The Best Bench Vise – Top 6 Clamp Vices and Detailed Reviews
Choosing the best bench vice and buyers guide
A bench vice is exactly what you need when you are a one-man band. When we speak of a one-man band we are basically alluding to the fact that you have no extra support. When you are trying to saw through a piece of wood or drill into something, the bench vice acts as the extra pair of arms that you need.
Your old bench vice has bit the dust and it is time to get a new one or perhaps you need a new vice of a certain size or particular feature fitted. There are several high-quality bench vices that are available at fair prices. The quality of the bench vice is important, since every consumer needs a product that last a while.
To purchase the best bench vice, you might have to look through the bench vice reviews below. The reviews unveil the features behind these trusted brands and why they would work for you.
Below is a quick overview of our 'Best Pick' which after careful consideration, is probably the best choice for most people looking for a standard bench vice whether it be for professional use or DIY enthusiast.
Below are what we found to be the best bench vices which are included in our review:
Stanley 183068 MaxSteel 150mm (6 inch) Heavy-Duty Bench Vice
Rolson 16279 60mm Swivel Table Vice with Anvil
Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice
Stanley 183065 100mm (4 inch) MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice
Irwin Record No.3 - 4 inch Mechanics Vice
EBERTH 5" Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice
Below you will find each vice reviewed in detail, as the size of vice needed can vary, depending in what you intend to use it for, we have tried to include the best vices of varying sizes so that hopefully, you will find a vice that is perfect for your own needs.
We start our with the winner of our 'Best Pick' which will be a great choice for most people, it not to small, yet not overly large making it perfect for most people.
BENCH VICE REVIEWS
Stanley 183068 MaxSteel 150mm (6 inch) Heavy-Duty Bench Vice Review
OUR BEST PICK
The Stanley 183068 MaxSteel Heavy-Duty Bench Vice offers more holding space than the other Stanley models featured in this review. The vice offers 150mm (6 inches) of holding power which is wide enough for most woodwork applications as well as metal pipes etc..
Another feature presented in this model is the nut that opens up the jaw. The nut is made from high-quality material that won’t snap under pressure. The base of the vice can be bolted down to the work surface of which we recommend 3 x M16 bolts. For people with home workshops, this vice is perfect and is very versatile.
With a clamp force of 2200kg, the jaws will hold your project in the right position. The swivel base is able to rotate so as to fit your requirements. Once you get the right position. You can lock the vice in position and proceed.
At 27kg its not light but being made from cast iron this is not surprising, the chrome-plated design prevents the unit from rusting and corroding for a prolonged life and improved quality.
The Stanley 183068 MaxSteel Heavy-Duty Bench Vice is one of the largest stanley vices and is appropriate for home workshops as well as professional use. The unit is heavy therefore be sure to get bolts that can support its 27kg weight, we found M16 bolts worked perfectly.
The grip of the vice is very good with its 2200kg of clamping force, therefore securing your work will be easy. This vice is able to handle medium weight work without stressing it and will be adequate for most workshops. One feature we do like is the anvil next to the jaws which is great for hammering against which is great for straightening nails etc.
Overall this is probably the best vice available at the price, its not the cheapest but offers better value than some of the other models we compared it against many of which are much more expensive and but the quality seems the same all things considered.
With everything taken into account including the quality, clamping power and swivel feature, we decided this model would probably be the best choice for most people which helped it win our 'Best Pick' spot.
Rolson 16279 60mm Swivel Table Vice with Anvil Review
The Rolson 60mm Swivel Table Vice which also features a anvil like our best pick is a much smaller, but very efficient tool that can serve you well and is perfect for the DIY enthusiast . The unit features a 60mm swivel mechanism that allows you to clamp onto different surfaces without inconveniencing the posture of the user. This is especially helpful when you are using permanent surfaces or working different angles.
Construction wise, the unit is made from cast iron which makes it durable. You should coat it with a compatible surface protector to prevent from rust but in a well ventilated workshop this should not be a problem . A small anvil is designed to offer a hammering surface for when you need to straighten nails or handle other applications, a very simple but useful feature.
Some surfaces are slippery and this you need a dependable clamping device. This unit features a steel screw clamp which is great as you can clamp the vice to any table or workstation, this also makes it very portable meaning you can take it from job to job if needed and fasten it to different surfaces very easily. Depending on the surface you can fasten the clamp to be as tight as you want. The 60mm jaw is serrated to offer a firm hold on whatever surface you are working on.
The Rolson 60mm Swivel Table Vice would make a good choice for small tasks and is great to have around the workshop. The unit only weighs around 1.7kgs which is not very heavy so it does have it limitations.
For general tasks that don’t need a lot of force, this unit will serve sufficiently. It may pay to spray the parts with WD40 before using so as to get rid of the general stiffness.
Since it is iron-based, it might rust if you leave it exposed to the elements. This is recommended for those who need a quick vice for regular small jobs. Heavier jobs will require heavier units.
We do really like that the vice clamps to a surface which means it can be fastened to a work table rather than being permanently fixed, Overall a great little vice.
Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice Review
The Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice is a light weight model at only 1.6kg that measures 20 x 84 x 21.5cm making it compact enough to carry around or store easily and is designed as Standley suggest in the name as a Hobby Vice making it the perfect adition to any DIY'er list of tools.
This vice is probably one of the most versatile vices as it offers multiple positions that to the ball baring joint it incorporates which allows it to hold the material at any angle.
When it comes to the jaw area, this vice is fitted with 3 inch jaw opening that can be adjusted according to the thickness of the material. The jaws are protected from wear when not in use due to the rubber covers provided. What we really is that the covers can also be of help if you are working with sensitive material and don’t want to leave any markings on it or reduce the risk of damaging the material if you tighten the vice to tight for the material.
The base is rotatable in the case that you are moving from one location to the next. The various clamps facilitate secure attachment to different surface thickness. Since it is a small model, it is not likely to fit through excessively thick surfaces. Thickness of 2 3/8" will do such as that found on most desks or work tables.
Patented ball joints make rotation an easy process for clamping and securing the vice in place. It lacks an anvil but this is just a small loss for such a good move ability of the work piece.
The Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice would be effective for lightweight applications and is a great alternative to the Rolson 60mm model for those looking for a model with a bit more versatility but it has a slightly smaller clamping width.
You will certainly appreciate the effort that went into making this product. The rubber covers will keep your working material safe from unwanted scratches. It doesn’t take up much space therefore storage will not be an issue. If you are a fan of this brand and you want a starter vice for hobby work, then this would fit perfectly. Overall a great little vice, if your looking for a small vice then this should tick all the boxes.
Stanley 183065 100mm (4 inch) MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice Review
The Stanley 183065 100mm 4 -inch MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice is another great product from the Stanley company and is a smaller version of our 'Best Pick' so it has all the same great features and quality but it deigned for light duty use. First off this vice features a cast iron frame that is capable of offering years of service. You don’t have to worry about erosion and rust since the unit has been chrome plated just like the larger model.
The jaw capacity provided is 100mm which means it can still hold larger pieces of work if needed but obviously they have to be within its 10cm jaw width. The jaws are also serrated in order to provide adequate grip, weighing in at 4.8kgs the vice measures 25.9 x 13 x 16.5 cm. This is a bit heavier than the basic small model but is certainly lightly than our 'best pick' alternative.
As you would expect. there are holes meant for securing the unit to your bench. The bolts are not provided and thus you will have to purchase them separately. You also have the ability to swivel the unit and find an appropriate position making it much better then a fixed position vice.
The Stanley 183065 4 inch MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice is a simple vice to use but has the quality we have come to expect from Stanley. You can trust the construction of this vice since it is made of cast iron unlike some cheaper models which use steel.
The jaw opening is wide enough to handle small to medium jobs with ease and want cost the earth.
This unit can be secured permanently to your surface using bolts that can be purchased independently so remember to add some bolts to your order. Purchasing the bolts will have to coincide with the thickness of the bench. For those looking for a simple quality vice for general tasks at manageable prices, this may be the one for you.
If your looking for a very robust and high standard 4" vice for professional use and need the best of the best, then the Irwin Record 4" vice we review next will be a better choice.
Irwin Record No.3 Mechanics Vice 4 inch Review
The Irwin Record No.3 Mechanics Vice 4 inch can handle light to medium applications without distorting even under intense pressure. Since the strength of the construction materials is essential to the shelf life of the vice, grey iron casting is not a bad choice and is what makes this vice so reliable and perfect for professional use.
A gap 100mm is present so as to provide room for effective handling of different thickness of material. The jaws can be used and replaced when they get worn out, again this is another great feature which means you don't need to replace the whole vice. However the jaws are not likely to get bent out of shape easily or worn so It should be a while before you have to replace it.
You have the option to select fibre jaws or a swivel base for easy manoeuvring. However, you will have to purchase these accessories independently. The winding nut is designed in a way that allows for smooth motion and strong so as not to bend.
The unit weighs 13kgs and measures 36 x 18 x 18 cm. A small hammering surface is featured on the vice simular to that found on the cheaper Stanley alternative. There are provisions made that can help you bolt the unit down to your work table.
The Irwin Record No.3 Mechanics Vice is a good quality vice that is probably one of the best vices available in terms of strength and quality but it is expensive for the casual user. This is meant for those who have a bit of money to spend for a good vice and need something that can be used under immense pressure.
We like that the jaw plates are replaceable which in turn makes sure that the machine remains in use.
Overall one of the best vices available and certainly worth the cost for the professional user.
EBERTH 5" Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice Review
The EBERTH 5" Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice is highly recommended for milling applications or precision drilling. This kind of vice basically combines the use of a cross table and a vice. Its perfect for workshops and well as any diy enthusiast.
The manufacturer of this unit made certain that the comfort of the user was a primary need. That is precisely why the handles on this machine have rubber.
Jaws are important in offering stability. The jaws on this model are securely fixed in position and can be removed to make way for other uses. At the same time, the dovetail guides are adjustable so that you can find the right balance for precision.
The material that has been used to construct the vice is durable and has been treated to prevent rust/corrosion. The maximum cross stroke is estimated at 110mm while the jaw width is 125mm. The vice has a maximum span of 98mm. A 2 year warranty is supplied with the vice which is a bonus.
The EBERTH 5" Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice is for those who want to explore milling and precise drilling applications. You have to look at the amount of space that you have before purchasing this machine, it is not so small.
We like the removable jaws and the comfortable handles. For any user, this is a very easy machine to use. The overall price of the unit is fair and durability is promised so we say why not?
We get that most people will not be looking for this type of vice but wanted to include a good example of one for those who might have a need for such a vice, specially if you have a pillar drill or router.
THE BUYERS GUIDE
There isn’t much complexity in selecting the best vice. You have to identify a few features that are crucial to you then go along from there. The factors below cover information that you can use to select the best bench vice for your workshop or home use.
1. Size of the vice
Do you need a model that can handle intricate projects or a model that can take care of industrial duties? The size of the work that is to be undertaken will affect the overall size. Small units offer a jaw opening of around 3-4 inches while larger units can go up to 6 inches and beyond. To be safe select a medium-sized model, that way you don’t have to handle the bulky workshop models.
2. Secured or swivel base?
There are models that allow the base to rotate so that the user can work at different angles. The swivel base can be rotated and secured to hold the vice in position. On the other hand, we have vices that have permanent base that are bolted down on surfaces. These kinds of vices are recommended for workshop environments since stability at all times is required. Depending on personal preference, choose accordingly.
3. Jaw Specifications
The jaw part of a vice is rather important as it provides the hold needed. There are jaws that have covers which is meant to protect the working material from getting scratched. These covers can be removed to display ridges and cusps that hold rough material in place.
There are jaws that are fixed and will be used until they wear out. Alternatively, there are models that offer replaceable or removable jaws to make way for other applications. These replaceable blades are recommended for vices that are used frequently. This is because wear and tear is higher in units that are constantly used.
4. Secure clamps and additional anvil
An anvil is usually present in models to provide a user with a surface for hammering. If the size of the anvil matters to you, be sure to select a model with a sizeable one. Be sure that it will be a tad heavier.
Clamps are used to secure the vice to your workbench. The size of the clamp will be able to accommodate different thickness of surfaces. Be sure to check the maximum surface thickness that the vice can accommodate. The clamp itself should be made of strong material so as to keep up with the pressure. Low-quality claps tend to snap easily.
5. Ergonomics and price
Comfort is primary concern for manufacturers since consumers have become more aware. Smoothly finished handles ensure that your hands do not get too much bruising while an overall structural finish prevent the vice from ruining your surfaces.
The price of the vice will depend on your spending power. If you have unlimited pockets, then the features you can access are unlimited. If you are working on a tight budget, look at the model with the best features within that price range. Settling for vices simply because they are cheap will cost you in the long run.
There are some models that offer warranties depending on the make. Warranties are effective tools to have especially if facing problems with the unit. The manufacturer will be able to give you viable solutions to the problems. If one is not provided, it does not mean that the bench vice is of inferior quality, however, the best vice should offer some guarantee for its quality.
All new vices come with some form of stiffness therefore use some lubricant to ease things up if needed but they usually ware in after a while.
As you have seen, vices are pretty simple tools of service. If it can be clamped steadily onto a surface and the jaws are strong, you can accomplish quite a lot. Take a peek on the ratings just to gauge how other consumers have received the product.
Our Best Pick
The products displayed in the bench vice reviews section have their merits but we felt that the Stanley 183068 MaxSteel Heavy-Duty Bench Vic is probably the best bench vice for most people.
It is heavy enough to take care of light-medium weight work and it offers a wide jaw opening. The wide jaw opening offers more room for the users to work with. The construction is solid and the price very affordable.
We feel this model will easily serve you for many years.
Our Best Lightweight Vice
This honour has to go to the Rolson 16279 Swivel Table Vice. This lightweight unit is perfect for light tasks and domestic applications. It offers a jaw opening of 60mm which is adequate for small tasks.
Other than its swivel feature and anvil, the price of the unit is very affordable. Those in search of a quick fix can purchase this iron vice and enjoy working.
Our Most Versatile Vice
The vice with a secure clamping system that offers different working angles is the Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice. They have included both vertical and horizontal clamps which are secured into position.
The vice is a lightweight thus it stands without issues and can be transported easily. For an enthusiastic user or DIY enthusiasts, the vice will prove quintessential. The build of it is not bad either, you get a reliable vice that is very adaptable.
Bench vice reviews are the ultimate sources of information that you can use to know more about the vice that is right for you. Scale the amount of work to be done and the intensity needed and then make an informed decision.