Pottery Wheel Buyers Guide

a picture of a woman using three different pottery wheels

Before you rush in and buy the first Wheel you see, think about your purchase and how it will keep you happy and comfortable while spinning your beautiful creations for years to come.

Pottery making has become your new-found passion or hobby, and now it’s time to purchase your first pottery wheel.
Buying a pottery wheel may seem easy. After all, it’s just a round piece of machinery that you sit at and make pottery on. Right?
I am here to tell you there is more to choosing the right pottery wheel than you may have thought. It’s worth some of your time to read on and see what’s available before making your choice. There are several important factors to consider when choosing a pottery wheel.


What to Look for in a Pottery Wheel

  • Durability
  • Good Speed Control
  • Nice Wheel Head
  • Good Motor
  • Warranty
  • Cost

Note: All Pottery Wheel Weights Listed Below Are Averages

These are the seven different Electric Wheels I have used at the Art Studio.

  • The Brent CXC (The Winner)
  • Shimpo RK Whisper (2nd Place)
  • Speedball Clay Boss (3rd Place)
  • The Bailey PRO-XL
  • Bailey ST-100
  • Brent C
  • Shimpo VL Whisper

The Brent CXC Is My Dirty Hands Down Top Choice

picture of a brent cxc pottery wheel

After using seven different pottery wheels, The Brent CXC is the pottery wheel I decided to purchase, and have been extremely happy with for over a year. For me, it’s the perfect balance of value and quality. It has many features of the best pottery wheels that are sold today. I’ve been very impressed with it.

These Are A Few Things That Sold Me on The Brent CXC

Durability

Brent is one of, if not the best-known pottery wheel brands out there. Every Brent model is known for dependable reliability.
Brents motto is “Built for life.”
The Brent CXC model is very solid but not too heavy. It’s around 120 pounds and has heavy powder-coated steel beneath a plastic top deck which is a good size.

Speed Control

Brent has a smooth foot pedal that responds well. When you press your foot down on the pedal, the wheel speeds up nice and smooth. When you take your foot off the pedal the speed of the wheel continues to stay at that speed, giving you more precise control over the speed of your wheel.
The pedal is not attached to the side of the wheel so you can use your left or right foot to control the speed. Brent even has a very easy to follow video about fine-tuning your foot pedal.
(I am not mechanically inclined, but I followed the directions on the 2:22-minute video and had the foot pedal fine-tuned and ready to use within minutes.)

Wheel Head

While smaller wheel heads are fine. After using both, I like the extra surface of the 14-inch wheel head. The bat head holes are the standard 10-inches.
With a flip of the switch, you can go from clockwise to counterclockwise. The switch goes from forward then to neutral then reverse, making sure the wheel stops completely before changing directions.

Motor

The Brent CXC is a powerhouse with a 1 HP Motor and a centering capacity of 300 pounds. The Wheel rotates at 240 revolutions per minute, which does make a difference when you want that extra speed for controlling your clay while centering. When you’re pressing down on the clay, the wheel does not bog down.
This motor is not entirely silent but has a pleasant-sounding hum as the wheel speeds up. It’s called the Brent hum.

Warranty

Brent was the first in the industry to offer a Ten-Year Warranty. The average warranty for other pottery wheels if offered is around five years.

Cost

While the Brent CXC is not inexpensive, check out the current price I felt it was an excellent price for what I was getting. I also knew this was a long-term investment, like almost anything that is quality made you’re going to pay a premium.

Other Features

I fit comfortably around the wheel and still have a good amount of space to put, clay, tools, and water. The CXC is 20 inches high, 21 inches wide, and 27 inches long.
There Is NO Assembly Required, just take her out of the box, plug her in and she is ready to go.
The Splash Pan noticeably stops the water and clay from dripping over the edge while throwing and comes apart for easy cleanup.

If you are looking for one of the best pottery wheels out there, then the Brent CXC is the one. It’s the one I use every day. The CXC is a real workhorse.

Here Are A Few More Models That Brent Offers

Brent B Pottery Wheel ½ HP
Brent C Pottery Wheel ¾ HP
Brent EX Pottery Wheel 1 ½ HP

Brent Add Ons

A Brent Workstation And Work Tables

The Brent 35×19-inch Curved work-station
The Brent 16×10-inch work table
The Brent 18×10 inch work table

The Brent Workstation

Need extra room to set a Tablet on to watch your favorite Pottery Crafters YouTube Videos videos, you’re in luck because Brent offers The Brent Curved Workstation.

This big baby measures 35 ¼ inches across by 19 inches deep. It attaches right to the front Wheel legs with four adjustable steel supports. You can adjust the height of the worktable by loosening the front knobs and the side knobs you can raise or lower the table to your desired height.

A nice feature is the 2 storage cup holders 2 and 3/16 inches and 4 and 3/16 inches in diameter. Click HERE to check it out.

Brents Adjustable Work Tables

Brent also offers two other table options. A 16×10-inch work table and the 18×10 inch work table.
These smaller tables have more adjustment options than the curved workstation mentioned earlier.
Not only can they adjust up and down they also can swing out and around making them very customizable.

The Brent 16×10-inch Work Table

This single work table (no cup holder) is great for keeping your clay, modeling tools, and other supplies within arm’s reach. It’s made from the very same material as the Amaco Plasti-Bat, its 1/3 inch thick and easy to clean.
This work table attaches to the front of the wheel leg and is adjustable. You raise or lower it and move it closer or further away from you. Click HERE for more information.

The Brent 18×10 inch Work Table

This single work table gives you an extra two inches of workspace and a 4 ¼ inch cup holder for your tools. It has the same adjustable options as Brent’s smaller work table. Having all your supplies at arm’s length is great. When you’re in the middle of creating a piece of pottery, the last thing you want to do is get up for anything you may need.

These Brent 16×10-inch and 18×10 inch work tables plus the Brent 35×19-inch curved work-station not only fit the Brent CXC but they are also compatible with the Brent B, the Brent C, and the Brent Ex pottery wheels.

Anyone of the two Brent work tables or a one-piece Brent workstation would be a great addition to your pottery wheel.
“Supplies close at hand – Is a Potter with a plan.” Click HERE to check it out.

Brent Booties – Leg Extensions 

Brent also offers leg extensions to raise your wheel off the floor a little bit. They are called Brent Booties, and they adjust your wheel height by 2” (5cm) or 4 inches (10cm).

A Brent Potters Stool

Taking care of your back is super important, and you are going to need a chair or potters’ stool of some sort. Here’s the Brent Potters Stool as an option for the CXC. The Brent potters tool attaches directly to the rear leg of you Brent CXC wheel it has an adjustable height of 19 to 25 and a half inches.

The Brent Potters Stool is also compatible with the Brent B, Brent C, and Brent EX models built after January 2009.
We also have reviewed a few potters stools ourselves you can see them on our Recommended Potters Stool Page

Runner Up Is the Shimpo RK-Whisper Pottery Wheel   UPDATE: Shimpo is Rebranding – Read Here

The Shimpo RK – Whisper is a good solid pottery wheel. I think it is a good pottery Wheel for beginners and seasoned throwers. At first, it was the go-to wheel whenever I went to the studio.

Here Are A Few Good Reasons Why RK-Whisper Is My Number Two Choice.

a picture of the shimpo pottery wheel

Durability

The Shimpo RK-Whisper might look a little different compared to other pottery wheels, but this little powerhouse is super quiet and very dependable.
For a smaller pottery wheel, she’s nice and sturdy. Weighing in at 135 pounds some might need a little help when moving it around.

Speed Control

A nice feature is the fixed foot pedal with hand lever option.
Having the option to control the wheel speed from your or hand can come in handy especially when you’re a beginner and not quite used to the pedal yet. Or if you are having a hard time coordinating your foot with the speed of the wheel.

Wheel Head

The wheel head is 12 inches, and the bat head is 10 inches. Accommodates both left and right-handed users, the wheel goes clock-wise and counter clock-wise.

Motor

Shimpo RX Whisper is number one when it comes to quiet. You don’t know it’s on unless you see the wheel spinning. Its brushless DC motor with direct drive (no belt) keeps the Wheel running smooth. The motor is also completely enclosed.

The wheel rotates at 250 revolutions per minute, which is pretty nice for a wheel with only ½ HP motor. Centering capacity is good at 100 pounds, which is fine if you are not planning to throw with large amounts of clay and apply a lot of weight on a contestant basis.

Warranty

All Shimpo models now come with a Five-year Warranty that will repair and replace under normal use. This warranty covers anyone who owns the wheel within the 5-year time frame (warranty starts the day the wheel was purchased up until 5 years from that date) not just the original owner.

Cost

This Shimpo has a  good price point, and they last a long time. The one in the studio is 8 years old and still runs great. Check the current price here

Other Features

The Shimpo is 20 inches wide, 21 inches long and 20 inches high, and doesn’t have a shelf to set your supplies on. More about shelves below.

Shimpo Work Tables to Consider

If you decide to go with the Shimpo, you will need room for your tools water and clay. Shimpo offers two work tables for all RK models.

This Small Work Table attaches quickly and easily to the front of your wheel. The work table is 16-inches long and 21 inches wide. Weighing only 10 pounds.

The Large Shimpo Work Table attaches to the front of your wheel just like its smaller sibling. It’s 15-inches long and 44 inches wide and weighs 20 pounds.

My Final Can’t-Miss Pottery Wheel Is the Speedball Clay Boss

a picture of a Clay Boss Pottery Wheel

You’ll really like this little powerhouse if you prefer something on the lighter side (100 lbs.) with the same power as the Shimpo RK -Whisper, the Speedball Clay Boss may be just the right fit for you.

Few Reasons for Recommending the Speedball Clay Boss

Durability

If you want a slightly smaller size but still powerful with a sturdy feel. At 18 inches high with the table size of 25 inches deep and 21 inches wide.
Weighing only 90 pounds, the Clay Boss is still strong, with the wheel mounted on a steel frame.

Speed Control

This model has a good size foot pedal that holds the speed consistently. Has not sped up or slowed down on its own.  

Wheel Head

The clay Boss has a larger 14-inch wheel for throwing, which many potters favor.
While you can still reverse the direction of the wheel head on this model. You must unplug the power cord to do so.

Motor

The Clay Boss also has a ½ HP motor that has a centering capacity of 100 pounds. You can hear the motor, but it is not loud.

Warranty

Updated in November of 2017, the Clay Boss now comes with a complete Ten-Year Warranty which I considered a great plus.

Cost

For half the price of The Brent CXC, the Clay Boss is a great starter wheel. Check out the current price HERE.
I still use the Clay Boss at the studio from time to time, and I find it to be a good fit and comfortable to use.

Other Features

It is perfect for the potter that’s not looking to throw 20-pound vases and super big bowls.
The Clay Boss is easy to put together. All you have to do is place it on its side and attach the legs. Then put the splash pan, and you’re ready to throw.

Speedballs optional Utility Shelf

The durable half-inch thick polyethylene plastic shelf is 34 inches long and 17 inches wide. Speedballs Utility Shelf adjusts to 2 positions, lowered or raised for your convenience. It’s great when you need extra room for all your tools and bowls of clay and water.

Supplies To Get Throwing Quickly

You can’t start throwing without some necessary supplies to go with your new pottery wheel.
For starters, unless you’re going to be using a kick wheel, you will need a Stool to sit on, some Clay, Hand Tools, and at least one Bat.

Check out our Recommended Tools Page where you will find a lot more information to help you pick the correct pottery tools.

Potter Stools are essential when you are throwing you want to have a comfortable Potters Stool to sit at the correct height and angle. If you’re not in the right position, your back may pay the price.

Bats and BatMates – A perfect match

Bats are one of the most used tools that a potter will use on the wheel. Being able to quickly set your fresh wet piece of art to the side is such a convenience.
Then think of trimming and decorating and not having to center your leather hard piece because it’s just as you left it, perfectly centered.
Believe me, you will need some bats – and more than one.

You will also need a BatMate.
After some extended use, the holes on your bat will loosen up. A BatMate is like a security blanket for your bat to keep it safely snug to the wheel.

Tip: a BatMate can also be used without a bat for trimming pieces you have already cut off the wheel.

Choosing your Clay

And of course, you will need some clay. Cone temps, colors, coarse or smooth there’s a lot to think about when choosing clay.
Head on over to Best Clay Page where we help you in choosing the right clay to get started on your new wheel.

Some Needed Pottery Tools

Over time you’re going to buy a lot of Pottery Tools, that’s just the way it is in a potter’s world.
You can start out buying all your Tools individually, and we’ve got you covered. Or if you want to just plug your new pottery wheel in and get started right away, we have found some tools to get you up and throwing really fast.

Glazed and Confused

Let’s face it pottery would not look too good without some glazing. Plus, glazing can be relaxing. Glazes have come a long way. They are safer and more beautiful than ever before.
Glazing can be a guessing game until you get some practice, and glaze sets or glaze kits are the way to go for any beginner. Go over to our Best Glazes review page where I show you my favorites that I am using at this moment and a few I have used in the past or plan on using in the future.


A New Pottery Wheel is the Trusted Way to Go

I recommend getting a new potter’s wheel for the simple fact that you don’t know how a used pottery wheel was taken care of. How much clay was thrown on the wheel, or if it was cleaned properly after every use. Plus, the warranty is only good for the original owner.

Ordering Your Wheel Online is  Easier than Ever

a picture of a pottery wheel delivered to a front door

Depending on where you live finding a pottery store might be impossible. In Las Vegas, there is not one store that I can physically touch or purchase a pottery wheel.
Not even the local Blick Arts or supply store. Which is a national chain.

Your pottery wheel is packaged and insured for any kind of trip it may endure.
If there happens to be a problem, in most cases you will have 30 days to return it. In some cases, as soon a return has been approved, and in route, the pottery company will send the new wheel out before the returned wheel gets back to its original location.

In today’s day and age ordering online is safer and much more convenient than at any time in history. Plus, you don’t have to travel and unload it. My pottery wheel was delivered to my front door in perfect condition.  It can’t get any easier than that.


In Conclusion

Down at the local pottery studio, I have used seven different pottery wheels.
My three favorites pottery wheels (the Brent CXC, the Shimpo RK-Whisper, and the Speedball Clay Boss) do not compensate Pottery Crafters in any way.
These are my unbiased favorites.

So, If you have just started making pottery or been around the wheel for a while, I hope I have helped you in your quest to find the best pottery wheel to fit your skills and needs.