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This $60 tool essentially gives you another pair of hands


A Stanley Maxsteel multiangle base vise.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I’ve always said that good tools make jobs easier. This is why I highly recommend getting decent tools wherever possible.

Buying the very best you can afford at the time is rarely false economy.

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But sometimes there’s a tool that so completely changes the way you work that you wonder why it took you so long to get one.

This is how I feel about my new Stanley Maxsteel multiangle base vise. 

Stanley Maxsteel multiangle base vise


Stanley MaxSteel Multi Angle Vice

This compact clamp gives you a firm hold on electronic components, parts, and more.

Stanley Maxsteel multiangle base vise features:

  • Totally adjustable and lockable positioning achieved with a full 360-degree rotation swivel-ball design
  • Easily attached to most work surfaces with an integral screw clamp
  • Durable cast aluminum and steel construction
  • Removable jaw pads protect surfaces from marring and damage
  • Ideal for arts and crafts, model building, and electronics
  • Jaw width: 2.5-inch/63mm
  • Max jaw opening: 3-inch/75mm
  • Weight: ‎3.65 pound/1.56 kg

I’ve been using “helping hands” for years for things like soldering or other fiddly work, but I’d never bought a vise before because I didn’t think I needed one.

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In my head they were big, bulky, industrial-looking steel objects affixed to a bench. My granddad had one, and I didn’t think it was suitable for the sort of work I do.

I was so wrong.

The Stanley Maxsteel multiangle base vise ticks all the boxes for me. 

A Stanley vice holding a motherboard

A super versatile vise for electronics work.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It’s small, yet really tough, able to handle big jobs. Don’t let those small jaws fool you — you can really clamp them down when you need to.

It’s also highly portable, yet can be clamped down to a bench, the back of a truck, or even a table, thanks to the soft jaws on the clamp.

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An underside view showing the soft clamp.

A soft clamp holds the vise down to a variety of surfaces.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

You can swivel it to pretty much any position or angle to suit where you are and what you are doing.

The jaws are multipurpose — tough metal when you need to bite down, but with the option for a soft, rubber coating when you want to protect the item being held.

One cover on and one cover lifted off so you can see the metal

Metal jaws come with soft, rubber covers.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

For $60, this is a great vise, perfect for my needs. It can hold a variety of items, from circuit boards to car components to hunks of wood I need to work with.

Rotated at an angle

The 360-degree rotation swivel-ball design is both versatile and really strong.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

So why is it a game-changer?

Because it’s so very versatile.

Coming back to my granddad’s bench vise. This thing was big and bulky and attached to a bench, and suited to heavy-duty use. 

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You couldn’t move it about, it didn’t have the cool swivel mechanism, it didn’t have the soft rubber jaws, and you definitely couldn’t use it for delicate work (I can’t imagine clamping a circuit board with it). 

This vise does it all. 

It’s small enough to be portable (it fits easily into a medium-sized toolbag), tough enough for heavy work, delicate enough to hold easily-damaged items. Plus it’s portable so I can take it with me on jobs, and it can be out away when not in use, thus saving precious bench space. 

It’s also replaced a number of other clamping tools that I used to use — from my helping hands to clamps.

It’s made my life so much easier.

It’s a total game-changer.


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