Best Woodworking Vises for the Money 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
If you want to get a great new woodworking vise but don’t want to get your wallet squeezed at the same time, you’ve come to the right place. Shopping online can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you know what you’re looking for in a woodworking vise, it can be easy to score a great deal and get a model that you’ll love using. We want to help you get to that point, which is why we’ve created this list of reviews of the best woodworking vises on the market today. For your convenience, we’ve also included a buyer’s guide which is full of great general information about woodworking vises, so that you can learn about the features you need to get and the ones that you’re better of avoiding.
Our Favorite Models Compared:
|Best Overall||Wilton 63144||
|Best Value||Yost M7WW||
|Shop Fox D4026||
The 5 Best Woodworking Vises – Reviews 2020:
1. Wilton 63144 Woodworking Vise – Best Overall
The Wilton 63144 is our top woodworking vise. It comes with a huge capacity, as it comes with jaws that can open to ten inches wide and features large jaws that are four inches tall and seven wide. It comes with a rapid release, which makes it easy to open and close these jaws and will save you a lot of time over the years. The front jaw can pivot up to ten degrees to allow you to securely hold irregularly-shaped parts, which gives you the option of working with more difficult shapes than ever before.
It also includes mounting instructions, which unlike so many other manufacturers today, means you won’t be hung out to dry when you go to mount this vise. This vise also includes maple jaw inserts which can be used to expand the jaws’ capacity even further, but many users report that the magnets used to hold them in place aren’t up to the task, so that feature is a wash. Overall, you’d be hard-pressed to find a vise with the same capacity and gripping power that you get with this vise, so if you’re looking for something reliable, this is the model for you.
2. Eclipse Woodworker’s Vise
The Eclipse EWWQR7-NA is a great choice for anyone who is considering buying a tail vise in addition to a regular woodworking vise. If you don’t want to mount two vises to your workbench, then this vise is a good choice since it can serve as both. It comes with an adjustable front stop that you can raise to use the vise as a tail vise or lower to use as a normal vise. It also comes with a quick-release trigger that makes fine-tuning the grip easy every time without having to start over from scratch.
If you’re looking for a vise with good safety features, you’re in luck with this vise, which is designed to bend down the middle, rendering it useless, before it reaches the force at which it would snap and become dangerous. It also has a good capacity with a seven-inch jaw width, which gives you a very large clamping capacity. Unfortunately, it lacks mounting instructions, which means your own your own when it comes time to mount this vise to your workbench. Overall, this is a great vise, especially if you want to use the tail vise features, but it won’t be right for everyone.
3. Yost M7WW Rapid Woodworking Vise – Best Value
If the previous model cost your eye, but you were turned off by the price tag, you’ll want to take a close look at the Yost M7WW Rapid, which has a very similar set of features but comes with a much lower price tag. Like the previous model, it can also be used as either a tail or normal vise, and the mechanism used to switch it between the two modes is very similar. It also features a quick-release trigger that makes it easy to get close to the final tightness without having to spin the handle.
This model also features a buttress thread, which makes moving the vise jaws easier. What keeps this model out of the top two is the fact that it has minor quality control problems. Most of these could be fixed at home, whether it’s sanding a part down to make it fit flush with your workbench or rotating the jaws to sit parallel with each other. Overall, this is the model you want to get if you want to save a lot of money, and don’t mind doing a little bit of extra work on your end to get it ready to go.
4. Shop Fox D4026 Wood Vise
The Shop Fox D4026 comes from a time when more people built their workbenches entirely from scratch. This vise is more of a kit that you’ll use to build your own vise, which ultimately means it will have great customizability. The jaws lack a front piece, which means you’ll have to build your own, which is potentially a fun project. It will also allow you to match the wooden jaws to the wood from which your workbench is made, which can lead to a very nice final look. It’s a good set for beginners for this reason, as it will give good experience and provide a nice look without a lot of technical mastery.
However, you have to build your own jaws. While some people might have the time to do so, that’s not something that everyone’s going to want to do. It’s also unlikely that your wooden jaws will have as much strength as the cast-iron ones that can be found on other vises. If it were a bit cheaper, we would rank this model much more highly. However, the amount of work required to get this model ready for use drops it to fourth on our list.
5. Groz Portable Vise for Woodworking
The Groz 39006 Portable vise is a good option for you if you’re looking for a vise that you don’t want permanently attached to your workbench. You can use the included clamp to attach it to the side of your table and secure it against the bottom of the work surface. It also comes with a toe-in design that means the jaws meet only at the top when completely closed and leads to slightly better grips relative to what you’d get on other models. Since you don’t have to bolt it down to use it, you can reposition it as needed, and store it when it’s not in use.
It’s also inexpensive, so if you need a vise you’ll only use occasionally, this is a good option. However, it’s not the greatest woodworking vise on the market. It comes with jaws that are on the small side relative to most other models. Its jaws also don’t open very wide, at only five inches, which leaves you with less capacity than other models have. This isn’t a terrible model, so if you’re looking for something portable, this is a good choice, but it’s not the right model for most people.
Sorting through all the available woodworking vises online can be a daunting task. If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This buyer’s guide is designed with novices in mind. You should be able to get up to speed with everything you need to know before you buy, without having to sign up for any courses or watch any videos. This is also a good resource to read if you’re looking to get a great deal on your next woodwork vise, whether you’ve owned one before or not.
The bigger your woodworking vise, the more kinds of projects you’ll be able to use. And while you may not need a large vise to get your projects done, the bigger the jaws are, the more friction they apply and the more securely your pieces are held in place. With the models on our list, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about pieces slipping out of your vise while you’re working on them, but it’s always nice to have the peace of mind that comes from having that extra grip that comes with a larger model.
Of course, you need to know your own needs. If you’re doing a lot of fine detail work on smaller pieces, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spring for the largest vice on the market. You’ll just end up wasting time opening and closing it relative to a smaller clamp, and you may find that the oversized jaws make it hard to have ready access to the surfaces on which you’ll work. That being said, you can always clamp a smaller piece on a larger vise, but you can’t clamp a piece that’s too large on a smaller vise.
Ease of use
Ease of use may not dramatically change the price for which the vise is sold, but it is one of those factors that can majorly affect how much you like using your vise. We all know that we end up using the tools we like more than those we don’t, even if they’re not strictly necessary for a given project. So, it’s typically a good idea to invest in a model that you’ll find easy to use and like using.
A big feature that can create this feeling in a woodworking vise is a quick-release mechanism. This allows you to temporarily take the vise off its track and get it close to its final location, before putting it back on its track and turning the handle to tighten it. This saves you a lot of time that you would have otherwise spend repeatedly turning the handle.
With the models on our list, you shouldn’t have to worry about quality. However, there are some things you should keep in mind in general when looking at woodworking vises. For instance, you want a central support column, the big bar that runs down the middle, to be made from steel. There’s a lot of force applied to this bar while you clamp, so it’s important that it can survive that force, and steel is the best metal on the market today for that kind of operation.
You can be a bit more flexible when it comes to the material from which the vice jaws are made. Some models have you make your own jaws out of wood, but if you’re looking for durability and top-level clamping power, you should get a model that features cast-iron or steel jaws, as they’ll be far stronger in the long run.
Which woodworking vise is right for you?
As with all tools, it’s important that you invest in a model that you’ll get a lot of benefit from. Getting good value isn’t just about spending as little money as possible, so much as it is about getting a tool that works well and that you’ll like using, without spending too much money.
Consequently, which tool is the best overall value will vary from person to person. The best way you can figure out which model is the best value for you is to figure out what your needs are. Think about the projects that you know you’re going to do in the future, and then factor in the projects that you think you might like to do as well.
What will your vise need to be able to do to complete those projects? Make a list of vises that meet those needs, and then you have a list of vises that will provide great value. A good way to maximize your value is to invest in the cheapest model that covers those needs.
You may also want to read our more general bench vise guide found here.
The Wilton 63144 is our top woodworking vise due to its big capacity, rapid release, and included mounting instructions. The Eclipse EWWQR7-NA can function as a normal vise or tail vise, and comes with good safety features, but a lack of mounting instructions costs it first place. The Yost M7WW Rapid is our choice for best for the money and is very similar to the previous model in terms of function, but some minor quality control problems keep it out of the top two. The Shop Fox D4026 allows you to build your own vise, which is something that will appeal to some and drive others away, and given its relatively high price, it earns fourth place. The Groz 39006 Portable vise is inexpensive and portable, but it’s small jaws, and opening leave it in the last place.
While it’s not always easy to shop online, we hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you understand these vises better and find one that you’ll love using long into the future.
- Our Favorite Models Compared:
- The 5 Best Woodworking Vises – Reviews 2020:
- Buying Guide