Whether you’re an expert woodworker or a DIY novice, a stable workbench is an essential piece of equipment for completing your sawing and drilling tasks.
Workbenches range from basic desks and tables to more complex and versatile structures that incorporate a workbench, sawhorse and/or vice to help you undertake a variety of jobs. They often feature holes, measurement guides and clamps, to hold materials in place and assist you in your work.
Portable workbenches offer the most flexibility for those with limited space or a non-permanent working area. These designs are not fixed in place and can usually be folded away for easy transportation and storage when not in use.
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To help you decide which is the best option for you, we’ve compiled this buying guide to 5 of the best workbenches we’ve found, based on factors such as stability, portability, versatility and value for money. Read on to find the perfect assistant for your next project.
Our best workbench – strong, compact and highly versatile
This Worx Pegasus Sawhorse is made primarily from durable plastic, with metal supports. Don’t let the plastic construction fool you though – this is one of the sturdiest workbench designs we’ve seen.
The design is a highly versatile, 2-in-1 worktable and sawhorse, which quickly converts between the two, affording you greater flexibility in terms of tasks and positioning. Also included are 4 clamp pegs and 2 quick-adjusting bar clamps, to allow you to secure a variety of materials to the bench, as well as support groves to keep 2 x 4” plywood steady in sawhorse mode.
The Pegasus arrives fully assembled, so there are no complicated instructions to struggle through before you’re able to use your bench (in contrast to some of our upcoming models). When not in use, it can be quickly folded flat (down to 5 inches in depth) for easy transportation and storage. It’s also nice and lightweight, at 30 lbs, so it’s definitely not difficult to move around.
It offers a 31 x 25-inch surface at a working height of 32 inches when in the workbench position. It can also support a decent weight of 300 lbs when in this mode, and an even more impressive 1,000 lbs when in the sawhorse formation. Underneath the workbench, you’ll find a handy shelf suitable for storing tools and other essentials.
The only real drawback of this workbench is the price – it’s not the cheapest, and there are certainly more affordable options out there. However, we think you’ll struggle to find a workbench this sturdy, versatile, and portable for a similar price, which is why it has to be our top pick.
- Versatile design; worktable converts into a sawhorse.
- Decent weight capacity – worktable 300 lbs, sawhorse 1000 lbs.
- Includes bar clamps and support pegs to hold materials securely.
- Compact; folds flat for easy storage and transportation.
- No assembly required.
- Pricier than some similar options.
An excellent value workbench, suitable only for light or occasional use
If you’re looking for a more affordable option for occasional use, you could try this Silverline Portable Workbench. Silverline specifies a maximum weight load capacity of 100 kg, which is the lowest on our list, but by no means unworkable – although we wouldn’t recommend you get too near this limit, as it has to be said this isn’t the sturdiest design we’ve seen.
The design is slim and lightweight, which makes for a workbench that’s easy to move around your workshop and can also be folded flat for convenient storage. It does need to be assembled on arrival, although this is a fairly straightforward process.
It offers a working height of 775mm, made up of 2 worktops, each measuring 560 x 110 mm. This isn’t a large as the Pegasus workbench but still offers enough working space to undertake smaller DIY tasks.
It has to be said that these worktops aren’t the most durable – they’re made from relatively weak chipboard, which is susceptible to breaking under stress. For this reason, we’d only recommend this for light or occasional use, and you should avoid using clamps, as they may apply too much force and cause the boards to snap.
Ultimately though, this is a reasonable quality workbench, that should be fine for light use and comes with a pretty unbeatable price tag. We definitely think it’s worth that money – just not much more.
- Highly affordable.
- Slim, lightweight design.
- Foldable for easy storage.
- Worktops are made from chipboard and are prone to breaking under force.
- Requires assembly.
Waterproof bamboo surfaces make this workbench extra durable
For a more durable option, this Bosch PWB 600 Workbench has sturdy bamboo worktops, that also repel water. The work surface measures an impressive 680mm x 550 mm, making this suitable for larger DIY tasks.
It has a strong, aluminium construction that is said to be capable of supporting loads of up to 200 kg – and we believe it. Despite the sturdy design, it weighs less than 12 kg, so it’s fully portable and easy to move around. It arrives fully assembled, and just needs to be unfolded before use. This also means it can be folded flat in just a few seconds (to a depth of 9 cm) for easy storage.
Included with the workbench are 4 blade clamps, to help secure materials to the surface and provide an easier and safer working experience. It has a maximum clamping depth of 34 mm, a max. clamping width of 85 mm, and can secure materials up to a length of 525 mm. Materials don’t have to be flat either, as it can easily secure round and bulky pieces.
It isn’t the most affordable option, but that’s really the only bad thing we can say about it – this is a good quality, strong and durable workbench, that’s more than capable of supporting most standard DIY tasks.
- Stable aluminium construction.
- Water-repellent, durable bamboo work surfaces.
- Lightweight and compact – set up in just a few seconds.
- Includes 4 x blade clamps.
- High weight capacity – supports up to 200kg.
- Not the most affordable option.
- Minimal instructions.
A mid-range, sturdy steel option, from a reputable brand
This Deluxe Workmate by Black + Decker features a heavyweight, steel construction that is capable of supporting up to 250 kg. The working dual height (of 620 and 800 mm) gives it the versatility to be used as a worktable, tool stand, vice or sawhorse.
It has built-in jaw retention, dual clamping cranks and swivel pegs, to allow you the flexibility to clamp a variety of materials securely. The vertical-clamping front jaw means you can hold odd-shaped items, and the clamps also feature one-handed operation, which makes it easier to adjust them whilst working. There are 3 vice positions, and the vice jaw opens from 0 – 205 mm.
The workbench has anti-slip rubber feet at the end of its steel legs, which enhance the feeling of stability. Despite the solid and sturdy construction, it folds up flat to a depth of 20 cm, so it’s not too difficult to store and transport.
The only real negative of this one is that it needs to be assembled on arrival, and the assembly instructions are pretty poor, so this isn’t the easiest task. It’s not enough of a reason not to purchase it, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re not too handy with DIY.
Overall, this is a stable and multi-functional workbench, that’s been designed with the user in mind, and should make your life considerably easier – once you’ve assembled it.
- Sturdy steel construction.
- Multi-functional design – use as a workbench, tool bench, vice or sawhorse.
- High weight capacity of 250kg.
- Not easy to assemble – poor instructions.
A fixed shape means this isn’t the most versatile or portable design – but it is stable and affordable
This G-Rack 2 Tier Shelf offers something a bit different to round off our list of the best workbenches. Unlike our previous designs, it has a fixed shape, and can’t be folded up for storage and transportation.
However, if you’re not worried about being able to pack it away, it does offer a sturdy work surface that’s capable of supporting an impressive 300 kg – and the shelf below can support the same weight, so it’s perfect for storing larger power tools.
You will have to assemble it, but this is a simple process which doesn’t require any bolts or screws. Once it’s up, you can attach it to a wall using the pre-drilled holes, so it’s great for someone wanting a more permanent workbench, with the added stability of wall support.
The quality of the workstation isn’t bad – it feels well-made, and it has a rust-resistant coating on the metal frame. The MDF shelves are supposedly moisture resistant, although there are some reports of them going mouldy in damp weather, as well as sagging under heavy weights, so this is certainly something to watch out for.
For the price though, this is another one where you can’t go too far wrong. If you’re looking for a fixed workbench with high weight capacity, stable design and reasonable price tag, you’ve found it.
- High weight capacity – 300 kg per shelf.
- Easy to assemble, no bolts or screws required.
- Can be attached to a wall using pre-drilled holes.
- Includes rust-resistant coating on the metal.
- MDF shelves are prone to sagging and mould in damp weather.
How To Use A Workbench
A workbench is a versatile piece of equipment, that can help with anything from sawing to painting, or even just provide a handy table to hold your tools. Here are a few of the most common ways to use a workbench:
For sawing or sanding
If you need to saw, sand or plane some wood, a workbench can be used to clamp the material securely in place, whilst still allowing you the space you need to work – this could be helpful when building a garden building or fence, for example. A portable workbench also enables you to complete these tasks outside, meaning you can avoid sawdust in your home.
Similarly, should you need to drill holes in some materials, perhaps in the process of making or assembling furniture items, you can clamp them securely in your workbench first. This will enable you to mark the holes accurately and avoid any movement during the drilling process which might result in misalignment.
To support power tools
As well as drills, there are numerous other power tools that can be used more safely and accurately in conjunction with a workbench – for example, a tile cutting machine. Workbenches have high maximum load capacities and will support many heavy tools that might cause a lesser surface to crumble (always check the weight prior to use).
To paint from all angles
Finding it awkward to paint that door, gate or fence post without leaving an uneven finish or getting paint all over your floor? Use a workbench to clamp the item and suspend it at the perfect painting height. You’ll then be able to see your canvas clearly and reach almost everywhere in a single coating – just touch up the areas where the clamps were afterwards.
For messy tasks
Painting isn’t the only messy task that you might not want to do on your living room carpet or kitchen table. Whether you’re gluing, polishing, varnishing, or changing the brake fluid in your bike, doing so outside or in the garage, on a workbench that you don’t mind spilling on, will make for a much easier and less stressful experience.
As a table
Last but not least, there’s no underestimating the usefulness of having an extra surface that you can plonk things on – whether that’s a half-empty paint can, a hacksaw, potted plants, or your leftover cheese and pickle sarnies from lunchtime!
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.