Choosing a work bench for your next project
Whether it’s a small or large project, a work bench is one of the most important pieces of equipment you need to get the job done. A great work bench will keep all your tools organised and ensure safety in your workspace. In addition, the right garage workbench will provide the space needed to get the project done quickly and efficiently. It also allows you to work on large items and pay attention to details.
However, work benches are an expensive investment. Therefore, you must understand what your needs are and the options available on the market so you can choose the perfect work bench. However, this can be frustrating for the average buyer, given the wide range of options designed for different uses. Luckily, we've created this easy guide to help you find a work bench for your workshop.
Discover the different work bench types
There are a few different types of work benches to choose from. Your choice will largely depend on your needs. How do you intend to use the work bench? Do you plan to use it for metalworking, woodworking, or something else? Are you looking for a bench with storage? Here are the main types of work benches.
Work bench tables
A workbench table bench is the most popular type of workbench because of its simple design and strong construction. It has a tabletop surface and a set of legs, which can be made from wood or metal. Most of these benches do not have storage space, so you'll need another storage solution for your work equipment. However, you may find options that come with a single open shelf underneath the tabletop. Since these benches have open bases, they are ideal for projects that involve using a vice grip clamp.
Workbench cabinets offer plenty of storage space, making them a great option for people with many tools to store. Benches with storage solutions like cabinets, drawers, and shelves give you easy access to your tools while keeping you safe. Leaving your work equipment lying around can be dangerous. Most work cabinets are made from metal and often cost more than other options. However, they are a worthy investment because they are sturdy and save you the cost of buying other storage options.
Portable work bench
This workbench is just what they imply – it can be moved to where you need it. There are two types of portable work benches: rolling workbench and folding workbench. The rolling work bench, also known as the mobile work bench, is sturdy and features casters at the base of the legs for mobility. The wheels can be locked in place when necessary. Folding work benches have small, collapsible and lighter than rolling benches. However, they can still handle most tasks.
Wall-mounted work bench
Wall-mounted work benches are great for compact spaces and help you maximise space as they do not use floor space. The main advantage of these benches is that you can hang them at a height that suits you, making for a more comfortable working platform. It's, however, important to keep in mind that wall-mounted benches are not strong enough to support the weight, or withstand the wear and tear, that work benches with heavy-duty legs can handle.
What material should you choose for your work surface?
The most crucial points to keep in mind when shopping for work benches are durable work surface and sturdy foundation. Your ideal work bench should have four strong legs or a sawhorse base to provide adequate support. The key to determining what material to choose depends on the task you plan to work on at your work bench. Below, we look at the most common materials for work benches.
Wood work benches
Made from solid wood, these work benches are strong and built to support substantial weight and withstand harsh working conditions. They can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, including assembly, maintenance, and repair. Most wood work benches are made from hardwoods that can take a beating. The dense grains of hardwood also makes it resistant to scratches and dents often associated with vises and clamps. If well-maintained, wood workbenches can last for many years.
Metal work benches
The most durable and enduring, Metalwork benches can hold up to many years of heavy use. It’s made from different pieces of metal welded together to give it a strong structure. Metal work benches are the best option if your project involves heavy-duty materials. Unlike wood benches, metal won't crack or splinter. So if you're looking for a bench that can take a thorough beating, metal is a perfect choice. Metal work benches are also a good option for projects that involve working with solvents or oil because spills can easily be wiped off their surface. Metal work benches are available in two materials: steel and aluminium. Steel is sturdy, strong, and rust-resistant, while aluminium is lightweight, durable, and resistant to corrosion.
Plastic work benches
A plastic work bench is sufficient if you regularly handle simple projects or don't expect a lot of wear and tear. Plastic work benches are inexpensive and lightweight, so they are ideal for tasks involving electrical appliances or chemicals. However, these attributes make them less conducive for heavy-duty projects. Aside from having a low weight-bearing capacity, plastic benches are less durable than wood and metal benches. Plastic work benches are designed for light to medium use. They are great for working on projects like light packing, assembly, and office use.
MDF work benches
Work benches made from MDF are a budget-friendly alternative to solid wood and metal benches. These work benches may not be as strong as their wood and metal counterparts, but they are still strong enough to handle medium projects. The surface remains smooth after use, and you can use clamps without issues. In addition, MDF has a uniform texture; therefore, you won't experience knots or hard spots. The main downside of MDF work benches is that they stain easily. They also absorb moisture easily, which affects the strength of the material.
What work bench size is best?
Choosing the right size of work bench can help you work efficiently and maximise space. The work bench size you choose should complement the size and shape of your workspace. Here are guidelines on choosing the right size of work bench.
The distance from the base of the work bench to its tabletop is one of the most important things to take into account. The standard height of work benches is 84 – 91 cm. You can also find adjustable-height benches, which allow you to increase or reduce the height of the bench to suit your needs. This makes it easier for different sizes and ages of people to work comfortably on the bench. However, they come at an extra cost and may not be as sturdy as fixed-height ones.
The surface you work on is everything when it comes to work benches. The standard width of work benches ranges from 60 cm to 3m, so you can choose from a huge range to suit your needs. However, measuring your space beforehand is important to ensure it can fit your preferred garage work bench. Also, keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to choosing a work bench. You don’t need to go for a 3m work bench when a smaller one can do the job.
Tips to keep your work bench organised
Given the wide range of tasks performed on the work bench, it can get messy sometimes. Not only is a chaotic workshop unproductive, but also unsafe for you and others. Here are a few tips to keep your work bench tidy and well-organised.
Maximise accessibility of tools
Making all your tools reachable is one of the best ways to enhance efficiency in a workspace. If you're short on space, you may want to get a pegboard. This setup has a range of hooks inserted into a board to hang and hold your tools. With a pegboard, you don’t have to stop your project to find a hand-power drill or hammer for your job. All the tools you need are neatly organised in one place.
Improve space utilisation
The key to creating a well-organised space is utilising the available space in a smart way. Using benches with drawers, shelves and cabinets can help you maximise space usage. The more storage you have, the easier it is to keep the space organised. Use dividers to store small items like screws, nails, bolts, nuts, etc. You can also choose a portable work bench with cabinets to quickly and safely move your workstation anywhere in your facility.
Labelling is a great way to keep your workspace organised, whether you work alone or have ten employees. The best way to label tools is either by use or brand. However, employees can also label the instruments with their names to prevent mix-ups. You may find this tedious, but it's definitely worth it, as it will keep your space organised and improve work efficiency.
Ensure there’s enough lighting
Work benches require different task lighting to provide increased lighting for specific tasks in a garage that may already have sufficient light. You'll be surprised at the huge difference work light can make.
Shop quality work benches for any garage at vidaXL
We have a huge selection of high-quality work benches in different materials, sizes, and shapes to suit your needs. Our collection features work benches from leading manufacturers to ensure our customers get products that meet the highest industry standards. Whether you are a mechanic or a carpenter, we have the best work benches to choose from. Browse our product range today to find the perfect work bench for your workspace.