Buying the best pottery wheel is not so easy task as it seems to be at first glance. Both professionals and beginners want to find something high-quality that will be suitable for them. One should always keep in mind that choosing the right type of pottery wheel is very important. Because it defines all your future projects, working process and influences your career as a potter. Nowadays there are a lot of different pottery wheels in Internet shops, so it is really easy to get lost and quite complicated to choose the wheel you are going to buy. The variety of choice makes this task almost impossible because there are many brands and different features you are not aware of. And
In this article we provide you Top 5 pottery wheels that suits both experienced potters and beginners. Here you may find and then even buy your first pottery wheel which you will start mastering pottery with. There are also some models of wheels both for those who just want to try out something new and those who are going to improve their throwing skills. Also we shall consider all pros and cons of each wheel separately, compare some of them and give you a few recommendations that may help you to make right evaluation of other pottery wheels in the future.
Well, let’s take a look at a list of best pottery wheels 2019 in our comparison table.
Best Pottery Wheel 2019 – Comparison Table
|Product Name||Motor power||Centering capacity||Wheel head|
|Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel (Editor's Choice)||1/2 a horsepower motor||25 lbs. of clay||12 inches|
|Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel (Editor's Choice)||1/2 a horsepower motor||100 lbs of clay||14 inches|
|Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel||1/3 a horsepower motor||75 lbs of clay||12 inches|
|Brent Model ie Pottery Wheels||1/4 a horsepower motor||75 lbs of clay||12 inches|
|Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels||1/3 a horsepower motor||100 lbs of clay||14 inches|
1. Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel Review, Reversible Lightweight Wheel for Beginners
Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel is the one that will perfectly fit beginners. It is equipped with all the necessary tools such as a remote foot pedal, removable two-piece splash pan, aluminum wheel head and 100-watt reversible motor. Its electronic controller provides stable speed adjustment. Shimpo VL Lite also has half a horsepower, that makes this wheel really fast.
As a rule, almost all wheels for beginners come with half a horsepower. Shimpo VL Lite is not an exception here. Due to this feature the wheel really goes fast, but unfortunately, this very peculiarity doesn’t influence the amount of stress on the wheel. And this is the point everyone should take into account when choosing or even buying Pottery Wheel. We shall cover this point a little bit later.
Design and Materials
There are 3 types of material the pottery wheel head can be made of namely steel, aluminum alloy, and plastic. A plastic one is the most fragile wheel head type. So it is important to point out that its wheel head is made of aluminum that is without any doubts better than a plastic one.
One of the important positive characteristics of Shimpo VL is its design due to which the wheel has its lightweight and compactness. Compared to other wheels Shimpo VL can be called one of the lightest and the most compact one. It is really easy to transport. A person of middle size can take it elsewhere without any problem. This wheel can be easily placed in the car not putting the seats down even if your car is small enough. Besides Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel is also reversible that is very suitable for left-handed people.
Another big plus of this pottery wheel is removable two-piece splash pan. One should know, especially a beginner, that it is very important to scour the wheel in order to simplify your job. A removable Shimpo splash pan makes this task easy to perform.
But unfortunately, it is quite difficult to take the splash pan off as the material it made of is a kind of flexible plastic.
It seems to be not so difficult at first glance but you really need to get used to it.
Another disadvantage is that according to Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel main characteristics it can center only 25 pounds of clay, otherwise it can slow down your work process. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for beginners and for those, for instance, who are going to make little cups because 3 or 5 pounds of clay will be enough to manage this task.
So taking into account all mentioned above features one can confidently say that Shimpo VL Lite Pottery Wheel perfectly suits beginners. Due to its compactness and weight, you can easily find a workplace and change it if necessary. Removable two-peace splash pan will help you to keep your wheel clean and simplify your job.
2. Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel Review, Powerful Wheel both for Experienced and Beginner Potters
Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel has all necessary features for proper throwing. Due to its 100 lbs centering capacity this wheel meets not only the requirements of beginners but also of people who have certain experience. Steel wheel head and frame makes Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel construction sturdy and reliable. Foot pedal provides you adjustable speed control of the wheel.
Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel has half a horsepower. Compared to Shimpo VL Lite it can make only 240 rotations per minute. It is also equipped with a pedal that has a good sensibility; it is neither low or high. That allows you to adjust the speed of the wheel as you wish.
Design and Material
Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel frame and wheel head are made of steel. It makes the whole construction much heavier but if you have an experience of working both with Shimpo VL Lite and Speedball Clay Boss you can notice that the last one feels better because of its strength. Steel frame and 100 lbs centering capacity of Speedball Clay Boss allow you to feel free while experimenting with making larger forms using more clay.
Speedball Clay Boss has quite big wheel head. It is about 14 inches compared to Shimpo VL Lite with 12 inches. Speaking about pottery wheels, 2 inches difference between wheel heads is not too critical. But you feel more confident while working with 14 inches rather than 12, especially with a sturdy one like Speedball Clay Boss. A wheel head of this size perfectly suits those potters who use their wheels to make plates.
It is necessary to point out such feature as pinholes. All the modern pottery wheels come with pinholes and Speedball Clay Boss is not an exception. These pinholes are the must-have feature to all pottery wheels because an absence of them can be the reason for many problems in your work.
Speaking about negatives it is necessary to point out that the splash pan of Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel has a weird shape. It has a strange cut-off at the top and it means that Clay Boss splash pan is not round like a normal one. But it is made of good quality plastic.
Speedball Clay Boss is quite heavy in contrast to Shimpo VL. If you are going to transport your wheel often it can become a problem. Depending on your constitution it could be a really hard task to put it in the car on your own, without asking somebody to help you.
As we can see from this review Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel is a reliable, durable and quite versatile wheel. Owing to its 100 lbs centering capacity you can make stuff of different size. This wheel can help you to improve your skills as it suits both specialists and beginners. 14 inches pottery wheel head allows you to feel free while experimenting. Pinholes provide you steady and stable throwing process. So buying a Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel you can be sure that it helps you to start or continue your potter’s career.
3. Skutt Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel Review, Stable and durable Wheel for a long-time usage
Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is perfectly suitable for beginners and specialists. It is the wheel you can keep throughout your entire throwing career. Its design makes the pottery wheel as steady as possible. And the centering ability allows you to experiment with things of different size.
Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel has only one third a horsepower. Undoubtedly this wheel doesn’t go as fast as Shimpo VL Lite or Speedball Clay Boss. But it is necessary to notice that if you are making things over 12 inches you need to slow down the wheel in order to keep the center of balance. Also despite the fact that this pottery wheel goes a little bit slower than previously described ones, it has quite a stable rhythm. So having one third a horsepower is not a problem at all.
In comparison with Speedball Clay Boss, Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel can handle only 75 pounds of clay at a time. But it doesn’t seem to be a disadvantage. If you are a beginner, you are not going to center more than 25 pounds.
There is a very good issue to speak about. It is torque at the wheel head. For many years companies producing wheels have asked one and the same question “how much clay can be put on their wheel”. The fact is that the essential factor in the amount of torque you can produce at the wheel head depends on horsepower. Only horsepower can affect its operation. There are some other factors such as settings of the controller and pulley size which should be taken into consideration. But you must remember of another significant factor as for instance, belt slippage. But they won’t enlarge this torque. The only thing you can benefit from it is to maximize it. Let’s have some examples, we exploit 6 V-groove belts to cover more surfaces and avoid of slippage. As for controller settings, we will look at them later.
There is one company, Skutt, that exploits Continuous Duty motor. As the conditions for testing are rigorous, that’s why they must be very strong. Why is it so important? We are ready to explain. People who are the beginners in pottery or even professionals can make much more efforts therefore the components of these motors should very heavy to sustain these efforts. The conclusion can be the bigger motor the better.
Electric motors can be divided into two models. The first one is Continuous Duty and the second is Intermittent Duty. The first model of the motors was tested under permanent operating conditions. It was suggested that the load would be continuous. The tests ended when the motor temperature stopped rising which meant the thermal balance. And at the same time there would be no harm to components. As for the second model of motors it was tested under short-time operation conditions. It means that using motors cannot be permanent but only for a short period of time. As can be seen from the above, the model Continuous Duty must sustain more severe conditions, thus these motors should be stronger and their components must be bigger in size. This very fact explains heavier windings, bigger brushes, more powerful magnets etc. As compared to the competitors’ motors, ours look much bigger.
The advantage of motors’ big size is their being cool that affect their long duration. Our motor has even built-in fan which provides more cooling.
Now let’s come back to the controller settings. As far as your motors are concerned, their electrical components often collapse because of heat. The same situation is with your controller. Let’s talk about ours. As you remember, our controller has much bigger size than our competitors, so we have to use larger and more reliable components to prevent overheating.
A lot is said about smoothing operation of our motors. I’m glad to say the reason for it. It is factory parameters settings applied to the controller. We always switch the torque setting up (as it can cope with it), and one very significant fact is switching IR Comp off. What does this term mean? It is the function of the controller which keeps speed of the wheel head constant while applying strength (putting much clay).
Making a survey we have learned that many people, dealt with pottery, try to control the speed pressing the pedal. All of them make sure they can do it, but actually the controller does this action for them. This fact reminds some mental relationship you have with the wheel. Sometimes you can face some challenges with IR Comp, i.e. the settings are not immediate (like beginners). Pressing the wheel, a person will be slightly excited because IR Comp starts working providing more power to the motor. Similarly, when stopping to press, the wheel head is still quickening until the controller can respond. It will really damage great platter or pot. So, if you become interested in it, just inform us about your wish and we will give all necessary instructions.
So, we can make the conclusion that it will be useful to see as many wheels as possible at different HP options. It will help you find the most suitable one for you. Some potters can be satisfied with a motor that has 1/3 HP, but if you are aiming at large things, probably you will choose 1/2 HP or motor model of 1HP.
Design and Materials
The wheel head of Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is made of aluminum, which is not so sturdy as steel. It doesn’t really matter so much here.
You should keep in mind that Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel can take the pressure of your body that you can put on it. And the important point one should remember is that a lifetime of your pottery wheel fully depends on the pressure it can take from a human body. Because the more pressure a wheel takes, the less strain is on the wheel, motor and the pottery wheel head itself.
Some pottery wheels have a splash pans with a little hole inside. So if you decide to work with such kind of splash pan you will find your entire table dirty. Whereas Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel ensures you full cleanness until you take clay outside of a splash pan. It helps you to save time because it makes cleanup much easier.
The splash pan of this wheel has a standard round form. But there is one disadvantage. If you need to clean it, you have to take a wheel head off first. And it can become a problem for some people because of its weight.
Someone thinks that it’s a negative feature that this pottery wheel can handle less clay than Speedball Clay Boss. But one shouldn’t forget the following points: firstly, if you are a beginner, you won’t use all possible amount of clay (75 lbs.); secondly, Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel can handle more pressure. It means that it is more durable than others.
So it can be said with confidence that Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is steady, durable and reliable. Due to its construction, the wheel can take quite enough pressure from a human body that means it will have a long lifetime. Its centering capacity allows you to improve your skills from making little cups to something more impressive. So Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel is the one you can start with and continue mastering pottery.
4/5. Brent Model ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels, Reliable and Sturdy Wheels to Start and Continue Potter’s Career
BrentModel ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels are very strong, sturdy and reliable. We are going to cover these wheels in one review as they are very similar. All the differences we specified in the comparison table above.
Brent Pottery wheels due to their power can make 240 rotations per minute. Somebody can say that it is too slow and that even Shimpo Lite VL makes 250 rotations.
Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheel can handle 100 lbs of clay at the same time. It is more than enough for you as a beginner. But nevertheless, try to avoid overloading your wheel. It is necessary to understand that if you see a wheel can handle only 25 lbs it means that this is its limit. If you follow this simple rule, your wheel will last long.
Design and Materials
Brent has perfect customer service. You can ask any question about your issues and you always receive an acceptable answer. Fortunately, many parts of Brent Pottery Wheels are easily interchangeable in contrast to specialty wheel. It goes without saying that specialty wheels are faster and have some other better characteristics. But you shouldn’t forget that they require permanent maintenance as well. Also, the parts of such wheels are more expensive and need to be a specialty. If you are a beginner and you want to improve your skills to get into the intermediate stage, be sure that Brent ie and ie-x Pottery Wheels will meet your needs.
Speaking about Brent Model ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels it is important to point out that it has a perfect and exceptionally durable iron frame but their wheel head is made of aluminum. Don’t be quick in making conclusions if you follow all the advice concerning maintaining and taking care of it, this pottery wheel head will last very long.
Speaking about the Brent splash pan it is necessary to highlight a few points. In contrast to Thomas Stuart Prodigy Pottery Wheel, you don’t need to take off a wheel head to get to the splash pan. Besides, it has a standard round form and is made of a better quality plastic than the other ones we came across earlier.
The thing that is really special about these two models Is that the construction of Brent Model ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels provide perfectly smooth rotation.
Despite good quality plastic, the Brent splash pan is made of, it has one disadvantage. A process of cleaning a splash pan is quite tiring. Undoubtedly you don’t need to take off the wheel head. Because of the interlocking mechanism, you have to unlock and re-lock it any time you need to clean a splash pan. Even if you decide to take a wheel head off to get to the splash pan, all the
It is hardly can be the drawback but it should be stressed. It’s a bad idea to buy Brent Model ie or Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheel if you are not going to start potter’s career and you just want to try out ceramic artwork. These pottery wheels are durable and have a really long lifetime. They can help you to improve your skills and to experiment doing things of various difficulties. So if you just want to try something out, it is better to consider one of three previously described pottery wheels.
BrentModel ie and Brent Model ie-X Pottery Wheels are suitable for both beginners and professional. Any of these wheels is a good choice if you are going to become a specialist in throwing. Due to their interchangeable parts, it is easy to fix some issues if any. Don’t forget that Brent has a fantastic customer service that can always help you. And covering capacity of those wheels meets requirements of both beginners and specialist.
Best Pottery Wheel 2019 — Buyer’s Guide
As you can see from the above we described top 5 pottery wheels both for the beginners and for those who have already had pottering experience and are eager to master those skills. But as you probably can understand the variety of pottery wheels is not limited by these 5 models.
You may want to improve your skills in pottering or you may just need a new wheel instead of those described above. Thus, you need to know the crucial items which you should pay attention to while choosing pottery wheels.
It goes without saying that there is a great variety of details that must be taken into account when you want to choose a wheel. It may include both its dimensions and some more important things as for example, the amount of clay it can handle at a time. In this part, we will focus on the details of characteristics which you should bear in mind while choosing the pottery wheel, and it doesn’t matter if it is your first wheel or you want to buy another one for mastering your skills in pottery.
It is necessary to remember that we give only general requirements to pottery wheels. Further, you obviously can have your own criteria of assessment which will rely on your personal experience, needs and desires.
So, here are several criteria that one should keep in mind while choosing a pottery wheel. They are:
- Diameter of a Wheel Head
- Splash Pan and Cleaning
- Pedal Sensibility
- Centering Capacity
- Interchangeability of Pottery Wheel’s Part
- Customer Support Service
The Diameter of a Pottery Wheel Head
We have already stressed that it is very important to take into account the material the pottery wheel head is made of. But it is not the only feature that can affect the operating process and the variety of things you can make. We will speak about the diameter of the wheel head. This characteristic must be combined with centering capacity of the wheel. It happens due to the fact that some things having more width will have bigger weight correspondingly. But of course, if you plan to improve your skills in pottery, we greatly recommend selecting pottery wheels with a wheel head not less than 14 inches. At the same time for the beginners and for those people who have pottery as a hobby, the wheel head can be of 12 inches.
Pottery Wheel Splash Pan and Cleaning
Every pottery wheel owner should take care of it. Once you have bought it you should think about its maintenance. It is necessary to clean it after every using, otherwise, you will have problems. In order to take care of your pottery wheel properly, you should take the wheel head off and clean everything at least once a week. Otherwise, there are big chances that clay can get stuck underneath the attachment in between the wheel head. If you don’t properly clean the wheel head one day you won’t be able to take it off at all. So try to find time to clean your wheel head. But if you know beforehand that you don’t have enough physical strength to clean the wheel you are going to buy, then try to choose another type of pottery wheel. Because otherwise you will just spend your money and one day you won’t be able to take the wheel head off.
All the wheels have splash pans of different kinds. Some of them are made of cheap plastic and have non-standard weird form. You can even cut your hands while trying to take it off. There are also splash pans that are made of good quality material. But if you have to clean it, you need to take off a wheel head first which is often quite heavy. All these mentioned make a lot of inconveniences. So while buying a pottery wheel it is necessary to take into account the material a splash pan is made of and the way it is taken off. It is very important to know as it helps you to save time and makes cleanup much easier.
One of the main features in choosing the pottery wheel is its weight. In spite of the fact that some people can consider this feature not very important, nevertheless, we think that we should pay special attention to this item. All people live their own way of life. Some prefer often moving from one place to another, the others like staying at one and the same place. If you can refer yourself to the first category, the weight of the pottery wheel has significant importance to you. The lighter the wheel is the easier it can be transported. We mean here not only transporting the wheel from one room to another or from the first floor to the second but also putting it into the vehicle.
The weight of the wheel can be very important for you if you are a person of the delicate constitution because it may be a problem to transport it if you do it alone. But in case if you are going to buy some number of pottery wheels for starting up pottery studio, the weight of pottery wheel will not play an important role for you because you plan to put it on one place for a long time. That’s why, before buying a wheel you must be sure to answer the question how often you intend to transport it or change its place.
Pedal Sensibility is very important characteristic one should take into account when buying a pottery wheel. The quality of stuff you are making fully depends on it. If a pedal is too sensible and speeds up very quickly, it will be difficult to adjust the speed level you need. Undoubtedly, that will strongly result in what you are doing. There are also some pedals that don’t react to your pushings properly. You start and continue to push again and again but nothing happens at first. After a few moments, it suddenly speeds up at its maximum. You will have problems with such pedals.
The more sophisticated your thing is planned to be the smoother your pedal will react to your pushing. Some peculiarities of your work will depend on the speed and adjustment of the pedal. It is also very important to bear in mind that if you are a beginner, i.e. you are operating at the pottery wheel for the first time, you may not estimate the value of pedal’s sensibility, while the experienced person will catch the difference in the process of working with the pedal. So, if you are a beginner, you should pay more attention to some other characteristics of a pottery wheel which are also described in this section.
Good foot pedals are sturdy enough. They should adapt to the speed and your foot. You push slightly and it reacts. It makes speed adjusting process really easy.
It is important to remind you that the durability of your pottery wheel fully depends on the material a wheel head is made of. There are three types of material namely steel, aluminum alloy and plastic. The stronger the material the longer the pottery wheel will last. Everyone knows that steel is one of the strongest materials, and plastic is the most fragile. But in this situation, you shouldn’t forget about the weight. All peculiarities used for evaluating the reliability of the pottery wheel must be considered as an integral part. The good example of it is the process of selecting material the wheel head is made of. Because the stronger your pottery wheel is the heavier it will be.
Another important feature of pottery wheels is their centering capacity. The wheels described in this article can center from 25 lbs of clay up to 100 lbs. Your choice should depend on the things you are going to make using your wheel. If you are a beginner and you are not going to throw, for example, something bigger than cups and plates then the wheel with 25 lbs centering capacity will perfectly suit you. But if you are planning to start potter’s career and you are going to improve your pottery skills, you should think of a buying a wheel with at least 75 lbs centering capacity.
You should also keep in mind an important thing. If in wheel’s specs it is specified that it can handle only 25 lbs at a time, it means that 25 lbs are its limit. Don’t try to put more clay on it, because it will either slow down the wheel or even can damage it.
Some professionals advise purchasing the wheel which can center much more clay at a time than you plan to use. It means that if you are going to use not more than 50 lbs of clay while you are a beginner, it is better to buy a pottery wheel that can handle 75 lbs of clay at a time. So, if you are sure that you can start experimenting and making more difficult stuff which requires more clay at a time, you will be ready for the challenge. You shouldn’t waste your time looking for and choosing a new wheel. Thus, you save both time and money. You also provide yourself with psychological comfort, i.e. you will not have to deal with a new wheel, as you will continue using the one you get used to.
Some people often mistakenly think that such feature as horsepower influences centering capacity. It is a mistake. The wheels with one third a horsepower can handle more clay at the same time that, for instance, wheels with one half a horsepower. This very peculiarity only shows you how many rotations your wheel can make per minute.
Interchangeability of Pottery Wheel Parts
One more important item while choosing or buying the pottery wheel is interchangeability of its parts. You can find perfect pottery wheel which will suit all the criteria and meet all your needs. But there may appear the problem – it will be very hard to find the parts for it. Or even it can become an unsolvable task.
Pottery wheels as any other devices are, unfortunately, damaged and worn out. So, first of all, while choosing the pottery wheel it is very important to wonder how hard it will be for you to find necessary parts in case of damage. Otherwise, you may be in a trouble. Due to the absence of necessary part which was broken because of slight damage, you have to buy a new pottery wheel.
Customer Support Service
In addition to the previous criteria, we should separately focus on customer support service. Do you have an opportunity to contact the manufacturer directly and discuss some technical matters? It is very important when the manufacturer treats his product carefully and worries about each of his wheel, knows all its peculiarities and features, and is always ready to answer any question. It doesn’t depend on what a brand may be, what cheerful feedbacks there are on the internet, you may always have a lot of items you want to clarify.
From the review given above, we can see that Brent has excellent customer support service which can be the example of reliability, efficiency and timeliness.
So, we have covered all Top 5 pottery wheels and answered the most important questions. Now taking into account all the information you learned you can clearly understand what wheel and what for you are going to buy it. If you are going to start a pottery career, you can consider the first three pottery wheels from our review. The fourth and the fifth ones are perfectly suitable for those who want to continue improving pottery skills, as these wheels you can keep through all your life.
Also, don’t forget a simple rule. If you are a beginner and you have just started mastering pottery you need a reliable, sturdy and durable wheel. Don’t buy the fastest and the largest pottery wheel you meet. It won’t make you a better potter. Remember that you only need to understand the basic points of the process and then make up your mind, whether you want to continue improving your skills in the field.
And remember if you want your wheel to last long, then you need to take care of it. Clean it every time you finished throwing and don’t center more clay it can handle (the information is specified in specs). Follow these simple rules and your pottery wheel will last longer and you will get much more pleasure from what you are doing. Have a nice throwing!