Best Portable Workbench

One of the most important woodworking tools that you absolutely must have is a woodworking bench. Some folks are lucky enough to have space (and the money) to hold a full-sized woodworking bench. Individuals like myself need to look instead for the best portable workbench.

What makes the best portable work table or workbench? The best designs can fold up for easy storage in shared spaces, like a garage or work shed. For example, the Keter folding work table collapses to just 4.4-inches thick, giving it a thin profile for storing or transporting to the job site.

Another factor that people look for in the best portable workbench is total weight. Full-sized woodworking benches can weigh hundreds of pounds and take two or more people to move. The best portable work table designs weigh less than 50-pounds in most cases.

A key feature found in all the best portable workbench designs, including my Keter folding work table, is the speed at which it assembles and disassembles. You should be able to manipulate a good design in less than a minute and the best portable workbench designs in half a minute or less.

Stability and support are key features to look for, and they are one of the reasons I purchased the Keter folding work table. It supports a workload of up to 1,000 pounds. That will be more than I will ever work with inside of my woodshop.

For most users, stability comes into play during sessions with an electric or hand-powered plane. Sawing is another activity that seems to stress cheaply-made portable workbench designs. Look for support structures and pay attention to the angle that the legs sit when open.

Consider the total worksurface when shopping for the best portable workbench for your shop. Some split designs offer a minimal surface to work. A larger work table or benchtop provides you with more room to assemble and hold project pieces as you work.

The best portable workbench products consist of quality materials that will last for a long time. Components that handle weight and torque without warping or buckling are critical. That type of durability is hard to find with rock-bottom prices.

A flat tabletop is a must for any product to be considered the best portable bench. Uneven work surfaces can be problematic with builds, especially if using the workbench to aid in glue-ups. A flat tabletop is necessary when using a hand plane on boards or lining pieces up with a level.

Unique tabletop designs can make or break a workbench in your shop. My Keter has tracks that hold clamps in place. It also has holes that I can insert other fasteners or accessories.

Split-table designs have a seam that opens across the table surface. That allows you to use your portable workbench like a large vise. Some portable tables come with several “dog holes” that hold bench dogs, clamps, or perpendicular fences.

One thing that all of the best portable work table packages come with is accessories. You will find products that come with two or more clamps that work on the tabletop through a track system, through holes, or along the edge. Other designs come with bench dogs or some other accessories (which may be proprietary to the manufacturer).

Finally, you need a portable workbench that is easy to use. None of the features or add-ons that I have mentioned will mean anything if the bench is too difficult to use regularly. That includes any required assembly after you buy it!