Having the best 20 ton shop press can drastically increase your press workflow. This shop press takes most of the manual work out of bending and straightening your large metal items.
It’s essential to choose a durable and right size shop press that can produce quality cuts and bends. There are different types of shop presses on the market.
Arbor presses, power presses, C-frame, and manual presses are all options you’ll have to choose from.
What exactly should you look for when you’re deciding to buy a 20 ton shop press? What brands are the best?
Quick Comparison: Best 20 Ton Shop Press
Top 7 Best 20 Ton Shop Press Reviews:
1. Black Widow BD-PRESS-20H 20 Ton Hydraulic Shop Press
This 20-ton press by Black Widow is a force to be reckoned with. It is fully capable of performing metalwork punching, straightening, and bending.
There are eight different height positions, and the ram adjusts between 2.75 and 10 inches. This model easily handles the 20-ton capacity and works great for commercial or home-based projects.
Whatever you are working on will easily be fastened in place. Two heel blocks hold your item in place, and the adjustable work table is held in place by metal bolts.
This model is easily assembled and adjusted. The easy assembly allows you to prepare for projects and get to work at every efficient pace.
This press also makes a great centerpiece for any garage. The smooth black finish gives a very sharp look.
The hydraulic jack and accompanying lever make it easy to determine how much of the 20 ton load is on the table. Pressing into your target material is fast and easy, thanks to the jack.
Adjusting the ram and bench table adds to the versatility of this press. Although it doesn’t use a gauge, this won’t have any negative impact on the accuracy of your work.
The quality of the little details is what makes this model special. Only the highest quality parts are used, even down to the bolts and washers. The care put into this design makes it stand out among professional users.
- Great for large projects
- Eight different height options
- Easy to assemble
- Minimal strength needed to punch items
- Very long shelf life
- Great finish and sleek design
- Requires extra floor space
- No pressure gauage can take some getting used to
2. Baileigh 20-Ton Pneumatic Shop Press
This 20 ton shop press model from Baileigh has a great build and is highly durable. This press uses industrial-grade hydraulic components that can withstand years of hard work.
The working width on this model is a full 19 inches. An easily adjustable table combined with the working width makes this press very easy to handle.
You can tackle more delicate jobs with this press by using the manual setting. The cylinder moves from left to right and has a stroke of 7.5 inches. This Baileigh press also comes with its v-blocks, which significantly adds to the value.
This automotive bench press has a very rigid frame. This bench press makes using all 20 tons a reasonably easy task.
The machine is hefty, which adds to the stability during operation. This press isn’t going anywhere during use.
Two-inch diameter piston heads give this press plenty of power. With these features at your fingertips, there’s no limit to the types of jobs you can accomplish.
- This press is very heavy duty
- Can be air or hand operated
- Lifetime access to customer service via phone
- Very stable design, won’t budge during operation
- Industrial grade hydraulic components
- Very wide work area
- A bit on the pricier side compared to other models
- Only comes with a one year warranty
3. Black Widow BD-PRESS-20A-20 Ton Shop Press
At number six we have another selection from Black Widow. This small shop press is more compact than other 20 ton capacity selections, but don’t let that fool you.
This model delivers excellent functionality for one-man garages and smaller workshops. The air pump on this pneumatic press is equipped with a convenient handle to make pumping easier.
You also can attach an air hose if you don’t want to do it manually.
You can extend the press ram an extra ten inches from the base. Horizontal adjustability is also present for the press ram. There are nine different height adjustments and pressure indicators, making pressing jobs very convenient.
The durable H-frame makes this Black Widow model very sturdy and durable. It also comes with a very sleek black finish in the form of a powder coat. This paint job protects the press from rust and smudges during the duration of its life.
This press also comes with two heel blocks which help limit movement while in use. You can easily bend and straighten metal or replace bearings with this press.
For a 20 ton press, this model has a very modest price. Although we wouldn’t call it a cheap shop press, this model does give you a lot of bang for your buck.
- Reasonable price
- Comes with two heel blocks
- Two way operation method
- 9 different height adjustments
- Very appealing powder coat finish
- Instructions are hard to understand
- Problems reported with gauage
4. BIG RED T51201 Torin Steel H-Frame Hydraulic Shop Press, 20 Ton
This 20 ton garage shop press is made with a heavy-duty H-frame. It works perfect for straightening, bending, stamping, and pressing.
The Big Red comes with stamping plates that have v-blocks and a complete 180-degree guide. The heavy-duty springs allow the press to bounce back after being lowered safely. The springs give the user the ability to manually lower and raise the table for a precision job.
Even though this can be considered a small shop press, it has a capacity of up to 24,000 pounds. The bottle jack gives this press a working range from 10.5 inches to 35 inches.
The compact size of this press takes up minimal floor space. The measure gives you the option to take on jobs of any size without space being an issue.
The powder coating makes the exterior of this press very durable. The sleek red paint is also very pleasing to the eye. The design is a beautiful addition to any garage.
Removing and installing joints and gears is extremely easy with this model. Using the attached lever means there is no need for a gauge.
The jack and solid base plates make starting any job easy. It’s also possible to add wheels to this model to give you a more mobile option.
Don’t let the size of this small shop press fool you. The reliability and durability of this model really stand out.
- Very reasonably priced
- Easy to assemble and saves a lot of space
- Adjustable parts offer versatility
- Very long shelf life
- Made by a very trusted brand
- Wheels can be added for mobility
- Only 12 ton limit
- No pressure gauage can feel a bit foreign
5. OEMTOOLS 24810 20 Ton Bottle Jack Shop Press
This 20 ton bottle jack shop press is about 61 inches tall and 27 inches wide. This is great for a one-man show in the garage. Getting full-time use out of this model is not a problem at all.
The OEMTOOLS bottle jack has a lever that adds pressure to the jacks. This attached lever allows the jacks to extend by up to 6 inches.
Two springs on either side of the cylinder pull the ram head back very quickly. The speed of the pullback makes for a great mix of precision and accuracy.
The 1.8-inch ram makes denting and straightening a very efficient process. The bed also has a 4.7-inch opening. These measurements make pressing very easy without having to use a lot of extra accessories.
The press plates on this model are cast iron. You don’t have to be afraid of this press taking a beating. It’s very durable, and you can expect a very long shelf life out of this model.
A 20-ton capacity puts this press up there with the heavyweights. Having this press in a home garage is perfect for the do-it-yourself mechanic.
- Thick table equipped with adjustment pin
- Made with cast iron press plates
- Very large ram diameter
- The design is very durable
- Height can be extended
- Can’t be moved from side to side
- Holes that attach bottle jack to plate can be off
6. Sunex 5720 Fully-Welded Manual/Hydraulic 20 Ton Shop Press
This is another 20 ton hydraulic shop press built with the popular H-frame. The design of the H-frame is very popular among mechanics and auto enthusiasts. The Sunex is currently one of the more popular models on the market.
The welded frame is considered more durable than the bolted design. Over time the welding stands up to normal wear and tear.
There are several attachments to this model. These attachments add to the scope of work you can perform with this press. With this Sunex, your range of jobs suddenly becomes much more versatile.
The additional accessories include a 3-punch kit, bearing shield, and coupled bed plates. These add-ons nearly give this press the same capabilities as a full-size machine.
A convenient air-motor design gives this press an extra level of convenience. The air motor eliminates the need for any pumping.
- Highly durable frame prevents moving during operation
- Easily handles the 20-ton load capacity
- Variable table adjustment with holding pins
- Comes with extra attachments included
- Additions gives this press a wide range of capabilities
- No need for pumping
- Hard to keep track of pressure
- Added accessories can be a bit confusing to install at first
7. Sunex 5720AH Fully-Welded Manual Hydraulic 20 Ton Shop Press
The trimmer and more lightweight version of the Sunex uses an air design. This shop press model should not be confused with the Sunex 5720 Manual Hydraulic Shop Press. Technically, this model is a hybrid hydraulic press.
This type of press has a lever or an air compressor that can operate the bottle jack. There is convenience in being able to toggle between these two options based on what’s more comfortable.
Although the dimensions are smaller than usual, the frame is much broader than the average press. This width contributes to the overall strength and stability of this model.
Like its counterpart, this model comes with extra accessories to add to its range of use. These additions eliminate a lot of downtime due to the lack of critical components when completing a job.
The accessories are similar to the other Sunex model. You can expect this version to come with the three-piece punch kit, bed plates, and bearing shield.
This press is ideal for straightening gears and bushings. The added accessories give this press the feel of having the capabilities of a large machine shop.
- Operated with dual-action
- Wide frame increase support
- Convenient motor design decreases fatigue
- Added accessories make your scope of work more versatile
- No need for pumping
- Missing pressure gauage readout
- May encounter problems with hydraulic system
Things to Consider while Buying 20 Ton Air/Hydraulic Shop Press
When you’re selecting a shop press for your home or business, there are several vital factors you need to consider. You should evaluate each machine based on the following criteria.
Since we are explicitly talking about 20-ton machines, our desired specification for capacity is very clear. However, if you’re undecided on how many tons of power you’d like, use these guidelines.
There is generally a wide range of tonnage available for shop presses. The lowest is generally around six tons. Usually, this rating is okay for light use but not for heavier home projects and commercial jobs.
If you’re looking to be efficient in most mechanical categories, you’re going to want to start with a 12-ton capacity machine. This rating is strong enough to press most wheel bearings.
Going with a 20 ton is ideal, as these models can handle almost any application. If you’re committed to taking on substantial tasks, there are 50-ton options available.
What types of jobs will you complete with the press? Your goal needs to be very clear before you decide on a model. If you’re unsure, then it may be wise to pick a model that allows for customization.
Customization allows you to set the perfect configuration for whatever job you are taking on. Keep your eye out for adjustable tonnage settings, ram speeds, and operating pressure.
Press Selection Types
There are three main press selection types available for jobs when using a hydraulic press. There is an open-gap press that has access from three sides.
A four-column press will give you more pressure distribution. Straight side presses give you the rigidness you need for center loading die applications.
Max System Pressure
You’re going to want to examine the PSI where the press develops its total tonnage capacity. Industrial style presses typically have a PSI between 1,000 and 3,000.
For smaller shops and personal garages, you won’t need quite this much power.
Duration, Length, and Speed of Pressing Stroke
These factors are going to determine the horsepower you need from your machine. Compare all the horsepower ratings to ensure you acquire the most powerful press your wallet can handle.
If there are adjustable tonnage settings on the machine, you will gain more flexibility during your applications.
The frame construction is vital when it comes to the scope of the job your press can handle. The dimensional capacity and thickness of the frame play a huge role in the size of the job any particular model can take on.
You want to be sure the frame can hold up to any heavy-duty work you have planned.
Types of Shop Press Machines
Arbor models are generally considered the most light-duty press available. Different machines have different specifications, and some arbor-style machines can handle large jobs.
However, most are not capable of compressing larger amounts of pressure to create more significant outputs. Arbor-style presses usually flatten metal, tear, pierce holes, and mark inscriptions.
Power models are typically used on heavy equipment and machinery. The clutch comes in part or full revolution. The user cannot disrupt a full revolution style until the crank has made a full circle.
The part revolution style can be stopped anytime during the process of the crank. These presses take on more serious jobs than arbor-style machines and can be more dangerous. Use extreme caution when you use these models.
These presses look just like the name suggests. They are shaped exactly like a “C.” These presses use a design that gives users more floor space when operating them.
You often see this type of design used for assembly work. Depending on their intended use, they come in a wide variety of different weights.
The pneumatic is one of the most basic presses on the market. These models used compressed air to produce motion.
Although they work very well, they cannot create higher pressure like those in larger machine shops.
Manual presses are more popular for smaller shops and personal use due to their lower price.
They are incredibly efficient and reliable. You can use a manual press without compromising power or consistency.
20T Shop Press Specifications
Different models of 20-ton shop presses are going to have different ranges of specifications. There are some general figures that you should look for on the specifications of any particular model.
Most 20 ton presses will fall somewhere between 200 and 250 pounds. These numbers may fluctuate depending on the materials used to build the press.
The continuous force or tonnage capacity should be 20 tons. Some 20-ton presses may give out more force than this. As a general rule, be sure the specifications chart always reads 20 tons under the tonnage section.
The working range of most 20-ton presses will fall between 0 and 40 inches. Higher working range lengths equate to the ability to work with longer pieces of metal.
Typically the maximum stroke length of a 20-ton press will be about 6 inches. Specific models have extension options that allow the stroke length to go beyond this.
The average 20-ton hydraulic press model will be between 25 and 30 inches tall. The settings for the press height usually have between 5 and 10 different options.
All 20-ton hydraulic shop presses should be used with a high-quality oil. Using a higher quality oil gives them the ability to operate under temperatures between 40 and 105 degrees.
During the summer months, shops and garages can reach temperatures of well over 100. It is vital to stick with an oil that is rated high.
Shop Press Accessories
The shop press has made significant advancements over the years. There have been different types of accessories released that you can add to certain models.
These accessories allow some presses to be used in a manner much like a full-size design at large machine shops. These are some of the valuable designs that are available.
Shop Press Dimple Die Set Addition
The press die set is a combination of two different dies. The upper die head has a convex head, while the lower is concave. These sets are used to put a bowl-shaped indent onto a piece of metal.
You’ve probably seen these indents on anything metal you’ve bought and had to assemble. These indents stop the heads of screws from overhanging that have been inserted into their designated drilled holes.
Shop Press Punch Addition
The punch addition is much like the die set in the way that it has two distinct pieces. However, they work in a much different manner. The press has a bottom and top piece that move together as they close.
These pieces cut a perfect circular shape onto pieces of metal when they come together. The bottom simply locks into the top and their sharp edges combined with the force punch the hole out.
Shop Press Arbor Plate Addition
Arbor plates are formed from cast iron or solid steel. These flat bars are also known as table plates. Each separate arbor piece has a different cut along the edges that are slightly raised.
These plates can be interchanged to achieve various cuts and designs. Usually, they are used to separate the outer ring of a bearing or join two parts together.
The Press Brake
Press brakes usually are used for bending various metal attachments. For custom bending operations, the brake bars have detachable fingertips that attach.
If there is only a certain part of a metal plate you want to be bent at a specific angle, you will use the press brake for that.
20 Ton Shop Press Uses
Shop presses have varying degrees of tonnage they can handle. Depending on the specifications of the machine, different models can be used for different types of jobs.
A 20-ton press is a perfect size for accomplishing large jobs without paying the high prices of an industrial-grade machine. Let’s take a look at some of the jobs you can take down with this particular press.
Straightening and Bending Metal
Straightening and bending certain metals is one of the most common uses for a 20-ton press. To accomplish a bending job, all you have to do is attach the correct finger brake, then press.
The straightening process is a little different. For straightening jobs, you would use a wide-sized ram and straightening arbor plates.
Axle Bearing Replacement
Removing a bearing from an axle shaft is a fairly straightforward process. First, you need to remove the collar around the bearing with a chisel.
Next, you align your axle bearing press ram with the shaft and begin pulling the lever. Somewhere around the 5 tons of pressure mark, the axle shaft will begin to separate from the bearing.
Control Arm Bushing Replacement
All machine shops replace bushings. The replacement of the control arm bushing is one of the most common to see from a customer who doesn’t have access to a press.
This job is nearly impossible without using a shop press. It’s also very important that the bushing is pushed from the correct side.
To accomplish this, you would place the ram on the inner area of the control arm and align a die on the other. Slowly press the ram using extreme caution. The bushing should detach from the control arm socket.
Wheel Bearing Replacement
Like the arm bushing replacement, the wheel bearing replacement is another prevalent task. You can use any 20-ton shop press to get this job done.
All that’s needed is the proper adapter fitting. Place the adapter parallel with the wheel bearing and push.
Other General Uses
Typically you would only expect to see a hydraulic shop press in a garage or automotive setting. However, there are other instances of use that may surprise you.
You can use a hydraulic shop press to crush car parts. Larger presses are used for crushing the whole vehicle.
The 20-ton versions also come in handy forging swords. Many metal workers use 20-ton presses to fashion raw steel into certain designs. It’s not uncommon to see a 20-ton hydraulic press situated in a knife and sword makers shop area.
Hydraulic presses are also used in the food industry. These machines are able to produce fat-free cocoa by compressing the cocoa beans.
Many wineries also use different forms of hydraulic presses. They are very efficient for crushing grapes before they are turned into wine.
How To Use A 20-Ton Hydraulic Shop Press
You may use this section as a basic guideline for operating a hydraulic press. Some models may require extra steps, but this is a good outline. This guide is written under the conditions of using a manual press.
Raise the front safety guard of the hydraulic press. Place the material you are working with on a central location of the table.
Lower the top bolster of the pressing face. This can be accomplished by rotating the lead screw handle in a clockwise fashion.
Pull and push on the pump handle. Repeat this until the desired pressure is built up to accomplish the job. Having a gauge can assist in this step.
Once the desired pressure is achieved, turn the pressure release handle once. Make sure you do this in a counter-clockwise manner to release the pressure load.
Turn the lead screw handle counter-clockwise. This will raise the pressing face of the machine. After raising the face, you may open the safety guard and remove your work.
Keep in mind that this is just a basic guide. Non-manual and other air designs will have different steps involved.
Regardless of the type of press you are using, there should always be practice involved. We recommend using some scrap pieces of metal or steel first.
This gives you a chance to get a feel for the machine. Getting comfortable with your technique and the flow of the machine is crucial.
You should always feel confident in your ability before working on your desired material. This prevents wasted material and wasted money.
Preventing mistakes also poses less risk of injury. Safety should always be number one when operating a shop press.
1. What is a shop press?
A shop press is a mid-sized machine that runs on a hydraulic or pneumatic system. This machine can perform a wide range of tasks, including bending, stamping, straightening, or punching.
The weight capacity of these machines can fall anywhere between the one and 50-ton mark. Different accessories are available on some models that can increase the scope of work the machine can achieve.
2. What are the advantages of using a hydraulic press?
Hydraulic presses use mineral oil to create intense pressure originating from the pistons. Many would argue against the use of a hydraulic press because of the amount of upkeep they require.
However, hydraulic presses can be more beneficial depending on the materials you are using. For heavier and thicker metals, a hydraulic press is much more efficient than an air design.
3. How much pressure does a hydraulic press have?
Hydraulic presses can apply varying degrees of pressure. Using a gauge on this type of press will allow you to garner an accurate reading for the pressure output.
Generally, the maximum amount of pressure you would see from a 20-ton press would fall somewhere between the 6,000 and 7,000-pound mark.
4. How many PSI are in a ton?
Many times you will find yourself needing to convert different calculations and measurements when using a shop press. These can be accomplished using simple math equations.
When you use the correct equation, one ton equates to roughly 13.8889 PSI.
5. What is the strongest hydraulic press?
There are several different options if you require a very strong hydraulic press. However, the most recent specifications showcase a clear-cut leader in the field.
The 80,000-ton die-forging hydraulic press is the strongest in the world. The total weight of this monster clocks in at over 20,000 tons.
6. How long do hydraulic presses last?
The answer to this question is largely based on the quality of the machine you are using. If the machine is a high-quality brand, you should expect it to last up to 15 years or more.
There are many different models of 20-ton shop presses available. It’s extremely difficult to consider one the best when they all perform vital features.
Certain models are designed for specific actions. We’ve placed our favorites into a few different categories.
Best 20 Ton Air Hydraulic Shop Press
The press at number one is the Baileigh 20-ton shop press. It is fairly inexpensive but also very reliable.
The 24-inch H-frame gives this press a level of durability that it needs to provide high levels of force. During operation, this model is as solid as a rock.
Best 20 Ton Manual Hydraulic Shop Press
Our vote for the manual hydraulic press goes to the Sunex 5720. As opposed to a bolted design, the welded frame gives this press the edge over the competition.
When you’re using a manual press, having a solid frame is crucial. The attachments available on this model also make it stand out. You can accomplish a wide range of work with this model.
Best 20 Ton Shop Press for Beginners
We feel that the OEMTOOLS 24810 Bottle Jack Shop Press is the best for a new user. This model can accomplish fairly heavy tasks without an operation that is too overwhelming for a new user.
The 1.8-inch ram and 4.7 inches opening make this model very user-friendly. There’s a high level of convenience when using this machine.
The two springs also operate very efficiently. How they pull back also adds a level of safety which is important for a new user. This model is also surprisingly durable and should give any user many years of work.