Pottery is an ancient practice that results in beautiful things. It’s a very pleasant hobby for those who are looking to do something meaningful with their free time. Also, pottery can be a nice source of revenue. Handmade items will always be more expensive than the ones manufactured in factories. And if you are good at it, you can have a significant source of income.
If you want to take pottery as a hobby or if you want to open a small business, first of all, you’ll need a pottery wheel. You can find them in specialized stores or online. There are plenty of models, but they do not come cheap. A high-quality pottery wheel can easily exceed 1000$, so if you want to do this, you’ll have to think it through. Pottery is not one of those things you take on and then get bored in a couple of weeks. If that’s the case, then you should look for a cheaper hobby.
In any case, if you just take on this activity and want to buy a new pottery wheel, or if you want to replace the one you have now, there are things you should know about them. They are more complicated than you think. You don’t have to be picky, but at least you should have all the information before making a purchase. That’s your only chance of making the right decision.
Pottery wheel buying guide
As long as you have all the information you need, you should be able to make a decision easily. There are a few important factors that you need considering, which is why I put together a list of all the things you should know. Enjoy!
Pottery wheel – electric or kick wheel?
A kick wheel is a more traditional approach to pottery. It is also cheaper than an electric wheel. It does not need electricity to work, so you can use it anywhere. Although I cannot think of a place where you would use the wheel and have no electrical power. A lot of people use a kick wheel as a backup for whenever the power is out. Kickwheels are rugged, simple, and they don’t make much noise, which is something people like about them. Some models come with the option of adding a motor, just in case you don’t feel like ‘kicking.’
Electric wheels, on the other hand, are a thing of the future. Let’s face it! Who uses man-powered tools anymore? As long as there will be an electric counterpart to something, people will take it. It is designed for comfort, convenience, precision, and high productivity. It’s true that they are noisier than the kick wheels, but technology advances, and it seems that manufacturers eliminated some of the noise made by previous models.
The first generation electric wheels feature a belt-driven motor that has a mechanically controlled rotor system based on brushes. That makes them noisy. It had served beautifully for many years, but as I said before, technology advances and new and better things come up. The latest models have a DC (directcurrent) motor. It is not brushes-based, it has no belt, it is controlled electronically, and is very quiet. Even when the motor is turned off, the wheel will spin freely, like a decorating wheel.
When you consider the motor type, you do it according to your preferences. Personally, I believe that the latest technology is always best, but not everyone agrees with me. So make the choice that makes you happy.
It must not be confused with the motor type. The size refers to strength in horsepower, just like on cars. Logically, the higher the HP, the larger torque the wheel will have. However, if you are a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend you buy the strongest motor. You need to analyze your skill level first, and then make a decision. Buying a motor that is too small is another issue. You can get frustrated as you get better at pottery. So try to find the in-between solution. Keep in mind that a slow motor can overheat when you spin it too fast.
That refers to the diameter of the wheel. For your satisfaction, you should go with anything that is 11 inches or higher. A smaller wheel can set limits to what you can make. The material the wheel is made is equally important. Usually, they are made of cast aluminum and marked with concentric circles, but any strong and durable metal will do. Don’t forget about the bats. The wheel needs to accommodate the attachment of bats. They are discs that allow youto remove the piece from the wheel without doing damage. As long as the clay is fresh and wet, that can easily happen.
A reverse switch will allow you to change the direction in which the wheel spins. There are different methods using the pottery wheel. That option comes in handy for left-handed people.
The ability to carry the pottery wheel around is useful for people who teach or who learn the art of pottery. Not all classes are equipped with enough pottery wheels, so people can bring their own. Or maybe you want to move your activity in a shed during summer when it’s warm enough. Either way, portability is an important issue. Keep in mind that pottery wheels are heavy, but as long as it’s not designed to be stationary, you should be okay.
They are designed to prevent water from splashing the user and the surroundings. You don’t want dirty water all over you or all over the place, do you? They also come in handy during the trimming part of pottery. Just push the clay aside and clean it later when you are done. Make sure to go for a removable splash pan. They are easy to clean and very convenient to use.
Construction needs to be taken into consideration depending on where you are going to use the wheel. If you want it for a class where you’ll be teaching people, then a highly durable pottery wheel is recommended. You need something sturdy that can survive clumsy hands. If you want to use it personally, and you have some experience in pottery, then you can opt for something more fragile. Your choice. The durability will reflect in the price.
Apart from what I wrote about above, you also need to consider price, warranty, controllers and foot pedals, and adaptability if you have special needs. All these are factors that you must take into account. Otherwise, you risk making a wrong choice, and that will reflect poorly on your finances.
What are the best pottery wheels?
There are not so many pottery wheels available as you may think. Not many manufacturers produce them. You can’t find as many pottery wheels as other power tools. Mainly because the demand is not as higher. However, there are multiple models available for purchase. Here are three of them.
US Art Supply Table Top Pottery Wheel
The pottery wheel from US Art Supply is a highly durable wheel that will satisfy your needs. It doesn’t matter that you are a beginner or a skilled professional. It can adapt to your speed, regardless of your level of skill. However, this wheel is sturdy enough to withstand even the clumsiest of hands.
This model is a professional heavy duty portable table-top pottery wheel with a ¾ HP motor. It has an 11 inches wheel head that can hold 25 pounds of clay at a time, and a two-partsplash pan. The two part splash pans are the best you can ask for because they are easily removable and cleaning is a piece of cake. The wheel is equipped with an LCD speed display that is easy to use. You can also adjust the speed using a foot pedal when it’s attached. The maximum speed for this pottery wheel is 300 RPM.
The package includes a foot pedal if you want to operate the wheel without hands. You will also receive an 11-inch plastic bat and a cup. One of the features that you’ll love, especially if you are left-handed, is that the direction of the spin can be changed. All you have to do is a push a button on the panel.
What you should know is that this model is one of the cheapest electric pottery wheels on the market, but the quality-price ration is excellent. It is very easy to use, and it will improve the quality of your work. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Brent Potter’s Pottery Wheel
Brent is a renownedmanufacturer that has been producing high-quality pottery wheels since 1969. It had enough time to master the production of pottery wheels, which is probably why it is the best in its field.
If you embrace this hobby, then this model is ideal for you. It’s incredibly steady, and the performance is as reliable as it gets. The wheel can hold as much as 75 pounds of clay. The wheel measures 12 inches in diameter, which should be enough for the majority of the items you can make. It is made of aluminum, it features a plastic bat and removable bat pins.
The body of the wheel has a 3/16-inch iron frame that holds a 1-inch poly table. You can adjust the table legs. That way you can either place it on a table-top, or you can adjust it to stand on its own. The motor has a power of ¼ HP. It is designed to run more than 5000 hours before needing its brushes changed. The maximum speed is 240 RPM, but you can easily control the speed with the cast aluminum foot pedal.
The belt that drives the wheel is a poly belt that can automaticallytensionitself. You will also receive a two-part splash pan that you can quickly take off for an easy cleaning. The one thing I don’t like about this pottery wheel is that it does not come with a reverse switch. As a result, it is suited only for right-handed people. But other than that, this product is excellent and of high-quality. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Shimpo VL Whisper Pottery Wheel
I left this one for last because this is my recommendation for you. You won’t find another model better than the Shimpo. I like everything about this pottery wheel. The first time I laid my eyes on it, I knew that this is one of the best pottery wheels ever made. Even the design is very appealing.
The manufacturer used the latest technology when it produced this wheel. It has everything you want. It has a brushless DC motor. That means it runs smooth, it’s powerful, it requires little to no maintenance, and it’s currently the quietest pottery wheel on the market. It comes with an electronic controller that can adjust some things for you. For example, it can maintain a certain speed without you even touching the panel, it can reverse the spin direction, and it can adapt to all load conditions.
The motor features a built-in breaker. That means it is continuously protected from overload. The wheel head measures 14 inches in diameter and is made of light alloy casting. It spins freely at 0 RPM. The maximum speed is 250 RPM. The bat pins are drilled, and the splash pan is two-part.
Everything about this pottery wheel screams high-quality and durability. It’s the best possible choice you have. Sure, it weighs 135 pounds, but what it lacks in portability, compensates in quality and performance. That is why Shimpo VL Whisper Pottery Wheel is my number one recommendation for you. Click here to buy on Amazon
Once you get the hang of it, pottery can be a fulfilling hobby. You can make stuff for yourself, for your friends and family, or you can even sell them. No matter what you do, this activity will relax you most of the times, and at the end of the day, you get a beautiful thing made by your own hands. Click here to buy on Amazon
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