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)
Several months ago I picked up one of these after returning 2 of Sears heavy duty vises because of very poor quality in casting. Thought to myself “Sears Professional, could there be any problems with this?” Right out of the box it felt nice and solid. A second look at it and I saw that the logo was riveted on upside-down and one of the jaws was missing screws. Sad!! I took a pic and tweeted to @CraftsmanTools that someone needs to instruct the Chinese how to attach logos to at least look professional. No problems with it so far and I did get a 10% discount for being a Veteran. It certainly is better than the other two paper weights that they called vises.
I’m ordering one from the craftsman.com website, since I have an account there.
Although it says not available when you search for the part number, You can see it here and add to cart
I just got one online and Im looking forward to picking it up and mounting it. I had been holding out for a nice bench vise for a long time and now that Im building a car from scratch I need one.
Hi I bought one of these several months ago, and it is fantastic. I just purchased a second one to put on a workbench for my wife. I got it for $89.99 and free shipping . I was a tool and die machinist for 10 years and now am an engineer, and this vise is certainly well made, at least good enough for the home workshop. If I was using it as part of my trade as a machinist, I would probably want a better one simply for peace of mind, but this vise is much nicer than anything at the big box stores, or what you’ll find at Harb*r Freig*t
This vice is back in stock today!! I’ve been checking daily for over 2 months. Jump on it before it’s gone…again.
Update Info……. After this post, I purchased this Craftsman vise. This is a good vise as reviewed. I’ve been very happy with the sturdy construction and performance with the exception of the jaws, (for my use). The removable jaws have a very aggressive face and will damage any delicate surface. There are fixes with covers or grinding them down as I did….. no big deal. Just thought ToolGuyd readers might like to be aware of this so they are not surprised?
Thanks for the feedback!
I now own three (3) of these, bought the first one years ago at a craftsman tool store (Sears). Got it home pulled it out of the box and saw the “made in China” sticker, was disheartened but mounted on a weighted 55 gallon drum and have used and abused it ever since……still works as good as the day I unboxed it. There is a reason it is made over seas I think, it is a very close copy of the Wilton tradesman 1745 model, at a 1/4 of the price!!!!! Just got two more today off the UPS truck, came from Idaho(E-bay purchase). I am literally going to dismount the cheap pos vise in my garage and throw it away and mount up the 51888 and mount the other on another 55 gallon drum for my dad for his garage!!