If you work with wood, metal, or any such materials, then a bench vise would be your best companion. When working on metal or wood, you need to fix it in one place for your safety and to ensure you work efficiently. The main advantage of a bench vise is that it offers grip and stability, enabling you to work faster and produce high-quality products.
Without a vise, some works would be impossible. You’ll not be able to hold the material with one hand and work with the other hand. Likewise, it won’t be possible to work with a bench vise that can’t offer a perfect grip. To an untrained eye, most vises may look the same. However, qualified technicians can quickly tell the difference between bench vises. From the materials they are made of to their features, bench vises are never the same, even in their sizes.
Bench vises are essential components of any workstations, whether it is a mobile or a fixed vise. They make the works such as welding, sawing, chipping, finishing, and sanding to be more comfortable by freeing your hand so you can perform the task smoothly. You can also use them when you want to glue two or more pieces together. They can hold the pieces together until the glue dries up completely. This will allow the parts to stay together. That’s not all. A bench vise will come in handy when you want to drill a hole into an object. Drilling requires stability and precision that you cannot achieve without a vise. Their versatility and simplicity mean no matter your skill level, you’ll still benefit from using them.
- top 10 best Bench Vise Reviews 2020 - [Table]
- Top rated Bench Vise Reviews 2020
- Top 5 Bench Vise Reviews 2020
- Bench vise Buyer's Guide
- Customer's rating
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict & Recommendation
top 10 best Bench Vise Reviews 2020 - [Table]
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Top rated Bench Vise Reviews 2020
Two different processes are used to make bench vises: forging and casting. The most common method of making bench vises is casting. It is more cost-effective than the forging method. In this method, hot molten metal (steel) is poured into molds, then allowed to cool. After cooling, the molds are removed to leave the finished shapes.
The casting method is used to manufacture both the dynamic and static jaws. It is a simple method that can be used for mass production of bench vises. Though it is also cost-effective, it has some drawbacks. For example, the final products will have rough surfaces, and there are chances that some impurities may find their way into the final products. The presence of contaminants may compromise the quality of the final product.
The forging method produces superior quality products but is more costly. This method's outcome has higher tensile strength, expressed as PSI (pounds per square). In this method, solid steel blocks are heated to high temperatures then pounded until they attain the desired shapes. The forging method is very common in tools making industry and is mainly used in the manufacture of pliers and wrenches. A high-quality, well-forged bench vise can have a tensile strength as high as 90,000 PSI and above. The casting method produces bench vises of tensile strength ranging from 19,000 PSI to 60,000 PSI.
Apart from the manufacturing method, the metals used to make bench vises also differ. The most common metals are the Ductile and Gray metals. The difference between the two lies in their carbon content and arrangement.
There are many types of bench vises in the market today. It can be a challenge to select the best. But you need not worry. In this review, we've narrowed down the top five bench vises to make your choice easier.
Top 5 Bench Vise Reviews 2020
- Replaceable jaws.
- Made of steel hence best for both metalwork and woodwork.
- Larger square inch anvil surface.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Sturdy Construction.
- Costs a fraction of other same sized vises.
- Jaws are not as flat as many technicians would like them to be.
- Only swivels 90 degrees and jaws leave marks on softer materials.
- Questionable Lockdown bolts; usually do not lockdown.
Many technicians consider Wilton 11106 Bench Vise as the best bench vise in the market. It is substantial because it is made using high strength steel. It is more vital than most vises made from forged iron or cast iron. Because of the type of iron, it is made of, its unit weight is 38.8 lbs, making it heavier than many other bench vises. Its weight is an advantage because it makes it steadier. Wilton 11106 Bench Vise features a large anvil working surface and a double lockdown swivel base. This bench vise isn’t just versatile; it is sturdy too. However, it can rotate for only 90 degrees, which some technicians consider inadequate.
It has a clamping capacity of 6in by 6in, giving it enough room to grip large objects. It has replaceable jaws, making it the first choice for many technicians. Another advantage of this bench vise is that it comes with a lifetime warranty, meaning its manufacturers are very confident with its durability and performance. Its solid build ensures its longevity, thus giving the users peace of mind while working with it. Additionally, this bench vise is easy to install, and its overall quality means it provides a good value for money.
- 120-degree swivel.
- Non-slip grip.
- Strong but lightweight.
- Replaceable steel jaw grips.
- Very easy to install.
- No mounting bolts included.
Because the TEKTON 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise is affordable, you may question its quality, more so if you had bought a cheap bench vise in the past and let you down. Far from it. Once you purchase this bench vise, you'll appreciate the fact that it is one of the best vises at its price range. No wonder. You'll find it in many workshops all over the world. But why do many technicians prefer it? The most important reason it is in many workshops is its construction. The Tekton 54004 is made of cast iron of tensile strength 30,000 PSI, making it durable and superior.
It should be able to serve you for a very long time before you think of a replacement. The bench vise has serrated steel jaws that enable it to provide a non-slip steady grip on whatever material you want it to hold. This makes work more comfortable, even if you're going to drill holes. Its jaws are replaceable, so you don't have to replace the whole vise in case the jaws get worn out. It offers a 120-degree rotation, which gives you an abundance of versatility and enough room when working. For security, it has three mounting holes that you can use to anchor it securely to the workbench. Not only that, but it also has dual lockdown locks that ensure it remains secured in one place.
- Replaceable all three jaws.
- Great clamping pressure.
- Multiuse vise.
- Rotates 360 degrees.
- Made from ductile iron, which is better than cast iron.
- Finish and fit, not the best.
- On the heavy side.
- Quite Pricey.
If you are in the market for a top-brand bench vise offering flexibility and performance, then Yost Vise 750-DI will fit the bill. This rotating vise is made of ductile iron of 60,000 PSI (two times stronger than cast iron). The bench vise has a hardened steel pin that can help you lock its jaws in place. This pin helps in making its rotation to be easier than when using a locking nut. Add to this, and its 63 lb weight makes it clamp with a force of 9,000 PSI. It is heavier than most bench vises at that weight, meaning you’ll have a durable product that can last for several years.
Its serrated jaws, five-inch, are also made of hardened steel to make their gripping surface more durable. One feature that makes many technicians like this bench vise is that its head can rotate through 360 degrees and that it has 12 locking positions. These two features will allow you to clamp objects at various angles when working on them. Despite being described as an industrial-strength vise or a heavy-duty vise, the 750-DI has proved to be a perfect medium-duty bench vise for home garage and workshop use.
- Sturdy construction.
- Very competitive price.
- Up to 240 degrees rotation.
- Easy to install.
- The center hole is too wide for the bolt.
- Not meant for heavy-duty projects.
Yost LV-4 Home Vise is an affordable small bench vise. It measures only 4-1/2 inches and is light. Its design was recently improved to make it more stable. This makes it superior to its predecessors. The Yost LV is made of cast iron, so its small size doesn’t mean it can’t perform as expected. Its jaws are made of steel to ensure they don’t get worn out easily.
The Yost LV-4’s O swivel base offers it a comfortable versatility when in use. You can rotate it for up to 240 degrees to accommodate whatever you want to work on. Despite being referred to as the cheapest bench vise, its construction is very sturdy.
The Yost LV-4 is easy to install on a bench; in fact, it doesn’t require much experience to install it. Because of its jaw opening size, it is more suitable for smaller projects and does well for securing tools when they need to be sharpened. Compared to the vises of its size, its strength is remarkable.
The only negative issue that many technicians mention about this bench vise is that its center hole is too wide. This makes it difficult for the bolt to run through the vise. All in all, it an excellent vise for home use at its price level. I would recommend it for technicians who are just starting.
- Great for light to medium use.
- Smooth operation.
- 6-in jaw width.
- Captured safety jaw prevents the slide from falling.
- Pipe jaws and anvil provide a sturdy grip.
- The product received may differ.
- Cast iron body may not be very durable.
If you are in the market for a versatile and heavy-duty bench vise, you need not look further than IRWIN Table Vise. This 6-inch bench vise has jaws made of steel to offer both durability and strength. By buying this vise, you'll have several years of service without having to worry about a replacement. The jaws allow you to hold oversized objects because of the 6-inches width. Many technicians have found that its safety jaw is very useful as it holds the slide in place, so it doesn't fall out when the vise is in use.
The IRWIN Table Vise has pipe jaws and an anvil, which enables it to have a comfortable, sturdy grip, more so because it also has a solid base weighing 30.6 lbs. This ensures the vise is safe to use since it holds materials firmly in place while being worked on. This bench vise's clamping pressure is as high as 3,000 lbs, giving it a tight grip. You'll also like most about the IRWIN Table Vise is its smooth action combined with its rotating base. It is effortless to work on because of these two features. However, remember it is not a heavy-duty bench vise as such, and you need to use it only for light to medium applications.
Bench vise Buyer's Guide
If you have a shop or garage and need the best bench vise, you need to go for a well-machined one. Nearly all vises have the same design structure, but they differ in specific details that can make you chose one over the other.
For example, nearly all of them have rotating bases, but the angles of rotation may vary. It would be more beneficial if you chose a bench vise with an anvil built into it to make it more efficient to use. Another thing to remember is that most bench vises aren't designed to provide sufficient details, and they don't provide any method of adjusting the grip's tightness accurately.
What can you use a bench vise for?
The uses of bench vises are rather obvious. They are used for holding objects in place so they can be worked on without moving. They are usually mounted on workbenches. Some applications of bench vises include holding objects while:
Drilling is an activity that requires high precision and stability. You can not drill a material when it keeps moving. Having it held firmly in place will allow you to work on it without worrying that it will move around and mess your work. Drilling requires specific measurements that can not be possible when a material to be drilled keeps slipping.
Just like in drilling, cutting also needs some accuracy. Whether you are cutting metal or wood, a bench vise is the only tool that can allow you to do the cutting easily and quickly. When a material is not firmly held, there are higher chances that it can cause an accident. Holding material in a bench vise also allows you to generate maximum power while cutting.
Gluing might not seem like an obvious application of bench vises, but it is one of the essential vises' uses. When gluing two items, you'll have a strong force to hold them together while drying. If they are not held together, they will most likely separate from one another. The force I also necessary to ensure the bond between the glued items is stronger. That's where a bench vise comes in.
It isn't easy to sand a material if it keeps moving. Holding it tightly makes the sanding process to be faster and easier. The vise provides stability to allow you to apply the pressure necessary for sanding.
The two types
Bench vises can be classified into two categories: the engineering vises and the woodworking vises. The woodworking bench vises are for holding wood, just like the name suggests. You can use them when you want to sand, cut, or plane a piece of wood. On the other hand, engineering bench vises hold metal objects. They are heavier than woodworking bench vises. The other difference between the two categories is that woodworking vises have wooden jaws, while engineering vises have metal jaws. All the vises reviewed in this guide are engineering vises. All of them have metal jaws and are heavy.
5 Main features
As stated earlier, bench vises have almost similar designs, hence similar features. This is because they serve the same purpose, which is holding objects being worked on in place. Even though they have similar features, these features may not be the same, which differentiates them.
The five main features of bench vises are:
Jaws - the object to be worked on is placed between the jaws.
Swivel - The swivel feature is found around the base of the vises. It gives you the ease of accessibility to the object being worked on.
Mount type - There are two types of bench mounting: clamp type and bolt-on type. They help secure the vise to the bench.
Anvil - An anvil can be used for placing the object being hammered. It is a flat surface that's better to use than the bench itself.
Quick-release - This is a mechanism that allows you to release an object from the vise with ease.
The internet has brought everything closer to you. You can use online stores to buy almost anything you can think of. Apart from that, you can use the internet to research a product before you purchase it. The internet has another advantage of allowing you to read what other consumers say about the product. You will also see how the consumers have rated the product. Customer ratings are critical to helping you make a purchasing decision. Today, it's rare to find a customer buying a product without first reading the customer reviews. One research showed that up to 90 percent of shoppers read at least one review before purchasing a product or visiting a business.
The same should apply when you want to buy a bench vise. Before you buy any bench vise online, read the online customer reviews concerning the product, and look at the customer ratings. Of course, you may find some customers giving poor ratings even to great products. But that should not stop you from purchasing the product. A bench vise with many four or 5-star customer ratings must be the right product even if it has some few 1 -2-star ratings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does bench vise work?
A: A bench vise has two parallel jaws used to hold the object being worked on firmly. One jaw is stationary while the other is movable. The stationary jaw is fixed to the body of the bench vise. The vise also has a threaded screw that runs through its body. There's a handle on the vise's outer end, and it's what is used to control the movement of the screw. To open or close the jaws, rotate this screw. The pressure you exert by the handle is transmitted via the screw to move the sliding jaw. When you want to hold an object, rotate the handle in an anti-clockwise direction to open the jaws. Place the object, then turn the handle in a clockwise direction to hold it in place.
Q: How many types of bench vises are there?
A: There are many types of vises. Each type is suitable for a particular purpose. Before you buy a vise, you have to be sure it will suit the work you are buying it for. All vises have unique purposes, meaning if you buy the wrong one, it will not serve you well. Below is a list of some vises you may find in the market today.
The most popular vises are the woodworking vises and the metalworking vises.
Q: What are the different types of replaceable jaw inserts?
A: A replaceable jaw insert is for mounting on either a movable or a fixed vise jaw. One of the most important jaws inserts components is the clamping member, adapted to one jaw, preferably by threaded members who should be two. The various replaceable jaw inserts include U-style inserts, T-style inserts, and screw-on inserts. Some of these inserts are more difficult to install than others. If you can't install a replaceable jaw insert, you can seek help from an expert.
Q: What are the main parts of a bench vise?
A: A bench vise has over five parts. The two main parts are the handle, the slide, the static jaw, and the dynamic jaw. Any other components are additional features. These may include a quick release and the anvil, among others. The sliding or dynamic jaw is the one that should be closer to you while using the vise. It has a handle protruding through it and is the one that opens and closes. The static or fixed body jaw doesn't move and is heavier compared to the dynamic jaw. It is usually fastened to the bench or table and remains stationary when the vise is in use.
Q: Should I choose a medium-duty or heavy-duty model?
A: The choice of a medium-duty or heavy-duty bench vise model depends on what you want to use the vise for. Is it a decision that you have to make based on an understanding of the work you want to be done and the nature of the medium-duty or heavy-duty bench vises?
Medium-duty bench vises are suitable for many applications. They can work both in workshops and at home for DIY projects. Heavy-duty bench vises are most suited for extensive use and very heavy applications. If you have a big workshop or are a professional technician, you can choose the heavy-duty bench vise.
Final Verdict & Recommendation
Buying a bench vise isn't difficult. However, if you want a tool that will suit your needs, you must do a little research. It's good you've read our review, and now you can make an informed decision. Whether you are looking for a heavy-duty bench vise for an industrial workshop or a small vise for your DIY projects, there's always a vise there for you in the market. When buying a bench vise for whatever reason, ensure the vise has all the features that can make your work easier. For example, you need a bench vise with an anvil and a swivel base for use efficiency. All the bench vises review above are of superior quality and will serve you well.