What is the Best Workbench Height for Your Project?

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If you are investing in wood crafting as a career or hobby, it’s best to include a workbench in your plan. Aside from completing essential tools, it’s worth considering the height of your workbench to make woodworking easier. 

Getting the height wrong can lead to discomfort and inefficiency. So, our team of woodworkers details the ideal workbench height according to your needs. 

What’s the Recommended Height for a Workbench?

The recommended height for a workbench is within the range of a low height of 29-30.” 

sanding wooden board

On the other hand, the recommended height for the best-detailed work, such as dovetails, is within the range of a tall height of 37-39.”

Size is not everything, but you’ll be surprised that there are perfect workbench vices, which fall within the range of 34-36.”

(For best results, check out these top-rated dovetail saws for beginners and pros!)

Why Does the Ideal Work Table Height Differ?

The ideal height of workbenches vary as there are some factors to consider, and these include the kind of work you need to execute. 

Choosing the height of your workbench depends solely on the frequency of its use and the manner of tasks which you will use it for. You will also need to consider your height which will allow you comfort where you can maintain your good posture.  

Importance of Using the Ideal Workbench Dimensions

As there are various tools and skills required in your woodworking career, having a functional workbench is vital. However, the characteristics of the workbench should suit your task and needs. 

person holding a miter saw

It is remiss to ignore the importance of the height of the workbench, especially when considering the success of your project. Using an average workbench affects your work–leading to a good result. 

Work Table Height Summary

It is a very important consideration to choose the appropriate height that works well for you. For your reference, the following measurements are catered for a person with an average height of 5’9” to 6.” 

If you do not fall within the range, make sure to adjust accordingly.  

Workbench statusWork table heightIdeal task
Low29-30” (74-76 cm)Applying pressure on a hand plane and hand thicknessing
Average34-36” (86-91 cm)Combination of tasks involving the use of hand planers and detail work
Tall37-39” (97-99 cm)Detailed work and precision designs such as detailed work and cutting joinery
Adjustable support (optional)3-4”Provides flexibility with add on butt hinges resulting to two heights for the workbench

Tall

A taller height workbench falls within the range of 37-39.” It’s ideal for fine work and designs that require precision work, such as wood carving. 

wooden workbench

This kind of task requires you to be on your feet. As opposed to slumping, which will give you work-related stress injuries such as an aching back the day after. 

In addition, a tall workbench is recommended if you’re regularly dealing with woodworking-related tools. Leaning over is a disadvantage and will lead to discomfort. You will want a workbench that allows you to rest while executing the project. 

Other tasks requiring a tall workbench include applying pre-sealant or treatment to different projects. It’s best to be able to examine the resulting work up close before moving on to the next stage of the project.  

On the contrary, a tall workbench height is not recommended when attempting to apply pressure on miter saws. 

Average

An average workbench is within the range of 34-36.” Some woodworkers are not limited to using hand planers for detailed tasks. In reality, woodworkers perform a combination of these tasks, and you can make a compromise with this height.

woodworking bench

Although the ideal height of workbench varies, the average size is popular among users with limited space and those who do not have room for more than one workbench. Many woodworkers find this a convenient height for any power tool and equipment.

A medium-sized workbench is considered a slightly taller workbench compared to a low workbench. The average height also affords the perfect work table when performing hand or detailed work. 

Low

The height that falls within the 29-30” range is low. This height suits those who regularly use their upper body to operate power tools. Also, this is recommended when you lean over the bench with feet apart and crouched shoulders.  

A low height for a workbench works well, especially if you regularly apply pressure on hand planes [1] and other similar tools. With a low height, you can use and maximize your body weight for this work. 

It will also allow you to lean over projects and achieve desired results. However, a low workbench dimension is not recommended for detailed work, such as making dovetails, as it can lead to some issues. 

woodworker using a hand plane

The average height of the workbench may require a bit more pressure or may compel you to stand a bit taller. On the other hand, an average sized workbench may sit too low compared to what you are comfortable with. 

With Adjustable Legs (Optional)

You can make a workbench versatile by adding fancier adjustable legs. Consider using these movable legs to help adjust the table to your height. This adjustable feature usually remembers your recent calibration, which makes it convenient. 

Standard Workbench Dimensions Depending on the Work

When organizing your workspace, it’s best to set up many essential tools for woodworking and room properties, including your workbench. It is best to complete your tools, sound insulation, heat insulation, extension cords, bench grinders, grinding wheels, and a suitable workbench size. 

But ensuring the appropriate height of your workbench is crucial to optimize your tasks.  

For Handwork/Light Work

If you are dealing with handwork or light work, make sure to have a relatively low workbench. Performing tasks that deal with essential hand tools will require a top down perspective of your project at a slight angle. 

woodworking art project

The logical height for this task is approximately 30 inches. This height, close to a kid’s table height, allows weight distribution over the surface edge resulting in tractions and leverage. 

For Accurate Work

A detailed-oriented task or those considered accurate work benefits from a taller workbench. 

When your work requires great attention to detail, we suggest opting for a taller height for your workbench. You will not need any leverage since you are only tasked to work out finer details and thus needs the project to be near eye level. 

For More Intensive Work

For more intensive work, a low table is recommended. This height allows you to slump over your project and use your body weight when dealing with the necessary equipment and gadgets. 

For Average Work Tables (34-36 inches)

If you do not have a specific woodworking task in mind and would like to be versatile, then a workbench between 34 to 36 inches in height is for you. It is not too tall and not too short and allows you to perform different tasks. 

workbenches in a woodworking shop

This is also a practical height for those who have little space. It is also considered the best value-for-money workbench among other sizes. 

How To Determine the Right Work Table Dimensions for You

The tips mentioned above are a good basis for choosing the best workbench height for you. Most workbenches are available in the market. Thus, you have the option to buy an already-built workbench or choose to customize and make one. 

As a craftsman, you can make a shorter workbench or taller workbenches that you can consider a perfect height. So, follow these steps with durable material to help you make your own table.

Steps

Here are some steps to help you determine the right work table dimension for you. 

1. Know the Tasks You Work on the Most

Make sure to know the tasks you frequently work with to get the ideal height of the workbench that works well for you. Consider a taller level workbench if you frequently work on small projects involving a high degree of detail.  

organizing wood stain cans on a workbench

However, consider a lower workbench if you deal with the use of body strength when using hand tools during your professional life. Alternatively, if you plan to do a combination of these tasks.  

2. Take Your Physical Measurements

There are a variety of methodologies to get your physical measurements. This can help you plan the workbench that suits you. Taking your physical measurements can lead to a customized workbench for your particular height. 

Leave your arms hanging at the side, then measure the height between the floor and the crease at your wrist. Use the measured height for the workbench. 

Another way of taking your physical measurements is to measure the height between the floor until where your fingers reach pointing forward. This height can be used to craft a lower-sitting workbench.

attaching lumber to a workbench

Lastly, you can take physical measurements by holding your arms sideways at a 90-degree angle. You can ask a friend measure the height for you. Measure the height between the floor and where your hands are. 

This measurement is used to make a tall workbench. It would imitate where your hands are once it is out of the way. When choosing the right method, add or subtract an inch or two. This can lead to the right measurement for your workbench. 

3. Cast Up Adjustable Legs

If you’re a woodworker that plans on executing different woodworking tasks, then it is recommended to add adjustable legs to your workbench. These are not as popular as the average workbenches but are highly functional. 

These movable legs will allow you to add or remove a few inches off the workbench to its ideal position for you. The legs’ versatility allows you to achieve the ideal height of the workbench. It indeed gives you the best of both worlds in dealing with detailed tasks and intensive labor ones. 

4. Refer to the Work Table Height Recommendations

When making your own workbench, always refer to the work table height recommendations. You’re not strictly confined to the same height measurements but make sure to fall within the recommended range. 

measuring lumber

Always consider the height and the woodworking tasks you intend to work on it. 

How to Calculate the Optimal Work Table Height for You

  1. Consider and record the thickness of the countertop
  2. Record the distances for the fasteners and the size of the supports
  3. Record the resulting height
  4. Consider the formula considering the person’s height and subtract 100 cm; calculations are as follows:
Height (cm)Height of the workbench (cm)
16565
17070 
17575
18080
18585
19090
19595

Other Workbench Measurements to Use

Here are other measurements you need to consider when choosing or making your work bench.

Person’s height (cm)

Head measurement from crown to chin (cm)Measurement of hand from fingertips to elbow (cm)Workbench worktop height (vise 14 cm)Workbench worktop height (vise 18 cm)Workbench worktop height (vise 22 cm)
16521-2241-4287-8983-8576-79
17021-2242-4393-9187-8983-85
17522-2343-4494-9690-9286-88
18022-2344-4598-10094-9690-92
1852202345-46102-10498-100102-104
19023-2446-47105-107101-10397-99
19523-2447-48109-111105-107101-103

Person’s height (feet)

Head measurements from crown to chin (inches)Measurement of the hand from the fingertips to the elbow (inches)Workbench worktop height (vises 5.5 (inches))Workbench worktop height (vises7 (inches))Workbench worktop height (vises 8.5 (inches))
5’4”8-8.516-16.534-3532.6-33.530-31
5’5”8-8.516.5-1736-36.634-3532.5-33.5
5’74”8.5-917-17.537-37.735.5-3734-34
5’90”8.5-917.5-1838.5-39.337-3835-35
6’8.5-918-18.540-4138.5-3940-41
6’2”9-9.518.5-1941-4239-4038-39
6’4”9-9.519-19.543-4441-4240-41

Conclusion

As a professional woodworker or an everyday DIY enthusiast, it’s vital to prepare and complete woodworking tools for your workshop. 

Furthermore, it is crucial to have a comfortable and supportive workbench, ideally at the right height. Consider the aforementioned tips and steps to get the average workbench height according to your needs. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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