Tools & Equipment
10 Best Benchtop Milling Machines of 2020
When you want to work on smaller pieces with accuracy, versatility, and efficiency in your shop, then only the best benchtop milling machine will do.
Also called mini milling machines, these desktop versions need less space but have high accuracies and are versatile for a range of milling operations and projects.
Benchtop milling machines beat 3D printers in speed, material, and precision. They are cheaper and consume less power than the heavy-duty industrial models and are more efficient for smaller jobs.
Given their complex nature, however, buying a benchtop milling machine can become a challenge, especially for the first-timer. That's why this benchtop milling machine review aims to make things easier for you with a buying guide and a list of the top offers out there.
10 Best Benchtop Milling Machines – Review
1. Jet JMD-18 (2 HP Machine with 12 Speeds)
2. Wen 33013 (Variable Speed)
3. Proxxon 37110 (Small & Accurate)
4. Otmt X2 OT2213 (0.5 HP Compact Desktop Design)
5. Jet JMD-15 (1 HP Machine with 12 Speeds)
6. Klutch 2706S009 (350-Watt Mini Machine)
7. Sunwin Power Tools (Entry-level Tool)
8. Grizzly G8689-4 (Powerful At A Good Price)
9. Shop Fox M1036 (Super Precise Micro Machine)
10. Shop Fox M1110 (Powerful 12-Speed Machine)
1. Jet JMD-18
(2 HP Machine with 12 Speeds)
2. Wen 33013
3. Proxxon 37110
(Small & Accurate)
4. Otmt X2 OT2213
(0.5 HP Compact Desktop Design)
5. Jet JMD-15
(1 HP Machine with 12 Speeds)
6. Klutch 2706S009
(350-Watt Mini Machine)
7. Sunwin Power Tools
8. Grizzly G8689-4
(Powerful At A Good Price)
9. Shop Fox M1036
(Super Precise Micro Machine)
10. Shop Fox M1110
(Powerful 12-Speed Machine)
1. Jet JMD-18 – 2 HP Benchtop Milling Machine with 12 Speeds
- Motor: 2 HP
- Speed: 150 to 3,000 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 1.25 inch
- Table Size: 9.5 x 32.25 inches
- Weight: 660 pounds
First up is this Jet JMD-18, one of the best tabletop milling machines in the market. It comes with a powerful 2-HP motor that's guaranteed to handle most of your milling projects with ease.
Its major highlights, however, include the 360-degree swiveling head, the 12 spindle speeds for perfection, an included work-lamp, and easy to read gauges.
You also get a locking collect to safely secure the cutting tool and a large worktable that measures 9.5 x 32.25 inches, providing you enough space for your workpiece.
For downsides, it's relatively expensive and comes with no accessories. You can choose its other variations, however, with either a stand, milling kit, collet set, or clamping kit.
2. Wen 33013 – Variable Speed Benchtop Milling Machine
- Motor: 4.5 Amps, 0.6 HP
- Speed: 100 to 2,500 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 1/2 inch
- Table Size: 18.1 x 4.75 inches
- Weight: 130 pounds
If the earlier Jet milling machine is too much for you, then here's something smaller, less powerful, and more affordable.
This Wen 33013 features a 4.5-Amp motor and a variable speed design with a low and high setting. Set low, it delivers 100 to 1,100 RPM, while the high setting delivers 100 to 2,500 RPM.
The table will travel 11.8 inches on the X-axis and 5.1 inches on the Y-axis, with the head also swiveling up to 45° to either left or right.
While 45° is great, it still pales in comparison to the Jet machine above that swivels 360°. It's also less powerful and smaller. But it comes at a cheaper cost and Wen backs it with a 2-year warranty as well.
3. Proxxon 37110 – Small & Accurate Benchtop Milling Machine
- Motor: 0.1 HP, 100 Watts
- Speed: 5,000 to 20,000 RPM
- Table Size: 7.9 x 2.75 inches
- Weight: 15.5 Pounds
Proxxon's 37110 micro mill is the perfect milling station for those who deal with small workpieces only, need lots of precision, and want an affordable machine to work with.
Built from aluminum with a cast iron base, it's also very lightweight at just 15.5 pounds, but it's very precise, with 0.002-inch minimum increments and one full hand wheel revolutions that equal just 0.046 inches.
It also comes with a relatively small 100-Watt motor but it delivers between 5,000 and 20,000 RPM with variable control.
You have to understand that this unit is too small for heavy-duty jobs. But Proxxon packs lots of accessories into the package and backs it with a 2-year warranty to make it one of the best affordable benchtop milling machines available.
4. Otmt X2 OT2213 – 0.5 HP Compact Desktop Milling Machine
- Motor: 0.5 HP
- Speed: 0 to 2,500 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 0.5 inch
- Table Size: 15 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 140 pounds
For a little more power at a good price, this offer from Otmt is perfect for most small to medium range jobs in the shop. It packs a 0.5-HP motor that delivers up to 2,500 RPM using two-speed ranges.
You get a highly precise system with 0.0001-inch increments and the table features an 8.66-inch X-travel and 3.93-inch Y-travel. The spindle uses an R8 taper and the entire head will tilt 45° to either right or left.
Downsides include not being the cheapest benchtop milling machine and not coming with many accessories. A 1-year warranty comes included, however, plus a drill chuck and keys.
5. Jet JMD-15 – 1 HP Benchtop Milling Machine with 12 Speeds
- Motor: 1 HP
- Speed: 110 to 2,580 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 1 inch
- Table Size: 23 x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 457 pounds
If you want a powerful but not too powerful benchtop milling machine, then check out this Jet JMD-15 offer. It delivers 1 HP with motor speeds from 110 to 2,580 RPM.
You get a 12-speed spindle with quick belt adjustments for speed changes. The base itself and most other parts feature a cast iron construction for stability and durability.
This benchtop milling machine offers most of the features of the larger JMD-18 machine above, but it is smaller and less powerful.
This milling machine is costly, no doubt, but it also has a lot to offer. It comes with a work-lamp, and an adjustable carbide face-mill, a chuck arbor and 0.5-inch drill chuck, a drill chuck guard, and a 2-year warranty.
6. Klutch 2706S009 – 350-Watt Mini Benchtop Milling Machine
- Motor: 0.5 HP, 350 Watts
- Speed: 100 to 2,500 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 0.5 inch
- Table Size: 3.6 x 15.4 inches
- Weight: 143 pounds
This is a solid cast iron milling machine from Klutch that's designed for vibration-free operations for the highest precision. It's powered by a 0.5-HP motor and rated 350 Watts.
Fitted with a 2-step variable speed gearbox, it delivers 100 to 2,500 RPM in 2 stages and has a 0.5-inch drilling capacity. It also has an R8 spindle and works with a lot of collets.
For its downsides, the head doesn't rotate up to 360° but up to 45° and the package includes neither light nor a stand. It's a very well-built machine, however, and one of the best benchtop milling machines for the money.
7. Sunwin Power Tools – Entry Level Benchtop Milling Machine
- Motor: 24 Watts
- Speed: 2,000 RPM
- Weight: 6.2 pounds
Arguably one of the best hobby benchtop milling machines around, this offer from Sunwin might not meet the demands of serious machinists, but it can put a big smile on the faces of beginners.
It's an entry-level tool. Lightweight construction weighs just 6.2 pounds. It includes a vice, a 12-Volt DC motor with 2-Amp consumption, and delivers 2,000 RPM.
You will not get much power from this machine, especially when it comes to metals. But it's great for woodworking and is a perfect gift for any beginner or enthusiast.
8. Grizzly G8689-4 – Powerful Milling Machine At A Good Price
- Motor: 0.75 HP
- Speed: 0 to 2,500 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 0.5 inch
- Table Size: 3.6 x 15.75 inches
- Weight: 149 pounds
Grizzly makes tough power tools for hobbyists and professionals alike, so it's no surprise that this Grizzly offer made it to this list as one of the best benchtop milling machines for home shops.
It comes with a relatively powerful 0.75-HP motor for its modest size. Plus it delivers 7.5-inch head travel, a 0.5-inch drilling capacity, and up to 2,500 RPM using its variable control.
The head tilts up to 45° to each side and the package lacks accessories, but it's backed by a 1-year warranty, has a large table with 3 T-slots, a spindle guard, and 4 x 7.3 inches of table travel.
9. Shop Fox M1036 – Super Precise Micro Milling Machine
- Motor: 0.2 HP
- Speed: 0 to 5,000 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 0.25 inch
- Table Size: 3.5 x 8 inches
- Weight: 30 pounds
Shop Fox is another popular tool-maker and presents this micro milling machine with its top performance. It features a 0.2-HP motor and delivers up to 5,000 RPM in 2 gear stages.
One outstanding feature here is the digital depth readout, which lets you always know the spindle's exact location. The machine itself measures just 22 x 19 x 15 inches and only weighs 30 pounds.
It also features 1.75-inch headstock travel and 5.5 x 2.75 inches of table travel. This table measures 3.5x8 inches and features 3 T-slots.
Issues include its low power and 0.25-inch drilling capacity. The package also doesn't include a work-light or other accessories, but it's backed by a 2-year warranty and competitively priced.
Shop Fox M1110 – Powerful 12-Speed Benchtop Milling Machine
- Motor: 0.75 HP
- Speed: 0 to 2,000 RPM
- Drilling Capacity: 1 inch
- Table Size: 6.25 x 21.6 inches
- Weight: 413 pounds
Here's another Shop Fox offer for those who want a powerful but compact milling system. This one packs 0.75-HP and a low top variable speed of 2,000 RPM.
In return, you get lots of torque to drive a wider range of milling and drilling jobs. It has a 1-inch drilling capacity and will use most drill bits, face cutters, and end mills with a 2-inch or less diameter, making it one of the best benchtop milling machines.
You get a generous 18-inch spindle to table distance and an x and Y calibration with a 0.0001-inch precision. The table measures 21.6 x 6.25 inches and has a 15.9 x 5.75 inches travel.
No doubt, this benchtop milling machine is as costly as it's powerful and it doesn't even come with a work-lamp or other accessories. Shop Fox backs it with a 2-year warranty, however, and it will impress you as well.
How to Buy the Best Benchtop Milling Machines
Milling machines are versatile tools for working on a variety of materials from wood and aluminum to steel. A desktop milling machine will let you do stuff from simply drilling holes to shaping an entire object, so it's important to understand it as much as you can before buying.
The following are the major features that you need to understand and consider when choosing the best benchtop milling machine for your shop.
1. Motor Power
Every milling machine gets powered by an electric motor and this electric motor's capacity determines what you can do with the machine.
Motors have ratings in horsepower or HP, with 1 HP equaling about 750 Watts of electric power. You need to keep this in mind because materials like steel need more power to mill than say, wood.
For most wood jobs, a 1/8-HP machine will do, but you can go for more powerful machines up to 1 HP or 2 HP if you intend to work with tougher materials
2. Speed Control
In addition to raw motor power, speed and speed control is another important consideration because different materials best get milled at different speeds.
So, the solution here is either a variable speed control or presets. With presets, more is better, although 6 to 8 presets will usually cover most ranges of milling speed. This speed is given in Rotations Per Minute or RPM.
Desktop milling machines are smaller than the freestanding models and the larger commercial types that weight tons, but there are no specifications for sizing them.
Different manufacturers make their milling machines with different table sizes, travel distances, and other physical factors. So, you also first need to consider the size of the workpiece that you'll be working on.
Weight is also an important consideration, although most milling machines are sturdy enough. Still, it's important to consider these physical properties and make sure they fit before making a choice.
The level of a milling machine's precision depends on a few factors, so you'll need to consider them when deciding on a milling unit for your shop. These factors are as follows:
Stability. This refers to the milling machine's construction and the construction material as well. Different materials have different properties and cast iron does well here.
A milling machine with a cast iron base is sturdy and absorbs vibrations, thereby preserving the machine's accuracy.
Minimum Motion Increment. This is also very important because all milling machines don't have the same level of increments. You want to go for a machine with as minute increments as possible.
This refers to the smallest distance you can move the workpiece in a direction using a hand-wheel when you're positioning it under the spindle. Some very precise milling machines can move as little as 0.0001 inches per increment.
Gauges & Controls. A milling machine's controls can also affect your ease of use. Some offer levers for control, while others come with hand-wheels. Their positioning is important as well because they should offer convenience.
Gauges, however, give you some insight into the precise movements in any direction, so you can keep track of your work. Most desktop machines come with engraved dials while larger machines can even feature digital readouts for every axis.
5. Head Movements
You should keep this in mind as well. While you can move the platform from left to right, front to back, and up and down, the head that carries the spindle also swivels.
The difference here is that some swivel only about 45°, while others can swivel 360°. No doubt, 360° is better.
6. Quality, Price & Warranty
This boils down to branding. Some brands use the best materials and manufacturing processes for their products, while others may cut corners but offer theirs at a lower price. A product's warranty period often reflects this.
It's left for you here to decide on how much quality you want and how much you're willing to pay for it.
We've come to the end of this benchtop milling machines review and you've seen all the interesting offers out there, including entry-level and powerful premium models.
We are all different and have different jobs and hobbies, so this last decision is all yours to make because it's only you that knows which milling machine will best fit your shop.
- 10 Best Benchtop Milling Machines – Review
- 1. Jet JMD-18 – 2 HP Benchtop Milling Machine with 12 Speeds
- 2. Wen 33013 – Variable Speed Benchtop Milling Machine
- 3. Proxxon 37110 – Small & Accurate Benchtop Milling Machine
- 4. Otmt X2 OT2213 – 0.5 HP Compact Desktop Milling Machine
- 5. Jet JMD-15 – 1 HP Benchtop Milling Machine with 12 Speeds
- 6. Klutch 2706S009 – 350-Watt Mini Benchtop Milling Machine
- 7. Sunwin Power Tools – Entry Level Benchtop Milling Machine
- 8. Grizzly G8689-4 – Powerful Milling Machine At A Good Price
- 9. Shop Fox M1036 – Super Precise Micro Milling Machine
- 10. Shop Fox M1110 – Powerful 12-Speed Benchtop Milling Machine
- How to Buy the Best Benchtop Milling Machines