Remember the frustration of the times when you need to replace your workbench top but can’t due to budget issues? Say, your budget is not enough to get a solid wood-made workbench top, so will you just endure your frustration working on a defective surface? Come on!
Do you know what we suggest? Just ship into using some cheaper alternatives and all will be well. If you have few ideas on the best material for workbench top options, just go through this article, and you will have plenty of woodworking bench tops to choose from.
Best Material for Workbench Top: 7 Surface Ideas to Try:
You might wonder if it can be plausible to get a quality workbench top on a lower budget. But surprisingly, if you explore the market, you will be able to find many good-quality cheap workbench top options well suited for your needs.
To make your quest even more comfortable, we have shared our research on the cheapest & durable workbench tops in this writing. Just check out their descriptions and choose the one you like the best tops for workbenches.
1. LDF/ Particleboard Workbench Top:
If you are down on the cash yet need an immediate replacement, you can try to use particleboard to make the top of your workbench. But if you have some more dollars to spare, we suggest you choose something else.
Particleboard is the cheapest among the wood-based materials. Why is it so cheap? It is because particleboards are made from the lowest form of wood-based materials, sawdust.
The sawdust generated from woodcrafts is collected and mixed with resin, and the final product the mixture forms are called LDF (Low-Density Fiberboard) or particleboard.
While it is a pretty useful material, its low density makes it highly breakable. We suggest you avoid using it for your workbench top if you tend to work on craft projects on the heavier side.
One of the cheapest workbench top materials
Has a very smooth surface
Easily moulds in a humid atmosphere
2. MDF as Workbench Top:
Despite its slightly higher price than particleboard, MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard is a trendy material to make workbench tops. The making of this wood product is similar to the production method of particleboard.
Unlike particleboard, which is of sawdust, MDF is made from tiny wood particles like woodchips. Those wood-bits are mixed up with resins and waxes into a mixture, which is then pressed in high heat to form solid MDF boards.
As you can see from its name, the density level of MDF is higher than that of particleboard. Thus it is sturdier and more lasting than the particleboard.
But just like particleboard, it has a deficient level of water resistance. So make sure to seal MDF Workbench top well before using it, okay?
Very flexible and durable
Holds screw and glue well
Easy to work with
Low water resistance causes it to warp in humid weathers
3. HDF as Workbench Top:
If you don’t like the idea of using your time, money, and energy to seal the MDF to make it water-resistant, then we suggest you spare a little bit more and use HDF or High Density Fiberboard to make your workbench top.
It is a well-known material for making tops for workbenches, also known as hardboard. What sets it apart from the other two fiberboards mentioned above is that the hardboard is made of bigger chunks of wood fibers. Due to the material type and quality, HDF has a much higher density and strength than MDF.
But what makes hardwood different is its humidity resistance. This unique property of HDF among fiberboards makes it an ideal material for making a cheap workbench top.
Thinner, yet more substantial and more durable than MDF
Humidity resistance makes it ideal for humid environments
Unsuitable for outdoor usage due to its susceptibility to water
4. Plywood as Workbench Top:
If you are looking for wood-based cheap workbench top ideas that are NOT fiberboards, then plywood can be a good option for you. Plywood is on a very different level from the fiberboards.
To make plywood, three or more layers of adhesive and wood chips are put upon one another several times, like placing layers after layers of bread and fillings in a multilayer sandwich. The end product looks like wood panels.
Despite its lower price, well-made plywood is solid. But when you go to buy plywood, remember to check for its quality care. Its strength is highly dependent on the quality and thickness.
It contains actual wood, though in small sizes
Very strong and durable
Can hold screw better than fiberboards
It requires lamination on the edges to avoid splinters.
5. Melamine Workbench Top:
If you work with chemicals and dislike cleaning stains from the wood surface, you have no reason to feel disheartened. There are good-quality yet cheap workbench tops available in the market, which are perfect for your needs. Melamine is one such product.
Melamine is solid manufactured wood. Similar to fiberboards, particles of wood, resin, and paper are used to make them. The materials are combined under high heat and extreme pressure. Then a thermally fused paper or resin coating is used for laminating the produced board.
There are many advantages of using melamine for your workbench top. Melamine is not only cheap but also free from many disadvantages of wood-based products.
The stain-free character of this material makes it such that while working, you will be able to use it as a whiteboard, making your work easier.
Visually pleasing outlook
Smooth, nice-in-touch surface
Fire and moisture resistant
Scratch, stain, and warp-proof
The laminating discolors easily
6. Stainless Steel as Workbench Top:
Coming to this part, the best workbench top material you can have for your heavy-duty work is stainless steel. The material is suitable for every kind of task you are up to deal with. Providing a long-lasting and tough surface, the stainless steel workbench top also comes at cheaper rates.
However, the most convincing fact of stainless steel is its low maintenance. Its nonporous properties will resist bacterial growth and enable you to have a better working experience. Moreover, it comes with many practical uses.
The material is highly popular as it can withstand a great deal of pressure and weight. More importantly, stainless steel is resistant to rust.
Hence, you will always get a sleek look at your workbench top. The sturdy work surface made of this material will be a great addition to your garage or any restaurant.
Even withstanding higher temperatures, it comes with lots of benefits that you desire.
Tough and heavy-duty
Sleek appearance and effortless maintaining
Waterproof and non-porous
Heat and rust-resistant
It comes with low thermal conductivity and also it is not ESD safe.
7. Hardwoods as Workbench Top:
Unlike our other suggested materials, hardwood is a bit expensive but it is worth trying for a workbench top. If using softwoods as a workbench top is not in your league, you better go for the one made of hardwoods.
However, it would be unwise if you use open-pored woods in this case. Now, the majorly produced hardwood for workbench top or other purposes in hickory.
The material is popular because it is harder five times than some of the softer hardwoods or aspen. Nonetheless, there are numerous varieties of hardwoods that are used for workbench tops.
Again, hardwoods are convincingly durable. Also, depending on the species you can have different shades of them that prove their aesthetics. Thus, hardwoods as workbench top offer both toughness and a good look at the same time.
Many also go for maple hardwood because of its beautiful creamy white look with a reddish tinge. The hardwood is also ultra-durable and selected for heavy-duty jobs.
I won’t forget to mention Oak as well as one of the best hardwoods. But, according to the price rate, not all of us can afford the hardwood.
Harder and tough
Ultra-durable and heavy-duty
Highly condensed structure
Incredible and enhanced strength
Easy to clean and fix any dents or scratches
Not cost-effective enough and prone to tear or wear
Material to Protect Workbench Top:
Just like the workbench top material, it is also important to look for the best protector for the workbench top. Using a protector will add more durability and efficiency to your workbench top. Even after years of use, you will find your workbench top still new and fresh.
Hence, you need to know about the best protector materials that are offered for the workbench top. As you are lucky the moment you stepped onto this site, we will get you covered with the topic.
#1. Laminate sheets:
This is probably the most common material to be used for protecting the workbench top. Laminated tops will enable you super easy cleaning.
#2. Rubber Mat:
Rubber Mats are always good options as workbench top protectors. It can protect your workbench from getting scratches when you do any wood-cutting projects. The rubber mat is also not an exception. Also protecting the project parts, a rubber mat is beneficial in both ways.
#3. Cutting Mat:
Cutting mats are hundred times suitable than any other mats in terms of durability and protecting top. Your plywood or MDF workbench tops are absolutely safe and sound when you use a cutting mat as the protector.
DIYers all over the world, ask for cutting mats mostly to protect their top. It comes with a decent thickness that protects the top from scratches.
#4. Silicone Mat:
Silicone mats are also considered great, because of their excellent properties. This is a go-to solution to protect your precious workbench top. Setting the mat off and on is easy and it doesn’t move once you set it on the top properly.
The mat is equipped with some magnetic parts that hold the metal tools firmly while you are working. So, with versatile features, a silicone mat provides many advantages including protection.
#5. Masonite Sheets:
Masonite sheets also come with decent thicknesses from 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch. This material provides a slick and polished surface at once.
#6. Utility Mat:
There are utility mats specially designed for the workbench top. Like silicon mats or others, this mat is also featured with some boxes for reserving working tools. The workbench utility mat is also resistant to glue hence you can do your work without any trouble or hassle.
#7. Wax and Oil:
These materials are used mainly for sealing purposes. Your workbench top becomes more effective when it is sealed well. If the workbench top is made of wood, it will require two or three applications of oil. After the oil application, a thin layer of wax paste is used as the sealant.
It makes the top slicker when the sealing is done congruously and properly.
#8. Plywood Sheet:
Plywood sheet can also be a good server if you own a non-sanded workbench top. A finished and sanded plywood sheet is a thin protector that is also an affordable option.
So, these are the probable materials you can use as the protector of your valuable workbench top. However, it is better if you come up with the knowledge of which protective material would be suitable enough for the workbench top material you own.
So what do you think? Besides the choices we have presented here, other cheap workbench top options are available in the market.
But these seven can be considered amongst the best material for workbench top options. So decide on which one is most suitable for you and resume your work happily. In my view, Hardwood is the best wood for workbench top, now you think about what to chose. Thank you.
Hi, I am Rogers Weber, the man behind Solvesonic. I am a mechanical engineer. I use many kinds of tools almost every day at my workplace. I love to write about tools, home improvement, and DIYs. I enjoy helping people to solve their problems through my website.