Best Workbenches

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
687 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best workbenches

Last Updated September 2020

You need a place to do what needs to be done, a place where all of your tools are within easy reach and you can work safely, effectively, and efficiently. For some, that can be a desk that holds your computer and various office supplies. However, for individuals who work with their hands crafting, building, and repairing, the key element in that work space is a workbench.

The right workbench must fit your specific needs. Someone who builds furniture needs a much different workbench than someone who repairs electronics. A workbench must be sized for the task at hand and the individual. A workbench that’s too low or too high can create an unhealthy strain on the neck, shoulders, arms, and back.

If you'd like to learn about the factors and features to consider when choosing a workbench, keep reading. If you’re ready to purchase a workbench and you just stopped by this page for suggestions, consider one of the quality models spotlighted above.

Organization can be the key for getting the most out of your workbench. If tools are scattered about your work space, you won’t have any place to work.

Key considerations

Types of workbenches

When you hear the word “workbench,” chances are a specific image jumps to mind. However, there's more than one type of workbench, and to get the one that’s best for you, you need to know all your options.

Wall-mounted: This type of workbench is ideal if you don’t have much floor space. Many can also fold down when not in use. This workbench offers somewhat limited functionality and won’t support extremely heavy materials or machinery.

Portable: This type of workbench is perfect for the individual who needs to bring the workspace to the work area. Many are lightweight and quickly fold up for transport. A variation is a workbench with lockable wheels that can be rolled around a room or work space at the user's convenience.

Table: For many people, a workbench is a table that is somewhat permanently stationed in a garage, shed, or basement. This type of workbench has a large, level, durable surface and is often manufactured to support a great deal of weight. It offers the most versatile work space.

Storage: If you need a workbench that also offers storage space, you're going to want a model that has cabinets, drawers, and/or shelves. This type of workbench may not offer the same flexibility as a table model, but it allows you to store your tools in a convenient location.

EXPERT TIP

Before doing a messy task like painting or glueing, place a protective cover on top of your workbench (such as rosin paper or a vinyl tablecloth) to reduce the chances of permanently marring the surface.


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Features

Material

The material used to make a workbench can have a huge impact on its functionality.

Plastic: Plastic is affordable and lightweight, making it ideal for portability. The best models are coated to be scratch and stain resistant, too. Plastic isn’t as strong as wood or metal, so this workbench is best saved for light-duty tasks. Many are also smaller in size than a typical wood or metal workbench.

Wood: Wooden workbenches can be either flimsy or remarkably durable. The higher-end models feature a thick, long-wearing work surface that can endure heavy loads and impacts. These workbenches are best used for medium to heavy-duty tasks.

Metal: Metal workbenches come with the same caution as wooden models: a cheap, portable metal workbench can be dangerously flimsy. However, if you purchase a high-quality steel model, you may be paying more, but the workbench will hold up in even extreme conditions and last for many years.

Extras

Feet: It’s very important for a workbench to be level. Since a floor (especially a sloped floor in a garage) may not be level, you might need a model that features leveling feet so you can fine-tune your workbench after installation.

Pegboard: Besides cabinets, drawers, and shelves, some workbenches have a pegboard that can be used to hang the tools you use often within easy reach. If this sounds desirable, look for a workbench that has a pegboard.

Light: For certain types of work, you want a nearby light source. Some workbenches have a high shelf with a built-in light.

Other: Some workbenches come with convenient features like a built-in organizer, power strip, built-in vice, or other woodworking tools. If you’re looking for something besides a place to work and an area to store your tools, consider a workbench that includes the extras you desire.

EXPERT TIP

Consider placing a double layer of carpet padding in front of your workbench so you have something softer than concrete to stand on. Just make certain the padding doesn’t create a tripping hazard.


Staff  | BestReviews

Workbench prices

Inexpensive: If you just need a small, portable workbench or a unit that you can mount on a wall, many of these models are available for under $150.

Mid-range: The average homeowner will likely be happy with a workbench that falls in the $200 to $600 range. These models are fairly basic, offering little more than a solid and durable place to work.

Expensive: If you need cabinets or a place to hang your tools or something that offers storage as well as a work space, it may put you in the $1,000 range. Professionals who need a large, heavy-duty, multipurpose workbench with storage can spend $3,000 or more, but this is usually beyond the needs of the typical homeowner.

EXPERT TIP

If you need to work on a piece of wood that isn't flat (such as a dowel), place rigid foam on each side of the vice to give it better gripping ability without increasing the risk of damaging the wood.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

On its own, a workbench isn't any more dangerous than a table. However, what you do on a workbench can be extremely dangerous. The following are a few general safety tips to keep in mind when working on a workbench.

  • Make the work area safe. Have adequate lighting. If you can't easily see what you’re doing, it increases your chances for a mistake or injury. Also, make sure the area has proper ventilation. The air in your workspace must be safe to breathe. Both fumes and dust create hazardous respiratory conditions.
  • Stay safe. Depending on the tools you’re using, wear proper protective gear. This can range from safety glasses and a dust mask to gloves and an apron. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing or jewelry or anything that could get caught in equipment. Fasten long hair out of the way. Also avoid distractions. That means no conversations or texting when operating dangerous equipment. Focus fully on the task at hand. And keep your work area clean. A cluttered workspace is a dangerous workspace.
  • Be aware of power cords. No power cord should run near or through your workspace, especially if you’re sawing or cutting materials.
  • Unplug equipment. Whenever you’re doing any maintenance, including bit or blade changes on power equipment, the first step must always be unplugging that equipment.
  • Know your tools. Understand fully how all of your equipment and tools work. Follow all safety precautions listed in the owner's manuals. And keep your tools sharp. A dull tool is more dangerous to operate than a sharp one.
If you find your wooden-top workbench needs some extra strength from time to time, you can clamp (or permanently attach) a sheet of metal to a section to provide a more durable work area.

FAQ

Q. How tall should my workbench be?
A.
The ideal height for a workbench varies from individual to individual and is based on the type of work that needs to be done. Between 33 and 36 inches is generally a good range to consider. If you do a lot of work with hand tools, having a slightly lower bench may help with leverage. However, you must be careful because a bench that’s too low will force you to lean forward while working, which can put unnecessary strain on your lower back. The best solution is to look for an adjustable workbench. Even an inch higher or lower can make a big difference.
 

Q. How wide should my workbench be?
A.
That depends completely on what you need to accomplish and how much room you have. For some individuals, 24 inches may be plenty. However, if you’re going to be working with larger pieces of material that need to be supported, you might want to consider a much larger workbench.
 

Q. What’s the purpose of an overhang on a workbench?
A.
If your workbench has an overhang, it gives you the option of increasing its versatility. For instance, the overhang allows you to clamp something you’re working on to the table to keep it stationary for glueing, drilling, or sanding.
 

Q. How thick should my workbench top be?
A.
More important than thickness is the durability of the surface. A 3-inch top that easily dents, splinters, or cracks isn't going to be as good as a 1.5-inch top that holds up under heavy-duty use.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Allen
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    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
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    Web Producer

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