Best Metal Lathe – Reviews And Buying Guide 2018

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Grizzly

Bench Top

Erie Tools

Micro Metal Lathe

Shop Fox

Combo Metal Lathe

Are you having trouble finding the best metal lathe? With the countless choices available, it would be prudent to narrow down the list. We have done that bit for you, outlining various features of top picks in several categories that include mini lathes and bench top lathes.

As the only machine capable of reproducing itself, the best metal lathe can do unimaginable tasks. Nowadays, this machine is not just about creating threads, cylindrical shapes or spherical shapes. It is true that some lathes are even capable of winding springs and polishing metal items.

However, users are looking for a lathe that not only completes these tasks, but also does so superbly. This factor proves its worthiness when you want a part, but you cannot get it in the market or when a special order comes up.

Considering the confusion that defines the selection of a metal lathe (especially to the beginner), it is important to follow guidelines provided by experts. We can all agree that you could do a web search, but this will only offer a myriad of choices and opinions.

Our guide takes a step closer to your best metal lathe, as it based on careful research and analysis combined with years of experience. So be sure to check out the brief buying guide that follows these reviews.


Best Metal Lathe Reviews


 

Best Bench Top Metal Lathe

 

1. Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe, 10 x 22-Inch

Grizzly G0602

Number of longitudinal feeds: 9

To kick off this analysis is the Grizzly G0602, a definite member of the best metal lathes in the market today. Grizzly does not fail to feature whenever a count of the finest machines is made. Their sturdy and quality products are found in a wide variety of stores. Our fondness for their machines continues with this bench top metal lathe, which suits both newbie and experienced workers.

After searching and testing so many metal lathes, we can conclude that the Grizzly G0602 is among the best metal lathes for a beginner. Its combination of beastly power, loads of features and usability has endeared to a wide range of users.

Compared to other products meant for the same functions, this product looks distinctively different and anyone will immediately want to own it. It comes with interesting features such as 1-inch spindle bore, MT #4-spindle taper, nine longitudinal feeds and lead screw of 3/4″ to 12 TPI. With an MT#3 tailstock, there is no doubt you will be able to handle tough projects.

The Grizzly G0602 offers 26 metric threads and 33-inch threads, making it extremely effective on a wide range of metals. Metric threads range of 0.25 to 3.5mm and threads range of 8 to 72 TPI enhance the versatility even further. A 1 HP, single-phase motor offers the necessary power for the machine to utilize all this capability.

Equally important to note is that the Grizzly 10″ x 22″ Bench Top Metal Lathe carries a 6-speed gearbox that offers the following speeds: 150, 300, 560, 720, 1200 and 2400 RPM. This means that you can choose the exact speed for each material and application.

This product may have a slightly difficult speed changing and complex assembly, but it is generally easy to use. Some people have complained about the paint peeling off, but we think that a little repaint would do. The hardened V-bed means that you can throw anything to this machine and it remains intact.

Some of the other features that crown this machine are 5-inch three-jaw chuck, 8-inch face plate, hardened & ground v-way bed and 4-way tool post. The Chip Pan & Splash Guard enhances user convenience. If the lathe turns problematic in any way, you can always refer to the service tools in the provided toolbox or contact the dealer/manufacturer.


 

2. Mophorn Metal Lathe 8 x 16 Inch 

Mophorn

Motor Power: 750W; Spindle speed can be adjusted from 50 to 2500 RPM

Are you creating precision pieces? This precision Mini Lathe from Mophorn is excellent for such kind of work. Even if you have a small shop, the machine will fit without problem. It has a footprint of only 31-1/2″ x 10-1/2″, with the distance between centers being 15-3/4″ (400 mm). Most important, this machine has the capability to make the best bushings, prototypes and spindles.

The finishing on this tool is marvelous, especially on the chuck and spindle. It is also strong and sturdy, as evidenced in the hardened steel spindle. This spindle is designed to accommodate 3-jaw and 4-jaw chucks. Its diameter is three inches, so back plates are necessary for other chucks.

You will love the safety features put in this metal lathe. The most notable is the way a soft membrane protects the ON and OFF buttons. In case of any emergency, the red button is swiftly responsive to the hand’s mash.

We mentioned the reliability of this metal lathe for precision work. Well, this machine does this on a wide range of metals. It is capable of turning, threading, drilling and cutting. This includes in internal diameter and external diameter applications. Any modeler or hobbyist will find this metal lathe suitable for its efficiency in processing, modeling and mini precision part jobs.

Research teams and schools also have a wonderful metal lathe to consider. The manner in which this tool gives designed models perfect details is the best. Engineering and scientific design details will be ably covered.

A tough and durable lathe is desirable, whether you are a novice or professional. We notice that the manufacturer incorporated a few features that seem deliberate towards longevity. For example, the covers and components are wear-resistant and the gears are all-metal.

In short, the offers attractive features such as enhanced safety, variable speed and high precision. We believe that any minor issues that may affect switches and control do not make any dents to the reputation of this bench top metal lathe.


 

3. Shop Fox M1049 9-Inch by 19-Inch Bench Lathe

Shop Fox M1049

Six-speed lathe for a wide range of projects

After several tests and research, the Shop Fox M1049 bench lathe has emerged as an undisputed member of this list of the best metal lathes. Its design, performance and durability are impressive. Even the highest intensity jobs cannot make this machine bulge.

With the price tag, you are most likely to land a metal lathe that is not only less powerful, but also unable to stand the test of time. This metal lathe may cost about $1,200, but with its many features and amazing capability, it is a bargain.

This is why you need to place it on a strong foundation- 285 pounds weight and measuring 22 x 37 x 15 inches. This is a disadvantage to the mobile users, but you will love it if you are looking for vibration-free and precise performance.

Convenience is absolutely one of the remarkable features on the M1049. The hand wheel controls are one of the components that enhance efficiency. Their perfect combination enables the user to achieve the highest level of control and set up items easily.

Despite the ease of use, this metal lathe is loaded with features. You realize that it comes with tapered spindles that allow for the most efficient bench application. Complementing that with a 4-way tool post, this holds up to four different cutting tools.

You can fix the tool post at any desired position through a counterclockwise rotation of the handle. This definitely means capability for a wide range of jobs.

We love the way the M1049 metal lathe is able to achieve several applications including face plate mounting, face plate lathing, dead center lathing, threading and tail stock lathing among many others. The tool is able to perform all these applications with incredible precision because of its compact design.

A problem but probably not a deal breaker is the paint job, which many have found to be of poor quality. However, we subscribe to the rule of not judging a book by its cover. Even if there were functional flaws with the product, you will be pleased to know that the customer care from the manufacturer is high class.


 

4. WEN 3455 Variable Speed 7 by 12″ Two-Direction Benchtop Metal Lathe

WEN 3455

5/16-inch capacity tool post accepts up to four tools at once.Universal 8x8mm bases allow for compatibility with the majority of metal lathes on the market

WEN has over the years given us top of the range power tools at very affordable prices, so you can expect quality from the WEN 3455 Variable Speed 7 by 12″ Two-Direction bench top Metal Lathe. While less intricate than many others, this product offers enough quality for DIY users. From the home user’s perspective, this bench top metal lathe offers more than enough.

The WEN 3455 is full of excellence from the smooth running gears to the sturdy rails. At 7” X 12” dimensions, this product carries a powerful ¾HP (4A) motor, making it stand tall amongst others in its class. It is compactness is reasonable and a guarantee of solid performance.

Talking of performance, this product has excellent working and tooling capabilities. The noticeable three-jaw chuck grips the items in position. Use the auto feed component to make adjustments as you wish. As we have seen in the previous product, the WEN 3455 achieves versatility through the tool post that can carry as many as four cutting tools.

An old saying goes, “Power without control is nothing.” That is why variable speed control on this powerful machine is such an important feature. It allows the user to control a speed range of between 100RPM and 2500 RPM in both directions.

There are two speed ranges to select- low speed and high speed. A simple dial speed makes selection easy and the safety switch takes care of any emergency that may arise.

You will note that the WEN 3455 is quite affordable, a fact that may deter users that focus on the price vs. quality relationship. In all honesty, this product delivers more than the lower end price suggests.

Its construction and workmanship are very different from what you expect from other products in the same price category. As long as your requirements and working parameters of this metal lathe match, you seriously need to consider buying. Note that it also comes with a two-year warranty.


 

Best Micro Metal Lathe

 

1. Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed

Erie Tools 7 x 14

Drill, cut and turn metal, wood and plastic parts with precision.

Our list starts with this precision bench top mini metal lathe whose capability to make numerous parts and accessories is one of the best. The key components on this product are chuck jaws (internal and external), carbide tipped cutter kit, lathe and chuck key. Accompanying this lathe machine are 11 feed rate gears.

If you are looking for an efficient and versatile mini lathe, do not look elsewhere. Some people may decide to focus on the manufacturing country (China), forgetting that the real value of a product lies in what it can actually do. The 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe is awesome, not just for lots of precision work, but also for its affordable price.

This mini lathe is ideal for hobbyists or modelers interested in modeling works and precision parts. These users can achieve a lot from the same machine- cutting, drilling, turning, threading etc. Furthermore, this metal lathe works on a wide range of metals.

Probably this product is on the lower end of these best metal lathes when you consider size, as it features a 7 in. swing over bed and 14 in. distance between the centers. For some buyers, this alone will be a major deal breaker.

However, anyone interested in a reliable but affordable mini lathe will want to invest in the Erie Tool Benchtop Mini Lathe. Clearly, the manufacturer intended this product for stuff such as modeling works, precision works and sample processing, and there is enough evidence it is excellently up to the task.

Below the blue hood lies a powerful Variable-Speed, Single Phase, 0.53HP motor. With this kind of power, this Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe is not as powerful as others are in the market. However, other features cover this small flaw. For instance, the product comes with variable speed capability, and it offers an impressive range.

This lathe machine presents a Spindle Taper of MT3 and a tailstock taper if MT2. These specifications are recommended because they are the most common. You can use a wide variety of threads on this metal lathe and the imperial thread capacity ranges from 12 to 52 TPI.

Users can expect this metal lathe to be on their doorsteps fast once they have placed their orders. Since the gears are plastic, replacement may be a common practice. It is pleasing to note that enhancements are possible using quick-change tool post or other creative methods. Patient use will prove that this Erie Tool Benchtop Mini Lathe is dependable on small projects.

This package contains a carbide-tipped cutter kit, full set of plastic change gears, speed readout, chuck key, and jaws.


 

2. Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe

Shop Fox M1015

MT #2 spindle taper, MT #1 tailstock taper

Are you a home machinist, model maker or toolmaker? Then here is wonderful news for you. Woodstock International offers a micro lathe rids of difficulty in cutting small materials and parts. You will probably not find another machine so thorough and effortless in creating dies, small parts, fittings or any other small jobs.

The Shop Fox line of machinery is under the Woodstock International franchise, which has been manufacturing some of the best machinery since 1989. That this product has the power, control and construction ideal for small-scale jobs is obvious-the name suggests it.

You may want to note that this product is perfect for beginners. Some features that depict this are the controls and cranks that are so easy to use. They will also love the safety features that prevent bruises and cuts, for instance convenient control panel.

The M1015 comes with incredible versatility for different jobs and this aided by several features. A good example is the capability to switch between manual and auto feed. The manual feed hand wheel moves the carriage along the bed right or left.

Manual movement comes in handy turning and some other operations. To revert to auto mode, simply use the feed clutch to change from one feed to another.

The weight and design are perfect for not only small jobs, but also transportation and storage. At a weight of 71 pounds and measuring 27 x 14.3 x 12 in, the M1015 Mini-Lathe is conveniently compact. It may be tiny but it carries exciting features such as thread cutting kit, socket wrench, wrenches and chucks with jaws.

One important feature that we admire a lot is the efficient tailstock taper and spindle. Users are assured of a wide range of setups thanks to the 3-inch three-jaw chuck plus thread gears. These are accompanied by several other optional accessories.

The machine has a reliable thread cutting capability that covers cut threads of 16, 18, 19, 20, and 24 threads per inch. Do not leave the machine if you have problems changing gears. A gear ratio threading chart is included to guide in the execution of this process.

Defects can occur during shipping, but the manufacturer is ready to replace within 30 days of buying. In addition, the product comes with a one-year warranty. We vouch for this product’s dependability and we are sure you will recommend it as well.


 

3. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch

Grizzly G8688

Chip Tray and Backsplash Guard

Grizzly is another top manufacturer of power tools, and for a paltry $575, this mini-lathe with user-friendly features surpasses the quality of many other pricier products. Design quality is a testament of the strides this company has made since its establishment in 1983.

It is evident that this mini lathe is meant for those who do not want to break the bank, but want a reliable tool for light tasks here and there. For this kind of application, the G8688 is easily the best metal lathe around.

The small size does not compromise quality in any way. Many users may not even be able to tell the difference with the brother Grizzly G9972z. The sturdy casing made from the best materials is an extension of the quality construction of this green machine. Due to this undisputable quality, this metal lathe can handle a wide range of jobs. It is ready for everything you throw at it including turning, drilling and cutting jobs.

If you are looking for a compact metal lathe to fit your little workshop, there is a reason the G8688 makes a great choice. Its dimensions (13 x 30.2 x 13 inches) and weight (89.2 pounds) make it perfect, unlike the larger industrial oriented ones.

Do not focus on the small size when judging the machine’s performance. It offers extraordinary performance owing to its 7-inch swing over bed, ½-inch tailstock travel and 20 mm spindle bore. An 1100 RPM to 2500-RPM range ensures these qualities do not go to waste.

Safety being such a crucial aspect of using the best metal lathes, the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe comes with an emergency stop. To add to the ease of use, the product also features a thread dial indicator, which is very effective in showing measurements.

Another great advantage is the fact that this product has a backsplash guard and a chip tray, which take care of stray materials. Some of the other features worth mentioning are forward and reverse in all speeds, standard and metric graduation, 16 TPI reversible lead screw and service tools.

Beginners may detest this metal lathe initially because it requires some familiarity with this type of power tools. The feeling that something is not right is possible, and setting up the machine may cause some problems. However, it is an awesome machine if you are able to navigate this issue.


 

4. Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe

Central Machinery 7 x 10

Variable speed control knob

Do your regular tasks include counter facing or turning? Do you like to make models, prototypes or spindles? The Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery is the ideal solution for Do It Yourselfers and professionals in metal working projects such as creating replacement parts.

This mini lathe is available at a budget price, yet it gives solid performance. Central to this admirable performance is a solid construction, a result of tough tests that characterize all Central Machinery products. It is designed to remain tough for years and deliver to professional standards, the crowning of it all being a satisfaction guarantee.

One of the highlights of this best metal lathe is variable speed of up to 2500 RPM, powered by ¾ HP single-phase motor. The flexibility on this machine is simply awesome considering that there is also an auto feed feature. This metal lathe may be small (10 inch center space and thread range 12 -52 TPI), but it offers the beginner the perfect platform to hone skills.

Where can you use the Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe? This versatile tool is not only multipurpose, but also suitable for a wide range of settings. ETL listing means that you can use this product in laboratories, workshops, school settings and engineering settings.

We believe this product is ideal for beginners, mainly because it comes with a number of security features. In particular, the chuck carries a Plexiglas guard and a micro-switch as well. In addition, a guard covers the tool turret. Novices will also love the 18 threads, as they provide enough room for perfection of skills.

Also related to ease of use is the fact that the instructions are easy. The price is ideal for a beginner product because one does not have to break the bank. Even if you were to realize later that you are not into lathing, you will not be too disappointed about the investment.

Generally, the Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe will handle the job. Ok, you will need to buy a few components before you can get started (drills, bits, blades etc.), but the product does come with everything that is listed.

With proper use, cleaning and maintenance, this lathe should last. Of course, this is a relatively delicate lathe so do not expose it to the impossible and it will take of the rest.


 

Best Combo Metal Lathe

 

1. Grizzly G4015Z Combo Lathe/Mill

Grizzly G4015Z

Large 1-Inch diameter shafts extend 8-Inch on either side and have a 5/8-Inch threaded arbor on the ends

Another best metal lathe from Grizzly comes in the form of this versatile and powerful machine. This product is so versatile and loaded with features that it suits anyone who can handle the lathe. It appears that Grizzly combined the basic milling machine and metal lathe and made it much better. It comes with many improvements, specifically in usability, capacity and longevity.

Versatility of a metal lathe means that you are getting value of more than one machine. Although the cost reflects it, remember that you are avoiding the struggle of buying different tools. You are saving lots of space, and on the face of it, may be even some dollars. This lathe is obviously larger than your standard one, but it is not the same as placing two lathes alongside each other.

The Grizzly G4015Z is not restricted to metals such as steel and copper, but also performs superbly on wood. Again, this means you are probably getting more value for your money.

Vibrations can affect quality of work, but this metal lathe has a way of dealing with the problem. The 475 pounds weight grounds the product against any frictional or force generated during work. Your user experience is safe.

The precision achieved in this product is unbelievable, compared to the price. Furthermore, this metal lathe comes with a built-in vice and turret tool post just to make work more efficient. Still in this relatively small set, you will get features such as 1-Inch diameter shafts, 5/8-Inch threaded arbor and heavy-duty 1HP motor.

In summary, there is so much good about this combo metal lathe: it offers good value and perfectly suits the qualities of a great combination tool. It’s a little frustrating that some users need to replace parts often than expected, but this problem should be sorted by the reputed company in due time.


 

2. SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill

SHOP FOX M1018

Cuts inch and metric threads

The second product in this category is the SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill manufactured by Shop Fox. Entry-level users or hobbyists will want to utilize the wonderful versatility of this lathe machine. This machine will take lathe experience and expertise to a higher level.

The first notable benefit is that users do not need to buy a vice, as this metal lathe comes with an in-built one. Apart from saving money, the combo lathe mill ensures less time is used in tackling different jobs. This is convenience and affordability all folded together in one product.

You will agree that guesswork in lathing or milling can be dangerous and uneconomical. We love the fact that the SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill eliminates that problem through the graduated dial. As you work, the dial provides measurements, so you can produce the finest work.

The longitudinal hand crank is another standout feature on this machine. It works as the power feed to allow for the movement of the carriage on the lead screw. It works independent of the graduated dial, which can be “zeroed” once the work piece and the cutting tool come into contact.

The smooth operation of the hand crank means that the effort needed is minimal, hence for can work for a longer time.

The SHOP FOX M1018 may have a motor of only 3/4 HP, but be assured that it is the machine for the serious hobbyist. First, it is relatively heavy at 478 pounds- less vibration means more accuracy.

This is also an indicator of longevity, which is also complemented by the long lasting metallic gears. With dimensions of 41 x 37.2 x 23.2 in, this combo lathe machine is not exactly a “mini”, but it is small enough to fit in a tight space in the workshop.

Small power also means ability to do delicate tasks. That is another reason we are convinced that the SHOP FOX M1018 is not reserved for hobbyists- advanced users can find it useful too.

Excellent for a wide range of tasks including milling, threading, cutting threads and turning, this product offers other add-ons such as 4″ 3-jaw chuck, 4-way turret tool post, 2 dead centers and 9-1/2″ faceplate.

The package also contains an Owner’s Manual, which should come in handy for the novice. In case of any breakages or damages, a 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee and 2-Year Limited Factory Warranty will cover you.


 

Buying Guide For The Best Metal Lathe

The following are some major parts of a metal lathe:

  • Lead screw
  • Spindle
  • Feed rod
  • Tool post
  • Clutch
  • Carriage
  • Ways
  • Apron
  • Headstock assembly
  • Chuck

It is along these and other components that we establish the requirements of the best metal lathe.

The two most important considerations when looking for the best metal lathe are price and performance. While affordability is crucial for most people, the machine should also meet or surpass user expectations. There is no way a serious user will overlook quality simply because they want the cheapest product in the market. The best approach is to find the middle point of the considerations.

Amazon.com has been and remains to be a dependable source of lathe machines. A look at this online source shows a wide range of models for different price ranges. You can also get free shipping here.

When you have identified the source, the first step is to familiarize yourself with as many models as possible. Research is important because if you ignore it, you could waste a lot of money on a machine that you either cannot operate or do not need at all. Our reviews of the best metal lathe offer a perfect starting point for research. We recommend you try to stay along the following factors when selecting the best product.

Quality and Money

You will come across many inexpensive metal lathes that seem to offer bang for one’s buck. If you are a novice, these entry-level products could just be enough. However, work that is more serious demands metal lathes with much higher capability. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

Weight

Do not forget about the weight of the metal lathe. To get the most rigidity and least vibration, you want to go for the heaviest product. Weight is enough to minimize vibration for steady operation. A heavier cast iron lathe is preferable to a fabricated one, even though it costs more.

Swing and Bed Measurement

The maximum diameter of item that the lathe can machine or cut is referred to as swing measurement. It is double of the measurement from the spindle center to the bed. Another important parameter is the bed measurement, which spans the two centers. You want to consider both of these measurements as they determine the capability of the lathe largely.

Foundation

The best metal lathe for a professional should have a heavy-duty sturdy base. A hobbyist may do with a bench-mounted one because the work is light- woodturning and similar applications.

Other Factors

Majority of lathes come with the same general layout, which comprises of a headstock on one end, a carriage in the middle and a tailstock on the other end. We listed some irreplaceable components of the lathe, but others that are simply irresistible. Every machinist will want to have them if at all their craft is to be top notch.

Quick Change Gearbox

You could simply abbreviate it as QCGB. A hobby metal lathe without this component is not enough in our opinion. With this component, changing the lead screw speed in relation to work piece is extremely easy. Since you are able to adjust federate instantly, cutting different patches and achieving finer finishes is as easy as ABC.

Automatic Cross Feed

Insist on the automatic cross feed because it simplifies facing and parting operations. Using this feature will offer a superb finish.

Quick Change Tool Post

When using a metal lathe, you will definitely need to change tools at one point. The best metal lathes feature the amazing quick-change tool post, which allows the user to change holders effortlessly and fast. A wide range of Quick Change Tool Post designs is available, but their role does not change- quick change of tools using preloaded holders. The tool holders retain the height setting each time.

Cam-lock Spindle

A spindle comes with an attachment so it does not need a threaded chuck. The goodness of this setup is that the reversing lathe will not result into the chuck spinning free. To fix the chuck, the spindle features a bayonet fitting. This may not be desirable to some users, but we find it worthwhile for safe operation of the machine, especially when operating the machine in reverse at high speeds.

Digital Panel

Older metal lathes, but modern ones feature these important components. A digital panel allows for easy read out even for inexperienced users. Measurement errors such as those caused by worn out lead screw are rare with a digital panel. Because companies provide varying qualities of this feature, you want to be a little bit keener when buying.

Clutch and Brake

The spindle brake plays the crucial role of stopping the spindle. You will find the importance of this feature when turning a large item- the chuck can spin for minutes because of inertia. Equally crucial is the clutch, which allows the spindle to stop when the motor is still running. You can even change gears in this state.

Headstock Assembly

Usually fixed on the left side of the machine, this component houses the gears and pulleys. With the chuck attached to it, the headstock assembly enhances the transfer of rotary motion to the item.


 

Conclusion

If you master the best metal lathe, you can create almost any machine. Automotive components, aircraft parts and precise parts pass through the lathe. As you look to be part of the fast-evolving industrial environment, having a handy metal lathe in your workshop is an excellent start.

It is important to note that these products are available in different power ratings, capabilities, prices and designs.

Our in-depth research led us to some amazing products as we have listed them here. We believe you will find one that not only presents the points in the guide, but also suits your specific needs.

Some of them seem unbelievably affordably priced for their quality, for instance the Grizzly 8688 Mini Metal Lathe. Most important is to choose an authentic source, as a lathe is a huge investment.

 

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