4 Best Workbench Top Material (for Smooth Working Experience)

Want to have a smooth working experience? To achieve that, it’s important to have a workbench top made with the best material. 

But you might wonder, what is the best workbench top material?

Different materials are best suited for different needs. If you are looking for something strong and durable, the best option would be Hickory. For affordability, the best choice would be pinewood or MDF. For crack resistance, the best would be plywood. 

Interested to know more? Then keep on reading.

Let’s get started.

Which Workbench Top Material Is for You?

best workbench top material

When it comes to the right material, there’s a wide range of options. Which depends on what you need, expect, and want from your workbench top. 

There is no “best” material because it differs based on your preference. So you can see that the choices vary based on your needs. 

However, not all of the hundreds of choices on the market are ideal for your requirements. So we noted down a few of the top-notch wood materials for your ease. 

Best Wood for Workbench Top (Useful Options)

Your worktop bench needs to go through a lot of pressure and activity. So it needs to be composed of the right kind of wood that fits your needs. Generally speaking, you can use any type of timber for your workbench top. 

However, not all of them are best suited for it. 

Keeping all those factors in mind we are here to help you out. 

1. Hardwood

Hardwood has been used for centuries for sturdy tools and furniture. Which shows that they’re sturdy and durable. If you use the right hardwood for your worktop bench, you will get the same satisfactory results. 

Here are a few hardwood choices for your workbench worktop.

We’ve elaborated on why we’ve chosen these down below. So, choose either one.


Pinewood is commonly found in hardwood in the market. Since it’s available around the world, it’s quite affordable too. This wood is simple to deal with and readily accepts screws and nails. It has a smooth finish as well. As a result, it’s a fantastic workbench top choice. 

But apart from that, pinewood is very durable and can take on a lot of weight. There might be a bit of confusion regarding its durability. But you don’t need to be pensive about it. As it’s already being used as a workbench top by many. 


Looking for a workbench top material that ensures absolute strength and durability? Hickory is the one for you. It is widely used in the handles of hammers and garden tools for its strength. 

If you intend on doing heavy-duty jobs, this is an excellent option.

You may use it as a vanity bench as well. Since it can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

However, it’s a bit on the pricey side.

2. Engineered Wood 

Engineered wood is now widely used for many wooden pieces of furniture including workbenches. They’re modified and shaped into different structures and finishing than hardwood. So this may suit you more based on your preference.

Here are some of them that are a great option for a workbench top. You can consider either option for your workbench. They’re just as good.

Medium Density Fibreboard 

Medium-density fiberboard or MDF is one of the most popular kinds of engineered wood. It is composed of sawdust, glue, and wood fibers. 

MDF doesn’t feature a grainy texture as it’s made up of wood fibers. As a result, it has a smooth, uniform finish. This is ideal for a variety of workbench tops. It is also quite cheap.

However, its cheap price comes with a backlash. Although the material itself is heavy, it’s not heavy-duty. It cannot withstand too much pressure. 

So if your workbench is likely to go through a lot of pressure, it’s not for you. It will not last long. On top of that, it’s very prone to moisture. So it’ll warp if it’s not properly sealed from all sides. 


Another durable option for a workbench top is plywood. It’s made by combining many layers of wood veneer and gluing them together using an adhesive. 

Each veneer layer is perpendicular to the direction of the wood grain. As a result, plywood is incredibly sturdy and very resistant to cracking.

Plywood is quite sturdy and can tolerate extra pressure and weight. But not if you plan on using your workbench for heavy equipment consistently. If that’s the case, you’ll want to look for a more durable alternative.

Although plywood is very useful, it’s a bit pricey. But then again it’s worth the extra bucks. It’s also available in a variety of quality and thickness.

Since they come in many variants, not all of them are suitable for your workbench. So make sure you get yourself the right one.

 Which Material Should You Choose?

If you just need a workbench that’s affordable, go for MDF or pinewood. Both are good options.

However, for a sturdier option, hickory is a solid material. If you’re looking to expand your budget, plywood can be best to combat any amount of force.

If you want a clean and smooth working surface, you can use laminated plywood. But the surface is prone to damage if you use sharp tools. In the case of heavy-duty, you’ve to use a more heavy-duty top like hickory. 

Finally, it’s up to you which one you’ll pick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Which is better MDF or plywood?

Answer: MDF is better than plywood if you are looking for a cheaper option with basic demands. But when it comes to durability and longevity, plywood is better than MDF. 

Question: What should you coat your workbench with?

Answer: You can use wipe-on oil finishes or boiled linseed oil for some protection. But if you want a smooth working surface you can laminate the top. 

Question: How thick should your workbench top be?

Answer: Your workbench top should be at least 3 inches thick. This thickness is ideal for bench dogs, keep fasts, and, most notably, the vice chop.


Now you know about all the best options for your workbench. So you can find the best workbench top material for yourself. 

Thank you for being patient and staying with us till the end. 

We hope you found this article insightful. Let us know in the comments section.

Kevin Smith

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