At a Glance: Best reloading benches in 2020
- OUR TOP PICK: 2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System, Black
- Husky 46 in. Adjustable Height Work Table
- BEST BUDGET OPTION: Titan 21006 Workbench
Comparison of the Best reloading benches in 2020
Our Top Pick
|2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System, Black||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Husky 46 in. Adjustable Height Work Table||View Latest Price|
|Titan 21006 Workbench||View Latest Price|
A lot of the people who are prepping for a full-scale zombie apocalypse have realized somewhere along the way how expensive it is to buy all of those thousands and thousands of rounds of ammo they’ll need and decided maybe it would be cheaper if they try to make some of their own. There are also those dissatisfied with the accuracy they get from factory ammo. Either way, they turn to reloading and realize they don’t know what exactly they need and don’t know where to start. Has that ever happened to you?
Whatever the reasons you have for casting, making, and/or reloading your bullets, the first piece of equipment you need to buy is a good, solid, and sturdy reloading bench, and then free up some space in your garage, workshop, or basement. Yes, while it is possible to get all the tools you need and reload on your lap while sitting on your front lawn, still we strongly encourage you to get a bench, and here are some that will serve you well for many years to come.
2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System, Black
2×4 Basics has provided a simple solution to all DIY hobbyists who want to avoid paying premium prices for a simple bench. Offered in the kit are 4 workbench legs and 6 shelf links which you can assemble and organize in any way which fits your needs. Ok, the sky isn’t exactly the limit, you do have to take in consideration that the maximum length and width for this reloading bench kit is 8×4 feet, but you can mishmash and order the legs in any way it suits you, so if you’re limited by space this could be a good option to purchase.
Lumber doesn’t come included in this kit, which I think is a good idea because you can choose which type of wood you will use. For the top of the table, a good hardwood or a medium density fibreboard is a smart choice, just make sure to either laminate it or protect it. That isn’t mandatory of course, but all that grease, sharp tools, solvents can damage the table and small brass or iron shavings as well as gunpowder can accumulate in the cracks. Depending on what you’re going to be putting on the lower shelves, your choice of wood will vary, but whatever it is in the end, just bear in mind, the maximum weight each shelf can hold is 1000 pounds, more than enough for all the equipment a beginner reloader will use.
What I also liked about this kit is the fact that it’s quite rugged considering the materials used and the price you’re paying, all the holes in the legs come pre drilled and there are no weird angles or miters, only 90-degree cuts are used. It comes with a handy manual, easy instructions that don’t require a degree from an Ivy League college in order to follow.
- Simple design
- Easily customizable to any size up to 8×4 feet
- Solvent resistant
- Wood not included
- Included screws are small
Husky 46 in. Adjustable Height Work Table
Here’s a fine product. Husky has offered the market a bench with a manual crank that can lower or raise the work surface, with an option to either install polypropylene casters for mobility or leveling feet if you want to keep it in place. It can be fully elevated to reach a height of 46 inches and lowered down to 26 inches, and it can be used as a standing or a sitting table. Besides the obvious benefits of having such a setup, this can also be a good option if you decide to include younger or smaller members of your household into your activities.
My expectations weren’t high when I first saw this bench, but it turns out I was wrong, the manual crank operates really well, I didn’t notice any wiggling or moving, even with the casters on, it felt pretty stable. Fit and finish were also superb, there are no sharp edges and the top surface is fairly well laminated. The total weight of the table is around 85 pounds, so when you decide to assemble it or move it around with the feet attached, make sure to find somebody younger than you to do that, while you stand in the back and offer helpful advice like: “No, no no… Lift from your knees.”
However, is this a good option for reloaders? It is, especially for beginners, because it offers a good amount of space to set up your gear, but adding some drawers or shelves would be a huge plus. The maximum weight it can hold is roughly 300 pounds, not great but enough for all of your basic tools and equipment.
- Height adjustable
- Comes with casters or leveling feet
- Construction is firm and stable
- Fairly low-cost
- No shelves or drawers
- Relatively small
Grizzly Industrial T10730-48″ Birch Workbench
Grizzly Industrial is a well-known company, one of the largest machinery companies in the USA. In fact, ever since the early 1980s, when they started operating, their products have built a reputation for their quality, durability, and longevity. The same can be said for this workbench, which is made from birch, not solid wood, but glued laminated timber. It’s safe to say this is built to last.
The assembly is pretty straight forward, they used a system of mortised cross braces. You just insert the legs into the benchtop, and affix them with the screws provided with the kit. That being said, my advice to all potential buyers would be to buy your own screws or to use glue to hold them a bit better. Other than that it is a solid piece of workmanship, has absolutely no sharp edges, no splinters, nothing sticking out, and the manual for assembly is really straightforward and easy to follow. It feels surprisingly stable and it’s wide and deep enough to accommodate all your gear.
Don’t be fooled by its small weight, this reloading bench will hold most of the stuff you place on it, and I’m surprised by its ruggedness and how stable it is. My only complaint is that for the price, it’s pretty bare bones, and you will have to invest in additional material to make it fully useful.
- All wood
- Robust and solid construction
- Simple design
- Fast assembly
- Screws for the table assembly aren’t the best quality
- Designed to be a mostly standing bench/table
Titan 21006 Workbench
Titan is a really good term to describe this workbench, which is made entirely from 13 gauge steel. I can safely say that this product will definitely outlive me. Judging by the color of the finish and construction, it was probably originally meant to be used in a car workshop, but will this be a good choice for a reloading bench? Most definitely.
But let’s take some of the disadvantages and defects into consideration before continuing. As stated previously, it’s a solid steel workbench, definitely rugged and durable, but also really heavy, so don’t plan on moving it around your workshop often. Some of the welds were done hastily. Even though at first glance it doesn’t look safe, it still holds well. The guys at Titan claim it can easily hold a maximum capacity of 1200 pounds. When you start to assemble the bench, make sure not to tighten all the bolts before you insert all of them, if you screw them in one by one you can experience issues with some holes not lining properly with the bolts due to distortion of the steel.
That being said, I still think this would be a good option for all you reloaders. With a well known and simple design, a good choice of material used in construction, this option’s advantages surpasses the disadvantages. Resistance to Wear and tear is guaranteed with a red powder-coated finish and the edges around the tabletop are a bit raised from the surface to prevent small parts and tools from rolling off and falling.
- All metal construction
- Good finish
- Bottom shelf included
- Poor welding
- Pre drilled holes sometimes don’t line up with the bolts
- More costly than the competition
Sjöbergs Nordic Plus 1450 Workbench SJO-33448
Maybe it’s the unpronounceable name or the fact that it’s made in Sweden, but I had a strange feeling that this reloading bench won’t come with a user-friendly assembly manual. Nonetheless, when it’s finally put together even though its all-wood construction does look like something that was made in a high school woodshop, it is a solid reloading bench that I should definitely stop making fun of.
Sjobergs workbenches are known for their quality and versatility, and countless satisfied wood and metalworking hobbyists who have been using their products for the past 80 years can testify to that fact. The materials used make it a lightweight choice which can be moved around by one person. Its compact dimensions won’t cause obstruction even in a small workshop. The benchtop is made from 1-inch thick Nordic birch. It comes with pre-drilled dog holes that run from any vise location along the length of the top. You also get two vises that can be placed to suit right-handed and left-handed users, to be used independently or with four bench dogs that come included. The legs are made of pinewood, and you also get a shelf underneath the top for storing most of your equipment.
That being said, the sheer amount of dog holes could become an issue for most reloaders, so make sure before you start working to cover the ones you’re not going to be using, otherwise, you’ll be picking up bullets, casings and small tools from your work area floor.
- Easy to assemble
- Scandinavian quality
- Large bottom shelf
- 2 vises included
- 4 bench dogs included
BLACK+DECKER WM425-A Portable Project Center and Vise
I’m sure most of you know Black+Decker as a producer of decent-quality tools and accessories and have already heard of their Workmate line of workbenches. Known for their lightweight, portability, ease of use and modularity, they definitely are a must-have in any workshop. The instructions can be a bit tricky to read and follow but with a little bit of persistence and a lot of Googling, the Workmate can be easily assembled in no time.
Don’t let the small size and weight fool you, according to the manufacturer it can easily hold weight of up to 550 pounds. Their distinctive one-handed clamp design will hold firmly anything you place inside it, and also the bench includes a front jaw that you can swing upwards for vertical clamping. Several swivel pegs come in the package and the top has pre-drilled dog holes.
This is definitely a good addition for any workshop and is versatile enough to work a pretty effective reloading bench. It’s small surface and general size means you will be limited by the amount of space where you can place your tools and reloading press, but will probably suit people who like to do a quick reloading session, especially if you want to take your setup to various locations, outdoors, on the range or whatever. The fact that it folds and can be stored anywhere, even hung on the wall like a picture is a positive thing, but it also means you won’t get an additional shelf underneath the top, and it really could use a bit of additional space.
- Good quality
- Can be easily folded and stored away
- Excellent price to value ratio
- Comes almost preassembled
- Maybe too compact
- Plastic parts won’t last long
What is a reloading bench?
A reloading bench is a workbench made, or better yet targeted (pun intended) specifically for people who are interested in reloading their own ammo. It provides a working surface with additional elements like shelves, drawers, and racks arranged to be user-friendly to help you reload your ammo in as fast and smooth a way as possible. It is purposely made to be extra durable in order to withstand repetitive downward pressure that is applied when working a reloading press.
Reasons to set up a dedicated reloading bench
Most gun enthusiasts have at some point entertained an idea of reloading their ammo, whether it is to save up money or to craft their own bullets to achieve better accuracy, speed, and penetration. There are also black powder gun aficionados and historical war reenactors, people whose rifles and guns shoot outdated or obscure bullet calibers. They generally have to make their own cartridges. Whatever the primary motive is, all of them will need a space with a wide surface where they will be cleaning, casting, and reloading. Something that is strong enough to hold the press, a vise, tools, gunpowder, rifles, carbines, and/or guns, and will also include a good amount of drawers and shelves where they will keep and organize all the small parts, for example, casings and bullets.
How to choose a reloading bench
Perhaps the biggest mistake I made when I started this hobby, (and I still call it a hobby even though most professional therapists will now classify it as an addiction) was that I focused too much on the big picture and didn’t pay enough attention to detail. My first reloading workbench was essentially a Frankenstein, an old all-wood door placed on top of a salvaged cupboard that was held together with some screws and bolts, an odd nail, glue, and a lot of prayer. It did serve me well in the beginning but eventually there comes a day in the life of every man when he realizes that his old, handmade, rustic and increasingly unstable seesaw holding dozens of pounds of gunpowder, ammo, primers and expensive tools needs to be replaced.
What did I have to focus on when I went shopping for a new reloading bench? Well, I thought hard about the type of ammo I’d mostly be reloading, and about the layout and the organization that suits me best, about the amount of space that I have at my disposal. It all went into consideration and then some, but here are the basics that are universal for most people:
Most good reloading benches today won’t force you to choose between pulling the trigger or feeding your family. Even the cheapest one reviewed here has an excellent build, both the frame and the working area were made from tough materials, with good stability and are fairly resistant to wear and tear. However, all materials degrade or get damaged over time, and some reloading benches offer more options than the cost-effective ones, so in the long haul, investing a few bucks more for a better workbench means getting a few more years of reliable service in return.
Which brings us to the question of warranties. Now, it should go without saying, no matter what reloading bench you decide to buy in the end, make sure the producer offers a long warranty on it. Even the most expensive reloading benches, that excel in both quality and durability will eventually break down or have some malfunction, so better to be safe than sorry and choose a brand that offers good coverage.
When it comes to working with such delicate material like gunpowder, stability is probably the most important thing that you should pay attention to when choosing a reloading bench. Sometimes the reloading benches come either with leveling legs or with casters, sometimes just with bare legs. If you prefer a model that has casters, which will help you to easily maneuver the bench around your working area, make sure they are made from a durable material, like polypropylene, and more importantly that they include a locking mechanism. If you opt for a bench with leveling legs or with nothing at all, apply some anti-slip or anti-skid protection on the legs to make it stay in one place.
As most of you will surely see for yourselves, not long after you start with this amazing hobby you’ll soon want to expand your interests to also gunsmithing, black powder guns, maybe crossbows, longbows, arrow smithing, fishing, or who knows, even shadow puppeteering. That’s why it’s probably better if you decide to buy a workbench that will also allow you to pursue your other activities. A reloading bench where, for example, you can replace its working surface, making it wider or narrower, or more chemical or solvent resistant, with the lights included, because, trust me, you will be spending lots of nights and days working there.
If you are a person who is always on the go, there are reloading benches designed for you too. Several models as mentioned above ship with casters that you can easily install to help you move them about your workspace. Still, even better, there are models that are small and compact and can be folded down or easily disassembled, which you can carry easily to the range or elsewhere.
When talking about the design, the first thing that you should focus on is organization. A well-designed reloading bench should work for you, it should make your job easier. Drawers and shelves should always be easy to reach. You want to have a good amount of them so you can easily store all your necessary equipment, cartridges, casings, and other small parts. Are you the type of person who likes to stand while reloading or sit? I’m guessing you’ll be doing both, and the good news is there are benches that have an adjustable height mechanism that you can adjust to your liking. If you’re more of a do it yourself kind of guy, there are kits on the market that include only the workbench legs and shelf links, all you have to do is buy material for the working area, counters and racks. The design and the layout of the workbench is left up to you and your imagination.
Advice on setting up and organizing your reloading bench
Before you shop for your gear, make some mental notes about where it will all be kept on the reloading bench. A good choice for a reloading press would be at the center of the bench, and then depending on if you’re left or right-handed, place the tumbler, case trimmer, and the deburring tool on the side where your dominant hand is. Between the press and the tumbler place the trickler with the powder funnel, while the loading block should be right behind the press. Finally, primers and lubricating pads should be to the opposite of your press where your dominant hand is. Powder, shell holders, and dies should be placed on a separate bench, but if you are lacking one, you can place them all to the opposite side of the area where your dominant hand is. Most of the stuff you will be using should be placed on the side where your dominant hand is. Makes sense, right. And the most important thing you should always keep close to your reloading bench is safety goggles and perhaps some gloves.
Every model reviewed in this article has a set of features that make it unique and valuable, but my vote goes out to the first one on this list which is the 2×4 90164 Custom Workbench and Shelving System. There are limitless options of what you can do with this kit, the height and width are fully customizable to your needs, you can use any material that you want, the legs and shelf links are impact and solvent resistant, quite sturdy, and it can hold weight up to 1000 pounds. Perhaps the only downside is the fact that you can’t easily move it around unless you choose to buy and install a set of casters to ease mobility. For the price it is selling at and the quality it is offering, this would definitely be my option.