The Best Bench Vises Tested in 2023
May 29, 2023
Coming in as our top pick is the Wilton 6-inch bench vise—a formidable workshop tool. Like most bench vises, it comes fully assembled with a cast iron construction; all we had to do was mount it to the top of our workbench. This entailed marking the location of its four holes, drilling the holes, and then bolting it in place. Bolts were not included, which is standard, because the manufacturer doesn’t know how thick a user’s workbench will be.
We tested the handle-and-screw action of the vise by loosening and opening the jaws and then closing them again. The heavy-duty bench vise jaws moved smoothly and evenly—no sticking or hanging. We then loosened the lever for the swiveling mechanism, allowing us to swivel the vise’s upper portion and retighten the lever to lock it into position. It rotated smoothly to any angle we chose.
The Wilton bench vise has a 6-inch jaw width and strong gripping power—we tightened several items in its jaws, including pipes, iron bars, and wood. We could loosen stuck-on pipe fittings using a wrench without the pipe slipping in the jaws’ grip. We drilled holes in boards, and the Wilton vise held them securely—no slipping. We also used the anvil on the back to flatten a copper pipe with a hammer. The anvil is relatively small—about 4 inches by 4 inches—but it’s suitable for hammering small items.
The downside—and we expected this—was visible imprints in the wood from the corrugated jaws. We could get around this problem by positioning thin pieces of plywood between the board we were working on and the iron jaws on both sides, but woodworking is not the primary purpose for this heavy-duty bench vise. Instead, this is a general-use vise that can be used for multiple shop purposes, such as holding blades for sharpening and pipes to remove fittings. It can even serve to crack the occasional black walnut if desired—we did that, too!
Get the Wilton 11106 bench vise at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Toolup.com.Product SpecsType:Size:Jaw material:ProsConsGet the Wilton 11106 bench vise at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Toolup.com.