(Image courtesy of Northern Tool)

We had a dealer ask us, "what makes a good vise for your workshop?" He'd been looking around and just found too many options. Personally, I only ever use a vice for my steerer cutting guide and the occasional freewheel removal. Aren't they just big hunks of metal anyways? So I asked around the office, and this is what the folks had to say:


  • Minimum 6" capacity
  • Minumum 2 screw locks on the swivel locking base (otherwise the vise can knock side-to-side
  • V-Jaws are ideal for holding steerers and bars
  • Rotating heads are a bonus
  • Replaceable inserts/jaw covers are especially handy to avoid damaging parts
  • Getting a machinist vise is probably overkill


  • Wilton was the name heard most often, highly regarded as the best
  • Snap-On is apparently for tool snobs
  • Craftsman/Sears: less expensive, solid. More than adequate for the bike shop.