For those who have never faced workshop struggles, workbenches might seem like quite ordinary and mundane objects. However, once you’ve experienced the frustration that comes with using a wobbly surface, the lack of space for your machinery or that stabbing back pain from bending over during work, you learn to appreciate a good quality workbench. Workbenches can greatly influence your productivity, efficiency and health, help you utilize your space and have numerous other perks.
However, not all workbenches are created equal and if you’re on the hunt for a brand new workbench for your workspace, workshop or garage you need to know your options. There’re several types of frames, worktops, height adjustments and a lot more features that can make a great difference, so continue reading if you want to find out which work bench is the right for you.
Types of Frames
The frame is what holds your workbench together and influences its sturdiness, durability and stability. Here you’re faced with two options – stainless steel and wood frame and each has its own benefits and downsides.
A steel frame praises functionality over form. It’s strong, able to withstand heavy weights without making a peep while at the same time being lightweight itself. This makes relocation to other parts of your workshop easier if such need arises. However, some steel frames don’t hold well against the vibrations caused by power tools i.e they can make them more noticeable.
On the other hand, a wooden frame would do a better job when it comes to vibration absorption, but when it comes to heaviness, timber can significantly increase the weight of the workbench thus make relocation quite a hassle. Both of these options can be upgraded with additional features, but drilling into the wood to mount equipment is easier (this has its other downsides that’ll be discussed further).
So basically, it’s a tie. Both types of frames are incredibly sturdy and will do well if they’re properly assembled and made of high-quality materials such as 304-grade steel or Pine and Birch timber.
This category is more inclusive of different materials such as timber, steel, laminate and vinyl. A strong, heavy-duty work bench with a wooden worktop is suitable for many projects, but as previously said, timber is soft which means all that drilling and sawing will leave marks and dents on your worktop. Moreover, oil leakage can stain the wood and make cleaning quite troublesome.
Worktops made from steel are superior in terms of durability, plus they make maintenance a breeze. If you want a reliable work bench that’ll stand up to various projects for many years to come this should be your go-to choice. However, you should be aware that small scratches might appear even on highest grade-steel worktops. Nevertheless, if the markings don’t interfere with your job, you should be proud of them. After all, they’re there to witness all your hard work and many undertakings.
If you’re working on assembly projects or packing, then you should consider a vinyl worktop. Vinyl worktops unlike wood and steel have a less smooth surface that reduces the risk of slippery accidents. Moreover, they’re softer and reduce the risk of damage to the project.
Laminate is basically hardened plastic with excellent qualities. They’re the most versatile option if the style of your workshop is one of your concerns. They come in different colours and have a hard, smooth and scratch-resistant surface that’s relatively resistant to liquids. However, that doesn’t mean that chemicals won’t stain the worktop if left on the surface for too long.
If you’re the only one who’ll be using the workbench, then you can opt for a static height workbench. The height you choose depends on your own body height and the type of work you do. Nailing this is extremely important for your lower back’s sake. As a general rule of thumb, your workbench should be even with the bottom edge of your shirt cuff.
But if you share the workbench with others or you do different types of projects, an adjustable bench might be more convenient for you. That’ll give you greater flexibility and allow everyone to maintain a more ergonomic working position.
Stationary vs. Mobile
This one depends solely on your personal preference. If you want to secure your workbench in place you can have it affixed to your wall or floor, but keep in mind that this will make any future rearrangements a tough challenge. It takes work to put it in place, but it takes a lot more to relocate it, so choose your spot wisely.
If you want to be able to easily move your workbench to different areas, then opt for a mobile one. These have wheels or canisters that make relocation easy-peasy. However, if you want to keep your workbench from moving around on its own, opt for canisters that have locks. Locks will prevent your workbench from drifting away any time your lean on it or bump into it.
There’re additional features for work benches that’ll help you organize your tools and equipment and make better use of vertical space. You can install shelves under the worktop or a louvre panel to get some extra storage space for your tools and parts bins. Drawers will also come in handy if you want to keep your screws and nuts neatly stored right at your fingertips. Or you can opt for a mini-me version of your large workbench in the form of a convenient pegboard tool trolley and keep your tools at arm’s reach wherever you are. If you need even more space, a large storage cabinet beside your workbench would be a great addition to your workshop.
With so many options available, it’s impossible to say that there’s one ideal workbench for every workshop. But now that you know your options, you can start looking workshop benches for sale and buy a workbench that suits your needs and type of work.