Buying Guide for Pottery Wheels
Why buy a pottery wheel?
If you’re curious about the art, buying your own pottery wheel gives you unlimited access to try your hands at it. Perhaps you choose to take a class online or purchase an introductory course at a local studio. Either way, owning your wheel gives you more opportunities to practice. Available time at studios can be challenging, especially with busy schedules. Some potters consider the creative process a form of therapy because it lowers cortisol and increases the happy hormone dopamine. Practicing pottery can make you feel good, provide a platform for self-expression, and give a sense of accomplishment. It makes a perfect activity for adults and kids alike.
What should you look for in a pottery wheel?
- Wheel-Head Size: You don’t have a pottery wheel without a wheel head. It’s the round plate that spins. You throw clay on the wheel head and shape it as you change the speed and direction of the spin. Its size determines how much clay you can work with and, consequently, the size of your pots. Wheels with ample circumference are great for making broad-based pots and bowls.
- Motor: Most potters use electrically motorized pottery wheels, though some remain loyal to the kick wheel. If you want to use 50 pounds of clay at a time, you’ll need a motor with good horsepower capable of high RPMs. The higher the RPMs, the greater the torque. Because spinning pots require torque and varying amounts depending on how you shape the clay, you want a wheel with a variable speed feature. The motor must operate safely, so look for wheels with a single-phase three-wire connection with ground leakage protection. Also, brushless motors have higher efficiency and perform better with higher torque per watt. Kids’ pottery wheel kits are typically battery-operated.
- Hand Tools: Pottery wheel kits for beginners often come with hand tools. Commonly used tools include scrapers, sponges, mud cutters, clay knives, and needle points. These hand tools are just a few of the many metal and wood devices potters use to create angles and curves and remove clay. Pay attention to product details, as pottery wheels are typically sold without tools. As an advanced potter, you may want to buy a tool kit separately.
Are there other pieces of equipment you should have?
Yes, depending on several factors. You probably already have the items you need for kids’ pottery kits: a clear space, newspapers to protect furniture or floor and cleaning supplies. For electrically motorized pottery wheels, you will need more items such as bats, a splash pan, glazes, brushes, and a stool. There’s also the all-important kiln. You can buy one online or buy time at a local pottery studio if that’s available to you.
Our Picks for the Best Pottery Wheels
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Kids' Pottery Wheel
A complete pottery kit for kids that includes no kiln needed, air-dry clay.
Pros: This colorful STEAM learning pottery wheel kit may appear as though it’s for kids only, but it’s for ages eight and up. Any beginner who wants to explore pottery can learn the basics by trying this kit. It includes everything you need. The plug-in pottery wheel features an AC (alternating current) powered motor with two speeds. Three easy-to-insert arm attachments help you center, open, and shape clay and provide a stress-free beginner’s experience. There’s no need to worry about firing either because the kit includes two pounds of air-dry clay. Also included are an apron, six colors of paint, a brush, a palette, and more. Whether this pottery wheel ends up with your children or you, it will fill your house with joy.
Cons: The wheel has only two speeds, which may disappoint some.
Bottom Line: The National Geographic pottery wheel kit has kid-friendly instructions and video lessons for a genuinely fun, no-stress arts education. Again, adults can join in too.
YaeTek 25CM 350W Electric Pottery Wheel Machine
A pottery wheel powered by quality and safe brushless motor.
Pros: The YaeTek pottery wheel produces a solid, inorganic speed of 0-300 RPM with an advanced brushless motor. Adjust the speed quickly with the foot pedal and change the rotation direction with the forward and reverse buttons. While robust, the AC 110 V, 250-350 W motor is not overly powerful and produces less than 60 decibels. It’s safe, too, thanks to the single-phase system, which is more efficient than three-phase systems because of its low power. The three-wire access leakage protection adds safety too. Size matters, so be sure you have room for the 16.54 x 20.47 x 13.78-inch pottery wheel machine.
Cons: The wheel doesn’t come with bat pins, spinning plates, or pottery tools.
Bottom Line: The YaeTek electrical pottery wheel is a decent, compact, and safe option. It’s suitable for teaching pottery in schools or at home for hobbyists.
SKYTOU Pottery Wheel Pottery-Forming Machine
Everything you need to throw and shape clay plus a toolkit.
Pros: We like this pottery wheel machine not just because it comes in several colors but because it has a sturdy CE-certified 350W electric brushless motor. The single-phase three-wire connection with ground-leakage protection provides safety. Open the power automatic power-off switch to ensure the ultimate protection. Yet another premium feature: the wheel moves forward and backward with a flip of the adjustable switch. The setup gives you a lot of control. Adjust the turntable speed by hand or foot and throw and mold your clay on the 9.8-inch spinning plate. You also get eight pottery tools. Among them are a metal and a wood scraper, sponge, mud cutter, etc.
Cons: The wheel underperforms when working with large amounts of clay.
Bottom Line: This valuable pottery wheel and tool package sets you up for success. Choose your favorite color to add life to your studio.
CABINAHOME Mini Electric Pottery Wheel Machine
A mini pottery wheel that's portable and powerful.
Pros: This mini pottery wheel machine measures 3.9 x 3.9 inches and could fit in your lap on an airplane. Its DC12V motor spins the wheel between 0-1500 RPM, something you can adjust with the adapter. As you should expect, the motor runs quietly at less than 60dB. Switch on the power-off switch for leakage protection. As you should expect from a quality pottery wheel, this mini has a rust-resistant 2.36-inch turntable, handy forward-and-reverse switch, and easy-to-clean quality. Painted with a floral design on a dark-blue background, the exterior of this electric pottery machine looks as lovely as it is easy to operate.
Cons: Its best features are also its drawbacks. The mini pottery wheel’s dimensions limit the size and shape of your creations. The overall compact dimensions allow little or no room for mud splash protection.
Bottom Line: What a great gift this pottery wheel could give anyone interested in creating art. Its compact size makes it a winner among the pros too.
Made by Me My Very Own Pottery Wheel Kit
A motorized pottery kit with air-dry clay and ceramic paints.
Pros: Make your pot on this colorful pottery wheel, and you’ll be very proud indeed. You don’t have to bother with firing your pots because the included two pounds of clay dries and hardens on its own. The hard part is waiting 24 to 48 hours until your pot is ready to paint. You get everything you need to play the role of pottery artisan, including an adjustable arm, clay tools, paintbrush, ceramic paints, and more. The pottery wheel’s motor is battery-powered for a safe and portable experience. Please turn it on by pressing the foot pedal or flipping the switch, and watch the wheel spin. The kit is recommended for ages six and up, so adults can partake in fun too. The Made By Me pottery wheel kit makes an excellent activity for the whole family.
Cons: The required 4-D batteries are not included.
Bottom Line: Equipped with fun tools and an easy-to-use, motorized potting wheel, this kit is a bundle of fun. You need sufficient space to make a mess, an open mind, and creative energy.
The process of throwing clay, sculpting it with one’s hands, and shaping a bowl has gained attention for its stress-reducing effects. Moving through each step to make a beautiful glazed pot offers a mode of self-expression for adults and kids alike. Get started by getting one of these highly recommended pottery wheels.