Best Bench Vise – Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

A workbench without a bench vise is probably not complete. This vise has a versatility and quality you cannot find anywhere else. What is the best bench vise? When time comes to choice among thousands of options, it can be confusing. Japan made or US made? What about one from Taiwan? We would like to encourage you to go through this review because concluding that a vise is good is a result of scrutiny. You have to look at safety, quality, ergonomics, features and price and so on.

There are four types of bench vises namely clamp-on vises, woodworking vises, engineer’s vises and pipe vises. Each of these has its unique application, so the designs are different. The pipe vise is synonymous with plumbers. If you have ever used a pipe clamp, then you will not have trouble recognizing a pipe vise. Do you prefer a more mobile tool? Then get a clamp-on vise, which is smaller and lighter. Engineer’s vise has been around for quite sometime and is probably the most recognizable. These are available in different sizes. Woodworking vises are bulkier than the rest because of their application.

Now check out the following reviews, which comprise of four products from the four categories introduced here, and share your experiences and views.


Bench Vise Reviews

PreviewNameAwardsPurchase

Wilton 63218 79A

WOODWORKING BENCH VISE

Yost 750-E

ENGINEER’S BENCH VISE

YOST VISES 750-DI

PIPE BENCH VISE


Best Woodworking Bench Vise

Furniture makers, Craftspeople and luthiers are some in the long list of users of woodworker’s vise. This vise is no match to the conventional vise in many ways, but probably the most notable one is that the woodworking bench vise rarely damages or scratches wood pieces.

Choosing a woodworking bench vise is a tricky affair considering all the varieties available. The most standard vise in this category is the plain screw vise. You will know it by its conventional handle that turns a screw. Even with its simplicity, this tool finds application in highly professional tasks. Unfortunately, using this device is a time-consuming and backbreaking procedure that only the patient users can stand.

Most woodworking bench vises are heavy, but the woodcraft vise is an exception. For this reason, this device is a common sight in home workshops. If you are a repairperson or hobbyist dealing with small wood pieces, trust me, you need to get a woodworking bench vise. Professional woodworkers may also use this device, although it can only handle small projects such as jewelry boxes, ornaments and picture frames.


A) Wilton 63218 79A 10-Inch Jaw Width by 13-Inch Opening Woodworking Vise

Wilton 63218 79A

Woodworking vise with a 10 by 4-Inch jaw width and a 13-Inch maximum opening

Many users have talked about the quality of Wilton products and I can assure you your sentiments will be similar once you handle this sizeable woodworking vise. It is a combination of power, aesthetics and durability.

First, this piece of equipment is attractive! I am talking about the pivoting jaw that looks so fine with its green coating. Beyond looks, the vise is also effective in clamping a wide variety of wood pieces. Many reviewers say they love the way the front jaw is capable of holding irregularly shaped items. The 10-degree pivoting capability is a huge asset to the vise.

Not interested in the pivot jaw? I have good news for you. You can remove this component in case you want to clamp a wider work piece. That is how flexible this tool is. Someone who has used a Wilton tool before may not be surprised by this though. Their tools always incorporate a rare level of versatility.

A seasoned woodworker will tell you that you can have either a rapid acting or a continuous-screw vise for operation type. Now, the Wilton 63218 79A comes with a rapid acting nut. You will have this component to thank when you want to save time during clamping. How does it work? Simply pull the handle with minimal force and hold. The nut disengages and releases the work piece. Set the jaws to desired measurement and release the handle. With a simple turn, it will clamp the work piece, firmly.

Although this equipment is designed for heavy-duty applications, DIYers can still use it. It comes with mounting instructions and it is easy to use. Its high price may probably turn off a section of users, those who believe they can get similar quality for less. However, we believe this vise is worth the price considering its sizeable opening capability, flexibility, incredible clamping force and other important features.


B) Wilton 63144 Heavy-Duty Woodworking Vise

Wilton 63144

Jaw width: 4-by-7-Inch

Brand loyalty is earned through many years of experience and consistent quality. Analysis of all Wilton products including this heavy-duty woodworking vise shows consistency in professional touch, user centric features and durability.

What feature is at the top of the list for your choice of woodworking vise? Here is a guess: strength.  Most carpenters and other users of these types of vises rank strength very highly. Well, the Wilton 63144 Heavy-Duty Woodworking Vise does not disappoint in this respect. It also features admirable flexibility when it comes to the size of work piece it can accommodate. In case you need wider clamping capability, simply remove the pivot jaw.

In the course of work, the user may need to work with irregularly shaped objects that make clamping difficult. Aware of this problem, Wilton made sure that this vise has the capability to pivot 10 degrees. You will find this innovative feature in the flexible front jaw. Thanks to this addition, tapered objects can sit securely between the jaws.

Any workbench worth its salt should be sturdy enough not to be dragged along by an object. Many people make mistakes related to the bench and the vise that can be costly in future. For the Wilton 63144 Heavy-Duty Woodworking Vise, you get mounting instructions so you can get the best from this vise.

If interested, you can order magnetic maple jaw inserts separately. Maple jaws come in handy in clamping delicate objects. The magnetic face sticks to the metallic jaws. These magnets are strong so do not expect the inserts to slip or fall off. Inserts are available in various sizes and normally cost anything between $6 and $9 per pair.

While this vise is a bit pricey, you cannot fault it on anything regarding quality and performance. Considering quality and price, we can confidently recommend this product.


C) Yost M7WW Rapid Acting Wood Working Vise, 7″, Blue

Yost M7WW

Rapid Action Lever for Quick Opening and Closing of the Vise

The popularity of Yost as a manufacturer of the best wood working vises is undisputable. The manufacturer is renowned for detailed and durable products. You can expect the service of Yost M7WW Rapid Acting Wood Working Vise to leave a smile on your face.

Even if this simple-looking vise is designed for home use, its optimal performance can rival any professional heavy-duty wood working vise out there. For example, it comes with a rapid action nut that saves a lot of time when unclamping and clamping objects. You want this kind of capability when working on many wood pieces.

The reliable rapid action nut allows the jaws to disengage and engage in record time. Operating the nut is also as effortless as you can imagine. This is attributed to the buttress thread on the main screw, which is weak during the disengaging operation.

Using a nice wood working vise as this one is very enjoyable. However, you have to mount it first. This is probably the worst part for most first time users. When you buy the Yost M7WW Rapid Acting Wood Working Vise, you will see “strange” holes. The purpose of these pre-drilled holes is to make mounting fast.  Yes, there is no need to go around looking for a drill to make holes on the hardened metal.

Indeed, the operation of this vise is as smooth as butter, but do not take it for weakness. The vise offers incredible clamping force. It is easy to open such a vise beyond the recommended size, but you do not have to worry about that with this equipment. An end stop keeps the vise within limits.

Not all objects can withstand the crushing force of the metallic jaws. In case you need to hold delicate materials, you can order wood facings and install them using the pre-drilled holes.


D) Kaufhof AVW-5383 Clamp-On Woodworking Bench Vise 9 Inch

Kaufhof AVW-5383

Made from high grade casting

Kaufhof is a globally renowned manufacturer of high quality and affordable woodworking products and accessories. They have given us popular bench vises including the KV7WR   Kaufhof KV7WR 7 Inch Woodworkers Bench Vise, KV9WR   Kaufhof KV9WR 9 Inch Woodworkers Bench Vise and KV4W   Kaufhof KV4W 4 Inch 90 Degree Welder Angle Clamp. You can trust the Kaufhof AVW-5383 to satisfy your woodworking clamping needs.

This is a high quality woodworking vise that promises excellent performance from its appearance alone. The spindles are chrome plated to give a confident majestic appeal.  It has the mark of engineering perfection for total user control, as is with other Kaufhof vises.

Although this is a light-duty vise, it has quality construction as its mainstay. We single out the high grade casting material. Yes, this is cast iron but do not get it wrong; the vise is extremely strong. Cast iron as used here can have a tensile strength of as much as 30000 PSI.

That the thickness of a vise is directly correlated to its performance is a no-brainer. For a light-duty vise, we must say that the width, depth and thickness are commendable. The same case applies to the main screw, which is made of the ever-reliable steel. The screw thickness may not be sizeable, but you can be sure it can withstand clamping force needed for most light duties in your home.

Another remarkable quality of the device is smooth operation. This can be attributed to the main screw design that relies on acme threads. The zinc coating on both main and spindle screws prevents rusting and other damages.

The Kaufhof AVW-5383 comes with two pre-drilled holes on each jaw for attaching wood facings. It also features Bottom Table Clamp Mounting to help you position it effectively.

Other features of the vise include:

  • Jaw opening- 8 inch
  • Jaw width – 9 inch
  • Depth – 3 inch

Best Engineer’s Bench Vise

The name “engineer’s vise” came from the fact that this vise was originally designed for engineering industries, specifically for metalworking. It is considered the oldest type of bench vise. Other names for this heavy-duty equipment include workshop vise and machinist vise.

Usually constructed from steel or iron, engineer’s bench vises comprise of two main parts: flat anvil and swivel base. This device is not part of the workbench, meaning that you can remove and fix it back at will. If you want to take the most advantage of this tool’s versatility, place it on the bench’s corner.

The fact that this vise can be made from steel or iron gives it a variety of tensile strengths.  This characteristic allows the user to operate on a wide variety of work pieces. Prices also vary greatly because of the same reason.

The positioning of an engineer’s vise on the bench matters a lot. For the best performance, make sure the rear jaw sits on the edge of the bench. The height of the vise on the bench is also a crucial consideration.


A) Yost 750-E Rotating Bench Vise

Yost 750-E

Rotating Head For Clamping Material At Any Angle

Are you looking for a most reliable bench vise for your home workshop? Look no further than this strongly built multi-jaw vise. Your home projects will be more efficient and easier once you get the equipment that has an incredible clamping capacity and unbelievable flexibility.

The Yost 750-E is one of the two variants of the very popular Yost Vises 750 model. The other one is Yost Vises 750-DI. Now back to our focus, the Yost 750-E rotating bench vise is designed with the versatility of home projects in mind. Consider the vise head, which can rotate 360 degrees, that is, a full circle. This also applies to the vise’s base. This is what gave it the name “rotating vise”. With this capability, you can clamp the work piece in whichever way you want.

You have to give it to the tool for its highly durable features. For example, its body is cast iron so you can be sure of its longevity. This is the kind of build that enables the vise to handle very touch material, whether metal or hardwood.

What can the vise’s jaw do? 5″ Jaw Opening capacity is good by any standards. With it, you can work with a wide range of materials, thickness notwithstanding. You might also be excited to know that the vise comes with three sets of powerful jaws- V-Jaws, machinist jaws and pipe jaws.

Surprisingly, this vise is very easy to use. Its body is pre-drilled so mounting should be relatively straightforward. Regardless of your clamping needs around your home workshop, this bench vise is definitely worth the consideration. It is strong, versatile and very functional.

The Yost 750-E is relatively affordable even it is the most expensive of the other vises in this category. It has excellent finish and build that is enough to promise many years of service.


B) HFS (TM) Brand 5″ Heavyduty Bench Vise Anvil Forged.360 Swivel Locking Base Desktop Clamp (16LBS), HFS Blue Design

HFS (TM) Brand 5

Power serrated steel jaws and clamps for great grip and strength

Anyone who is after a utility heavy-duty bench vise had better get this one, which is applicable for both home and professional use. It designed from the very durable cast steel. You do not expect this vise to break easily as is with some brands.

You can swivel the base to 360 degrees to achieve the maximum versatility and ease of operation. The swivel locking base feature allows you to do these maneuvers. From the reviews, the jaw force is decent enough to handle most jobs. To complement the clamping force further, the vise comes with serrated steel jaws for the best grip. These kinds of jaws do not damage the work piece either. Do you wish to use another set of jaws? You can fix your custom jaws on this vise and get going. Surely, versatility does not get better than this.

Most vises stop at 4-inch jaws, but the HFS (TM) Brand 5″ Heavyduty Bench Vise is one inch bigger. This allows users to hold larger materials and therefore accomplish more. The vise’s throat depth appears impressive too and accommodative for relatively thick materials.

The grip of this engineer’s bench vise is much stronger than what most users will ever need. With a little turn on the swivel, you can achieve a solid grip on any object. Unfortunately, the disengaging process can be a bit hectic if you apply too much clamping force. This should not be a regular problem, since this vise suits light duty projects where clamping force is small.

The jaws are linear so it might be troublesome holding odd shaped objects. However, the fact that they have a strong grip means you can find your way around this problem. Furthermore, the vise does not leave marks on material and lasts long. Overall, this vise is suitable for both DIYers and professionals.


C) Yost LV-4 Home Vise, 4″

Yost LV-4 Home Vise

O Swivel base allows rotating the vise 240-Degree for versatility

Yost vises are available many shapes and sizes, but the Yost LV4 has proven a favorite for home based users. It makes the list for a number of reasons. First, this device comes with a versatile O Swivel base that allows for up to 240-Degree rotation. You cannot ask for more if your priority is working at different angles.

On durability and strength, it is all about the cast iron construction that we have come to associate with Yost vises. The jaws are themselves of steel construction so we are talking about an overall very strong vise here.

Mounting is an easy task thanks to the four pre-drilled holes at the base. Whether you want to bolt or screw the vise to the bench is all your choice.

The design of the handle and the ram shows that the manufacturer was certainly aiming at ease of operation and maintenance. Sure, they achieved this because the components are easy to operate and since they have an open design, lubricating is straightforward.

We cannot ignore the fact that the vise comes with built in pipe jaws. Now, if you are a plumber of deal with pipe work often, you will agree that this feature is irreplaceable. These jaws can work with tubes and pipes within the range of 0.6″D and 1.85″D with ease.

Are you as fascinated by the blue paint as we are? It gives not only gives the tool that cool look, but also serves to prevent rust. You can enjoy the services of the tool for longer.

You do not want to gauge this vise based on its price. For a little over $20, you get a solidly built product that can hold pipes, wood blocks among other materials. As long as you restrict it to light work and maintain it as necessary, this vise can serve you for many years. It is an admirable combination of affordability and quality.


D) Wilton 11104 Wilton Bench Vise, Jaw Width 4-Inch, Jaw Opening 4-Inch

Wilton 11104

Made From High Strength Steel

The Wilton 11104 is arguably one of the highest quality vises you can get today. Talk of construction, usability and durability-it has all the good qualities a professional or newbie wants.

Jobs around a home workshop tend to be varied in both nature and size. That is why I find the 4-inch jaws on this bench vise very applicable. These jaws will accommodate most home jobs. Unfortunately, it may not satisfy all the needs of a professional job environment.

Anything constructed from high strength steel lasts a good number of years regardless of nature of work. Buy this vise and sit pretty knowing that you do not have to replace the equipment any time soon.

One of the challenges vise users complain about is movement of the tool in the midst of a task. The Wilton 11104 solves this problem very thoroughly. The swivel base comes with a secure lock to unnecessary rotations. Its Double Lock feature is just what you needed for flawless handling of objects without loss of versatility.

Sometimes it is necessary to strike work pieces to shape them. When it comes to such blacksmith’s operations, the vise got your back. It has a large anvil surface next to the jaw but amply supported by the strong base.

You will also love the serrated jaws especially if you are working with metal or plastic objects. Combined with the large clamping force, these jaws ensure that the object does not slide.

It comes with pre-drilled holes for ease of mounting. Some people have however found it hard to mount the vise citing weight as the major hindrance. If you doubt your ability to mount the vise, there is good news for you. The device comes with a mounting manual.

Certainly, this vise will not do all types of jobs, but it is the perfect addition to your workshop if you are looking for something that is easy to use, flexible and affordable.


Best Pipe Bench Vise

A pipe bench vise consists of a vise base and a vise head. Most of these vises have quick release mechanism for faster operation. By a click of the button, the work piece is released instantly saving time. Some even have a foot release feature, thus allowing the hands to hold the work piece.

It is easy to confuse a pipe bench vise for an engineer’s vise because the designs are almost similar. Although this device is synonymous with plumbers, it is still a popular tool in manufacturing where it is used in pipes assembly.

The two types of pipe bench vises are hinged pipe vises and chain pipe vises. One attractive feature of pipe bench vises is availability in many capacities. Some sizes are as small as 2 inches while large ones can go as far as 8 inches diameter.

When it comes to using these devices, you can either use them with a specialized stand or fix them on the bench. The choice between these two depends on the task and user preference. Talking of preference, below are several brands to consider.


A) Yost Vises 750-DI 5″ Heavy-Duty Multi-Jaw Rotating Combination Pipe and Bench Vise with 360-Degree Swivel Base and Head

Multi-jaw bench vise with swivel base and head has top jaws, pipe jaws, and V-jaws to provide clamping action for heavy-duty applications

Understandably, many people scorn at the high price of this tool, but there is more than meets the eye. Take a closer look at the Yost Vises 750-DI and you will realize just how a bargain buyers are getting.

For example, it has the highly rated 360-Degree Swivel Base and Head feature. This is what you need for versatile jobs. In addition, the vise is constructed from rare ductile iron with an incredible tensile strength of 9,000 PSI. No other vise in its class has this type of construction.

How many times do you come across a vise weighing in at 63 pounds? The Yost Vises 750-DI is in a weight category of its own. Before you look at the other features, you might be tempted to think the high price tag has something to do with the weight.

Are you still unsure why we are talking about “vises”, not “a vise”? Actually, the 750-DI is a combination of three sets of powerful jaws-V-jaws, top jaws and pipe jaws. The head carrying these jaws locks after every 30 degrees (that is 12 times for the full 360 degrees rotation). Simply put, you can clamp the object at almost any angle.

Even with its large weight, this vise rotates and locks very effortlessly. The secret is its pull pin rotating feature. Unlike other vises that depend on a locking nut, the 750-DI comes with a hardened pin for locking the rotating head in position.

When it comes to mounting this vise, the sturdy swivel base bears four imposing mounting tabs. Directly above the swivel base is a large anvil surface.

The Yost Vises 750-DI is a unique piece of equipment, not only because of its appearance, but also of its performance. The fact that the jaws cannot rotate once they have clamped an object does little to dent Yost’s image.


B) Yost 938 All-Steel Combination Pipe and Bench Vise with 360 degree Swivel Base

Yost 938

Cast steel body is durable and has a flat portion that acts as a reinforced anvil and an additional work surface

It may not particularly cheap, but this combination pipe and bench vise has many positives. Weighing in at 36.4 pounds, it is a bulky piece of equipment in the medium duty category. Although this vise is not loaded with advanced features, its bonus features will without doubt arouse your interest the moment you see it for the first time. It has a reassuring appearance that seems to tell the user that the future will be free of headaches and time wastage.

A recognizable feature on the vise is the 360-degree swivel base. Probably you do not consider this feature to be that important, but I can assure you, it breaks no bone to have it. Reviewers who initially hesitated to purchase the unit are now looking back and wondering the kind of value they would be missing. You see, the rotating swivel base makes life so easy. You just rotate the jaws to desired angle and lock them using two lock knobs.

The jaws are obviously the center of action and must be designed to match this noble role. Both the pipe and top jaws are constructed from very hard materials- cast steel and hardened steel respectively. Gripping is enhanced through expertly done grooves on each set of jaws. Even the hardest materials are prone to wear, so the manufacturer made the top jaws removable. When need arises, you can unscrew these jaws and replace them with a new set. Rubber washers are incorporated in the design to prevent accidental sliding during turning.

Painted black, the Yost 938 has steel construction and a U-shaped bar. This results in durability and reliability. Next to the fixed jaw is an anvil surface that comes in handy for those metal-hitting jobs.

When you think of durability, cost and functionality in a handy vise, the Yost 938 should make the list. It is good value for money.


C) Steel Dragon Tools 40100 1/8″- 4″ Bench Yoke Pipe Vise fits RIDGID Model 25

Steel Dragon Tools 40100

Made of strong & dependable cast iron

This is the first vise from Steel Dragon Tools to make our list and it totally deserves it. Steel Dragon Tools has been in the manufacturing business for more than two decades. As you would expect from a technologically driven manufacturer, the Steel Dragon Tools 40100 has excellence written all over.

This vise is visibly of solid build from the sturdy base to the powerful screws that join the different components. The presence of screws is primarily to support operation of the screw, but it suggests something else; one can dismantle this vise for maintenance and replacement of parts.

Enjoy the gripping and durability prowess of this vise thanks to the cast iron body. The jaws are of hardened alloy steel construction and are serrated for the most dependable grip on the material. The vise is designed to handle anything between 1/8″ and 4″ so you can use it for virtually any pipe or rod in your home. The yellow coat adds esthetics to the tool and doubles as protection against rust.

Handling pipes can be troublesome even if you are using a powerful pipe vise. That is the reason this vise comes with a pipe rest and bender. This feature is conveniently placed a few inches below the lower jaw.

When you have identified a convenient location for this 26.2lbs heavy vise, do not start looking for a drill. The vise comes with several pre-drilled holes for flawless mounting.

One standout thing in this screw is the screw, which is chrome coated. For starters, chrome offers more than the attractive appearance; it protects the screw from outside elements, mostly rust.

Even if nothing else about this vise excites you, its unique operation should. Note the hook on one end of the vise and the hinge at the other. You do not need to thread the pipe through the jaws to work on it.


D) Yost BC-6 6 Inch Bench Chain Pipe Vise

Yost BC-6 6

Heavy duty cast Iron body

Do you want to hold your pipe or irregular object firmly? All you need is a chain pipe vise; in this case this reliable vise from Yost. It is capable of holding pipes of up to 6 inches in diameter, meaning it can handle most pipes in the home.

This is an incredible device because it comes with bending shoes. Those shiny protrusions come in handy when you wish to bend PVC or any other type of pipe or rod. Each of both shoes is 1/2 inch.

Bending and holding metals and other materials subjects the vise to immense tensile and compressive stresses. Designers used heavy-duty cast iron to ensure this devise stands these forces and lasts long. The jaws are serrated for a firm grip. They are also hardened for reliable performance with metals.

Where do you want to install the equipment? It comes with pre-drilled holes for ease of mounting. It also looks portable so you will not have trouble transferring it to a new location. Anyway, it weighs in at only 15.7 pounds and measures 11 x 9 x 9 inches.

If you have never used one of these, the chain should not intimidate you. It does not even scratch the material at it would seem. A neoprene coating on the chain prevents that kind of damage. You do not need an accessory to secure the material. Simply turn the handle and the chain tightens around the material. To release the object, loosen the nut using the black handle.

This product should be among the fastest to use in your collection. It comes with pre-drilled holes that make mounting a walk in the park. Furthermore, it is portable because of its manageable size of 11 x 9 x 9 inches and weight of only 15.7 pounds.

Here are some other features of the Yost BC-6:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty applicable on request
  • Blue coat for aesthetics and rust protection

Best Clamp-on Bench Vise

By just looking at a clamp-on bench vice, you will realize that its design suits simple jobs. They are not as strong as other vises, so expect to get these devices at very affordable prices. You will agree that the materials used, the size of screws and the general design speak volumes about the relatively limited capability of these vises.

One thing that is attractive about clamp-on bench vises is that they are very versatile. Most of these tools can rotate 360 degrees while still holding the work piece. In addition, majority of these vise accommodate fragile objects. These features can sometimes make a clamp-on vise very expensive.

A quick look at the options in the market reveals one thing: most of these tools are of cast iron construction. Why is this material popular? I will have to say that this choice is majorly based on the good characteristics of cast iron as compared to steel and other metals. These include wear resistance, machinability and vibration. Steel may be strong and corrosive resistive, but it is usually more expensive and has poorer vibration. Some options are as below.


A) Wilton 63247 Cbv-100, Super-Junior Vise, 4-Inch Jaw Width, 2-1/4-Inch Jaw Opening

Wilton 63247

Enclosed Design Keeps Contaminants Out And Lubrication In For Smooth Operation

Made in Taiwan, this vise has all the markings of a handy tool. It steers away from many vises in that its center nut is at the rear as opposed to the center. The designers meant to achieve durability with this feature and they seem to have it right, at least according to many user reviews. This is not the only part of the design that adds years to the equipment. The enclosed nut assembly and spindles are kept free of debris and easy to lubricate.

From appearance, the Wilton 63247 Cbv-100 may not seem flexible enough to work with several materials and at different angles. However, you will be pleased to know that the vise is capable of rotating 45 degrees on its base. Of course, you do not expect the vise to rotate during use. It comes with base and locking nuts that are appropriately serrated for firm grip.

The vise’s jaws are strong and could last many years. You can trust the serrated jaws to grab all types of materials, including metal, with conviction. However, wear and tear cannot be avoided forever. When you deem it fit to replace the top jaws, there is a provision for that. Simply unscrew the jaws and fix new ones.

If you had trouble mounting other bench vises in this category, you will find the going easier with this product. 18lbs for a bench vise is relatively manageable, and the Wilton 63247 CBV-100 comes with pre-drilled holes to make mounting on the bench easier.

Still unimpressed? Consider this; the vise comes in two styles- Swivel Base and clamp-on. A bench vise that swivels is convenient for many projects. The swivel base feature allows the vise to assume any angle in a vertical axis. This way, you can align the main jaws to any of the four bench edges.


B) Yost COV-3 Clamp-On Vise, 3″

Yost COV-3

Plated steel screw and handle

Anyone that has used a Yost vise will tell you that these products never disappoint on quality, even those constructed outside of the United States. DIYers and professional users alike are fond of these vises for this reason. The vise in question continues this heritage by offering excellent service in small home and professional projects.

Both professional users and hobbyists may want large and strong vises, but what happens if space is limited? Sometimes you just want something good enough for on-the-go tasks and light enough to be tossed in the truck without breaking a sweat. Yost COV-3 Clamp-On Vise, 3″ is the ideal solution for such needs.

When you look at the jaws and the small serrations, you might dismiss the equipment’s gripping ability. Our experience with the clamp-on vise was very different-the grip is excellent and it barely deteriorates with use. The jaws work well with fine materials, but you might want to use non-marring pads if you are handling delicate objects.

At only 3.9 pounds, this vise is small by most standards. You can attach it to many surfaces and undertake your project. Its small size should not fool you; the Yost COV-3 is capable of doing many things. An opening capacity of 2 and half inches allows the vise to grip numerous materials.

There are many ways of achieving flawless operation and longevity of clamp-on vise, and in this case, the manufacturer opted for well-designed main screw and guide rods. These components have been precision machined to achieve the highest level of stability and smoothness. They also help increase the durability of this product.

Durability also depends on type of material used. While it may not be the toughest material for a clamp-on vise, gray iron of 30,000-PSI capability is exactly what a tool of this range needs.


C) SE 8436MVC 3″ Universal Table Vise

The width of the vise jaws are 3 inches and span open for a length of 2 inches

There was no way we can end this review without covering the SE 8436MVC considering its widespread popularity and reliable performance. DIYers are particularly fond of this simple tool with a green coat.

Durability is an important consideration for vise, knowing that most of these devices are expensive. Even if it is not one of the most expensive vises around, the SE 8436MVC is of a good construction. The aluminum body offers both light weightiness and durability even in the face of tough jobs. Aluminum is also quite resistant to corrosion, which works well for damp prone workshops. Equally reliable are the tightening screws, which are of chrome-plated steel construction.

Ease of use and flexibility has endeared this vise to many users. Those tired of using 1-inch opening clamps can make the sweet shift to a vise that not only opens more, but also does more tasks. A 2-inch span open is enough for many minor projects at home. You can also remove the bottom clamp in case you only need the top one.

Get one of these and you can forget all those problems of handling round and other awkwardly shaped objects. If you check closely, there is a small indentation on of the jaws for a better grip. This way, slippage of such objects is minimized. You can still use this vise for delicate objects without worry whatsoever. The product comes with rubber bumpers whose role is to protect delicate surfaces from the harder metal jaws.

Also interesting and worthy of appreciation are the rotating jaws. The head can tilt at 45° and rotate at 360°, which is an important feature for versatility. In addition, the head can pivot at 90° thanks to the notch at the bottom.

Overall, hobbyists and DIYers have a handy yet affordable product that has received above average customer rating on Amazon.


D) IRWIN Clamp-On Vise, 3″, 226303

IRWIN Clamp-On

Sturdy integrated pipe jaws keep the workpiece steady

Irwin is a recognizable manufacturer because their products always ooze of expertise and quality. This strikingly blue vise from their portfolio adds portability and simplicity for the mobile user.

Weighing in at a mere 4.1 pounds and only 6.2 x 3.4 x 6.9 inches big, this tool can assist you anywhere. Once you are done, tie it on your bike and head home to the next project. The vise clamps on many surfaces with unimaginable ease. As long as the surface’s thickness is not more than 2 inches, the clamp will attach to it firmly. The clamping jaws are a little rough, so you need to be careful what surface you are using.

With a jaw width of 3 inches, the IRWIN 226303 can handle slightly larger than the previously reviewed SE 8436MVC. Other vises from Irwin, for example the IRWIN 226306ZR, come with jaw capture features. Unfortunately, this clamp-on vise presents a challenge because the jaw can slide off easily. When using it, you need to be careful with how much you open the jaws.

Do not expect this vise to give you the same performance as a permanently bolted one. However, the jaws have an incredible clamping force of up to 1250 pounds. This is enough for most quick projects around the house. With the clamp-on feature, you are not restricted to the house. You can clamp the vise wherever you want.

Rarely will you work with a vise without need for shaping and bending some components. When you need to do such sort of work, turn to the anvil. Be careful not to use too much force though, remembering this is just a lightweight vise.

Finally, this clamp-on vise doubles as a pipe vise. Just below the main jaws, there are strong pipe jaws for you. Considering portability and quality, you should not hesitate to buy this vise.


Should You Buy an Industry Specific Bench Vise?

Whether you are a professional, hobbyist or DIYer, you need a good bench vise, a vise with features, build and value relevant to your projects.  Regardless of what you are handling, there is always a product for you. We have reviewed pipe vises, engineer’s vises, clamp-on vises and woodworking vises.

As revealed in these reviews, woodworking vises tend to have larger jaws and bodies. They are not comparable to the much smaller and lighter clamp-on vises. Regarding price, both engineer’s vise and clamp-on vises are pocket friendly. For example, a popular online store is selling a Bessey BV-C030 Clamp on Bench Vise, 3″ Wide Jaw, 3″ Clamp Capacity, Light Duty for only $19.99. Of the four clamp-on bench vises featured in this review, only one costs more than $100; the rest are priced at between $16.00 and $25.00. Now you know where to go when budget constraints hit.

As you would expect, these low prices come with vulnerability to damage and need for constant maintenance. The pricier woodworking benches vices last more and handle jobs that are more strenuous. It is a world of options depending on your job requirements and pocket.

What have you learnt using all or any of these vises? How does an industry specific vise compare to a traditional one? We are eager to hear from you about what has worked or disappointed you.

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