Gear | March 2, 2017 9:00 am

Is This ‘Smart’ Workbench Better Than Your Grandpa’s?

It has lights! It has gizmos! But is it actually reliable?

“Not your grandpa’s [insert item here].”

A common phrase companies use to convince buyers that their product is harder, better, faster, stronger and cooler than whatever unenlightened men used back in the day.

The Nexus workbench from Garage Masterminds, currently funding on Kickstarter, employs this device. But I grew up spending time on my grandfather’s farm in rural Minnesota, and one of the things I remember most was his workbench — and just how perfect it was. The smell of oil and hay, the sturdy handbuilt surface that spanned the length of the wall, littered with screws and nails and time-tested tools all ready for use.

So let’s break down what’s really best: the Nexus … or your grandpa’s workbench?

Nexus: Frame is 6061-T6 aluminum and surface is high-density plywood. You can hypothetically secure your own tools to it, like a vise, but the frame houses electrical components, so you might ruin the tech/electrocute yourself.
Gramps: Wood. Worn, but still strong after 30 years of constant use. (Winner)

Nexus: Mounted LEDs on flexible arms and futuristic blue circular jobs on the side. (Winner)
Gramps: The morning sunlight through dusty windows.

Nexus: A retractable extension cord pulls out from the left side. Once plugged in, it powers eight outlets and eight USB charging ports on the face and sides of the table. (Winner)
Gramps: Plenty of power both from outlets as well as portable power sources, but nothing directly stemming from the workbench.

Nexus: Linear actuators fold it flat against the wall for those with limited space. (Winner)
Gramps: Secured to the structure and not going anywhere. You could have six people working comfortably on this thing, and (pretty big advantage) it’s already in a barn.

: Integrated bluetooth stereo and hands-free calling. (Winner)
: Window opens so you can hear the bell when dinner and supper are ready.

Turns out the Nexus is a great addition to any garage where space is limited. And that’s most likely the case whether you’re in the city or the suburbs. Those of you with unlimited space, dance with the girl who brung ya.

You can pledge $899 to $999 for the Nexus on Kickstarter (depending on how many extras you want), with an estimated delivery of October 2017.