The 8 Best Pottery Wheels

Updated March 30, 2018 by Misty Alder

8 Best Pottery Wheels
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Crafting with clay can be a very satisfying way to express your creativity and to produce some unique items. Our assortment of pottery wheels includes inexpensive models for beginners and those on a budget, some playful options for kids, as well as heavier-duty units for serious artisans. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pottery wheel on Amazon.

8. U.S. Art Supply LCD Table Top

The compact and powerful design of the U.S. Art Supply LCD Table Top provides a good balance of value and convenience for the sculptor without a lot of room in their workspace. Its LCD readout keeps you in complete control of your speed all the way up to 300 RPM.
  • foot pedal included
  • 11-inch plastic bat
  • foot pedal can be touchy
Brand US Art Supply
Model pending
Weight 42.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

7. Brent Potters

The large Brent Potters can support up to 75 pounds of modeling clay, so it can easily handle any urn, vase, or other piece an artist has in mind. Its foot pedal means your hands don't need to do any turning, so you can focus entirely on your craft.
  • one-quarter horsepower motor
  • large splash pan
  • replacement parts are expensive
Brand Brent
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

6. MindWare For Beginners

The MindWare For Beginners may not produce craftsman-level crockery, but its kid-friendly plastic housing and bidirectional foot-pedal operation make it a handy option for aspiring ceramicists to get a feel for the process before investing in a pricier model.
  • comes with air-dry clay
  • safety stop feature
  • motor stalls frequently
Brand MindWare
Model 68471
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Darice Stainless Steel Sculptor

The Darice Stainless Steel Sculptor is perfect for adding those finishing touches to a piece before firing it, or simply as a stable surface on which to sculpt. It has a broad and heavy base that won't slip or slide around while you're working.
  • great for decorating and glazing
  • substantial enough for bigger pieces
  • doesn't spin easily
Brand Darice
Model 97772
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Faber-Castell Studio

The Faber-Castell Studio is a great way to introduce young artisans to the pleasures and challenges of throwing clay. It comes with illustrated instructions and inspiration for putting their creativity to work on their own unique designs.
  • suitable for ages 8 and up
  • includes nontoxic synthetic clay
  • required 4 c batteries not included
Brand Faber Castell
Model 14595
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Speedball Artista Table Top

The Speedball Artista Table Top is a practical solution for the dedicated home sculptor who doesn't have room for a freestanding device. It comes with a long power cord, so you can place it anywhere in your studio, as well as a cupholder for your finishing solution.
  • includes some glaze samples
  • high-impact plastic and steel parts
  • use standing or seated
Brand Speedball
Model Artista
Weight 39.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. US Art Supply ST-210

The US Art Supply ST-210 boasts a solid construction that will last you your entire sculpting career, with an all-cast-metal build and an indestructible base and top. Quality ball bearings allow the surface to spin easily and gain speed at a consistent pace.
  • non-skid rubber boot
  • weighted rim for added momentum
  • feels well-balanced
Brand US Art Supply
Model ST-210
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Speedball Big Boss

Engineered for stability, the Speedball Big Boss has adjustable sturdy steel legs to bear the weight of up to 150 pounds of clay, making it perfect for those bigger jobs. It features a reversing plug, so you can change directions quickly whenever you need to.
  • full-circle splatter coverage
  • micro v-belt drive
  • highly powerful motor
Brand Speedball
Model pending
Weight 80 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Wheels Of Fortune

How do you talk about pottery wheels and not talk about the 1990 romantic drama Ghost starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, which contains the single most memorable pottery scene in film history? Easy! You talk about Japanese aesthetics instead.

One of the dominant aesthetic perspectives in Japanese art resides in a concept known as wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi places an emphasis on imperfection, impermanence, and transience. Essentially, the perfection of the world and our experience of it lies in its flaws. A stone is not perfect because it's made with flawless symmetry; it's perfect because time and materials have weathered it to be the imperfect stone you meet today on this walk in the park.

In a hundred years, you won't be here anymore, but the stone will be, albeit further changed by time. The aesthetic is grounded in the Buddhist world view that holds to no constant present other than the present moment. In the absolute present there can be no constant because a constant implies both a future and a past.

Okay, so what does that have to do with pottery? Well, the pottery wheels on our list all give you the opportunity to experiment with this aesthetic. Some schools of pottery design might have you sweating over the straightness of a line here or the curve of the bowl there, but if you plop some clay down on any of these wheels and get it turning, either by the electric motor and belt so many of them use, or by turning slowly and manually, you can shape and refine your pottery to perfect imperfection. In the Japanese pottery schools, a mistake here or there is not only forgivable, it's celebrated.

There are a few options on our list that are more clearly for beginners or children, and the rest could easily belong to the most refined professionals in the discipline. What's important for you to know is that, as the pottery wheel spins, so too spins the wheel of life. A good piece of pottery starts out in the middle of the wheel, so roll up your sleeves, pop on your cassette tape of The Righteous Brothers singing Unchained Melody and get those hands dirty.

Pottery For Everybody

Craftsmanship in pottery making is a lot like craftsmanship in other artistic disciplines such as painting of even photography. You can't necessarily evaluate the artist's performance based on the gear used.

In photography, for example, some of the most impressive, award-winning shots come from amateurs shooting with entry-level D-LSRs that cost a fraction of what the pros use. In painting, too, one rarely compliments a beautiful painting only to have his or her opinion turn on a dime upon realizing that it was made with acrylics and not water colors.

When it comes to pottery, the particulars of the clay and the wheel are immaterial when handling the final product. A fine craftsman can throw a gorgeous, sturdy piece of pottery on the kids' wheels we've listed. The funny thing is that the craftsman in question would have as hard a time using that kids' wheel as a beginner might have with a professional wheel.

Take stock of your experience level as you peruse the options on our list. If the wheel is for you, and you're new to the game, the wheels on our list that are automatic, but a little smaller–even if that means it's a kids' model–would be ideal. If you have a few more miles on the wheel beneath your fingers, you can opt for one of the nicer manual wheels, which are great for applying finishing touches to raw materials or for working up a significant sweat to build something from the wheel up.

The finest wheel on our list, even though it's clearly professional grade, shouldn't intimidate you. Even if you have only a little experience, learning on the toys the pros use could just give you the kick start and the advantage you need to jump a few steps in your development.

The Inertia Of A Potter's Wheel

Some of the oldest materials taken from archeological discoveries are shards–and sometimes incredibly complete pieces–of pottery. It's one of the most communicative items a civilization can leave behind, giving us a sense of how these people from so many thousands of years ago worked and ate.

Early pottery techniques had no kind of wheel to them, and potters stretched and beat together long strands of clay, allowing their edges to merge and form the walls of the pot. Later, around 4,500 BCE, early forms of a potter's wheel emerged in Near Easter countries. These early wheels were powered by hand and resembled the hand-powered wheels of today in all but their efficiency.

Sometime during the iron age, a flywheel principal was applied to the design of the potter's wheel, allowing the potter to turn a heavy turntable by kicking the primary force wheel at the base of the design. This style remained relatively consistent until the advent of electricity allowed motors to take the place of the potter's foot in providing the moment of inertia.

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Last updated on March 30, 2018 by Misty Alder

Born and raised in the American Deep South, Misty's career in elder care took a sharp left turn when she was swept away to the land of Robinhood by her very own Merry Man. She's a coffee-swilling master of stitch-witchery with a magical touch in the kitchen and a never-ending stream of Disney gag reels playing in her head.

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