Best Bench Vises of 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews

Work holder and viseChances are that you’ve probably used a bench vise before, even if it was just at school. A bench vise is a mechanical device that is used to securely hold materials such as wood and metal. They attach directly to workbenches, hence the name bench vise! A screw mechanism allows the two flat jaws to be brought together smoothly, safely securing the material enclosed without causing any damage.

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSITEM WEIGHTUSER RATINGPRICE
Yost Vises 750-DI
Yost Vises 750-DI

62.9 pounds

4.7/5

$$$$$
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Wilton 11106
Wilton 11106
16.6 x 8 x 8.4 inches
38.8 pounds
4.5/5




$$$
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TEKTON 54004
TEKTON 54004
10.8 x 5 x 5.6 inches
13.2 pounds
4.5/5



$$
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Yost LV-4 Home Vise
Yost LV-4 Home Vise
11 x 11 x 7.5 inches
10.8 pounds
4.4/5

$
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IRWIN 226306ZR
18.1 x 9.8 x 9.8 inches
32.2 pounds
4.2/5



$$$$
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If you ever need to work with wood and metal or any other materials then you need a bench vise. To be able to securely fix a piece of material in one place and know that it is safe and secure, is very important. The main benefits of a bench vise are that they offer stability and grip which means that your work becomes much quicker, easier and thus of higher quality. Needless to say, there are many reasons why you should consider buying the best bench vise!


The Best Bench Vises of 2017

To the untrained eye, many bench vises will look much the same. But the very material from which vises are made to the features such as the swivel can make a big difference between products. That’s why we’ve created a list of bench vise reviews to help you make your decision quickly and easily. Our detailed reviews will help you narrow down the many options. We’ve even created a buying guide full of tips so that you can quickly become a bench vise expert! Let’s take a look!

1. Wilton 11106 – Our Top Pick

Wilton 11106The best bench vise on the market, the Wilton 11106 is made from high strength steel. This is particularly advantageous as most vises are actually made out of cast-iron or forged iron which are simply not as strong. This is reflected in the unit’s weight which is 38.8lbs. It’s not the lightest vise on the market but this really isn’t an important factor. Featuring a double lock down swivel base and a large anvil work surface, the Wilton 11106 is not just sturdy, it’s relatively versatile too. However, it only swivels 90 degrees which may not be enough for some.

A clamping capacity of 6-inches by 6-inches, there’s plenty of room for this vise to grip big objects. What’s more, the vise jaws are replaceable. One thing that consumers will particularly appreciate about this vise is the lifetime warranty that comes with it. While the solid build of this vise should ensure its longevity, the lifetime warranty can naturally provide some peace of mind should any problem arise. This vise is easy to install and the overall quality means that it is a very good value choice with little to no real downsides.

Pros

  • Made of steel
  • Replaceable jaws
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Only swivels 90 degrees

2. TEKTON 54004 – Best for the Money

TEKTON 54004It’s normal to take a look at the low price of the Tekton 54004 and question the quality, particularly if you’ve bought cheap vises in the past and had to replace them. You’ll be happy to hear that this bench vise is the best bench vise for the money. So what makes it so good? First of all, there’s the construction. Made of 30,000 PSI cast iron, it’s nice and durable and should last a long time. Serrated steel jaws provide a very steady and non-slip grip which makes work that little bit easier. These very jaws are replaceable too, allowing you to keep the vise going even after lots of wear and tear.

We really like the 120-degree swivel base which allows you, the user, plenty of versatility when working. Security is provided in the form of three mounting holes which anchor the vise securely to your workbench. Dual lock down nuts also keep your bench vise securely in place. Overall this is a particularly good vise for the homeowner with small DIY projects. The only real disadvantage of this vise is that mounting bolts are not included but this is a small issue.

Pros

  • Non-slip grip
  • 120-degree swivel

Cons

  • Mounting bolts not included

3. Yost Vises 750-DI – Really Solid High-End

Yost Vises 750-DIIf you’re looking for a high-end bench vise that offers solid overall performance and flexibility, the Yost Vises 750-DI is a great choice. This is a very rugged vise due to the construction from heavy-duty 60,000 PSI ductile iron. Add to this the 63-lbs in weight (much heavier than most of the competition) and you’ve got a very durable product that can clamp with an impressive 9,000 PSI of force. This clamping pressure is in part down to the self-align pipe jaws that offer multiple contact points. In fact, these jaws are made from hardened steel, offering durability and longevity. The other reason for the increased pressure is the large size of the screw and nut.

One of the best features of the 750-DI is that the vise head can rotate 360 degrees with 12 different locking positions which means that you can clamp projects at various angles. The pull pin locking mechanism makes all of this very straightforward. The only real cons of the 750-DI are the cost and the weight but when you consider the quality on offer, these are not too much of a problem.

Pros

  • Rotates 360 degrees
  • Great clamping pressure

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • On the heavy side

4. Yost LV-4 Home Vise – A Cheap Amazon Best Seller

Yost LV-4 Home ViseIf budget limits the bench vises available to you, the Yost LV-4 is definitely a viable option. By far the cheapest bench vise in this list, it’s a popular choice online on the likes of Amazon. The 4-inch vise has an O swivel base, offering a degree of versatility when working. In fact, the vise can be rotated up to 240 degrees. Despite the cheap price tag, the Yost LV-4 has a sturdy enough construction. It’s made of cast iron while the jaws of this bench vise are made of steel.

It’s a unit that can be easily installed making it ideal for use at home workshops, for example. While this is great quality for a low price, this vise is not really for more heavy-duty projects. One relatively common problem of the LV-4 vise is that the center hole is too big for the bolt that runs through the unit. As such, this can make locking the bench vise into position. In summary, this is a great value bench vise for low to moderate use at home. Those looking for a vise for more heavy-duty projects may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Very competitive price
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Not for heavy-duty projects
  • Center hole is too big for the bolt

5. IRWIN 226306ZR – Worth Considering

The Irwin 226306ZR is a 6-inch heavy-duty bench vise. The fixed main jaws are made of steel which offers good strength and durability. The jaws provide a plentiful width of 6-inches. One particularly useful feature is the captured safety jaw which prevents the slide from falling out during use. The unit is incorporated with anvil and pipe jaws which provide a nice sturdy grip while the 30.6 lbs weight is a solid base. It has a strong clamping pressure of up to 3000 lbs. In general, consumers seem to be happy with the smooth action of the 226306ZR as well as the rotating base and its reliable locking feature.

While this is one bench vise worth considering, there are a few issues that you should be aware of. This is not a heavy-duty vise and is best for light to medium use and there are some questions over the long-term durability of this bench vise. This is partly down to the cast iron body which simply isn’t as strong as other, more expensive options on the market. What’s more, many who have purchased from Amazon have claimed that the product received was different to that listed.

Pros

  • Smooth operation
  • Great for light to medium use

Cons

  • Cast iron body may lack durability
  • Product received may differ

Bench Vise Buying Guide

What you can use a bench vise for

A bench vise is a pretty self-explanatory piece of equipment. It securely holds something in place and offers a degree of versatility when mounted onto a workbench or similar. So what exactly can you do with a bench vise? We’ll now take a look at a few of the tasks a bench vise can allow you to do, some of which you may not have considered!

  • Cutting: Whether you’re working with wood or metal, a bench vise can allow you to cut through the material not only quicker and easier, but better. With the material firmly fastened in place, you don’t need to worry about it moving and you can generate more power when using a saw, for example.
  • Drilling: Drilling requires a great deal of stability and precision. Having material fixed in place allows you to do this without worrying about it moving and making a mess of your work. In fact, like cutting, drilling often requires very specific measurements and markings. It’s much easier to do this precisely with a bench vise.
  • Sanding: A sanding project can take some time. However this is made quicker by having a bench vise which provides stability when you need to apply pressure. It also reduces the chances of accidental damage so that your sanding project goes nice and smoothly.
  • Gluing: It may not seem the most obvious of uses, but a bench vise can be very helpful when gluing materials. With a project fixed in places, you can easily apply glue in the precise areas and make sure the whole thing is well-positioned until you’re confident that it has fully dried.

The 2 types of bench vise

There are two main types of bench vise to be found. There’s the woodworking vise and the engineering vise. The former is (as the name suggests) for holding wood so that it can be planed, cut or sanded. It has wooden jaws that protect the wood that it holds. The engineering vise has metal jaws and is designed for holding metal objects. This type tends to be heavier. The bench vises we have covered in this guide are engineering vises with flat metal jaws (for the most part).

5 Main features

At the end of the day, most vises are pretty similar. They all have the same intention. However, there are still some features to explore that can help separate one bench vise from another. The most important are the jaws of the vise but features such as the swivel, anvil and quick release are also very useful.

  1. Jaws
    The most important feature of a vise, the jaws open (actually one opens and the other is stationary) and close so that you can place objects between them. When you’re shopping for a bench vise you’ll want to consider not only the size of the jaws (how far they open) but also the style of the jaws. Flat jaws are the most common and are best at holding flat objects such as planks of wood. V-jaws are able to hold other round items such as metal tubing. Some vise jaws are replaceable which is useful if they suffer wear and tear from extensive use.
  2. Swivel
    The swivel feature in a vise is very useful and adds a great deal of flexibility to projects. The most common type of swivel that you can find on a bench vise is around the base. Being able to swivel an object means that you can get better access to it whether you’re trying to cut or sand, for example. As such, it can make a project so much easier.
  3. Mount type
    Bench vises typically have one of two types of mounting interface. There’s the bolt-on type and the clamp type. The bolt-on type has 4 bolts that help secure the bench vise to your work surface. This is the heavy-duty way of fixing your bench vise and is essential if you’re planning to use significant clamping pressure. Clamp type bench vises are easier to install but lack the security of the bolt-on. These are fine for lighter applications but otherwise a bolt-on is advised.
  4. Anvil
    Some bench vises have an anvil which is a flat and durable surface. As such, when you need to strike a material (with a hammer for example), you can apply this repeatedly heavy pressure over the anvil instead of the workbench itself. This prevents any damage from occurring not only to the surface but your tools and materials as well.
  5. Quick release
    The quick release of a bench vise means that you don’t have to twist the spindle manually each time you want to release an object from its jaws. This makes the process quicker and easier. Not all bench vises include this feature so keep an eye on the product description if the quick release is something that particularly interests you.

Bench Vise FAQ

So much information about bench vises is bound to produce a few questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked bench vise questions, with some simple answers for your convenience.

What are the main parts of a bench vise?

The main parts of a bench vise are the dynamic jaw (the one that moves), the static jaw, the slide and the handle. Anything else would be an additional feature such as an anvil or a quick release.

Should I choose a medium duty or heavy-duty bench vise?

This really depends on how often you’re planning to use your bench vise. A medium duty bench vise is fine for most applications while a heavy-duty vise is best for the heaviest of applications and extensive use. If you’re a professional, go for the latter.

How important is a swivel base?

A swivel base is by no means essential but it can provide versatility when working. If you need to position a long piece of wood or metal at an odd angle for specific cutting or sanding then it’s certainly useful. However some say that having a fixed base is much more secure.

What are the different types of replaceable jaw inserts?

The various replaceable jaw inserts are as follows: screw-on inserts, T-style inserts, and U-style inserts. Some are more difficult to install than others.

Are there any particular things I should look for in a bench vise?

It’s useful to know where the bench vise was manufactured as that can provide an indication of the quality of construction. The shape of the jaws is also important, depending on the type of materials you use.

A few pointers

We’re confident that our reviews and buying guide will help you to buy a great bench vise. But as always with any tools, there are always a few useful pointers to help you get the best out of it. These are particularly important when it comes to matters of safety.

  • Don’t use the jaws of the vise as an anvil! If you would like an anvil, try to look for a bench vise that has one. After all, you don’t want to damage the jaws of your vise.
  • Wearing protective equipment over the eyes is highly recommended, particularly when drilling and hammering at materials.
  • Make sure you choose the right vise for you. Don’t try to do heavy-duty work on a light vise because you could well damage it or cause injury.
  • The bench vise must be securely attached to your workbench. Do not go ahead with work if you sense it is in any way unstable. Bolt-on bench vises are the most secure.
  • Carry out regular checks on your vise, much like any other tool. Signs of wear and tear should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

Buying a bench vise may seem simple enough but if you want a vise that is going to perfectly suit your needs then it’s always good to do a little research. Thankfully you have saved a lot of time by reading our comprehensive guide of bench vises in 2017! As we’ve discovered, there is a range of bench vises available to suit all budgets.

Whether you’re looking for a basic bench vise for light duty DIY or something with all of the bells and whistles for everyday work, there’s something out there for you. Bench vises can come with a range of excellent features including a swivel base and an anvil. Thinking about the type of work you plan to do can help you decide which of these features are necessary.

So there you have it! With the best knowledge and guidance you can go a long way to finding a great bench vise. What’s more, you hopefully now have a good idea of the many ways in which you can use it. We hope that this helps you in reaching a decision.