January 14, 2021

Jet Lathe Model 1221VS Review

As you get used to turning, you will see some features that will also improve the quality of the work you come up with. Manufacturers have knocked themselves out and produced some of the best wood lathes in history. Jet is one of those manufactures leading the pack. The JWL-1221VS comes from the 1221 series focusing on improving the turning experience to become better.

Its designers did a great job in increasing the control one has over their lathe. If you are looking to purchase this lathe, you need all the information you can get to know what you are getting yourself into. We are here for just that, to help you make an informed decision which you will be proud of in the future, remember to spend that dollar widely because you only get to spend it once. 

The lathe features a cast iron bed that increases the durability of the lathe and does a great job in reducing the vibrations of the motor, 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 calibre. The reduction of vibrations by the weight is great in increasing 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 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 backwards. 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 situation which will make use of the reverse mode is tapping a drilled hole in a workpiece. 

Its controls are easily accessible. That seems useless but very convenient when working on a lot of 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 that 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 comes with 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 patent currently pending. This belt has three stages which make the 60 to 3600 RPM speed range possible, the first speed range is 60-900, 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 in 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 incredibly toque 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 difference of the motor. 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. 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 the beginners this is the best first lathe you could get yourself, yes, it is somewhat expensive but will allow you to train in the best possible environment with the latest features. For the professional wood, spinners find this lathe in your workshop as it won’t take much of your space but add value to your work.

Our Verdict

When all is said and done the bottom line is, this is the best lathe one could get under $1000 to fit in any condition from small to large scale. Getting this lathe as your first will put you ahead and allow you to learn quicker than you would with a cheaper and less sophisticated one. If you were looking to get a more affordable waiting a bit and acquiring the funds to get this one, our advice is the best decision for their woodturning career.  

David D. Hughes

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