For those who fall for the art of Pottery making, it’s not long before most Potters will consider purchasing a Pottery Wheel for use at home. This Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Review will be helpful if you’re considering this Pottery Wheel for your home studio. It’s a relatively affordable and high quality potters wheel to consider… and it’s the one I own myself!
Following, is my first hand review of all the reasons why I selected the VL Whisper for my own home studio. I’ve included all the pros and cons from my experience working on it.
Keep in mind, there are a LOT of considerations when making a big purchase like this. Everyone’s space and priorities are unique, but overall I think you’ll find my Nidec ShimpoVL Whisper review helpful as you consider options for a home studio. I’ve been incredibly happy with mine!
My #1 Recommended Pottery Wheel For A Home Studio: The Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Potters Wheel
The combination of quality, price, warranty and special features offered by this pottery wheel, easily make it my #1 recommended choice for a home studio!
Strong enough to handle up to 100 lbs. of clay, and a nice mid-range price for a quality electric pottery wheel… the Shimpo VL Whisper won’t break the bank, but it’s a serious workhorse in the pottery studio!
Not Sure If The VL Whisper Is The Right Pottery Wheel For You? You Can Read About All 3 Of My Top Pottery Wheel Picks HERE.
Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Review
Here is a photo of my Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Potters Wheel, When It First Arrived! I had it assembled in about 15 minutes after opening the carefully packaged components, and it included all of the tools necessary for assembly.
I love this wheel for so many reasons, so I’ll do my best to break down all of the considerations that went into this purchase for my own home studio. I hope it helps you determine if this might be the best wheel for you, too.
Detailed Review Of The Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Pottery Wheel
My Top Considerations For Selecting A Pottery Wheel For My Home Studio – Reasons Why I Purchased The VL Whisper Wheel
Brand Name / Reputation
I wanted to be sure I purchased a wheel that was manufactured by a reputable company.
There are a lot of no-name brands out there, so there are a lot of options to sift through. Shimpo has been making pottery wheels since 1958. The company was acquired by Nidec Corporation in the 1990’s and had more recently formalized a brand transition to the Nidec-Shimpo name that is most familiar today. In a nutshell, this is a company that has been making quality pottery machines for over half a century. That’s good enough for me!
While you can certainly spend less on a pottery wheel, the price point of the VL Whisper is in the mid-range for this caliber of pottery wheel. The quality and features make it feel like a great value, when compared to some machines that are significantly higher in price, for not much added benefit.
Nidec offers a 5-year warranty on this model, and it is a direct-drive (beltless motor) wheel. I hope to be using this wheel for more than 5 years, but I’m comfortable with the idea that if something is to go wrong with this machine, I have a nice buffer period of 5-years of warranty coverage. Some other brands offer a 10-year warranty, but most also carry a significantly heftier price tag for that added benefit. Again, the Shimpo VL Whisper wheel landed at a nice value trade off of warranty coverage for the price.
For a professional studio, or someone running a high production operation, it’s quite possible that you’d want to consider my high end wheel recommendation, and you can read more about that here. However, for the typical hobbyist, the VL Whisper will suit your needs (and then some).
The clay capacity of this model is up to 100 lbs. of clay. That is PLENTY for my needs. Most projects I work on use a far smaller clay weight, but I wanted to be sure that the quality of my wheel could handle the odd large project (and that the motor construction would hold up to a higher demand).
Important Features – Specific Features I Was Looking For In A Wheel
While these features may not be as important to other Potters, depending on your specific needs, I wanted to point out these nice features of the Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper wheel. These were important features for me, and factored into my purchasing decision.
A Switch-Reversible Wheel Head
Because one of my daughters is left-handed, I wanted to ensure we could easily switch the wheel head direction. The VL Whisper changes direction with the flip of a switch on the side of the machine. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Beware that some wheels will advertise as ‘reversible’, but the process for doing so requires taking apart some of the components and using tools each time. NOT practical if you have different-handed wheel throwers who will be sharing the wheel.
A Sturdy Foot Pedal
The construction and function of the foot pedal was important to me, just because it’s such a critical component to a pottery wheel’s overall operation. The included foot pedal operates smoothly and is nice and heavy underfoot, so it feels sturdy and I expect it to perform well over the long haul!
I have found the foot pedal to be quite smooth and responsive underfoot, and will update this post if I find otherwise over time.
A Large Wheel Head (14″), Pre-Drilled For Bat Pins
Wheels are typically available in 12″ and 14″ wheel head sizes, and I wanted the larger wheel head. Not only does it accommodate wider projects, it was the size I was used to working on in pottery classes at school and also in my community studio, so I was afraid that opting for anything smaller would feel like a downgrade.
Considerations That Were Less Important To Me (But May Be Important To Other Potters):
Less important to me, were the accessories included with this wheel. While some other wheel brands will include things like bats, I wanted to make my selection based on the wheel itself. While I don’t mind spending some money on extra accessories that weren’t included, that may be a factor that’s worth considering in overall value.
However, the VL Whisper does come with a heavy-duty splash pan as well as a sturdy metal foot pedal. The wheel head is also pre-drilled for bat pins, and a set of bat pins also included!
Adjustable Legs / Table-Top Option
This was not an important feature for me, because I do not intend to use this as a table top wheel. It’s worth noting, however, that the legs on the VL Whisper are fully adjustable, and can collapse down to turn this into a table-top pottery wheel.
If you need a table top option, that might be a big selling feature of this model!
Possible Cons To This Model For Some Potters:
The max rpms of this wheel is 210. If you’re used to a wheel that has a 240 rpm max (like I was), you’ll notice that max speed is a bit slower than you’re used to. However, I don’t miss the fastest setting.
A Note On Sound / Noise Level:
My studio is located in an unfinished storage space in our home’s basement. For that reason, I wasn’t worried too much about the overall noise level of the wheel itself. But it’s worth noting… that this wheel is called the VL Whisper for a reason! If you’re used to working on another brand of wheel like a Brent (the most common brand I’ve seen used in community studios), you’ll definitely notice how silent this wheel is when running. It’s incredibly quiet, even at full speed. If sound is a consideration in your space, that is most certainly a selling point of this model.
Watch A Video To Hear The VL Whisper Pottery Wheel In Action (Part Of My Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Review):
Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Pottery Wheel – Important Specs
The Following Specs Are Taken From The Instruction Manual* That Came With This Wheel:
|MODEL||Nidec Shimpo VL Whisper Pottery Wheel|
|Drive System:||Direct Drive DC Brushless Motor w/ Electric Speed Control|
|Wheelhead Rotation Speed:||60Hz : 0 – 210 rpm|
|Speed Adjustment:||Foot Pedal|
|Wheelhead Diameter:||Aluminum Diecast – Diameter 14 Inches|
|Dimensions:||23 1/8″ x 27 1/2″ x 22 3/4″ (max height)|
|Weight:||42.5 kg / 93 Lbs.|
|Source:||*Specifications From Nidec VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel Instruction Manual|
If you like the features list of the VL Whisper, I can attest that I think it’s a great option for the home pottery studio!
Because wheels are heavy, you’ll generally have to pay a bit extra for shipping. However, making the right selection when you purchase your first potters wheel should keep you happy in the studio for many years to come.