7 Best Bench Vises to Hold Your Project Steady – Bench Vise Reviews
The bench vise is one of the most versatile tools to have in the workshop. Essentially, it is a tool that attaches to your workbench and holds your material firmly in position. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast, homeowner, or woodworker of any skill level, the bench vise lays a solid foundation for you to start working on your various projects.
There are many different types of bench vises at different prices. So, how do you choose the best bench vise for the money? We’re glad you asked! If you are fresh on the market, our bench vise reviews should help you find an excellent model for your need.
Refer to our table below for a quick overview of the best bench vise available on the market:
1. Tekton Swivel Bench Vise
4", 6", 8"
2-1/8", 3", 3-7/8"
2. Wilton 11800 648HD Utility Workshop Vise
3. PanaVise 301 Standard Bench Vise
4. Yost Vises Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
4.5", 5.5", 6.0", 6.5", 8.0"
2.625", 3.25", 4.375", 3.75", 4.5"
5. Yost Vises 750 Rotating Bench Vise
6. Yost LV-4 Home Vise
7. Irwin Woodworker's Vise
7 Best Bench Vises - Reviews
Without further ado, let us get started with this bench vise review.
#1. Tekton Swivel Bench Vise
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
There are 3 different models in the Tekton swivel bench vise. They are the Tekton 54004, Tekton 54006 and Tekton 54008. All 3 models are a classical bench vise but with different jaw size. The 54004 has a jaw size of 4 inches, the 54006 6 inches and finally, the Tekton 54008 with an 8 inches jaw size.
What we like about this unit is that the serated jaws are replaceable. You can even fit a custom-jaw on top of it if you want. The jaws are cross-patterned provided a secure grip to material while limiting damage.
All 3 models have a decent 30,000 PSI of pressure force that shows that they provide adequate pressure without damaging material. It can hold almost any type of material, from wood to solid metal without any problem of bending or warping. Further, the build-quality is an overall cast-iron for durability and long-lasting life. The jaws are powder-coated to ensure a firm and comfortable anti-slipping grip.
Additionally, the back of the unit has a polished anvil for metal work like bending, flattening, and warping. Despite being a fairly small size, this mini bench vise has a lot of versatility to it. It is a true multi-purpose bench vise. It definitely ranks amongst the best mini bench vises available on the market.
#2. Wilton 11800 648HD Utility Workshop Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
The Wilton 11800 648HD is another popular bench vise. It is a utility workbench mini vise that can be used professionally or at home use. This specific model from Wilton is one of the best heavy-duty bench vises on the market. It is entirely constructed from solid steel and cast-iron and is very durable. This is not the type of bench vise that can break easily.
The base can be swiveled to 180-degrees making this unit versatile and very easy to work with. It provides a decent 30,000 PSI of pressure force that is adequate to securely hold down material without causing damage.
The jaws in this model are flat and can accommodate custom-jaws. The jaws themselves are 8” in length, making this vise more suited for working with larger material than the regular 4” vise. The throat depth is equally decent at 4-1/2”. This is not the biggest, but it it is sufficiently big to accommodate fairly thick stock, especially considering that this model is a mini bench vise.
Being linear and flat, you can tighten the jaws more strongly using this bench vise. It will not cause markings on material, especially if you are working with softwood or plastic. Very handy! This is a professional model that comes at a professional price. Our advice - if you can afford it and perform heavy-duty work using a vise, get this model. It will serve you well for years to come.
#3. PanaVise 301 Standard Bench Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
The PanaVise 301 has an atypical shape for a mini bench vise. But once you get used to working on this model, you will quickly find that this is one of the best mini bench vises you own.
The top head of the PanaVise 301 can be swivel back and forth to a 9-degree angle making it very practical to work with, especially with tasks like drilling. But it does not stop there. You can equally swivel the head to a 360-degree making this model one of the most versatile and easiest bench vise to work with. The socket joint system definitely allows for greater maneuverability, more than we have seen in any other models on the market.
Further, the jaws on this model are a little bit on the small side, at only 2.5” wide, but still adequate to provide firm and solid clamping to material. It also has an excellent build construction that is very durable. This model should last you for years to come. The only caveat is that this model is not suited as a heavy-duty bench vise. But as long as it is used for general purpose clamping, especially for woodworking purposes, it definitely does the job! All in all, this is a good purchase and at a fairly decent price - especially considering the versatility and build quality of this bench vise.
#4. Yost Vises Heavy Duty Utility Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
The Yost Vises are a series of at least 5 models of vices. The Yost Vises 465 6.5” is the most popular of the lot. Of course, there are other models with different jaw sizes to provide a wide range of clamping type.
Those Yost vises are a heavy-duty bench vise series that are designed specifically to be used in a busy workshop. They have an 180-degree swivel to adapt to the job and models like the Yost 465 has a pipe capacity of 2-1/2” to accommodate fairly thick materials. They all have excellent cast-iron construction for durability as well as sports bottom insert mounts. They can be screwed or bolted to a workbench for even more stability. The ram and handles in all 5 models are very easy to operate, and since they are an open design; they can be greased for even better ease of use.
All in all, regardless of the model and jaw size you choose, the Yost vises are some of the best bench vises for the money. They have a solid construction and very versatile on the job. Best of all, those models come with a lifetime warranty from Yost. This is proof of how much confidence Yost places on their bench vises and certainly how long they can last - which means a very long time!
#5. Yost Vises 750 Rotating Bench Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
The Yost Vises 750 is a specific model from Yost that we use and like a lot. This is a very versatile bench vise that comes in two variants:
- Yost Vises 750-DI
- Yost 750-E
Both models are heavily built from cast-iron and are guaranteed to provide reliability and durability on the job. Both those models are particularly suited for performing heavy duty clamping on tough material, whether you are working with hardwood or even metal.
They have a large jaw of 5” wide with a pipe jaw capacity of 3”. Those are pretty decent specs as they allow you to work with a wide range of material, regardless of their thickness. It is just nice to know that they make provision when you have to work with larger material of no more than 3” thickness - which is to say most material that you will encounter in the workshop.
They can be swiveled 360 and the Yost Vises 750-DI provides another versatility by being able to tilt sideways. This model is a little bit more expensive than the regular Yost 750-E but it definitely adds a little more versatility when clamping. Both those bench vises are very easy-to-use, have a solid build construction and get the job done fast and easy. Regardless of the type of clamping purpose you have for a bench vise, those two models from Yost are definitely one of the best heavy duty bench vises for the money.
#6. Yost LV-4 4-Inch Home Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The Yost LV-4 is one of the most affordable bench vises of the market. Despite being this cheap, this model still has a solid build construction and will come in handy regardless of the purpose you have for using a bench vise. It is made from cast-iron with a decent jaw size of 4-1/2” and opening of 3”. As we can see, this model is big enough for any type of camping, and despite its affordable price, it can even be used as a heavy duty workbench vice.
It can be rotated to 240-degrees for versatility and the open design can be greased to make it a little bit more user-friendly while camping. The jaws have grips to prevent any slippage and the handlebar is easy to maneuver.
While this is not the biggest quality bench vise we know of, especially from this company, you cannot complain much especially considering that the prize that this mini bench vise is offered. It is a great bargain for those looking for a decent many bench vise for not much money.
#7. Irwin Woodworker's Vise
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Lastly, we have the Irwin Woodworker's Vise which is a very popular woodworking bench vise, especially amongst professional carpenters. There are many reasons for this. This particular model is a dual clamping toe-in bench vise with a jaw capacity of 4-1/2”.
The jaws themselves are plain without any patterns so as to prevent engravings or damage of sensitive wood material. Additionally, the open design allows you to install wooden cheeks for even more protection. This unit is made from solid cast iron with strong steel handles and threaded screws. All in all, this model is made specifically for woodworkers who are looking to perform tasks like wood gluing or regular wood clamping.
What to Look for When Buying a Bench Vise
Before purchasing the bench vise, there are a few important factors to take into consideration. Here are a few of the crucial ones.
Types of Bench Vise
If you are shopping for bench vises online, you will find that those tools usually come in 2 different types.
#1. Engineering Bench Vise
This type of vise is made from tougher material and usually intended for clamping down on metal material. The jaws are rough and provide more PSI pressure to clamp high-density material more firmly. This type of vise is specially constructed so that it can be banged on with a hammer without causing it to crack and break. Of course, you need to make sure that the manufacturer can at least recommend this particular type of usage.
#2. Woodworking Vise
This is the most popular bench vise type and usually, has more details with a jaw designed specifically to hold low-density material like wood and plastic without causing surface damage. This type of vise is usually made from cast-iron and not recommended to hammer on. In case you miss and hit this type with a hammer, it can cause significant cracks that can eventually break it. This type of bench vise is mostly advisable to be used as a wood clamping device, and nothing more.
Buying Advice: There are several models, sizes, and types of bench vises. In order to choose the correct model, it is important to understand your purpose for this tool. To help you make a better choice for your bench vise type, here is an overview of the different applications one can perform on a bench vise.
- Workbench Replacement
Based on the small applications list above, you now know whether you need a woodworking vise, or an engineering vise.
The more solid your bench vise, the more heavy-duty it becomes and longer lasting the tool. You want to get a model that is made from a solid metal alloy and has a good construction quality. Most branded bench vises are usually quality-made. Also ensure that the handle is made from a stiff and tough metal material. Many times, you will want to place a metal pipe to leverage your tightening force. It should be sturdy enough and not bend or break - regardless of how much force you apply to the handle. In general, the bigger the bench vise, the bigger the handlebar as well. This is an important factor to keep in mind.
Jaw Bar Size
As noted before, bench vises come in different sizes. This jaw size determines the maximum surface area of material it can clamp. The longer the jaw, the bigger material it can accommodate. Choose a size that is appropriate for the task you have at hand. If you work on small DIY projects with small objects, you do not need a big and oversized bench vise. On the other hand, if you are a woodworker and often perform tasks like drilling and sawing on material, you may want to go with a bigger model. A bigger bench vise with larger jaws also provides more surface area to work with even larger objects, boosting its versatility and usefulness on the job.
Jaw liners prevent you from damaging the material clamped on your vise. The type of jaw liners is especially important when it comes to woodworking bench vises. Additionally, ensure that either you get a jaw liner delivered with the purchase, or your vise is compatible with a third-party jaw liner you can purchase separately.
Workbench Mounts and Swivel
In order to stabilize the bench vise, it needs to have workbench insert and mounts to affix. Make sure that your model provides a way, whether it is by bolting to a workbench or clamping. Additionally, a swivel angle is very important and it increases the versatility and allows you to work with material at different positions more easily.
Purpose of Using a Bench Vise
Many people, amateurs, and professionals alike use a bench vise every day for many reasons. The most common and popular use of the bench vise is to provide a solid and stable foundation for you to work on your material.
Here are some different purposes you can use your bench vise for.
Clamping is perhaps what the bench vise is most known for. It is the most basic purpose and use of the bench vise. If you regularly work with material, chances are that you have encountered a situation where you need clamping down of your material. What better way than with a bench vise! What is great about the bench vise is definitely its versatility. You can use a few bench vises for clamping purposes and will allow you to work with many items in less time. Very practical indeed.
You can use the bench vise for your wood gluing applications. This is especially useful during woodworking, where you may have to clamp two pieces of wood together for the wood glue to hold more effectively. Just be careful not to press down too hard on the wood, especially if it is softwood and use a woodworking bench vise and not an engineering one.
For metalwork, you will need an engineering bench vise. Those can provide more pressure force on the object without worry of damaging the surface or the vise, especially when hammering on.
Sawing is a popular purpose for a bench vise. Many times you will want to saw multiple wood pieces with the exact same specs. What better way than sticking those pieces together in a bench vise and sawing them. It is a convenient and practical way to get more done out of your time.
Holding material in place for drilling is very easy with the bench vise. They offer a stable groundwork for your drilling purposes. Further, the bench vise is an excellent addition to the drill press and anyone working with a drill press should not be without. It definitely makes the process of drilling more accurate and stable.
If you have to sand material, this is no problem with a bench vise. You can even use a couple of them to hold long and large pieces of material together for sanding purposes.
#7. Workbench Replacement
If you do not own a workbench, you will find that the bench vise makes an excellent replacement. While it does not entirely replace a flat and solid workbench, it can be a great tool that allows you to work without one. The bench vise is a great workbench replacement especially for those who are always on the move, as in working at different client sites who most likely do not own a workbench.
As we have seen, there are 101 ways to use the bench vise to work on. It’s purpose is not limited to only a few popular and practical applications. It can be used for almost anything that requires clamping and often times, its use it limited only by your imagination.
Bench Vise Brands
There are several reputable brands of bench vises. Here are a few of the most important players in the bench vise industry.
Yost Bench Vise
This brand has been around for many years now. They specialize in making accessories for power tools, as well as making superior bench vises. If you are looking for a quality bench vise online, chances are that you may have encountered this brand before. Their bench vises are usually marked as the “Apprentice Utility Series” and make a wide array or vises of different jaw sizes. Whether you are looking for a model for woodworking or metal work, this brand has some of the best mini bench vises in the industry. The Yost Vises 750 is one of the company’s greatest hit and this unit is found in thousands of workshops around the world.
Tekton Bench Vise
This brand is reputed for their swivel bench vise. Tekton specializes in making mini bench vises and their products are very versatile, offering multiple ways to secure material in a small form factor. Many of their vises come with a flat jaw and provide you will the ability to use a third-party custom jaw in their products. This brand has an eye for detail and Tekton is generally regarded as making the best bench vises for the money. Their Tekton Swivel Bench Vise series is quite popular and one of the company’s best bench vises for the money.
Irwin Bench Vise
At this point, most professionals know about this brand. They usually make quality power tools at an affordable price. Their bench vises are equally excellent quality and usually come at an attractive price. The Irwin Woodworker's Vise, for example, is a vise used by many professional woodworkers. It is a solid and yet affordable solution.
We finally come to an end of this bench vise review. As we have seen, your choice for a bench vise will depend on your purpose and usage. However, regardless of your usage, a bench vise out there is made for you. The models we have listed in this bench vise review are some of the best bench vises for the money. In case you have still not found a good model for your need, we recommend that you go through this list one more time. With that said, we wish you the best of luck and hope that those vises will provide a solid foundation for you to boost your productivity in the workshop.
Read More: 10 Best Drill Press Vises