Metal lathes are used for devising metal objects into specific shapes and forms, intricate tools can also be crafted, but you need the right one to get the job done. We took help of Mechanical Engineers to find out the best mini metal lathe available in the market today.
After several hours of testing, We found out that Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe is the best overall metal lathe. It is simply an affordable precision metal lathe, giving users the ability to fix it to the right mount. It stands out for the refined speeds and different milling attachments, allowing users to craft plastic, wood, and metal objects.
Top Mini Metal Lathes On The Market Today:
Finding the right one is daunting, there are so many small lathes with the same accessories, that users tend to find ones that they can’t really use. However, the selection of metal lathes we have will astound you and help with your decision-making. Let’s have a look at a few of the best options you can choose from:
#1. Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe – Best Overall
We have selected the Erie Mini Metal Milling Lathe for the fixed design mounted and the flexibility offered with different attachments. It has been constructed from solid steel, including a maintenance-free brushless motor.
Reaching up to 2500 RPM, this mini metal lathe can turn any solid steel object into your desired shape with limited effort. A 5-piece cutter with a carbide tip takes only minutes to assemble and can be interchanged for various milling tasks (wood or plastic). To make it easier to control, the digital display system will give all the readouts needed for specific tasks.
Screwing and unscrewing anything takes a limited amount of time. It has a thread indicator that can be changed to either metric or imperial. However, the screws can be adjusted from 12 to 52 TPI, giving you a full range to design professional grade products. As mentioned, it is under $1000, making it a little expensive, but far less than some of the industrial-grade lathes.
- Comes with 11 feed rate gears
- Metric or imperial thread indicator
- Reaches up to 2500 RPM in either direction
- Reasonably priced
- Using it can be complex for beginners
#2. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe – Best Value For Money
The Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe works somewhat easier than the Erie Tools Mini Metal Milling Lathe. It is powered by a 0.75 HP brushless motor to reduce the long-term maintenance for users and includes 2-speed ranges (Low range: 0-1100 RPM, High Range: 0-2500 RPM)
Much like the previous option, the lather comes with a thread indicator and can help individuals with screws. Since the unit comes with a couple of different carbide tips, it has the ability to cut almost anything. You will need to have some protective glasses, but once you get up close and personal, it is much easier to work with precision.
For Reference: Our team also tested mini wood lathes, you can read the detailed reviews here.
One of the features that really impressed me is the splash guard. Grizzly has certainly taken a few steps to ensure that the metal lathe is primed for safety and to keep some of the scraps from flying around all over the workplace. With numerous rotation speeds in multiple directions, your finishing of products should be really easy.
When we look at the price, it is a little more affordable than the top pick, but still offers some excellent features. The only issue we had was setting it up and this took a little bit of time to do correctly. If you need some help, customer care will be on hand to ensure that you get it up and ready in almost no time at all.
- Works precisely with many safety features
- Reasonably priced
- Excellent customer support
- Cuts almost anything
- Initial setup can be a little daunting
#3. Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe – Best Budget Mini Lathe
One of the most powerful mini lathes that we could find is the Mophorn Metal Lathe Precision Mini Lathe. The unit comes with a 0.75HP motor and it has a size of 7 x 14-inches. It is operated electronically to give the user more functionality. The electronic drilling also gives a little more precision to jobs that are generally less accurate.
Being a bench-mounted lathe, the setup is firm and easy to do. A clear instruction manual will guide you through the process and it won’t move or budge when used. The only issue might be the motor had a few functionality issues. However, it can still do most smaller milling tasks without additional guidance and issues.
It is included as one of the top budget picks due to this and should not be a waste of your time either. At this price point, it has become a great tool for students to experiment with before they move onto some of the larger metal lathes. We recommend it mostly for beginners and minor milling work.
- Really affordable
- Durable materials used for construction
- Works electronically
- Lacks overall reliability
The BestEquip Lathe is a slightly large unit that can accommodate jobs that require a longer diameter. It is powered by a 550-watt, or 0.75HP motor and has a turning radius of about 14 x 7-inches when measured from the chuck.
It includes telescopic sets with an integrated scale to ensure the work you are doing have the best possible precision to them, and it is designed with a speed variation of 100- 2500 RPM. A 4-way rotating turret gives it more functionality and ensures that the unit does have a different variety of turning directions as well.
With all of this technology, one can easily think that it is a little overpriced, but this is not the case. The unit is fairly affordable and does a great job of allowing you to work. The mini precision parts are specifically designed for professionals, allowing smaller tasks to be done more efficiently.
- 4-way turning turret
- Ranges from 100 to 2500RPM
- Large 14-inch length
- Powerful motor
- Setup is a little tricky
#5. Shop Fox M1015
If you love your lathes, you will certainly like the Shop Fox M1015. Constructed from solid materials, this 6 x 10-inch lathe is mostly considered to be a ‘micro lathe”. However, it can still do all the wood milling tasks that many of the larger options do.
4 hex blades are the real standout feature that allows the lathe to cut into things like plastic and other materials. The functionality will work for wood, but not for steel to be honest. If you need to finish off the product, it will reach a top speed of 2000 RPM, which is close to some of the top metal lathes that can reach 3000+ RPM.
While it might be a little expensive for many newcomers to the industry, the fluid design makes it handy and easy to use. Not only does it work wonders, but all your adjustments won’t take that much time either. Multiple knobs can be found on either side.
- Durable construction
- The unit is easy to mount and set up
- It includes a variety of components
- Cuts almost anything
- Might lack some reliability
#6. Excelsior Mini Lathe – Best Mini Lathe For Beginners
The Excelsior Mini Lathe is certainly not the best mini lathe on this list, but it definitely deserves a spot due to the fact that it works well for beginners. Made for schools and students, it slightly eclipses the 50-pound mark. Once you have it mounted to a bench top, it should not move or have any issues that will bother you.
According to many of the users, it does come with 8 different accessories and will allow you to get some of the smaller jobs done in no time at all. Unfortunately, it does not have any real safety features and it can be hard to pinpoint some of the overall motor information.
At this affordable price, it is certainly worth noting that professional users will not be interested in it. However, hobbyists could have some fun with it and it will allow them to get started and understand a little more about working with lathes. I would recommend it for the ease of use and the functionality for beginners.
- Offers a learning curve for beginners
- Really easy to set up
- Really affordable
- It does not have all the safety features
- Not ideal for advanced users
Key Features To Consider When Choosing The Best Mini Metal Lathe:
A lathe might seem really easy to choose, but this is not the case. There are a few important guidelines to take into consideration when choosing a top quality product. Here are the most important features to consider:
You need to figure out what the lathe is made off. The materials are generally metal, but cast iron has also been used for larger lathes. If you are taking on massive jobs the lathe will need a durable metal construction with a large spindle size of at least 12-inches. We recommend solid metal for the top mini metal lathes.
The unit needs to match the skills you have. If you choose a mini lathe with complex setups and tools, it can be really hard for a beginner to use. Fortunately, we have included a couple of different options in this list that will accommodate all the needs of every user.
Most lathes have all the needed accessories already included, but you need to look for them. The precision tools and scales can be expensive if you buy them separately. However, the top lathes will have most of these already included.
Lastly, the safety features are one of the top aspects that users generally look at. Having scrap parts that will help to catch some of the cut-offs will make one major difference to your work. We definitely recommend using all the safety equipment as well.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The features we have mentioned are only a couple of the important things to keep in mind. However, these questions are fairly common as well. Let’s see if we can help you answer some of the most important questions you have been worried about:
Which Lubricant Should I Use For My Lathe?
Lubrication is one part of your lathe you need to keep in mind. There are commonly three types of lubrication that you need to choose from. These range from mist, flood, or dry. For smaller jobs, you might be fine with a dry lubricant. However, larger lathes could use a flood lubricant. Mist is generally reserved when you heat up the lathe.
What Is The Feed Rate Of My Lathe?
This is referred to as the distance that the lathe will travel when completing one full revolution. It will vary depending on the lathe you are using. Wooden lathes commonly have a much faster feed rate than the mini metal lathes
What Is The Size Of A Mini Lathe?
The mini lathe is only slightly smaller than the normal lathe. It generally has a size of around 12 x 7-inches. The size is measured from the center, also known as the chuck, to the nearest point on the bed. Additionally, you have the swing and this refers to the size of the material that can be turned over. In this example, it would be 7-inches.
Mini metal lathes are great tools to have. They might not allow you to complete industrial tasks, but they will certainly make your life a little easier with some of the smaller jobs that need to be completed and some of your hobbies. We would highly recommend all of these options for the quality and value they offer.