If you, like us, had a grandfather who built his workbenches with his own hands while successfully recovering from tuberculosis and went on to build all his children sets of Shaker furniture, you may feel a little bit lesser-than while resorting to shopping for the best workbench online. But you shouldn’t. Picking up a good workbench expedites your ability to work on things that need doing around the house, in the garage, or at the worksite. In fact, a workbench is one of your must-have tools.
To find the best workbench you need to consider how you plan to use it. Some are designed more as workspace than for storage. Others offer cabinets or pegboards to organize tools, supplies, and equipment. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re looking for something relatively permanent that won’t leave your basement or garage, or something more portable. Some workbenches come on wheels, while others fold up neatly and can be taken from job to job.
Height is another important variable. While the standard workbench stands between 33 and 36 inches, there are a number of adjustable-height models. Width determines how much workspace you’ll have; benches offer between 2 and 10 feet.
The materials that make up your workbench are also critical. Plastic provides an affordable, lightweight, and nonconductive surface good for working on appliances and lights. Wood workbenches are tough and durable and can carry a heavyweight load. Wood benches are great for repairs, maintenance, and a variety of tasks. Steel benches are the toughest and longest-lasting of the bunch. They aren’t very portable, but they are resistant to solvents and oil so make a great option for garage work.
- Best rolling workbench: CRAFTSMAN Workbench with Drawer Liner Roll/Tray Set, 41-Inch, 6 Drawer
- Best portable workbench: Keter – 197283 Folding Table Work Bench for Miter Saw Stand
- Best heavy-duty workbench: Seville Classics (UHD20247B) UltraHD Lighted Workbench
- Best workbench for woodworking: WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table
- Best budget workbench: 2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System
Easily rolling my workbench from one room to another is my No. 1 priority
If you plan to work on more than one site you’ll want to consider a portable workbench. Just how portable depends on the kind of work you do. If you’re tooling around in the garage, “portable” means “rolling workbench,” something you can roll from one place to another. In this case, you’ll want to consider a wheeled, metal workbench with tool storage. Odds are you’ll be storing plenty of heavy metal tools, so make sure that the model you’re eying can carry substantial weight in its drawers.
If carpentry and handwork is your bag, plastic is likely the material that is right for you. Plastic is lightweight and resistant to scratches and other wear and tear. Plastic models tend to unfold neatly and stand on extendable legs. Some are primed for woodworking tools and accommodate miter saws, and some come with wood clamps.
Best Rolling Workbench: CRAFTSMAN Workbench with Drawer Liner Roll/Tray Set, 41-Inch, 6 Drawer
Heavy-duty, portable tool storage. Amazon
With 100-pound capacity, ball-bearing drawers, and a butcher block work surface, this Craftsman workbench will let you get things done around the garage in a snap. Included drawer organizers will keep your tools arranged and ready for work.
I need a bench that can tackle all my home-improvement projects
If you’ve got a ton of DIY and home improvement projects you’ve been meaning to get to, you’ll probably want a lightweight, portable bench and table that allow for easy setup and accommodate a variety of uses, from woodworking to appliance repair. Finally, install that motion light over your garage, build that deck extension you’ve always wanted, or try out that design for bathroom cabinets you’ve been coveting. Remember that any portable workbench should still be able to carry heavy loads, as you’ll almost certainly end up using it as a sawhorse. Collapsible, plastic models do particularly well in this instance, as they are generally weatherproof and can be taken quickly from project to project whether you’re driving an oversized pickup truck or throwing them in the back of your Prius.
Best Portable Workbench: Keter – 197283 Folding Table Work Bench for Miter Saw Stand
Pack and Play
Collapsible, plastic workbench useful in many circumstances. Amazon
This foldable workbench comes with wood clamps to facilitate your home-improvement projects. You won’t have to worry about using it outside, thanks to weatherproofing. Weighing under 30 pounds, the table can support up to a ton.
All I care about is that my workbench is heavy-duty and durable
If portability isn’t an issue and you’re setting up a classic workshop, you’ll want to consider a heavy-duty workbench that can handle weighty loads, provide substantial storage, and hold up over the years. Steel workbenches are great long-term investments due to their durability. They tend to be able to carry more weight and offer practical storage solutions. Look for something with a substantial pegboard to keep your tools organized right where you can see them. A steel workbench might cost a bit more, but it will last for decades or more.
Best Heavy-Duty Workbench: Seville Classics (UHD20247B) UltraHD Lighted Workbench
Built to Last
A stainless steel frame with a massive pegboard and built-in lighting. Amazon
Here’s a steel workbench you can be proud to make a permanent part of your man cave, tool shed, basement, or garage. Its long pegboard offers 23 hooks for equipment. Two easy-slide drawers provide space for supplies, and a built-in fluorescent light makes sure you can work into the wee hours. It’s also designed to work with most clamps, vises, and saws on the market.
I’m interested in woodworking and woodworking only
If woodworking is your game, you’ll want a large wooden work area with plenty of room for vises, clamps, saws, and whatever else you need for your projects. Consider that you’ll also need a nearby power supply, so a built-in solution always comes in handy. Woodworking benches with a classic table design are generally best for accommodating all the tools you’ll eventually acquire through your hobby or career as a woodworker. A wood surface is preferable for a woodworking bench but what kind of wood is a matter of taste. Good benches with surfaces made out of hard maple, douglas fir, pinewood, teak, and medium-density fiberboard are all popular choices. An adjustable-height workbench can also come in handy when woodworking, so check to see what kind of range of expansion the brand you’re interested in offers.
Best Workbench for Woodworking: WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table and Sawhorse
Measure and saw wood on the go. Amazon
This hybrid sawhorse-workbench weighs under 30 pounds and folds up quickly when the job is done. It’s got room for supplies and two quick clamps to make woodworking easier. It carries 300 pounds of material and tools.
Budget workbench: What you get for under $60
If you’re looking for the best workbench under 60 bucks, you’ll find some great portable options that are helpful on various projects and jobs—just don’t expect a piece of furniture that will be handed down for generations.
Some of these portable options come with wood clamps and pegs to make life easier, but they by no means offer a permanent storage solution. Some (like the WORX option above) can be paired with others, so if you end up with more than one or a buddy has one, you can combine them to make wider work spaces (though it’s not an ideal solution).
Another option for under $60 is a DIY workbench kit that comes with the brackets, shelf links, and legs, but no actual wood. You choose the size by buying the size of lumber that works best for you. It’s a sure win for all the DIY-heads out there.
Best budget workbench: 2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System
Do it Yourself
Build the best workbench to your own specifications. Amazon
This kit gets you the brackets and other hardware you’ll need to assemble your own workbench, leaving you to purchase the lumber separately. The good news is that the provided hardware will work with the dimensions you choose. If you love DIY projects, why not build your own workbench? It’s what our grandpas did.
Everything else you want to know about these must-have tools
What is a good height for a workbench?
The average workbench height is from 34 inches to 36 inches, but a “tall” model ideal for using power tools is 38 inches to 39 inches. The best workbench? One with an adjustable height that offers the ability to adapt to your needs, allowing you to work sitting or standing, and better take on larger projects.
What is a good depth for a workbench?
Common wisdom dictates that a workbench should be no deeper than your arm can reach (around 24 inches). That may not be an ideal depth for you if you work on larger pieces, so keep that in mind.
Should a workbench have an overhang?
Yes, workbenches should have an overhang of at least 4 inches on the end and sides to accommodate clamps and vises.
A final word on the best workbenches around
Whether you’re working in the garage, tackling DIY home projects, tasked as the caretaker of your in-law’s various properties, or a dedicated woodworker, there is a workbench that’s right for you. Just identify whether you’re going to be setting up shop permanently or taking your new tool with you, and you’ll be ready to purchase a life-changing piece of equipment.