Looking for the right workbench

I’m looking for a workbench for my garage and I’m wondering what kind of top to get. I would use it for everything from assembling electronics and working on electronics to repairing appliances and tearing apart small engines.

I’m looking at these


But there are about a dozen top options. The cheapest being an engineered product of fiber board on cheaper fiber board to the most expensive solid maple butcher block. Birch butcher block is a cheaper option I’m thinking of going with but there is also esd safe laminated plastic like I use at work. How would that hold up in a garage? I’m an electrical engineer by trade but I’ve never worried about taking work home and laying it out on the dining room table without an anti static wrist band (not even sure if that’s what they’re called lol).

Butcher block seems the way to go but I’m looking for some input before I drop an extra $200 for a solid top.

If there is any risk of fluids leaking, I would stay away from the engineered fiber tops, they will just swell and rot. If you are not going to be pounding away on it very much, the Birch butcher block seems like the best value/price option. If it will take a regular heavy pounding, the maple is the way to go. When all is said and done, the workbench is just another tool, and quality matters when it comes to tools, I always buy the best I can afford.

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Thanks. I totally agree on buying the best tools. My Bulgarian girlfriend likes to say “cheap things are expensive.” But sometimes I get fooled by the price tag and think I need the most expensive one.

I will second the butcher block top. They will be the most durable surface that can be used for all of the things you mention. Just get an ESD mat for working on electronics. They can be had for reasonable prices on Amazon.

Whatever top you get I would recommend getting some builders paper / paper drop cloth by the roll if you are going to get into things with grease / oil. Cut off a piece and use it to protect the top while working and then just throw it away. Easy / cheap enough to find in home improvement stores .



eBay seller canvu0_0 frequently in my experience shows up as a good source of ESD mat, and is where I bought mine. FWIW


I made my workbench with a beech kitchen workplate, that I soaked with special linseed oil, which makes it harder and dust resistant. I got that plate for about 70$ in a hardware store.


As an inexpensive but rugged option that is easy to make various shapes from, I use 3/4 plywood with a fiberboard laminate on top. I use this as the top for most of my working areas in the house and in the shop.
The laminate is stained and heavily oiled to keep it from swelling or warping if stuff gets spilled on it.
Glues and other adhesives will not stick to it and It is replaceable.
I apply the laminate with double back carpet tape and that way it can be removed and replaced.


I just saw this at Homedepot. Would get it if I had the the room!