In need of some stands for work around my house, I purchased a pair of ToughBuilt TB-C500 “Heavy Duty” sawhorses. Here is my review of one of the best-selling work stands of 2022.
The product I purchased was a pair of TB-C500 Heavy Duty sawhorses with quick release leg and 2×4 support arms. I bought them as a pair, not two single units, direct from Amazon and paid $64.99. Prime shipping was included in the price.
These sawhorses have an all-metal build, sheet holders that can accomodate full sheets of plywood or sheetrock, a carrying handle, 2×4 stands so they can easily be made into a workbench, and an 1100 pound capacity.
The Heavy Duty TB-C500 model is very easy to confuse with other sawhorses online as they all sort of look alike.
The made features to keep an eye on are the weight capacity, the leg design, and the presence of 2×4 holders.
Some other options you may see in your search:
- TB-C550 – same as the C500 but with adjustable height
- TB-C300 – Heavy duty capacity but no quick release legs and no 2×4 holders. Cheaper price
- TB-C650 – More weight capacity, adjustable legs, pivot feet
- TB-600 – The 650 without the pivot feet
- TB-70https://fave.co/3mTipj90 – Max. capacity, board holders and carry a 4×4, not just a 2×4
On the whole, the most appealing model to me was the C500 because it has the features I want — mainly a folding design and 2×4 holders — without costing too much, or being too heavy. I like the price of the C300 but it’s really nice to be able to fold the legs away and store the sawhorse in a small space or throw them in the trunk of a car.
The 2×4 Holder
The sawhorse has a 2×4 holder at each side. Pieces of wood of any length over 2′ can be placed in the holder to span the length from one sawhorse to another. A sheet of plywood can then be placed on top of the setup in order to create a job site table. You can nail the plywood to the 2x4s if you want extra stability.
You could of course do this without the 2×4 spanners, but you’d have a lot of flex in the middle and you shouldn’t want to put something heavy, like a portable table saw on top of just a piece of plywood.
The 2x4s don’t clamp into the sawhorse and they can’t be screwed in. You can wedge them in with a shim but that’s about it.
Build Quality And Strength
On the whole I’d say the Toughbuilt sawhorses are built well enough, but I wasn’t blown away by the quality. These are at the Black+Decker workbench level, perhaps a bit above, but not quite at the level of a Kreg or Dewalt workbench.
My horses arrived in good shape, in a single box. The box was in perfect shape and everything was good except for one broken weld on the 2×4 holder. This piece is only for torsion-prevention so it’s not really a big deal, but it was a bit disappointing to see, especially with the bit of surface rust already present.
The sawhorse is made of no-so-thick sheet metal that’s been folded into place. It’s basically a hollow shell, which is what allows the legs to fold up inside for transport. The legs are also hollow, folded steel.
The whole horse feels very strong and stable when it’s open, but surprisingly light and even flimsy when you look at the metal and press it in a way where it’s not supposed to be strong. It’s build to resist compression from above, which is what it does well. It’s pretty bad at other things like resisting side to side forces, where a sawhorse made of 2x4s and metal brackets feels a lot more sturdy.
I’ve spent most of my time with the sawhorses in a table configuration. I put two piece of scrap 2×4 (about 4′ long) from one horse to the other and then a half sheet of 3/4″ plywood on top. I was all set to screw the plywood to the 2x4s but I realized that it’s really not necessary for most work. The plywood actually sits on the horses which are topped with gritty sandpaper which does a good job of holding things together. If I was going to put a table saw, etc. on the top when I would screw everything in place.
Note: You can’t screw the 2x4s into the sawhorse. With my plastic sawhorses I always just throw some wood on top, spanning the two horses, and screw directly into the top. This has done surprisingly little damage to the sawhorses over the years. You don’t need to do that with the Toughbuilt ones.
The sawhorses are very strong and stable when direct downward force is applied. I haven’t tested the to the full 1100 pound capacity, but I’ve certainly loaded them up, stood on them, so done all sorts of household tasks with and on them with no problems.
The sawhorses have legs made of thing, folded sheet metal that do have side-to-side (lateral) flex. So if you need to move the table or a loaded horse, you really want to pick it up, not slide it across the ground. If you do slide it, the flimsy-feeling legs can shift or twist a little. This hasn’t caused any problems for me, but I feel that it’s unlikely you’d get the full strength and stability from the sawhorse if the legs aren’t perfectly straight.
More expensive modes have heavier legs and also feet which will help with this. This model the C500, has no feet, which I was really surprised by. Even my $35 Black+Decker Workmate included rubber feet.
The tradeoff for the skinny legs is that they fold away. With the push of two buttons the legs fold entirely into the body and you are less with something less bulky than a stretch of 2×6″. To me the folding experience seems a bit unsafe because there are a lot of moving parts made of thin metal, but if you do it carefully this seems like a great feature for home users. Professionals should probably just opt for something a bit heavier and skip the fold-away legs.
I like the ToughBuilt C500 workhorse but I can’t saw I’m blown away. The broken weld and the lack of feet, plus the flimsy feeling legs all bothered me a little. That said, I love that I can fold these up and move them around easily.
Overall I think they are well worth the $35 per horse.