The Best Mini Bench-top Milling Machines: Our Expert Reviews Of Top Compact Tools

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Benchtop milling machines, also known as mini milling machines, bring the convenience of milling into your very own workshop or garage. Professionals and hobbyists alike can have the luxury of having their own milling machine, for any projects requiring high precision in cutting and drilling various materials, from metal to wood. But with so many products on the market, how can you know which benchtop milling machine is the best option for your needs?

To help you find the perfect mini milling machine, we’ve selected and carefully reviewed the best models on the market. Whether you’re a professional handyman or a newbie to milling, and regardless of your budget limitations, you can find the perfect benchtop milling machine right here. Although our recommendations vary in power, size, weight, and price, they are the best milling machines you can get for your money, offering versatility and precision.

Make sure to read our handy buying guide at the end of the article, so that you can learn which factors to keep in mind when choosing the best mini milling machine for your workshop!

PictureProductPriceHP
JET JMD-18 350018 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine$$$2 HP
Proxxon 34108 Micro Milling Machine$$0.2 HP
OTMT OT2213 X2 Variable Speed Mini Milling Machine$$1/2 HP
PictureProductPriceHP

Best Benchtop Milling Machine/Mini Milling Machine: 2020 Reviews

1. JET JMD-18 350018 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine: Best Overall

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“The innovative design makes it a great choice for professionals, as they can fine-tune this dependable machine to get optimal results in their milling work.”

The JET JMD-18 is hands down the best benchtop milling machine on the market. It offers a lot of versatility and power. The innovative design makes it a great choice for professionals, as they can fine-tune this dependable machine to get optimal results in their milling work. The JET JMD-18 is very sturdy and durable, but it’s also the priciest milling machine out of our recommendations, so that it may not be the best option for beginners.

Pros:

The JET JMD-18 is the most powerful milling machine out of our recommendations, featuring a 2 HP motor. This powerful machine will allow you to cut through just about anything, making it an ideal choice for professionals.

This milling machine features an innovative and user-friendly design that allows you to fine-tune it to perfection. To begin with, the JET JMD-18 comes with an integrated work lamp that will always provide you with a clear overview of your work. Additionally, it has a hinged belt cover for fast speed changes, easy-read dials, as well as an easy-to-read internal depth gauge.

The internal depth gauge paired with the quick-stop knob allows for consistency in milling. Plus, it comes with a 360-degree swiveling head which will give you the optimal flexibility to achieve precision in your work.

“This milling machine features an innovative and user-friendly design that allows you to fine-tune it to perfection.”

There is even more versatility in the details of these features. For instance, there are 12 speed settings which range from 150 to 3000 RPM.

The JET is an excellent choice for heavy-duty work as it’s sturdy and durable. The machine has a cast iron column and a heavy-duty roller bearing to improve support and stability. Plus, the cast iron column provides additional durability to the unit. It’s also great for heavy-duty work because it comes with an extra-large work table so that it can be used for large projects.

Cons:

This is the heaviest and priciest milling machine on our list of recommendations, although this is directly related to its quality.

Another possible drawback is that although it’s said that it’s wired for a 230 voltage, it’s actually wired for 110. Luckily, you can easily adjust it to work with either voltage.

2. Proxxon 34108 Micro Milling Machine: Best For Beginners

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“The Proxxon 34108 is our favorite recommendation for beginners, as it’s affordable, easy to use, and great for small projects at home.”

The Proxxon 34108 is our favorite recommendation for beginners, as it’s affordable, easy to use, and great for small projects at home. It’s also small and lightweight, so that it can easily fit in small and cramped workshops. While it offers excellent precision for milling lighter materials, it’s not powerful enough to handle heavy-duty use or work with hard materials.

Pros:

The Proxxon offers great value for your money, for although it’s small and affordable, it’s quite versatile. It comes with 6 speeds from 280 to 2500 RPM, which is quite powerful for such a lightweight machine. It also features 3 collets of 6, 8, and 10 mm for precise work with various materials. If you’re a beginner, you’ll love the Proxxon, as it’s great for working on small projects, like scale models.

In fact, the Proxxon comes with many user-friendly features that will allow you to mill with a good deal of precision. It comes with a hand wheel which can be used to adjust the height and the fine mill feed. It also features a 360-degree swivel head which provides accurate positioning. Once you’ve set everything up, the quill and the swivel head lock, ensuring safety and precision.

“If you’re a beginner, you’ll love the Proxxon, as it’s great for working on small projects, like scale models.”

The size and weight of the Proxxon make it ideal for small rooms. It weighs only 40 pounds and measures 20 inches in height. The complementary work table is about 10/8 by 3/32 inches, so that it can fit just about anywhere.

Cons:

If you’re looking for a milling machine that can handle heavy-duty work or hard materials, the Proxxon is not your best bet.

3. OTMT OT2213 X2 Variable Speed Mini Milling Machine: Best On A Budget

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“It’s quite user-friendly and offers versatility in terms of speed and dial adjustment.”

The OTMT OT2213 is a great mini milling machine if you’re on a tighter budget, and it’s our most affordable recommendation. This is another small model that will fit perfectly into home workshops or cramped garages. It’s quite user-friendly and offers versatility in terms of speed and dial adjustment.

Pros:

The OTMT is quite versatile, especially considering its price tag. Although this milling machine has a much lower HP than the JET, it’s still got plenty of speed control and power for smaller projects. The 110 volt, ½ HP motor features two spindle speeds in a low and high range. The low range provides 0-1100 RPM, and the high range offers 1100-2500 RPM.

“The easy-to-read dial has .0001” increments so that you can fine-tune the settings for optimal accuracy.”

In fact, OTMT is designed to facilitate precision in your milling work. The easy-to-read dial has .0001” increments so that you can fine-tune the settings for optimal accuracy. The milling machine’s head tilts 45 degrees to the left or right, helping you work with precision. Plus, the OTMT features a fine feed for milling and a coarse feed for drilling. You can easily alternate between the two depending on what you’re doing!

The OTMT is small enough to fit in a small room in your home or workshop. The ½ HP makes it a good choice for small home projects.

Cons:

The OTMT may develop slack in the x and y axes over time.

Additionally, if it’s used for an extended period of time on the highest setting, this machine may blow a fuss.

Conclusion

The overall best benchtop milling machine is hands-down the JET JMD-18. This machine is ideal for professional and heavy-duty work. The fact that it’s heavier and pricier than our other recommendations is justified by its quality, durability, and versatility. The JET JMD-18 is our most powerful mini milling machine recommendation, with a 2HP motor. Also, it features the highest speed limit. The cast iron column ensures the durability of the JET, while features such as the 360-degree swivel head will allow you to work with the greatest precision.

The Proxxon 34108 is our top recommendation for beginners to milling, as it’s easy to use, small and lightweight, and ideal for small projects. Although it’s small and affordable, this machine offers a good deal of precision. Like the JET, it features a 360-degree swivel head for accurate milling. It has a smaller RPM range, but that’s just as well – you shouldn’t expect this machine to cut through harder materials (unlike the JET).

The OTMT is our favorite budget-friendly recommendation, as despite being cheaper than the other options, it still offers decent versatility and precision. The user-friendly easy-to-read dial will allow you to work with a precision of up to .0001” increments, and the 45-degree swivel head will help establish accuracy. The OTMT is another great mini milling machine for smaller home projects.

Choosing The Best Benchtop Milling Machine/Mini Milling Machine

Now that you’ve looked at our favorite models, you may be unsure about which benchtop milling machine is the best choice for your unique needs and preferences. We’ve got you covered there, too! Keep reading our buying guide to learn what factors you should consider when choosing the new mini milling machine for your workshop.

Power

Based on what materials you plan to mill, you should pick a machine with sufficient power to do cut or drill through them. For metals such as steel, you want to choose a machine with high horsepower. Out of our recommendations, the JET JMD-18’s 2 HP makes it the ideal choice for this type of harder materials.

“In a nutshell, for heavy-duty work on harder materials, look out for milling machines with 2 HP motors.”

If you’re milling lighter metals such as brass, aluminum, or composites, as well as softer wood, you can go for any of our recommendations. Similarly, you can work scale models on just about any mini milling machine.

In a nutshell, for heavy-duty work on harder materials, look out for milling machines with 2 HP motors. For lighter work – thin, soft metals and wood or scale models, anything from ⅛ HP should do the job.

Speed

Speed is an important factor in deciding which milling machine is the best choice for you. As is the case with power, a higher speed range will allow you to work with harder materials. The JET wins this category too – as it’s top speed is 3000 RPM.

“As is the case with power, a higher speed range will allow you to work with harder materials.”

It’s also good to check how many speed settings you can choose from. Some machines have preset speed settings for each type of material. Other machines offer variable speed, which means you get to set the exact speed yourself. This can be a bit confusing if you’re a beginner, but useful if you already have some experience in milling, as it allows you to fine-tune the settings.

FAQ

Q: Is a milling machine the same as a drill press?

A: A milling machine is not the same as a drill press, although milling machines can drill as well. The difference is that drill presses only have a vertical axis, and are used to drill holes into materials. Milling machines have both a vertical and a horizontal axis, and in fact, they can have up to five axes! Milling machines can be moved vertically or horizontally, and can be used to not only drill, but also cut a material from the sides.

Q: What are the materials used for making a drilling and milling machine?

A: Some materials used for making a drilling and milling machine are carbon steel, high-speed steel, cast alloys, cemented tungsten carbide, oxides, and diamonds (1). Depending on which material is used for the cutter, the milling machine will be able to handle harder or softer materials.

Q: What’s the difference between a lathe and a milling machine?

A: The difference between a lathe and a milling machine is that lathes spin the material, while milling machines employ a spinning tool for different cutting applications.

What’s Next?

Hopefully, you were able to find the best new benchtop milling machine for your workshop amongst our favorites – especially now that you know how to choose! If you want to get better acquainted with the recommended units, just follow their title links to learn their prices and specifications, as well as read up on some customer reviews.

While we have you, make sure to see all the best milling machines reviewed!