Best Bench Vises: Improve Your Workshop’s Functionality
Improve your workflow with these top bench vises
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BY Dorian Smith-Garcia / LAST UPDATED ON October 14, 2019
A quality bench vise stabilizes wood or metal while you’re working on it, providing a sturdy surface. It can even hold parts steady while you’re attempting to join them together. If you’re ready to streamline your projects, we have recommendations for the best bench vises, taking into account both quality and price.
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- When selecting a vise, the two most important factors are the size and style of the jaws. The size refers to how wide the jaws can be opened. Flat jaws are designed for work with flat surfaces like sheets of wood. V-jaws can be used with rounded materials. Replaceable jaws are ideal if you use a bench vise frequently and wear out jaws fairly quickly. The jaws will extend the life of your bench vise and ensure that you won’t need to purchase a total replacement.
- A bench vise that offers a quick-release feature is a great investment. This style of bench vise will allow you to instantly release whatever materials are in the jaw without the need to manually twist the spindle.
- Never use a bench vise’s jaws like an anvil. You’ll end up damaging the jaws, and you will need to either replace the jaws or the entire unit. Many bench vises come standard with an anvil. Look for this type of bench vise so that you can prolong its life span.
Q: How do I know which size bench vise I need?
A: A bench vise is a versatile piece of equipment, but the version you select is going to depend on your project scope. If you work with very small parts, such as soldering wires, then a mini vise is a smarter option as it can securely hold tiny pieces without marring the surface. For larger items, a larger heavy-duty vise is preferred.
Q: What’s the best way to attach my bench vise to my work station?
A: There are two main ways to attach a bench vise. Many vices come standard with a clamp that allows you to reposition your bench vise or store it when not in use. However, many people feel that this offers the least sturdy solution. Alternatively, you can opt for a permanent placement using nuts and bolts for a more secure installation.
Q: Which type of bench vise is best for my needs?
A: Bench vises come in two styles—woodworking and engineering. Woodworking bench vises are designed for wood-based projects and have wooden jaws. An engineering bench vise is designed for metalwork and features metal jaws. A woodworking bench vise isn’t strong enough to securely hold metal, and conversely, an engineering bench vise is too strong for use with softer materials.
If you work on projects of various sizes, then our best overall pick, the Grizzly Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise, is a smart option because of its fully rotating jaws that allow you to securely hold a project regardless of which angle you need.
However, if you only tackle occasional small projects, you may not need a heavy-duty or expensive bench vise. In that case, our best value option, the Yost LV-4 Home Vise 4-1/2 is ideal.