10 Best Bench Vises for Precision Woodworking and Metalworking
Would you like to weld a pipe to glue two pieces together or something similar where you need another hand? If you do and we know you are in need, you need the best bench vise. These are robust and straightforward tools that have considerable importance in any workshop or a garage. But, there are a lot of products out there, so which one should you pick? We are here to help.
History of bench vises
The first vises appeared in the mid-1700, but we believe that they have been with us since the beginning of time. Those early models were made from wood, and they were controlled using hammers and wedges. As you may assume, they were complicated to manage, and they weren’t convenient.
The first parallel jaw vise was designed in the United Kingdom in 1830, and it was similar to the models you can see today. However, it was fragile. This translates to other vises that were available back then. Soon the problem was solved. A cast iron or steel vise appeared, and it was the one. Even today, most bench vises are similar or identical as the first of its kind, and we must add that in the near future, bench vises will probably stay the same.
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How we tested vises and rated them?
Our team has adequately tested all the vises you can see on the list below. We used in them in the real world and with actual projects to find 10 models that stand out from the crowd. To find the one that is the most appealing for most of you, we took a close look at the size, material, pressure, and overall quality.
A bench vise must be a reliable and robust tool suitable for heavy-duty operations. It must withstand all kinds of stress and applications for decades or even longer.
We also took a look at the reviews of the owners who purchased a specific model and who are or not very satisfied with it. The goal is to see how a vise performs after many years, and is there are hidden issues. The bottom part is the list of top 10 bench vises that are stunning, strong, durable, and well-made. One of those models is the best for you.
Here is a comparison table showing how the first 5 vises compare to one another:
Here is the table for vises 6 through 10:
Top 10 Best Bench Vises
Yost Vises 750-DI 5” Heavy-Duty Multi-Jaw Rotating Combination Pipe and Bench Vise with 360-Degree Swivel Base and Head
The model we have here is simply an excellent product. It is made from solid steel, and the weight is 63 pounds, which is higher than average. The vise has three separate jaws, and it can be used for wood, metal pieces, and even pipes. The next best thing is the fact the jaws can rotate by 360 degrees, and you can adjust the vise to suit your specific need at that very moment. The wise is made from ductile iron (60.000PSI), and it is the main reason why it is so bulky. We liked this advantage. It makes the product more stable and more usable.
The dimensions are 10 x 20 x 10.5 inches. It isn’t too small nor too big, and we must add that you will probably be perfectly happy with your purchase. The attention to detail is at the highest level possible, and the entire vise looks and feels well-made. The pressing force which is at your disposal is 9.000 PSI, a great result. This manufacturer has been with us since the 1900s, and they are known for making high-end products.
- 360-degree rotation
- 3 separate jaws
- Strong construction
- Suitable for heavy-duty purposes
- A bit complicated to use
Grizzly G7062 Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise
This model is slightly different than the first bench wise, and there are some significant features we liked. The vise is made from steel and has two separate jaws. One is located on the top while the second is on the bottom. You can rotate the vise to use any jaw you like. Besides, this model can be used for pipes and metal sheets. The construction is excellent and probably one of the best you can have these days.
The vise also has a one year warranty, and it comes with excellent customer support. The anvil is integrated, which should make the vise easier to use and more comfortable. The weight is 42 pounds, while the dimensions are 9 x 18 x 9 inches. The last fact is the popularity of the brand. They have been making bench vises since 1983, and they are one of the best-known leaders in the industry.
- 2 jaws
- 360-degree rotation
- Very strong
- Great dimensions
- Short handle
- Small for some users
Forward 0804 4-Inch Bench Vise Swivel Base Light Duty with Anvil (4”)
Those of you who are looking for a heavy-duty bench vise to use for all kinds of projects and who need simplicity will be more than just impressed with the Forward 0804 4-Inch. It is made from ductile cast iron, 30.000 PSI, and a clamping force is 9.000 PSI. As you can see, it is similar to the first model on our list. The vise comes with 10 years warranty and excellent customer support.
The jaw of the bench vise is super-strong. It also has changeable metal pieces that have teeth, so when they get dull, you can simply replace these two parts. The brand that offers this model has been making bench vises for 30 years, so we believe there won’t be any issues or complications. Size does matter, and in this case scenario, we can see that the 19.9 x 7.8 x 13.7 inches are sufficient even for more demanding users and hobbyists. The weight is 57.2 pounds, and most of you will agree that it is an excellent combination of strength and weight.
- 9000 PSI of clamping force
- 10 years warranty
- Simple design
- Ideal for larger tasks
- 000 ductile cast iron
- Poor attention to detail
Forward CR60A 6.5-Inch Bench Vise Swivel Base Heavy Duty with Anvil
Forward CR60A 6.5-Inch Bench Vise Swivel Base Heavy Duty with Anvil is an exciting alternative. First and foremost, the vise comes in three different sizes. You can have 6.25, 5.5, and 4.5 inches. We tested all versions, and they are the same except the apparent difference. An interesting fact is that the smallest version is the most expensive, but the difference isn’t significant. The vise comes made from 30.000 PSI cast iron and offers two jaws. One for flat surfaces and another for pipes.
The size is 8.7 x 9.7 inches, and the weight is only 5.4 pounds. The bench vise is made in the United States and comes with 2 years warranty. The company is located at Wilton Avenue in Chicago. The last thing we will reveal is the U channel that is used to adjust the bench vise when needed. It is sturdy and can withstand years of all usages you can think of. We believe that you will appreciate the toughness and the affordable price.
- U shape rail
- Easy to adjust
- Small for some purposes
- Poor instructions
TEKTON 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise | 5409
The TEKTON 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise | 5409 is a bit more complicated model of bench vises that does require your attention. It is made from steel rather than from iron, and the 60.000 PSI steel was used. The maximum clamping force is 8800 pounds, and the jaws can be rotated by 360 degrees. The bench vise is easy to adjust and use and also very simple when it comes to fitting it to a workbench. We also liked the non-slip inserts to the jaws that will hold any metal or wood in place at all times. It is a bench vise that is suitable for beginners but also for professionals.
The vise is made by a famous company located in the United States, Michigan. The dimensions are 21.5 x 9.5 x 9.8 inches, and the weight is around 40 pounds. We also liked the fact the base is held in place by two large locks and the anvil polished. It looks beautiful and more expensive than you may believe. The handle is a bit drawback if we consider its strength. In a nutshell, the bench vise we tested is an excellent choice and a smart investment.
- Two base locks
- Made from steel
- Available in three sizes
- Clamping force is average
Yost Vises 906-AS 6” Heavy Duty Steel Bench Vise
Yost Vises 906-AS 6” Heavy Duty Steel Bench Vise is entirely different than any other model from this list. It has the straight design of the operating mechanism, which decreases the wear and tear on the spindle and the nut making this vise essential for hardcore applications and usages. The jaw opening is 6 inches, but you also get a smaller opening for pipes. It supports pipes between ½ and 2 inches in diameter. The base can be rotated by 360 degrees, and the entire vise is made from cast steel. This is a professional model that is suitable for those who are planning to use it all the time. The clamping force is 2000 pounds, which is standard for vises of this caliber. There are no chances that you will encounter any issues regarding clamping power.
The opening of the jaw is 3.75 inches, another standard feature. We also liked the fact the tested model came with an excellent warranty and customer support. As you may know already, the company has been with us since 1919, and they are some of the best brands in this line of business. The dimensions of the vise are 10 x 8 x 5 inches while the weight is 43 pounds. The bottom part is the fact this model has all you will need and something even more. It will be an excellent choice for intermediate and professional users.
- Unique pulling design
- Cast steel construction
- Pipe vise included
- Strong and durable
- Sharp anvil edges
- Poor finish
Olympia Tool 38-606 6-Inch Bench Vise
At first sight, the Olympia Tool 38-606 6-Inch Bench Vise can look ordinary or rough. This is because this is an industrial vise made to be as robust as possible. That’s why attention to detail is weak, and it looks like older units. The main advantage is a steady 20.000 PSI cast iron construction. It makes this one of the most robust models you can get these days. The next best thing is the inserts for the primary jaw, which can be replaced when needed. The base can be secured to any workbench with four bolts, and you are ready to use it.
The size of the vise is 6 inches, which is probably an advantage for most of us. The vise isn’t too small nor too big, and it can be used for multiple purposes. We must add that the base can be rotated for 270 degrees, not the best result but sufficient. The dimensions are 7.5 x 8.8 x 15 inches while the weight is around 34 pounds. The manufacturer has been appreciated for making outdoor tools, equipment, and some of the most desirable vises you can purchase today.
- Solid construction
- 3 bolts for attaching
- Pipe jaw included
- Tough design
- Looks obsolete
- Decreased rotation of the base
Grant Tools 4” Heavy Duty Swivel Bench Vise
Some people simply must have this vise, and we believe a big part of you are going to share the same opinion. The model is made from cast iron, and it is reliable. The spindle and the nut are both chrome plated so they can withstand any purpose you have on your mind and much more. The entire vise is durable, immune to corrosion, and looks beautiful. The jaw depth is 2.37 inches, and the size of the vise is 5.25 inches.
The vise we tested here is suitable for regular usages and those who need a smooth operation and who need excellent construction, durable, and reliable. We will reveal that on our tests, there were no issues or complications with the jaw, structure, or the spindle. You will probably appreciate the opening and closing process, which is smoother and more appealing than many other models have to offer. The dimensions are 14.3 x 7.3 x 6.6 inches while the weight is kept at 46 pounds. A known company makes the model from the United States located in Washington.
- Chromed nut and spindle
- Nice packaging
- Smooth operations
- Ideal size
- Lack of warranty details
- Color scheme
IRWIN Tools Multi-Purpose Bench Vise, 5-Inch (4935505)
The main thing you have to remember about this model is the fact it is made for home projects. This is mandatory simply because the vise is made from hollow cast iron. As such, you won’t be able to use it for heavy-duty operations or anything similar, although you can use it for intermediate applications. The vise has 18.8 x 9.9 x 9.1 inches dimensions and 33 pounds. As you can see, it is lighter than most similar models. The size of the vise is 5 inches.
Besides the facts mentioned above, we also liked the swivel base of 360 degrees, the attention to detail, and the overall simplicity. If you are looking for a vise for woodworking projects, this is the one. The Irwin company has been with us since 1885, and it are located in Ohio, the United States. All of this means that you get an outstanding warranty and customer support.
- Appealing finish
- Easy to install and use
- Isn’t suitable for heavy-duty applications
- A bit expensive
Parts Express Aluminum Clamp-On Vise 2-1/2” Jaw
Once again, we have a vise that is completely different than any others you may have encountered. The vise can be completely rotated for 360 degrees and tilted for 45 degrees. We liked the rubber pads or bumpers if you prefer, which will make sure there are no damages or traces to the metals and materials you are using. The model in question is made from aluminum, and the weight is 1.4 pounds. The dimensions are 19.8 x 17.1 x 11.6 inches.
In essence, the vise is made for hobbyists and those who need an adjustable vise to use for their creations and developments. It is small, lightweight, and convenient. The rubber pads make it appealing for those who are working with wood, or softer materials in general. SE is an acronym for Sona Enterprises, and they have been making vises since 1989. They are located in the United States, California.
- Complete rotation
- Rubber bumpers
- Great for hobbyists
- Light duty only
- Customer support
Buyers guide: How can you find the best bench vise?
The most important thing to pay attention to right now is the section below. We will guide you through the entire process of choosing a bench vise that will make your work easier, safer, and more straightforward. There are several factors you need to consider before you decide which model is great for you. Those factors are explained below.
Jaw depth refers to the opening of the jaws you can obtain from a specific vise. Smaller vises have smaller jaw openings, so they are used for smaller pieces of material, like a thinner wood sheet, for instance. More massive vises have a much bigger opening so they can be used for larger and thicker materials. This is the first factor to consider. A small vise will have a jaw opening of 2 inches, while a large one of 5 inches. You need to match this to your requirements.
The material used for the construction of the vises is a mandatory factor as well. You have several options. The first one is aluminum. It is are and used for vises that are made for soft and lightweight materials. For example, the last model on our list is made from aluminum, and you can get a better idea of why and when this vise can be used. The next alternative is cast iron. It is a decent option, and it should be considered if you are looking for affordable and robust bench vise. The steel vises are the best, the heaviest and the most expensive. They are suitable for heavy-duty usages.
Clamping force is precise as its sounds, how strong a vise can hold the material in the jaws. We must explain that the average result is 2000 pounds. It is the most common and the most needed at the moment. Anything below that is below average and should be considered if you will use a vise for wood or similar materials. Anything higher than 2000 pounds is above average, and we are looking at bench vises designed for massive metal sheets, long pipes, or pieces of wood. Most of you will be entirely satisfied with the average clamping force.
If you are planning to use a bench vise on a single workbench and you don’t want to move it, ever, then you need a massive and robust vise. It can be used for smaller projects as well, but it can help you hen a small vise is useless. But, a vise of this caliber won’t be easy to move, and you won’t be able to use it on remote locations or while on the go.
A small bench vise is designed for those who will use it in different locations or who want to carry it due to work requirements. It is up to you which version do you need, and we can only help you find the best model of a suitable weight.
Keep in mind that the weight is determined by the size and the material used in the manufacturing process. Massive steel bench vises are the strongest and the heaviest. They should be chosen if you won’t move them from a workbench.
This is an addition you will like to have. Basically, under the primary jaw, you have a small jaw that is serrated and has hex-a like shape. This is a jaw for pipes, and it should be used for this purpose only. The addition is common these days, and it is a nice feature to have.
On the other hand, it may be utterly irrelevant to you. If you don’t need it, there is no need to get a bench vise with this addition. In a nutshell, the pipe jaw is an excellent feature that can help you when nothing else can.
Some models are made to be immune to rust and to stay like new as long as needed. Others are made from ordinary metals and come without rust protection. Those models will rust if or when they are exposed to moisture, humidity, and obviously water. If you have issues with leaks and moisture in your garage, you need to consider this factor. If you use it in remote locations and on the open ground, you need rust resistance as well. On the other hand, we have average users who will use it inside a garage only; therefore, you don’t need to pay special attention to this factor.
It is a small and simple feature that has enormous importance. A bench vise that can be rotated for 360 degrees is very convenient and practical. You can use it for all sorts of projects, and you will like this feature. The next level down is 360-degree rotation. It means that the base of a vise can be rotated by fewer degrees than the full circle. We prefer 360-degree rotation, and we believe it is the best possible option. Models without it are not ideal, and they are basic units that are more affordable yet simpler.
A handle of a bench vise is used to open and close the jaws. You need a steel handle, which is as long as possible. Short handles are not very appealing, and they are a nightmare to use. The last thing to add is the finish of a handle. It must be ground, so there are no injuries while using the vise. A handle must be as sturdy as possible, and it must not bend while closing the jaws of the vise.
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Here is the video showing you how to properly install bench vise:
The final word
Now you can take a closer look at the 10 models mentioned above, and you can pick one that is stunning for you and can meet all the requirements you will have. We tested all 10 models in real-life situations and with real tasks, and we were able to create a long and accurate list according to their performances. In the lack of a better word, these ten models are the best of the best bench vises, and you need to consider them. Take another look at the buyer’s guide and match it to the requirements you have, and the best bench vise will present to you. See more garage equipment reviews.
Last update on 2023-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API