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8 Best Straight Edge Clamps 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

using Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps

Straight edge clamps are a required tool for anyone who does woodworking but doesn’t have a table saw. It’s critical for straight lines, dado slots, and other important cuts, so you will find it is one of your most-used tools. It’s a simple device, and you might not think there’s a difference between them, but with the advent of self-clamping, there can be a considerable difference from one brand to the next.

We’ve chosen 8 different popular brands of straight edge clamps to review for you to see the differences between brands and hear about our personal experiences with each. We’ll share with you all of the pros and cons of each model, and we’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we talk about what’s important to look for while shopping for a straight edge clamp.

Join us while we take a close look at the straight edge clamps and discuss length, clamping technique, rigidity, profile height, and more to help you make an educated purchase.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
E. Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps E. Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps
  • Ultra-rigid
  • Extra-wide
  • Low profile
  • Best Value
    Second place
    DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide/Clamps DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide/Clamps
  • 36-inch length
  • Self-clamping
  • Reinforced aluminum body
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps
  • 100-inch length
  • Fully adjustable
  • Locking handle
  • DEWALT DWS5100 Dual-Port Folding Rip Guide DEWALT DWS5100 Dual-Port Folding Rip Guide
  • 14½-inch length
  • Laser marked etchings
  • Lightweight
  • POWERTEC 71169 48-Inch Universal T-Track POWERTEC 71169 48-Inch Universal T-Track
  • Includes two hold-down clamps
  • Heavy rubber clamping pads
  • Aluminum construction
  • The 8 Best Straight Edge Clamps – Reviews 2020

    1. E. Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps – Best Overall

    E. Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps

    Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps is our choice for the best overall straight edge clamp. Itself clamping design removes the need for C clamps, and its ultra-rigid reinforced aluminum body stays straight and can deal with the strains of the road. It’s extra wide and has a low profile to allow for easier straight cuts. It’s extendable from 27 to 50 inches long and features a 24-inch jaw capacity.

    The E. Emerson C50 is easily one of our favorite straightedge clamps, and our only problem with it was that it doesn’t automatically clamp at a 90-degree angle, so you need to use a square along with it when setting up the straight edge.

    Pros
    • Self-clamping design
    • Ultra-rigid
    • Extra-wide
    • Low profile
    • Reinforced aluminum body
    • 24-inch jaw capacity
    • 50-inch length
    Cons
    • Need to use a square

    2. DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide/Clamps – Best Value

    DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide:Clamps

    The DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide/Clamps is our pick for the best straight edge clamp for the money. It’s fully adjustable up to a 32-inch length, and it’s self-clamping, so there’s no need for additional C-clamps. The reinforced aluminum body is rigid and stays straight while you work, and it includes inches and centimeter measurements. Hard plastic jaws grip the wood to keep the straight edge in place.

    The only problem we had with the DCT Aluminum Table Saw Guide while we were using it was that the clamping power wasn’t very strong, and we were afraid the hard-plastic jaws would crack.

    Pros
    • 36-inch length
    • Self-clamping
    • Reinforced aluminum body
    • Includes inches and centimeter measurements
    • Hard plastic jaws
    Cons
    • Clamping power isn’t very strong

    3. Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps – Premium Choice

    Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps

    Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps are our premium choice straight edge clams. It’s available in 25, 36, and 50-inch lengths, and this model comes with a 50-inch length plus one 50-inch extension. It’s fully adjustable to any size and features tight locking handles but doesn’t require C-clamps.

    We like that this was one of the long straight edge clamps on our list but felt it needed a center clamp to remain straight. Ours would stray a degree or two in the center of the 100-inch length.

    Pros
    • 100-inch length
    • Fully adjustable
    • Locking handle
    Cons
    • A little less straight at the 100-inch length

    4. DEWALT DWS5100 Dual-Port Folding Rip Guide

    DEWALT DWS5100 Dual-Port Folding Rip Guide

    The DEWALT DWS5100 Dual-Port Folding Rip Guide provides the user with a 12-inch ripping capacity on the left side and a 14½-inch ripping capacity on the right. Laser-etched markings are easy to read even in low light, and they won’t wear off over time like brands that use screen-printing. It only weighs a little over one pound and folds to 19 inches long and three inches wide.

    The DEWALT DWS5100 does a fantastic job of making smaller rip cuts, but the aluminum guide rails the keep your tool straight are extremely flimsy and bend easily. Even with extreme care, we bent ours after just a few projects. The plastic lock nuts to keep the clamps in place are also flimsy and easily stripped.

    Pros
    • 14½-inch length
    • Laser marked etchings
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Flimsy aluminum guide rails
    • Plastic lock nuts

    5. POWERTEC 71169 48-Inch Universal T-Track

    POWERTEC 71169 48-Inch Universal T-Track

    The POWERTEC 71169 48-Inch Universal T-Track features a 48-inch straight edge and includes two locking clamps to keep it in place. Each clamp has heavy rubber clamping pads to prevent damaging the surface you were working on, and an easy to grip five-point star nob makes setting up your straight edge a breeze. The all-aluminum construction is durable and won’t corrode.

    Power biggest problem with the POWERTEC 71169 is that it isn’t very rigid and bends easily. The clamps are also difficult to use your first few times, and it’s hard to get them to provide much clamping strength. We replaced the screws in our clamps with longer ones, which provided more stability.

    Pros
    • 48-inch universal T track
    • Includes two hold-down clamps
    • Heavy rubber clamping pads
    • Aluminum construction
    • Easy to grip five-point star nob
    Cons
    • Not very rigid
    • Not much locking strength
    • Clamps are difficult to use

    6. ProGrip Straight Edge Clamps

    ProGrip Straight Edge Clamps

    ProGrip Straight Edge Clamps are a set of three straight edge clamps of different sizes. This kit provides you with a 24, 36, and 50-inch clamp for all your straight edge woodworking needs. The low profile of these tools makes it easier to use them with various saws, and the three-position lock-down lever lets you get the right amount of gripping force for your project.

    We liked the versatility ProGrip gave us with three different size straight edge clamps, but all that aluminum tends to get bulky and even a little heavy at more than 10 pounds in total. Another small problem we noticed is that some of the clamps wouldn’t hold the tension for long, and we frequently needed to readjust them to keep the straight edge in place.

    Pros
    • One each 24, 36, and 50-inch clamp
    • Self-clamping
    • Low profile
    • Three-position lock lever
    Cons
    • Heavy and bulky
    • Doesn’t always hold tension

    7. Yost Tools 436606 Cutting Guide

    Yost Tools 436606 Cutting Guide

    The Yost Tools 436606 Cutting Guide is a rigid straight edge clamp that provides you with an edge 50-inches long. It’s self-clamping and features nylon jaws that keep the straight edge in place instead of C-clamps.

    While the Yost 436606 is indeed rigid, soft pads allow the saw to flex if pressed against the rails, leading to a cut that’s not quite straight. We also found that the profile was a bit too high to use with many of our saws. It would cause the motor to scrape along the ruler preventing smooth operation.

    Pros
    • 50 inches long
    • Self-clamping
    • Nylon jaws
    • Rigid
    Cons
    • Flex’s slightly
    • High profile

    8. Rockler Straight Edge Clamp System

    Rockler Straight Edge Clamp System

    The Rockler Straight Edge Clamp System is a two-piece straight edge clamp extending to 104 inches when assembled. It includes two clamps for attaching it to your project, and its low-profile design is suitable for use with most power tools.

    Unfortunately, there are a few serious problems with the Rockler straight edge, and they mostly have to do with the provided clamps. The clamps have a very narrow mouth that doesn’t hold the surface material very well, and they feel very flimsy. We found that the tightening nob falls off or the bolts strip after just a few uses on every clamp. It seemed they use a weak glue that doesn’t hold the knobs, and even after replacing our clamps, the new clamps broke as well. We had to use clamps we had around the shop to keep the straightedge in place, and that’s when we notice the two pieces require a straightedge to line them up correctly. Breaking the two pieces down at the end of a project is also difficult and time-consuming.

    Pros
    • 52 to 104-inch length
    • Includes two clamps
    Cons
    • Flimsy clamps
    • Clamps need a wider mouth
    • The two pieces don’t line up
    • Time-consuming to break down

    Buyer’s Guide

    Fortunately, there are not a lot of details to look for when choosing a straight edge clamp, but we’ll take a look at the important parts here.

    Clamp Style

    Have you read our reviews, you may have noticed that there are two main clamp styles self-clamping and brands that use C-clamps or other clamps to hold the straightedge in place. Self-clamping straight edge tools are becoming more popular because they are much easier to use than the traditional C-clamp type. What the clamp built into the straightedge, it’s easier to line up more accurately because you don’t need to reach for and install a C-clamp, which gives the straightedge plenty of time to move out of place.

    Most of our reviews are for self-clamping straight edge tools, but we tried to mention those that required another type of clamp.

    Clamp Strength

    If you are not using C-clamps to lock your straightedge in place, the quality of the clamp and strength of the hold becomes a critical part of the tool. If your clamps slip while you’re cutting, they can prevent you from creating a straight line. Slipping clamps can also allow parts of your product to come apart, or they can enable the straightedge to slide.

    We tried to let you know in our reviews about any straight edge clamps that provided weak clamping ability.

    Length

    The next thing you’ll need to concern yourself with when choosing a straight edge clamp is the length. Most straight edge clamps come in 24, 36, and 50-inch lengths, but some can reach 100 inches or more. The size you need depends on the maximum length of wood you intend to cut, but keep in mind that a straight edge made of multiple pieces tends to flex. Flexing mostly affects 100-inch straight edges because they are typically two 50-inch pieces. Only high-quality brands can provide stability in multi-piece designs, and we tried to mention any brands that allowed flexing to occur in our reviews.

    man using Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps

    Low Profile

    Another thing you want to look at when choosing is straight edge clamp is its profile. If the profile of your straightedge clamp is too high, it will prevent your saws from moving along the edge because it will bump into the motor. We recommend choosing a low profile design no matter what your current needs are and we tried to mention any brands whose profile was too high to use a saw in our reviews

    Adjustability

    Some tools on our list are a fixed size, but many others allow you to adjust them to any size. Usually, the minimum size is half the total length so that a 50-inch straight edge can change from 25 inches to 50 inches. This type of straight edge typically remains straight throughout the full range of operations.

    Another way some of the tools on the list adjust their size is by connecting two or more pieces. For example, combining two 50-inch straightedge clamps will create a 100-inch edge. This method requires higher-quality craftsmanship, or there will be flex where the two pieces come together.

    Tips for using straight edge clamps

    • Always use a framing square to square your straight edge when you lock it in place to guarantee accuracy. Most tools do not automatically square themselves when you lock them down.
    • Always use a scrap piece of wood between your project and the clamps teeth to protect your project from damage. If you do not have a piece of wood, a plastic cap of suitable size will often work as well.
    • To prevent slippage, attach your clamp to the wood at a 90-degree angle to the glue line.
    • Use the straightedge to clean up a ragged edge by clamping it to the bottom of the panel to create a straight edge. Then you can use a flush-trim bit to create a smooth edge.
    • Use a self-clamping straight edge to clamp thin stock while the glue dries. The low-profile heads make an excellent base and allow you to direct clamping force without causing the wood to bow.

    Other clamps we reviewed:

    divider 8

    Conclusion

    When choosing a new straight edge clamp, we recommend our choice for the best overall. E. Emerson C50 Straight-Edge Clamps are self-clamping and provide a 50-inch length. It’s ultra-rigid and won’t bend while you are working, and it features large 24-inch clamp jaws that can grab and hold any surface. Its low-profile design won’t get in the way of your saw. Our pick for the best value is another great choice and is a few inches smaller than the top choice and has hard plastic clamp teeth, but it holds firm and straight and still provides you with a 36-inch straight edge. If you need something extreme, the Bora 100″ WTX Edge Clamps is our premium choice that provides you with a 100-inch straight edge for cutting large boards and drywall without using a table saw.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and were able to find a brand that interests you and has the features you need. If you have found our buyers guide helpful and informative please share this guide to the best straight edge clamps on Facebook and Twitter.

    Featured Image Credit: Amazon

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