5 Best Woodworking Benches of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
A great woodworking bench can enhance your experience, whether you’re working wood for fun or profit. While there are a lot of great models out there, we all know that some manufacturers are more concerned with their profits than your experience, and you don’t want to get burned on a purchase of this size.
Unfortunately, it’s not always clear which woodworking benches are a great deal and which will leave you with regrets when shopping online. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of the best woodworking benches of 2020.
Our reviews cover the good features and downsides to each model so you can understand what you’re getting before you spend your hard-earned money. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, so you can learn all about these great items and how to evaluate them like a pro.
Our Favorite Products of 2020 Compared
|Best Overall||Olympia Tools 84-906 Hard Wood Workbench||
|Sjobergs SJO-33283 Birch Workbench||
|Best Value||2x4basics Workbench||
|Keter Workbench Work Table 197283||
|Windsor Design Workbench with 4 Drawers||
The 5 Best Woodworking Benches
1. Olympia Woodworking Bench – Best Overall
The Olympia Tools 84-906 Hard Wood Workbench is the best woodworking bench you can find on the market today. Unlike a lot of benches, this one comes with a vise included, which greatly expands what you can do for the price. It also has a drawer beneath the main working area which is useful for storing smaller tools, and a bench between the legs that gives you the space you need to store larger tools. The lacquer finish is well-done and will go a long way towards keeping your bench in great shape for years to come.
This bench is also straightforward to assemble. That’s a good thing, since the instructions are a mess, and sometimes reference hardware that you don’t have, or that wouldn’t fit the workbench pieces you have. Still, even without instructions, most people have an easy time putting this workbench together, though that is something to keep in mind if you’re not a handy person. For the price, the value is very good. Overall, if you’re looking for a sturdy, durable workbench with a vise, you’ll be very happy with this model.
2. Sjobergs Woodworking Workbench
The best thing about the Sjobergs SJO-33283 Birch Workbench is that it comes with a hard birch top. That makes it one of the most durable worksurfaces you’ll find in a premade workbench. It’s hard to scratch, hard to ding, and looks great, too. It’s easily the best working surface that can be found on this list. This model also has a pair of vises, one on the front and one on the side, giving you the option to secure multiple objects at the same time, or just secure the one you want to work on in the more convenient place.
This model is also very easy to assemble. It comes with excellent assembly instructions, which means it can be completed by most people in record time. If you’re willing to pay a premium for a no-fuss model, you’ll really like this one. The one downside is that it doesn’t come with as much storage space as the previous model, which is a bummer. However, if you don’t need the storage space, and are looking for the most durable and best work surface out there, this is the model for you.
3. Hopkins Woodworking Bench – Best Value
The Hopkins 90164 2x4basics Work Bench is worth looking into if you want to save some money and are willing to put a little elbow grease into assembly. This kit includes brackets that allow you to build your own workbench. You just have to provide the lumber yourself. Depending on where you live and what quality of lumber you use, you could save a lot of money by buying this kit, making it the best overall for the money. Plus, you get the experience of building your workbench. That way, you can choose the surface quality and go as high or low as your budget dictates.
This model also comes with brackets for building shelves beneath the workbench, as well as smaller ones that can rest on top. Overall, the cuts are simple, and you can build the workbench of your dreams, without having to worry about fitting everything together. What ultimately keeps this great kit out of the top two is the fact that it requires you to provide your own lumber, which isn’t always convenient. Still, if you’re looking to save money or customize your workbench, you’ll appreciate this model.
4. Keter Workbench Work Table
The Keter Workbench Work Table 197283 might spark your interest if you were looking for a high-quality woodworking bench that wasn’t made from wood. While this table is made with primarily plastic parts, it’s incredibly strong, and can support up to 1000 pounds on its work surface, making it a versatile pick. It also comes with a pair of 12-inch clamps, so you can work on your projects right away. The highlight of this model, however, is that the legs fold down, allowing the body to fold up to roughly the size of a suitcase. Since it only weighs about 27 pounds, it’s a very portable workbench.
If you’re looking for a workbench you can move around, you may end up really liking this one. However, it’s not without flaw. The poor included instructions make assembly far more painful than it needs to be, and this is a model with a lot of moving parts, so getting it assembled correctly is extremely important. It also sometimes ships with uneven legs, which is a pain to deal with. Overall, the price isn’t bad, but the quality leaves something to be desired.
5. Windsor Wood Workbench with Drawers
The Windsor Design Workbench with 4 Drawers is priced like a mid-grade woodworking bench, but many will wonder if they’re getting the value that they paid for when they receive it. The big upside is that it comes with four very large drawers, which gives you a lot of storage nearby. While they’re not strong enough to hold your heavier tools, you’ll be able to keep a lot of what you’ll need on hand, but out of the way when not in use. This model also has an included clamp of decent quality. Despite its complexity, it remains easy to assemble, which will be a huge plus for many.
However, for the price, the quality is underwhelming. Many users report that the bench starts to break down within a year, even when used sparingly. That’s a bad sign, as it may not last that long relative to other workbenches, yet last long enough that you can’t return it. The holes in the top for the bench dogs also allow sawdust to get into the drawers, which is an annoying design flaw. Overall, this design has some things going for it, but the value isn’t that great.
We hope our reviews have already led to a model you love. If that hasn’t happened to you, don’t worry. This guide is packed full of useful information about woodworking benches, designed to help you better understand them, and learn to see them as a pro would so you can make a well-informed decision. We’ve also included some tips on getting great value for your money, so you should be able to come away with a great model at a great price after reading this guide.
Wood quality (weight capacity)
When shopping for woodworking benches, the most important feature is arguably the quality of the wood. The better this is, the better the bench will hold up over time, and the better it will resist dings and scratches. Generally speaking, the number one problem that inferior wood experiences is dings and scratches, due to the fact that you’re using tools on it. No matter how careful you are, something will eventually slip and hit your work surface. That’s normal, and to be expected.
However, harder, more expensive woods do a better job at resisting dings and scratches when that happens. While you may not care about the damage if it’s merely cosmetic, large dings can leave you with pits that catch your work while you’re sliding it around, which can be annoying. In extreme cases, you may affect the structural integrity of the work surface with a poorly placed strike.
It’s generally a good idea to invest as much as possible in the work surface, even if you don’t end up using the same great wood throughout the table. Using plywood or other lighter woods for support pieces isn’t a big deal, since they still provide plenty of support, but cost less and don’t need to be as resilient.
If your tool bench doesn’t come with varnish or lacquer on it, it may be a good idea to add one, especially if you live in a humid environment. It’s an inexpensive investment that could add many years to the life of your woodworking bench.
Storage is another area in which woodworking benches differ from each other. Even at the same price point, you can gain or lose a lot of value when it comes to the provided storage solutions. You’ll want to make sure that you get a good storage solution and one which you’ll find use for.
The good news is that there are a lot of different options available when it comes to shopping for woodworking benches. If you have a lot of small, lightweight tools you’d like to keep on hand but out of the way while you’re working, getting a bench with one or more drawers will be a great investment. While these drawers won’t be able to hold a lot of weight, or large tools, they will let you keep screwdrivers, hammers, and other small tools nearby.
Not all woodworking benches come with drawers, so if it’s a feature you value, make sure you’re looking at benches that come with them.
Most woodworking benches come with a lower storage shelf of some sort. On some models, it’s very large and easy to access. On others, it’s small or partially obscured, which can be a pain. And, of course, the amount of weight it can support varies based on the wood or other material from which it is made. Generally, these shelves are useful for storing larger tools like planes or electric power tools, but you could also use them for storing lumber that you’ll be using soon.
Overall, there’s no right storage solution for all people, but if you figure out what your needs are beforehand, you can choose a model that works for you.
Clamps and vises can add a lot of value to your workbench, though many users will eventually or already wish to upgrade to a better model. It’s not that you can’t get a decent clamp or vise on your premade woodworking bench, but you can ultimately get a better clamp or vise for not too much money on the aftermarket. If you’re looking for a model that comes with clamps with a steel or cast-iron frame or connecting rods, you’ll probably be disappointed with what you can find included.
If you’re looking to customize your woodworking bench with a new clamp in the future, you’ll first want to make sure that your bench is up to the job. Most clamps tend to be heavier than those you’ll find included with the table. Consequently, you may end up needing to upgrade the surface or some of the supporting pieces to accommodate it. For most woodworkers, that won’t be too much of a big deal, but it’s something to keep in mind while you’re buying. Some models are made readier to accept an aftermarket clamp than others.
However, if you don’t regularly use clamps or vises, you may be content with the one that comes with the table. You may still wish to upgrade to a better vise in the future as you move on to bigger and more ambitious projects, but you can make do with what’s included if you’re just getting started.
Which woodworking bench is right for you?
Given the different sizes, shapes, storage solutions, and materials from which a woodworking bench can be made, there’s no way that one model is going to be the right one for all people.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’d like to invest in a model that can be heavily customized, or in one that pretty much looks the same no matter who builds it. If you’re looking for the former, get a set that includes brackets. You have to provide your own wood, but these kits give you the greatest flexibility when it comes to choosing what your bench is like.
Premade kits are easier to assemble since they come with all the parts you’ll need. However, you won’t be able to customize them nearly as much.
Once you’ve decided which type is right for you, you’ll need to pick the right model. Many people focus on the most or least expensive options, but it’s a better idea to make your workbench fit you, rather than the other way around.
If you make a list of all the features you’d like to have in your next workbench and limit your search to the models with those features, you’ll be off to a good start. If you rank them by price and choose the most affordable entry, you’ll typically get the best value for your money, since you’re getting the features you need to have a great experience, at the lowest overall price.
The Olympia Tools 84-906 Hard Wood Workbench is the best overall woodworking bench on our list due to its great vise, excellent storage options for large and small tools, and its clear lacquer finish, which sets it apart from other models on our list. In second is the Sjobergs SJO-33283 Birch Workbench, which comes with the best overall work surface on our list, though its high price makes it a premium option that not all will be willing to spring for. The Hopkins 90164 2x4basics Work Bench allows users to customize their workbench and comes with a set of shelves and a low price, making it the best overall value for the money. The Keter Workbench Work Table 197283 is portable, strong, and includes clamps, but its poor instructions and sometimes uneven legs make it a poor choice for most. In last is the Windsor Design Workbench with 4 Drawers, which includes great drawers and easy assembly but has faltering quality that drops it to the last place on our list.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you learn about woodworking benches and helped you find the right model at the right price.
We’ve also collected some of our favorite plans:
- 7 Free Folding Workbench Plans You Can DIY Today
- 17 Free Woodworking Workbench Plans You can DIY Today
If you’re looking for a very specific customized workbench or consider yourself handy enough to build one yourself, there are a variety of different workbench plans available online. Whether you want a workbench that’s on wheels, one that can fold up to be stored away when it’s not in use, or one that’s made out of upcycled materials, check out these free workbench plans from Insteading.com. Of course, only build a workbench from scratch if you feel confident in your carpentry skills. If you don’t feel ready for a project like this, leave it to the experts and invest in one of the high-quality workbenches listed above.
- Our Favorite Products of 2020 Compared
- The 5 Best Woodworking Benches
- Buyer’s Guide