The 8 Best Woodworking Clamps for Any DIY Project
When it comes to woodworking, you can never have too many clamps! The best woodworking clamps provide the strongest holds for every project.
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Clamps are one of the most essential and versatile woodworking tools. Clamps come in many different shapes and sizes, but at its base design, a clamp is a pair of jaws that applies pressure to hold two pieces of wood together. A clamp (or several clamps) will temporarily hold your project precisely in place so that you can glue, nail or screw the wood together without any shifting. Keep in mind: it’s not one size fits all when it comes to clamps. You’ll want to stock up on a few different types to tackle an array of projects. To help you start your collection, we’ve gathered the best woodworking clamps for every DIY project, both large and small.
What to Consider When Choosing Woodworking Clamps
Before adding these clamps to your shopping cart, consider what you’ll be using them for. The intended woodworking project will direct the clamping power, size and padding you need. Clamping power is measured in psi (pound-force per square inch). Too much pressure and the wood or the clamp is damaged; not enough pressure, and you’ll get a weak joint.
When it comes to size, clamps are measured by their jaw capacity and throat depth. Jaw capacity is how far the mouth of the jaws can open. Throat depth is the distance between the body of the clamp and the jaws, indicating how deep the clamp can fit onto the wood. Obviously the bigger the project, the bigger the clamp.
Consider the padding on your clamps as well. Delicate pieces can be dented with the wrong clamp, so look for a clamp with padded jaws to ensure you don’t damage the wood. There are clamping tricks to add your own padding (like using adhesive felt furniture pads), but built-in padding is more convenient.
How to Use Clamps for Woodworking
While all woodworking clamps are used for basically the same task—holding material tightly in place—each type of clamp applies pressure in different ways.
C clamps: C clamps (sometimes called G clamps) are one of the most common types of woodworking clamps. They come in sizes small to large and are commonly used to hold material in place for gluing.
Pipe clamps: Pipe clamps are the everyday, high-pressure workhorses of woodworking. Because the clamps quickly screw onto different lengths of pipe, one set of pipe clamps works on a number of different projects. Buy pipes in 2-, 3- and 4-ft. lengths and you’re ready for most situations.
Bar clamps: Also called F clamps, bar clamps are quicker and easier to use than pipe clamps. Light-duty bar clamps are perfect when you need a long reach and moderate pressure.
Spring clamps: Spring clamps the fastest helpers for holding your work in place or doing light-pressure clamping. They’re small and easy to store. Use spring clamps on your smaller, more delicate projects.
- Best Overall Woodworking Clamp: WorkPro One-Handed Bar Clamps
- Best Budget-Friendly Woodworking Clamp: Bessey General Purpose Clamp
- Best Cabinet Making Clamp: Jorgensen 72-in Parallel Jaw Clamp
- Best Bar Clamp: Wen Quick-Adjust Steel Bar Clamps
- Best C Clamp: Kreg KHC Premium Face Clamp
- Best Spring Clamp: Tolesa Nylon Spring Clamp Set
- Best Corner Clamp: C Casimr 90 Degree Corner Clamp
- Best Pipe Clamp: Pony Pipe Clamp
Best Overall Woodworking Clamp
WorkPro One-Handed Bar Clamps
We consider this highly reviewed set of WorkPro Bar Clamps one of the best woodworking clamps overall because the clamps are affordable, versatile and great for light and medium DIY projects. Made from durable nylon and heavy-duty steel, they last a long time, yet are lightweight and easy to handle. You’ll love the quick-change button design that instantly transforms the clamp into a spreader. Although they’re not made for big projects, it’s a great set to have for beginner woodworkers.
- High-quality clamp and spreader in one, with 150 pounds of squeezing force
- Non-marring removable and replaceable pads
- Won’t work for larger projects
- Some might prefer all-metal construction to nylon
Best Budget-Friendly Woodworking Clamp
Bessey General Purpose Clamp
The Bessey General Purpose Clamp costs roughly $7 and is one of the best woodworking clamps to add to your collection. It completes the same amount of work in one tool as a collection of 1-in., 2-in., 3-in. and 4-in. C clamps. The sliding arm design makes it easy to adjust the opening to fit your project. It may be small, but it’s mighty—with 330 pounds of clamping force.
- Affordable price point
- Lightweight but durable zinc jaws
- Non-marring plastic caps
- Not meant for large projects
- The sliding mechanism isn’t always smooth, according to some reviewers
Best Cabinet Making Clamp
Jorgensen 72-in Parallel Jaw Clamp
The Jorgensen 72-in Parallel Jaw Clamp has large plastic jaws that distribute clamping pressure evenly to assure square corners and prevent your cabinet boxes and doors from bowing or lifting, making it one of the best woodworking clamps for crafting cabinets. The built-in clamp stand allows for convenient one-handed use. One five-star reviewer says, “They worked very well in constructing the cabinet boxes and even better when I glued up the panels for the doors; very little warping! They made a tough job, for this amateur, much easier.”
- Prevents bowing and lifting, and keeps cabinet corners square
- Steel bar construction
- Large 72-in. maximum opening
- Higher price point than other types of clamps
Best Bar Clamp
Wen Quick-Adjust Steel Bar Clamps
The Wen Quick-Adjust steel bar clamps are user-friendly and powerful with over 1,200 pounds of clamping force combined. Each clamp features a quick-adjust function to close the clamp without pushing any buttons and a convenient release lever to easily open the jaws back up.
- Micro-adjustment knob for added grip
- Non-marring pads
- Plastic clamp jaws
- Rubber pads prone to loosening
Best C Clamp
Kreg KHC Premium Face Clamp
Kreg clamps (a specific type of C clamp) like the Kreg KHC Premium Face Clamp are mainly used for creating pocket hole joints, but they have several other useful applications. The wide face pads prevent surface damage and spread out the force of the clamping grip. The thumbscrew knobs are particularly convenient, permitting quick and easy adjustments to the jaw capacity with a few turns.
- One of the best woodworking clamps for pocket hole joints
- Ergonomic, easy-to-use padded grips
- Large clamp pads for even force distribution
- Some reviewers report the rubber handles sliding out of place
- Can’t clamp extra thick materials
Best Spring Clamp
Tolesa Nylon Spring Clamp Set
This set of Tolesa Nylon Spring Clamps come in two different sizes, so you can work on a number of different projects with one affordable purchase. They’re made from heavy-duty nylon and include pivoting jaw pads that self-adjust to uneven surfaces. The tempered steel spring ensures maximum clamping power.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Ergonomic handle
- Includes extra replaceable pads
- Only 30 pounds of clamping power
- Some might prefer steel construction over nylon
Best Corner Clamp
C Casimr 90 Degree Corner Clamp
The highly-reviewed C Casimr Corner Clamp clamps 90-degree corners and T-joints with ease thanks to its single-handed operation. Simply push in the spring mechanism to adjust the clamp to the proper size, and it assists with assembling two boards of different widths. The four-pack squares up all four corners of a box, picture frame or dresser drawer at once.
- High spring tension for strong hold
- One-hand operation
- Plastic construction
- Some reviewers weren’t happy with grip strength
Best Pipe Clamp
Pony Pipe Clamp
The classic Pony Pipe Clamp is a popular choice among both hobbyists and professional woodworkers. The pipe clamp works with any length 3/4-in. pipe, to switch out the pipe length for any project and saves money because there’s no need to invest in several different sized clamps. The multi-disc clutch design ensures a secure hold at any point along the pipe.
- Heavy cast iron construction perfect for pipes
- Highly versatile, with an easy crank mechanism
- Pipe not included
- Smaller clamp face than other models