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Woodworkers surely agree that the vise is among the most invaluable tools in the work shed. Without them, it’ll be a struggle to cut, hammer, drill, bend, and shape the object you’re working on.
Apart from woodworking, vises are used in a number of other applications, including, but not limited to model-making, metalworking, and electronics.
If you’re in the market for woodworking vises, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ve listed seven of the best woodworking vises you can purchase today. I’ve also added a handy buyer’s guide near the end to help you find the right product that suits your needs.
- Our Woodworking Vises Reviews
- Best Overall Woodworking Vise: Eclipse EWWQR9-NA Quick Release Vise
- Best Woodworking Vise for the Money: HFS Heavy-Duty Bench Vise
- Best Cheap Woodworking Vise: IRWIN 226361 Vise
- Runner Up: Yost 445 Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
- Best Woodworking Vise for Small Projects: Wilton General Purpose Bench Vise
- Best Woodworking Vise for Large Projects: TEKTON 4 Inch Swivel Bench Vise
- Best Portable Woodworking Vise: GROZ 39006 Portable Vise
- Woodworking Vise Features and Considerations
- Wrapping Up
Our Woodworking Vises Reviews
A workshop or garage isn’t complete without a woodworking vise. Here are seven of the best woodworking vises worth your attention!
Best Overall Woodworking Vise: Eclipse EWWQR9-NA Quick Release Vise
The Eclipse Woodworking Vice is one of the best grippers money can buy. It has everything you can possibly need in a woodworking vice, from power to longevity.
In terms of durability, the Eclipse easily takes the crown. Made with heavy cast iron and industrial-grade steel, it can quite literally handle anything and everything you throw at it. It’s built to last years, if not decades.
The Eclipse excels in usability, as well. Depending on your project, you can use this vice as a regular vise or a tail vise. For your convenience, it’s likewise fitted with an adjustable front stop and a quick-release mechanism.
This woodworking vice can easily be mounted to almost any type of surface available. Since it comes with two pre-drilled holes, you can immediately mount it to your workbench without having to worry about additional steps. It also features two cast tabs, allowing you to mount the vice with screws to your table/bench.
The Eclipse’s steel 9-inch jaw clamps the workpiece firmly and positively, even in situations with extreme clamping pressure.
- Robust construction
- Tommy bar protects the vise from extreme stress
- Quick-release trigger
- Above-average cost
- Handle might be too short for some
- Quick release trigger allows you to quickly adjust the opening to either release or clamp a piece...
- Fitted with an adjustable front stop (dog) to provide a normal vise and a tail vise in one tool
- Vise comes with two predrilled holes for quick sturdy mounting to your workbench
- To increase safety, the fused tommy bar will bend before the vise can become over-stressed
Best Woodworking Vise for the Money: HFS Heavy-Duty Bench Vise
Praised for its extraordinary power and grip strength, the HFS Heavy-duty Bench Vise is one of the best value woodworking vises on the market today. From its features alone, I wouldn’t have ever guessed that it’s under $50.
The HFS vise is made from durable cast iron, giving it enough strength to last half a lifetime. Its hardened steel jaws, forged anvil, and 360-degree swivel desktop clamp make it ideal for heavy-duty woodwork, especially since it features a double locking base for extra security.
In terms of grip strength, the HFS vise doesn’t disappoint. Its 5-inch serrated jaws firmly secure your workpieces in place while you file and saw away, offering a clamping force of just under 2,000 pounds.
For maximum efficiency, the HFS comes with a quick-release spindle and screw design that allows you to unclamp the material within seconds.
- Solid construction
- Powerful clamp force
- Quick-release design
- Needs to be lubricated before use
- [MATERIAL]: Durable cast steel construction
- [JAW]: Replaceable, hardened, forged steel jaws
- [LOCKING BASE]: Double locking 360°swivel base perfect for turning any direction you want after...
- [FEATURES]: Power serrated steel jaws and clamps with incredible clamping power for great grip and...
Best Cheap Woodworking Vise: IRWIN 226361 Vise
If you’re working on a tight budget, the Irwin 226361 is the tool for you. For less than $30, it comes with everything you need for DIY home projects. Although it isn’t as powerful as $80-$100 vices, it performs quite well for light-duty woodworking projects.
Since it’s easy to install and use, this vise is ideal for amateur woodworkers. Its square shape fits perfectly under any table, and its toe-in design guarantees that the workpiece is firmly clamped in between its jaws.
Measuring 7 x 3.75 x 8 inches and weighing only 6 pounds, the Irwin 226361 is fairly lightweight. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re planning to use it with easy home improvement jobs. Its compact size and light body not only help with storage but makes it quite portable as well.
With a jaw capacity of 4.5 inches, this vise works great for light to medium workloads. Its forged iron construction adds to its overall durability and longevity.
- Ideal for small items and light jobs
- Decent clamping power
- Compact and lightweight for easy storage
- Unsuitable for heavy-duty tasks and large workpieces
- Toe-in toward top jaws helps ensure firm grip on workpiece
- Square body seating for easy under-bench mounting
- Provision for installing wooden cheeks to protect work pieces
- 4-1/2" jaw capacity perfect for light duty woodworking tasks
Runner Up: Yost 445 Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
The Yost 445 Combination is arguably the most popular bench vise manufacturer in the market, with hundreds of products under its belt. I’ve yet to be disappointed with Yost, and this isn’t an exception.
With a torque rating of 73 ft-lb and a maximum clamp force of 3,150 lbs, the Yost 445 is among the most powerful vices you can find. Its jaw width and depth aren’t as impressive as the Eclipse, but it compensates for the lack of both with premium features like 360-degree swivel base, lock-down adjustments, and cast-iron vise components of up to 30,000 PSI.
Constructed from a balanced combination of cast iron and steel, the Yost 445 handles high clamping pressures without a hitch. It’s designed for professional and rugged applications, after all.
If the top jaws get worn after years of use, you don’t have to buy an entirely new vise. The hardened steel jaws are replaceable; simply contact the manufacturers and they’ll send a pair right to your doorstep!
Since the Yost 445 has a 360-degree swivel base, it allows you to position the vise in any direction you want. The cast iron pipe jaws are purposely designed with deep grooves for an even better grip.
- Serrated jaws for extra grip strength
- 360-degree swivel base
- High-strength durability
- Integrated pipe grip
- Doesn’t have a quick-release function
- Takes a while to install
- Clamp force: 3, 150 lbs. and Torque rating: 73 Ft-Lb
- Jaw Width: 4. 5" x Jaw Opening: 4" x Throat Depth: 2. 62"
- Pipe Capacity: 1/8" x 2" Diameter, pipe jaws are cast-in place
- 360-degree swivel base with (2) lock downs adjusts the direction of the jaws for proper placement
Best Woodworking Vise for Small Projects: Wilton General Purpose Bench Vise
In terms of versatility, the Wilton 11104 performs remarkably. Its rugged 30,000 PSI body accommodates a wide range of clamping and sticking needs. Plus, it’s designed with a 360-degree swivel base and double lockdowns for extra security, making it as convenient as it is functional.
The Wilton 11104 is a simple woodworking vise for light-duty tasks. Its fixed jaws boast a width and opening capacity of 4 inches, making it ideal for mid-sized objects. The throat depth is only 2 1/4 inches, however, so keep this in mind in case you have items that exceed this capacity.
To guarantee grip security, its jaws are fitted with grooved steel inserts. Unlike the Yost 445, the Wilton 11104 doesn’t come with a pipe jaw, so clamping pipes are out of the question. This isn’t to say that you can’t clamp round objects in general, but be aware that it might not grip the item as well as flat-surfaced materials.
Despite its size, the Wilton 11104 comes with a fairly large anvil, which is a welcome surprise.
- Large anvil workplace
- Easy installation
- Great quality for its price
- Lightweight profile
- Isn’t suited for large jobs
- Minimal throat-depth
- LARGE ANVIL WORK SURFACE: Accommodates a wide range of striking needs.
- BUILT FOR RUGGED USE: Crafted from 30,000 PSI ductile iron.
- STABLE BASE: Swivel base rotates 360° and has double lockdowns.
- SECURE GRIP: Hardened steel replaceable jaw inserts are machine serrated for a safe and secure grip...
Best Woodworking Vise for Large Projects: TEKTON 4 Inch Swivel Bench Vise
If you plan on tackling large projects in the near future, the Tekton 54004 is a tool to consider.
Made with a cast iron construction of 30,000 PSI and a dual lock system, this vise is a powerful tool that won’t leave you hanging. Anything inserted between its 8-inch serrated steel jaws are there to stay unless you physically pry the thing open yourself.
Beyond its powerful jaws, this woodworking vise comes with a 120-degrees rotatable base. While it isn’t as impressive as the Yost 445’s 360-degree rotation, the extra mobility is certainly a welcome one. It definitely beats one-directional vises.
Unfortunately, the Tekton 54004 isn’t built for pipes. Its jaws simply don’t have the right teeth for it. This is something you should keep in mind when buying this tool. Furthermore, it only comes with three mounting holes rather than the traditional four, which may affect the overall stability of the product.
That aside, the Tekton 54004’s large anvil, 8-inch jaws, and supreme strength is a great addition to anyone’s workshop.
- Large polished steel anvil
- 120-degree swivel base for quick and easy adjustments
- Serrated jaw design adds to its gripping power
- Doesn’t work with pipes
- Includes 1-pc. 120-degree swivel bench vise: 4 in.; Product manual; Mounting template
- Cast iron construction (30,000 PSI tensile strength) with replaceable serrated steel jaws holds work...
- 120-degree swivel base with dual lock-down nuts positions workpiece where you need it
- Three mounting holes anchor vise securely to workbench
Best Portable Woodworking Vise: GROZ 39006 Portable Vise
The Groz 39006 is another entry-level vise with impressive features. For one, its jaws are equipped with a toe-in feature to avoid top-to-bottom racking, especially during heavy-duty applications. When an object is clamped, the sliding jaw doesn’t tilt outwards and instead becomes parallel with the bottom jaw.
To protect the vise and the workpiece, the Groz 39006 is designed with soft but grippy wooden liners. It also comes with 4 pre-drilled holes to tightly secure the vise into the bench and enhance its overall stability when in use.
The Groz 39006 is designed for lightweight woodwork, so it shouldn’t be used for heavy-duty work lest it gets damaged. Regardless, it’s robust enough for professional use.
- Great for beginner woodworkers
- Large 6-inch jaw width
- Decent anvil workspace
- Wooden liners to protect the workpiece
- Chrome-plated screw and guide rods prevent corrosion
- Tightening takes a bit of effort
- Stop pins aren’t the highest quality
- Lightweight wood vise for the woodworker hobbyist, yet robust enough for the professional user
- Permanently clamp on the workbench via clamping slots or use the 2-5/32” integrated vise clamp
- This portable woodworking vise is manufactured from close grained cast iron
- Attach wooden liners to protect the vise, the work-piece and working tools
Woodworking Vise Features and Considerations
Unless they’re made by the same manufacturers, no two vises perform the same way. Some excel in power, while others excel in versatility. To help you find the best woodworking vise for you, consider the below factors and features.
When buying a woodworking vise, always check its jaw opening and depth capacity.
A vise’s jaw opening is measured lengthwise from one end to another. For small to medium-size projects, search for a vise with a jaw size of around 2 to 6 inches. For large, heavy-duty projects, the vise should come with a jaw size of at least 7 to 10 inches.
Apart from the jaw opening, the jaw depth, also known as the jaw throat, is just as essential. The jaw depth is measured from the upper side of the jaws to the guide bar. For large projects, make sure the jaw depth is no less than 4 to 5 inches.
Woodworking vises come in four types: serrated, pipe, nylon, or combination. All four types have their own special purpose.
For instance, vises with serrated jaws work well with flat objects. However, they often mark “softer” workpieces.
Nylon jaws are less susceptible to markings, but they’re more easily damaged than serrated jaws.
Rounded objects like pipes are best held with pipe jaws due to their V-shaped indents, but they aren’t the most useful when holding flat objects.
If you’re not quite sure what to choose, consider buying a vise equipped with combination jaws. As the name suggests, combination jaws hold both flat and rounded objects. Although they’re more expensive than their counterparts, the extra convenience is often worth the price.
Cast Vises vs Forged Vises
Woodworking vises typically come in two models: cast and forged.
Cast vises are made by pouring hot liquid metal into a vise-shaped mold. Their economic value makes them the most common type of vise. There’s only one problem: since cast vises are made from liquid metal, there’s always the possibility of impure casting. This often reduces the overall strength of the product.
This isn’t a concern with forged vises, as they’re pounded from solid steel. For this reason, forged vises are often more durable than cast vises. However, it’s also much more expensive.
Cast vises have a tensile strength of 19,000 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) to 60,000 PSI. Forged vises have a tensile strength of 60,000 PSI to upwards of 90,000 PSI.
Regardless of what you buy, settle for no less than 30,000 PSI.
Woodworking vises either have a manual release mechanism or a quick-release mechanism.
If you’re planning to switch between multiple workpieces throughout your project, search for a vise with a quick-release mechanism. This will save you a lot of time and headache since you won’t have to constantly unwind the lead screw when changing the material.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to use the vise to hold the same type of material for extended periods, you can’t go wrong with a manual opening mechanism.
Most vises have a bolt-on mounting interface, where they’re affixed to the workspace with three or four bolts. The holes are pre-drilled on the vise, which saves you the hassle of drilling it yourself. Once bolted on, they’re more or less permanently attached.
Vises with the bolt-on interface are much more stable than vises with a clamp mounting interface. However, the latter is often more convenient, since you don’t have to permanently install the vise into your workbench upon its arrival. Since they’re portable, you can carry them on impromptu projects.
The only disadvantage of clamped bench-vises is that they aren’t as secure as bolt-on vises.
The woodworking vises listed above all excel in different aspects. If we had to choose, we’d say the best woodworking vise is the Eclipse EWWQR9, followed by the Yost 445.
The Eclipse EWWQR9 and the Yost 445 are both supremely robust and can take on a number of heavy-duty jobs. Plus, they’re both designed with powerful jaws. Although they’re a bit more costly than the average vise, they’re worth every penny spent.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, check out the Irwin 226361. It’s perfect for beginner woodworkers and light-duty jobs.