A suitable workbench height can unlock comfortable woodworking sessions with fantastic vantage points. If you’re asking yourself- how tall should workbench be, consider your height, preference, and overall power tool use. An easy trick is to get a workbench 100 centimeters shorter than your height.
Depending on your woodworking style, you’ll find an 80cm tall bench perfectly suitable for most jobs. A rule of thumb is to get a low-height workbench for heavier projects such as sewing, ripping, and planning.
A 100cm tall workbench will allow you to rest your elbows on the benchtop for more control. It comes in handy when you’re carving wood and making customized inlays for gorgeous cabinet doors.
Read on to learn more about getting the height of the workbench right.
Table of Contents
- What Should Be The Best Height For A Workbench?
- How to Determine the Workbench Height?
- Bottom Line
What Should Be The Best Height For A Workbench?
Once you pick the right workbench, you can comfortably work for long hours and even enjoy the rugged side of carpentry, so to speak! But, buy a bench too tall or too low; woodworking becomes no less of a pain in the back!
Unless you want to stand on a wobbly footrest or bend your back while working, we strongly suggest that you follow our guide below. We’ll explain how the many workbench heights can benefit different branches of carpentry.
A Suitable Workbench Height for Drilling & Sawing
While sawing wood is a physically demanding task (not to mention our least favorite!), the right workbench can lessen your troubles! A regular workbench comes with fastening tools such as a bench dog and a vise. They hold the workpiece firmly secured in a suitable position so you can work your magic!
flat worktop paired with nifty holdfasts is ideal for sawing delicate yet large boards. Keeping other attributes aside, you need a low-height workbench for heavy woodworking.
It includes most labor-intensive carpentry projects that require little to no elbow support. The lower height allows you to bend over the table for more control.
74cm to 80cm is a practical workbench height for sawing, drilling, planning, and assembling furniture.
However, if you’re taller or shorter than an average person, a good rule of thumb is to keep the workbench height around 20 to 40 centimeters below your elbows!
And finally, if the low-height workbench comes out too low, you can always slip wooden blocks under its feet and secure them with simple joinery for the best results!
For Restoration & Repair
This segment includes miscellaneous tasks that demand a workbench but not an awful lot of precision and labor from your side. For example, applying new paint and lacquer to a shelf is much easier compared to planting wood. So, you can do without leaning over the project the entire time or using force.
Honestly, it makes a low-height bench not only impractical but also super uncomfortable! The same goes for a taller workbench that restricts sufficient elbow movement.
For medium activities like painting, varnishing, cabinet-making, and repairing old furniture, we recommend an 86cm-90cm tall workbench.
This workbench height is definitely not on the lowest end of the spectrum and not on the highest side either. It’s of the average height- providing zero elbow support as it stands as tall as your hip joint.
If you want to cover all bases with a permanent bench, we recommend one that is level with or just above your hips. You can try backyard carpentry, work on small restoration projects, and have enough elbow support for DIY woodcarving too!
But if wood ornamentation is off the table, for now, a mid-sized bench with a flat top and a roomy tool well sure beats everything else!
For Woodcarving & Other Precision Works
This is where you want all the elbow support you can get. Fragile projects such as marquetry, wood carving, and scroll-sawing require one hundred percent focus. Not to mention, you need to keep a steady hand during the whole process, and bending over the small, delicate workpiece doesn’t help at all.
You might get near-perfect results with a midi workbench for making inlays and timber moldings. But it can cause serious discomfort to your neck, shoulders, and back over time. Why compromise your comfort when you can have a tall workbench for the job?
We recommend a 95cm to 100cm tall workbench for woodcarving, wood-turning, marquetry, intarsia, scroll-sawing, and making wood joinery, moldings and inlays!
A moderately taller workbench is something we use for making basswood and butternut moldings. In fact, a tall workbench makes all the difference in texturing and staining expensive wood!
We will show you how to calculate the ideal workbench height in the next section. So, make sure to give it a thorough read!
How to Determine the Workbench Height?
The bench height, length, and other specifications matter a great deal in both professional and DIY woodworking. It can help you add that oomph factor to your boring furniture and build one from scratch!
When you’re making your own workbench, you should definitely consider the following factors to make it worthwhile!
Your Height & Preference
The three workbench heights we discussed so far can give the average woodworker the most comfort. But if you prefer a short workbench over a tall one, that’s a whole different story. For example, you might enjoy working with a low-height bench simply because leaning over helps you concentrate.
Personal choices aside, the ideal height of your workbench has a lot to do with your height. However, what works for a 6’2” person might not work for you. Don’t worry; we have exclusively included spot-on bench measurements with regard to your elbows!
For heavy work, you need a workbench that is about six to twelve inches below your elbows. The benchtop should be level with your hips so that you can move your arms around and have a clear top view of the project.
Moving on, you’ll be needing a medium-height bench for light woodworking projects. Resting your elbows on the table is not a necessity on these occasions. Simply put, the workbench should be no shorter than four to six inches from your elbows!
However, the intricate side of woodworking needs plenty of elbow support. For example, cutting delicate wooden moldings requires more wrist movement and well-supported elbows. A workbench that is two to four inches above your elbows is a good match for these projects.
Use of Power Tools
When it comes to using a table saw or a lathe, you need the bench to sit exactly at your hip level. You can go two inches higher or lower for more comfort, of course.
Although in DIY woodworking, most of the time, it will be a handheld power tool like a screwdriver, compact circular saw, or a pneumatic drill machine. So, you’ll want to stand straight and bend forward comfortably if the job requires it.
It’s not a problem if the workbench is above your hip level by a couple of inches.
Moving on, you’ll be using chisels and carving knives for ornamentation projects. Other than the occasional whirl of a 5″ orbital sander, no power tools are usually used in this arena. It allows you to go for a workbench as high as you like- preferably five to ten centimeters above your elbows.
If you want to build your own workbench, take two minutes to note down your height in centimeters. Subtract 100cm from that number, and you have a standard workbench height right away!
The resulting bench height isn’t fine-tuned for adding comfort to any particular project (fine, medium, or hard). Rather it’s going to be a workbench you’ll love using all year round for different types of woodworking ideas.
For example, if your height is 180cm, the ideal workbench height according to your height is (180-100) cm or 80cm. As we mentioned before, an 80cm or lower workbench is suitable for heavier tasks.
While this trick doesn’t account for your personal woodworking practices, it gives you a well-rounded idea of a preferable bench height!
Store-Bought Workbenches with an Adjustable Height
Having trouble building a workbench of the right height? Go for a store-bought workbench instead! It offers you multiple height adjustments and a heavy-duty steel frame for way better durability.
You have the option to adjust its height from the standard 28-inch to a tall 44-inch position. All thanks to innovative thumbscrews that come with many ready-made workbenches these days. They call for a super easy, tool-free assembly every time the height needs changing!
Now, a cool workbench would be one with a heavy-duty acacia wood tabletop and a sturdy steel frame.
If you want to build something like that in your garage, make sure to add multiple thumb screws in all four feet. They allow you to make quick changes to the bench height using absolutely no tool at all!
Last but not least, don’t forget to attach locking casters and levelers to your DIY workbench. This way, you can roll the bench anywhere and work comfortably!
A hand-made workbench with cool vises, hooks, and spacers can take your carpentry to the next level. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to comfort. And a workbench of the right height puts you straight at ease!
We hope that our long discourse answered your question, how tall should the workbench be?