4 Ways To Customize a Garage Workbench

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Whether you’re maintaining heavy equipment or focusing on detailed electrical work, having a workbench for your garage space that lets you work effectively and efficiently is essential. For many technicians, the garage workbench becomes the space where the real work gets done. But with so many material choices and setups available (including several pre-configured workbench and bench-in-a-box options), how do you choose—and customize—a garage workbench that’s ideal for your daily grind?


Let’s take a look at four areas of garage workbench design that can help you identify the best garage workbench setup for your needs.


Picking Garage Workbench Top Surface Materials


The work surface of your garage workbench will take the brunt of the unit’s wear and tear, so it’s important to match your workbench top material to your application. Here are a few popular options and the types of work they’re best suited to:


Steel. Steel benchtops are ideal for heavy-duty applications, like welding or working with heavy machinery. Look for heavy-gauge steel that won’t crack or buckle. Stainless steel-wrapped wood tops are also an option, containing the strength of wood within the durability of stainless steel. Both steel and stainless steel are nonporous, resistant to spills, and easy to clean. This is helpful if you often work with solvents, lubricants, or oils. For maximum support, consider a preconfigured workbench with a steel top.  


Wood. Maple butcher block and “shop top” bench tops are tried-and-true selections for durability. Look for butcher block that’s been kiln-dried, electronically glued, and cured and sanded for a smooth, resilient finish. Shop top material offers similar durability by sandwiching MDF between sheets of particleboard. Both materials will carry the weight of heavy project materials and will prevent static build-up. Keep in mind that wood tops can stain, and butcher block tops may require regular oiling for upkeep.


Laminate. High-pressure laminate is backed with a wood core for strength and stability in light- or medium-duty applications. Though susceptible to staining, laminate is nonconductive and cleans easily, making it great for lab installations or electrical work. Sorting, packing, and shipping areas in distribution facilities can also benefit from the smooth finish of a laminate workbench.


Gauging Garage Workbench Capacity


With a surface material in mind for your garage workbench, next determine how large of a workbench you’ll need. Maximizing your garage workbench space allows you to accommodate project needs while supporting the weight of parts, pieces, and tools you’ll be working with.


Counter-depth garage workbenches (from roughly 28 to 36 inches deep) will give technicians room to spread out as they work. This is usually plenty of space to work on a project at the edge of the garage bench while leaving space toward the back for tools, parts, and reference materials.


Is your garage too small for a counter-depth work area? Garage workbenches as shallow as 20 inches provide the functionality you need in the space available. In instances where you have length to spare, or in any workshop arrangement where more workspace or multiple workstations are needed, consider an extra-long garage workbench to meet your capacity needs. Extended workbench lengths of up to 12 feet can help make the most of long garage areas.


Configuring Garage Workbench Storage


From large tools, cables, and batteries, to the tiniest bits, fasteners, and replacement parts, outfitting your garage workbench with appropriate storage is essential. Before selecting a storage configuration, take stock of how the garage workbench and storage will be used, and what necessities you will need to keep handy. If the workbench will be used on a project basis, and tools and materials are stored elsewhere, your storage needs will be very different than in a shop where the workbench is both the workspace and primary storage area.


Garage workbench storage options below the bench top include open bases with wide, open shelving, or cabinet and drawer storage that keeps necessities sorted properly and within easy reach. Consider if you'll be standing or sitting at the workbench so the space underneath can accommodate both storage and seating if necessary.


Above the bench top, a wide selection of vertical organizers keeps project necessities at eye level. Pegboards, bins and bin rails, and open shelving help achieve this goal while letting you organize parts and pieces efficiently for daily use. Using the vertical space also helps maximize your storage area in the garage. The more you can store in upright bin holders or wall cabinets, the less floor space you’ll take up with additional storage cabinets.


Choosing Task-Tailored Garage Workbench Options


Finally, customizing your garage workbench will depend a lot on your line of work and how you and your team will use the space. Consider adding accessories that make work easier, including:


  • Electric aprons. Rather than creating clutter and garage hazards with extension cords, workbench power strips can be built directly into the workbench for easy access to power.



  • Backstops and ends. If your garage workbench is not up against a wall, add backstops and end stops to help contain parts and pieces within the work area.


  • Task lighting. Adequate lighting is essential in every garage. Overhead lighting and add-on lamps can turn a garage workbench into a true production space where work can be done effectively and error-free.


As you customize your garage workbench, be sure to think about the rest of the garage area as well. Shop desks are great for handling administrative work by keeping laptops or paperwork from cluttering productive workbench space or getting lost or damaged. Likewise, dedicated machine tables keep heavy equipment out of the way in their own space. Adding functional workbenches throughout the garage can expand the number of workstations and projects you can work on simultaneously. And a portable workbench will give you flexibility to move the work area to where it’s needed, while automotive workbenches provide the durability and mobility needed for the task.


With all these considerations in mind, take a look around your garage or workshop and see the potential for real productivity in your garage workbench configurations. Global Industrial offers a wide range of materials that let you customize your work area, storage space, and meet any specialized needs. Our product experts are ready to help you find the best configuration for your garage and your team. Contact them today.




The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.