Having the right tool for every job is probably the best advice to give anyone working with metal. For metal shaping, particularly bending, there are hundreds of options on the market. Let us look at some of the best options available for square tube benders, no matter the size of your job.
CPS BLACKMAX BTB300 Premium Ratcheting Tube Bender with Reverse Bend
For softer tubing, like copper and aluminum with small diameters (between ¼” and 7/8”), this versatile kit gives you a lot of options for an affordable price. Reviewers point to its durability but also mention the need for patience, especially when bending soft copper or bending PVC pipe.
RIGID 6117-403 Instrument Bender
This inexpensive, manual bender is great for copper, steel and stainless with wall thicknesses of 1.5mm or less. Comfort grip handles give you extra hold for those 180-degree bends, and an oil-absorbing shoe helps in forming accurate bends while reducing bending effort. The size of tubing it will accept is limited, but if you are bending stainless steel brake lines, this might be just the tool for you.
Imperial Tool 370FH Triple Head 180 Degree Tube Bender
One of the highest rated, and lowest price manual benders can accommodate a decent variety of sizes. It handles soft copper, aluminum and thin-wall steel tubing with precision and durability. Calibrated markings help with accuracy for right-hand, left-hand, and offset bends. Reviewers like the flexibility that comes from the moveable handles.
Sometimes you need more than just a tube bender. You need a rugged piece of equipment that will handle tougher metals, exert more force, and accommodate a variety of sizes.
EXEBEND™ Model 500 SA by Bradshaw
For bend only jobs without a need for end forming, this model is operated by electric foot pedals. The 500 SA dies are machined from steel, heat treated and hardened to give you durability that exceeds the competition. A motor and hydraulic system allow for smoother bending of heavier metal gauges without sacrificing accuracy for fast, repeatable bends.
EXEBEND™ Model 1000 by Bradshaw
This full-size tube bender comes with end forming capabilities, so it’s a step up from the 500 SA. Depending on your needs, this is a great manually operated bender that bends and installs a variety of tube sizes. It includes a standard Muffler Man Package Bending Dies, a collection of machined (not cast) tooling dies that have been heat carburized, quenched, and tempered for longevity.
EXEBEND™ Model 5000 by Bradshaw
For busy shops with a lot of bending to do, the model 5000 brings it all together. This machine uses remote electric foot pedals and has a manually operated, double-ended swage box for expanding, reducing, and forming ends. The semi-automatic feature helps to produce fast and repeatable bends without sacrificing accuracy. Foot pedals can bring the ram die forward to put pressure on a tube prior to engaging the semi-automatic feature. A double-ended swage box cylinder can expand or reduce, and form the tubing ends, so you can repeatedly machine to your exact job specifications. For heavier gauge metal or tubing up to 3 inches in diameter, the 5000 brings the best motor and hydraulic system to work for you. The Muffler Man Package Bending Dies are also included with the model 5000.
Whether you are fabricating for a weekend project in your garage, or require reliable tubing bends in a professional shop, taking the time to research the right tube bender for your product will help you spend your money wisely. You want maximum reliability and ruggedness for the dollars you spend. Check out these options and find the right tube bender for your metal working projects.