January 7, 2021

Rikon Midi Lathe Model 70-220VSR Review | What We Think About it

Are you looking at the Rikon 70-220vsr? You can imagine how it was in the times before they had lathes because, believe it or not, they did have spun wood and detailed woodwork. Woodworkers must have had to work hard because the hardwood most people love for their furniture is not easy to work with. The lathe was one of those revolutionary inventions which would transform the industry as we use it and make the lives of woodworkers very easy. With a lathe as a woodworker, you can manipulate any wood to your liking. It also saves time as you can turn wood in a matter of minutes or, more precisely, rotate it over 1,000 times in a single minute.

As time passes, things change and evolve, and so does our machinery. We have seen lathes develop to become so efficient that you can complete a project that would take days ten years ago in just a single day. As a modern-day wood spinner, you must be ahead of the competition by having the best tools. After all, a craftsman is as good as his tools. Looking for the best lathe in today’s market can be a real headache, filled with so many substandard yet cheap lathes that will save you a couple of dollars but not deliver the results. That is precisely why we are here, to recommend the best machine for you. The Rikon 70-220VSR is one of those lathes you would consider whether you are a professional turning wood to put food on the table or just an armature spinning wood in their spare time. We will explain in detail what this lathe offers before concluding if it’s worth the investment.

The swing size dramatically influences the size of wood you can fit in your lathe. This model comes with a 12.5″ swing size coupled with a 20″ centre to centre distance, leaving 6.25″ from the lathe bed to the swing allowing one to fit a considerably big piece with a maximum width of 12.5″ and a length of 20″. This swing size is enough for all decorative and general purposes like making bowls, furniture, parts, and everything in between. It is not the most considerable centre-to-centre length, but you won’t find a better one for this price range.

One might argue that it is better suited for the home workshops but assure you, this lathe can compete in any commercial workshop. For lathes of this size, power is a crucial feature for success, and the Rikon 70-220VSR does not fall short in this department. It features an efficient 1 HP motor that can send powerful torque to the spindle. With this motor, you cannot only turn big heavy blocks but raw lumber as well. For such a large and powerful motor, it is quiet compared to some, so you might need earplugs to operate.

Model Number70-220VSR
RPM250-750, 550-1650, 1300-3850 (three-speed)
Motor1Ph, 6A, 120V
Facelift Size
Dimensions40.75×12×17.63 inches
WarrantyFive years 

Speed is one of those features you must keep an eye on when getting a lathe. The Rikon lathe 70-220vsr delivers in that department as well. Through its electronic variable speed control, you can change the speed to your liking through its three steps, 250 – 750 rotations per minute on the first, 550 – 1650 rotations per minute on the second and last but not least, 1300 – 3850 rotations per minute.

These speed ranges allow you to adapt the material you are turning to its speed and give more control over your finish. The higher speeds are for smooth and polished surfaces. The lower rates are best for removing lots of material fast, which is why they are often used when starting to turn your material.

This lathe has 24 indexing positions for added precision, a valuable feature when making detailed patterns like grooving. The spindle also rotates backwards, which is a great feature when designing. The forward and backward motion is controlled by a pushing button which is easily reached. It also features an LED speed display which will give you a digitised representation of your speed at all times. 


  • Powerful motor 
  • Forward and backward transmission 
  • Beginner-friendly 
  • 24 index positions 
  • Compatible with extensions 
  • Excellent torque at 250 RPM


  • Pricey 
  • Extensions bought separately


As the world evolves, people have developed the perception that where you start determines how long it will take to reach your goal, so no one wants to start with those small lathes anymore, but the big ones usually scare them away, but not this one. At this medium to large scale, looks are not that much of a concern, but regardless, Rikon paid attention to them. The lathe was designed with eyes among the priority features because beginners are among the targeted market.

Performance Review

The performance of the Rikon Midi lathe 70-220VSR is very satisfying, its belts are easy to access, and though this might seem useless in practice, it is an award-winning feature. If you upgrade from a smaller lathe, you will be pleased by the reverse option, which you can activate with a simple push of a button. Its spindle is lubricated by industrial ball bearings, ensuring the lathe’s smooth running. The lathe allows you to attach a bed extension at its end to work on larger pieces. For precise speed reading, the lathe has a digital RPM readout. It has adaptive speed controls to turn speed over time. Using this lathe only gets better with time. 


Safety is of the essence in any workshop, and the equipment plays a pivotal role in the safety of all personnel in the workshop. The Rikon 70-220VSR midi lathe has its controls conveniently located on one side and at a safe distance to operate without risk of harm from the spinning material. It also has a child safety on/off switch. This is especially useful when you use the lathe in your home workshop or garage, where children might unknowingly turn it on and get harmed. 

Who is the Rikon midi lathe 70-220VSR ideal for?

We recommend the Rikon 70 220vsr to anyone looking for a durable, robust and sophisticated wood lathe for any scale. It is a significant investment, especially for those practising woodturning as a business, because it is an efficient lathe. There is no better way to get your feet wet with woodturning for beginners than with a high-end lathe.

Our Verdict on the Rikon 70-220VSR

I hope this Rikon 70-220VSR Review has provided you with enough information to decide. When all has been said and done, the question is, is it a great buy? The simple answer to that is, Yes. If you are a beginner and cannot afford this high-end lathe. In that case, you can take a rain check and settle for a cheaper one, but if you are a professional wood spinner with an outdated lathe, this is precisely the upgrade you need; worth the investment. 

David D. Hughes

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