Last updated on February 6th, 2022
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Having a bench vise in the workshop is equated to having an extra pair of hands that never get tired. When working with wood, metal and other materials you need to place them in a stable position. By getting a reliable clamp you can accomplish a lot in the workshop including drilling and sawing into objects.
The best bench vise can be clamped or mounted onto a workbench with ease. It should possess firm jaws and conform to the budget that you are working with. If this is your first time shopping for a vise you have come to the right place.
We have selected some vise models that we think may meet your requirements. For example, our best pick the Stanley 183068 MaxSteel Heavy-Duty Bench Vice is affordable and sturdy with basic essential features covered while our runner up model the Dremel Multi-vice is perfect for lightweight tasks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Read on to find out more about the vises featured in this review and make up your mind which model suits you best.
Below you will find each vice reviewed in detail, as the size of vice needed can vary, depending on 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 with the winner of our ‘Best Pick’ which will be a great choice for most people, it is not too small, yet not overly large making it perfect for most people.
Bench Vise Reviews
1. Stanley 183068 MaxSteel 150mm (6 inch) Heavy-Duty Bench Vice
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 vise is perfect and is very versatile.
With a clamping force of 2200kg, the jaws will hold your project in the right position. The swivel base is able to rotate to fit your requirements. Once you get the right position you can lock the vice in position and proceed.
At 27kg it’s not light but being made from cast iron this is not surprising, the chrome-plated design prevents the unit from rusting and corroding for prolonged life and improved quality.
- 2200kg of clamping force.
- Features a mini anvil for hammering applications.
- The vice’s jaws have a powerful grip thus offering stability.
- The handle features rubber support for the user’s hands as they open or close the jaws.
- Features a swivel base that can be locked into position.
- At 27kg its quite heavy for some to install without help.
- Bolts needed to secure the vice need to be purchased separately.
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 that are great for hammering against, which is great for straightening nails etc.
Overall, this is probably the best vice available at the price. It isn’t the cheapest but it offers better value for money than some of the other models we compared it against. Many of which are much more expensive, however, 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.
2. Dremel 2500 Multi-Vise, 3-in-1 Adjustable Bench Vice
Introducing the Dremel 2500 multi-vise that is a 3-in-1 function tool. This model acts as a standalone clamp, a tool holder and a stationary vice all in one. You have the option to use any of the functions without any problems. The multi-vice can clamp onto surfaces that are 6.3cm at a maximum, which means you can work from most surfaces.
The model also possesses a jaw depth of 19cm that enables the user to work with materials of varied shapes and thicknesses. The jaws have grooves to enable a firm grip on whatever is being worked on. When you are done working there is a quick-release button you can use to release the material you are working on.
Another feature that comes with this bench vice is a 360-degree ball and socket joint. The ball and socket can be tilted to 50 degrees allowing the user to work from any direction. You can adjust the ball and socket to your liking depending on what you are working on.
This portable model weighs 1.56kg and it comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind. Dremel tools are built to last and this is a fantastic example of a top-quality Dremel product. This is a great choice for home DIY’ers.
- Offers a 3-in-1 function making it multi-purpose.
- Comes with a quick-release button for easier user experience.
- Features a ball and socket to facilitate 360-degree rotation.
- Sold at an affordable price and a 2-year warranty for extra peace of mind.
- Lightweight therefore easily portable.
- A bit flimsy for heavy-handed work.
The Dremel 2500 Multi-Vise is great for undertaking light projects. Considering that it weighs 1.56kg, it is too light to undertake any heavy-duty work. However, it is handy because it can work with objects of different shapes and sizes. The multi-vice is affordable and therefore it is perfect if you are working with a low budget. It is also a great selection for those who need to purchase a vice for occasional DIY projects. The vice has multiple functions and it offers adequate value for money. You can trust that you are purchasing a dependable model because it comes with a fantastic 2-year warranty which should give you the peace of mind you need. Well worth considering.
3. Rolson 16279 60mm Swivel Table Vice with Anvil
The Rolson 60mm Swivel Table Vice, which also features an 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 at 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 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 you need a dependable clamping device. This unit features a steel screw clamp that is great because 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 necessary 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.
- Small and lightweight enough to be moved around.
- The base can rotate to offer different working angles.
- Vice clamps to work surface and is not permanently fixed with bolts meaning it can be fastened to any surface.
- Sold at very affordable prices.
- Contains an anvil for hammering applications.
- The swivel mechanism can move unnecessarily if too much force is applied.
- Small vice so not suitable for clamping larger materials.
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 its 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 them to get rid of general stiffness.
Because 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.
4. Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice
The Stanley 183069 Multi Angle Hobby Vice is a lightweight model at only 1.6kg, that measures 20 x 84 x 21.5cm. This makes it compact enough to carry around or store easily and is designed (as Stanley suggests in the name) as a Hobby Vice making it the perfect addition to any DIYer’s list of tools.
This vice is probably one of the most versatile vices because it offers multiple positions thanks to the ball-bearing joint it incorporates. This allows it to hold the material at any angle.
When it comes to the jaw area, this vice is fitted with a 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 thanks to the rubber covers provided. What we really like 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 too 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 a secure attachment to different surface thicknesses. Because it is a small model, it is not likely to fit through excessively thick surfaces. The thickness of 2 3/8″ will do, such as those found on most desks or worktables.
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 good moveability of the workpiece.
- Perfect for the DIY enthusiast looking for a small versatile vice clamp.
- Swivel base offers various positions for the user to work with.
- Features a removable jaw cover that serves to protect the working material.
- Patented ball joints make the movements made by the vice fluid.
- The affordable price makes it attainable for many people.
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 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 you are looking for a small vice then this should tick all the boxes.
5. Stanley 183065 100mm (4 inch) MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice
The Stanley 183065 100mm 4 -inch MaxSteel Light-Duty Vice is another great product from the Stanley company. It is a smaller version of our ‘Best Pick’ so it has all the same great features and quality but has been designed for light-duty use. First off, this vice features a cast iron frame that is capable of offering years of service. You don’t need to worry about erosion and rust because 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 necessary but obviously they will need to be within its 10cm jaw width. The jaws are also serrated in order to provide an adequate grip, weighing in at 4.8kgs the vice measures 25.9 x 13 x 16.5cm. This is a bit heavier than the basic small model but is certainly lighter 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 due to this, you will need to purchase them separately. You also have the ability to swivel the unit and find an appropriate position, making it much better than a fixed position vice.
- Manufactured from cast iron for durability and strength.
- Heavier than basic models, therefore, can handle heavier work if needed.
- Provides a wide jaw opening of 100mm which means it can accommodate larger working materials.
- Features a small section that can be used for hammering.
- The model lacks secure clamps, which in turn, make the vice move around unexpectedly if put under too much pressure, however, it’s still sufficient for most.
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 because it is made of cast iron, unlike some cheaper models that are made using steel.
The jaw opening is wide enough to handle small to medium jobs with ease and won’t 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 a manageable price, this may be the one for you.
If you’re 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.
6. Irwin Record No.3 Mechanics Vice 4 inch
The Irwin Record No.3 Mechanics Vice can handle light to medium applications without distorting, even under intense pressure. Because 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 of 100mm is present to provide room for effective handling of different thicknesses of the material. The jaws can be used and replaced when they get worn out, again this is another great feature that 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 need to replace them.
You have the option to select fibre jaws or a swivel base for easy maneuvering. However, you will need to purchase these accessories independently. The winding nut is designed in a way that allows for smooth motion and is strong so won’t bend.
The unit weighs 13kgs and measures 36 x 18 x 18cm. A small hammering surface is featured on the vice, similar to that found on the cheaper Stanley alternative. There are provisions made that can help you bolt the unit down to your worktable.
- Perfect for professional use and designed to last.
- It is able to handle light-medium applications.
- Made out of grey iron which is hard to damage and will not distort even under pressure.
- Features replaceable jaw plates for easy replacement and maintenance.
- Expensive but worth the cost for a professional vice that will last.
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, however, it is expensive for the casual user. This is meant for those who have a bit of money to spend on 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.
7. EBERTH 5″ Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice
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 vice. It is perfect for workshops and well as for any DIY enthusiasts.
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.
- Combines the use of a cross table and vice enabling precision drilling.
- Good quality features at affordable prices.
- The jaws can be removed or attached depending on the user’s needs.
- Features adjustable dovetail guides for precise work.
The EBERTH 5″ Cross Sliding Drill Press Vice is for those who want to explore milling and precise drilling applications. You need 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 we wanted to include a good example of one for those who might have a need for such a vice, especially if you have a pillar drill or router.
8. Eclipse Professional Tools EWWQR9-NA Woodworking Vice
The Eclipse Professional Woodworking Vice is made of cast iron that is durable and possesses fantastic shock absorbing qualities. Some of the parts like the main screw are made of steel which is also another strong and rust-free material.
This model provides a clamping capacity of 9-inches and it is more than enough room to hold thick objects. It also possesses an adjustable front stop that works with a bench stop to provide additional clamping functions.
Fitted with a quick-release trigger, the vice will release the object without the need of making use of the main screw. This is convenient when you need to regularly switch up between pieces you are working on. Just because it is not motorised equipment does not mean that no safety features are required. This model comes with a tommy bar that will bend to indicate the pressure being applied on the vice is too much. Weighing 16.3kgs, this model is capable of handling both light and heavy-duty work.
- Well-made cast iron vice that is sturdy.
- Features a tommy bar for safety purposes.
- Comes with a quick-release trigger for convenience while working.
- Offers good value for money.
- Can work with large objects thanks to the 9-inch clamping capacity.
- It is a bit expensive.
If you are looking for a premium vice then the Eclipse Professional Woodworking Vice great choice. It is designed to have simple but effective features and therefore would make a great addition to any workshop. Both professionals and DIY enthusiasts can make use of this great product. It is a bit on the higher side price wise but once you purchase it, you won’t need to worry about replacing it for a very long time.
There isn’t much complexity in selecting the best vice. You need 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.
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 need to handle the bulky workshop models.
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 bases that are bolted down on surfaces. These kinds of vices are recommended for workshop environments because stability at all times is required. Depending on personal preference, choose accordingly.
The jaw part of the vice is rather important because it provides the hold needed. There are jaws that have covers that are 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 are higher in units that are constantly used.
Secure clamps and an 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 to note 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 thicknesses of surfaces. Be sure to check the maximum surface thickness that the vice can accommodate. The clamp itself should be made of strong material to keep up with the pressure. Low-quality claps tend to snap easily.
Ergonomics and price
Comfort is the primary concern for manufacturers because consumers have become more aware. Smoothly finished handles ensure that your hands do not get too much bruising while the structural finish prevents 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 you are experiencing 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.
How does a bench vice work?
A vice features jaws to clamp/hold onto an object. One of the jaws is attached to a threaded screw that has a nut that keeps it in place. By winding or unwinding the threaded screw, you can open or close the clutching jaws. In most cases, the jaws have indentations or patterns to offer a firm grip on the object being worked on.
What can you use a bench vice for?
There are many ways that you can put a bench vice to use. You can use a vice:
- When looking to drill into some material.
- Sand wood or metallic objects.
- Cut into electrical conduits.
- Saw into different materials.
- Glue objects together.
- When you need a makeshift workbench
How can you install or mount a bench vice?
Installing a bench vice is easy. You just need to follow the following tips.
- Gather all the tools and materials you need.
- Select where you want to mount the vice and measure out where the mounting holes will be.
- Mark the position of the mounting holes and drill into the workbench to create the holes.
- Align the base of the vice with the holes in the workbench.
- Place a washer on the underside of the workbench before bolting and nutting the vice into position.
- Use a wrench to make sure all the bolts are tight.
How to choose a bench vice
Always think of the size of materials you are working with and the scale of the work to be done. You cannot select a lightweight model to handle heavyweight tasks. You also need to think of the amount of money you want to spend and how regularly the vice will be used. This allows you to select a vice that offers you value for your money.
Vices are very simple in their nature and therefore shopping for them should not be a hassle. That may be the reason for selecting our best pick and runner-up model was so easy. Remember that you need to do a little maintenance once in a while to keep the vice in good condition. Other than that there is not much to it. Get yourself a vice and have a pair of extra hands always there to assist.
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API