In just about any machine or metalworking shop — whether it’s an industrial operation or a tiny garage — you’re going to find a milling machine. These tools use a rotary cutter to remove material from a workpiece. The working area can move on an X or Y axis, and the cutter can move vertically toward or away from the workpiece. While large industrial milling machines may rely on computers to make precise adjustments, smaller machining tools are controlled manually, usually by controlling two wheels that adjust the X and Y axes. Milling machines are used for a wide variety of applications, and they are indispensable tools in any machine shop.
Milling machines have a similar function to lathes; however, with a lathe, the workpiece is moved against a stationary set of blades. Conversely, when using a milling machine, the workpiece is held stationary and the blades move against it. The milling machines we’ve selected are all operated manually, setting them apart from CNC (computer numerical control) machines, which are more precise and advanced but far more expensive. Even so, the best milling machines on Amazon still allow experienced operators to make extremely precise adjustments.
If you’re looking for a compact milling machine for your garage or shop, we’ve rounded up some of the most reliable machines that you can buy on Amazon. Plus, many of these machines are suitable for woodworking or plastic.
1. JET JMD-18 Milling/Drilling Machine
If you’re looking for a powerful milling machine, consider this pick from JET. JET is one of the top makers of consumer woodworking and metal machinery, and this milling machine from the brand has a 2 horsepower motor and a 34″ workbench. That makes it powerful and large enough to accommodate bigger projects and tougher metal. This listing allows you to choose from a variety of accessory packages, including the stand, collet sets, and other accessory kits. Please note that the price shown below is for the machine only.
Pros: Generous 15-7/8″ swing to accommodate larger workpieces. The machine has a built-in work lamp. Powerful 2 HP motor.
Cons: Stand sold separately.
2. WEN Benchtop Milling Machine
This compact milling machine from WEN is small enough for a benchtop, making it a great option for smaller garages and workshops. It has variable speed controls, allowing the user to have more precision. There are two speed settings, and the low setting can go from 100 to 1,000 RPM. The high setting can go up to 2,500 RPM. The 13″ swing allows the machine to accommodate larger pieces.
Pros: Compact enough for smaller workspaces with an attractive design. Variable speed controls. Wide swing for holding pieces of varying sizes.
Cons: Collets not included.
3. Grizzly Industrial Mill/Drill with Stand
This milling machine from Grizzly comes with a stand, making it well suited to workspaces with enough floor space. It has a 2 horsepower motor and 15 1/2″ swing, making it able to take on larger projects. The machine can be switched from forward to reverse mode, and there are 12 different spindle speeds, giving the user more precise control. Other convenient features include a built-in cabinet in the stand and the standard R-8 spindle.
Pros: Versatile and powerful machine. It comes with a stand, and the stand has a built-in cabinet.
Cons: The short stand may be uncomfortable for some machinists.
4. Klutch Mini Milling Machine
If you need a compact option for smaller workspaces, consider Klutch’s mini milling machine. It has a 1/2 horsepower motor which can vary in speed. The RPM can be set between 100 and 2,500, giving the user ample range and more precision. The R8 spindle is a standard size, making it easier to swap out compatible tools. It has a 1/2″ drilling capacity, 5/8″ end mill capacity, and 1 3/16″ face mill capacity.
Pros: Speed varies between 100 and 2,500 RPM, standard R8 spindle size.
Cons: Not as powerful as some of the other options on this list.