6 Different Types of Clamps & Their Uses – Which is Right for You?

types of clamps

If you are fitting out your workshop with all the necessary tools to do it yourself, you may be surprised to learn how many different clamps there are out there.

If you are going to get a clamp (or clamps for that matter) you really should get the right one. That in mind, today we will be listing out a few common options that are out there and help you to pick the right one for your needs.

That in mind, read on for a guide to all of the different clamps that are out there.

The Different Types of Clamps:

1. The C-Clamp

The C-clamp is probably where you will begin your clamp collection. You might make do with one, but you will probably want to get several in a variety of different sizes.

Most of the standard options that you will find out there will fall somewhere between 4 and 8 inches, with the size dictating the clamping capacity of the unit.

C-clamps are prized for being both affordable and highly versatile. Many people will use them both for woodworking and steel work.

c-clamp

2. The F-Clamp

The F-clamp is very similar to the C-clamp but features a wider opening capacity making it better for larger workpieces.

It is otherwise similarly versatile and affordable, also used both for welding and for woodwork.

f-clamp

3. The Pipe-Clamp

The pipe clamp is valued because it has a virtually limitless opening capacity. The mechanism is fitted to a pipe, and can open and shut along its entire length. In other words, if you need to get a wider opening capacity, all that you need to do is get a longer pipe.

Like the other options that we have looked at, they can be used for woodworking and metalworking projects.

They can also be very stable which makes them perfect for larger workpieces.

pipe clamp

4. Locking Clamps

Locking clamps are good for quick use because they can easily be operated by one hand. As a result, they are frequently found in welding jobs, though they may also find application in select woodworking projects.

locking clamp

5. Parallel Clamp

Parallel clamps slide along a short rod and function similarly to an F-clamp. They feature a wide opening capacity, and they are going to be yet another good option for woodworking and metalwork.

parallel clamps

6. Sheet Metal Clamp

The sheet metal clamp is very similar to the locking clamp, but the difference is that the actual clamping mechanism is a little bit wider. As a result it is able to holder wider, flexible material, like sheet metal. As a result it is used pretty much exclusively in welding.

sheet metal clamp

So, which of these clamps is right for you?

Overtime, you might end up with quite a few of these clamps in your workshop. However, there are a few general rules of thumb that might help you pick out a decent starter set.

For one thing, most people will do well to have several C-clamps on hand. These reliable tools are very affordable, and if you vary the sizes that you buy, you will find that most workpieces will be easy to secure.

However, if you need to maximize the range of your opening capacity to take on jobs big and small, there are other options to think about as well.

For example, the F, and parallel clamp both have wide opening capacities. And of course, those that want to truly maximize their versatility will know to go with the pipe clamp.

Over time, there is a fairly decent chance you might come to own all or most of the different clamps that we went over today. Until then though, just consider the job that you need to get done, and choose accordingly!

Conclusion

That’s a lot of clamps, huh? The good news is that this is a relatively low stakes purchase. Most units are very affordable, and at the end of the day they are all doing the same thing: securing your workpiece.

As you become a little bit more experienced in your workshop, choosing the right clamp will probably quickly become second nature.

Until then, always free to reference this guide as you go about making your creations!


Header image credit: Luigi Zanasi, Flickr

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!