When you start to work on new projects, you will usually find yourself looking for something to hold things in place. In the world of woodworking, there is a saying that you can never have too many clamps, but knowing which the best are is still important.
The best overall clamps are the MLCS Woodworking exclusive multi-corner clamp, the Maxpower f-clamp, and the Jorgensen 12-inch bar clamp. These three clamps, when used together, can help you apply pressure to small projects the size of your hands or something as large as a bed frame.
However, we need to look at everything on the market and determine which ones are the best to have in your garage or workshop. We have gone through 16 different clamps, sorted them all into general categories, and found everything fantastic and not so fantastic about each of them.
What Are The Top Five Quick Clamps?
When you need to clamp something, there are certain things that you will need to have the best possible result. If you are making both complex and large, you may not want to struggle with straps, or you may need a light pressure to be in place for a while.
Quick clamps are usually referred to as clamps that can be loosened and tightened fast, with minimal effort required to open or close them. Most are unable to apply a large amount of strength but will be quickly fitted to anything that you are working on, keeping it secure while you get the other clamps.
Irwin Quick-Grip Clamp
The base standard of a set of quick clamps the Irwin pack of eight quick clamps has everything the starting woodworker may need. With four F-quick clamps that can be applied with ease and four spring-loaded clamps that will make working on most projects a breeze.
However, it should always be noted that these are made out of plastic, with minimal metal or steel parts in their construction. This severely limits the total amount of pressure they can apply and may break when you are using them too much or when trying to apply too much pressure.
Jorgensen 12-Inch Bar Clamp
This two-pack of F-clamps is capable of doing a lot more than most other clamps, being both reversible and capable of applying around 300-pounds of pressure. The clamp handles include load limit indicators as well as being able to be reversed, applying pressure either inwards or outwards.
The Jorgensen 12-inch F-clamp set does have limitations, chief of which is the small 12-inch size that they have to travel on. Further, with only two in a pack, they are not as competitively priced as other clamps of the same size and type.
Beetro Quick-Grip Bar Clamp
As we have said previously, a good woodworker has more clamps than he ever thinks he may need, and the Beetro quick grip pack of 6-inch F-clamps is a good place to start. With six in each pack, you can ensure that everything you are working on is properly clamped and ready to be glued.
The downside of these six is their size, and the plastic material they are made from these are not meant to push or force your parts into perfectly fitting. Instead, provide enough pressure for the glue, nails, or screws to be properly set into the piece of work you are making.
E-Ting Hand Tool Toggle Clamp
Sometimes, just sometimes, you don’t want things to be clamped onto each other; instead, you want pieces clamped onto your work surface. The E-Ting hand tool toggle clamp has been made for this, allowing you to clamp pieces onto your work surface by simply pushing down on the level.
Unless you are modifying these, they will have to be fixed into place permanently with the four holes for mounting hardware. Further, as you continue to use them, the rubber pads holding down your pieces will wear away, requiring that you purchase a new set, as they are cheap.
What Are The Five Best Large Clamps?
When you have the quick clamps applied, it is usually time to start adding every other clamp you can find onto your workpiece. These clamps need to be large, in charge, and capable of applying much more pressure than plastics would normally allow.
We have the five best large clamps that will apply a large amount of pressure that you need to ensure that the glue is set in the best possible way. It is recommended that you collect these whenever and wherever you can, as they are usually quite pricey.
Wen 10236f2 Quick Adjust 36-Inch Clamp
The Wen adjustable F-clamp is not like other quick-adjust clamps, with the first noticeable difference being the fully cast-iron material of the clamps themselves, sliding on an aluminum bar. Further, the quick-adjust system is apart from the actual clamp system, allowing for maximum pressure.
At 36-inches long in total length, you will be paying a hefty price for just two of these clamps. As you get other options, look for longer guide bars and stronger pressures; the price does go higher, with the thread of the adjustment handle also wearing out over time.
Workpro 12-Inch Steel Bar Clamp
The Workpro is exactly how you would describe a more durable 12-inch-long F-clamp if you had to write it down on paper. With cast-iron handles, a simple quick-adjust system, an aluminum bar, and an easy-to-use threaded adjustment bar, this is the best F-clamp to get for an affordable price.
While this can provide more pressure than quick clamps, it will also become worn out just as fast as it is not made out of the highest quality iron and steel. Further, at only 12-inches long, it can only be used in certain circumstances and will usually be left to the side when working on larger projects.
Jorgensen 18″ Bar Clamp Set
The Jorgensen 18-inch set of two clamps is possibly one of the most practical-looking clamps we have. Capable of applying just over 1000-pounds of pressure, it will ensure that your work is staying tightly connected.
The only downside to using this F-clamp is its price, limiting the amount of them you may purchase at any given time. Further, many people prefer longer F-clamps; with the Jorgensen only being 18-inches long, it does limit how large your future projects maybe when this is all you have.
Irwin Vise-Grip C-Clamp
There is always something to be said with old designs that just always work perfectly, with the Irwin adjustable vise-grip C-clamp being made with this philosophy. This clamp is easy to apply to your pieces and will help you keep everything together as you may need.
Most people usually complain that the C-clamp needs to be larger or that they are applying too much pressure and damaging the wood. This is something that often happens with adjustable C-clamps, as you can apply a lot of pressure on one spot without realizing it, thanks to the mechanism.
Maxpower Heavy Duty F-Clamp
It does not always happen when working with wood, but sometimes you need to clamp something so tight that almost nothing could move the pieces apart. The Maxpower heavy-duty F-clamp has been made with this in mind; you would tire out before reaching the maximum clamp strength.
Coming in a pack of four, the only limiting factor about these F-clamps is their price and the basic design. Meant to be used on steel, these F-clamps have found a place in woodworking because of the consistently large amount of pressure that they can apply.
Which Are The Four Best Angle Clamps?
Normal F-clamps and other clamps do not provide a lot of pressure when working on pieces that have perfect angles. Which in woodworking is almost every single piece that you are making, whether you are gluing, nailing, or screwing them all together.
Angle clamps serve two purposes, each one important for anyone hoping to make the best products. The first is to secure things at a perfect 90-degree angle while drying, and the second is to secure two parts at a 90-degree angle, allowing you to drill or screw everything together.
Afake 90-Degree Corner Clamp
Sometimes, all you require or need is something simple, and the Afake 90-degree angle clamp is one of the best out there. With a simple design and easy-to-use system, it is almost literally the go-to definition of an angle clamp and what you should expect from them.
Apart from the lack of strength in the design, there is not much to complain about with this clamp. However, its simplicity also works against it as it does not have adjustable or bending sides, which causes it to
Wetols Corner Clamp
Another simple angle iron, the Wetols corner clamp pack of two, is meant for those working on softer materials, as it is made out of aluminum alloy. This means that it will not easily dent wood when clamping onto the material, giving you a bit of space to work with the clamp.
It should be noted that this clamp does not have such a strong clamping force and may not provide you with the strength you need when working on harder materials. Further, the sides of the clamp cannot easily adjust, only capable of holding onto perfectly straight pieces.
Monster & Master 90 Degree Corner Clamp
This odd-looking clamp can best be described as a combination of an angle clamp and a C-clamp, as it works similar to the adjustable C-clamps that many like. However, it will hold two pieces of material at a perfect 90-degree angle giving you the chance to clamp everything quickly.
We recommend this when you are working with pieces that may have to be forced into the 90-degree angle or want to be quick about clamping. With the two of these, you can easily create perfect frames of wood of any size without having to try and hold everything up while tightening the clamp.
Qwork 90-Degree Positioning Clamp
Sometimes the inside of something has to be 90-degrees while the outside surface is nowhere near that, or the inside is at a weird angle while the outside is perfectly 90-degrees. The Qwork two-piece positioning square is one of the best ways to clamp odd pieces at perfectly 90-degrees.
While the clamps cannot simply put a lot of pressure on something that you are clamping, you will easily achieve perfect angles throughout your work. We always recommend using these if you are working with wood that is not quite perfect.
What Are The Five Best Strap Clamps?
When you have everything set up and your longest F-clamps are on your frame, you may find yourself suddenly looking for something even larger. However, after a certain size, no solid clamp will be able to help you keep everything together, being either too flexible or just not large enough.
Strap clamps are relatively new compared to other types of clamps already known by woodworkers around the world. However, they have proven their worth by being almost endless adjustable and capable of overcoming almost everything thrown at them.
Horusdy Band Clamp
The simplest type of strap clamp currently on the market, the Horusdy band clamp, use four perfect 90-degree angle pieces on the strap. By putting these on the four corners of your workpiece, you can tighten the strap and hold everything securely in place while you glue up and nail in.
However, as amazing as this strap is, once you move to large projects, need more pressure, or have more than three corners, it starts to fail. This inexpensive strap will help you with the most basic projects you may be working on without requiring hundreds of dollars worth of straps.
Pittsburgh 66220 Ratcheting Clamp
The Pittsburgh ratchet clamp is one of the best possible clamps that you can use when you need a lot of pressure on the joins of your project. With the strapping mechanism easily pushing the strap to its absolute limit, this simple ratcheting clamp will easily give you perfectly joined joins.
You should, however, be careful, as it can be quite easy to apply too much pressure when using a ratcheting clamp of this type. Cracking your wood, bending joins, or even shattering everything as you are busy tightening the ratchet at its price is an expensive mistake to make.
Lipovolt Picture Frame Band Strap
The amazing thing about the Lipvolt picture frame band is that it will work on almost every shape that you can think of. Because the angles are not set permanently to 90-degrees, you can make anything from a triangle box to an octagonal barrel by using the strap.
However, you will not be able to apply a lot of pressure due to the strap’s lack of a ratchet, which is a sacrifice worth paying its price. You will have to use a few other traditional clamps to ensure everything else that you are gluing, nailing, or screwing is perfectly aligned.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best clamp is not something that will ever give you the same answer; every new project you tackle will give you different challenges. Every experienced woodworker always has a large collection of clamps specifically to ensure they are ready for any challenge they may face.
Always remember, you can never have too many clamps when you are doing your final glue-up!