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Pottery Wheels for Beginners 2022 — Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

potter working with top pottery wheel

When you’re looking for the best pottery wheel money can buy, you face a pretty big challenge. It’s important that you choose the right type of pottery wheel based on your level of experience (beginner, intermediate, or professional). Not only that, but you need to think about what kinds of projects you want to use it for in the future. The right pottery wheel will determine the outcome of all your future projects and the techniques you are able to use. It can even influence your style of pottery making[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottery. Then there is a wide variety of pottery wheels available – countless brands that offer a myriad of different features. You may not even know what all the features of a pottery wheel are or which ones you need. Particularly if you are a beginner, it’s a lot of information to take it.

Don’t have time for the whole article?

Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.

SEAAN Electric Pottery Wheel Machine

SEAAN Electric Pottery Wheel Machine 25CM Pottery Throwing Ceramic Machine LCD Touch Ceramic DIY Clay Tool for Ceramic Work Art Clay with 10 Pcs Clay Sculpting Tools, Foot Pedal

View on Amazon >>

  • Great for beginners and professionals.
  • Sturdy and reliable.
  • Easy cleanup

YaeTek 25CM 350W Electric Pottery Wheel

YaeTek 25CM 350W Electric Pottery Wheel Machine Ceramic Work Clay Forming Machine DIY Art Craft Tool 110V US Plug

View on Amazon >>

  • Wide basin perfect for beginners
  • Quiet brushless motor
  • Easy to use knob for speed adjustment
Shinpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel

Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel
View on Amazon >> View on Blick >>

  • High RPMs
  • Lightweight and Quiet
  • Great for right and left handers
Skutt Thomas Stuart Prodigy

skutt thomas stuart prodigy potters wheel
View on Blick >>

  • Easy to use foot pedal
  • Sturdy with round splash pan

To help you choose the best pottery wheel for your needs, we created the following list of our top 5 pottery wheels that anyone can use, from a novice to a professional potter. If you’re a beginner, you can use this guide to help you choose your first wheel and begin your journey toward mastering pottery. If you’re a little more experienced, our list is useful for you, as well. You may be seeking a new pottery wheel to replace an old one, or you may want to try a new technique. We will list each wheel’s pros and cons and compare them to each other, all to teach you how to evaluate pottery wheels and choose the best one for you today and in the future.


1. YaeTek Pottery Wheel, The Best Low-Noise Electric Pottery Wheel for Ceramic Clay with ABS Basin (Forming Machine)

YaeTek 25CM 350W Electric Pottery Wheel Machine Ceramic Work Clay Forming Machine DIY Art Craft Tool 110V US Plug

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Design and Materials

This small pottery wheel is made of high-quality materials and comes equipped with advanced technology. The innovation of its construction and its bright color make it a joy to use.

Beginners, professionals, and children’s teachers will find that it suits their needs perfectly. Its large aluminum alloy plate has a large diameter – 25 cm or 9.8 in. Potters can use this plate to work with a lot of clay at one time.

The wheel is designed to appeal to your eyes with its diminutive but functional size and eye-catching color.

Productivity

You’ll find this pottery wheel is easy to set up, yet still strong and flexible enough to use for your projects. Because of its small size, it doesn’t take up much room in your workspace. You can also change the wheel’s spin to run clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which direction you want.

The wheel’s motor is brushless with premium construction, and it runs quiet and smooth. The noise the wheel makes when it rotates is less than 60 dB.

The wheel can reach significant speeds – up to 300 rotations per minute. A switch allows you to switch between a clockwise and counterclockwise spin, and you can use the knob to change the speed of the wheel as needed.

Its compact design is perfect for mud shielding, and the ABS basin is easy to clean. The way the wheel is designed, its high walls protect the motor from mud and debris, preserving it from erosion. You will feel safe using this wheel, as it comes with a three-wire connection complete with earth leakage protection.

The wheel’s width allows you to throw and shape your clay to complete your project easily and comfortably. It only weighs 33 lbs and can be transported to and from workshops without a struggle.

This wheel is perfect for use at home, school, and pottery studios alike.

Reviewers agree that the speed on the wheel is exceptional and that it even outperformed their expectations. It is an excellent choice for a beginner, especially if you need help or have questions. The manufacturer’s customer service team is highly responsive and ready to assist you.

Drawbacks

Since it is short and squat, tall potters might have difficulty using this wheel. It might need modification to make it work for taller-than-average adults.

Overall

If you’re looking for a sturdy, quiet pottery wheel with an ABS basic, this is a fantastic option.

Pros
  • High quality and easy to use
  • Strong yet flexible, as well as durable and safe to use
  • Perfect for beginners and small children due to its wide basin
  • The motor is brushless and thus creates very little noise
  • The knob allows you to decrease or increase the rotation speed as needed

Also interesting: Pottery Wheels for Kids.


2. Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel Review, Reversible Lightweight Wheel for Beginners

Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel

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View on Blick >>

The Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel is perfect for beginner potters. It comes with all the works, including a remote foot pedal, detachable two-piece splash pan, aluminum wheel head, and a 100-watt reversible motor. With half a horsepower in its engine, the wheel can achieve super high speeds, which you can control remotely.

Productivity

Most beginner pottery wheels come equipped with only half a horsepower. The Shimpo VL Lite is no exception. Half a horsepower allows the wheel to reach high speeds – up to 250 rotations per minute – but this doesn’t affect the amount of clay placed on it.

Clay is something everyone needs to keep in mind when deciding which pottery wheel to buy. We’ll talk more about it later in this article.

Design and Materials

A pottery wheel head can be constructed of three different types of material: steel, aluminum alloy, and plastic. Plastic wheels make for the most fragile wheel head. An aluminum head is sturdier and more durable, and so it’s a better alternative to plastic.

A great feature of the Shimpo VL Lite is its size. It is small, compact, and lightweight, all of which make it easy to transport. The average adult can quickly move it around and even travel with it; it can fit in most vehicles without even having to fold the backseat down. The handle is also reversible, so whether you’re right or left-handed, you should have no trouble carrying this pottery wheel around.

A second pro to choosing the Shimpo VL Lite is that it comes with a removable two-piece splash pan. Even beginners know that it’s essential to keep your wheel clean. The detachable splash pan makes cleanup easy.

This pottery wheel can also center 25 lbs of clay. This feature speeds up your pottery making process because it allows you to keep working instead of having to stop several times in one session to add more clay.

Drawbacks

One con you may encounter when using this wheel is that the splash pan, which is formed out of flexible plastic, isn’t easy to remove. The removal process gets tricky because of its interlocking design. You have to yank one part of the splash pan away from the other, remove it, and then repeat the process on the other piece. There’s a learning curve, and it may cause frustration at first.

Overall

With all the Shimpo’s features in mind, it’s a great fit for beginner potters. Its small size and lightweight quality allow quick and comfortable transportation to and from home or a pottery workshop. The detachable two-piece splash pan turns cleanup into an easy task.

Pros
  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Reversible (for right and left-handers)
  • Removable splash pan
  • Half a horsepower spins the wheel up to 250 rotations per minute
Cons
  • The complicated removal process for the splash pan

Also interesting: What is a pottery wheel.


3. SEAAN LCD Pottery Wheel with Foot Pedal DIY Clay Tool, The Best Pottery Wheel for Clay with Foot Pedal and Detachable Basin

SEAAN Electric Pottery Wheel Machine 25CM Pottery Throwing Ceramic Machine LCD Touch Ceramic DIY Clay Tool for Ceramic Work Art Clay with 10 Pcs Clay Sculpting Tools, Foot Pedal

View on Amazon >>

Design and Materials

This pottery wheel is perfect for beginner potters or potters looking for a wheel they can take on the go. Its surface is coated in a bright color pleasing to the eye. It is also portable with a detachable ABS basin and an enclosed design, making it easy to clean and maintain. Because of its design, mud has a hard time penetrating to the wheel’s internal mechanism, meaning there is a lesser chance of the motor eroding. This ensures a long life for the wheel.

Productivity

This wheel is unique because it doesn’t produce much noise while working (the sound it makes is measured at less than 60 dB). The diameter is large, but it can still fit easily on a table or a small stand. Because of how wide it is across, you can work with large pottery pieces. It also has a hefty weight capacity of 5 lbs, meaning you can load it with lots of clay for larger projects. Its large bearing surface allows potters of any level of experience to feel comfortable and flexible with whatever they’re working on.

A two-way switch allows the potter to rotate the wheel clockwise or counterclockwise. This feature opens up the potential for implementing many different pottery techniques and flexibility when throwing or shaping your clay.

The highly advanced motor on this wheel reaches impressive speeds (up to 300 rpm).

You can easily control the speed of the wheel by using the foot pedal that comes with it. The pedal allows you to raise or lower the motor’s rotary speed, freeing your hands to throw and shape your clay and conserving both physical energy and brain power. The engine maintains speed even when your foot is not on the pedal. After you set the motor to the speed you desire, you only need to use the pedal when you want to make it go faster or slow it down.

This wheel is designed with an enclosed structure, making it safe and comfortable to use. It’s also equipped with a three-wire connection and an earth leakage protection device.

Because of these safety and comfort features, it’s excellent for use at home, school, or a pottery shop.

It has a powerful spin once it gets going, but you can control the speed and slow it down as needed to recenter your project. This makes it perfect for completing all the processes essential to pottery, including clay throwing and shaping.

People who bought this product like it because of its easy cleanup and reliability, and they also like that it comes with an on-and-off switch. They believe its high value is worth the price.

When you buy this pottery wheel, the manufacturer throws in a special gift: a set of eight clay shaping tools that you can use whether you’re just learning how to manipulate clay or working on your next big pottery project.

Overall

This motorized wheel’s detachable ASB basin and the comfortable foot pedal are excellent choices for novice potters if you’re looking for a pottery wheel that’s easy to keep clean.

Pros
  • Perfect for both beginners and professional potters
  • Reliable and durable, plus it’s easy to keep clean
  • Made of high-quality materials in a small portable design
  • Effective at shielding mud from the motor, allowing for easy cleanup
  • Detachable basin and foot pedal are included

Also interesting: Pottery making.


4/5. Brent Model ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels, Reliable and Sturdy Wheels to Start and Continue Potter’s Career

View on Blick

These wheels are all very similar, so we include all three under one listing. Their differences are outlined below, but they are all of excellent and robust quality.

Productivity

Brent pottery wheels can only reach speeds up to 240 rotations per minute. This is slower than the 250 rotations per minute achievable by the Shimpo Lite VL.

However, the critical feature here is that the Brent wheels can handle more stress on their hands, making them more reliable and durable.

Furthermore, the Brent ie-X Pottery Wheel can hold 100 lbs of clay at once. You might be tempted to overload your wheel, but don’t let yourself get carried away. Start small and use just as much clay as you need and no more, and never over the limit. This practice will lengthen the life of your wheel.

Design and Materials

Brent’s customer service is phenomenal. If you have a question or concern and send it to them, one of their representatives will respond quickly with a helpful answer.

The Brent Pottery Wheels come with many interchangeable parts, making them easier and cheaper to maintain than specialty wheels. Specialty wheels usually spin faster and come with other great features, but they are also made up of unique parts that can’t always be easily replaced. It can cost a lot of money to keep them up. It’s better to use wheels like the Brent ie and ie-X if you are a novice and looking to improve your pottery skills. Their parts are more comfortable to obtain, and their designs will more than meet your needs.

About their design, the ie and ie-X wheels are constructed with a durable iron frame. Their wheel heads, however, are formed out of aluminum. These wheels will last a long time as long as you follow the instructions for maintaining them that they come with.

These wheels are incredibly weather-resistant due to the materials they’re made out of. You can use them inside or out in all kinds of weather and not worry that any damage will be done to them.

When it comes to cleaning up, these wheels are equipped with a splash pan with its unique feature: you don’t have to take off a wheel head to get to it. Furthermore, the plastic it’s made of has higher quality than some of the splash pads we mentioned previously.

Brent Pottery wheels are strong and aren’t easily knocked over or broken by children or animals. You can also use it in a place where there are many people and not worry about it being overturned.

Both the ie and ie-X models offer a smooth rotation. This feature makes both types of wheels easy and comfortable to use.

Drawbacks

The Brent splash pan does come with one disadvantage. Even though you don’t have to take off the wheel head to get to it, you need to unlock and relock the splash pan’s interlocking mechanism every time you need to clean it. It is a minor complaint, but it can be frustrating if you use your wheel often. So, if you’re a professional potter or looking into becoming one, we recommend choosing one of the other wheels in this article.

If you’re a novice or a casual potter, the Brent wheels are a great option. They are exceptionally durable and will last a lifetime with proper care. If you want to improve your skills or try a new technique, the Brent wheels can handle it.

Overall

The Brent ie and ie-X pottery wheels are excellent options for potters just starting out or who are already skilled in clay forming. Their interchangeable parts allow for easy repairs if needed, and Brent’s highly rated customer service can help with any other issue.

Pros
  • High centering capacity
  • Round splash pan
  • Detachable splash pan that doesn’t require you to take off a wheel head to remove it
  • Sturdy
  • Interchangeable (and thus inexpensive) components
Cons
  • Heavy

Also interesting: How to make a pottery wheel.


6. Skutt Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel Review, Stable and durable Wheel for a long-time usage

Skutt Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel

View on Blick Art Supplies >>

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional potter, the Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is an excellent choice. It’s strong and sturdy enough to last a lifetime, as well as keep your project centered regardless of the amount of clay you’re using.

Productivity

This pottery wheel is equipped with only one third horsepower, making it slower than the Shimpo VL Lite and Speedball Clay Boss (mentioned later in this article). But its slower speed ensures a stable basin for forming and throwing projects over 12 in. In this case, then, the one third horsepower is an advantage.

The Thomas Stuart Prodigy can handle up to 75 lbs of clay at one time. This is a smaller weight capacity than the Speedball Clay Boss, but you typically won’t work with more than 25 lbs anyway if you’re a beginner.

Motor’s Features

The motor on this pottery wheel is unique in that it takes advantage of torque to allow a higher clay capacity. Torque is centered at the wheel head, and the amount of torque the wheel head is able to produce is dependent on the amount of horsepower in the motor. The controller settings and size of the pulley can also affect it, as can belt slippage. You can increase torque with the belt using 6 v-groove belts, which cover more surface area and decrease the chance of slippage. We will address controller settings later in this article.

Skutt, the company that manufactures the Thomas Stuart Prodigy, uses a type of motor called Continuous Duty. The engine must be strong, and each one undergoes rigorous testing before it’s installed in a pottery wheel. The stronger the motor, the more work it can handle, and the more potters, beginners and professionals alike, will be able to use it for various techniques and different sized projects. The bigger the motor, the heavier and sturdier the wheel.

There are two models of the electric motor: Continuous Duty and Intermittent Duty[2]http://faculty.weber.edu/kharward/Mfet3320/GET-6812D.pdf. Continuous Duty motors are tested for permanent or “continuous” operations. When the temperature of the motor stops rising, the motor reaches thermal balance, and the test is ended. Despite the high heat, no harm would come to the internal components of the motor. Intermittent Duty motors are tested for short-term operations only. As you can see above, the Continuous Model is designed to keep running under strained conditions. Therefore, their parts – windings, brushes, magnets, etc. – must be large and sturdy.

The larger the motor, the more space they allow for cooling. The Thomas Stuart Prodigy motor comes with a built-in fan to circulate even more cool air throughout the engine, which can actually increase its longevity.

Regarding the controller settings, its electrical components can break down due to heat overload. Similar to the motor, the controller is large and made out of durable pieces that prevent overheating.

The Thomas Stuart Prodigy Wheel motor is well known for how smooth it runs. A lot of this is due to the controller. The torque on the controller is set as high as it can handle straight out of the factory. You can also use it to switch IR Comp off. IR Comp maintains the wheel head speed while also applying strength.

The controller can help you control the wheel’s speed, but it comes with a bigger learning curve than a foot pedal. Sometimes IR Comp settings do not change immediately, and this can be frustrating for beginners. It can reach incredibly high speeds, which can be challenging to control and can damage your pottery if you’re not careful.

Keep in mind when buying a Skutt wheel like the Thomas Stuart Prodigy the power of the motor and whether it suits the needs of your pottery skill level.

Design and Materials

This pottery wheel’s wheel head is made of aluminum, which is lighter and not as sturdy as steel. Yet the entire wheel is heavier than the Speedball Clay Boss and Shimpo VL Lite and more robust in the base than the top. This will help it not to get knocked over by pets or children or the intensity of your clay working.

This wheel can take a lot of pressure, which is essential for the product’s overall longevity. It can handle the pressure you naturally put on it with your body while you’re working. This minimizes the strain on the internal components such as the motor and the wheel head.

The foot pedal adjusts to the pressure you place on with your foot and steadily and smoothly adjusts the wheel speed.

The Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel splash pan does not come with a hole in the middle, making cleanup much more effortless. This also saves you from having to spend a lot of time tidying up.

Drawbacks

The splash pad on this wheel is formed in a round shape. You need to take the wheel head off first to detach the splash pad, which can be a hassle.

Even though the Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel can’t handle more than 75 lbs of clay, that still doesn’t make it a wrong choice. It’s a fantastic option for beginners who will form and throw smaller projects. This wheel is also extremely durable and will last a long time, making it an excellent monetary investment.

Overall

The Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is without a doubt a sturdy, long-lasting, and reliable wheel. The way it’s constructed, it can handle the pressure from a human body, which is a good sign of its longevity. The centering capacity can take on small and large clay projects, which is terrific for beginners and intermediate potters looking to improve their skills.

Pros
  • Exceptional centering capacity
  • Round splash pan
  • Sturdy
  • Smoothly operated foot pedal
Cons
  • Heavy

7. U.S. Art Supply 3/4-HP Table Top Pottery Wheel with LCD Wheel Speed Display, The Best Home Pottery Wheel

Design and Materials

The US Art Supply Pottery Wheel comes equipped with a reversible spin feature so that right and left-handed people both use it with ease.

This wheel is designed to sit on a table, but it is constructed well enough to take on a lot of work. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a wheel that’s comparable to those which professional potters use but for a much lower price. Besides, it comes with an LCD screen that allows you to monitor and manage the wheel spin speed.

The control dial allows you to maintain a constant speed without the need for a foot pedal. You can also detach the splash guard for easy cleanup after you’re finished with your project.

The powerful ¾ horsepower motor can spin up to 25 lbs of clay, great for small projects and beginners.

This wheel also comes with:

  • Foot pedal
  • Splash guard
  • 11-in long plastic bat
  • A cup

Budget Benefits

The US Art Supply Pottery Wheel is a great deal for the price, as you can buy it for just under $500 (keep in mind that other wheels can cost up to $1500). Once again, this is a sturdy and long-lasting wheel that you can use to create fantastic clay pieces. It’s also affordable, making it perfect for beginners or people who want to improve their pottery skills.

Overall

This pottery wheel is small and easy to carry around and strong and built to last. It’s also quite versatile, and it’s high quality for a low price. Whether you’re an experienced professional or if a novice potter, the US Art Supply Table Top Pottery Wheel is worth considering for your workshop.

Pros
  • Foot pedal and wheel are easy to turn
  • The motor is powerful yet strong and durable
  • Included bats can be attached to the outside of the wheel
  • Wheel head size is only 11 in
  • Centering capacity handles up to 25 lbs of clay
Cons
  • This wheel is heavy, weighing in at 43 lbs. This can make it difficult to carry around. You may need a friend or family member to help you transport it as needed

8. Speedball Artista Potter’s Wheel Review, Powerful Wheel both for Experienced and Beginner Potters

The Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel comes with all the necessary components to effectively clay throw. Its 25 lb centering capacity can handle beginners as well as professionals’ projects. The wheel head and frame are made of steel and are thus strong and durable. The included foot pedal allows you to adjust the speed of the wheel spin comfortably.

Productivity

This wheel is equipped with half a horsepower and can produce up to 220 rotations per minute. The foot pedal is also not too sensitive to high or low speed. It adjusts smoothly between the two, allowing you to choose your desired speed with ease.

Design and Material

The wheel head and frame are made of steel, which means the entire wheel is pretty heavy. However, it is also strong, which means it will stay steadier than the Shimpo VL Lite. The 25 lb centering capacity gives you the freedom to try lots of different clay forming techniques and work on larger projects.

The wheel head is large at 11 in, although not as large as the 12-in head of the Shimpo VL Lite. However, such a small difference is not significant, and the smaller size is balanced by the sturdy construction of the Speedball Clay Boss. The wheel head size is optimal for potters who like to use their wheels to make plates[3]https://www.britannica.com/art/potters-wheel.

This wheel also comes with pinholes, which are an essential feature for all pottery wheels. Without them, you might see a lot of issues with your finished clay projects.

One great feature of the Speedball Clay Boss is it makes a great beginner wheel, but it can also transition with you when you become a slightly more skilled potter. It’s worth your money because you’ll get a lot of use out of it.

Drawbacks

The Speedball Clay Boss’s splash pan is one of the negative components of this pottery wheel. It has an odd shape, with a cut-out at the top, which means it’s not entirely round. However, the material it’s made out of is top-notch plastic so that it won’t break or warp easily.

It would help if you also keep in mind that this pottery wheel is a little heavier than its competitor, the Shimpo VL.

Overall

The Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel is an excellent choice for specialist potters and novices. It is strong, sturdy, long-lasting and, due to its 25-lb centering capacity, can handle various sizes and types of clay projects. The 11-in wheel head withstands any experiments you might want to conduct with your clay forming technique, and the pinholes in the wheel lend sturdiness to your throwing. You can start your pottery journey with this wheel or use it to hone your skills, and it will remain reliable the whole way.

Pros
  • Adequate centering capacity
  • The wheel head is made of steel
  • The wheel head is 11 in
  • 1/3 horsepower motor runs smooth

Pottery Wheels for Beginners 2021 — Buyer’s Guide

In this article, we’ve covered the top 5 pottery wheels for beginners and more experienced potters alike. But there are a lot of other options, and you’re not limited to just our list.

The main point to keep in mind is how to choose the perfect pottery wheel for your needs. You may need a new wheel to replace your old one, or one more suited to the type of clay making techniques you want to learn[4]https://www.murraystate.edu/academics/CollegesDepartments/CollegeOfHumanitiesAndFineArts/ArtAndDesign/concentrations/ceramics.aspx. As such, there are specific criteria you need to look for to find the right type.

There are many details you need to learn about when choosing a new pottery wheel. Its dimensions and the amount of clay it can take on are two important examples. From this point on in the article, you will learn about some of these factors, which will ultimately help you choose a pottery wheel that works best for your intended use of it.

As a reminder, the criteria we’ve chosen to highlight are not the only methods you can use to assess a pottery wheel. You can also add your assessments depending on your personality, needs, and level of experience.

The criteria we’ve chosen to discuss are:

  • The diameter of a Wheel Head
  • Splash Pan and Cleaning
  • Weight
  • Pedal Sensitivity
  • Material
  • Centering Capacity
  • Interchangeability of Pottery Wheel’s Part
  • Customer Support Service

The Diameter of a Pottery Wheel Head

Shaft_Extension
Skutt Shaft Extension

The material that a wheel head is made out of is important, as we’ve stressed in our pottery wheel reviews above. But there is more to a wheel head that we need to keep in mind. The main point we need to consider is its diameter. It is directly correlated to the wheel’s centering capacity, which is the measurement by which it is able to handle large amounts of clay. The wider the wheel head, the more weight it can take. We recommend using a wheel head with a diameter of no less than 11 in so you can work on a variety of different sized projects. Beginners and people who are already skilled potters can go up to 12 in.

Pottery Wheel Splash Pan and Cleaning

thomas stuart splash pan
Found at Blick (https://www.dickblick.com/)

When you own a pottery wheel, you need to have a plan for cleaning it. You must clean it after every use in order to keep it working correctly and ensure its long-lasting quality. The entire wheel – head, splash pan, and all – should be cleaned thoroughly once a week. Otherwise, you risk bits of clay getting stuck in the different components and ruining the wheel.

There are all different kinds of splash pans, made of various materials. Some are formed out of cheap plastic and are not round like the standard type. If they’re not made correctly, you can even hurt yourself trying to detach them from the wheel. It can also be challenging to get to the splash pan, especially if you have to take the wheel head off first. Wheel heads can be heavy and a hassle to manipulate. You need to look out for how the splash pan on a given pottery wheel is attached. The easier it is to remove, the easier your cleanup process will be.

Weight

Weight is an essential feature of any pottery wheel. A lighter wheel is more portable and more comfortable to take with you, whether you’re going to work, school, home, or a workshop. You might also want to consider factors like your physical strength, how many floors are in the house or building where you want to use the wheel, or if you change locations often. You will want a lighter and more compact wheel. In the latter case, you can quickly load it into a vehicle or carry it around. On the other hand, if you plan on keeping the wheel in one location, like a garage or workshop, a heavy wheel will suit your needs better. Keep these in mind because they will determine the functionality of the wheel in your personal life.

Pedal Sensitivity

You should always consider the sensitivity of the foot pedal when you’re choosing a pottery wheel. The quality of your projects literally depends on it. A sensitive foot pedal might speed up too quickly, therefore making it hard for you to reach the speed you desire. This can result in too strong of a spin, which could ruin your project. On the other hand, some pedals don’t respond quickly enough to the pressure of your foot. You push on it over and over, but it takes a long time to pick up speed.

Your pedal should be smooth when you apply pressure to it and gradually increase or decrease speed. It’s important because different types of projects need different rotation rates, and you need to control those rates. As a beginner, you may not be able to tell the difference between different pedals’ sensitivity levels, but an experienced potter will recognize it right away.

If you’re a beginner looking for a pottery wheel, pay attention to customer reviews or ask an experienced potter about which wheels come with great pedal sensitivity. It may also help you to focus on the other feature we’ve talked about in this article, since the higher the quality of those features, the more likely you will get a high-quality foot pedal, as well.

Material

You can get a hint of the long-lasting quality of different pottery wheels by paying attention to what materials the wheel heads are made of. Not all materials are created equal. The three main types found in pottery wheels are steel, aluminum alloy, and plastic. Unsurprisingly, the stronger the type, the more the longevity of the wheel increases. Steel is the strongest of these three materials, whereas plastic is the weakest. But weight also plays a crucial role here. If a wheel is heavy, that probably means the wheel head is made of steel. As we learned earlier in the article, a heavy wheel is steady and sturdy. But if you plan on transporting it often, you may want to consider one made of a lighter material like aluminum.

Centering Capacity

best pottery wheel

We referenced centering capacity quite a bit in this article, and there’s a fundamental reason for that. It is essential to know the centering capacity so that you know how much clay it can handle. The pottery wheels we covered earlier range from 25 lbs to 100 lbs. The greater the capacity, the larger the projects the wheel can take. If you’re a beginner or someone who plans on only making small items like dishes or knick-knacks, then a wheel with a 25 lb centering capacity will be perfect for you. But if you’re a professional or planning to make a career out of making pottery, you’ll probably want a centering capacity of at least 75 lbs so you can handle more work.

Remember that the centering capacity of a given wheel is the limit of how much it can handle. If a wheel has a capacity of 25 lbs, then it can only handle 25 lbs and no more. If you try to put more clay on it, you will slow down the wheel or even break it, so it’s best not to push it.

You may want to consider purchasing a pottery wheel that is equipped with a larger centering capacity than you actually need. For example, if you only need 50 lbs, you might want to buy a wheel that can handle 75 lbs of clay. This is so that the wheel head will be large and give you more room for experimenting with different types of techniques. If you’re a beginner, it is also helpful to have plenty of space to work with. It also allows you to practice working with more clay in the future, so you don’t have to buy a giant wheel when you’re ready to move on to larger projects. You’ll get more use out of it, save money, and feel more comfortable since you’re sticking with a wheel that you’re already familiar with.

You may think that horsepower affects centering capacity, but it does not. Horsepower only determines the speed of the wheel’s spin. It doesn’t indicate the strength of the wheel head.

Interchangeability of Pottery Wheel Parts

When you buy a pottery wheel, you need to make sure that its parts are easy to replace. They can easily get worn out or damaged with all the work you put it through. You always need a backup plan, so you don’t get caught with a defective or damaged part and then have to go without your wheel while you look for a replacement. Make sure before you buy a wheel that you can easily find replacement components online or in-store or as parts of other wheels.

Customer Support Service

Customer service is an essential feature to consider when buying a pottery wheel. You need to make sure the manufacturer offers an outlet where you can ask questions or express concerns. The manufacturer should be concerned about their product and know all its ins and outs and parts and functions. Even if the pottery wheel is well-reviewed, you still may have questions or even receive a faulty product. Customer service will help you in these cases.

We talked about Brent wheels earlier in this article, and we mentioned how their customer service is excellent. You can use that as your metric when looking at other wheels from different brands.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered our top 5 pottery wheels and provided a guideline for how to choose your own. Now you have the knowledge you need to go out and buy a wheel that suits your unique needs. If you plan on becoming a professional potter, you should consider the second pottery wheel we mentioned at the beginning of this article. The fourth and fifth wheels are perfect if you have pottery skills and want to improve upon them.

One simple rule for beginners to remember is you need a strong, sturdy, and long-lasting wheel to start with. Bigger and faster wheels won’t make you better at clay throwing and forming. Especially if you’re not planning on making a career out of pottery[5]http://web.stanford.edu/group/ceramics_club/, you only need a basic wheel to handle small projects. Later, if you change your mind, you can buy something more advanced.

Remember that you need to clean your wheel to help it last longer. Clean it after every use. Besides, don’t use more clay than the stated centering capacity of the wheel. Both of these steps are essential for keeping your wheel in excellent working condition.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your pottery wheel will have a long life, and you will get more use and pleasure from it. Happy throwing!

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22 thoughts on “Pottery Wheels for Beginners 2022 — Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. The first choice you listed which was the Skytou is by far the cheapest, but the size of the head and the peddle worry me. I purchased a cheap wheel on Amazon which costed about the same, and when we opened it up we ran it for a few minutes, switched it to reverse and it threw the belt several times. I sent it back the next day. It just looked cheap, and the wheel was small, and it made a lot of noise when it spun. I’m just concerned the Skytou is going to be like that too, and I don’t want to have to return something else. I have also looked at the Clay Boss and am leaning toward it.
    I plan on making mugs, and bowls. What is your opinion on the choices. I can get a Clay Boss for about twice what I’d pay for the Skytou? What would you do?

  2. I love the fact that the Brent wheels have interchangeable parts that way you don’t have to replace the whole wheel if something breaks. It has really saved me a few time when I’ve messed up a few of my wheel parts due to my own negligence.

  3. When you say that a drawback of the Skutt wheel is that you have to take the heavy wheel head off, do you mean to say that an average person cannot lift it? Why would they design something like that if it’s almost impossible to do in order to clean?

    • While the wheel head of the Skutt Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel may be considered heavy, it is not impossible for an average person to do. By removing the head of the wheel is actually makes clean up easier. So if you are alright with removing the wheel head in order to clean it, it becomes well worth it in time you save when cleaning.

  4. I totally agree with you about how the speed of the wheel really doesn’t matter when you have a nice and sturdy wheel head that can support larger projects. People are always complaining to me that my pottery wheel shouldn’t be great because it doesn’t go fast enough. It just shows how inexperienced you are when you complain about that.

  5. The splash pan feature of the Prodigy pottery wheel is the best part of the wheel in my opinion. I have had this wheel for a few months now and the design had made cleanup so much easier and less stressful. I have so much more time after my work because cleanup is such a breeze.

  6. You say that the Shimpo vl lite removable splash pan is plastic but also say that the wheel is better when it is made of aluminum or steel. Does the material of the splash pan affect the sturdiness or usability of the wheel at all?

    • The material of the Shimpo splash pan does not affect any part of the wheel functionality at all. The main problem with plastic is when it is used as the wheel head. The quality depends on how much is a pottery wheel and you run into a lot of problems when your wheel head is not a sturdy material. The reviewed wheels don’t have that problem.

  7. You say that overall, the Brent ie pottery wheels are good for beginners but in regards to the splash pan you say that it might not be the best for beginners. Which one should I go off of? Is the Brent Model really good for beginners?

    • Oh yes I see how that can be a little confusing, my apologies! I simply mean that if this is your first time trying out pottery I would not start out with the Brent ie pottery wheels. If you are a beginner who knows this is a hobby or profession for you, then the Brent Model wheels are the perfect fit.

  8. I hope my daughter is advanced enough to handle the Shimpo vl lite wheel for beginners. She got really into it after taking a class at school and often crafts with it just with her hands and some tools. I don’t think she has a lot of experience with a wheel of any sort. I guess we will find out soon enough once it comes in for her!

  9. I used to have such a problem with my house animals knocking over my wheel or dislodging pieces of the wheel when they rub against it. Now that I have switched to the Brent ie pottery wheel I have never had that problem since. It is super sturdy and quite heavy so no worries!

  10. When you say that the Speedball Clay Boss has a large weight, is it like super heavy? I’m not looking to be moving it around all that much. I just want to make sure I can actually move it and rearrange it when necessary. It’s going to be staying in the garage so I’m not too worried about getting it through the house or any hallways.

    • No, the Speedball Clay Boss pottery wheel is only heavy than the average pottery wheel that is made from aluminum or plastic. Steel is a heavier material and therefore a lot more sturdy so I highly recommend it. If it will be in your garage then I do not think that this wheel will be too heavy or large for you to maneuver there.

  11. Speaking about speedball clay boss pottery wheel reviews, what do you mean by a non-standard splash pan? Is it harder to remove or something? I was going to purchase this for my kids but if it’s difficult to use maybe I should choose a different one.

    • You can read in speedball pottery wheel reviews that its splash pan is simply just shaped a little differently than the normal splash pan on standard pottery wheels. It is still made of high quality plastic and does not seem to be difficult to remove. I think this is a good choice to purchase for a child in the beginning stages of pottery.

  12. Would you say that a normal guy who’s trying to get better and pottery in the safety of his own home could safely move the Brent Model pottery wheel by himself? Is it the best pottery wheel for beginners like me? I’m just super introverted and moved away from my family so I’m not sure I could find anyone to help me out.

    • I would definitely say that It can be the best beginner pottery wheel. It is moveable by yourself but it would be much easier with someone helping you. However, maybe you could make a pottery friend by asking around to see if anyone could help you out. You never know who else in your neighborhood is a pottery fan as well!

  13. You say in shimpo vl lite review that it cannot hold more than 25 pounds of clay at a single time when sculpting. However, does it risk breaking the turning system or does it just simply slow the process down? I’m asking because I am more of a beginner in a sense and I actually like to work with slower wheels because I don’t have good use of my hands. I am in rehabilitation.

    • You always run the risk of harming your wheel when you place more than the recommended weight on the wheel head and try and use it. However, if a slower wheel is what you are after, I still highly recommend the Shimpo vl lite pottery wheel but for much smaller projects. It spins at half the power of a normal pottery wheel.

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