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Published Jul. 22, 2021

A potting bench, in its simplest form, is a workspace. It’s an area to store all your garden tools—bags of soil, watering cans, spades, shovels, rakes—in one place, and gives you a surface area to work on without having to crouch (ouch) down to the ground. 

Beyond that, choosing the best gardening bench—something of a misnomer, because it’s more table than bench—comes down to your particular needs. Do you want something with a removable dry sink, so you have a place to mix soil neatly? What about wheels, to move the plant bench around? Are you a sucker for heavy metal, or would you prefer something whittled out of wood? And would you like something that folds up neatly so it can be stowed in the garage or shed during colder months or inclement weather? 

The best outdoor potting bench for you comes down to your particular needs and wants, including how much you’re comfortable spending.

What to consider when shopping for the best potting bench

A garden workbench is valuable gardening equipment. It’s a place to consolidate all your tools, so you can work more efficiently; it also doubles as a space to work from a comfortable height without having to get down on the ground, which is good news for anyone with a bad back or knees.

How much storage space do you want?

A potting bench could be as simple and minimalist as a flat surface with a ledge below. But if you have more gear to store year-round, there are plenty of options with cabinets, drawers, and other places to hide your stuff in plain sight.

Do you prefer a plant bench with a dry sink?

A sink comes in handy when you’re working with messy stuff like soil or want to water potted plants. A removable basin makes cleanup much easier than, say, brushing dirt off the flat surface of your bench or getting water everywhere. When you’re done, just pop it out, wash it, and put it back.  

How tall should your potting bench be?

The ideal height of a potting bench depends on the height of the people using it. You don’t want to have to stoop, strain, or reach too much—after all, the whole point of the bench is to make your life easier. Thirty-six inches high is standard, though some models come in other heights, and others still are adjustable—perfect if more than one person in your household will be using it. Rule of thumb: Your potting bench should be level with your elbows. 

Should your potting bench be wood or metal?

Dealer’s choice! The main thing to consider is whether it’s weatherproof since you’ll likely be leaving it outside come rain or shine. As long as the material is weather-treated or naturally -resistant, it all comes down to personal taste.

Top pick overall: Best Choice Products Outdoor Garden Potting Bench

Extendable Space

This model made of China fir wood can hold up to 150 pounds, and it expands when you need more room. Best Choice Products

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This assembly-required option has it all: a dry sink for mixing soil and potting plants, multiple tiers for a total of 8 square feet of storage, and optional hooks. When looking at product specs, be clear about what they mean. For example, this one is 55.25 inches high—but the tabletop is much lower (as it should be, unless you’re incredibly tall).

Runner up: Best Choice Products Outdoor Mobile Garden Potting Bench

Optional Casters

This can easily rotate 360 degrees, so you can take this option with you if you’re working in multiple parts of your yard, then lock it into in place for security. Best Choice Products

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Nice wheels! The expandable tabletop slides back and forth to reveal and cover a dry sink. Stained fir resists warping and rot, and the entire bench can support up to 150 pounds. When it’s not loaded with gardening gear, it weighs just 32 pounds, so it’s easy to push around.

Budget pick: Topeakmart Potting Table with Metal Tabletop

Great Value

For under 70 bucks, you get all the basics you need with this pick: a waterproof, rust-proof surface and all the tools you need for assembly. Topeakmart

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The features you sacrifice for a lower price point may not even be important to you: wheels, a dry sink, cabinet doors. This one is made of the same fir of other styles and even has non-slip foot covers to help keep the unit in place. It can support up to 44 pounds per shelf. 

Premium pick: YAHEETECH Outdoor Potting Bench Table

Easy Assembly

A hardy, galvanized sheet tops this fir option, making it perfect if you’re clumsy or tend to not be particularly gentle with your furniture. YAHEETECH

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You get an easy-access drawer and a roomy cabinet with a drawer (with an extra-secure latch—perfect if you’ve got chemicals inside). In addition, this pick comes with side hooks and a slatted shelf, which will let extraneous bits of soil just fall away to the ground, minimal cleanup required.

Also consider: Merry Garden Foldable Potting Bench

Set It and Forget It

This handy model weighs just 31 pounds empty and folds up flat when you want to stow it. Merry

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Kiln-dried stained wood isn’t just easy on the eyes, it’s also durable: The top shelf can hold up to 150 pounds, the bottom can take another 100. The addition of a hanging bar gives you another place to stow your gear. All the hardware you need for assembly comes included.

FAQs

Q: Why should a potting bench have a sink?

Think about some of the reasons you appreciate the sinks in your home: For one, you can rinse fruits and veggies and water your plants, without getting water and debris everywhere. The same holds true for a potting bench with sink. You can water your plants, mix soil, and do loads of other things in a basin that you couldn’t do as neatly or easily on a flat surface. And if the sink is removable, even better: You can pop it out, rinse it off, and plug it right back into the bench.

Q:

What makes a good potting bench?

If it makes your life easier, it’s a good potting bench! That means it’s the correct height (so you don’t strain your body), has enough storage for all your gardening tools, and—if you plan to leave it outside year-round—is weather- and rust-resistant. After that, all other features (wheels, cabinets, fold-up capability) are gravy.

Q:

What is a potting bench used for?

A potting bench is used not only to store your gardening tools and accessories but also to serve as a workspace when you’re doing yard work. You can mix soil in the dry sink of a potting bench, water plants, rinse off your vegetables…pretty much anything you can do with a regular sink, you can do with a potting bench sink—just add water!

The final word on shopping for the best potting bench

If your garden is your happy place, a potting bench can make it even happier. Having a dedicated potting station means there’s a place for all your garden tools to go, and a potting bench with sink means that even when you’re dealing with water, you’ll be able to contain the mess. A planter bench is a must-have for anyone who’s serious about gardening or even thinking about getting serious!

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