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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
There’s nothing more annoying than a vise that can’t even do the job it was made to do.
So how do you find the best heavy duty bench vice for your future projects?
The choice of vises is so huge we can understand if you’re a bit overwhelmed. Fear not, we have done the donkey work and compiled a list for you.
On this page:
In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Bench Vise with Reviews
Here's a list of the best bench vices we found on the market:
1. Yost Vises 750-DI 5″ Heavy Duty Bench Vise
Heavy-duty vise capable of higher clamping force and designed for heavy use.
Recommended for professionals and heavier users.
Not so Good
Probably not recommended for the casual user.
At 63 pounds, Yost 750-DI is the heaviest on our list. It is also the one with the highest price tag. However, it is considered very good value for money when its size and features are taken into account.
Both the jaw width and jaw opening of Yost 750-DI are 5 inches. It has a throat depth of 4 inches and the pipe capacity ranges from 0.125 of an inch to 3.5 inches.
The 750-DI head is equipped with three sets of replaceable, hardened steel jaws: top jaws, pipe jaws and V-jaws. It rotates 360 degrees with 12 locking positions (at every 30 degrees). This allows objects to be clamped at an angle.
This industrial-strength vise has a swivel base with four mounting tabs for securing it to the bench. It sports a large reinforced anvil that can also serve as an additional work surface.
Vise rotation is made easy by the pull pin rotating mechanism. Yost 750-DI has a hardened steel pin to lock its head in place. This sets it apart from other vises with a locking nut.
This may be the bulkiest on our list, but some users see it as having an excellent weight for a 5-inch vise. Smooth slide, well-machined jaws, and solid lockdown are also listed among the pros.
2. Yost Vises 465 6.5″ Bench Vise
Can handle high clamping pressures with replaceable top jaws.
Ideal for the home craftsmen.
Not so Good
No vertical rotation.
Not recommended for intensive professional use.
This medium-duty, all-steel vise comes with a jaw width of 6.5 inches and a jaw opening of 5.5 inches. The throat depth is 3.75 inches. It also has a pipe capacity of 0.125 inches to 2.5″ ensures clamping action when you use it for light-duty applications.
The model has a 360-degree swivel base and now comes with two lockdowns. A previous model has been criticized for featuring only one lockdown. Seems the manufacturer has taken note.
Painted in bright blue, this vise has a cast iron body with a steel U-channel bar. The end result is durability. The body also sports a flat portion that can serve as a reinforced anvil. In this way, you get some extra work surface.
This vise is part of the Yost Apprentice Series, which targets home craftsmen. The products are made from a combination of cast iron and steel. This means they can handle higher clamping pressures compared to standard cast iron vises.
The people happiest with this purchase, note that the 465 is very sturdy and has great swivel action. They also say it can handle even some heavier-duty tasks in the home garage or workshop.
The general opinion is that the Yost 465 is one of the best choices for people who need a vise for home use. It is solid, easy to use and can be put to work on various projects. Yost 465 can help you in your woodworking, metal, automotive or more specialized pursuits.
3. Tekton 54004 Budget Bench Vise
Great for general home use.
Not so Good
Not recommended for professionals, or anyone that intends to use it more frequently.
This is another Chinese-made product that has also garnered very good reviews. In fact, the Tekton 54004 appears to offer the best value when its price is considered in relation to its functionality.
The general opinion is very positive. It is seen as a great choice for the home workshop. Many of the most satisfied customers point out that it is easy to bolt down and clamps tightly without play.
Happy customers also like the smooth action and the absence of any slop. One even claims that the jaws open to a maximum of 4 inches even though the manufacturer has the maximum opening at 3 inches.
Tekton 54004 appears to be much liked by people with a firearm hobby. One such person describes the vise as a “flawless” gunsmithing tool.
One of the major peeves is the condition in which the product has arrived. According to many buyers, it comes covered in a lot of grease. However, some are actually pleased that they get the vise well-oiled. Several reviewers also note that the size of the mounting bolts specified by the manufacturer (3/8 inch) is not correct in their case.
Overall, the product is considered a very good purchase by the majority of buyers. A massive proportion of the reviews gives the Tekton 54004 the highest rating, describing it as excellent value for the money spent.
4. Yost LV-4 Workshop Vise
Comes with pip grips, unlike other cheap options.
Great for home DIY projects.
Not so Good
No vertical rotation.
Not recommended for intensive professional use.
When you need a vise for your home projects and budget is an issue, your best choice might be the Yost LV-4 home vise. It is the second-cheapest among the products reviewed here.
It also has a 240-degree swivel base that makes it convenient to position for work. Thanks to the built-in pipe jaws, it can hold pipes and tubes in the diameter range of 0.6 inches to 1.85 inches.
Judging by buyer comments, this product offers very good value for money. While small in size, some say that it can comfortably handle certain heavier-duty tasks.
Satisfied buyers find it very solid and versatile. Some also praise its smooth action. Another very valuable feature is the addition of a pipe holder. This is quite rare for products in this price range.
Overall, Yost LV-4 is considered a great purchase, especially for people who need a device for light-duty projects. While compact in size, it is sturdy enough and particularly suitable for small home workshops.
5. Wilton 63302 6" Shop Vise
Great for tradesmen & automotive.
Not so Good
Costs more than other equivalents.
While not among the cheaper offerings on our list, Wilton 63302 wins on other counts.
The 25,000 pound casting makes this vise a durable one. You can also replace its serrated top jaws. According to the manufacturer, the Wilton Shop product line is designed with general-duty applications in mind.
Wilton 63302 is not without its critics, but the product is generally viewed as a very good choice. Most satisfied customers consider it great value for money.
It seems to be favored by people who are after a combination of size, stability, and accuracy. As one reviewer notes, Wilton 63302 has the bulk to handle large workpieces while also being stable enough to permit doing delicate work.
Most happy customers point to the sturdiness of the Wilton. One even says it appears heavy-duty enough to tackle commercial projects. Another feature mentioned in praise is the ability to tighten both sides through the swivel locks.
In general, the product is seen as a well-made one, offering good size for general use and an affordable price. The majority of the user reviews on Amazon have Wilton 63302 rated with five stars.
6. IRWIN 6" Heavy-Duty Workshop Bench Vise
A worth while investment if you are a heavy user.
Not so Good
Expensive compared to other models
People happy with the purchase of Irwin 226306ZR consider it money well spent. Most of them like the solid, sturdy build, the smooth movement of the jaw and the stability. One buyer notes that the rotating base locks in perfectly.
Although happy with its performance, some users don’t really consider Irwin 226306ZR a heavy-duty vise. On the other hand, some find it more than needed for home use.
Overall, the majority of buyers regard the product as a great investment for your home workshop.
As for criticisms, one owner lists the lack of a v-grove in the jaws for holding round objects such as bolts.
7. Yost Vises FSV-4 5" Forged Steel Bench Vise
- Bench vise with swivel base has a 5" jaw width
- 0.5"- to 3"-diameter pipe capacity to provide clamping action for heavy-duty applications
- 360-degree swivel base adjusts the direction of the jaws for proper placement and locks in place
- Forged steel body has a powder-coated finish that provides weather resistance and a flat portion that acts as an anvil and additional work space
- Top jaws and pipe jaws are made of hardened steel, are grooved for enhanced grip, and can be replaced when worn
- Guide rails adjust to counteract wear and restore precision
Not so Good
8. Olympia Tool 38-604 4" Benchtop Vise
- Ideal Homeowner Bench Vise
- Replaceable Steel 4" Jaw Width With Cast Pipe Jaws
- Extra Strong Machined Spindle And Handle
- Swivel Lock Lever With Heavily Reinforced 4 Lug Base
- Jaw Width: 4"; Jaw Pad Size: 4" X 1/4" X 3/4"; Jaw Opening: 4"; Throat Depth: 2"; Anvil Size: 1-5/8" X 1-5/8"; Forming Horn: Yes; Base Swivel Degree: 270; Overall Size: 10" X 6" X 6-1/2"
Perfect for the occasional home user.
Easy to use swivel base.
Compact in size.
Not so Good
Few complaints around the screw mechanism.
Although last on our list, Olympia 38-604 is by no means without its perks for the DIY-minded homeowner.
For starters, it is obviously the tool for those on a very tight budget. It is the cheapest of the bunch and also very light, weighing at 12 pounds.
While lower rated than the other models, this one has its fair share of fans. Most of the users find it a great home tool for the price. Many people who own this one actually like its compactness most. They see it as a great addition to a small workshop where the tool is in moderate use.
Some also praise the pipe jaws, while others like the easy swivel of the base and the tight clamp. One owner finds it very good that a budget vise like this has a pipe clamp under the main jaws.
Some of the critical remarks have to do with the screw mechanism, which sometimes catches. However, this does not seem to impair performance and it remains a very good choice for moderate woodworking or gunsmithing.bSome owners also report that the jaws do not line up exactly straight.
It has also been noted that the tool is sometimes hard to manipulate. However, the issue can be resolved by greasing the tool as soon as taken out of the box.
9. IRWIN Tools Multi-Purpose 5" Bench Vise
Not so Good
10. Irwin Tools 3" Clamp-On Bench Vise
Not so Good
What to Look for in a Bench Vise
Any serious DIYer knows that a home tool collection is lacking without a bench vise.
A bench vise, as you can probably guess, is a tool you attach to a bench. You need one to hold firmly in place a material or an object you’re working on.
However, a holding device doesn’t have to be attached to a workbench. The important thing is to have it mounted on a stable surface.
The components holding the work piece firmly in place are called jaws. One of them is fixed and the other movable. A screw mechanism brings them together to secure the workpiece.
Some models may come with a swivel base, which allows rotation when the tool is mounted directly on a working surface. Depending on the type of work it’s designed for, a vise will have jaws made of metal, plastic or wood.
The selection we presented aims to help you make a choice, but you may still decide to cast the net wider. In fact, we applaud such a decision: it’s essential to conduct thorough research and make extensive product comparison.
Even if you plan to use a vise occasionally, it’s always best to invest wisely.
But not only first-time buyers need advice. You may have been using a vise for a while and need to upgrade because your skills now require a more sophisticated tool.
Whichever category you belong to, here are the key factors to consider:
This is, without a doubt, the question a novice needs to start with. To put it another way, why are you about to buy a vise?
– Do you need it for woodworking or other delicate projects, maybe model-making and crafts?
– Do you plan on doing some heavy-duty work?
– Or maybe you just need an all-purpose tool to assist you in your home improvement endeavors.
Bench vises are typically divided into three groups:
You’ll need the first one if you plan to engage in light-duty or more delicate work. The second group covers heavier and bigger vises that can handle tougher treatment.
Machinist’s vises tend to be the most common ones. This is because they offer a middle ground, which is why most DIYers have one of those.
Mechanic’s vises are usually the largest ones and have a flat surface on the side for metalwork. These tend to be more expensive and are meant for heavy-duty, intense work.
2. Jaw width
Once you’ve determined the purpose your vise will serve, you move on to consider the jaw width. This measure tells you the maximum amount of contact you’ll achieve between your vise and the object you’re working on.
For general DIY purposes, a jaw width of 4 to 5 inches can handle most tasks.
Still, choose your tool by considering the potentially biggest piece of material you may have to clamp. It’s better to end up with more than you need rather than not enough.
Speaking of jaws, you also need to keep a couple of other things in mind. Getting a model with replaceable ones would be best: your tool may prove of exceptional quality and never require a new set. However, you’ll end up saving money if a replacement is needed: you’ll pay just for new jaws instead of a whole new tool.
In some cases, people will not need serrated jaws but that’s more the exception than the rule. Basically, you’d do better to get one with teethed jaws: they provide a firmer grip and you can always pad them if more delicate work is under way.
3. Jaw opening
What we said about jaw width goes for jaw opening capacity as well. If you intend to work on small objects, then you obviously don’t need a big opening. However, it’s a whole different kettle of fish if your projects require holding large pipes or big chunks of wood, for example.
4. Throat depth
This refers to the measurement from the top of the jaws to the top of the slide below. It may not be as important as width and opening but is still very worth considering.
Essentially, the deeper the throat, the more securely you can hold larger pieces in place.
5. Swivel rotation
Since this is an extremely convenient feature, you may think you’d do best to purchase one with the largest swivel.
But tempting as that may sound, consider if you really need a bench vise that rotates 360 degrees. Mind you, these will also come with a higher price tag.
Of course, it may be better in some cases to spend that extra cash. If you have no clear idea of what projects may come up, then you’d be safer getting one with a full swivel.
Sometimes you can find yourself hard-pressed to choose because the models you fancy come with the same jaw width and opening. This would be the moment then to consider overall size and weight.
If that’s the case, you need to go back and review your purpose. Do you plan on subjecting your tool to some serious pounding? If so, you should go with the model that’s heavier and looks sturdier.
Size and weight will also be important factors if you want to have a portable unit. However, keep in mind that smaller vises may be excellent tools under the right circumstances but they typically have fewer capabilities.
If you’re leaning towards a heavy-duty model, it would also be wise to pay attention to how the model will be mounted. Aim for one with at least three mounting tabs but the best option for a bulky vise is four.
This term refers to the strength with which they can clamp down on an object. If you’ve narrowed your choice down to two models and both look equally good, you may be better off with the one having higher PSI (which, by the way, stands for pounds per square inch).
The fact that we’ve left price for last doesn’t mean it’s not an important factor. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve decided to buy a vise and money will get spent. The amount will depend on the model you need.
Obviously, the perfect-case scenario will involve you getting the best value for your money. This means you get a durable and versatile tool at the best price.
However, if you have extremely high requirements, be prepared to dig deeper. In this case, the warranty provided by the manufacturer could tip the scales when picking between two or more models.
Wrapping it up
Before you head out to replace your vise or make your first purchase of one, make sure you do extensive research.
Hopefully, we will have made it easier for you to pick the right product. Still, you are the person who knows best what purpose(s) it will serve.
There’s also the matter of space available, budget and sometimes brand. Speaking of budgets, it seems important to stress again how critical research and product comparison are.
That’s because even the most expensive offering from a high-profile manufacturer may disappoint you for one reason or another. Conversely, a cheaper product from a lesser known brand could be just the one for you.
One thing is certain though: if you’re a DIY enthusiast or getting there, you simply can’t have the perfect workshop without a vise mounted on your workbench.
Whether you’re into woodworking, metalworking or general DIY, your tool collection won’t be complete until you add a bench vise to it.
Trust us – if you haven’t had one so far, you’ll find home projects an even greater delight with a bench vise by your side. This may very well end up being the most useful tool you’ll ever invest in.