Investing in a pottery wheel of your own can be a great way to practice your hobby at home. But with so many options to choose from and such a wide range of prices, it can be hard to know which pottery wheel to purchase. It can also be difficult to know if the price you’re paying is a good one.
So how much does a pottery wheel cost? And how do you know if the pottery wheel you’re considering is a good value or not?
Pottery wheels cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $2,000. Most of your basic pottery wheels are typically electric and cost anywhere from $300-$700. Mid-range pottery wheels can start just below $1,000 and go up to $1,400 or more. Premium pottery wheels, which can be electric or manual, range in price from $1,500 to upwards of $2,000.
In this helpful buying guide, we’ll introduce you to the three main categories of pottery wheels, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to upwards of a few thousand. At each level of pottery wheel prices, we’ll show you what you can expect from a model in that category, as well as what you’ll be paying for if you upgrade to the next category.
Are you ready to pick out your next best investment of a brand-new pottery wheel? Let’s get started.
Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.
|Product Name||Good For|
|Entry Level Pottery Wheels: $300-$700||Removable splash basin with built-in tool holder|
|Mid-Range Pottery Wheels: $1,000-$1,400||Removable splash pan|
|Premium Pottery Wheels: $1,500-$2,000||Steel throwing head measures 14 inches|
How Much is a Pottery Wheel
There are three main categories when it comes to pricing of a pottery wheel: entry-level, mid-grade, and premium. Let’s dig into these further by starting with the entry-level pottery wheels.
Entry Level Pottery Wheels: $300-$700
Don’t let the category name fool you. While the pottery wheel cost might be low to start throwing, they’re plenty capable of providing a quality experience. Even budget pottery wheels can produce exquisite pieces.
In fact, let’s break down what you can expect from pottery wheels that range in price from $300-$700 by considering the SKYTOU Pottery Wheel. It’s just one of many pottery wheels you can purchase in this price range and it makes a great first pottery wheel.
Best for beginners and even younger potters looking to gain experience throwing, the SKYTOU Pottery Wheel features 350 watts of power and a 0-300 RPM range. This particular electric pottery wheel comes in a variety of colors and is low noise. Plus, you’ll be able to work on a 9.8-inch aluminum alloy throwing head that turns both clockwise and counterclockwise.
The pottery wheel head can be controlled by an included foot pedal, or a long ergonomic handle on the side of the machine. A removable splash pan made from ABS includes partitioned sections for holding tools.
Included with the pottery wheel are 4 no-slip feet, a sponge, 4 black-handled clay sculpting tools, and 6 scraper tools. The pottery wheel measures 14 inches from the base of the machine to the top of the basin, 18 inches in length, and 13 inches in width.
- 9.8 inch pottery head
- Removable splash basin with built-in tool holder
- 0-300 RPM range
- Turns clockwise and counterclockwise
- Only 350W power
- No bat holes included in throwing head
- More of a tabletop use pottery wheel than its own free-standing machine
Mid-Range Pottery Wheels: $1,000-$1,400
Where entry-level pottery wheels might have the basics down, there’s a bit more you can expect from those wheels in the $1,000 price range. If you’re experienced in throwing pottery and are looking for a machine that offers a bit more, these are the wheels for you.
One of the most defining features of these mid-range pottery wheels is the value built into the machines. Sure, if you’re spending tons of money on a pottery wheel, there should be plenty of features to justify the sticker price. But where lower-cost pottery wheels cut corners to pare the price down, mid-range pottery wheels strike a fair balance between the two.
Let’s take the Speedball Clay Boss Potter’s Wheel as an example. This particular machine features a 0.5 horsepower motor that can center clay up to 100 pounds. The pottery wheel throwing head is 14 inches in diameter and the unit itself comes with a 10 year warranty that’s hard to beat.
This pottery wheel from Speedball plugs straight into your typical outlet. The motor is capable of turning both clockwise and counterclockwise, useful for both left- and right-handed potters. The included foot pedal allows for solid state variable speed electronic control. Better yet, there’s also a load-sensing control that ensures the throwing head spins at a maintained rate at all times.
Speedball builds this pottery wheel on a sturdy steel frame that includes a two-part splash pan. This pan can be removed for cleaning and is high enough to catch most of the water and/or clay that flies off. Two bats are located opposite one another on the wheel head. The table itself is almost 20 inches tall, measuring 26 inches and 21 inches.
- 10 year warranty
- 14 inch diameter throwing head
- Removable splash pan
- 2 bats included on wheel head
- Small table surrounding the throwing head and splash pan
- Height can be low for some potters
Premium Pottery Wheels: $1,500-$2,000
In many ways, investing in a premium pottery wheel can be as difficult a decision as purchasing a more affordable model. After all, if you’re going to be spending big bucks, you want to make sure each dollar counts towards a better experience. While many professional potters choose these higher-end pottery wheels, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t invest in one as well.
In contrast to the pottery wheels we’ve mentioned previously, premium pottery wheels pull out all the stops. They include an industrial motor with more horsepower, larger throwing heads, and the ability to handle more clay than the machine itself weighs. For many premium pottery wheels, production power takes on greater value, since the beefier features can typically take more abuse.
The Brent Model EX Potter’s Wheel is no exception to this standard. Or shall we say, premium standards, as it were. Brent fits the EX Potter’s Wheel with a 1.5 horsepower motor that’s capable of spinning up to 240 RPM. The pottery wheel itself weighs about 130 pounds but can center over 3 times its weight (about 450 pounds) in clay.
The plasti-bat throwing wheel head is 14 inches in diameter, while the steel table beneath it is 5/16 inches thick. The plasti-bats are about ¼ of an inch thick. Brent gave this pottery wheel the option to go forward, neutral, or reverse, depending on your preference. Plus, doing so only requires flipping a toggle switch.
This is one of the strongest electric pottery wheels available on the market, and it comes with a generous 10-year warranty to boot. Plus, the modular style foot pedal, motor, and control box make it easy to remove the motor if you ever have any issues. The cast aluminum foot pedal resists rust and the included “How to Throw on a Potter’s Wheel” DVD will get you started if you’ve never thrown before.
The removable splash pan on this model makes it easy to clean up. Plus there’s also a poly v-belt driven system and automatic belt tensioning to ensure the motor fires up every time you flip the switch. Variable electronic speed control means you can set the speed and forget it as you manipulate the clay to your liking.
- 0-240 RPM range
- 10 year warranty
- Steel throwing head measures 14 inches
- Forward, neutral, and reverse directions available
- Weighs about 130 pounds
- Small table provides little space for tools and other accessories
Types of Pottery Wheels
There are two basic types of pottery wheels: manual, or kick, and electric.
Manual/Kick Pottery Wheels
Manual pottery wheels work by requiring you to kick up the wheel with your foot. A large wheel base turns the head equally with the revolutions, and you can easily change direction of the wheel by kicking one way or another. If you kick your right foot forward, the wheel turns counterclockwise, while kicking with your left foot turns it clockwise.
Some potters find they’re able to control the speed of a kick wheel better than an electric wheel. However, working with a manual pottery wheel can be more tiring for some, especially if you plan on throwing for a few hours at a time.
Kick pottery wheels aren’t necessarily cheaper than electric wheels either, at least when it comes to the initial purchase. That said, they will save you electricity because after all, you’re the power behind the wheel (in more than one sense).
Electric Pottery Wheels
As we discussed, electric pottery wheels require a motor to turn the wheel head. These motors require a certain power rating and can turn at various rates. They may or may not come with a speed control knob or foot pedal, depending on the model.
Electric pottery wheels are arguably louder than kick wheels, but they do allow you to focus more on throwing than keeping the speed of the wheel at a consistent rate. They may not tire you out as much, and having a foot pedal or speed control knob could give you more precise control of your speed as you throw.
What to Consider When Buying a Pottery Wheel
No matter what your budget is, you’ll want to consider the following characteristics as you shop for the right pottery wheel. These features may help you decide between a few different models to get the most bang for your buck.
As we’ll discuss later in this post, there are two types of pottery wheels when it comes to power: manual and electric. Manual, or kick wheels require you to kick up the base of the wheel itself in order to turn the machine. Basically, you provide the power on a kick wheel.
Electric pottery wheels are more common these days than a kick wheel. For electric pottery wheels, power comes from a motor that may or may not be hooked up to a foot pedal. This foot pedal controls the speed of the machine, but other potter’s wheel manufacturers also install dials that can change the speed as well, arguably with higher precision.
When it comes to electric pottery wheels, there are a few things you’ll want to look at. The power of the motor comes into play, especially if you plan on throwing larger pieces of clay.
The more power a potter’s wheel motor has, the less likely you are to stall it out when throwing a huge amount of clay.
Specifically speaking, most of the motors you’ll encounter on a potter’s wheel are either described in watts or horsepower. A pottery wheel with even half a horsepower is much stronger than one with 100 watts. Premium or professional pottery wheels typically have a large motor with horsepower specifications, as they’re meant to spin around over a few hundred pounds of clay at a time.
The ability to change the wheel head direction is easy to do with manual pottery wheels, but electric ones require a specific feature to achieve the same effect.
Having a potter’s wheel that can turn both clockwise and counterclockwise can be useful to many potters, no matter if they’re right- or left-handed.
In addition to the motor’s strength, you’ll also want to consider what RPM range the potter’s wheel is capable of. This range basically describes how fast the wheel head turns in revolutions per minute (RPM).
Higher RPM ranges typically coincide with a stronger motor, but that’s not always the case. For example, miniature pottery wheels can spin up to 2,000 RPM with no clay on them. At the same time, premium pottery wheels may spin up to 240 RPM.
Noise level is also a consideration. High-pitched whines may be muffled by garage walls, but who wants to wear ear protection when they’re trying to throw?
Most of the time, electric pottery wheels will put off more sustained noise than kick wheels. However, long throwing sessions may require you to kick the wheel a few hundred times, so that’s a consideration.
Most pottery wheel throwing heads are made from a durable aluminum alloy. The size of the pottery throwing head matters, as well as the inclusion of batterboard pin holes.
Speaking to the size of the throwing head, dimensions will be specified in diameter, since you are throwing on a circle. Miniature pottery wheels have diameters of a few inches at most. Larger pottery wheels, however, can be anywhere from 10 inches or more in size.
You may assume that having a larger potter’s wheel is better because you’re able to throw more clay. However, you should also think about the RPM range in this case. Small pottery wheels have a shorter revolution than larger wheels, but they’re limited by the motor driving the wheel.
There’s a balance to strike between RPM and wheel diameter, depending on your particular application.
Batterboard (Bat) Pin Holes
As you look at pottery wheels, you may also notice holes drilled into them at various points.
These are known as batterboard pin holes, or bat pin holes. A pottery bat doesn’t have wings, but it does allow you to do something pretty cool with your piece after you’ve finished throwing it. Bat pins are pressed into these holes to separate your thrown work from the pottery wheel head.
For example, let’s say you threw a large vase and are now stuck with the task of removing it from the pottery wheel. After all, it has to make it into the kiln somehow. A pottery bat placed on the wheel head via bat pins allows you to remove the large vase without having to cut it away or handle it more than necessary.
All you have to do is remove the bat pins and lift the bat itself off the wheel head. Bats and bat pins are incredibly useful, especially for potters who throw many pottery pieces in a single setting.
Wheel and Bench Height Dimensions
Pottery wheels have dimensions beyond the wheel head. For example, most pottery wheels include a seat or bench. The wheel head is also set at a particular height, depending on which potter’s wheel you choose.
Generally speaking, there’s not a specific “perfect” height for a pottery wheel. Really, it’s about the distance between the seat and the height of the wheel head as it pertains to your particular seating position.
One way to remove height from the equation is to purchase a potter’s wheel that includes an adjustable bench. Adjusting the height should allow you at least a bit more comfortability as you throw. Typically pottery wheel heads are not adjustable, so you’ll have to work with the bench height.
All pottery wheels do weigh a fair amount as well, which is something you’ll want to consider, especially if you plan on moving the wheel at a later date.
While they don’t necessarily make lightweight pottery wheels (unless you purchase miniature ones), this is a big factor when it comes to shipping, too.
Potter’s wheel manufacturers typically take their product to the next level by anticipating the needs of their clients. This could come in the form of various accessories that may be built in or included with the pottery wheel to earn your business.
A few of the most common accessories included on pottery wheels are removable splash pans and/or built-in tool holders. For example, durable removable splash pans help make cleanup easy and can be a quick way to get your tools and excess water over to a sink.
Built-in tool holders make space management easy as well. Splash pans with built-in tool holders are sectioned off so you can place tools in various locations to keep them together but at-hand. If you designate a particular spot for various tools, you can also reach them quickly as you’re concentrated on throwing.
We hope you’ve found this pottery wheel buying guide helpful in your search. Now that you know more about the price range of pottery wheels, you can make a better-informed decision. Purchasing a pottery wheel can seem like a big decision, but it could be just the machine you need to really start expressing yourself.