January 14, 2021

Jet Lathe Model 1221VS Review | The Real Deal Or Not?

Are you considering purchasing the Jet Lathe Model 1221VS? Read on! As you get used to woodturning, you’ll discover some features that will also improve the quality of your work. The JWL-1221VS comes from the 1221 series, which focuses on making woodturning even better.

The designers have done a great job of improving the control of your lathe. If you buy this lathe, you need all the information you can get to know what you are getting into. This Jet JWL-1221vs review will help you make an informed decision that you will be proud of in the future.

The JWL-1221VS features a cast iron bed that increases the durability of the lathe and does a great job of reducing the motor’s vibrations, which will otherwise cause fatigue and make long sessions unbearable. One would worry about the lathe’s weight since it is made of cast iron, but it is not so heavy, weighing just about 59 kilograms, less than most lathes of its caliber. The reduction of vibrations by the weight is great in increasing the accuracy and precision of your work, it is not only a smooth runner but a quiet one as well, and you will hardly hear any noise from it from the end of the room. It can make a great addition to your workshop as it won’t take up much of your space with a length of 32.8 inches, a width of 14.6 inches and a height of 21.2 inches. 

You won’t find a better lathe of this size or this price range. It runs both forward and backward. You change this mode using a conveniently located sliding switch. You won’t find this feature useful if you are not so experienced with woodturning. If you are a veteran woodturner, you will understand the struggle of reversing when turning, as this technique is very clutch and can send your work sideways in a quick second. The JWL-1221VS removes that risk of ruining your work through its seamless forward-to-reverse transmission. An example of a reverse mode situation is tapping a drilled hole in a workpiece. 

Its controls are easily accessible. That seems useless but very convenient when working on many projects as it will reduce fatigue and extend the amount of time you can work. Its controls are located within one area with the variable speed control in the form of a knob. Your speed will be read out by the digital RPM reader, which has the reverse sliding switch nearby. For safety reasons, the control modules are located so you won’t get near the rotating wood. 

Model Number719200
RPM60-3600 (three-speed)
Motor1 Ph, 6 Amp, 115V
Facelift Size3 inches
Weight59 kg
Dimensions33.6×11×17.7 inches
WarrantyFive years

The JWL-1221VS has variable speeds ranging from 60 to 3600 rotations per minute. The best feature is the incredibly low RPM which also has excellent torque. The speed is adjusted by the rotating knob and easily monitored through the digital RPM readout. The lathe also has 24 indexing positions to provide extra versatility when working on expensive projects; this feature allows detailed pattern work like drilling and grooving with great accuracy and precision. Jet included their signature ratchet style belt tension system with a pending patent. This belt has three stages, making the 60 to 3600 RPM speed range possible. The first speed range is 60-900, the second is 110-1800, and the last is 220-3600. You can work on any project with this lathe as it offers 20.5 inches between its centres in which you can fit a considerably big piece. 


  • Forward and Reverse transmission
  • Digital RPM reader 
  • Lower RPM of 60
  • Cast iron bed for less vibration
  • 24 index positions


  • It is quite hefty.


For an incredibly efficient machine, the JWL-1221VS does a great job in the looks department. This lathe looks simple enough that even someone who has never worked with wood before can have the courage to try it out just because the equipment is inviting with a futuristic look, making woodturning appealing.

Performance Review

The designers took their time making this lathe; it is well aligned and runs smoothly in both the forward and reverse directions. Its 24 indexing positions are convenient when doing detailed work. The ratchet-style belt tension system allows the efficient flow of energy and is incredibly torque at 60 rotations per minute. 


The JWL-1221VS very much considers safety with a well-concealed safety switch which will let you rest easy if you forget your lathe connected to the power in your home workshop as no one will unknowingly turn it on. The lathe is also well insulated to protect you from that 115-volt potential motor difference. The design that puts all the controls on one side away from the turning wood is among the headline safety features. Many people have fallen victim to their work, trying to adjust certain variables while the wood is spinning.  

Who is this product ideal for?

We can confidently say this is a product for anyone. For those who have been in the industry for a while with a smaller lathe, the JWL-1221VS will be a significant upgrade with many improved features, like the digital RPM reader you won’t find in most models. For beginners, this is the best first lathe you could get yourself. Yes, it is somewhat expensive, but it will allow you to train in the best possible environment with the latest features. This lathe won’t take much of your space in your workshop for professional wood spinners but will add value to your work.

Our Verdict

So, will you be purchasing the Jet Model 1221VS lathe? Bottom line, this is the best lathe you can get for less than $1000 and is suitable for all conditions, from small to large scales. If you buy this lathe first, you’ll have a head start and can learn faster than with a cheaper and less sophisticated machine. If you want to buy a cheaper lathe, the best decision for your woodturning career is to wait for a little and get the funds for this lathe.

David D. Hughes

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