Updated: November 2017

Pottery Wheel Reviews:

Pottery is an art form that goes back for centuries; before it was considered art, pottery had a purely utilitarian function. People made clay pots for cooking, storing food, drinking, and eating, using what was most abundant for them, the clay of the earth. The beauty of pottery comes partly from its practicality; but it also comes from unleashing something from a mound of clay. The earliest ceramics were constructed by coiling the clay and pinching it together. The pottery wheel was developed as early as 1400BC to help make this process faster and take some of the work from the potter. Today's potter's wheels are more advanced, but the goal is the same: to help the artisan create a functional and beautiful piece. Where do you start? What kind of pottery wheel should you get? What do you need to look for, and how much will it cost? We'll help you find the answers.
pottery wheels

Choosing a Pottery Wheel - Potter's wheels are a major purchase; for quality wheels, you can expect to pay from several hundred dollars to thousands. Your choice will largely depend on your budget, but it will also depend on your needs as an artist and the type of workspace you have. There are two basic kinds of pottery wheels: electric and kick wheels. Which should you get? Electric pottery wheels are the clear choice if you need portability. If you don't have a fixed studio, for instance, it will be impossible to have a kick wheel because they are so large and heavy. Electric models are smaller and lighter. In addition, you will find that it is much faster to throw pottery, which may be necessary for your purposes. On the flipside, you'll need a source of electricity and the wheels can be somewhat loud. You have to balance your need for transportability with this, and many find that electric is exactly what they need. With proper care and maintenance, electric pottery wheels can last for upwards of 10 years. Kick wheels are more cumbersome. Once you have one in place, you probably want to keep it there. They are very heavy and hard to move. A kick wheel doesn't require electricity, but it does require you to power the wheel with your legs - you literally kick it. While this can be particularly soothing and relaxing, it can aggravate arthritis or knee problems. You don't have to put much force into your kicks at all, but the repetitive motion may irritate some people. On the other hand, kick wheels are extremely durable. You don't have to worry much about maintenance and they should last a lifetime. You can kick clockwise and counter clockwise, which allows more comfortable throwing for righties and lefties, and many models come with a motor to help you get the flywheel up to speed. Otherwise, you don't need electricity. Many artists just like the feel of a kick wheel better. You can see an electric pottery wheel in action here (notice that the artist doesn't have to worry about kicking the wheel):

Notice, too, the buzz of the motor. Here, you can see a kick wheel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cupzcDzZFr8). Should You Opt for a Less Expensive Pottery Wheel? - This is a common question, especially after you encounter some price tags for the first time. It can be tempting to get a cheaper model or even a kid's model. Experts strongly recommend against this for a few reasons. According to a buying guide on eBay, if a pottery wheel is cheap, it's either broken or made for toddlers. Is this a plot to get you to pay top price? In this case, no. Lasting quality is more expensive. If you are just dabbling in pottery, a throwing class with access to a wheel is a far better choice than investing in your own. But if you are serious about pottery, then a wheel makes sense. It is worth spending the money because a quality machine will last for a decade, or in the case of a kick wheel, forever. Your results, too, will be affected. You can browse the best selling pottery wheels online here.

Best Pottery Wheels:

There are several brands worth looking into. According to About.Pottery, the tops are Brent, Soldner, Shimpo, Pacifica, Skutt Potter, and Creative Industries. Let's look at an electric and a kick wheel so you can see what they offer and how much you can expect to pay. Brent is the most well-known, and you can find their wheels from online art supply retailers and Amazon. The Brent Potter's Wheel C is recommended for both professional artists and for use in the classroom as well. It features a 3/4 hp, 7 amp motor, 14-inch cast and machined aluminum head, reversible, electronic speed control, durable powder coated legs, all-steel construction, automatic belt tensioning, magnet DC motor, cast aluminum foot pedal, speed from 0 to 240 rpm, a 14-inch Plast-i-Bat, and a 5-year warranty. This is a relatively expensive model at just under $1400 at Dick Blick, but if you maintain it properly, you will have it for years of professional-quality use. Brent also makes a great kick wheel: the Model J is a sturdy kick wheel with a 30-inch concrete flywheel for virtually indestructible construction, 1-inch steel shaft, top quality ball bearings, 14-inch cast aluminum wheel head, quality seat, worktable, adjustable seat, and 5-year warranty. It also features a sleek design so it doesn't look like a huge, cumbersome kick wheel. This Brent pottery wheel looks manageable, and this can make it a great choice for someone who is gaining experience with potter's wheels. The Model J is also less expensive; you can find it for $900 at HandsnClay.com. While each brand has its own unique characteristics (Shimpo, for instance, is renowned for being very quiet, as you can see in their Whisper pottery wheels), the prices will be in line with those from Brent, and each will deliver great quality. The most important aspects to keep in mind are whether you want great portability and how much you can spend. It really is worth it to get the best that you can. And don't forget your pottery supplies. These are relatively inexpensive, and you can find a quality 8-piece kit for only $14. Pottery is rewarding and can be a lifetime pursuit: get the wheel that meets your needs, but plan to spend at least $1000. View top rated pottery wheels here.

Pottery Wheels for Beginners:

For those just getting into pottery, the big expense is the potter's wheel. After talking with local artists and researching wheels online, we found the Portable Potter's Wheel to be a good choice. At $425 it is still a big commitment, but novice users (and experienced potter's) say the wheel does a great job. Pottery wheels for beginners range in price from $300 to $500 and this electric pottery wheel performs admirably. Features an 11" wheel head, holds 25 lbs of clay, weighs just 26 pounds, and has a 1/3 HP motor. The variable speed hand control takes the wheel from 0-220 RPM. You get a 2 year warranty with this Creative Industries product - comes with a DVD video (and printed booklet) so setup and use are made much easier on the customer. Many of the reviews we read from owners mention this pottery wheel is perfect for use in homes by individuals as well as in schools where students are learning how to use a pottery wheel for the first time. Consumers say the wheel is quiet, smooth to operate, and works well either on standup throwing or sit down use. Several teachers had posted comments praising the overall durability of this product in their classroom. No kick wheel to deal with as this is an electric pottery wheel.