I need a vise – what’s the best I can get for under $50? $100? $150? This question comes up a lot, and the answer can vary. What do you plan to use it for? How big of a vise are you looking for? Do you want new or used?
The popular opinion is that, for home use, a used American-made vise is best for a limited budget. As long as it is in good condition and you bring it back to smooth working order with a quick cleaning and lubing, a used vise will serve you better than any new vise you could buy for the money.
But used vises can be scarce. If you cannot find one locally via Craigslist, garage sales, or estate sales, you’re pretty much out of luck. Ebay is another option, but the shipping fees on a 40lb+ vise will hurt your wallet. Plus there are risks in buying a used vise sight unseen.
Then there are those of us who don’t have the time to trawl around looking for used tools that may need servicing or replacement parts before they can be put to use.
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Our recommendation for a new vise in the $100-$120 price range is the Craftsman Professional 4-1/2″ vise. This 60,000 PSI vise is built for general purpose use and features 4-1/2″ jaws with 3-1/4″ depth and 4-inch travel. It also has a 360° swivel and pipe clamping jaws.
Except for being manufactured overseas, the Craftsman Professional vise appears identical to Wilton’s USA-made bullet-style 1745 tradesman vise. So you get a tried and true design but at less than a third of the price.
Its regular price is $130, but you can usually find it on sale for anywhere between $110 and $120. Free in-store pickup is usually available, but it’s also occasionally eligible for free shipping promotions.
Buy Now(via Sears)
All that said, if you do have the time and patience to shop around, you might be able to find a used more robust USA-made vise, perhaps even at a lower price.
If you have different thoughts about what to recommend at the under-$150 price range, let’s hear it!