What is the Best Mini Metal Lathe? [Reviews + Guide] (2023)

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Today’s metalworking is made easy through advanced technology installed on the best mini metal lathes. However, it’s not a secret that more newbie users end up purchasing lathes that have incompatible features for their metal projects. 

To resolve this dilemma, here are the recommendations tried and tested by our tool experts. 

Premium Option
Grizzly G9972Z Bench Lathe
Editor’s Choice
BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe
Budget Option
TECHTONGDA Bench Mini Metal Lathe
Grizzly G9972Z Bench Lathe
BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe
TECHTONGDA Bench Mini Metal Lathe
• Spindle Bore Size: 25mm
• Powerful Motor: 1 HP/110V
• Spindle Taper: MT #4
• Speed Ranges: 150 to 2400 RPM
• Four-way Tool Post
• Threading Dial Indicator
• Power: 550W
• Variable Speed Control
• Max Motor Speed: 2250 RPM
• Cross Slide Travel: 350 mm
• Adjustable Auto Feed Rate
• Three-Jaw Chuck
• Brushless Motor
• Precision Tapered Roller Bearings
• Metal Gears & Spindles
• Thread Range: 8-44 TPI
• Spindle Speed: 50 to 2500 RPM
• Center Distance: 15.7inch
Premium Option
Grizzly G9972Z Bench Lathe
Grizzly G9972Z Bench Lathe
• Spindle Bore Size: 25mm
• Powerful Motor: 1 HP/110V
• Spindle Taper: MT #4
• Speed Ranges: 150 to 2400 RPM
• Four-way Tool Post
• Threading Dial Indicator
Editor’s Choice
BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe
BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe
• Power: 550W
• Variable Speed Control
• Max Motor Speed: 2250 RPM
• Cross Slide Travel: 350 mm
• Adjustable Auto Feed Rate
• Three-Jaw Chuck
Budget Option
TECHTONGDA Bench Mini Metal Lathe
TECHTONGDA Bench Mini Metal Lathe
• Brushless Motor
• Precision Tapered Roller Bearings
• Metal Gears & Spindles
• Thread Range: 8-44 TPI
• Spindle Speed: 50 to 2500 RPM
• Center Distance: 15.7inch

Reviews of the Top Mini Metal Lathes

1. BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe

BestEquip Metal Lathe is made of high-grade iron, so we don’t doubt how much its quality construction can withstand harsh working conditions. It’s also designed with nylon gears, so this lathe machine naturally produces larger torque and durability. 

You may not know, but BestEquip Metal Lathe operates with a DC motor. Because of this, it works well with tasks like mini precision parts processing and modeling of metal workpieces. You can also use it as a metal-turning tool. 

And since it’s equipped with precision-tapered ball bearings, its spindle accuracy ranges within 0.01mm. It also has a self-centering chuck for setting cylindrical materials steadily.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Grizzly G9972Z Bench Lathe

If you need mini metal lathes for light-duty tasks, Grizzly G9972Z’s 10-⅝ inch swing and 6-⅜ inch cross slide should fulfill your metalworking requirements. Thanks to its 1HP motor engine, this metal lathe can operate at six spindle speeds between 150 RPM to 2400 RPM. 

Not all mini metal lathes include a splash guard and chip tray, so it’s a plus in our tester’s scorecards. It also comes with an easy-to-use gearbox that makes it easier for newbie users. 

Its spindle bore ranges around 25 mm with a mid-distance of 26 inches. Your DIY projects will also benefit from its three-jaw chuck diameter of 5 inches. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. TECHTONGDA Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe

Although not as expensive as other options, TECHTONGDA mini metal lathe allows users to adjust its variable speed settings from 50 to 2500 RPM. In fact, this variable speed feature enables the metal lathe to operate in forward and reverse directions. 

Its lowered price tag is also not a hindrance to delivering mini metal lathe power of 900 watts, which is highly owed to its brushless motor. 

During our hands-on tests, its tool rest works smoothly. No part of this lathe machine is made of plastic because its construction, from gears to spindles, is made of metal.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Grizzly G0602 Mini Metal Lathe

The best mini metal lathe you can consider for handling hard materials is Grizzly G0602. Its 10-inch by 22-inch tool dimensions provide users with great capacity. Upon closer inspection, our team noted that it has a 4-way tool post that you can adjust in different positions for better internal cutting operations. 

You can also ensure that this is a high-quality mini metal lathe because the brand in which it was manufactured is popular among metalworkers. 

You’ll get several spare parts, including an extensive tool bed. The unit’s gearbox is also highly accessible, allowing you to change pulleys and gears without hassle. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Central Machinery Precision Mini Metal Lathe

Since it’s equipped with variable speed control, our testers found it fascinating that this Central Machinery Precision Mini Metal Lathe is sold for under one grand. Our further inspection also revealed how this unit includes a chuck guard with a microscopic switch. 

Despite being under the category of micro lathes, it runs on a powerful engine. Through this, the mini lathe operates at a speed range of 0 to 2500 RPM. 

On top of that, this feature lets the spindle spin in forward and reverse directions, giving users more control over the operation. Although it’s a small tool, it’s made of durable construction elements like zinc alloy [1], ABS, and aluminum steel. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. Erie Tools Mini Metal Lathe

At first glance, Erie Tools Mini Metal Lathe undoubtedly looks small. However, its compact construction packs a swing of 7 inches and a central space of 14 inches. It also comes with a chuck key and a cutter kit for different metalworking tasks. 

(You may also want to check out other options, so consider these metal cutting saws!)

These are the best mini-lathes you can rely on when turning metal pieces down to the size of 84-cubic-crawls. You can also utilize its string pointer to divert the screw thread from 12 to 52 teeth per inch. 

It weighs around 104 lbs, so users can expect it to be heavier than typical mini lathes. However, it’s still light enough to move anywhere around the workshop. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

As a tool from a prominent brand, we couldn’t resist the urge to test the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe. The feature that caught our eyes the most is the reverse switch, allowing users to use their dominant hand during usage. 

Its ¾-HP motor provides massive power to make the metal lathe run at the speed of up to 2500 RPM. This tool also accommodates a threading range of around 12 to 52 teeth per inch (TPI). 

The lathe’s convenience is further fueled by its 4-way tool post and sturdy construction that’s meant to withstand the harshest working conditions. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

About Mini Lathes: What is it, Where To Use, and How it Works

Generally, a mini lathe is used for turning metal pieces. However, these are the smaller versions of the typical lathe models sold in the market. You can utilize these tools when handling workpieces around 4 to 7 inches in diameter and up to 3.5 inches in radius. 

Because of their compact sizes, the best mini metal lathes work well in residential workshops and MRO stores. Although these tools are small, beginners and professionals prefer them for their lightweight properties more than heavy-duty lathes like the ones from Shop Fox. 

Effective usage of lathes depends on what application you intend to use them in. As long as you understand their parts, operating them should be relatively easy. Here are crucial details you should know about its components.

Parts of a Mini Lathe

Headstock

It’s where you’ll locate the center spindle, speed control system, and gearbox. The main operation happens in the spindle, where the long bars can be extended along the space. You can thank this feature for reducing material waste during the operation. 

Bed

You’ll see this extensive feature attached to the headstock. It ensures that the tailstock and carriage are aligned to the spindle’s axis. Don’t forget to level the bed during installation to get accurate cutting angles. 

Carriage

It’s the most used part of the lathe as it holds the tool’s bit. Users can control the carriage by moving it horizontally or vertically. Some models also include a handwheel to handle the feeding mechanism. 

Tailstock

It’s the drill located on the other end of the headstock. You’ll notice that it has a taper meant to hold drill bits and other tools. We recommend adjusting its position according to the angle of your workpiece. 

Advantages of Buying a Mini Metal Lathe

Investing in metal lathes will give you the freedom to create smaller workpieces yourself. When you need to create a metal piece to complete a project, this tool will save you from a trip to the machine shop. It’ll also save you money in the long run. 

On top of that, having a lathe in your workshop will open business opportunities since you’ll be capable of doing a wide range of projects. 

Some Projects You Can Do With Mini Lathes

Candlesticks

As long as you know the basic technique to bore, shave, and turn metal pieces like copper and aluminum, making candlesticks won’t be a problem. Just ensure that the materials are in the right diameter, and you can start with the project. 

Baby Cups

The project begins with a disc that you can shape into a bell-like design using a lathe tool. You’ll also need to create a handle and attach it to the cup before sanding the workpiece down.

Rings

All you need to do to create rings is to cut a disc from a metal material. After that, use the lathe jaws and start boring out the size you desire for the ring. The final touch is finishing the workpiece by adding bevels on its edges. 

(If you know the way around metal, you might also want to know how to bevel wood.)

Mini Metal Lathe Buyer’s Guide

Power and Motor

Like it or not, powerful motor engines should deliver better metalworking performance. You can find these mini tools with engines ranging from ¾ to 3 HP. 

Variable Speed and Control

The ability to control the tool’s speed is the perk of having this feature. However, you should remember that not all lathes include this in their functions. If your tool is equipped with this, rest assured that you’ll have more range in the materials your lathe can handle.  

Size of DBC (Distance Between Centers)

Your lathe’s distance between centers should range at least 15 inches. If you find ones with less DBC, it’s not a mini version of this tool. Typically, those models fall under the category of normal-sized lathes.

This feature also dictates the material size your lathe can work on. Although, it wouldn’t matter if the DBC size only has one diameter difference. 

Size of SOB (Swing Over Bed)

The SOB feature directly relates to the maximum metal size the tool can work with. When shopping for lathes, always try to choose ones with 6 to 7 inches of swing-over-bed features. The wider the material you use, the bigger the SOB size should be. 

Lathe Bed and Bed Length

If you scan the market as our experts did, you’ll notice that most lathe models include beds sized 760mm to 920mm. We don’t recommend large beds when handling small metal-turning projects. 

You may not know, but working on small pieces on large lathe beds will produce unnecessary vibrations. 

Headstock Bearings

Don’t forget to check what kind of headstock bearings your lathe is equipped with. More often than not, you’ll need to replace this component. However, these things don’t cost much, so you don’t have to worry.

If you ask us, never go for plain bearings. Why? Because these components tend to be expensive and hard to find in the market.  

Faceplates and Lathe Chuck

Chucks for lathes are sold in different types, but we urge you to consider ones with four independent jaws. Through this, the jaws and faceplates can hold the workpieces in various shapes.

Ease of Use

These tools are portable and easy to maneuver, so you’ll have little to no difficulty during their usage.  As long as the tool allows speed control changes and adjustment of other features, you can utilize the lathe without hassle. 

Overall Size and Weight

Considering the compact size of these tools, it’s not hard to guess that they’re also lightweight. Because of this, mini metal lathes are easier to handle than larger ones. While lighter options aren’t always stable, choose the one that will complement the needs of your project the best. 

Intended Use and Project Size

If you’re working on multiple projects at a time, it’s best to determine the general size of the materials you’re working on. These tools are best suited for smaller workpieces, so it’s wise to settle on this before officially buying them. 

Tool’s Stand and Stability

We understand that some workshops won’t have a bench or stable surface to work on lathe operations. For such cases, you can buy a lathe that comes with a tool stand. Through this, you can maintain stability during usage. 

But before buying one, make sure you know the suitable workbench height for your needs.

Additional Features/Accessories

While additional features will entice you into buying one tool over the other, we highly suggest considering the lathe’s overall quality first. 

Price and Warranty

You can set a budget range when searching for the best mini metal lathes because these tools are sold in various price caps. Ultimately, it depends on the features and brand. 

Don’t forget to check for warranty perks since these tools are often expensive. You wouldn’t want to get a tool with a defect upon purchase and be told that you can’t return it because of not having these policy perks. 

Our Top Pick For a Mini Metal Lathe:
BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe

Through our rigorous hands-on tests, our resident metalworkers hailed BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe as our top pick in this product review. 

Besides its affordable price, its adequate motor power and variable speed control make it a reliable tool for professionals and beginners. Our firsthand experience also proved how versatile this lathe is for different projects.  

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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