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On the surface, workbenches may all seem to be the same when it comes to their form and function. After all, they’re simple work surfaces that allow workers to complete specific tasks—whether those jobs involve cutting, welding, using large tools, or packaging and assembling small components. How different could they be?
As it turns out, they can be quite different. Not every workbench setup will work for every environment, task, or situation. There are countless variations to choose from in terms of bench size, frame, and tabletop materials, as well as portability and sturdiness. Finding the right workbench not only makes your team’s work easier but also helps support employee productivity, efficiency, safety, and ergonomics.
When tasks require hefty tools and equipment or lots of pounding—or you know that your workbench will endure continual use—then a durable, heavy-duty solution is a must. But what makes a workbench heavy duty? And how is a heavy-duty workbench different from other types of workbenches?
In this guide, we’ll walk you through three key features to think about when choosing a heavy-duty workbench that can withstand high-capacity, high-frequency use in your unique environment.
Consider the workbench construction
The way a workbench is built, and what it is made of, determines its long-term durability and its ability to stand up to stressors like chemicals, abrasives, heat, and moisture.
Full-steel construction is the most common type of workbench you’ll find. This option offers strength and lasting quality in many environments, and it can withstand a wide variety of conditions. But some jobs or applications may call for workbenches that feature other types of construction.
For example, tasks that involve frequent pounding, such as hammering nails, demand a workbench made with a steel base and channel-formed wood top that can take the abuse.
If your job requires corrosion resistance along with the durability and additional strength offered by a reinforced steel frame, then a workbench featuring a steel base and an aluminum or stainless-steel top is ideal. Aluminum or stainless-steel tabletops won’t rust and are easy to clean; stainless-steel tabletops will resist stains, too.
For even greater durability, consider adding reinforcing struts and welded legs to your workbench. This can provide additional strength and support when needed. Some heavy-duty workbench models are also available with flared legs, which provide a wider base of stability to reduce tipping or movement during use. They also offer extra legroom for workers.
You may even want to consider a heavy-duty steel workbench with a powder-coated finish. This type of finish creates a protective barrier that extends the workbench’s life by reducing corrosion and resisting oils and spills, as well as standing up to humidity and extreme temperatures, and even preventing cracking, peeling, and chipping.
Know your steel
Despite their similar names, steel and stainless steel aren’t the same material. There are many nuances to consider when comparing workbenches made of these two metals. Which one you choose will depend on how you’re using the workbench.
Although both are metal alloys, steel is iron forged with carbon while stainless steel includes the addition of ingredients or elements that improve its ability to resist corrosion and rust.
There are a few other differences between steel and stainless steel. For example, steel is magnetic while most stainless steel is not. In terms of strength, steel is slightly stronger than stainless steel because it contains a lower carbon content.
Thickness for steel and stainless steel is measured in gauges. This is an important factor to consider when comparing heavy-duty workbenches. The gauge indicates the thickness of the metal. As the gauge number increases, the metal’s thickness decreases (for instance, 16-gauge steel is thicker than 20-gauge steel). Each gauge size can be translated to a thickness in terms of inches (7-gauge steel is 0.19 inches thick, for example, and 15-gauge steel is 0.07 inches thick). Each step up in thickness offers an improvement in durability and load capacity.
Most heavy-duty workbenches are made of steel that ranges in thickness from 7-gauge to 12-gauge.
Check your capacity requirements
What types of tasks will your workbench have to endure every day? Is your team using it to build electronics? Will the jobs involve welding or repair work? Are you replacing gaskets and seals on heavy motors? Inspecting hefty equipment?
Knowing this information will help you determine what the weight capacity of your heavy-duty workbench should be. Remember: The construction of a workbench plays a role in its strength, durability, and weight capacity.
Verify the weight capacity limits and dimensions of the workbenches you’re considering and compare those to what your jobs require. That will be your guide in selecting the right heavy-duty workbench.
Ready to Choose?
Take time to explore the wide variety of heavy-duty workbenches available through Global Industrial. When you’re ready, connect with our in-house product experts to find the solution you need to ensure productivity, efficiency, safety, and ergonomics.
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