A bench vice is one of those tools that constantly comes in handy for a wide range of jobs. You could go months without using it and then need it for every job you do and wonder how you comped without it. It doesn’t matter if you are a DIY enthusiast or just occasionally completing jobs around the home, a bench vice is what you need.
They are going to be able to clamp a wide range of materials – whether it be wood, metal or glass, freeing your hands up to complete the rest of the job yourself! Not only this, but they are perfect for if you are trying to glue two materials together, as you won’t have to spend ages holding the materials together yourself!
There are so many bench vices to choose from, it can be really challenging to know which is going to be the right one for you, which is why we created this article with some of the best bench vices we have found!
Best Pick – Yost Tools 750-E Bench Vise
- 5 inch Jaw Opening
- 2.5 inch Throat Depth
- .5-3 inch Pipe Jaw Capacity
- Lockdown holds the head of the vise in place at any angle
- 4 Mounting Holes
Only Got 5 Minutes?
We can totally understand why you would be in a rush to purchase a bench vice – once you have used one of these handy, little tools, you will struggle to work without them. Otherwise, if you are new to DIY then it only takes a couple of attempts at holding the piece of wood between your legs whilst you cut before you give in and realise a bench vice is what you need! We’ve put all the essential information right here – so keep reading and then you can get buying!
Arguably the first thing that you need to consider when purchasing a bench vice is the size that you are going to need, as this will essentially determine the sizes of materials that you can work with! What we love about the best bench vices however, is the flexibility in the sizes of materials that they will be able to hold, as this massively increases the scope in which they can be used, making them even better value for money!
There are two measurements that you need to consider – the jaw width and the jaw opening (but we will tell you more about jaw opening later!). Jaw widths tend to range from around 2” up to around 8”.
Obviously, this doesn’t limit you to only working with materials that are 8 inches long, as with a bench vice you are always going to have extended pieces of material overhanging either side! However, even the best bench vice is going to struggle to hold fast a piece of material that is considerably longer than itself, especially if the material is being put under pressure. This can cause something called flexing, which can damage the material you are working with, but also cause accidents if too much pressure is created.
TOP TIP: We would always recommend opting for more than one bench vice if you are serious about DIY and the jobs that you are completing. Not only will this allow you to secure more than one piece of material at once, but you will also be able to secure either end of longer pieces. Having different sizes of bench vice to hand will make your life so much easier when you are working!
One of the main requirements of a bench vice is that it is sturdy and durable. You need it to be stronger than all the materials that you are going to be asking it to hold – otherwise what is the point? For this reason, you will almost always find that they are made out of cast iron, specifically either grey iron or ductile iron.
Both types of iron will be up to the task for almost all tasks that you could send their way, plus they are rust and heat resistant. However, ductile iron is arguably slightly stronger and less likely to crack under extreme force, so if you know that you are going to be asking a lot of your bench vice then opt for one made of ductile iron.
Some bench vices come with a PSI rating, which is the amount of pressure that is used when creating the bench vice. The more pressure that has been used when casting will then show you how strong your bench vice is going to be. The higher the PSI, the more weight and pressure that it will be able to cope with!
The bench vice jaw is the main part of your tool, the bit that you are relying on, your “second pair of hands”, the clamp! For a bench vice to do its job correctly it must have stable and strong jaws that are able to grip onto many different types of material, once tightened, with ease! If it cannot do this, then quite frankly it’s unlikely that you have a reason to buy it!
Jaw openings range from around 4” up to 14”, which will control the width of the pieces of material that you can work with, and unfortunately this isn’t as flexible as the length of the material is.
A bench jaw is designed so that it will only open to a certain degree, this is to increase the level of security and sturdiness that it is able to offer, therefore, your material is going to have to be able to fit inside this jaw size to be able to use the bench vice. This is why it is always worth having a large bench vice with a large jaw to hand – even if you use another smaller model the rest of the time!
There are three main jaw types that you will find available, all of which will be best suited to working with different types of materials. These are:
- Serrated – These have an incredibly strong grip but this can sometimes prove too strong for softer materials, leaving marks and scratches.
- Nylon – Obviously nylon is going to be a much softer material to work with, so you can be sure that your materials won’t become damaged, but this doesn’t mean that the nylon jaw itself won’t become worn and need replacing!
- Pipe – This is a particularly clever jaw for anyone that is regularly working with pipework and tubing. The jaw is designed in a V shape so that it can hold pipes more securely.
TOP TIP: There are jaw covers that can be purchased, meaning that you can make your bench vice more versatile and protect the materials that you are working with by changing the jaw cover depending on the materials that you are working with.
Not only does your bench vice need to be able to grip onto the material that you are working with, but it needs to be able to grip onto the work surface that you are working on too – otherwise what is the point! You also need to consider that you may be using your bench vice as part of other tools that you are using, not just for attaching to a work top – so if this is the case then you need to know your table top tools aren’t going to be damaged by poor mounting.
There are two main types of mounting that you will find – the first is bolt-on mounting. This type of bench vice is by far the most secure of options available to you, with four bolts that will be bolted into the work surface before you use the vice. However, you tend to find with these models (because of the work that goes into fixing the bench vice into place) that once they are fixed in place you don’t then move them again. This can massively restrict the places and jobs that you will be able to use your bench vice for.
If this sounds like a problem for you, then you need a clamp mounting interface. These simply need to be clamped to whatever surface you have available using a screw to tighten the clamp. Clamp mounting bench vices are far more flexible in the places that you can work and therefore the types of jobs that you can complete, however, due to their less sturdy fixings we wouldn’t recommend using them with heavier or bigger materials.
Best Budget – Oypla 4″ 100mm Jaw Bench Vice
- 4" / 100mm Holding Width
- 120mm Opening Range
- High Quality Cast Iron Construction
- Securing Holes on Base
Additional Features to Consider
As there are so many bench vices available on the market, often just looking for those main features isn’t enough to help you find the best bench vice that you can! Because of this, we have listed some of the additional features that we like to have in bench vices, so that you can find just what you are looking for!
- Rubber covered grips – As the jaw of your bench vice is going to be exerting a fair amount of pressure on the material you are working with, it is always worth looking for a model that has rubber/soft covered jaws. Placing your material directly between two hard pieces of iron could lead to it becoming scratched, marked or even dented, but the rubber will help to avoid that.
- Replaceable jaws – If you know that you are going to be working with your bench vice regularly and it is going to be really put to the test, then it may be worth considering one that allows you to replace the jaws. We have to admit that it is very, very rare that this will need doing, but it can happen, and models with replaceable jaws will save you the time, hassle and money of having to buy a whole new bench vice.
- Quick-release – This feature is going to save you massive amounts of time and effort whilst you are working! Yes, you will still have to tighten the jaw using the spindle but a quick lever will release the front jaw immediately when you have finished working.
- Rotating bench vices – Some bench vices, once secured can be rotated so that you can get the material that you are working with into the best position for the job that you are completing. This also means that if you are planning on completing multiple cuts into one piece of material, for example, you don’t need to reclamp the material, you can just swivel the base into a new position.
- Multi-tool – Some bench vices are able to work with both pipes and straight pieces of material. The jaw will be able to be rotated depending on which side that you need.
Best of the Rest
- The Dremel Multi-Vise is a stationary bench vice, a standalone clamp and a tool holder all in one for
- Ideal to tightly clamp your workobject or rotary tool for more control and precision when cutting, sanding, sharpening, shaping
- Clamps to surface up to 6.3 cm thick as a bench vice
- Ball and socket allows for 360 degrees rotation and 50 degrees tilt
- Features a quick release button, 20 cm jaw depth and grooves in jaws for more grip
- Cast iron body
- Steel screw and handle
- Anvil 74 x 55mm
- Part Number:68090
- Universal Table Vice: Maximum opening of jaw is up to 3 inch/77.5mm, jaw width 2.75 inch/70mm, this bench clamp fits most workbench, and kinds of thickness of tables. 0.2 inch/5mm thickened jaw provides superior grip.
- High Quality Casting: Made of high-grade cast steel and chrome-plated spindle and nuts, this table vice offers long-term durability and heavy duty gripping. The jaw adopts quenching and re-fire technology to increase its hardness and strength. The clamping force of the jaw is 300kg.(❣️ NOTE: It is not recommended to increase the lever force, or extend the lever length of the screw rod, or excessive pressure on the screw rod, otherwise it is easy to cause the jaw to break.)
- 360 Degree Swivel Base: The throat capacity is up to 2.4 inch/61mm. Build in 360 dergree swivel base, perfect for a wide range of clamping angles. Even if you are a left-hander, you can rotate the vise to the position that suits your work.
- Wide Applications: This clamp is designed for home, workshop, professional use, general purpose and light work, ideal for woodworking, cutting conduit, drilling, gluing, metalworking, sanding or planing, sawing, etc. It can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Easy to Install: The oval swivel base design is convenient and quick to install on or remove from kinds of workbench. Non-slip textured surface increases the grip force of jaw, which firmly hold the material, save time and effort when you work. (Note: The table board up to 2.4 inch/61mm thick can be clamped.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most durable bench vice?
If you are wanting a durable, long lasting bench vice then look out for one that is made with ductile iron but that is also chrome plated. These will resist cracking even under the most extreme pressures, but also resist rust and other types of superficial wear.
Do bench vices come in standard sizes?
You will tend to find that bench vices have standard jaw opening sizes. This tends to start at 20mm and increases in 20mm increments all the way up to 140mm. The overall size of a bench vice varies massively depending on the style, design and features that come with the bench vice.
How much do bench vices weigh?
Bench vices vary quite considerably in weight so if this is an important factor for you then it is important to look around. We found models that ranged from as little as 4kg all the way up to 30kg, so if you know that your bench vice is going to need to be portable then look out for a lighter model.
Do bench vices come with a warranty?
Yes! Many do come with at least a 1 year warranty but many actually offer even more than this!