8 Best Pottery Wheels | April 2017

8 Best Pottery Wheels | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much, even more so if slinging clay is one of your hobbies. With the pottery wheels on our list, all that long, lonely time will go to good use, as you feel the ghost of Patrick Swayze inspire you to new heights. We've ranked models good for professional artists, teachers, or, if you're brave enough to deal with the mess, for young, budding sculptors. Skip to the best pottery wheel on Amazon.
8
The Made By Me Kit features a smartly designed tray that holds a small set of paints on one side and a mound of clay on the other. It's also spun with a foot pedal that is light and easy enough for a child to operate. Unfortunately, it has a small diameter.
  • comes with a cutting cord
  • cleans with just water
  • included material is hard to mold
Brand Made By Me
Model 765940501481
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
7
The RoseArt 3376-4 is a fine first wheel for young artists who want to try their hands at throwing pottery. It spins just fast enough for your child to make little bowls and mugs for you to proudly display in your home. It also comes in a fun color that kids love.
  • clay is nontoxic
  • no baking required
  • feels wobbly at slow speeds
Brand Rose Art
Model 3376-4
Weight 8.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
6
The MindWare For Beginners effectively creates the pottery throwing experience for children by taking all the primary specifications of a professional wheel and making them smaller and predominantly plastic. As such, it makes the most complete learning tool for kids.
  • 12 paints included
  • foot pedal control
  • motor stalls frequently
Brand MindWare
Model 68471
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
5
The Speedball Artista Table Top is a fine choice for the dedicated home potter without the room for a full-sized, free-standing device. It has a long power cord so you can easily place it anywhere in your studio, as well as a cup holder for your finishing solution.
  • includes some glaze samples
  • high-impact plastic and steel parts
  • cannot support over 25 pounds
Brand Speedball
Model Artista
Weight 39.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
4
The US Art Supply ST-210 boasts a solid construction that will last you your entire sculpting career, with an all-metal cast and an indestructible base and top. It also has a quality ball bearing that allows the table 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 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
3
The compact and powerful design of the U.S. Art Supply LCD Table Top provides the ideal balance of quality and convenience for the potter without a lot of space to spare. 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 and cup
  • three-quarter horsepower motor
Brand US Art Supply
Model pending
Weight 41.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
2
The Darice Stainless Steel Sculptor is perfect for adding carved bands or strips of paint to your pottery before you fire it, or simply as a surface to sculpt on. It has a broad and heavy base that will never slip while you're working.
  • good for viewing an unfinished piece
  • anti-rust aluminum coating
  • turns very smoothly
Brand Darice
Model 97772
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
The large Brent Potters can support up to 75 lbs. of clay, so it can easily create any urn, vase, or other piece of pottery the artist has in mind. It also has a foot pedal, so your hands don't need to do any turning and you can focus entirely on your craft.
  • one-quarter horsepower motor
  • large splash pan
  • height-adjustable legs
Brand Brent
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

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 April 28 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.