used jet lathe or new nova

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Benleert posted 01-22-2017 03:30 PM 2122 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Benleert's profile


2 posts in 1403 days

01-22-2017 03:30 PM

I am getting into woodturning for the first time and have decided to start out with a mini/midi lathe as space is limited. I had decided on getting a Nova comet 2 that includes a nova chuck on amazon, then I found someone selling a used jet 1220vs on craigslist that includes a chuck and stand for $550. Is the used Jet going to be that much better than a new Nova?

10 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2906 posts in 3048 days

#1 posted 01-22-2017 05:23 PM

Tough call getting a new Nova Comet lathe with warranty seems like a no brainer. Jet might be tad bit better quality but they stopped making that lathe and no warranty.

I like Jet wood lathes on my second one but would rather buy new than used. I might consider a Jet 1220 if runs good and could pay way less than $500 for one also aware buying as is where is!

-- Bill

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2214 days

#2 posted 01-22-2017 06:18 PM

In looking at the specs the amps/watts on the Jet would concern me. Two sets of specs I looked at for the Jet listed the motor as 3.5 amps; no way to get continuous 3/4 hp with those amps. The Nova list 550 watts continuous which equals .74 hp so they are very close.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View jfoobar's profile


44 posts in 2244 days

#3 posted 01-22-2017 06:23 PM

Looking at features alone, the Comet II does not compare as favorably to the newer Jet 1221VS (which has a larger motor, 1/2” of additional swing and a much lower lowest speed).

But, compared against the Jet 1220VS, those differences pretty much disappear. Same sized motor, same swing, comparable lowest speed. So now you are looking at a new, well-reviewed lathe with a warranty or a used, albeit also very highly-regarded lathe with similar features.

I guess it depends on whether you were going to buy the stand anyway ($150) and what kind of chuck comes with it. But based on the lathe alone, I think I’d rather have the new Comet II for the same money.

View Woodknack's profile


13519 posts in 3293 days

#4 posted 01-22-2017 09:40 PM

I’ve owned a Comet II and given only those two choices I would buy the Jet. The Comet isn’t a bad lathe and I believe they have fixed some of the issues I complain about but the Jet is probably better.

But I would recommend buying a Delta Midi as it’s better than either one of those lathes.

-- Rick M,

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2214 days

#5 posted 01-23-2017 12:07 AM

The reason I brought up the amps on the Jet is either their engineering dept did not classify it correctly or their marketing dept bumped up the advertised HP.
Check wherever you wish and I believe you will find that 1 HP is stated as 746 watts.
Amps X volts = watts so 3.5 X 120V = 420 watts or .56 HP
Doesn’t mean it is wrong but it does beg the question.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Benleert's profile


2 posts in 1403 days

#6 posted 01-23-2017 01:16 AM

I might be able get the guy to come down to $450 on the jet. I was leaning towards the nova because it is the updated version (i heard some of the issues with the original were fixed) and it is new with a warranty.

View Wildwood's profile


2906 posts in 3048 days

#7 posted 01-23-2017 11:51 AM

Back in 2008 could buy a Jet 120VS for around $550 without a chuck. Don’t know the age or condition of the lathe or brand of chuck you are asking about. Check this price list for parts. You can buy aftermarket belts & bearing lot cheaper from other vendors but some part have to purchase at site listed.


I would want to get that lathe for less than $450 even if condition is good.’s refund, return policy pretty clear but would check before buying that Comet II.

I am not a big fan of other Nova lathes mostly due to cost. The basic lathes okay but cost of options trouble me. Comet II seems little better if stay away from optional grinder that fits the headstock. They had a whole bunch of other options that never made it to market basically Swiss Army knife of wood lathes.

The first Comet & Delta mini lathes were total pieces of junk and discontinued because could not compete with Jet’s 1014. Think John Lucas still has his original Comet mini that he loves other turners not so much.

If you had the money would recommend you buy the a Jet 1221 VS midi lathe.

-- Bill

View BenDupre's profile


749 posts in 1401 days

#8 posted 01-28-2017 04:54 AM

I hate to mention this but i got a respectable midi lathe at harbor freight. I havent compared all the specs but As far as i can tell its the same one that Jet amd Rockler sell. I paid $160 with a coupon. The thing works really well.

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View bigJohninvegas's profile (online now)


821 posts in 2375 days

#9 posted 01-29-2017 07:00 AM

I would take the Variable speed control Jet over the Nova anytime. What chuck comes with the Jet? A good chuck like a oneway, or vicmarc will cost over $200. Does it have the stand sold by Jet? That can be another $275.
Here is the new version of the lathe on amazon for $749.99, and no chuck.

-- John

View Woodmaster1's profile


1558 posts in 3500 days

#10 posted 01-29-2017 11:06 AM

I have used the jet and I have a Rikon 12” 1hp lathe. I personally like the Rikon better. I paid $525.00 for the Rikon new. If you can get the jet for 450 or less go for it or look into the Rikon. My woodworking club just sold a Jet for a member’s widow for $450.00 and it was like new.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics