A bench vise is an essential fixture in any workshop, whether you’re working with wood, metal, or other materials. The best bench vises offer a simple way to secure whatever materials you’re working with while keeping you safe.
Bench vises, sometimes referred to as vices, are clamping mechanisms that are affixed to a workbench. Bench vises are comprised of sliding jaws, a base, a handle, and an anvil (Source).
To use a bench vise, you must insert the piece of material you’re working on into the area between the jaws, known as the throat. You then use the handle to bring the sliding jaw closer to the static jaw and apply pressure to the material.
Bench vises are perfect for keeping objects still while using powerful or potentially dangerous tools, like a saw, a drill, or a hammer. A bench vise can also be used for sanding jobs.
If you’re a carpenter or work with wood, a bench vise is perfect for gluing and removing old nails. Plumbers, engineers, mechanics, or any other professions that require cutting or altering metal could also benefit from a bench vise (Source).
Prior to purchasing a bench vise, you’ll need to consider the space between the jaws, as well as the depth of the throat. You’ll also want to consider its gripping power, handle length, and whether or not it has a swivel base. You might also want to ensure it works well with the materials you’re using.
Keep your materials secure with these top-rated bench vises.
What is a Bench Vise?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Bench Vise?
- 2 Most Common Issues People Have with Bench Vise
- 3 Comparing The Best Bench Vises
- 4 1. Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise – Best Overall
- 5 2. Yost Vises 465 6.5″ Apprentice Series Bench Vise – Most Durable
- 6 3. TEKTON 54004 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise – Best For Small Projects
- 7 4. Grizzly G7062 Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise – Excellent Clamping Power
- 8 5. IRWIN 226306ZR – Best For Smooth Action
- 9 Features of the Best Bench Vises
- 10 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Bench Vise
- 11 Ready To Buy The Best Bench Vise?
A bench vise is a common thing to find in just about any home or professional workshop. It’s versatility and wide range of potential uses is why they are so popular. To explain it simply, a bench vise is a tool with metal jaws which can tighten up strong enough to hold objects that would otherwise be difficult to keep firmly in one place.
Most Common Issues People Have with Bench Vise
- Too Much Effort Required: To use a bench vise, you will need to twist a handle in order to tighten or loosen its grip. Certain models have handles which are naturally harder to twist than others. People commonly complain if they purchase a model with a handle which is hard to move.
- Not Enough Jaw Space: Many people who use a bench vise only need to hold a grip on smaller objects, which usually don’t test the capabilities of the device. Keep the type of work you do in mind so that you don’t make the common mistake of purchasing a bench vise which doesn’t open up its jaws wide enough.
- Not Tight Enough: It is a complete tragedy to get a seemingly nice bench vise, only to take it home and realize that it doesn’t stay tight enough. This is the whole point you wanted a bench vise in the first place! Sadly, many people make the mistake of getting a bench vise which doesn’t have enough clamping pressure for their needs.
Comparing The Best Bench Vises
|Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise|
|Yost Vises 465 6.5″ Apprentice Series Bench Vise|
|TEKTON 54004 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise|
|Grizzly G7062 Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise|
1. Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise – Best OverallThis one is the best bench vise you can ever find on the market today. The equipment is one of the quality products produced by WMH Tool Group. It is made of premium strength steel which makes it stronger as compared to other bench vise which are made of forged iron or cast-iron. This vise is very easy to use and therefore ideal for beginners.
It also has a large anvil work surface and a double lock-down swivel base. The only disadvantage is that it only swivels at 90 degrees which might not be enough to some. Apart from being sturdy, this bench vice is very flexible. It weighs 15.4 pounds and measures 12 X 5.9 X6.4 Inches.
One of the reasons why most people like it is because it gives you an accurate view when working. It also has an ample space to grip big objects. Are you searching for a long lasting bench vise? This one is the best to consider. It also comes with a lifetime warranty which means no need to worry in case a problem arises.
2. Yost Vises 465 6.5″ Apprentice Series Bench Vise – Most DurableThis one is among the most long lasting bench vises you can find today. It has a 180 degrees swivel base which is able to change the direction of the jaws to allow proper placement and also locks it in place. It is made up of cast iron and a steel U-channel bar which makes it durable. The flat part acts as an anvil and provides an additional space.
Additionally, it comes with replaceable jaws and permanent pipe jaws which are joined together to provide a strong grip. It also features rubber washers which prevents the handle from sliding. When working, ensure that the lock knob is very tight on the base to secure its position. You can turn the handle either clockwise or anticlockwise to move the jaws apart or close to one another.
This tool will work perfectly when you grease the jaw with wheel bearing grease. One thing you should note is that this equipment is not suitable for heavy-duty tasks; it is only perfect for light and medium home duties. The best thing is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. Every homeowner should have this in his/her garage. It will be of great use when completing moderate or light tasks.
3. TEKTON 54004 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise – Best For Small ProjectsOne of the best things about this bench vise is that it is made of 30,000 PS1 cast iron which makes it strong and durable. It also features serrated steel jaws which provides a steady and non-slip grip. The best thing with the jaws is that they are replaceable and allows the vise remain effective even after lots of wear and tear.
Another thing is that the vise has a 120 degrees swivel base to give you the versatility you require when working. In addition, it has 3 mounting holes which holds it firmly on the workbench. It also features dual lock down nuts which keeps the vise securely in place. This one is ideal for those with small DIY projects.
The only problem with this model is the lack of mounting bolts but that is not a big issue as compared to the advantages. It has a powder-coated finish and the polished steel anvil is excellent for bending and shaping metal.
4. Grizzly G7062 Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise – Excellent Clamping PowerThis one is another quality bench vise which comes with an inbuilt pipe jaw which is able to rotate at 360 degrees. It is multitasking equipment which provides unlimited working positions. The swivel base enables it to be versatile and the three-inch contains an even anvil face.
The equipment is heavy-duty equipment which weighs about 50 pounds and measures 9 X 9 X18 Inches. All the sliding parts work fine without stopping. You can lock the jaws at a fixed position to ensure that it does not rotate. Just ensure you have tightened some few screws at the back. It also comes with two types of jaws which enables you to tackle different types of projects.
Another thing about this bench vise is that it comes with four mounting holes which enables you to attach the equipment strongly on any surface. Unlike others, this one does not require frequent maintenance since it uses lead covered screws which does not require lubrication.
5. IRWIN 226306ZR – Best For Smooth ActionThis one is a 6-inch high quality bench vise. One of the best things about this tool is that it comes with fixed jaws which are made of steel to enhance strength and durability. These jaws provide enough width of 6 inches. The vise also contains a captured safety jaw which prevents the object from slipping out when in use.
The unit also comes with anvil and pipe jaws to provide a sturdy grip. Additionally, the 30.6lbs weight provides a strong base. Most artisans like it because it offers a strong clamping pressure of up to 3000lbs which makes it suitable for heavy-duty tasks.
Apart from that, craftsmen like its smooth action and the rotating base. The smooth action is due to its long barrel and unbreakable nut which is connected to its body. The strong locking feature also makes it to be among the most preferred bench vise on the market. The main screw alignment and the nut helps in reducing wear and tear.
Features of the Best Bench Vises
Bench vises are not one of the most complicated consumer products. However, it still requires a little bit of background knowledge in order to get the proper bench vise for your needs. To help you out, we have compiled the most important features to check for.
Long and Sturdy Handle
The handle is what you will twist in order to tighten or loosen the grip of your bench vise. For best results, this handle needs to be relatively easy to twist, without exerting too much effort.
It also needs to be long enough for you to easily grip it while twisting. The handle should also be made with strong metal or steel to will last a lifetime.
Included with an Anvil
If you use a bench vise, you might also find yourself needing an anvil from time to time. The good news is that many of the best bench vises will include an anvil into the design of their product.
Purchasing a model which includes an anvil (assuming that you will use it) will help you kill two birds with one stone. You will save space and money that you would otherwise reserve for two products.
Having a swivel base is great for people who want to be able to customize the position of their bench vise without unmounting the device and reinstalling it. The base of any of the best bench vises will rotate at least 120 – 180 degrees.
If you need the extra swiveling space, you can instead get a model which has the full 360-degree capability. Although typically a little more expensive, this is a great way to make the most out of your workspace.
Plenty of Throat Space
Throat space is an important factor to consider if you think you will use your bench vise to hold oversized objects. In case you didn’t know, the throat size is something which varies depending on which model you purchase. Find a model with plenty of throat space for firmly holding large objects in a sturdy position.
Stays Tight Enough for the Heaviest Objects
Bench vises come with different specifications in terms of how tight they can hold. This also has a lot to do with whether or not you can do the jobs you have in mind.
The first thing to look at is the teeth. They should be jagged enough to firmly grasp onto each object. Anywhere around 3000 pounds of clamping pressure is enough for most tasks.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Bench Vise
The main purpose of a bench vise is to lock down objects when working. If you are searching for a good bench vise, you need to consider the following factors.
1. Gripping power
A good bench vise should be able to provide a strong grip. The jaws are the most important part of a bench vise. This is because when locking an object in place all the tension is directed towards the jaws.
A bench vise with serrated jaws is the best. However, some may have serrated jaws but poor grain. Due to this, they are likely to lose the serrated feature which keeps objects secure. The metal teeth should be deep enough to provide a good grip.
2. The anvil
A bench vise with a reliable anvil is a great choice. Anvils allow you to work on the project as you use the vise. For example, you can hammer metals while clamped on the anvil or the bench vise.
A good anvil should have a flat surface. Rough surface can damage your project because of friction. Therefore, it is recommendable to check the material of the anvil.
3. Swivel base
These allows the bench vise to rotate to give you flexibility. This one comes in handy when working on different projects with lots of irregularities like unsymmetrical shapes, tight corners or weird angles. Always check the ability of the swivel base to turn.
A base that can be set at 360 degrees is the best but 120 degrees is also good. A strong base with a good swivel action enables the bench vise to be very versatile.
4. Jaw opening
If you will be working on large objects, the jaw opening should be big enough to hold the objects. For smaller objects, you just need a small jaw opening.
5. Throat depth
This one is the measurement from the top of the jaws up to the top of the slide below. A deeper throat will provide a better grip and will hold large objects more securely.
If you are searching for heavy-duty equipment, it is good to consider how it will be mounted. Look for one with a minimum of three mounting tabs though the best option would have four.
Ready To Buy The Best Bench Vise?
Just like other products, each bench vise is different from the other in terms of features, materials, size, performance and price. If you are searching for the best equipment, you just need to consider the type of work you will be doing with the device.
For heavy-duty tasks, it is good to look for a product which is made of sturdy materials.
Feature such as swivel base, locking screws , serrated jaws, gripping power, will also help you decide on the best equipment. We recommend Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise for heavy-duty tasks. It is made of strong materials and has a strong gripping power.
For medium or light tasks, Yost Vises 465 6.5 is the best since it is durable and very easy to use. We hope our reviews will make your work easier when buying.
Also, check out our guide for Top-Rated Gland Nut Wrenches out there!