Best Pottery Wheels

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
114 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best pottery wheels

Last Updated December 2019

From decorative pots to cereal bowls to flower vases, making your own pottery is a great way to express yourself and show off your creative side. But if you want to take your skills to the next level, you need to invest in a quality pottery wheel. These wheels rotate quickly while you shape the clay with your hands into the desired form. It takes quite a bit of practice to hone your skills, but the right tools can speed up the process.

Choosing the best pottery wheel isn’t always easy, though, especially if you’re new to the art. There are several factors to consider, including the type of wheel, its features, and how you intend to use it.

To learn more, read our comprehensive guide to choose the best pottery wheel for you. When you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top recommendations.

Most pottery wheel splash pans are detachable, so you can remove them if you don’t like them. You can also purchase them separately if your model doesn’t include any.

Key considerations


Wheel type

There are two kinds of pottery wheels: electric or kickwheel. Electric pottery wheels have a motor, while kickwheels are powered by a foot pedal that the artist presses. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Electric pottery wheels are often lighter and more compact, so they’re the better choice if you don’t have room for a large pottery wheel or if you plan to travel and take your wheel with you. Some kickwheels can weigh well over 200 pounds, while an electric wheel may be under 50 pounds. Electric wheels are also the better choice for individuals with arthritis and knee problems, because there’s less of a physical demand than there is with kickwheels.

However, electric wheels are noisier than kickwheels, and they don’t tend to last as long. A high-end electric pottery wheel could still last you a decade or so, but if you invest in a decent kickwheel, it could last you your entire life.

Wheel-head size

The wheel head is the metal disc in the center of the pottery wheel that revolves. This varies in size between about 8 and 14 inches in diameter, depending on the wheel you choose. The larger the wheel head, the larger the wheel itself will be, so this is something to keep in mind if space is an issue for you. But more importantly, the wheel-head size dictates the size of the pots you can make on the wheel. You should choose a larger wheel head if you intend to make large pots.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some kickwheel pottery wheels can accommodate a motor if you’d like to switch back and forth between manual foot-pedal operation or motorized power.

Features


Motor size

If you choose an electric pottery wheel, you should check the size of the motor, as this will determine how much clay you can center on the wheel. Larger motors enable you to create larger, heavier pots. This shouldn’t be a huge concern for beginners who are just starting small. But if your ultimate goal is to make larger pieces, you should choose a pottery wheel with a motor that can accommodate this.

Reversing switch

A reversing switch gives you the ability to reverse the direction that the wheel rotates. While most people throw counterclockwise, some left-handed people prefer to throw the clay clockwise. By choosing a wheel that can spin both ways, you’ll be able to accommodate all types of users. This is especially important if the wheel is going to be used in a classroom setting.

Some electric pottery wheels have these switches while others do not, so it’s important to check with the manufacturer first. Most kickwheel pottery wheels can easily spin in either direction, so this shouldn’t be as much of a concern if you’re choosing one of these models.

Storage space

Some pottery wheels contain built-in storage compartments where you can keep you water bucket and other tools while you work. You may not need one of these, especially if you already have a workbench where you keep your supplies. But built-in storage can be nice to have, especially if you plan to transport your wheel to a class or another location where you don’t have a place to store your tools.

Splash pans

Splash pans are plastic trays that go around the pottery wheel to keep clay, water, and other debris from getting all over the room and the artist. Not everyone enjoys using them, though, because they feel they interfere with the throwing process. It’s up to you to decide whether you want them or not.

Bat holes

Some pottery wheels contain holes where you can affix bats to the pottery wheel. These are thin disks that you mold your clay on. When you’ve finished your design, you lift the bat and the pot off of the disk rather than just the pot itself. It helps to preserve more delicate works of art. The number and configuration of the holes will dictate which type of bats you can use with your pottery wheel. You may need to purchase new ones if your old ones don’t fit your new wheel, or you can try to find a new wheel that is compatible with your existing bats.

All electric pottery wheels make some noise, but higher-end models are generally quieter than cheaper models.

Pottery wheel prices

Pottery wheels range in price from around $400 to upwards of $1,000. Beginners should be able to find something that will suit them for $500 or less, but you should note that these models usually don’t hold up as well over time as more expensive models. They also have a smaller load capacity, which means they can’t hold as much clay at one time. This restricts the size of the pots you can create.

We recommend that more experienced potters invest in a high-quality wheel costing around $1,000 if you intend to use your pottery wheel often and want it to hold up well over time.

Tips

  • If you’re new to pottery, read the instructions before using your pottery wheel and consider enrolling in a class to help you learn the basics.
  • You should always start the wheel off slowly and then work up to full speed.
  • It’s important to center your clay properly on the wheel before you begin to shape it.
  • If you’re not using a bat, be careful when taking items off the pottery wheel so that you don’t accidentally wreck them.
EXPERT TIP

Some pottery wheels include warranties. It’s smart to choose one of these if you’re investing in a model that costs $1,000 or more.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel is a large, heavy-duty wheel that can hold up to 100 pounds of clay at one time. It has a one-half horsepower industrial motor and a 14-inch wheel head, so it’s suitable for creating pots and artwork of all sizes. The foot pedal enables you to quickly change the speed or reverse the direction of the wheel as necessary. Users appreciate how sturdy it is and the excellent value it provides for the price.

Consider the Speedball Portable Artista Tabletop Pottery Wheel if you want something a little more affordable and compact. This lightweight model is easy to take with you, and it can hold up to 25 pounds of clay. The 11-inch aluminum wheel head should be large enough for most small or medium projects. This is a smart choice if you’re new to pottery and aren’t yet ready to invest in a more expensive model.

Measure the space where you intend to store the pottery wheel before you buy one to be sure you will have enough room for it.

FAQ

Q. How do I know what size pottery wheel I need?
A.
Think about the projects you intend to make with the pottery wheel and let that dictate your decision. It’s usually better to err on the side of too large rather than too small. That way, if you decide you’d like to make bigger pots down the line, you’ll have a wheel that can accommodate them.

Q. Why do some electric pottery wheels have a foot pedal?
A.
These foot pedals are how you start and stop the machine or adjust the speed. It prevents you from having to take your hands off the clay in order to make the adjustments by hand.

Q. Are electric or kickwheel pottery wheels better for beginners?
A.
One is not necessarily better than the other. It comes down to personal preference. Electric pottery wheels help you to center the clay more quickly and choose a precise speed, but some feel that kickwheel pottery wheels enable them to connect more with the art.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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