best metal lathe for home shop

Best Metal Lathe for Home Shop – Reviewed By Experts!

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Do you want to take your metalwork to the next level? If you do, then you will have to invest in the best metal lathe for home shop. Metal lathes are specially made to help shape hard wood and metal easily. Just like most people, the chances are that you will find yourself stuck choosing among the dozens of options that you will find on the market.

We understand how important it will be to find the right metal lathe. We are going to review some top 5 metal lathes that you will find on the market. In this metal lathe review, you will get to learn their strengths and weaknesses together with some considerations to help you determine the right unit for your needs.

Top 5 Best Metal Lathes For Home Shop Review

The following are our recommended top product recommendations that you can consider buying. Check their features and benefits in detail to choose the right one.

​If you are looking for a durable metal lathe that will fit in your small home shop, then this model fits that description. This machine comes with dimensions of 27x 14.3x 12 inches and it weighs 71 pounds meaning you can get to place it in your workshop and still have space to move around.

It is made of rugged parts with rigid control program to offer you a metal lathe that will serve you for years while maintaining your safety and performance. Along with durability, you will get up to 2 years warranty on any quality issues that may arise.

If you are a model maker, gun hobbyist or even tool maker, you can utilize the 6-inch x 10-inch feature which allows you to make small precision parts, dies, threaded parts and fittings easily. Furthermore, this machine comes with a convenient control panel ​that has the speed dial, clutch knob and rotation selector knob. These controls allow you to make adjustments according to your needs. With the ratio threading gear chart, you can tell which gears you can use in order to get the right threads per inch. The auto and manual feed can be engaged and disengaged using the feed clutch to set up the machine for turning.

​Would you like a small metal lathe for scale building? Well, you will find that in this model. It comes included with a 3-inch three jaw chuck, the full selection on optional accessories as well as threaded gears for you to use on several applications. The spindle speed ranges from 100 to 2000 RPM. You will also get other accessories which include oil cup, chuck key, socket head wrench, double ended wrench, 4 hex wrenches two T-nuts among others for your convenience. On top of that, it comes with two feed rates which will ensure that you make accurate cuts as well as efficient turns.
​Pros
  • ​It comes with 10-inch DBC and 6-inch SOB.
  • ​Ideal for beginners and professionals.
  • ​​Comes included with several accessories.
  • ​Comes with a convenient control panel.
  • ​It is small and it comes at an affordable price.
​Cons
  • ​It doesn’t have several speed options.

​If you want the best metal lathe for home shop, then the Erie tools 7x 4 precision benchtop metal lathe might be a good try. It comes with a variable speed motor ​that can adjust from 50 to 2500 RPM in a rotational direction.

With this, you can be able to make left hand threading. That’s not all, this machine comes included with a 5 piece carbide tipped cutter kit, set of plastic change gears, MT3 spindle taper, and MT2 dead center tailstock taper. These will offer you convenience as you operate this machine.

Do you want a metal lathe with reasonable swing over distance and distance between centers? Well, this model features 7 inch swing over distance and 14 inch space between centers. This is great for working on average projects easily. Aside from that, this machine comes with 5/16 inch tool capacity post which will allow you to mount 4 cutting tools at once. This makes it easy to substitute between mid projects.

With the thread indicator, you will be able to turn screw threads from 12 to 52 TPI with metric or even imperial pitches. It also comes with a digital readout which is easy to view and read whenever you are to adjust the RPMs. You don’t have to worry about unstable work pieces because this unit comes included with a multi jaw chuck which will secure your work piece tightly in one place as you work on it. The adjustable auto feed will allow you to make the right adjustments according to the project you will be working on. This metal lathe can allow you ​to work manipulate, drill and also cut any kind of material that you may choose to work with such as metal, plastic, wood, and so much more.

​Pros
  • ​It is a small benchtop metal lathe that can fit in your home shop.
  • ​It is versatile as it can work on different materials.
  • ​Comes included with accessories.
  • ​Features a digital RPM readout.
  • ​It has variable speeds from 50 to 2500RPM.
​Cons
  • ​You may have to buy replacement parts.

​BestEquip mini metal lathe is constructed from aluminum material which makes it a durable and sturdy machine. It comes with a 7 inch swing over bed and a 14 inch space between centers.

The power of the motor is 550W DC single phase with variable speed from 50 to 2500 RPM forward and reverses on all speed ranges. You can operate the adjustable feed rate automatically or manually depending on the work pieces that you will be working with.

Furthermore, this machine comes with a thread range from 12 to 52 TPI, standard plus metric hand wheel graduations as well as a threading dial indicator all for your convenience. The 3 inch jaw self centering chuck will offer high accuracy as well as repeatability to set all of the cylindrical materials. Also the spindle accuracy is within 0.01mm and it is supported by precision tapered roller bearings. Aside from all that, this machine comes with a movable lamp to help you view your work piece properly in dim light workshops.

 If you are looking for simplicity, this device will offer you exactly that. It comes with a T-slot compound slide which has four way tool post. You will also find ease when changing the 4 blades that come included. To get the best bevel cuts, you can easily adjust the angle of the T-slot compound using the lever. This machine is also made with some abrasive resistance and blades that move freely with the feed rod to get the best cross slide. Moreover, you can utilize this machine when dealing with different tasks like cutting, drilling, threading and counterface turning on various materials.
​Pros
  • ​It is compatible with several standard tools.
  • ​Easy to change from bevel, face, internal and cross cuts.
  • ​Variable speeds.
  • ​Made from aluminum material.
  • ​Comes with included accessories.
​Cons
  • ​Cannot handle heavy duty tasks.

​If you are looking for the best metal lathe for home shop, then you need to try central machinery7x10 inch mini lathe. This is one of the most affordable machines that you will find on the market rated for home shops.

You can rely on this device to do bushing designs, make spindles and also create prototypes. This is all thanks to its 18 threads which also enable it to work on many other projects. Aside from that, you will get it complete with a chuck guard as well as a micro switch.

Aside from being rated for a home shop, this machine is also suitable for use in educational training institutes, labs, engineering setups as well as workshops. This is ​because it is easy to use and it comes with a convenient control panel to offer the user complete control on all operations. You can switch from manual to automatic feed rate using the lever so that you get the best results on each project you are working on. The variable speed control knob lets you set the speeds that you want to work with depending on the work piece that you are working on.

​While it has a high power output, this metal lathe will not overheat easily as you work on projects that require a lot of time. Its motor has ¾ horse power and has a wattage rating of 250 to 260 watts delivering up to 4 amps of power. With the light on the power switch, you can tell when the machine is turned on and when it is off. This way you can avoid accidents when the machine is left on unknowingly. This machine has speeds ranging from 0 to 2500 RPM and it comes included with the necessary accessories you may need for operations.
​Pros
  • ​It is efficient and precise
  • ​Comes with 7 inch SOB and 10 inch DBC
  • ​Comes with included accessories
  • ​It has variable speeds
  • ​Comes with a powerful motor
​Cons
  • ​It can only handle small projects

​The best metal lathe for home shop must be small and performing so that it can fit in your home shop and efficiently handle your projects. This model comes with dimensions of 49.2x 22.2x 21.2 inches which is a perfect size to fit in your workshop.

It is a 10 x 22 inch metal lathe meaning that it is capable of handling a wide range of projects.  It is a versatile tool ​that comes with different thread ranges variable speeds that can allow you handle different materials and work pieces.

It has speeds that include 150, 300, 560, 720, 1200 and 2400 RPM which are all adjustable. That’s not all, this machine this machine can also handle some heavy duty tasks thanks to the 1 inch spindle bore as well as ¾ inch x 12 TPI lead screw. Compared to the other mini metal lathes we have looked at, this machine stands out more when it comes to functionality making it the best metal lathe for the money on our list. It comes with a 1 horse power motor which runs on 110v which further guarantees efficiency and performance.

This metal lathe comes included with the following accessories. 5 inch three jaw chuck, 8 inch faceplate, MT#3 dead center, 6-1/2 inch four jaw chuck, steady and follow rest, 4 way tool post, hardened and ground v-way bed, chip tray, backsplash, toolbox with service tools and an oil bath gearbox. If you are wondering about durability, you will be glad to know that this unit comes made from some of the most high quality durable materials to offer you a longer serving metal lathe.

​Pros
  • ​It can handle some solid projects
  • ​Comes with variable speeds
  • ​It is a 10x 22 inch metal lathe
  • ​It is small to fit in your home shop
  • ​Comes at a reasonable price
​Cons
  • ​The last speed is too high at 150 RPM

Things to consider when buying a metal lathe

Metal lathes all have different capabilities. You will find that some of them are more superior to others. To purchase one that meets your demands, you will have to put a few considerations in mind. To help you understand those considerations better, below is a detailed guide on them.

Size of your applications

You need to determine the size of your metal turning applications. This will help you buy a unit that has the right specifications that your applications will need. The most important specifications are the swing over distance (SOD) and the distance between centers (DBC). Swing over distance is the maximum diameter of the workpiece that the metal lathe can handle. The distance between centers is the maximum length of the material that the metal lathe can handle.

If your intended applications are large, consider a metal lathe that comes with a wider swing over distance and wider distance between centers. The best metal lathe for home workshop tends to have small to average SOD and DBC. Therefore weigh your options well before you make a purchase.

How big is your workplace?

Metal lathes are normally packed with a lot of weight. Whether it is a mini metal lathe or one for large projects, you will find that they can’t be easily moved around the workplace. Therefore, before purchasing just about any machine, you need to consider the space you have in your workshop. Doing this will determine where the machine will go and if you will be comfortable working in that specific area.

It will also determine whether the metal lathe you intend to buy will be able to fit in your workplace and still allow you to move freely. If you are looking to buy a benchtop metal lathe, you need to make sure that there is enough space for it in your workshop.

User friendly design

​I am sure you know that metal lathes come with numerous features all of which are aimed ​at providing you with maximum efficiency. It is these features that will determine whether you can operate the machine or if you need an expert to do it for you. We suggest you go for a metal lathe that comes with a user friendly design one that is not too complex to complicate operations.

Depending on your user experience, you should find a machine that you can use easily. We also suggest a tool that will come with a detailed instructional manual that you can always refer to whenever you are stuck. You should also start small if you are new to metal lathes so that you can improve on your skills and experience before you go for something complex.

Price

First of all, set your budget according to the size of your projects. It’s no brainer that metal lathes come at different price ranges. Therefore, setting aside what you are willing to spend will help you get the best metal lathe for home shop. Home shop metal lathes are usually affordable and shouldn’t blow up your savings. Industrial metal lathes are the ones that come at higher prices. Although home shop metal lathes are affordable, you have to make sure that you don’t settle for one that is not of good quality.

Extra features

If you want the best out of a metal lathe, you need to consider one that comes with extra features as well as accessories for your convenience. For example, look for a metal lathe that comes with variable speed, additional storage space, lever controls among others. When buying any metal leather, check on the specifications first before you make a purchase.

FAQ of Best Metal Lathe for Home Shop

a) What is the best metal lathe for home shop to buy?

The best metal lathe for home shop to buy would be any of the above lathes that we have reviewed. These machines are durable and they offer the best efficiency and power that you may need to handle your small projects. Regardless of the material that you may want to work on it should allow you to do it. Our overall pick is the grizzly industrial 10x 22 inch metal lathe because it is powerful and it can handle more solid projects that most mini lathes won’t handle.

b) What is the best lathe for beginners?

If you are new to metal cutting or drilling, you will need a metal lathe that is simple to use. The shop fox M1015 6 inch x 10 inch is one of the best beginner friendly metal lathes you will find on the market. It comes with a convenient control ​that has labeled controls to help you operate the machine easily. You can also go for the central machinery 7x 10 metal lathe as it has a simple design.

c) How do I choose a metal lathe?

Choosing a metal lathe will depend on a number of things. First you need to think of the space you have in your workshop because these machines are normally heavy and they can take up space. You should also consider the size of the projects that you are looking to work on. These are the main things that you should think of in order to choose a metal lathe.

​d) ​How does metal lathe work?

A metal lathe works by holding and rotating a metal piece (or any other material you may be working with) by the lathe as a tool bit moves forward into the work piece to drill or cut it. You will get cutting, screw threads, tapping, turning and drilling bits included in most metal lathes that you always change to achieve what you want on the work piece.

Final words

Now that you have ​learned more about the best metal lathe for home shop, you should be able to select one that will handle your demands efficiently. These metal lathes are small, ideal for home shops and you will be able to easily maintain them, unlike large industrial metal lathes. They all come with different prices but you should be able to find one that falls under your budget.

The machine you buy should be able to handle your domestic projects and it should be of good quality. All these models come with a user friendly design and if you are a beginner you can be able to operate it with ease. We hope our guide and review ​were of help and you can now manage to select a model for your domestic projects.

About the Author Kim Brown

A passionate blogger! Editor at Toptennotch. I love to travel & writing. Regularly writing about different topic for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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