quite an emphasis on outboard turning.

How?

By the use of the tool rest extension, swivel head, six-inch faceplate, and 0 to 180 degrees rotation.

Easy of assembly

Setting this lathe up and getting to turning is probably the easiest thing you can do around the workshop. 

Even beginners will find setting the Shop Fox W1758 to be a breeze.

Zero Vibration

One good thing about heavy and sturdy lathes made from cast iron is how pacific they can be.

This lathe is no exception. It runs smoothly and quietly but still gets the job done.

Paint may chip easily

If you’re obsessed with aesthetics, then this lathe may disappoint you.

The paint is powder-coated and may chip easily.

Lowest RPM may not be slow enough

The motor’s lowest speed (600 RPMs) may not be slow enough for some projects or for finishing and sanding.

  • Heavy-duty and solid
  • Digital RPM readout
  • Variable speed
  • The bed has a cal action clamping system
  • Lowest RPM may not be slow enough.
  • Short quill.
  • Play in the tool rest arm

What you need to know before buying a full-size wood lathe and how to choose the best one

OK, I know what you are thinking…

“I’ve found the perfect full-size lathe and I’m just going ahead to purchase it.”

Before you do that, however, you may want to know a few things. 

A full-size lathe may be the most significant investment you can make in your workshop and I want you to do it right.

Here are some basics to consider when buying a new lathe:

How to choose a full-size lathe

One rule of thumb when buying a lathe is to consider the size of objects you’ll be turning. Most turners start small and end up falling in love with the craft.

It, therefore, makes economic sense to buy a full-size lathe from the get-go since you may outgrow smaller lathe sizes sooner than you expect.

So, how do you settle on a full-size lathe?

1. Consider the size of your workshop space

Most of the lathes we’ve discussed here are bulky and will take up lots of space in your workshop. 

So before pulling out your wallet, consider if you have enough space for the lathe. You can measure the available space then compare it with the lathe size.

2. Your level of expertise

A newbie’s lathe is sometimes different from a veteran’s.

If you’re new to woodturning, you can still get a full-size beginner-friendly lathe that’ll help you learn the ropes.

Most people advance quickly and if they purchase a mini lathe, they become limited in the size of items they can turn.

Newsflash: there are decent full-size lathes that are tailored for beginners and veterans alike.

Benefits of having a full-size lathe

If you’ve been turning wood for a while, you’ve probably heard this expression: 

You can turn small things on full-size lathes, but you can’t turn big things on small size lathes.

That’s the first advantage of owning a full-size lathe. 

Another good thing about full-size lathes is that they are heavy, sturdy, well-built, and solid. And most are made of cast iron. This eliminates unnecessary vibrations and makes them run smoothly and quietly.

Full-size lathes are also considered a once-in-a-lifetime investment. Your lathe preferences may change but you can’t outgrow a full-size lathe.

The best way to use a full-size lathe

A lathe is as effective and safe as its correct use.  

Most full-size lathes are heavy and once they get to your garage, you may need extra help setting them up.

Assembling the lathe may be quite a hassle with some models but it’s a breeze with others. Remember to check if the lathe has a manual with assembling instructions.

Some of the steps to follow when using a lathe are:

  • Identify its main components, i.e., motor, headstock and tailstock, bed, tool rest, variable speed controls, among others.

  • Before you start turning, make sure you can easily and safely reach the switch in case you need to turn the lathe off abruptly.

  • Use strong and sharp High-Speed Steel woodturning tools.

  • Always ensure that loose items like clothing are kept away from the lathe at all times to avoid injury.

So, it all adds up to this:

Clearly, the best full-size lathe for 2020 is Jet 719500.

With infinitely variable speed, reverse sanding and indexing ability, the Jet 719500 is a force to reckon with and definitely an awesome addition to your workshop.

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