Best Bench Vises – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Whatever it is you do in your workshop, chances are you will need a bench vise. Having the best bench vise is likely absolutely crucial to getting your work done efficiently. A bench vise is usually reasonably cheap to buy, however the price range does scale from low end to high end for the more premium models. Your budget requirements, and your usage requirements will ultimately determine the type and price of bench grinder you opt for. There’s a lot of different choices out there, so to help you through the process of choosing a good, high quality bench vise we’ve created this guide.
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|IRWIN 5 inch
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TEKTON 4 Inch Swivel Bench Vise
This bench vise is our top pick, due to its affordability, and high quality. Because the Price of the Tekton 54004 is at the lower end you might be thinking that it isn’t quality, however this isn’t the case. Despite the low price, this product is very sturdy, and well built – more so than some other more expensive options. This product has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s constructed from cast iron that has a tensile strength of 30k, so it’s very solid and durable. The vise features serrated steel jaws, important to ensure the piece your holding does not slip. The jaws are also removable and easily replaceable, you might not have realized but the jaws of vises get a lot of wear and tear, so after some years its great if you can easily replace them with no hassle. Another feature that makes this a great choice is the swivel base, which can rotate 120 degrees, allowing access from awkward angles. The vise is kept securely in place by mounting it to a bench or table-like surface, using the three mounting holes located on the base. The Acme-threaded screws slide easily and smoothly, making using it a breeze. All in all, this is a great choice for serious craftsmen, and even just your everyday DIY guy. It also wont put too much of a dent in your budget!
Yost LV4 Home Bench Vise 4.5 inch
If you’re on a tight budget, this best selling vise is one of the best choices for you. It’s the cheapest vise reviewed here, but don’t let that make you think that it’s not up to the job. This 4.5 inch vise features an O-swivel base which allows you to rotate the vise a full 240 degrees, making this a very versatile piece of equipment to have. This vise is constructed of high quality cast iron, so it’s perfectly sturdy for the price and you can expect it to be reliable. Overall this bench vise is best for those on a tight budget, for at home use mostly. If you are looking for something more heavy duty the TEKTON 4-Inch is a good option.
5-Inch IRWIN Tools Multi-Purpose Bench Vise
This 5 inch bench vise from IRWIN is a high end product that’s perfect for you if you’re a serious professional wanting to get the job done. Slightly pricier than the other options on this list, if all you care about is quality then you can’t go wrong with this. The IRWIN 5″ vise features rotating pipe jaws, for smooth opening and clamping. The handle is crafted from fused steel, which makes adjusting it a breeze. One of the best parts about this particular vise is that it has a base which can rotate a complete 360 degrees, which is often extremely convenient in the work place. The steel of this vise is high PSI, making for great durability. Overall this is likely the best vise we have reviewed, however the price may be a bit too steep for some.
Factors to consider
Ultimately most bench vises you come across are reasonably similar, they all serve the same purpose. Although there are key differences in some parts which affect how well they perform at certain jobs, and help to differentiate a poor vise from a great one. Here are some important things about your vise you should keep in mind.
Having a vise that has at least somewhat adjustable angles, and allows for rotation of 100 degrees or more gives you a lot of flexibility in your workshop. Some even come with 360 degree swivel ability, which is ideal.
The key part of any good bench vise is the jaws. The jaws are the pieces that open to clamp whatever object you’re working on securely in place. So you must consider how big are are the objects you will need to clamp? This determines how wide the jaws of your vise must be able to open to meet your requirements. There are also different types of jaws, the flat style are most common. It should also be noted that there are many vises where you can actually swap out different jaws depending on what you’re working on. Some also have multiple jaw attachments.
The more heavy duty vises will generally be bolted by 3 or 4 bolts to your work surface (table or bench). Some vises also have a more simple clamp interface, however this design is not as sturdy as using bolts.
The bench vise is a pretty easy bit of gear to learn to use. It’s basically just a way to hold something securely in place while you work on it. So as you can imagine there are endless uses for this tool, we will go over a few of the more common ones.
Gluing – A bench vise is very helpful when you’re gluing things together, often when you glue pieces together you want to ensure they stay lined up well until they’re securely dried in place. A vise if perfect for this.
Drilling holes – When you’re drilling you want to be precise and accurate. The best way to achieve this is with a drill press. However, if you’re just doing a small task with a hand drill it’s useful to place the wood (or metal etc) inside of a bench vise so that it remains secure while you drill
Sanding/Filing – When you’re sanding or filing down a metal (or wooden) object you need it held firmly in place so that it doesn’t move. That’s where a vise comes in handy, and that way you don’t waste energy holding the object in place by hand. You will be more efficient and get more accurate results.
Sawing/Cutting – Using a hand saw to cut through a piece of wood is made enormously easier when you hold it firmly in your vise. Just like when you’re filing something, you waste energy if you have to hold it still by hand. So a vise saves a lot off effort.
Overall there are several well known brands that you can certainly trust, like IRWIN and Yost. In the research we conducted IRWIN came out on top for their high quality bench vises that they produce for a range of prices (from cheap through to high end). Besides quality, price is the second most important factor to consider before you buy. When you choose an IRWIN vise you’ll get good bang for your back, and a ton of features that are usually only included in the very expensive models. Features such as multiple jaws, full rotation on the swiveling bases and more.