It happens far too often – you’re working on a delicate new project when suddenly your hand slips. One of two things can happen – either you damage a section of your project (that’s the good news) or you injure your hand. Whatever the outcome, neither is good.
Want to avoid these inconveniences from occurring? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled together a list of the top bench vises on the market to ensure that you and your projects won’t come into harm’s way. Read on to find out what high-quality products you should consider.
The Best Bench Vise
The LV-4 Home Vise – painted with a durable blue powder coat – features a newly-improved base. Working with oddly-shaped products has never been easier due to the 240-degree rotation this vise offers. And don’t worry about mounting – the base features four pre-created mounting holes. All you need is the 3/8-inch bolts (sold separately), and you’ll be good to go.
The Acme Threaded Main Screw is zinc plated and highly durable. One feature that we love is the locking C collar, which handily provides quick engagement and disengagement of the main screw. However, the Pipe and Machinist Jaws cannot be beaten and are a commendable 4.5-inches wide. Considering Pipe Jaws aren’t usually found on inexpensive models, we highly recommend this vise.
- Four mounting holes to insert bolts when mounting vise to the workbench allows for easy installation
- Durable zinc plated main screw uses an Acme Thread and equipped with a locking C collar
- Ideal for working with oddly-shaped objects due to rotating base of up to 240-degrees
- 4.5 Jaw Width with 3" Jaw Opening available
- Able to hold small pipes and tubes thanks to pipe jaws
- Brand Yost Tools
- Model LV-4
- Weight 10.6 pounds
This blue-steeled light-duty beauty is ideal for small jobs that need to be completed on the go or for onsite construction. Only weighing four pounds, this vise is lightweight and portable. However, its weight doesn’t detract from its overall quality – this vise can be fitted on to table tops up to two-inches thick.
Very popular among gunsmiths and professional woodworkers, this vise is made from cast iron and steel and even has an anvil and pipe jaws incorporated into the design. Worried about clamping pressure? Irwin Tools’ product is able to clamp products up to 1,250 pounds. If you need a light-duty portable vise, then look no further.
- Includes simple clamp-on feature for mobility
- Optimal clamping pressure up to 1250-pound
- Portable and lightweight 4-pound vise
- Able to attach to tables with 2 inches of thickness
- Incorporation of Anvil shaping horn into design
- Brand Irwin Tools
- Model 226303ZR
- Weight 4 pounds
Wilton’s Bench Vise is a formidable addition to your woodworking bench. The manufacturer knows that its product will last and provides a lifetime warranty. The grooved steel jaw inserts hold any object in place, and the body of the vise is constructed from high-strength steel.
Featuring a large anvil work surface, this vise rotates 120 degrees and opens up to four inches. Users rave about the two locks to prevent any unwanted swiveling on the base and the three lug nut holes that secure the vise to the work table. You’re not likely to find many vises like this around.
- Manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty
- Inexpensive vise ideal for light duty use and weekend work
- Double lock down swivel base of 120 degrees
- Equipped with grooved steel jaw inserts to provide a strong grip on any object
- Large anvil work surface
- Brand Wilton
- Model 11104
- Weight 15 pounds
Now we’re venturing into the realm of heavy-duty vises that can resist a little more wear and tear. Performance Tool’s Eight-inch Machinist Vise may look intimidating with a sheer-black durable power coat finish, but this product is ideal for DIY novices who wish to work with larger items.
Featuring a 360-degree swivel base for difficult tasks and a polished anvil, you can’t go wrong with this vise. The manufacture is so confident with its products that it offers a lifetime warranty. And since this vise is steel jawed and features diamond serration for a secure grip, it’s a product that keeps on giving.
- 360-degree swivel base incorporated
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- A 7-inch Jaw Opening with 3-inch Throat Depth
- Designed to withstand heavy-duty work with durable powder coat finish and chrome plated hardware
- Polished built-in anvil of 4-1/4" x 4
- Brand Performance Tool
- Model MV8
- Weight 42 pounds
TEKTON’s 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise is the kind of product that instantly makes you question what you’ve been doing without it for all these years. This product is practically indestructible. Considering it’s constructed from 30,000 PSI cast iron with serrated steel jaws, we really can’t see your vise breaking anytime soon.
Whether you’re using this vise for woodworking or smaller household work, it works wonders with the smooth T-bar handle with an Acme-threaded screw. TEKTON ensures that this vise is simple to install by creating three mounting holes that will anchor the vise securely to your workbench.
- Replaceable serrated steel jaws ensure non-slip grip
- Durability provided by vise body manufactured from 30,000 PSI cast iron
- Dual lock-down nuts prevent accidents by holding 120-degree swivel base into place
- Commendable Anvil Size of 2-5/8 inches by 2-5/8 inches
- Sliding T-bar handle moves easily with adding of Acme Treaded main screw
- Brand TEKTON
- Model 54004
- Weight 13.23 pounds
Yost’s Heavy-Duty Forged Steel Bench Vise is both beautifully manufactured and innovative. This bright-red, powder-coated vise features oxidized attachments, and the body of the vice is made out of 75,000 PSI Forged Steel. If you frequently work with tricky, misshapen products, the vise features a 360-degree swivel base with two lock downs to keep items in place.
Need to bend or shape metal? The durable and highly practical anvil work surface is made of forged steel, standing out from the crowd of traditional cast iron vises. The guide rails are even adjustable for smooth operation. A phenomenal vise for an affordable price.
- Forged steel vises are both replaceable and provide excellent grip
- Large durable forged steel Anvil work surface designed for metal shaping or bending
- Includes 360-degree swivel base with two lock downs
- 4-inch jaw width and 0.5-2 diameter pipe capacity
- Full lifetime warranty on both units and assets
- Brand Yost Tools
- Model FSV-4
- Weight 22 pounds
Say hello to Grizzly’s Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise. This must-have product is an essential tool for our workbench. Let’s start with our favorite feature: the degree indicator on the 360-degree rotating jaws, which allows its user to view how far they’ve already turned the vice. Why don’t more vises offer this ingenious feature? We absolutely love it.
Incorporating five-inch jaws with an average depth throat, the levers are fantastic for tightening whatever you’re working on and are ideal for users who constantly switch items on the job. The versatile swiveling base comes in handy and truly allows a worker to own their laziness – no need to walk around your work!
- Multi-purpose vise manufactured from durable cast grey iron
- Versatile swiveling base allows for greater ease while working
- Useful degree indicator making the user aware of how far the vise is turned
- Covered lead screws allow for low maintenance and infrequent lubrication
- Large Anvil allows for the straightening of sheet metal without any surface damage
- Brand Grizzly
- Model G7062
- Weight 42 pounds
This blue Lockdown Vise is durable in every way. Not only that, you’ll never get injured due to a slippage. The horizontal force created by tightening the handle pushes the semi-sphere within the movable jaw and thrusts the movable jaw downwards.
Want to move your jaw plates? This vise allows them to be positioned with four different settings, providing the user with high clamping power. Alongside the perfectly aligned precision gowned jaws, it’s a product that’s hard to beat.
- Unbreakable ductile Iron composed from 80000 PSI
- Flexible jaw plates are available in four settings and provide high clamping power
- Equipped with Acme screws
- Piece is held in place by horizontal force
- Swiveling Milling Vises featuring precision gowned jaws
- Brand HardwareFactory Store
- Model 15979
- Weight 30.3 pounds
Its rotating ability is this product’s top feature. Both the head and the base of Capri Tools’ vise can rotate 360-degrees – the head locks with a pull pin at 12 different points, while the base can move wherever you desire.
Manufactured from ductile iron, a 10-year warranty is provided. No surprise there considering many users find this product to be indestructible. One additional benefit is the 90,000 pounds of clamping force, allowing your item to be securely placed. This rotating vise puts other products to shame with its adaptability and versatility.
- Optimal rotation ensured by 360-degree rotation with 12 different set points
- Manufactured from 60,000 PSI high-quality ductile iron
- Extensive work space for fabrication provided by anvil
- Offers a ten-year warranty
- 360-degree rotating base allows more control
- Brand Capri Tools
- Model 10519
- Weight 57.2 pounds
Do you have a small project to complete that requires a secure hold yet you cannot seem to find an affordable vise? PanaVise’s Vise is ideal for small home repairs and hobbies such as jewelry making and circuit board wiring. Its most commendable feature is the single knob that offers three different head movements of 90-degree tilt, 360-degree turn, and 360-degree rotation.
The jaws can be used with heated products up to 200-degrees Fahrenheit and operates with intermittent heat of up to 300-degrees Fahrenheit. What we just love about this vise is its comparability with all PanaVise base mounts and the addition of three bolt circle, which means it can be installed without any problems.
- 'Split-Ball' adjustment holds items securely into position and allows for maneuverings along three separate planes
- Removable nylon jaws offer gentle holding power and exemplary electrical insulation with heat tolerance up to 200° F
- Base can easily be secured to flat surface with three countersunk holes
- Wide range of mobility available with die cast zinc base
- Can be used for delicate tasks such as gluing, circuit board wiring, and jewelry making
- Brand Panavise
- Model 301
- Weight 2.78 pounds
What to Consider When Buying a Bench Vise
You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and look into purchasing a Bench Vise. Good for you – now you’re one step closer to obtaining greater precision in your work. Yet so many prospective buyers give up at the last hurdle due to there being so much to consider. Don’t let this dissuade you! By informing yourself about the top features, you’ll be sure to purchase a quality product.
- What size and shape of object will you be working with?
Depending on the size and shape of the object at hand should largely alter your choice of vise. If you typically work with larger and heavier objects, consider opting for a vise with a larger jaw, ranging from size 4″to 8″. Likewise, if you often work with peculiarly shaped items, look into purchasing yourself either an offset or rotating vise.
- How often will you be using your vise?
The amount of money you plan to splurge on your new gadget should correspond to the amount you’ll use it. There’s no point in flinging your hard-earned cash at a model which will sit about in your garage gathering dust. On the other hand, if you plan to use your vise every day, ensure it includes features which enhance its durability, such as replaceable serrated jaws chrome-plated which resist corrosion.
- Will you be removing and inserting several work pieces in fast succession?
You want a vise which generates no additional hassle, especially when it comes to removing and inserting different work. Vises with quick opening features are available if you frequently work with several products at once.
What Can You Use a Bench Vise for?
The benefits of working with a vise are numerous. Here’s our top three we consider to be the most useful:
- Using a Saw
Do you have work-working project that needs completed? By holding the wood between the vise, both hands can be used, reducing the risk of hand fatigue and overall injury.
‘But using sandpaper is simple, right?’, non-DIYers state. Unfortunately, no. It can be incredibly difficult to apply sandpaper to a piece of wood without damaging your product. By securing the item into place, you can now add finer detail to your project without any consequences.
- Operating a Drill
To use a drill effectively, it is vital that you do so on a surface that won’t move an inch. Working with a vise will guarantee accuracy when operating a precise tool of this type.
How to Install a Bench Vise
Those DIYers who endlessly complain about how difficult it is to mount and install a bench vise haven’t followed the right instructions. In reality, all you need is a little determination combined with a little strength and you’ll be good to go! Just ensure you ask yourself the right questions beforehand.
- Placement of Your Vise
Are you going to be installing a bench top vise? Where can you work quietly without being disturbed? These are all questions which must be considered before installation can take place.
- Drill Bolt Holes
If you’ve decided to install a bench vise like most DIYers, mark where the vise holes will be before drilling though the bench top. It’s important to allow for half to three-quarters of an inch below the top of the bench and the jaws to make room for the wood face.
- Bolt Vise
Now it’s time to place bolts in the holes provided within the mounting bracket. One top tip is to place lock washers/add glue to keep the vise in place. Now, you’re ready to go!
Best Bench Vise FAQ:
Q: How does a bench vise work?
A: The beauty and downfall of bench vises is that they all work differently depending on which model you opt for. In general, bench vises are used to hold down an object in a secure manner so it can be worked on and decreasing the likelihood of the operator becoming injured. Likewise, the operator’s job is made easier due to the bench vise holding down the object being worked upon rather than their hand, increasing overall quality and decreasing work time.
Q: What are the main parts of a bench vise?
A: Sliding or Dynamic Jaw – This feature is arguably the most important part of any bench vise. A sturdy dynamic jaw will provide precise clamping on any object you wish to adjust or amend. Without a durable jaw, you’ll be buying a new bench vise in no time.
Fixed Body or Static Jaw – This is where things start to get complicated, so bear with us! The static jaw is usually the heaviest of the two jaws and remains stationary during work, unlike a Sliding or Dynamic Jaw described above. Typically, you’ll find the static jaw fixed to the body of the vise itself.
Handle – Do we really need to explain this component? The purpose of a handle on a bench vise is to act as a lever that turns the lead screw, which then moves the dynamic jaw. Simple, right? We recommend purchasing a handle with changeable anti-pinch rubber rings to protect yourself against any injuries.
Warning – Never add a cheater bar to a handle! Although this will extend the handle of your vise and therefore generate greater force, the warranty of your vise runs the risk of voiding the warranty.
Main or Lead Screw – This part of the vise is attached to the handle through the nut and rotates and moves the dynamic jaw open and closed. You’ll often find Acme threads to be the most reliable, due to allowing for precise operation and longevity.
Jaws – These are located at the top of both the dynamic and the static jaw and hold the work piece in place. Ideally, these should be hardened and serrated for maximum durability. In high-quality vises, it’s often possible to attach snap on jaws if working with a tricky product.
Q: How important is a swivel base?
A: The importance of incorporating a swivel base really depends on the job at hand. If you’re working with an oddly shaped object then we’d recommend this feature, as this allows for adjustment of the vise position on the bench. A quality swivel base will include a side clamping screw, which will stop any unwanted rotation from occurring by keeping it fixed with this locking arrangement.
So, what are the advantages? As well as being versatile as you’re able to adjust the vise, there’s no need to constantly open and close jaws to reposition your workpiece. You’ll be saving time and keeping yourself safe from injuries. However, many critics argue that despise these benefits, a fixed bench is a lot sturdier, can withstand more pressure, and guarantees less risk of the vise moving during work applications. Unfortunately, in comparison to a fixed base, the models incorporating a swivel base are a lot more expensive! As always, we cannot make this decision for you but ensure that you know your priorities before opting for a model containing a swivel base.
Our Top Pick
We know what you’re all thinking. What vise, out of the multitude of high-quality products we’ve pitched today, would we install into our own workshops? It would have to be the Yost LV-4 Home Bench Vise. It features a 240-degree rotation, so you can easily work on oddly-shaped items. It’s also simple to mount and features a locking C collar, which is very convenient. This is a great option when it comes to ease of use.