I posted about the Craftsman Professional bench vise (model 51888) a couple of years ago, calling it the best bench vise for under $120. This vise has a sealed Wilton bullet-style design and is sturdily built. It features 4-1/2″ jaws, 2-1/2″ capacity, 360° swivel base, 60,000 PSI iron construction, a flat anvil area, and ~40 lb weight make it a very solid performer.
Shortly after I posted about the vise in our December 2013 Ultimate Tool Gift Guide, the vise disappeared from Sears’s website. I tried to find out whether it was discontinued for good or if the vise was simply out of stock, and received confusing and conflicting information. At one point I was told that the vise was discontinued and being replaced by another model.
Here’s the good news – the vise is finally back in stock! This is a fantastic bench vise and an incredible value at its typical price of $110-$115.
The Craftsman Professional bench vise is made overseas and not in the USA like the much pricier Wilton-branded #1745 bullet vise ($370 via Amazon), but rumor has it that it is made by Wilton for Craftsman.
I cannot emphasize enough how fond I am of this vise. My vise is currently detached from my workbench and stored away until I have the time to build a larger bench and the space to mount it again, and I miss it regularly. I have been trying to make do with my portable Wilton clamp-on vise, but it’s just not the same. The Craftsman is easier to adjust and feels to be built to a much higher quality standard, leading to a better and less frustrating user experience.
There’s no word as to whether this is a new production run and the vise is back in stock for good. It’s just as possible that Sears cleared out a warehouse and found a dust-covered pallet of unsold vises. Although once again listed at Sears.com, the Craftsman.com page still says that the product is no longer available.
Coupon code SAVE15 (with an uncertain expiration date) drops the price down to $107, and Sears is currently offering free shipping.
Buy Now(via Sears)