Important Information For Popular Pottery Wheels with Details, Features, and Specs.
When buying a Pottery Wheel, there are two ways you can go: Electric or Manual (Kickwheel).
Many beginner Potters prefer Electric Wheels. They are easier to use, are more compact, and allow you to adjust the wheel’s rotational speed and direction. They are also more maneuverable than Kickwheels, which will make creating higher-quality pieces a more comfortable task.
Before buying a Pottery Wheel, it’s important to do lots of research to work out what specifications you need your Wheel to have. Understanding the available options will also allow you to compare the features of the different Pottery Wheels on the market.
This article will take an in-depth look at the most Popular Wheels on the market and examines the features that each of them offers.
Let’s get started.
Essential Features in a Pottery Wheel
Here are the essential features to consider when looking at different Wheel options:
The Horsepower of the Motor:
The closer the horsepower of a Pottery Wheel motor is to 1, the more power the motor has. A higher-powered motor helps a wheel handle a heavier weight on the wheel.
The Size of the Wheel Head:
A wheel head with a larger diameter can handle more clay and allow you to make larger pieces of pottery. Wheel heads range from 8 inches to 14 inches in diameter.
The Weight of the Wheel:
Lighter wheels are more maneuverable, while heavy wheels are sturdier.
The Wheel’s Bat Pins:
A wheel with built-in bat pins is more versatile, as you can use different bats for the size of the piece you are creating. Most built-in bat pins are removable.
A wheel that rotates in both directions will work for both left-handers and right-handers.
The Wheel’s maximum revolutions per minute (RPM):
When a wheel has a higher maximum RPM, it gives you more control over the way you design pieces, as different speeds can impact the way that clay is shaped.
You should also think about whether you want a Tabletop, Hybrid, or Freestanding Pottery Wheel. And as with any major purchase, you should keep the warranty periods in mind.
The Most Popular Tabletop Pottery Wheels
Tabletop Pottery Wheels are small, portable wheels that can be placed anywhere in your pottery studio or home. They are cheaper than Freestanding Wheels but can generally handle less clay weight.
US Art Supply Tabletop
US Art Supply is known for creating high-quality pottery wheels, clay, and accessories that help your pottery projects go smoothly.
The US Art Supply Table Top Wheel is a great wheel for beginners.
Its features include:
- A motor with a horsepower of ¾
- 11-inch wheel with a maximum speed of 300 RPM
- Can handle 25 pounds of clay at a time
- A Splash pan
- The option to reverse the rotation of the wheel, which is great if you’re a left-handed potter or you just like to throw clockwise.
- A foot pedal
- An LCD screen that allows you to adjust the wheel speed through a few simple touches and swipes
- It weighs 43 pounds
The US Art Supply Wheel also includes an eleven-inch bat.
The Advantages of the US Art Supply Tabletop Wheel
Compared to other Pottery Wheels, this one is relatively affordable, which makes it perfect if you’re a Potter who’s just starting. It also has a powerful motor for its size.
The Disadvantages of the US Art Supply Tabletop Wheel
The main downside to this wheel is that the warranty period is shorter than those of comparable wheels from other brands. Also, some users have found that its splash pan isn’t deep enough to capture flying clay.
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Speedball Artista Portable
This Speedball Artista Wheel is one of the most popular tabletop wheels for beginners.
The Speedball Artista Wheel offers excellent value for the money.
The Wheel’s features and specifications include:
- 11-inch wheel head that can handle 25 pounds of clay
- A splash pan which surrounds the wheel, preventing the area around it getting splattered with clay
- A wheel with an adjustable speed capacity of 220 revolutions per minute.
- Micro wheel belt which will ensure that the wheel is quiet and smooth while turning
- Total weight of 26 pounds
The Speedball Artista Portable Wheel (amazon) or (blick arts) also comes with a two-year warranty and a two-part splash pan. You also have the option to add on foot pedals and additional bats.
The Advantages of the Speedball Artista Portable
Because of its weight and smaller size, this Pottery Wheel is great if you have limited storage space. Since it’s fairly cost-effective as compared to other models, it’s also a good Pottery Wheel to start with if you’re just getting into the pottery scene.
The Disadvantages of the Speedball Artista Portable
The Speedball Artista wheel has a fairly small wheel, which can prevent you from working with large amounts of clay. Additionally, some potters have found that the speed of the wheel can be inconsistent, which may impact your throwing.
Nidec-Shimpo Aspire Tabletop Wheel
The Branding change from Shimpo Ceramics to Nidec is currently in full force. For more information on the rebranding from Shimpo to Nidec check out this interesting article I wrote HERE.
Nidec-Shimpo is a brand that is known for making Pottery Wheels that spin quietly and efficiently, allowing you to produce beautiful works of art.
Its most popular Tabletop Pottery Wheel is the Nidec–Shimpo Aspire, whose features include:
- A wheel that can center 20 pounds of clay
- Two bats and a surrounding splash pan
- A hand lever or foot pedal that controls the wheel speed – up to 230 RPMs
The Nidec-Shimpo Aspire Wheel (blick arts) has a five-year warranty
The Advantages of the Shimpo Aspire Wheel
The Shimpo wheel is quiet, unassuming, and portable. Its extensive warranty period also means that you won’t be spending a extra on repairs and maintenance.
The Disadvantages of the Shimpo Aspire Wheel
This particular wheel does not have standard sized pins for ten-inch bats. So, you may not be able to use a wide variety of bats with it, which may affect your ability to throw clay.
In addition to this, this model does not allow you to alter the direction in which the wheel rotates. It comes in two variants: counter-clockwise and clockwise. The right variant for you depends on which hand you use to throw. Right-handers typically find working with a wheel that spins counter-clockwise, while left-handers prefer the opposite.
Hybrid Pottery Wheels
Some Pottery Wheels are a Hybrid between Freestanding and Tabletop versions. They have detachable or foldable legs that allow them to transform from a freestanding device into a smaller one that can be set on top of almost any flat surface.
The Speedball Artista (amazon) or (blick arts) which we explored earlier can be attached to folding legs, which are an additional accessory that will help the tabletop design transform into a freestanding one.
Brent IE Pottery Wheel
The Brent IE Pottery Wheel can function as a tabletop, as it has extendable legs that can be used to support the wheel. They can also be removed if you want to place the wheel on a tabletop. This makes this particular model extremely portable.
Other features of this wheel include:
- Twelve-inch wheel head that can spin at up to 240 RPM
- The capacity to handle 20 pounds of clay
- A motor with ¼ horsepower
- Two bat pins
- Splash pan
- An aluminum foot pedal that will help you control the speed of the wheel
- A weight of 80 pounds
The Brent IE Pottery Wheel (blick arts) includes a plastic bat, a video on pottery throwing, and a five-year warranty with this model.
The Advantages of the Brent IE Pottery Wheel
The main advantage of this wheel is that it lets you transition between a freestanding and tabletop model seamlessly and is therefore very versatile.
The Disadvantages of the Brent IE Pottery Wheel
This wheel can only handle twenty pounds of clay, which is less than other freestanding models.
Most potters will never throw this big, so this should never be a problem.
Freestanding Pottery Wheels
If you have enough space or have a designated pottery studio, then the third Pottery Wheel option is a freestanding model. Freestanding Wheels are essentially tables with built-in Pottery Wheel and pans that give you plenty of room to work and keep tools. A Freestanding Wheel is a wheel most Potters use.
You will be sitting down on a Potters Stool, or Office Chair, hovering over the wheel. A freestanding wheel is the most common and most used Pottery Wheel in the world.
Many Potters prefer working with Freestanding Wheels as they are sturdier, have more features, and are more durable. Because of their popularity, there are more freestanding models on the market than the other wheel types.
However, it’s important to note that these wheels are more expensive than their non-freestanding counterparts.
Brent C Pottery Wheel
The Brent C Pottery Wheel (amazon) or (blick arts) assures users of high quality and durability, which is why it’s extremely popular.
It is made of steel and aluminum, which makes it durable and strong.
Here are some other features of the Brent C Wheel:
- Has a motor with a horsepower of ¾ that powers a fourteen-inch wheel head
- A Wheel Head that can rotate in both directions
- Can center 300 pounds of clay
- Splash pan
- Comes with a fourteen-inch plastic bat and built-in bat pins
- Has a built-in foot pedal
- A four-foot cord
- Three legs whose height can be adjusted depending on the type of throwing you’re doing
This Pottery Wheel l has an impressive ten-year warranty. As a bonus, the company also throws in a guide to throwing pottery.
The Advantages of the Brent C Electric Pottery Wheel
This Wheel is a fan favorite; it runs powerfully but quietly and is a great tool to make pots and vessels of all different sizes. Their long ten-year warranty also makes them a safe bet; when you buy a Brent Wheel, you’re assured of both quality and longevity.
The Disadvantages of the Brent C Pottery Wheel
Beginner potters may wonder whether they are worth the investment. Before you buy a Brent wheel, make sure that you are committed to pottery. If you are, the investment will pay off in the long run!
If you want to throw big and the Brent model appeals to you, you should consider this version’s upgrade: the Brent CXC Pottery Wheel, which can handle a heavy continual performance with a 1 Horse Power motor. This model can help you make larger designs and ornaments.
Speedball Clay Boss Pottery Wheel
Speedball’s Big Boss Pottery Wheel is designed for both the beginner and intermediate potter.
It’s a great option if you see yourself investing a lot of time in refining your technique.
Some of the features of the wheel which make it extremely popular are:
- A splash pan that can be easily detached, allowing for easy cleaning
- 14-inch wheel head that can handle 100 pounds of clay
- A foot pedal that lets you control the wheel speed
- Micro wheel belt which allows the wheel to spin quietly and unobtrusively
- A reversible wheel that changes direction depending on the hand you use
The Speedball Big Boss (amazon) or (blick arts) offers a ten-year warranty
The Advantages of the Speedball Big Boss Pottery Wheel
This wheel is extremely versatile – it works for both amateur and experienced artists as well as right and left-handers. Its splash pan has also received positive reviews from users as it offers excellent coverage.
The Disadvantages of the Speedball Big Boss Pottery Wheel
The Speedball Big Boss is fairly heavy. Therefore, it’s best to set it up in a spot where you know it can stay for a while!
Although you can change the direction of the wheel you must turn the power off and unplug the power cord from the outlet to do so.
Skutt Prodigy Pottery Wheel
Skutt has a range of Pottery Wheels that suit a variety of Potters from beginners to experts.
Out of their range, the Skutt Prodigy (blick arts) is one of the most popular
The Skull Prodigy’s features include:
- A motor powered by ⅓ horsepower
- 12-inch aluminum wheel head
- Splash pan
- A foot pedal to control wheel speed
- Can handle 75 pounds of clay
- A 6 drive belt which helps the motor run smoother and quieter
- The whole machine weighs 94 pounds
The Skutt Prodigy has a five-year warranty
The Advantages of the Skutt Prodigy Pottery Wheel
The Skutt Prodigy is a comparatively good brand that can center up to seventy-five pounds of clay. As well as the splash pan, the wheel head of this model is detachable, which allows you to clean the machine thoroughly after use.
The Disadvantages of the Skutt Prodigy Pottery Wheel
The Skutt Prodigy is quite heavy, which makes it difficult to move. You also can’t change the wheel’s rotational direction.
Skutt Legend Pottery Wheel
If you want a good dependable machine with a larger wheel head and bigger splash pan, you should consider the Skutt Legend.
It has a 6 grove drive belt for a smooth powerful performance and is made with premium aluminum for extra durability.
Here are the main features of the Skutt Premier:
- A fourteen-inch wheel head with a rotation that can be changed at the flick of a switch
- Weighs 117 pounds
- 10-inch removable bat pins
- A foot pedal to control the speed
- A motor with a horsepower of 1/3
- A removable wheel head to allow for easier cleaning
The Skutt Legend (blick arts) has a Two-year warranty period.
The Advantages of the Skutt Premier Pottery Wheel
The Skutt Legend is an excellent choice for all Potters. It offers premium features and can handle large amounts of clay, which is great if you’re making large vessels.
Its features also allow you more control over the wheel speed, which will help you figure out which style spinning style works best for you.
The Disadvantages of the Skutt Premier Pottery Wheel
This machine is also heavy. You should only invest in it if you are serious about pottery and have plenty of studio space.
Nidec – Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel
The Nidec-Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel is technically a freestanding pottery wheel. However, it occupies much less space than traditional freestanding models.
It takes up less space because it doesn’t have legs, and there is a small workstation on top of the splash pan.
Like all Shimpo machines, this Wheel is super quiet, ensuring you can make pottery in peace.
Other features of the Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel include:
- A 12-inch wheel head with built-in bat pins
- The wheel head can spin at 250 RPM; however, this is adjustable based on your own unique pottery needs
- An integrated foot pedal and hand lever that helps you control the speed of the wheel
- The ability to change the rotational direction of the wheel
- A capacity to center a hundred pounds of clay
This Nidec-Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel (blick arts) has a five-year warranty.
It’s important to note that this wheel comes with a warning: it is not suitable if you have a pacemaker, as it may impact your pacemaker’s functioning.
The Advantages of the Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel
The Shimpo RK Whisper wheel is an excellent option if you want to center substantial amounts of clay to build large designs but don’t have much space to spare. And as previously mentioned, it’s extremely quiet when operating.
The Disadvantages of the Shimpo RK Whisper Wheel
Because it doesn’t have a workspace, you don’t have a built-in place to keep clay and water. However, you can solve this by placing a table nearby.
The Nidec – Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel
Another popular Nidec-Shimpo Pottery Wheel is the Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel.
In addition to the trademark quiet motor and wheel, this variant is also built into a table, which gives you more workspace but also takes up more space.
Here are its features:
- A motor with ½ horsepower
- 14-inch wheel head with the capacity to spin at 250 RPM
- The option to change the rotational direction of the wheel
- Can center around 100 pounds of clay
- Has a total weight of 135 pounds
- Two bat pins are included
- A built-in foot pedal to control the wheel speed
- The wheel table height can be adjusted so you can throw sitting or standing
- A two-piece splash pan that can be removed from the wheel head for easy cleaning
Nidec-Shimpo VL Whisper Wheel (amazon) or (blick arts) comes with a five-year warranty.
When buying this wheel, you can also choose to add on leg extensions that will allow you to adjust the height of the wheel. You can also get an adjustable stool that will enable you to sit and throw in comfort.
The Advantages of the Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel
This wheel offers a range of features and can center a large amount of clay. The attached table provides you a large workspace to keep clay, water, and other tools.
The Disadvantages of the Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel
The wheel is fairly heavy and won’t be easy to move once you set it up. Some users have also found that the wheel’s power cord gets easily frayed.
The Soldner S-100 Pottery Wheel
The Soldner S-100 Pottery Wheel is part of Solder’s S-series collection. Soldner is a well-known brand in the pottery circle and enjoys the reputation of making durable, practically designed wheels.
The Soldner S-100 Wheel’s features include:
- A motor with ¼ horsepower
- The capacity to spin at up to 250 RPM
- 14-inch wheel head that can center 100 pounds of clay
- The capacity to change the rotational direction of the wheel
- A built-in foot pedal that lets you control the wheel speed
- Built-in bat pins for ten-inch bats
- Adjustable legs that let you change the height of the wheel for different throwing positions
- Weighs 95 pounds
- A workspace made with plywood that gives you space to keep clay and water
The Soldner S-100 Pottery Wheel has a two-year warranty
The Advantages of the Soldner S-100
The Soldner S-100 works well for intermediate potters as it can center large amounts of clay.
The Disadvantages of the Soldner S-100
Compared to other Pottery Wheels that are in a similar cost range, the Soldner S-100 has a motor with a lower horsepower, which may affect how smooth it is.
The Pacifica GT-400 Pottery Wheel
If you’re looking for an affordable freestanding Pottery Wheel, consider the Pacifica GT-400 Pottery Wheel.
It offers a range of useful features and is cheaper than Brent, Soldner, Shimpo, and Speedball wheels.
The features included in this wheel are:
- A motor with a ½ horsepower
- The option to reverse the rotational direction of the wheel head
- A thirteen-inch aluminum wheel head that can center 80 pounds of clay
- The wheel head speed has a maximum of 300 RPM
- A detachable splash pan that helps you clean the wheel
- Built-in pedal
- A tabletop workspace and steel legs that are sturdy and durable
- It weighs 92 pounds
The Pacifica GT-400 Pottery Wheel (blick arts) offers a thirty-day full satisfaction guarantee and a five-year limited warranty.
The Advantages of the Pacifica GT-400 Pottery Wheel
This wheel has a modular construction style, which makes it easier to repair even after the warranty period is over.
The Disadvantages of the Pacifica GT-400 Pottery Wheel
It’s important to note that the brand only offers a limited warranty period; before purchasing one, be sure to read the fine print about what the warranty covers.
Your next step is to actually Go and Find your Pottery Wheel.
From my own personal experience here is an article I wrote about
Choosing a Pottery Wheel – Step-by-Step Buyer’s Guide for Beginners to also help you to decide which Pottery Wheel is best suited for you.
To summarize, here’s what you should do before purchasing a Pottery Wheel:
- Make sure the Wheel’s specifications are suited to your needs
- Compare the same Wheel on different websites.
- Check the Warranty length and terms.
- Compare the prices of similar Wheels.
- Read and compare the reviews of each Wheel.
- Participate in a few Pottery Classes so that you can experiment with different Wheels and Brands.
I hope you found the guide helpful, and that you use this information to make an informed, confident decision about which Pottery Wheel you should invest in!