Woodworking clamps help keep your workpieces secure as you sand, cut, assemble, and bond two wood pieces with glue. Hence, you can be sure of requiring them for almost every project you undertake.
Clamps come in different styles or types and differ in various other aspects such as the material and clamping power. Therefore, as you shop for the best woodworking clamps, you need to know what will work best for you.
Here we provide a review of a few outstanding models and a detailed buying guide to help you decide what to buy.
Things To Know Before Buying Woodworking Clamps
1) Types of Clamps
Your search for the best woodworking clamps should always start by deciding on the type that will work best for you. Here you have plenty of options to choose from, but it is crucial to make sure what you buy suits your specific needs.
Spring clamps have a design similar to clothespins, and they are typically meant for smaller projects as they do not have a lot of clamping power.
They work well for joinery projects such as holding window frames as you nail the wood pieces together.
The spring clamps can also be ideal for use when you want to hold a picture frame together as the wood glue dries.
However, given how light the steel on these clamps can be, you have to be extra careful when using them as they can easily bend or break.
As the name suggests, the corner clamps are for use in corners where you want to keep the workpiece at a perfect 90-degree angle.
Corner clamps like the Housolution Right Angle Clamp are handy when dealing with mitered wood pieces. But, these clamps are not very versatile as they are nothing much you can use them for besides right angle clamping.
The pipe clamps are one of the most popular types, and their popularity stems from the fact they are helpful in both woodworking and metalworking.
These clamps work well when you need to hold two wood pieces together as the wood dries or even keep a pipe in place when attaching it to a bathroom cabinet. An excellent example of a pipe clamp is the Bessey BPC-H34.
F-clamps get their name from their shape, which comprises a couple of horizontal jaws with a vertical metal bar. They are ideal for use when you need a highly secure grip for jobs such as gluing wood pieces together.
When using these clamps, you only need to tighten or untighten the jaw using the screw, making them easily adjustable and hence simple to use.
C-clamps like the Kreg KHC-Premium have a simple design that features a c-shaped cast iron or steel piece with a long screw for tightening the clamp when you want to exert more force.
You can get C-clamps in different sizes, and so you can be sure there is always something that will suit your projects. However, you have to be careful with these clamps as they can sometimes damage the wood they touch.
Edge clamps are small but powerful clamp types designed to clamp the edges of a workpiece. They come in handy for projects like clamping trim to the edge of a wood piece where clamping across the entire piece is not feasible.
Other projects where edge clamps come in handy include edge banding, gluing veneer, and when you want to join wood lipping to stock.
2) Construction Material
The material used to make the woodworking clamps determines its durability, and hence it is also a crucial factor to consider.
Remember that the clamps have to take a lot of abuse in the workshop and so what you buy has to be rough and rugged enough.
The most common clamp materials are metal, reinforced nylon, and thermoplastic. However, those made from metal materials like high carbon steel, aluminum alloy, and steel are typically the most durable.
3) Clamping Power
A good woodworking clamp should be able to exert adequate force to be useful for you. Hence, before settling on any clamp model, it is crucial to know how much clamping power it can provide.
That said, the clamping power you need depends on how you intend to use the clamp. For example, if you want something for the light to medium-duty jobs, you need a clamp that provides anything from 15 to 200 lbs of clamping power.
However, for heavy-duty jobs when working with thick and large stock, clamps with at least 500 lbs of clamping power are required. Something with 1,200 lbs of clamping force like the Wen 10236F2 is an even better buy.
There are two factors you need to take into account when it comes to the size of the woodworking clamp, which are its overall dimensions and jaw size.
For the overall dimensions, make sure what you choose comes in an easy-to-handle size, as something too massive will give you a hard time. But, the size still has to be sufficient for your projects.
Jaw size measures how wide the jaws can open and the maximum material thickness the clamp can handle. Here you can get clamps with a jaw size that is as small as 3 inches or as large as 36 inches or even more.
Hence, it is up to you to choose what works best for your specific projects.
10 Best Woodworking Clamps in 2021 Reviewed
Let’s take a look at our best picks:
1) Best Overall: Irwin Quick-Grip 1964758
The Irwin Quick-Grip 1964758 is our best overall woodworking clamp set as the clamps are as flawless as it gets with sturdy construction, easy use design, and will not damage workpieces.
These clamps feature a sturdy resin construction and have some hardened steel bars that ensure you get to use them for many years to come. Besides being durable, the hardened bars help prevent flexing or bending.
Since the pads are non-marring, they do not scratch or scuff the wood no matter how much clamping pressure you apply. What’s more, these are quite lightweight clamps as they weigh just 2.9 pounds and have a quick grip design.
The screws on the clamping mechanism do not seem very high-quality, but you will be surprised at how well they hold up.
- Sturdy and durable build
- Does not scuff or scratch surfaces
- Instant grip design
- Quite lightweight
- Screws are not the best quality
2) Best Budget Woodworking Clamps: Powertec 71164
Powertec 71164 is a more affordable woodworking clamps option that will be the perfect choice for the woodworker shopping on a tight budget.
But, despite being a budget option, the clamps are still built to last with a die-cast aluminum material and a smooth anodized coating.
These are also some of the best quick clamps as they have a quick release that is ideal for high-speed clamping when doing repetitive work as they can help streamline the workflow. Additionally, they are pretty versatile as you can use them for various clamping projects.
The bolts on these woodworking clamps seem a little too thin, but they will not tilt or allow for too much play when in use. Also, the rubber washers could be thicker and more stable, but they are still acceptable for the price of these clamps.
- More affordable for budget shoppers
- Well-built and durable overall construction
- Very ideal for high-speed clamping
- Smooth anodized coating
- Bolts are a little too thin
- Rubber washers could be thicker
3) Best C-Clamp: Kreg KHC-Premium
For those that do a lot of pocket screw joinery, the Kreg KHC-Premium C-clamp is an unbeatable choice as it is designed specifically for that. This clamp is handy when you want to secure individual joints as you drive in the pocket screws.
Many users love that the jaws lock more securely and the pressure is adjustable, which allows you to customize the clamp to suit your specific needs. Additionally, the face keeps the joints perfectly flush and is non-marring to ensure it never damages your materials.
The quality of the blue rubber handles on these clamps is wanting, but they are still quite comfortable and can hold up fairly well with proper care. Also, the depth of the arms could be a little longer, but this does not seem to affect usability significantly.
- Jaws lock more securely
- Uniquely designed for pocket screw joinery
- Face keeps joints perfectly flush
- Clamping force is adjustable
- Rubber handle quality is wanting
- Depth of the arms is not adequate
4) Best Spring Clamps: WorkPro W001400A
If you are looking for some simple spring clamps to use in your workshop, the WorkPro W001400A is an excellent choice. These clamps come in a 6-piece set and are designed to be highly durable with a reinforced nylon construction that makes them tough enough.
Besides the sturdy overall construction, these clamps have durable clamping pads with a soft material to ensure they do not scratch or chip the finishes.
There is also a more ergonomic handle with an excellent grip to ensure the clamps are more comfortable to use. What’s more, these are pretty versatile clamps you can use for various applications, including arts and crafts.
Like many other small woodworking clamps, these do not seem to apply a lot of clamping pressure, but they still offer enough for the simple tasks they are meant for.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Ergonomic and more comfortable handle
- Pads are long-lasting and do not damage finishes
- Suitable for various applications
- Does not provide a lot of clamping pressure
5) Best Pipe Clamp: Bessey BPC-H34
With the H-shaped assembly, the Bessey BPC-H34 is one of the most stable pipe clamps you can get out there. This unique assembly provides dual-axis stability by stabilizing the clamp in two dimensions.
The overall build of this woodworking clamp also does not disappoint as it includes some robust cast jaw and a powder-coated finish for long-lasting performance.
Additionally, the pipe clamp has an extra high base to ensure you get adequate clearance. Also, you never have to worry about scratching or damaging the material as it has some soft jaw caps.
The few shortcomings for these pipe clamps include the fact that they are pretty bulky, and the finish is a bit rough. However, they are still relatively easy to handle, and the finish is adequate for most users.
- More stable assembly
- Provides more base clearance
- Highly durable jaws
- Soft jaw caps prevent material damage
- Long-lasting powder coat finish
- Quite bulky
- Finish is a bit rough
6) Best for Corners: MLCS Can-Do Clamp
Whether you are dowelling, drilling, or framing, a top-quality corner clamp like the MLCS Can-Do Clamp is always great to have around. What makes this one of the best woodworking clamps is it has a multifunctional design that allows it to work as both a clamp and vise.
Additionally, the clamp has oblong mounting holes that make it super easy and quick to set up. Better still, it is made from a sturdy aluminum material to ensure maximum durability. When it comes to the actual use, the clamp has a T handle, which allows you to apply high pressure.
Other things making this a fantastic clamp include that it has two swivel points, the jaws are movable, and it clamps on two sides to ensure maximum security of the workpiece.
The red paint seems to come off easily, and some of it is left on the material, which can be pretty annoying. However, this should never be a deal-breaker as you can easily remove any paint from most workpieces.
- Multifunctional design
- Easy to set up
- Applies high pressure with T handle design
- Sturdy aluminum build
- Paint comes off easily
7) Best for Project Assembly: Wen CL436R
If you do a lot of project assembly and use pocket hole joinery, the Wen CL436R clamps will serve you well. What makes them ideal for project assembly is they effectively keep the pocket holes secure and square as you drive in the screws.
These clamps offer a decent clamping capacity as they have a 3-5/8-inch clamping capacity and a 4-inch throat. What’s more, they provide even force distribution thanks to the swiveling pads that are also non-marring to ensure they do not damage the material.
Using the clamps is also more comfortable, thanks to the ergonomic handle with a soft grip. Better still, there is a quick-release mechanism to allow for easy disengagement of the clamping pressure.
The rivets on the clamping pivot points seem to have some sharp edges, but this should not be a deal-breaker since you can easily smooth them out. While the clamp angle can be a bit off, the margin is still not significant enough to affects the accuracy when assembling a project.
- Very ideal for project assembly
- Provides even force distribution
- Does not damage workpieces
- Comfortable handle with a soft grip
- Easy clamping pressure disengagement
- Sharp edges on the rivets
- Clamp angle can be a bit off
8) Highest Clamping Force Woodworking Clamps: Wen 10236F2
For woodworkers that require something with high clamping force, the Wen 10236F2 is a fantastic option. Its 1,200 pounds clamping force is one of the highest on our woodworking clamp review, and it means this will be an ideal option for heavy-duty use.
Besides the higher clamping force, this model also has a longer 36-inch rail and 2.5-inch throat to ensure it can accommodate larger workpieces. Better still, you can easily set it up as it has a handy quick-adjust mechanism.
With the inclusion of a micro-adjustment knob, the woodworking clamps ensure you get an additional grip and increased precision. When using these clamps, you also never have to worry about scuffing or scratching your workpieces as they have non-marring pads.
These clamps will take quite some effort to open, but they should get easier as you use them more and more since they tend to loosen a little.
- Delivers a higher clamping force
- Fast and easy adjustment
- Non-marring pads protect workpieces
- Micro-adjustment knobs provide extra grip and precision
- Higher capacity rail and throat
- Takes quite some effort to open up
9) Premium-Quality Angle Woodworking Clamp: Housolution Right Angle Clamp
Housolution Right Angle Clamp is a premium-quality woodworking clamp option that will be a perfect choice for DIYers and professionals looking for something top-tier. It features aluminum die-casting alloy construction that makes it highly durable and still keeps its weight down.
The handle is also premium-quality, rubberized, and includes a non-skid surface to make it comfortable and secure to use. This handle and the quick-release mechanism ensure more effortless clamp adjustment.
Users will appreciate that this woodworking pipe clamp does not obstruct the work area despite providing a vice-like grip, meaning you can still work hassle free.
The handle location on the inside means these clamps might not be very ideal for smaller projects or workpieces since they can touch each other. But, provided the project you are working on provides enough clearance for the handles, they should work perfectly.
- Premium-quality construction
- Comfortable and skid-resistant handle
- Easy adjustment mechanism
- Does not obstruct work area
- Not very ideal for smaller projects
10) Smooth & Versatile Woodworking Clamp: Tekton 4022
Whether you want to fasten, glue, or weld pieces, the Tekton 4022 will work for you as it is a versatile clamp model suitable for all that and more. Better still, the clamp can work for both woodworking and metalworking.
Using the clamps is guaranteed to be smooth enough as it has an acme-threaded screw that glides without ever binding or sticking. Pressure is also applied more evenly to the workpiece as the swivel jaw pad floats evenly in a low-resistant joint.
The overall construction of the clamp will not disappoint users as it includes a malleable cast frame guaranteed to last a long time and provide superior strength. Other things like the multiple hand positions that ensure excellent leverage make this an even better choice.
Craftsmanship seems a little lacking for these clamps as the finish on some sections does not look as neat as expected, but there is nothing significant that can affect the tool’s functioning.
- Suitable for various applications
- Screw glides smoothly without ever sticking
- Applies pressure more evenly
- Sturdy overall build
- Multiple hand position for excellent leverage
- Poor craftsmanship
There is always room for more clamps in every woodworking workshop. If you are in the market for the best woodworking clamp to add to your collection, there is something for you on our list above, and you just need to decide the type you want.
From our review, the Irwin Quick-Grip 1964758 is our top overall recommendation as besides being sturdy, the clamps are non-marring and offer a quick and secure grip.
However, if you are shopping for something more budget-friendly, go for the Powertec 71164, as they still have a lot to offer, including a heavy-duty build and quick release mechanism.
In this post:
- Things To Know Before Buying Woodworking Clamps
- 10 Best Woodworking Clamps in 2021 Reviewed
- 1) Best Overall: Irwin Quick-Grip 1964758
- 2) Best Budget Woodworking Clamps: Powertec 71164
- 3) Best C-Clamp: Kreg KHC-Premium
- 4) Best Spring Clamps: WorkPro W001400A
- 5) Best Pipe Clamp: Bessey BPC-H34
- 6) Best for Corners: MLCS Can-Do Clamp
- 7) Best for Project Assembly: Wen CL436R
- 8) Highest Clamping Force Woodworking Clamps: Wen 10236F2
- 9) Premium-Quality Angle Woodworking Clamp: Housolution Right Angle Clamp
- 10) Smooth & Versatile Woodworking Clamp: Tekton 4022