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The Best Portable Workbench of 2018

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A portable workbench is an indispensable tool, which can be used as a tool stand, an accessible work surface and to clamp objects in position while they’re being worked on.

Materials that may be used with a workbench or work stand include different types of wood and metal, in a variety of (often awkward) shapes and sizes. Able to fit into tight spaces, the best portable workbench is often one that’s fold-able / collapsible and can be tucked away when not needed, making it a real space saver. Alternatively, some portable work benches come with plastic castor wheels, which can turn 360-degrees, enabling the workbench to be wheeled in and out of position.

When it is not possible to install a long workbench across the length of a garden shed or general work area, a portable workbench is the best solution to perform quick fixes or detailed work projects.

Here is our guide to finding the Best Portable Workbench with tips on what to look for, the best brands, and what other consumers say.

OUR SCORE

BLACK+DECKER WM536 Dual Height Portable Workbench

By Black and Decker 277 reviews

Bosch PWB 600 Portable Workbench

By Robert Bosch Ltd 224 reviews

Draper 68027 Portable Workbench

By Draper 49 reviews

Ryobi RWB02 Adjustable Portable Workbench

By Ryobi 27 reviews

Wolf Craftman’s Adjustable Portable Workbench

By Wolf 11 reviews

Buyers Guide

Wolf Craftman’s Adjustable 6 Height Super Clamp Workbench

A good workbench is a must for anyone that plans on doing a lot of DIY. This will provide a stable surface on which you can saw, chop and hammer without risk of dropping your tools or materials.

You might be wondering just how different a workbench can be. But actually, there are many features and smart or not-so-smart design choices that can really impact how useful these items are. So how does the Wolf hold up?

Features

This workbench is made from a very hardy steel aluminum to ensure that it won’t give out and that you can saw and hammer on it to your heart’s content. It also features a vice that will allow you to clamp materials in place as you are working on them.

The table is also very versatile, with the option to tilt to one of three different positions, allowing for a range of cutting angles.

The height is adjustable too, which is important for working with different materials and for users of different heights.

There are 8 clamping blocks supplied and these can slide to the required position in the jaw edges and worktop grooves with ease. It folds easily for storage.

Pros and Cons

With so many different features and a very sturdy design, it is hard to fault this workbench. Even the black and yellow colour scheme looks the part. The only limitation may be the size of the surface, with some jobs requiring a little more real-estate.

Ryobi RWB02 Adjustable Folding Work Bench

This folding workbench is a little different from some of the others on the market, which is not to say it is necessarily better or worse. In reality, the perfect workbench for you will always depend on your personal preferences, the type of work you need to do and your height.

So what makes this bench so unique?

Features

The main difference with the Ryobi is its bamboo construction. This is a naturally durable work surface that also actually looks very nice and is accented well by lime green components. The bamboo is naturally highly durable, while still being light and easily moveable.

Other than this unusual material choice, the bench has vices for clamping and multiple clamp settings. It can also be folded easily for storage.

Pros and Cons

The material will be a pro for some and a con for others. However, what is definitely a shame is that this product misses the opportunity to be height adjustable. There are adjustable angles, however, which can be useful when changing the angle of work.

Overall, it’s undoubtedly a great buy in terms of quality, features, and construction. And unlike many other work tools and benches, this one might actually look quite nice in your workshop!

Draper 68027 Fold Down Portable Workbench

This Draper workbench model is a functional and sturdy workbench that can provide a stable and reliable surface for performing a wide variety of different jobs and tasks. It is strong and firm but yet not overly heavy or cumbersome.

Features

As well as coming with the usual dual clamping action for holding your materials and substrates in place, the Draper comes with 12 holes for work clamping dogs. This helps to make the table all the more versatile and useful for a wider range of different situations.

The bench also folds down flat. This is a must-have feature for anyone that is pushed for space. If you live in a small home or apartment and you don’t have a large shed or garage for storing your items, then you may need something that can be folded away in order to be able to make the investment at all. Of course, this also makes it easier to bring to work sites.

Pros and Cons

While the foldable nature is useful and the clamping dogs helpful, the lack of tilting feature or height adjustment will be a flaw for some. If you are very tall for instance, then you may find this a problem.

The MDF surface, while reliable and strong, is nevertheless not as indestructible as stainless steel or even as bamboo.

The weight of the whole thing is just 5.4kg though and this is one big advantage of using a slightly lighter material.

Conclusion

Overall, this is definitely a ‘basic’ workbench, but for many buyers and for a wide range of purposes that will suffice. If you just need a reliable surface to saw on that can be easily stowed away, it’s a great pick.

Bosch PWB 600 Workbench

The Bosch PWB 600 is a more high-end and feature-rich workbench that is ideal for professionals or those that take their hobby very seriously.

Now you might be wondering what a bench can really do once you get into the high-end of things. The answers may surprise you: in fact, a good workbench can have numerous tricks up its sleeve.

Features

In this case, the Bosche PWB 600 comes with a waterproof and scratch resistant bamboo surface. It folds easily in just 5 seconds and is only 9cm thick when collapsed. It comes with a dual clamping mechanism as standard but this is designed to fit a wide range of different sizes and types of material. The aluminum frame is very stable while still being light.

Pros and Cons

This is simply an incredibly well-made, top-of-the-line workbench. It doesn’t feature a great deal in terms of features or functionality and in fact, it lacks some things that you might expect: such as height adjustment or tilting. This is a bit of a shame considering how all the other boxes are ticked. But what you get instead is simply something that is incredibly strong, light and resistant. This is suitable for sanding work and other intensive jobs and that makes it suitable for professionals.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a workbench that may not be as adjustable as some, but which comes with all the build quality and durability that you may have come to expect from Bosch.

Black+Decker WM536 Dual Height Workmate

One of the most important features to look for in a workbench is to have an adjustable height. While your height doesn’t change, the ideal height for different jobs will vary. Not only that, but the height of the material, type of tool and more can have a big impact.

The WM536 is a dual height workbench, but what else can it do?

Features

Other than that dual-height feature, this Black+Decker model is a winner in many other ways. It is made from a tough stainless steel that won’t scratch and it comes with thoughtful features such as anti-slip rubber feet for safety.

You’ll also get dual clamping cranks to really increase the force, swivel pegs and jaw retention grooves and an easy folding mechanism for quick and seamless storage.

Pros and Cons

This is a workbench that looks create thanks to its light-coloured top and that feels very sturdy under the hand. It can support up to 250kg, which will be enough for most applications (check before sanding).

The adjustable height is one of the best features of all though, ensuring you won’t be squatting as you saw, or reaching up – which is also an invitation for an accident.

There are benches out there with larger work surfaces and with more durable constructions that are better suited to heavy duty work. But for something that is easy to transport and that will be more than stable enough for the vast majority of jobs, this is a great choice.

What’s Included

Workbenches come in two basic designs. The first is a more traditional split design with two workbench surfaces which can be maneuvered into a usable position. The second workbench is usually a flat surface, with a set of sturdy legs and fixed positioning; sometimes a larger workbench will come fitted with plastic swivel caster wheels to enable the owner to roll the bench into position and move it away when it’s not needed.

In the case of the traditional split design portable workbench, this will typically have 2 one-handed rotating clamp handles to adjust the distance between the two work surfaces. The adjustment can act as a clamp when wishing to hold pieces of metal, wood or other materials in a fixed position while being worked on.

The jaws that come with a split design may come already treated to prevent them warping over time due to various weather elements, being stored in cold sheds during the winter months, etc.

What To Know

Any portable workbench needs to be sturdy enough to provide confidence in the materials used in its construction. A workbench with too much flex or one that’s unevenly built, complete with a slant or wobble, presents a problem for the user.

It is useful to look for a workbench that offers both parallel and diagonal clamping, including peg clamping options, for true flexibility.

The feet of any workbench are a more important aspect than one might imagine. A set of four rubber feet that do a poor job of preventing sliding during a heavy sawing session could lead to a serious accident for the person attempting to cut through a piece of wood. Therefore, quality feet are needed to ensure the workbench will stay in exactly the position regardless of the floor surface that the bench is situated on.

Many portable workbenches can be folded flat for storage purposes when the bench is not needed. This creates more space in the work area for other activities.

Every workbench has a different holding limit to the weight of objects that can be placed on it or clamped to it. The better workbenches have limits between 350 to 550 pounds, with cheaper brands supporting lower weight limits in that range.

Other Considerations

As with any work tool, the accessibility of replacement parts is an important consideration. One doesn’t want to buy a cheaper workbench from a company that may not be around next year. Particularly with a quality workbench, a reliable unit can be bought and enjoyed for many years, even decades, if well taken care of. This lowers the annual cost of ownership when choosing well.

Best Brands

  • Black & Decker has been making power tools in Baltimore, Maryland since 1910. This multi-billion-dollar company is a leader in functional equipment in the power tools, home improvement, and accessories market.
  • The Wilmar Corporation has been providing power tools, wrenches, grease guns, and specialty tools since 1971. The company has a number of brands in the market, such as Performance Tech, AirTIGHT, and Project Pro.
  • Seville Classics is an enduring brand that has been offering home improvement, home organization, and creative solutions for the garage, for over 35 years.
  • SKIL Power Tools is part of Robert Bosch GmbH. The company has a range of power tools that are portable and aimed at the home improvement enthusiast. Quite often, SKIL products fill out the lower end of the market and are subsequently popular with budget-conscious consumers.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Sturdiness: The legs can have bracing near the bottom of their legs, which adds considerably to the stability of the metal frame. More expensive portable workbenches often have this feature, which is worth investing in.

Metal vs. Wood Surface: The less expensive workbenches use wooden work surfaces. The more expensive models often have steel work surfaces for increased durability. Furthermore, the carrying capacity is up to 550 pounds with the larger, professional models.

Assembly: Some light assembly is usually required for most portable workbench models. Nothing too strenuous, but patience and persistence will be needed. Most assemblies only take 10-15 minutes for small workbenches. A set of your own tools to help with the assembly isn’t a bad idea either.

Legs: Some models have latches to lock the workbench legs in place, whereas cheaper models only have breakable, plastic thumbscrews to lock the legs into position. The latches with larger workbenches are more convenient.

Feet: Depending on the brand and model, the attached feet can pop off easily when being carried from one side of a work area to another. It is a good idea to use a silicon glue to secure the feet more firmly into position before using the workbench. Alternatively, drilling holes through both the feet and legs to affix bolts in place will be a more permanent solution for people who are confident enough to do this.

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