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The Best Banding Wheels for Pottery & Ceramics 2022

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by David Miller  • Updated: September 26th, 2022  •  13 min read    Pottery Guides » Pottery Wheels

When you’re a potter, you know how important your tools and equipment are. But, let’s face it, there are a lot of must-have items you need to have on hand to be successful at making pottery, and one of the most important is a banding wheel.

Editors’ Choice

Shimpo Banding Wheels

The Nidec Shimpo Wheels are our top recommendation for ceramic artists and potters because they are the best banding wheels currently available.

Reasons to Buy
  • The most popular choice amongst artists and potters alike!
  • Its one-piece construction is strong enough to hold the heaviest sculptures or pottery pieces.
  • You can choose from five different models, ranging in height and width.
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What is a Banding Wheel?

Banding wheels are essentially round-shaped turntables used for sculpting, decorating, hand-building, and carving all types of ceramic. Banding wheels rotate at a speed you choose and allow you to access angles you can’t access with other equipment.

While a banding wheel is not necessary for completing your pottery project successfully, it does makes things a lot easier when decorating your pottery. When you use a banding wheel in pottery, you can access all sides of your ceramic piece, so naturally, it is a very versatile and convenient piece to have in your collection.

How to Choose a Banding Wheel

Choosing a banding wheel will depend on a few factors, including what type of pottery you like to produce and the size of the pieces you want to make. You can also do a bit of research on the brands to ensure they are reliable and high in quality.

One other thing you’ll want to look at is the price. When it comes to banding wheels, you get what you pay for, so look for heavy-duty models instead of cheap ones made out of laminate. Lets have a look at the key criteria you need to consider.

Construction & Design

You’ll want to choose a banding wheel made of something heavy and sturdy, such as the cast-iron wheels made by some companies. A one-piece design is also good because they don’t come apart, and rust-resistant paint should be used so that the wheel lasts a lot longer.

Stability & Strength

You’ll put it through a lot when using your banding wheel, which is why it needs to be strong. Also, to operate a banding wheel means you’ll have to be a little rough with it at times, and therefore you’ll want to make sure it lasts, regardless of what you’re doing with it.

Rotation & Balance

Smooth rotation is crucial in a banding wheel because sometimes, the work you’ll be doing is intricate and very detailed. Therefore, the smoother the wheel rotates, the easier it will be for you to handle all types of jobs.

Size & Weight

A heavy-duty wheel is essential, even if you feel like you’ll only be working with lightweight pottery pieces. When the clay is wet, it’s going to be a little heavier than the final product, so the more you deal with pottery pieces of different weights, the more important it is for the size of the banding wheel to be heavy-duty.

The Best Banding Wheels – Our Top Picks

An excellent reliable Banding Wheel will streamline your ceramics and pottery decorating process. Therefore, you should purchase one that is affordable without sacrificing quality. Let’s have a look at our picks of the best products below that will help you choose

1. Nidec Shimpo Banding Wheels

The wheels produced by Shimpo are widely regarded as the best banding wheels available. The Nidec Shimpo banding wheels are a heavy-duty cast iron construction. This banding wheel is ideal for decorating, sculpting, carving, and much more. The one-piece design means it can be lifted and won’t come apart.

image of shimpo banding wheels

The concentric rings make it easy to center your work, and these banding wheels are also easy to clean and store after use. In addition, the sealed ball bearings make for a reliable, smooth rotation without wobbling or sticking.

Our Top Pick
Shimpo Banding Wheel Features
  • Sealed ball bearings for smooth rotation.
  • Made from a solid cast iron construction.
  • One-piece design will not come apart when lifted.
  • Concentric rings for making it easy to center.
  • Designed for artists of all levels, from beginner to expert.
  • Available in a variety of sizes and heights.
image of Nidec Shimpo Banding Wheel for the best banding wheels review
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They are coated in a rust-resistant paint coating and are designed for all levels of artists. So whether you are just starting out or a professional, these Nidec Shimpo high-quality banding wheels will ensure you have many years of usage. They come in various sizes and heights, so no matter your requirement, there will be a banding wheel to suit your needs.

Our Verdict

It’s no wonder Nidec Shimpo Banding Wheels are a favorite among artists. With the one-piece design and sturdy heavy-duty cast iron construction, they will last for years. They are a dependable option for ceramic artists who work with a wide range of different types of pottery pieces. Even though they are the most costly banding wheels available, they are well worth the investment!

What We Like
  • With its full iron one-piece construction, it can firmly hold even the heaviest of sculptures or artworks.
  • Shimpo banding wheels are available in five different models with a selection of wheel-head diameters and heights.
  • Even when in motion, Shimpo wheels maintain a high level of stability.
What We Don’t Like
  • Absoloutely nothing!

2. US Art Supply 7″ Sculpting Wheel

The US art supply large 7” sculpting wheel is perfect for glazing, banding, flower arranging, or even decorating a cake. This two-piece wheel is made from heavy-duty all-metal construction, which can hold up to around 40lbs (18kg) in weight.

Budget Pick
US Art Supply Wheel Features
  • 7” heavy-duty all metal construction.
  • It can hold up to a weight of 40lbs (18 kg).
  • Non-slip base to hold the wheel firmly in place.
  • Weighted rim for extra momentum when spinning.
  • A good quality wheel at an affordable price.
  • Concentric circles make it easy to center your work.
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The base has a non-skid rubber boot that holds the wheel firmly in place, meaning you don’t have to make holes in your workbench to screw it down. This wheel has a weighted rim for extra momentum while it’s spinning.

It also has concentric circles making it easy to center your work. In addition, it is a reasonably lightweight wheel at only 5lbs (2.2 kg), making it easy to move around and transport if needed.

Our Verdict

The US Art Supply 7″ Sculpting Wheel is lightweight and is suitable for beginners and experts alike, and it’s perfect if you’re just starting out or on a budget and you can craft with the confidence that it is stable. This is a good quality wheel at a very affordable price.

What We Like
  • The base rests solidly on your work table while allowing the top to spin effortlessly.
  • This banding wheel is both reasonably priced and practical.
What We Don’t Like
  • It will need thorough cleaning and drying after each use as it can be prone to rust.

3. Creative Hobbies BW-18M Professional Sculpting Wheel

This sculpting wheel is made from a heavy-duty solid cast iron construction. It’s a one-piece wheel, so it won’t come apart when lifted from the top. The entire wheel is coated in rust-resistant blue enamel paint and has ball-bearings to ensure a smooth spin without sticking or wobbling.

Also Good
Creative Hobbies 7″ Wheel Features
  • A one-piece wheel, so it won’t come apart when lifted from the top.
  • 7” head with concentric circles to center your work.
  • Comes with a rust-resistant blue enamel paint coating.
  • Has a sealed ball-bearing design for smooth spin.
  • The weighted top adds spinning momentum.
  • Made from a heavy-duty solid cast iron construction.
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The heavy top adds momentum to the spin and is a level and silent wheel. The concentric circles allow you to center your work easily on the 7” head, and as it’s made from cast iron, it’s very stable and sturdy. Which means it will not move around while you’re working.

Our Verdict

The Creative Hobbies BW-18M is a 7” one-piece wheel that is an excellent value wheel. With its heavy turntable and silent wheel, this wheel is perfect for hand-building, sculpting, decorating, and much more.

What We Like
  • It weighs less than 4 pounds and only needs a light touch to turn.
  • You can precisely embellish your pottery pieces due to its incredibly smooth turn.
What We Don’t Like
  • The rust-resistant paint can peel off if not dried and stored correctly.

4. YaeTek 12″ Sculpting Wheel

This YaeTek sculpting wheel is made from heavy cast iron. The joint has ball-bearings that allow smooth spinning. However, the head is not removable. This very well-constructed wheel has a 12” head, which allows you to work on larger pieces as it holds up to around 50lbs (22kg).

Also Good
YaeTek Banding Wheel Features
  • This wheel is made from heavy cast iron.
  • 12” head which is suitable for large pieces of work.
  • It can hold up to around 50lbs (22kg).
  • Has a non-skid rubber boot on the base.
  • Joint with ball-bearings, non-removable head.
  • It has concentric circles making it easy to center your work.
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Also, the concentric circles on this wheel allow you to center your work easily. Finally, with this banding wheel, you get a smooth spin without wobbling. This sturdy wheel has a non-skid rubber boot on the base, which means it stays firmly in place.

Our Verdict

The YaeTek Sculpting Wheel is well-constructed and the concentric circles make it easy to center your work. With its solid build and smooth rotation. This sculpting wheel does its job well.

What We Like
  • Its solidly constructed, 12-inch wide turntable is ideal for larger, heavier objects.
  • Even when handling the heaviest weights, its anti-slip base keeps it stable.
What We Don’t Like
  • Bearings aren’t as smooth as those on some of the other wheels on our list.

5. Amaco No.5 Decorating Wheel

The Amaco no.5 decorating wheel is a two-piece construction made from aluminum. This wheel lets you remove the 7” aluminum head for easy cleaning. It has concentric circles that make it easy to center your work and has drilled extensions so you can attach it to a table or workbench.

Also Good
Amaco No.5 Decorating Wheel Features
  • All cast aluminum construction with a 7” diameter head.
  • Features concentric circles making it easy to center your work.
  • It comes with drilled extensions for attaching to a table.
  • Knurled shaft allows fast, controlled spinning.
  • Two-piece construction means it’s easy to clean.
  • Weighted rim for momentum while spinning.
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Although this wheel is common to see in many ceramic studios, it is not designed for heavy weights. However, it is sturdy. As a result, it’s a popular choice among schools and studios and is perfect for modeling, finishing, or decorating tasks.

The knurled shaft allows fast, controlled spinning. However, the two-piece design means if you lift it by the top piece, it will separate, which is a bonus for cleaning. This turntable is great for small decorative tasks and is lightweight so that it can be moved around and transported easily.

Our Verdict

The Amaco No.5 Decorating Wheel has had some mixed reviews online. If you are used to the high-quality products of Amaco, this one might not meet your expected standards. However, this would be an ideal choice if you’re just starting out or don’t have a lot of money to invest in your hobby.

What We Like
  • The incredibly durable surface makes washing off glazes and dried on clay simple.
  • This Amaco Banding wheel is an ideal decorating wheel for classrooms and private studios.
What We Don’t Like
  • Not built to support heavier weights, the two-piece design can separate when picked up.

6. Jack Richeson Floor Sculpture Stand & Turntable

The Jack Richeson free-standing sculpture stand is made from steel construction. It has an adjustable height of 39.5 -44inches, with the base measuring 29 inches squared. The height would suit someone standing up to work or using a high stool.

Also Good
Jack Richeson Floor Stand Features
  • Robust and built to handle heavy loads.
  • It can hold up to 250lbs (113 kg).
  • It has a wooden 12-inch square rotating work area.
  • Four castor wheels, which are also lockable.
  • Has an adjustable height of 39.5 – 44 inches.
  • It has non-slip rubber stoppers on the legs.
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The wooden work surface is 12 inches and fully rotates to work efficiently at any angle. It has four castor wheels that can be locked and also has non-slip stoppers on the legs. This heavy-duty stand can hold up to 250lbs (113kg).

Our Verdict

This Jack Richeson Sculpting Stand can be moved around when the wheels aren’t locked in place. This sculpture stand can be used by beginners and professionals alike. However, it’s best suited to taller people or someone using a high stool due to its height. It’ll let you work at every angle, and it would also be good to display your work!

What We Like
  • An excellent stand for sculptors to work on larger pottery pieces.
  • The heavy-duty construction and stability make it suitable for handling heavy weights.
What We Don’t Like
  • Even when adjusting to the lowest height, those short in stature might find it hard to use.

How to Use a Banding Wheel

To start using your banding wheel, just spin it by hand at a comfortable speed. Then, place your pottery or ceramic piece on the wheel head, rotate the wheel, and you can start concentrating on creating your masterpiece. One of the reasons it’s called a banding wheel is the lines, or bands, located on top of the wheel, which you can use to center your piece so you can decorate and embellish easier.

Final Word

So there you have it. This article covered the best banding wheels to use when adding decorative touches to your pottery creations.

If you’re a potter looking for a reliable, long-lasting tool, go no further than the Shimpo – Nidec Banding Wheel. It’s built to last thanks to the sturdy metal construction and the anti-rust paint coating and in our opinion, it’s the best banding wheel available.

We also highly recommend the US Art Supply 7″ Sculpting Wheel as a great budget option. We hope you found the article helpful and you should now be able to find a wheel that fits your needs while staying within your budget.

Keep creating!

David Miller is an amateur potter that started as a hobby nearly 7 years ago. His mission is to share tips, tools and ideas he has learnt along the way. When he's not in the office, he can typically be found in his studio, a.k.a. his shed, creating, experimenting, and generally making a mess.
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