The Ultimate Buying Guide for Configurable Workbenches

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When you work with your hands, being resourceful usually comes easy – and that often includes creating a workspace where there wasn’t one before. But even if you have the skills, tools, and know-how to build a workbench for yourself, doing so takes time away from actually getting your work done.


Instead of creating a piecemeal, DIY workbench, take advantage of the numerous configurable workbench options from Global Industrial. By starting with components specifically designed to work together, you’ll be able to customize a workbench that’s ideal for you.


Choose a configurable workbench base


To begin to build a workbench, start with the base. A variety of steel-based workbenches are available, but the nature of your work will dictate the type of base that’s best for you. For example, if you prefer to work while seated, an open-leg or pedestal workbench base is ideal. If a standing workbench is better for your line of work, you can also opt for a cabinet base workbench. Your storage needs will also be an important part of your decision.


Pedestal base. A pedestal-base workbench will include storage drawers, cabinetry, or both, while leaving space for a stool or chair and enough legroom for seated work. Users can opt for the seating area to be positioned to the left, right, or center of the workbench. This option makes the unit easily configurable for left- or right-handed use.


If you prefer drawer storage in your workbench base, Global Industrial offers two- and three-pedestal workbench configurations with center seating and up to five drawers per pedestal. Single-pedestal workbenches are also available, with up to seven drawers. Whether you prefer cabinets or drawers, both are available with locks for added security.


Cabinet base. If storage space is more of a priority than seating, maximize your cabinet and drawer organization with a cabinet-base workbench. Storage configurations for cabinet-base workbenches range from one large cabinet with shelving, to all-drawer options with up to 16 drawers, to cabinets outfitted with storage bins. Depending on your needs, opt for a stationary cabinet-base workbench or mobile units with locking wheels.


Open-leg base. Another option for seated workbenches is an open-leg base. These sturdy tables have four steel legs and usually have supportive bracing between the back legs. Many of these bases also allow for one or more open shelves below the bench. This tends to offer less capacity than pedestal or cabinet-base storage, but it may be better suited to specific industries like foodservice or lab settings.


 Select a benchtop


While workbench bases are generally made of steel, you have a number of options for your bench top. Each one has its advantages depending on your line of work. Global Industrial offers all of these options to pair with your selected base:


Maple butcher block. This traditional selection for workbench tops is ideal for carpentry and other tasks that require consistent pounding. The most durable butcher-block tops are kiln-dried, electronically glued, and cured and sanded for a smooth, resilient finish. While wood tops prevent static build-up, they can stain, and may require regular oiling to maintain good condition.


Steel. Steel is ideal for heavy-duty or high-use applications like welding or working with heavy machinery. Keep in mind that the lower the gauge, the more durable the metal, so look for heavy-gauge options that won’t crack or buckle. Steel is also an ideal bench top selection for work involving oils and solvents.


Stainless Steel. Best-suited for applications that require sanitization, such as food service or lab work, stainless steel bench tops are non-porous, resistant to spills, and easy to clean. Unlike formed steel bench tops, stainless steel tops usually comprise a stainless steel sheet wrapped around a wood core for durability.


Laminate. This easy-to-clean and hard-to-stain material is an affordable option for light-duty applications. Like stainless-steel tops, laminate bench tops feature a wood core for strength and stability. Choose a non-conductive ESD laminate to diffuse static electricity for sensitive lab or electrical work. 


Customize your workbench with accessories


Making the most of your customized workbench means adding the features you need to help you work safely, accurately, and efficiently. Choose from a variety of options to build a workbench that’s uniquely yours.


Power outlets. Never search for an extension cord again. A wide variety of power strips and aprons lets you add as many as a dozen outlets to your workbench with access points that make the most sense for your work.


Lighting. Running electricity to your workbench makes task lighting a convenient and smart addition for both safety and accuracy. Overhead LED light bars keep the entire workspace well-lit, while task lights and magnifying lamps are perfect for close-up work.


Vertical storage. In addition to drawers and cabinets in your workbench base, configurable workbench options allow you to build up and add storage above your work surface. Risers, pegboard panels, and bin holders make room for adding shelving, drawers, and storage bins. These options keep frequently used materials at eye level, and within easy reach without cluttering the work surface.


Global Industrial offers all these options to create your ultimate workbench, along with a number of other accessory choices, including mounting arms for monitors, keyboards, fans, and other devices; end- and backstops to keep materials from rolling away; and tool balancers and organizers for convenient and ergonomic tool access. For workstations with multiple users, consider adding workstation partitions.


Other considerations for your custom workbench


As you mix and match features to create your custom workbench, keep in mind that the type of work you demand of your workbench will drive many of your selections.


For example, workbench capacity varies by materials and configuration. Be sure to check the product and material specifications to ensure your setup can handle whatever you plan to throw at it.  Additionally, if being able to set your bench height to your daily needs is important, consider opting for adjustable-height legs. Finally, adding casters to your workbench legs allows you to create a mobile unit adding even more flexibility to your day.


Ready to get to work? Let Global Industrial’s product experts help you find the right workbench configuration. Contact us 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.