10 Best Bench Vises | March 2017

10 Best Bench Vises
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Both home DIY-ers looking for a tabletop model and contractors needing a sturdier unit will find the perfect option for their next project from our comprehensive selection of bench vises. Capable of supporting up to 220 pounds and rotating up to 360 degrees, these mighty grippers will ensure a safe and solid hold on almost any workpiece. Skip to the best bench vise on Amazon.
10
Designed specifically for woodworkers, the Olympia Tools 38-736 Hobby features countersunk holes for easily securing it to your workbench. Its built-in metal dog is also ideal for clamping onto large pieces of wood. Unfortunately, the rods need to be tightened often.
  • strong machined spindle and handle
  • pre-drilled holes for wood facings
  • adjustments can be cumbersome
Brand Olympia Tools
Model 38-736
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
9
The SE 8436MVC has been constructed from lightweight aluminum and quickly mounts to or detaches from almost any tabletop in seconds, eliminating the need to find a permanent mounting spot in shops with limited space. Its rubber covers will also protect delicate items.
  • clamps onto 2-inch thick surfaces
  • head tilts up to 45 degrees
  • the jaws aren't very sturdy
Brand SE
Model 8436MVC
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
8
Lightweight, with a durable construction, and small enough for easy transport, this HFS 15948 has power serrated steel jaws that provide a firm and secure hold on a variety of medium-duty materials. Unfortunately, the quality control on shipping isn't the best.
  • vise mounts quickly
  • compact design for easy storage
  • the lock-downs are a bit flimsy
Brand Hardware Factory Store
Model 15948
Weight 15.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
7
The Wilton 63302 tabletop is made from exceptionally high-strength materials with a 25,000-pound casting. Its 4-lug base design and double lock-downs make it very stable under extreme levels of pressure and daily use. However, it's also very heavy and tough to move.
  • large anvil work surface
  • easy-gliding u channel
  • customer service isn't very helpful
Brand Wilton
Model 63302
Weight 44.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
6
Built for permanent mounting to almost any work table or bench, the Tekton 54004 offers a rugged, cast-iron construction with a 30,000-PSI tensile strength and slip-free jaw pads for gripping workpieces. Its powder-coated finish also prevents it from rusting over time.
  • polished steel anvil for shaping
  • 6- and 8-inch models also available
  • sharp edges require filing
Brand TEKTON
Model 54004
Weight 14.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The Irwin Tools Mechanics Vise boasts a 3-inch throat depth and a large jaw width for handling and securing bulky items, while its incorporated anvil keeps the tool steady. Its fused steel handle also makes it super easy to adjust, but the base only swivels 120 degrees.
  • good option for home mechanics
  • price is relatively affordable
  • it has a tendency to rust
Brand Irwin Tools
Model 4935506
Weight 30.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
Good for constant, daily use in busy workshops or the garage, the Olympia Tool 38-604 is a well-rounded unit that features a 270-degree swivel base, a spindle guard to protect against dirt and chips, and a polishing anvil horn for shaping.
  • powder-coated finish
  • replaceable steel jaw faces
  • heavily reinforced 4 lug base
Brand Olympia Tools
Model 38-604
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
The Yost FSV-6 has a forged steel body, a 6-inch jaw width, and a 0.75" to 3.5"-diameter pipe capacity for superior clamping power with those heavy-duty applications in your workshop. Its swiveling base can also be locked in place, which improves your accuracy as you work.
  • weather-resistant finish
  • grooved jaws for an improved grip
  • built-in guide rails for precision
Brand Yost Tools
Model FSV-6
Weight 43.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
Weighing in at 42 pounds, the Grizzly G7062 is a heavy-duty, multipurpose bench vise with a jaw that is capable of rotating a full 360 degrees, allowing it to properly position almost any workpiece. Its built-in pip jaws can also accommodate both flat and round stock.
  • includes a marking ruler
  • very durable construction
  • red color is stylish and attractive
Brand Grizzly
Model G7062
Weight 42 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
1
As an industrial-strength unit, the CH Hanson Palmgren offers a combination of both bench and pipe-style operation for ultimate versatility. Its straight-line pull system removes almost all wear from the spindle and nut, confidently guaranteeing this product for life.
  • made from fine grain cast iron
  • jaw plates are replaceable
  • trapezoidal-thread lead screw
Brand CH Hanson
Model P746 (AmazonUs/ERCT9)
Weight 42.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What To Do With A Bench Vise

If you run a construction company or wood-working shop, you likely worry constantly about your employee's safety. Workers in these environments face risks like hearing loss, head trauma, and life-threatening cuts. A bench vise can at least reduce the risk of the latter. This tool holds a workpiece, like a board of wood or sheet of metal, stationary while a person does things like sawing, drilling or boring it. As the tool's name implies, it usually attaches to a work bench, and typically sits flush with the work surface. The amount of force many power tools apply to a workpiece can be so powerful, that a human hand alone cannot hold it in place.

Anyone who has a workshop of any kind will find that a bench vise has plenty of uses. If you are completing a project in which the pieces must be held together by glue, a bench vise can hold them in place while the glue dries properly. Cutting into lumber with an electric chainsaw is much easier when the wood is held in place by a bench vise, and it will ensure the straightest edges. A bench vise is also essential when doing any sort of drilling, especially if you need your holes to be precise in their location and size.

There is no question that anyone who cuts materials for commercial use cannot afford to be without a bench vise. In many applications, precision cuts are necessary. Making an improper cut time and again can become costly very quickly. One may have to start all over again with a brand new workpiece. If working with expensive materials, this can add up to hundreds of dollars on a single job. Bench vises reduce the chances of making improper cuts, not only saving money, but time too.

What To Look For In A Bench Vise

If you need to clamp onto large pieces of wood, look for a quality metal dog in your vise. Square dogs tend to provide the greatest grip. Vises with countersunk holes are the easiest to attach to a work bench, as are those made from a lightweight material like aluminum. Just make sure the rods stay tight so your vise doesn't move while you're working as contact with equipment is one of the top causes of injuries on construction sites.

If you work with delicate materials, or simply want a finished product that has very little markings on it, consider a bench vise with rubber covering on its clamps. This will reduce the amount of scuffs and scratches on your materials. Depending on your needs, you may either want a small, portable bench vise, or you may need a heavy duty, more permanent one. Some can assert thousands of pounds of pressure and have impressive tensile strength so they will not break under extreme tension. The heftier vises have double lockdowns to ensure they stay in place under the most strenuous jobs. Just make sure, especially with the heavier vises, that the u-channel glides easily.

If you work with materials that create very little surface friction, like metal, make sure your vise clamps have non-slip markings to grip onto them. This will look slightly like the tread on the bottom of a boot. Those who work outdoors or in humid climates should look for a bench vise with powder coating to prevent rusting, which can happen to materials one wouldn't even expect, like stainless steel.

The History Of The Bench Vise

It's a mystery who invented the very first form of the bench vise, but before it came to be, workers would simply clamp items together through the use of a wedge and hammer. The first version of the bench vise came about in the middle ages and used clamps with threads. These held workpieces vertically, though, and would tend to tilt. The year 1750 saw the creation of the parallel vice. On this tool, the jaws moved on adjustable horizontal slots, which held materials in place much better than the previous model. But it is most likely that the first patents for such a tool didn't exist until the early 1900s.

The English began making cast iron vises in 1830, but because air bubbles would form during the pouring of the liquid iron, these models could be quite frail. Many of them would break if one applied to much tension, so they were useless for heavy duty jobs. This ushered in the need for vises made from forged steel.

In 1925, German inventor Josef Heuer created the drop-forge vise, with its innovative dual-prism guide track. Brockhaus Heuer is still one of the leading manufacturers of bench vises. With their first vise, the Heuer Prism, seeing much success, the company's team set to work creating a new vise to piggyback on the popularity of their first one. And so came to be the Heuer Front, a vise that opened in the front, towards the worker.



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Last updated on March 01, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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