Portable workbenches used to weigh a lot, yet not be able to handle that much weight themselves. That made them more of a stopgap than a truly portable solution, however, today’s models are lighter and stronger than ever, so if you’ve never owned a portable workbench before or need to purchase a new one, there’s never been a better time to buy.
Of course, when you shop online, it can be hard to tell if you’re getting a good deal, or if the bench won’t work as well as you expect it to. We all know that manufacturers are willing to downplay any flaws, and often advertise features that aren’t useful.
That’s why we’ve written these reviews of the best portable workbenches for 2020, which makes it easy to see which benches held up to scrutiny. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, so you can learn everything you need to know about portable workbenches before you buy.
|Kreg KWS1000 Folding Workbench|
|WORX Pegasus WX051||3 years||4.70/5|
|Keter Folding Workbench 197283|
|BLACK+DECKER WM125 Workmate 125||2 years||4.35/5|
|Goplus Folding Work Bench 11AA||4.15/5|
The Kreg KWS1000 Folding Workbench is a great choice for anyone who wants a durable, portable workbench that can take a beating and keep on going. It comes with features that make it quick and easy to fold down, which means you can move it around the job site or between job sites with little fuss. It also features multiple configurations that allow you to use it as a workbench, a sawhorse, or you can add a second unit and some plywood to create a very large workbench. It also comes with built-in storage trays that allow you to carry hardware with you on the go.
Adding to the value are the included clamp and bench dogs, which makes holding wood in place during a cut easy, even if you’re working by yourself. The one knock against this model is that it weighs just under 40 pounds, which means it’s heavy, and a bit cumbersome while you move it. This is directly related to how well made it is, so it’s a clear case where the manufacturer added strength at the expense of weight. If you’re looking for a great option, then this is for sure one of the best folding workbenches on the market right now.
The WORX Pegasus WX051 is a good choice for someone who wants a table that’s similar to the previous model but wants to get something much lighter. This model weighs about 30 pounds, or around ten pounds less than the previous entry, which makes a big difference while moving it around. Also, like the previous model, it can be used in multiple different configurations, including as a regular table or as a sawhorse. It’s also very sturdy, holding up to 300 pounds in table mode, or a whopping 1,000 pounds in its sawhorse configuration.
It comes with two built-in clamps, and some bench dogs to help you get things tightened. The tabletop is plastic, and if you put too much pressure on the clamps, it can cause the table to warp or shake. That means the clamping won’t always be as tight as you’d expect. Whether that’s a deal-breaker for you depends on how much clamping you plan to do. If a lot, you may want to choose a different model, but if you’re looking for something that can support as much weight as our top model, but weighs about 25% less, check out this model.
The Keter Folding Workbench 197283 is a great choice for someone who wants a durable table but doesn’t want to pay through the nose to get it. It supports up to 1000 pounds, which makes it one of the sturdiest portable tables on the market. It also folds down into the smallest form of any of our selected models. When folded down, it is about the size of a thin, long suitcase, and it features a carrying handle that makes it reminiscent of such a device.
It comes with two clamps that make it easy to secure the materials you’re working on. But, best of all, it comes at a great price, as it’s available for a fraction of what first two models on our list cost. While that does lead to some questions about its overall durability, most parts hold up well. The handle is a point of concern, and many customers report that it has failed. Given that it only weighs 30 pounds, that is a problem, but it’s one you can overcome if you’d rather save money. While this won’t be the right bench for everyone, it’s a good choice for those looking for a deal.
There are good deals, and then there are prices so good it’s hard to figure out how you’re getting such good value. The BLACK+DECKER WM125 Workmate 125 is a traditionally-styled portable workbench with a wooden top and steel frame, that will hold up well to most kinds of use and abuse. It weighs less than 20 pounds, so it’s one of the best choices on our list in terms of portability. It also folds flat, which makes it easy to transport, but also makes it possible to mount it on the wall when it’s not in use, and that means it’s easier to store than most models on our list.
You can also get it for a fraction of the cost of our first three models, which makes it something of a steal. The only downside is that the work surface is a bit on the small side. You’re going to use this workbench for holding wood in place while you cut, or for holding small power tools, but with a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds, it’s not going to have the same maximum potential as other tools in this category.
The Goplus Folding Work Bench 11AA is another traditional-style portable workbench. It is very inexpensive, which is the best thing it has going for it, though it does have some unique features. It concludes a ruler down one side of the table, which is useful for situations where a rough cut is okay and where you don’t have easy access to a tape measure. It also comes with four bench dogs, and 24 different pre-drilled holes for placing them, which means it’s easy to hold a board down, even if it’s awkwardly shaped.
However, this model suffers from quality control problems. The holes for the bench dogs aren’t always properly drilled, meaning they sometimes don’t fit or aren’t held tightly. It’s also not the sturdiest table, even when you’re only using lighter tools and woods on top of it. Unstable workbenches are a pain to deal with and make it easy to make small mistakes that result in the final pieces not fitting together correctly. Given those two problems, this model is likely to be a frustrating one for most people. If you’re looking to have a worry-free experience, then you’re better off considering a different model.
We hope that our reviews already have you thinking about the features that you’d like to see in your next portable workbench. If you’re still not sure which model is right for you, be sure to check out our buyer’s guide. We’ve stocked it full of great general information about portable workbenches so that a beginner can get up to speed on all the available features before they make their decision. It also serves as a good refresher course for someone who’s buying a new portable workbench for the first time in years and wants to get up to speed with what’s new in the market.
While sturdiness might sound like a weird first thing to talk about when dealing with portable workbenches, we live in a time where you can have your cake and eat it too. Namely, you can have a sturdy workbench that is also very portable. The big question here is about how much sturdiness you need.
You can get portable workbenches with steel frames and durable plastic tops. Or you can get them made from aluminum and lower-quality plastic, or you can even find them made from steel and wood, in a more traditional style. Steel frames are going to be the sturdiest ones, and they’ll shake the least when you have something clamped down and are cutting it.
Plastic tabletops may make you uncomfortable, but they’re lightweight, and the best ones are as durable as a comparable wooded one. Most feature webbing underneath that adds a lot of strength without adding a lot of weight as well. It’s important that you take care of that webbing because you stand to lose a lot of sturdiness if it is damaged.
When you get a portable workbench, it’s important that it’s as portable as possible. One of the biggest factors in portability is weight. The heaviest model on our list is just under 40 pounds, while the lightest weighs less than 20. That means you have a lot of options on the market currently and have to choose what features you value the most. The sturdiest models and the ones that can support the most weight are going to be heavier than those that are less sturdy and support less weight.
However, weight isn’t the only factor in portability. How the workbench folds down can make a huge difference in how easy it is to move. Some models fold down flat or fold down with their legs stored internally, which makes them easy to move around. Others come with handles or other carrying devices that give you an easy place to hold them while you move. Keep these factors in mind while you look for the right model for you.
How much weight a table can support should be a big factor in your decision. Some models today can support 1,000 pounds, while mid-range models can support around 400 pounds. That’s a huge difference, and it has the potential to dramatically affect what you can do with the workbench. It’s worth considering, however, if you’re ever going to be in a situation where you’ll need to support more than 400 pounds on your workbench.
For most homeowners, that’s probably not going to ever be something you’re worried about. All that extra support is nice, but you may waste it if you’re primarily using the portable workbench at home. However, if you’re going to be using it in construction or industrial work, there’s a non-negligible chance that you’re going to need that extra support. If you do, make sure that you spend a bit more and invest in a workbench that’s up to the task.
Not all workbenches come clamps, and some don’t come with or support bench dogs, either. If you’re going to be doing a lot of cutting using the workbench, clamps and bench dogs can be invaluable. The ability to clamp wood down before you cut is necessary if you want to get a high-quality cut. Consequently, you need to take special notice of what kinds of clamps and bench dogs are included. Not all clamps that are included are high-quality, which is a shame.
More concerning is the fact that you’re not always able to use your own clamps with a given workbench. The plastic webbing on the bottom of most plastic tabletops means that you can’t find a good position to add an aftermarket clamp. Or, you stand to damage your workbench if you do use one. If you need the most clamping power available, you may be better off investing in a table with a wooden top.
There are a lot of features and models to consider, and there’s a chance that the selection process might begin to feel overwhelmed. If you find yourself in that state, take a moment to write down all of the features that you must have on your next portable workbench.
Once you have that list, you have a ready-made way of narrowing down the models. If they don’t have the features you need, move on. Once you’ve crafted a shortlist of models that meet your needs, then you have some options. All the remaining models will be good buys, but the cheapest one on the list has all the features you need and will provide the best value. Or, you can spend a bit more and invest in a model that has features you don’t need, but that you might like to have.
Another option would also be to build the workbench yourself from scratch. It’s actually not that hard when you have the right plans.
The Kreg KWS1000 Folding Workbench is our top choice among portable workbenches due to its easy folding, multiple configurations, and built-in storage. The WORX Pegasus WX051 weighs less than our top choice, also features multiple configurations, and includes clamps and bench dogs, but its flexible, plastic surface keeps it out of the top position. The Keter Folding Workbench 197283 supports up to 1,000 pounds, folds down to a small form factor, and comes at a great price, making it the best value on our list. The BLACK+DECKER WM125 Workmate 125 features a lightweight but sturdy steel frame, and if it weren’t for how small it is, it would rank higher than fourth. The Goplus Folding Work Bench 11AA is cheap and includes a useful ruler, but its poor quality control and unstable frame drop it to the bottom of our list.
We hope that our reviews and our buyer’s guide have helped you learn about portable workbenches. You should now be able to use that information to find the model that’s right for you.
Here are some ideas, if you want to build your own:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!