This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Like many, I struggle with one of the most fundamental aspects of “doing things”. That is, having surfaces to actually do the things on. I’m often forced to dig out the inadequate saw horses or my undersized folding workbenches (or even work directly on the ground). So The Home Depot sent us some Husky 1,500 lb. capacity portable workbenches to try out. They have metal clamp rails, a built-in router table, on-board accessory storage and a respectably large work surface: all in a format that packs neatly and is easy to carry around. Let’s see what it has to offer!
It’s Bring Your Bench To Work Day
Husky’s portable workbench has proven quite useful in my shop. But it really earns its keep when I’m working outside, away from the utility carts and wooden workbenches I’m used to. The portability and functionality are both welcome features, even if most of my “job sites” are in my own shop, home, or back yard.
No matter how far your jobsite, the shear usefulness of the portable workbench will have you busting it out on many occasions. I’m even considering throwing a table cloth over a couple and using them as auxiliary serving tables for Thanksgiving dinner. Then, right back to the shop they’ll go.
The bench measures approx. 34-1/2” x 21-1/2” (with a slightly wider stance of 38.6” x 25.6”) and 32” tall. It feels just about the right height for the average person. I’m around 5’7” and can just as comfortably operate the router table as stain a cabinet on top of it, without feeling like I might strain my back.
Fast, Easy Assembly – Quadrupedal Connections
While the Husky portable workbench does not have folding legs, you’ll still be set up and ready to go in under a minute. And that’s if you do it slowly (perhaps for dramatic effect). The legs store securely in nooks underneath the bench. When it’s time to set up, just release the catches, put the legs in the sockets and give them a twist. Teardown is just as simple, only with a counter-clockwise twist.
Husky 1,500 lb. Capacity Portable Workbench – Large Enough To Actually Be Useful
The “biggest” problem I’ve had with my other portable workbenches – and most others I’ve seen – is that the work surfaces are too small. Sure, saw horses can act as a potentially larger makeshift work bench, but it requires a pair (plus a piece of plywood or other material to serve as a table top).
In a lot of cases, a single Husky portable workbench can replace a pair of saw horses. If you need an even bigger surface, the included brackets can be used along with a couple 2×4’s (and maybe some plywood or an old door) to give yourself a larger area of support for your workpiece. Or, even better, use two or more portable workbenches side by side.
Bracketeer – Multi-Purpose 2×4 Brackets
Four 2×4 brackets are included. They can be used to expand the size of your work area or to hang cords, air hoses and other things.
Clamping Your Style – Husky Portable Workbench Clamp Rails
My favorite feature is the pair of clamp rails. They give you an easy way to hold things fast to the bench top, which is quite useful when cutting lumber or sheet goods. The rails work with F-clamps having a 2” throat capacity, such as the DeWalt model DWHT83849 and these Bessey clamps, both of which run right under $5 each.
Husky Portable Workbench As A Router Table
The most notable feature of this workbench is that it has a router plate. I’ve never seen this portable workbench / router table combination before. Let me say right up front that you should probably not buy this with the intention of it being your shop’s primary router table.
It is a genuinely usable router table, yes. But you’re not going to get the precision you’d want for, say, your fine furniture projects. The surface just isn’t flat enough.
The router plate is pre-drilled for several major brand mounting standards. But don’t expect it to accommodate just any old router. I tried every router I personally own (I don’t exactly have the most robust, modern router collection). The only ones I have with matching bolt patterns are my full-sized DeWalt (I have the DW6184 base) and my full-sized Porter Cable (base #1001; the router body itself lives in the lift of my main router table). I’m not trying to scare you away, just give you realistic expectations.
So Which Routers Will Work?
I couldn’t find a list of compatible routers to share with you. But I did read in the product Q&A that some full-sized Bosch routers will work (and possibly Ridgid). And I know my full-sized DeWalt and Porter Cable routers mount with no problem. That gives you at least three options; most likely there are more.
Trim routers are ruled out pretty much across the board, their bases are too small for just about any full-sized router table plate, by any brand.
Fencing Operation – Adjustable Router Table Fence
Husky provides the hold-down hardware for a router fence. But you’ll have to cut your own fence from a piece of 2×4. No big deal though, it’s only one notch and two holes. I started by ripping a length of 2×4 to a width of about 2-1/2 to 3 inches. I made sure the cut edge – which will go down on the table – was perfectly straight so the fence doesn’t rock. Then I marked and cut the notch with a handsaw and chisel and drilled slightly oversized holes at the drill press.
1,500 Pound Gorilla – Husky Portable Workbench
They say the bench can support a whopping 3/4 of a U.S. Ton! I did not test this claim. However, I did plop my plump posterior down on top of it (despite the notice molded right into the plastic top, saying not to sit or stand on it) – as well as various other moderately heavy loads (tool boxes, piles of wood and misc. junk) – and never felt at all like it was in danger of collapse. But I never came remotely close to the 1,500 lb. limit.
I suspect that if you properly distributed the load across the top – and didn’t sneeze too hard or think impure thoughts – it probably would support that kind of weight. Frankly though, I wouldn’t try it. Maybe, if I really had to, across two of these workbenches positioned side by side. But would you ever really need or want to?
The rated load capacity is referring to weight properly distributed on the bench top. Lateral loads, however, are a different story. This is not something you’re going to want to lean on with all your weight. Nor will you want to stand a bunch of heavy material against it.
Husky Portable Workbench – A Welcome Addition: In And Out Of The Shop
You’ve heard the good and bad. Despite the minor issues regarding the router table feature, my experience has been rather positive. Really, the only negative aspects are that (1) a lot of routers are not going to be compatible and (2) the top is a little wavy, so you may not get consistent depth with some routing operations. For others, it won’t matter as much.
The good points, however, are everything else! I love the large bench top. I like how the legs and accessories organizer lock into place and how the bench can be stored in such a narrow footprint (comparable to that of most folding saw horses). I especially like the clamping rails; for me, that’s a biggie. Finally, the router table option is a really nice (and unexpected) bonus! Personally, I probably won’t use it much as a router table. But some of you may find it an invaluable asset.
The way I see it, this is what saw horses would be if they were completely different and a lot more useful; and what other portable workbenches would be if they weren’t so tiny. Being such a great utility item, this workbench is going to get used quite often.
Husky backs this baby with a 2-year limited warranty. Priced a little under $80, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.