29 Types of Clamps and How to Choose

Clamps are essential tools used to temporarily hold or fasten objects together. With over 29 types of clamps available, it can get confusing to determine which clamp is best suited for a particular application. This comprehensive guide covers the most common types of clamps and provides tips on how to select the right clamp for your project.


Clamps play a critical role in woodworking, metal fabrication, automotive repair, construction, and other hands-on professions. They provide a temporary but secure bond between materials while glue dries or pieces are joined together.

Choosing the right clamp ensures your project pieces align properly and remain in position until permanently fixed. Using the wrong type of clamp can damage your workpieces or fail to supply adequate pressure to create a tight bond.

We will explore the pros and cons, features, and ideal uses for 29 of the most popular clamps available today. With this information, you can confidently choose the perfect clamps for your needs.


C-clamps, also known as G-clamps, belong to the bar clamp category. The C-shape design provides its name and allows it to hang on the edge of a work surface.


  • C-shape design with adjustable screw thread to alter clamping pressure
  • Usually constructed from steel, aluminum, cast iron or plastic
  • Available in various sizes from 2″ to 12″ throat depth


  • Clamping wood together edge-to-edge for gluing
  • Holding metal pieces in place for welding/soldering
  • Temporary workholding when planing or sanding
  • Auto body work like holding panels in place while gluing

C-clamps offer a versatile, heavy-duty option for projects that do not require clamping over a wide area. The smaller throat depths limit C-clamps usefulness for larger stock or projects.

Bar Clamp

Bar clamps provide increased throat depth capacity compared to C-clamps. They utilize two adjustable jaws on a long bar which slides in to apply even clamping pressure.


  • Long steel or aluminum bar with movable jaw on each end
  • Throat depths from 12″ to 60″ or larger
  • Jaws may be fixed or swivel – allowing angled clamping
  • Quick release mechanisms available for faster setup


  • Clamping large tabletops and other oversized pieces edge-to-edge
  • Holding frames, cabinets, and boxes square while assembling
  • Applying even pressure along a large surface area

Bar clamps offer the throat depth to clamp wide panels like table tops or doors. The longer the bar, the greater the clamping capacity. Quick release models save time and effort during repetitive assembly or production tasks.

Pipe Clamp

Pipe clamps utilize black iron or galvanized steel pipe as the bar. This allows builders to cut their own custom length pipe to suit particular projects.


  • Simple, affordable design
  • Customizable pipe lengths to suit any project
  • Jaw size typically ranges from 1/4″ to 2″ width
  • Some models feature padded jaws to prevent marring


  • Edge gluing for tables, cabinets, frames and other woodworking
  • Temporary workholding when drilling holes or driving screws
  • Welding and metal fabrication
  • Home repairs like securing broken chair legs or fence pickets

Pipe clamps provide an inexpensive, customizable solution for edge clamping needs. The simple, lightweight design also makes them easy to position. Larger jaw sizes better accommodate thicker material.

Parallel Clamp

Parallel clamps keep two workpieces flush as they are tightened. The fixed jaws remain equidistant across the entire bar length.


  • Jaws remain parallel to evenly clamp surfaces
  • Quick release head for faster positioning and adjustment
  • Models range from 6″ to 60″ in length
  • Interchangeable heads available for specific applications


  • Clamping wood panels during glue-ups
  • Holding framing and trim in alignment while driving fasteners
  • Ensuring doors and drawers assemble square
  • Workholding odd-shaped objects

The parallel design makes these clamps ideal for precision alignment tasks. Quick action heads allow you to rapidly reposition the clamps as needed. Changeable heads like notched, swivel, and oscillating provide added functionality.

Miter Clamp

Miter clamps consist of two jaws joined by an adjustable screw designed to apply perfectly angled pressure. This makes them ideal for holding miter joints.


  • Hinged jaws maintain ideal 90 or 45 degree pressures
  • Models range from 6″ to 12″ in length
  • Can be used one or two-handed
  • Some feature non-marring plastic jaw covers


  • Clamping picture frames and molding miters
  • Holding jointed boards at 90 or 45 degrees for gluing
  • Keeping angled workpieces in alignment for fastening
  • Supplementing vise grip when working with miters

A miter clamp’s angled precision gives them an advantage when working with miter joints. The hinged connection transmits equal pressure throughout the joint line. Larger miter clamps can handle wide stock pieces.

Corner Clamp

Corner clamps provide pressure across two adjoining surfaces to hold frames, cases, and box pieces together. The triangular jaw design transfers force through the corner.


  • Triangular jaws to clamp perpendicular workpieces
  • Models typically range from 4″ to 12″ in size
  • Offered in metal and plastic constructions
  • Some feature padded jaws to prevent marring


  • Assembling and gluing frames
  • Holding box and case joints at right angles
  • Securing two boards at a 90 degree corner
  • Clamping table aprons to legs

Corner clamps are indispensible when working with boxes and framing at right angles. Models with protective jaw covers allow you to apply maximum pressure without damaging delicate workpieces. Larger corner clamps can handle bigger framing and furniture components.

Band Clamp

Band clamps encircle a workpiece with a flexible metal band tightened by a screw or ratchet mechanism. This allows clamping pressure across irregular shapes.


  • Flexible band conforms to any shape
  • Ratchet or screw tightening method
  • Wide range of band sizes from 1/4″ to 4″ width
  • Models range from 6″ up to 10′ in circumference


  • Clamping odd-shaped workpieces
  • Applying pressure over large surface areas
  • Holding curved or circular frames together
  • Temporary workholding for production tasks

Band clamps provide unique versatility to clamp across curves and over large surface areas. The flexible bands distribute even pressure that would be impossible with rigid bar clamps. Larger band sizes can encircle entire cabinets or furniture pieces.

Web Clamp

Web clamps use a nylon strap and ratcheting mechanism to provide adjustable clamping force. The web design offers flexibility combined with portability.


  • Lightweight nylon web construction
  • Ratcheting tightener for variable pressure
  • Compact size folds down for storage and transport
  • Typically 6 to 48″ sizes, but larger models exist


  • Clamping projects with irregular shapes
  • Applying broad pressure over large surface areas
  • Portable clamping for on-site repairs and construction
  • Holding pieces in alignment for gluing or fastening

The lightweight webbed design makes these clamps easy to position and reposition quickly. When not in use they fold down for convenient storage in a toolbag or box. Larger models can clamp over sized workpieces thanks to expansive strap designs.

Handscrew Clamp

Handscrew clamps are 100% manually powered and need no electricity or pneumatics. They utilize wooden handles and jaws tightened by a screw rod.


  • Entirely hand-powered operation
  • Wooden handles and jaws protect work surfaces
  • Models typically range from 4″ to 12″ in size
  • Available in steel or cast iron constructions


  • Clamping frames, boxes, and irregular shapes
  • Applying clamping pressure in areas without power sources
  • Temporary workholding when hand planing or chiseling
  • Assembly tasks where speed adjustment offers an advantage

Handscrew clamps provide a purely mechanical option to clamp pieces without any power source required. The wooden jaws help prevent marring delicate workpieces. Handscrews give users precise speed control when applying pressure.

One-Handed Bar Clamp

One-handed bar clamps allow the user to open, position, and tighten the clamps using only one hand. This improves efficiency, especially in repetitive operations.


  • Lever-assisted mechanisms for one-hand operation
  • Opening, positioning, and closing with one hand
  • Typically available in 6″ to 48″ sizes
  • May include quick release features


  • Production assembly and glue-ups
  • Workholding when only one hand is free
  • Any repetitive clamping task
  • Clamping hard to reach areas alone

One-handed operation helps accelerate repetitive clamping tasks while leaving the other hand free. Other features like quick releases combine with one-hand use for maximum productivity when assembly speed matters.

Spreader Clamp

Spreader clamps utilize a scissor hinge to force two pieces apart rather than pulling them together. This comes in handy when glue ups require even gaps between boards.


  • Hinged scissors design pulls materials apart
  • Created even gaps when edge gluing boards
  • Typically 6 to 24″ clamps available
  • Also called bisco clamps


  • Creating consistent gaps when edge gluing
  • Holding warped boards flat during glue ups
  • Keeping assemblies square by spreading pieces apart
  • Removing small dents in wood or metal

Spreader clamps give the advantage of spreading pieces apart in addition to pulling them together. This helps remove warps when edge gluing uneven boards. The hinge design provides stability while spreading.

Deep Reach Bar Clamp

Deep reach bar clamps utilize an extended jaw depth and low profile side rails. This allows them to reach into deep areas other clamps cannot access.


  • Extended jaw depth from 2″ to 5″
  • Side rails hug the work surface to reach deeper
  • Available in 12″ to 60″ opening capacities
  • May include swivel heads or interchangeable tips


  • Clamping into narrow gaps like drawers or boxes
  • Accessing hard to reach assembly joints
  • Holding pieces on crowded work surfaces
  • Any application requiring extra jaw depth

The deep jaw extension coupled with slim side rails lets these clamps reach 4-5″ into tight spaces other clamps cannot access. This versatility suits assemblies in cases, cabinets, and other recessed areas.

Right Angle Clamp

Right angle clamps allow mounting workpieces at 90 degree angles. The clamps mount directly to benches, stands, or jigs to hold material upright.


  • Holds workpieces at 90 degree angles
  • Mounts directly to work surfaces
  • Typically hold material from 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ thick
  • Opening widths between 4″ and 10″


  • Holding boards upright for mortising
  • Assembling frames at right angles
  • Workholding jigs and fixtures
  • Machining parts at 90 degree angles

Right angle clamps eliminate the need for additional uprights or stands to hold material at 90 degree angles. Mounting them directly to bench tops or jigs provides a secure upright hold for chiseling, drilling, routing, or sawing.

Cabinet Clamp

Cabinet clamps feature long, flat jaws designed to apply perfectly even pressure across cabinet doors and face frames. The wide jaw distributes forces uniformly.


  • Wide jaws spread clamping force evenly
  • 48″ and 96″ lengths for full cabinet widths
  • Plastic covers protect wood from marring
  • Available in packs of 2 or more clamps


  • Ensuring perfectly flush cabinet door glue ups
  • Holding face frame pieces in alignment when fastening
  • Applying consistent pressure across wide surfaces

Cabinet clamps provide specialized jaws that distribute extreme pressures across cabinet doors and face frames. Using two or more in tandem ensures perfectly flush panel glue ups. The non-marring plastic jaw covers prevent wood damage.

Picture Frame Clamp

Picture frame clamps apply perfectly angled pressure along the mitered corners of frames. Models come in standard photo sizes to suit specific frame dimensions.


  • Hinged clamping action for mitered frame joints
  • Specific sizes match common photo frames
  • Usually include protective jaw covers
  • Typically apply 1,000+ lbs of pressure


  • Clamping picture frames during assembly
  • Holding segmented turning blanks
  • Keeping any small mitered workpieces aligned

Purpose-built for picture frames, these clamps provide mitered pressure at standardized photo sizes like 5×7 or 8×10. The hinged clamping motion provides identical pressures along each joint. Integrated jaw pads prevent marring or denting delicate framing.

Spring Clamp

Spring clamps provide quick, one-handed operation thanks to flexible steel joints that regulate clamping pressure. Just squeeze to tighten.


  • One-handed operation through spring pressure
  • Available in spread sizes from 1″ to 8″
  • Tiny models for electronics and precision work
  • Tip designs prevent marring hard or soft surfaces


  • Temporary workholding of small items
  • Holding pieces for gluing, soldering, welding
  • Clamping delicate materials like wire or paper
  • Electronics work, model building, jewelry making

The flexible spring design allows instant clamping and release with one hand. Scaled down models are indispensible for precision work. Spring clamps excel at temporarily holding small, delicate, or oddly shaped items.

Retaining Ring Pliers

Retaining ring pliers utilize adjustable jaws specifically designed to install and remove internal or external retaining rings (also called snap rings).


  • Jaws shaped for circular retaining rings
  • Points fully support the ring during installation
  • Offset jaws provide ideal angle for access
  • Available for internal or external ring styles


  • Installing and removing internal retaining rings
  • Securing and removing external retaining rings
  • Servicing transmissions, gearboxes, engines

With specially shaped, knurled jaws that grip circular retaining ring sides, these pliers make installing and removing internal or external rings easier. Models match ring size and fitment location whether internal, external, or constant-tension variations.

Toggle Clamp

Toggle clamps utilize a quick-action over-center toggle mechanism to apply force. The lever design provides high clamping pressures with minimal operator effort.


  • Fast acting over-center toggle mechanism
  • No handle pumping required to increase pressure
  • Multiple head types for specialized usage
  • Loads up to 16,000 lbs on heavy duty models


  • Rapid, repeatable workholding for production
  • Holding parts for machining or processing
  • Clamping jigs, fixtures, templates and patterns

Toggle clamps excel at high pressure workholding thanks to efficient lever-assisted clamping. Heads like V-pads, flattened tips, or swivels accommodate various production requirements. The simple, instant clamp/release action facilitates efficient repetitive workflows.


Strap clamps provide tool-free clamping using a ratcheting nylon strap tightened by a geared mechanism. This allows rapid securing of workpieces without damage.


  • Ratcheting nylon strap with no-tool tightening
  • Protect workpiece surfaces from marring
  • Typically 12-inch to 72-inch sizes
  • Often include carrying handles for portability


  • Clamping finished or delicate surfaces
  • Temporary workholding in fabrication and welding
  • Tool-free clamping in the field
  • Holding irregular shapes in alignment

Strap clamps offer fast tool-free operation perfect for protecting finished workpiece surfaces from marks. The carrying handles integrated into many models provide easy transport to job sites. Large strap sizes allow encircling sizable workpieces.

Step Block Clamp

Step block clamps provide an elevated clamping surface closer to the work area. This improves access and control when working on cabinetry, furniture, and other woodworking projects.


  • Raises clamping surface 2″-4″ above workpiece
  • Allows closer hand tool access to clamped area
  • Models typically 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ jaw depth


  • Improved chisel, plane access when edge joining
  • Tighter tool control planing corners and edges
  • Accessing difficult areas on raised panels

The elevated clamping step brings the securing pressure area closer to the top surface. This ergonomic benefit grants superior tool control and access, especially when hand planing or chiseling.

Cabinet Maker’s Clamp

Cabinet maker’s clamps feature deep reach jaws that slide tightly against work surfaces. This allows the clamps to apply pressure inside cases, drawers, and recessed areas.


  • Extended 2 1/2″ deep reach jaws
  • Low profile side rails for tight spaces
  • Openings typically 12″ to 30″ capacity
  • May include swivel heads or interchangeable tips


  • Clamping inside cabinet cases and drawer boxes
  • Applying pressure in recessed areas
  • Holding assembled pieces from inside the project

The cabinet maker design with slim side rails and extended reach jaws makes these clamps ideal for applying internal pressure within boxes, cases, carcasses, and other deep areas. The swivel and interchangeable tips provide added versatility.

Box Joint Clamp

Box joint clamps apply perfectly perpendicular pressure ideal for securing box joints or dovetails. The dual pivoting action transfers force evenly across both boards.


  • Hinged pivoting jaws maintain 90 degree force
  • Built-in jaw spacers create consistent pin gaps
  • Scale marked jaws for aligning boards
  • Typically 1″- 4″ stock widths


  • Clamping box joints and do