The 5 Best Mini Metal Lathes in 2020 (Review)

Lathes are used for their exceptional ability to shape materials, with wood and metal being two common materials that are often used. Whilst wood can be turned using a majority of lathes, regardless of specificity – metal isn’t the same.

Don’t have much time to read through the entire article today? No problem, we’ve got you covered with a quick overview of the best mini metal lathe models discussed below:

If you’re looking to shape metal, you’ll need a metal lathe to get the job done. So that’s why we’re looking into the five best mini metal lathes today, so you can be up to speed to make the best decision when purchasing one.

My Recommendations

I’ve chosen these particular five models, as they’re amongst the top in the mini metal lathe category.

Why, exactly? 

Best Mini Metal Lathes

So you can have the best possible information when it comes to making a decision upon your next purchase. 

I’ve reviewed each of these metal lathes with their best features highlighted, as well as the important specs and inclusions. 

Let me know what you think is the best mini metal lathe for you in the comments at the conclusion of this article.

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

The G8688 expects that you have previous experience using metal lathes, as the overall layout and design of the model can sometimes seem overwhelming to beginners.

We all start somewhere, so don’t fret if you find this off putting – it’s just a matter of practice, which definitely makes perfect in the long run.

With this model Grizzly Industrial has constructed a model that is incredibly durable, made from high-quality components. Paired with a list of variable features that are unique to this model, it’s clear that the manufacturers have users as their prime focus.

What are these features, exactly? Let’s find out:

  • Total weight of 74 lbs, with dimensions of 7” x 12” 
  • Includes a 110 volt, single phase ¾ motor
  • Variable speed feature, ranging from 0-1100 low range, and 0-2500 RPM high range
  • Speed works in both forward and reverse directions
  • Threading dial indicator, with a thread range of 12 to 52 TPI

What’s Included?

As well as the Grizzly G8688 mini metal lathe, there are some additional accessories included upon purchase.

What are they, exactly? We’ve listed them for you:

  • 1 x Grizzly G8688 mini metal lathe
  • 1 x Chip Pan
  • 1 x Backsplash guard
  • 1 x 3” 3-jaw chuck with external jaws
  • 1 x 6-¼” face plate
  • 1 x steady rest
  • 1 x 4-way turn-post
  • 1 x MT#2 dead center

My Favorite Feature: Build & Portability

  • High-quality components mean this model will provide you with years of reliable service

One of the ‘steals’ when discussing this lathe in particular, is the amount of top-tier components used to build this model.
This is something that Grizzly are known for – their well-designed lathes.

It’s one of the smaller mini metal lathes you can find online or in store, and due to this, it can easily fit within your workshop, where this lathe is best used – for smaller projects within a personal environment.

Due to its size, you’re able to move this around at will, as it’s also quite a lightweight model.

Whilst it’s not the ideal mini metal lathe to be used for industrial or larger professional applications, it can be easily moved thanks to its lighter than normal design.

Erie Tools SP2102 Mini Metal Lathe

There’s many aspects to like about this model, with one being the value for money – especially at its price point, which makes it perfect for those who are monitoring their budget.

One of the best within the mini metal lathe category, it’s the small tasks where the SP2102 really comes into its element, especially for those who are turning as a hobby within their home workshop.

It includes a five-piece cutting kit, so this means you’re able to get started as soon as it arrives at your doorstep, with no need to buy additional accessories. 

Pretty convenient, right?

It’s an extremely versatile lathe, and includes an array of features that make it quite convenient for the user, which we look into below.

  • Dimensions of 7” x 14” 
  • 0.53 HP motor, single phase for easy power input with standard sockets
  • Multi-jaw chuck with optional auto-feed for total control over your projects
  • Digital readout is easily accessible, a bonus when adjusting RPMs
  • 5/16” capacity tool post gives the option to mount four tools at once for swift swaps during turning

What’s Included?

Here are the inclusions Erie Tools bundle with the SP2102:

  • 1 x Erie Tools mini metal lathe
  • 1 x MT3 Spindle taper
  • 1 x MT2 dead center tailstock taper
  • 5 x Carbide-tipped cutter kit.
  • 1 x Set of plastic change gears

My Favorite Feature: Motor

  • Motor features a variable speed setting and ability to be used in rotational direction

With a 0.53 HP motor, it may not be the most powerful on the market – yet this lathe from Erie Tools is well-valued for the tasks it can accomplish. It features some nifty inclusions, including a variable speed option.

Most metal lathes include a variable speed setting, and it’s an incredibly crucial aspect when you’re turning – often making or breaking your task at hand.

The variable speed range on this model runs from 50 to 2500 RPM. When adjusting speeds, you’re able to view the conveniently located digital readout, making speed changes much easier than alternative models.

With the variable speed function, this mini metal lathe is able to be used in both directions, forward and reverse.

This means that, should you wish to, you can also utilize left-handed threading.

What do you think of the motor on this model, do you think it can handle the tasks you’ve got planned?

BestEquip 7” x 14” Mini Metal Lathe

As I stated when discussing the Erie Tools mini metal lathe, it’s about finding the right lathe for your needs, with the main consideration being your budget.

Fortunately, BestEquip have all bases covered – with four mini metal lathes available within the one series. These four lathes range from inexpensive to premium, and this particular model is one of the more cost-effective models out of the bunch.

This doesn’t mean that it’s not as high quality than its’ siblings, however, as there is a lot to like with this mini-metal lathe – which can be used for many tasks, such as processing of sample and mini precision parts and modeling projects, to name some examples.

What else is there to like? Keep reading and see for yourself:

  • Total weight of 110 lbs, and dimensions of 7” x 14”, chuck size of 3.93”
  • 0.75 HP, 110 V, variable speed motor ranged from 100 to 2500 RPM
  • Change direction included key – can be used in both forward and reverse motions
  • Included 18 threads and an automatic and adjustable feed
  • Accessible and large on and off switch, includes emergency shutdown feature for increased safety

What’s Included?

A majority of lathe manufacturers provide additional accessories when you buy one of their models, which is great for users, don’t you think?

BestEquip are no different with their inclusions – and they also some very handy items that’ll prove as worthy additions to your workshop, especially if you’re running low on supplies.

  • 1 x BestEquip mini metal lathe
  • 1 x MS2 # Fix the top
  • 1 x Double-headed wrench
  • 1 x Protection mask
  • 1 x Chuck wrench
  • 1 x Hexagon bar wrench
  • 1 x Chuck claw
  • 1 x Oil Can
  • 1 x Nylon gears
  • 4 x Shockproof foot cushions

My Favorite Feature: Four-Way Rotating Turret

  • Rotating turret holds 5/16” bits and can fit four cutting tools at any given time

Regardless of the tools you’re using for your projects, a lot of valuable time is taken up by interchanging between accessories, replacing tools, and finding what you need for the project.

It can be tiresome changing between tools when using a lathe, and luckily – this feature will almost eliminate this for you. This model allows you to attach four tools to shape your metal, which is extremely useful for making every second count.

Whilst it may seem as thought this mini-metal lathe is quite simplistic when compared to the other models reviewed in this guide, it’s a perfect model for those looking to begin, as it focuses purely upon the core features of a lathe, without the unnecessary bells and whistles.

Mophorn B01MCVQ42C Mini Metal Lathe

If you’ve looked into images of both the Mophorn series of mini metal lathes and also the BestEquip models, you’d be forgiven for thinking these are quite similar.

Mophorn, like BestEquip, have four separate mini metal lathes up for purchase to the public, all which are at different ends of the pricing spectrum. This particular model we’re looking at also has a bed swing of 7”, as well as a 14” distance between the centers.

It’s also quite compact enough to fit into the smallest of spaces within your workshop, and is perfect for sitting on a benchtop.

This model can be used with many applications in mind, from the hobbyist at home, to metalworkers within education settings who wish to instruct their students.

What features and specs does this mini metal lathe hold? Good question, let’s find out:

  • Total weight of 83 lbs, dimensions of 7” x 14” 
  • 110 V, 550 W, 0.75 HP motor
  • Thread range of 12 to 52 TPI
  • 4” Three-jaw chuck with tool turret that holds ⅜” bits
  • Houses an emergency stop switch, as well as an indicator lamp that notifies when power is on

What’s Included?

Unlike some of the models on this

  • 1 x Mophorn mini metal lathe
  • 1 x MS2 # Fix the top
  • 1 x Double-headed wrench
  • 1 x Nylon gears
  • 1 x Oil can
  • 1 x Chuck claw
  • 1 x Hexagon bar wrench

My Favorite Feature: Variable Speed Knob

  • Manipulate spindle speed with the variable speed knob, providing optimal control over your turns

Have you ever found an inexpensive power tool and looked to purchase it, only to find out it didn’t have a variable speed option?

This is a common feature that is missing in cheaper power tools, yet it’s not the case with this model of Mophorn.

The range on this mini metal lathe covers a speed of 50 – 2500 RPM, thanks to the 0.75HP motor – so it’s quite adaptable to the application you’re undertaking.

Thanks to the high-quality construction of this model vibration is minimized drastically – so you’re able to cut and thread with both precision and accuracy. 

This means you won’t have to worry about unnecessary vibrations when turning metals at higher speeds, an aspect which is incredibly important to the overall performance of your lathe and the quality of your work.

Shop Fox M1015 Mini Metal Lathe

Lastly, we’ll be reviewing the M1015.

Like many of the mini metal lathes reviewed today, the M1015 model from Shop Fox is aimed at users who are working with smaller projects. It’s one of the smallest in review, with a total size of 6” x 10”.

Size aside, the M1015 mini metal lathe features a reliable, strong design, which is a great assurance for those who are looking at a lathe with many years of service.

Whilst looking at its longevity, it’s important to note the affordability of this lathe, which has it perfectly placed for all budgets – and you know you’ll be receiving a sturdy, durable and also a quality model for a good price point.

So we’ve touched upon the size and overall design of the M1015, but what else does this mini metal lathe contain?

Here are five features and specifications that you should be aware of:

  • Total weight of 78 lbs, and dimensions of 6” x 10”
  • Single phase motor with ⅕ HP, 110V and 1.2 amps
  • Bed width of 3-¼”,10” carriage travel
  • Variable speed motor ranges from 100-2000 RPM
  • Thread cutting ability of 16-24 TPI with an additional gear ratio threading chart

What’s Included?

Shop Fox are amongst the top of the pile when you’re looking at the accessories that are also included with this lathe:

  • 1 x Shop Fox M1015 mini metal lathe
  • 1 x Thread cutting gears
  • 2 x T-nuts
  • 1 x Chuck key fuse
  • 1 x Oil cup
  • 1 x MT #1 dead center
  • 1 x Double-ended wrench
  • 4 x Hex wrenches
  • 1 x 3” 3-jaw chuck (external and internal jaws)
  • 1 x Socket head wrench

My Favorite Feature: M1015 Control Panel

  • Control panel holds three separate functions for a combination of adjustments

We’ve spoken greatly about accessible functions that allow for greater convenience when using your lathe.

Enter the control panel.

Unlike some models that can be difficult to understand even with the help of a manual, Shop Fox waives this concern with the inclusion of the control panel. The control panel is easily accessible, and is in a very user-friendly location on the left of the lathe.

It houses three separate functions, which are a clutch knob, a speed dial, and a rotation selector knob. This allows you to make many adjustments in order to increase the quality and performance of your work.

I’m a big fan of this simple inclusion, as it places everything you need within the one small space on the lathe.

What are your thoughts on this control panel on this model?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Round-Up

Within this list, there are a number of lathes that provide exceptional value for money. 

What do you think of these mini metal lathes after reading through this guide?

After reviewing five of the best available, you should now have a better idea of the lathe you’re choosing, depending on your use and the sizes you’re working with. Of course, if you’re looking at these mini metal lathes, you’d be working on smaller projects.

Personally, I can’t go past the Grizzly G8688 – it’s one of the most powerful mini metal lathes available in the class, and can be relied upon for a majority of metal turning applications. 

It may have a slight learning curve ahead of the other models, yet once you’ve become accustomed to its setup after a few sessions, it won’t be too difficult for you to master. As I said, everyone starts somewhere!

That’s my opinion, however – yours may be different. Have you used any of these mini metal lathes before?

Or maybe you’re still unsure and need to ask some additional questions.

Either way, ask them below, and I’ll happily get back to you.

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

2 thoughts on “The 5 Best Mini Metal Lathes in 2020 (Review)”

  1. two questions – from their names these sound like American machines. Are they easily available in Great Britain?

    You don’t show the prices. Have you any ideas as to their costs?

    1. Hi John,

      Many are US companies, however, you can still import them. Regarding pricing, all you have to do is click on the links in the article above (orange) for the specific model you want to look at and the price will show for you 🙂

      Cheers,
      James

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