By Grainger Editorial Staff 11/17/23
You don’t sit behind an office desk all day – but you still need a work surface.
Workbenches, worktables and workstations provide ergonomic and organized spaces with durable surfaces for heavy duty industrial, mechanical and manual tasks. They can be combined with shelving, cabinets and pegboards to hold spare parts and small tools. Some models have built-in electrical outlets for lighting and power tools, and some models have special features to make specific tasks easier.
To choose the right workbench or worktable, start by asking a few basic questions:
Some worktables and workbenches have adjustable heights, which can help you dial in a good ergonomic fit for people with different heights and working postures.
Worktables can also be used as equipment stands.
Some worktables and workbenches are mounted on wheels or casters, allowing them to be moved easily from place to place. Other shop furniture is stationary, providing a stable surface for working in one location.
If you don’t need storage, there are simple worktables and open-base workbenches.
If you do want storage, there are a few different directions you can take, depending on your needs:
Most workbenches and workstations are suitable for a wide range of applications, while some are designed for specific tasks:
Once you have a basic idea of the kind of workbench you’re looking for, you can narrow down your choices by thinking about the features and specs. Here are some things to consider:
Workbenches and tables are rated by the maximum weight they can support. A lightweight, mobile table might be rated to support only a few hundred pounds, while a heavy-duty stationary bench might be able to handle more than 10,000 pounds. If you’ll be working on heavy components, be sure your workstation can carry the load.
Workbenches come in a range of sizes, from compact tables to wide benches. Your workbench should be able to comfortably handle all the tools and parts you’ll need, but be sure the furniture’s footprint will fit in the available shop space.
The thickness of a benchtop affects its weight and durability. Metal benchtops are measured by gauge, and lower gauge numbers are thicker than higher gauges. Wood and plastic benchtop thickness is measured in inches.
The top edge can be squared off, rounded into a “bullnose” or have its corners smoothed into a filet radius. A square edge is necessary if you will be bending or cutting material over the bench’s edge. However, rounded edges will be less likely to dent parts as they are moved on and off the bench.
Workbenches offer endless configurations of drawers, cabinets, and shelving to hold tools and parts. Some common storage options include:
Bench height can make a huge difference for workers’ comfort and ergonomics. Adjustable benches use either a bolting mechanism or adjustable feet to raise or lower the height of the working surface for a custom fit.
Some benches have keyed drawers or padlock hasps to keep tools secure.
If you’ll be using power tools, a bench with built-in power outlets will provide a convenient place to plug in.
The benchtop needs to stand up to the job. The options for benchtop materials include:
NEMA Motor Frame Chart
This comprehensive chart shows sizes for NEMA motor frames. Figure out what NEMA motor mount you need.
Active vs. Passive Hearing Protection: What’s the Difference?
Hearing protection devices (HPDs) fall into two main categories: active and passive. Use our guide to understand the key differences between active and passive protection and the important features to consider.
How to Thrive Through Supplier Innovation
This article describes how companies that think more strategically about how to collaborate with suppliers can bring about positive changes.
Guide to Choosing an Air Curtain
Keeping indoor/outdoor entryways clean and comfortable is a challenge. An air curtain could help. Learn more about what air curtains can do, and what things to consider when choosing one.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.