If you work on a lot of DIY projects, then a bench vice is an invaluable piece of equipment. It will enable you to hold materials in place so you can saw and drill them with ease. It’s also great for things like sanding and glueing materials.
Some of the most important things to consider when buying a bench vice are the materials used, how it fits a bench and the jaw width.
We’ve rated some of the UK’s best bench vices, looking at their key features as well as their pros and cons. After reading the reviews below, you should be ready to make an informed purchase.
Last update on 2020-08-13 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s start by looking at our best pick, the Stanley 183068 Heavy-Duty Vice…
Sturdy, reliable and very easy-to-use
The Stanley 183068 Heavy-Duty Vice is our best pick. It’s made from cast iron, so it’s very strong and durable and has a jaw width of 200mm.
The screw thread to open and close the jaw is very smooth and easy to operate. It needs to be attached to your workbench using bolts, so you will need to have a drill with the correct drill bit to create the holes.
Once the vice is attached to your bench, you’re able to swivel the base to any angle you want. This is a very handy feature and makes it much more versatile, and easy to work with.
Overall, this is a high-quality vice that would be perfect for home DIY projects. It’s simple to use and could be used with most workbenches.
- Made from cast iron, making it very sturdy and reliable
- The base can be swivelled to the angle you desire once it’s attached to your workbench
- The roll-formed screw heads make it very easy and smooth to open and close the vice
- The jaw has a maximum width of 200mm, making it suitable for use with the majority of materials
- The quality of the finishing could be better
Very easy to set up and incredibly affordable
Our value pick is the Modelcraft Hobby Bench Vice. Although it’s not as quite as robust as some other vices, it’s still a good choice for smaller projects.
This is a clamping vice, which means you can set it up on any table by simply clamping it to the edge. Admittedly, this means it isn’t as stable as a bolted-on vice would be, but it still provides enough stability to work effectively and safely.
It has a jaw capacity of 50mm and is very small and lightweight, making it perfect if you want to use it in different areas and for storing when not in use.
Despite being small and light, it’s still sturdy enough and would be ideal for use on projects where you’re working with smaller and more lightweight materials.
Overall, this is a great little vice for smaller hobby projects and light use. It’s also very reasonably priced.
- Very affordable
- Perfect for use on smaller projects
- The clamp design makes it very easy to set up on any type of bench or table
- Small and lightweight, making it easy to move around and store
- Wouldn’t be suitable for working on larger DIY projects where you need more stability and a higher jaw capacity
A great quality clamp vice
The Irwin Record V75B Table Vice is another clamp model, which means you can easily set it up on any desk or table.
It’s made from cast iron and is significantly sturdier than the Modelcraft vice, so you would be able to use it for a lot of different DIY projects, although a bolt-on vice would still be recommended for serious woodworking.
Weighing just 921g, it’s very small and portable, making it excellent for use in different locations and for storing when not in use. It has a jaw width of roughly 75mm, which is quite large for this type of vice.
Overall, this would make an excellent choice if you’re looking for a portable vice that’s easy to set up and use quickly.
- The clamp design means it’s very easy to set up on any desk or table
- At just 921g, it’s very lightweight and easy to move around
- A generous 75mm jaw capacity
- Made from cast iron, making it very sturdy and reliable
- Wouldn’t be ideal for more serious woodworking projects where you need maximum stability
Versatile and has some great features
The Stanley Multi-Angle Vice has plenty going for it and would be suitable if you’re looking for a vice that’s easy to set up and use anywhere.
It can be fixed to most types of benches using the clamp at the bottom. Something that makes this vice unique is the ball joint, which allows you to change the angle of the vice in any direction. This is incredibly useful and makes it much easier to work with.
It has very distinctive black and yellow colouring and is made from cast iron, which means it’s very sturdy and can stand up to heavy use. The jaw opens to 3 inches – more than enough for working with the majority of materials.
There are rubber pads where it attaches to the desk, which help to prevent any damage. These can be removed if you prefer, though. It weighs 1.56kg, making it a bit heavier than the other clamp vices we’ve looked at. However, it’s still lightweight and portable.
This would make an excellent choice if you want a vice that’s easy to work with, versatile and sturdy enough to work with most materials.
- The ball joint allows you to set the vice at any angle
- Rubber pads on the clamp help to avoid damaging the desk you attach it to
- Cast iron construction makes it sturdy and resistant to corrosion
- 3-inch jaw opening allows you to work with most materials
- Very affordably priced
- The screw for the vice is a little stiff
- Doesn’t provide the same level of stability as a bolt-on vice
Very sturdy and suitable for heavy use
Lastly is the Silverline Engineers Vice. As you can deduct from the name, this is a vice that’s suited for more heavy use and serious DIY projects.
It needs to be bolted to a bench in order to use, but this comes with the advantage of making it much more stable and means you can work with all types of materials, including wood, plastic and metal.
It’s made from cast iron, so it’s very sturdy and it has a jaw capacity of 120mm. It weighs 4.12kg, so it’s certainly on the heavier side although this isn’t really an issue since it isn’t designed to be portable.
This would make a good choice if you’re looking for a vice that’s suitable for more serious DIY projects and the fact that it’s as sturdy as it is, means it’s suitable for all types of work. This includes drilling, welding, glueing and sawing.
- Is suitable for working with all types of materials
- The bolt-on design makes it very stable and suitable for all types of work, such as drilling, welding and sawing
- Cast iron construction means it’s very sturdy
- Some reviewers had issues with the vice becoming damaged when fixing it to the workbench
How To Fit A Vice To A Bench
Fitting a vice to a workbench is quite straightforward, but you still want to know how to go about it in the right way, so it’s attached securely and gives you the best results.
There are a couple of different ways a vice can be fitted to a bench. Some vices are kept in place using a clamp. This type of vice is very easy to install and doesn’t require any real preparation or drilling.
The other way a vice can attach to a bench is by using bolts. This will require more work but it’s much more secure than using a clamp.
For vices that fit a bench using bolts, you’ll first need to decide where you’re going to attach it and then mark where the holes will need to be drilled. The number of holes you need to drill will depend on the model of vice you get. Some use two bolts and others use four.
Once you’ve marked where the holes should be on your bench, you can then start drilling. Make sure you use a drill piece that matches the diameter of the bolts included with your vice.
After you’ve drilled the holes, you then simply line the vice up with your bench and attach the bolts. You’ll need a wrench in order to make sure the bolts are attached securely.
Things to Consider When Buying a Bench Vice
A bench vice needs to be sturdy and able to hold up to a lot of use. Most good vices will be made from tough metals, such as cast iron, so there’s no risk of them getting damaged.
You can also get smaller, hobby vices that are made of less durable materials, but they won’t be suitable for working with more substantial materials such as wood and metal.
Another important thing to consider when buying a bench vice is the jaw width. This will dictate the thickness of the materials you’re able to use with it, so it’s very important to find this out beforehand, especially if you’re buying the vice with a certain project in mind.
How the vice fits a bench is also important. As we mentioned above – some vices will attach using a clamp, while others will need to be attached using bolts. It might not always be practical for you to drill holes in your bench, so this is certainly something to think about when deciding on which type of vice to get.
What is a Bench Vice Used For?
Having a bench vice at your disposal is extremely handy since there are several things you can use it for. These include –
If you’re sawing wood with a manual saw, then having a bench vice to hold it in place will make things much easier. Trying to saw without having something to hold the wood in place is not only difficult, but it can also be very dangerous, so a bench vice is invaluable in this case.
Another thing that a bench vice helps with is drilling. If you need to drill holes with a lot of accuracy and precision, then a bench vice is perfect for this. It will help to hold the material you’re drilling in place, so you can focus on what you’re doing without worrying about it moving.
Bench vices are also very useful when you’re using sandpaper to smooth out edges. If you try to sand without using a vice, it’s very easy for the material you’re working with to slip and accidentally cause damage to it. A vice will keep it in place, so you’re able to sand with minimal effort.
If you need to glue two pieces of wood together for your project, then having a vice will be of great use. Rather than simply placing the two pieces of wood on top of each other, you can clamp them together securely until the glue dries. This not only helps them to stick together better, but it also means you don’t have to worry about knocking them over.
Although bench vices are often used in woodworking projects, you can also use them for working with metal too.