A bench vise is a mechanical device that is used to hold whatever you are working on. Wherever in the workshop for welding or cutting woods, it’s very important to have the best bench vise for the job.
Bench vises are attached directly to your workbench and hold the workpiece, keeping your hands free to drill, file, sand or plane the piece.
They are attached to the working bench and helps to bend metal sheets or to grip any wood piece to make the job done.
Bench vises are of different types according to its working sectors, such as woodworking vise, engineer’s vise, machine vise, vacuum vise, pipe vise, combined vise etc.
Before buying a good bench vise you need to focus on some points. Buying the best bench vise may seem very simple enough but if you want to buy a bench vise perfect according to your need you have to look for some quality ones as well as should do some research.
Guide to Buy the Best Bench Vise
Here are some basic things of bench vise that you should know before buying it, these will guide you.
At first, you need to fix the working sector for the bench vise you are buying. Bench vises can be used for your wood shop, welding shop, machine shop etc. and also for homeowners.
The woodworkers, machinists, and welders need a work-specific vise which is not proper for house owners. Homeowners need small vises to carry out their works.
The throat depth is measured from top of the jaws to the top of the slide below. A longer throat depth helps to hold larger pieces more securely.
The width of the jaw opening
The measurement of how wide a vise opens can be a limiting factor, so fully unwind the vise before buying it to make sure it will handle the work.
The vise weight is also a point to be considered. You need to buy a bench vise according to your workbench capacity. Again heavy solid vises are used mainly in woodshops and machine shops. Light vises are used in a welding shop, homeowners work, jewelry making shops and so on.
Appearance is also very important. You need to buy a vise that suits your working place most. The color of bench vise means a lot. You have to select the perfect colored bench vise for your working place.
Besides all these points the most important one is your budget. You have to select one according to your budget. There are different companies offering various bench vises at various prices. You need to do research on this before buying one.
Best Bench Vise Reviews
Knowing and considering these facts you need to buy the proper bench vise for your work.
1. Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise
For strong and sturdy bench vise, you obviously should consider the Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise. The blue powder coat finish is a standard color in the world of bench vises but is finished to a very standard.
This vise works like a workhorse. suitable for beginners and experienced craftsman as well. It’s made of emphasized steel that makes it an unbeatable vise. being 7 kg of weight, It’s not difficult rather easy to install or to handle.
The vise has a double lock down swivel base that provides comforts sometimes when you are working on a workbench. No need to crane neck around a piece or shuffling around a bench to get the perfect angle.
The vise opens to a 4-inch opening which is good for benchwork. diamond-machined finish jaws give an extra secure grip, regardless of the material you are working on. The design comes in even handier when you take the anvil-back into consideration.
It is a little larger which is a plus as it is perfect for bending and flattening any of metal projects. The anvil absorbs the vibrations of any hammering on metal and makes this vise perfect for metalworking projects as well as woodworking.
But this Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise lacks the smoothness of a high-end bench vise. Opening the vise is a little jerky. The paint gets chipped off if dinged. It’s a little bit sloppy in the tolerances.
It is good for lighter works but not fully preferable for heavy work.
2. Yost LV4 Home Vise 41/2
The Yost LV Home Vise 41/2 is quite a small bench vise having a measurement of only 4 and a half inch. It is made in cast iron.
It is a solid build, strong and stable and perfect for home bench use or for small workshops. Easy to install any easy to use.
It comes with a small anvil area to take a whack at. It is incredible for the price that it is available for. Much suited to smaller projects due to the jaw opening size.
It is perfect for small projects and is highly dexterous at securing tools for sharpening and such. The strength is unmatchable in a vise of this size, and as a cast iron piece the price was a pleasant surprise.
It provides a strength that is usually lacking in bench vises of this size.
But it’s not suitable for heavy jobs. This one is a great vise for beginners or even the frugal.
3. PanaVise 381 Vacuum Base Vise
The PanaVise 381 Vacuum Base Vise is like a baby of a thing, and it is easy to underestimate what it can do. It is more preferred for electronics or other smaller projects. It may be small but it is mighty.
Heat resistant up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit of direct continuous heat exposure or 300 degrees Fahrenheit of intermittent heat exposure. It is said that this mini vise is quite the little beast.
It can easily be installed on any tabletop or workbench, and it can even be mounted higher if needed which isn’t something that is useful or appropriate for vises of the bigger variety.
It is small, strong and precise. This flexible accuracy lends itself to more delicate work which usually leads to a specialist vise with an enormous price tag
The PanaVise 381 Vacuum Base Vise is a fantastic mini vise. Perfect for smaller precision work including jewelry making, electronics and so much more. The versatility of the jaw placement and movement is invaluable to any project that works with precious or semi-precious materials like gold, copper, aluminum etc.
It works nicely but the locking mechanism is little weak. It’s hard to tighten the jaw to prevent its horizontal movement. Perfect for light jobs but not suitable for heavy jobs.
4. Wilton 63302 6-Inch Shop Vise
This Wilton 63302 6-inch shop vise generally has 6” jaw opening, 360 degrees swivel base, double lockdowns. It has a 25000-pound casting. The four lug base design and double lockdown make it quite stable under pressure.
It’s smooth, sturdy, solid and heavy, good enough to allow very delicate work on it. The base locking mechanism is much better. The sliding action is nice and smooth.
The handle for closing the vise needs to be reinforced some to use a breaker bar. The turntable will lock but not tight enough to prevent turning.
5. Yost Vises Rotating Combination Pipe and Bench vise
The Yost 750 DI is one of the rugged rotating vises on the market. It has 60,000 PSI ductile iron casting that allows the vise to clamp over 9000 PSI of force.
The pull pin rotating mechanism helps the vise to rotate easily. The 5-inch jaw opening is made from hardened steel that gives nice grip. The self-align pipe jaws adjustment allows maximum clamping pressure while reducing marring.
The vise head rotates 360 degrees with 12 different preset locking positions so that it can be clamped at any angle. The main screw and nut have been increased in size to produce larger clumping forces.
It has a poor paint finish that’s why gets damaged during shipping. The base plate is thinner than the even cheaper Chinese vise.
The main tightening handle is also a little bit thin. The main vise jaws are not square which makes a problem. The jaws also don’t touch on the bottom edge after rotating upside down.
The main jaws have a poor texture and a simple shallow knurling.
6. Yost Vises Utility Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
The Yost Vises 445 5.5” bench vise has a 180-degree swivel base and mounts to a workbench to provide clamping action for light-duty applications.
Hand-tightening the lock knob on the base of the vise secures its position. The cast iron body with U-channel bar for durability has a flat portion that acts as an anvil which helps a lot.
The hardened steel jaws can be replaced which is plus point. Iron pipe jaws are grooved for enhanced grip. Rubber washers prevent the handle from unwanted sliding.
7. Olympia Tool 38-604 4-Inch Bench Vise
The Olympia Tool 38-604 4-Inch Bench Vise is an ideal homeowner bench vise. Its 4-inch jaw is made of hardened steel which is replaceable.
Extra strong machined spindle and handle helps to give the tool a good grip and makes the work more efficient. The spindle guard protects against dirt and chips.
This vise is perfect for home projects; occasionally holding some wood, clamping metal, working on a rifle etc.
The vise sometimes is hard to manipulate. The jaws don’t line up straight. It’s also not smooth and the screw doesn’t seem to be completely straight.
8. TEKTON 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise
The TEKTON 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise is an all-around offering in the bench vise market. This is made of cast iron, with one of the best finishes with a black powder coat and steel accents.
Easy to install directly onto the workbench. The vise is built to be strong with 30,000 PSI tensile strength. It’s simple and useful.
The base is incredibly strong and utilizes a 120-degree swivel. The anvil at the back is polished and ready to be used to bend metal at any will and can handle the intensity of the repeated hammering required to bend or flatten metal.
The handles and main screw are strong and smooth with a slight stiffness that can usually be expected from a vise or any tool, straight out of the box. The dynamic steel grip plates are replaceable so there is no need to go easy.
The TEKTON 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise allows undertaking projects that require a bit of brute force.
The only problem is that generally, its said that this 4-inch vise takes 3/8” mounting bolts but its not the proper one. Another one is that it comes covered in a lot of greases which is a little bit annoying.
Otherwise, it’s a very useful bench vise.
Bench vises are of different sizes, all you need to select the perfect size for your work. Whether you are looking for a basic bench vise for DIY or something light work you need a small bench vise. The 4” bench vises are perfect for these handy works.
If you want a bench vise for workshops like woodshop, welding shop you should consider 5 inches or 6 inches or more larger bench vises. These bench vises help to carry out the job perfectly.
In woodshop, you need heavy, solid, sturdy bench vise as you need to work on the wood piece. These vises provide enough grip on your job piece.
For welding shop to make the shape of a metal sheet or to do soldering you can use smooth edged bench vises. For these works, you need smooth jaws. Along with welding clamps, it would be a good welding companion of you.
So you have to figure out the perfect bench vise according to your work. The above-described bench vises can be your first choices.
How to Install a Bench Vise?
It’s easy to install a bench vise. A bench vise works by attaching to your workbench. There are two ways this can happen.
The first one is being a clamp on the bench vise. These vises have an adjustable clamp that clamps beneath and above the bench top to keep the vise in place. Though this method of attaching a bench vise is easier, it is not preferred as it can feel less secure.
The plus point of this method is that you can move the vise and keep changing its placement on your workbench.
The other method is to fix the vise directly onto the bench top using good old nuts and bolts. This method is usually preferred because it helps you to give more security and there is no chance of the vise flying off while banging away on a piece of metal.
There are also stands and baseplates available, that can increase the height of the bench vise according to use. These are especially useful for doing detailed work, such as marking out measurements or soldering iron marks and are seated.
Mini vises are usually installed on a stand as they can primarily be used while being seated. Bench vises need to be kept stationary so any tool or tools can be used safely without any problem.
So much information about bench vises is bound to produce a few questions. Here are some commonly asked questions with answers.
Q: What are the main parts of a bench vise?
A: The dynamic jaw, static jaw, the slide, the handle are the main parts of a bench vise.
Q: What are the different types of replaceable jaw inserts?
A: Screw – on inserts, T-style inserts, and U-style inserts are some replaceable inserts.
Q: How important the swivel base is?
A: A swivel base is an important part and provides versatility when working. At the time of positioning a long piece of wood or metal at an odd angle for specific cutting or sanding, swivel base is certainly useful. Having a fixed base is much more secure.
Q: What are Bench Vises used for?
A: The uses of bench vises are practically endless. They are used in workshops and home garages alike and offer people the versatility to tackle whatever project they need. From woodworking to metalwork and even plumbing, bench vises can handle anything nicely.
As far as tools go, the bench vise may not be something that instantly comes to mind, but it is a very necessary tool for engineers as well as common people.
The bench vise may seem like a simple tool, and it is quite possible that you had not intended in putting so much thought and research into the purchase of one but it is worthwhile. A bench vise of poor quality and workmanship is only going to lead to many unwanted problems.
A bench vise not also suit your projects but also your pockets. The quality and prices of bench vises vary drastically across the market but you need to know that you are getting a working helper to lessen your labor.
The most expensive tools do not always mean the best quality, and in a workshop environment with many hazards such as power tools and human error, you need confidence in what you are purchasing.
A bench vise is not only best used in DIY or fabrication projects, but it is also useful for many other usable sectors. Such as securing blades when sharpening, like lawnmower blades or bladed tools.
A bench vise must also take some bad words, as it will be knocked and banded around as the items you are working on are removed and reinserted and must also be able to take the vibrations from a drill and other tools, usually a wood mallet or metallic hammer.
Whether its bending metal or just you taking out your frustrations, that is ok. So the grips on the jaws of the vise must be strong and tight and not prone to movement or slipping.
This reviews guide has detailed the best bench vises on the market to help you in your purchase, but the choice is inevitably up to you and what serves your needs best.
One person’s idea of ‘best’, is not necessarily the same as your idea of what is the best one. So go forth, and choose the best bench vise for yourself and for your work to carry out your work nicely and effectively.