A bead roller is certainly one of the must-have equipment in a fabrication shop. They are the ideal equipment to strengthen frail parts, and create steps in materials. However, finding the right & cheap bead roller is not an easy task. The reason is, there are numerous brands that sell cheap products online. Many of these may have the same features, while others may have features you may not need. Price is also a factor (obviously). Needless to say, a fabricator can have a tough time choosing the best budget bead roller for his shop.
This is a problem that is faced by many customers who are looking for good & cheap bead rollers online. The easiest way to solve this issue is to compare the major branded products in terms of all the above mentioned aspects.
A Comparison of Popular Branded Bead Rollers
The list below comprises bead rollers offered by major sheet metal fabrication equipment manufacturers. The descriptions of each product comprise:
- Installation, and Operation Versatility
Readers will have an opportunity to compare the products on all these aspects. So, let’s get started.
Ten Best Bead Rollers for the Money
1. Woodward Fab - WFBR6 Bead Rolling Kit
One of the most popular bead rolling machines in the market today, the WFBR6 is known for its ease of use, and operation versatility. It can be used to create firewalls, as well as floor and trunk pans. It is also one of Woodward Fab’s bestselling products.
- Price: $159.99
- Design: This kit is capable of rolling 16 gauge aluminum, and 18 gauge mild steel. Its design allows for easy die installation, and rolling operations.
- Features: This is a compact bead roller. It can be installed onto a bench vise, as well as a stand. It is provided with three round dies, and three step dies.
- Specifications: The bead roller has a throat depth of 18ʺ. The sizes of the round dies range from 1/2″ to 3/8″. The sizes of the step dies range from 1/4″ to 1/16″.
2. Pro-Tools – Manual Bead Roller
The bead roller from Pro-Tools is well-known for its durable construction, and versatile operation. It can be used to form metal as well as strengthen it.
- Price: $429.95
- Design: The bead roller comprises a heavy wall, no-flex, rectangular housing. It can be used to form mild steel up to 18 gauge, and aluminum up to 16 gauge.
- Features: It comprises a simple crank handle design, thus eliminating the need to raise or lower the shaft. The user can simply feed the sheet metal into the roller, and turn the handle to apply pressure to stiffen the metal.
- Specifications: The bead roller is provided with a standard bead roll set. The customer can choose the bead roll set, as well as other accessories depending on his/her requirements.
3. Mittler Bros. Bead Roller
This is an electric bead roller that is used to strengthen aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel sheet metal. The electric motor is connected to both bead shafts, allowing them to move at high speeds. This allows for fast and easy bead rolling. The throat height of the Mittler bead roller can be adjusted with a small, simple crank handle at the top of the machine.
- Price: $840.00
- Design: This powered bead roller comprises a billet aluminum frame. It is light weight and structurally strong. It is designed to form and strengthen 16 gauge aluminum, 19 gauge mild steel, and 21 gauge stainless steel.
- Features: Being a powered bead roller, this product is operated using forward and reverse switches, and a speed adjustable foot pedal. Like the throat height, the bead depth can also be adjusted.
- Specifications: The throat height range is from 1ʺ to 1/8ʺ. The bead roller frame is a 24ʺ model.
4. Eastwood Motorized Bead Roller
This is another electric powered bead roller, which is designed to create beads, bends, and joggles in steel and aluminum sheets. The electric motor allows the user freedom to perform the beading process without another person’s assistance. It is a good choice for custom sheet metal work.
- Price: $879.99
- Design: The bead roller is designed for rolling sheet metal made from 16 gauge aluminum, and 18 gauge steel. The design includes a stand, which requires little space for installation in a workshop.
- Features: The Eastwood bead roller comprises an electric motor, along with a reversible foot pedal. These help control the direction and speed of the dies. It also includes a 1/2ʺ die set.
- Specifications: The throat depth is 24ʺ, hence the bead roller can be used to form and strengthen 4' large panels. The specifications of the motor are 1/6hp 120v.
5. Rotary Machine Bead Roller
This is the only non-branded manual bead roller in this list. This product can be easily found on ecommerce and online shopping sites. This rotary machine can be used to form and bend sheet metal for industrial fabrication purposes.
- Price: $274.99
- Design: The roller is designed to be simple and robust. It comprises two manual crank handles, and three adjustable knobs to change the specifications. The rollers consist of lined depressions, allowing for the creation of precise beads in the metal.
- Features: The small handle allows for easy adjustment of the throat depth and height. The large handle ensures that the user can apply enough force to let the metal pass through the throat easily. The bottom of the machine comprises a latch-like device. This ensures that it can be installed quite easily.
- Specifications: Including the base mount, the overall dimensions of the rotary machine are 20-1/2″L x 5″W x 32-1/2″H. The throat depth is 7″, which means that the machine can bead roll sheet metal with a surface thickness of up to 2″.
6. Baileigh Power Bead Roller Machine BR-18E-36
This machine is used by fabrication shops for large volume projects. The BR-18E-36 can be used by automobile manufacturers, and car restoration companies to create hoods, roof panels, and deck lids.
- Price: $1,195.00
- Design: This roller design includes an electric powered, 1/8 hp, and 110V bead roller constructed out of heavy welded steel. The design also includes a heavy duty stand and a die rack.
- Features: The motor allows the roller dies to move in forward as well as backward directions. The motor is connected to a variable speed foot pedal for easy machine control and operation. A lead screw and a handle is used to adjust the bead depth.
- Specifications: This bead roller has a large, 36ʺ throat depth. It can form mild steel sheets with 16 gauge thickness.
7. Harbor Freight Bead Roller
The Harbor Freight bead roller is a bench fabrication kit. It is primarily designed for auto body workers, and can be used to make dashboards, battery trays, and floor pans.
- Price: $179.99
- Design: The kit comprises a steel construction with a cast iron base for stability, with a long crank handle for ease of operation. The design allows for the use of different mandrels.
- Features: It is a manual bead roller, and can be installed onto a bench vise for operation. It is provided with bead, flange, and shearing mandrels.
- Specifications: The overall size of the kit is 18ʺ. The machine’s throat depth ranges from 1/4ʺ to 18ʺ. It has a sheet metal capacity of up to 18 gauge.
8. Lazze 3rd Axis Bead Roller
This is a second generation electric bead rolling equipment provided by Lazze. It has been specifically designed to bead roll and strengthen components like fenders, and motorcycle tanks.
- Price: $6,999
- Design: The design comprises a large gap between the shafts. The bead roller is powered by a 1/2hp motor and gearbox, and the speed is controlled by a foot pedal. It also includes a die rack, and a 3rd axel at 90o to support the dies.
- Features: The upper shaft is adjustable with a range of 2ʺ in and out. This allows the user to combine different dies for bead rolling. The 3rd axel can be adjusted in and out, as well as up and down. It is provided with 12 pairs of dies.
- Specifications: It can roll 18 gauge cold rolled steel, and aluminum, both with 2 mm thicknesses. Motor speed can be increased up to 17 rpm.
9. Vibrant Performance Manual Bead Rollers 2990
This is the simplest manual bead roller in this list. It is designed specifically for installation in industrial vices. It can be installed without using any tools.
- Price: $299.95
- Design: The Vibrant bead rollers is constructed from steel and aluminum components.
- Features: It comprises a simple crank handle design, which allows for easy and fast bead rolling.
- Specifications: The product can be used on 16 gauge aluminum, and 18 gauge mild and stainless steel.
10. Irvan Smith Manual Bead Roller
The Irvan Smith bead roller is a suitable product for small fabrication shops. While the product mentioned here is a manual bead roller, it can be converted into an electric powered product.
- Price: $395.00
- Design: The bead roller comprises a simple design, with two rollers, and two crank handles. The small handle is used to adjust the shaft gap, while the larger one is used to roll the metal through the machine.
- Features: It can be mounted on a stand, as well as a bench vice
- Specifications: The bead roller’s throat depth is 24ʺ. Two round bead mandrels are used to perform the rolling procedure. Due to the width of the throat, the sheet metal up to 1 1/4ʺ in size can be used.
A look at the details of each bead roller will help you understand their design and application benefits easily. When you compare the products, you will be able to hone in on the best budget & cheap bead roller, which will meet your needs.
petej.weitz on June 25, 2017: