What is Clamp? – 31 Different Types of Clamps

What is Clamp?

A clamp is a fastening device used to hold or secure objects tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. In the United Kingdom the term cramp is often used instead when the tool is for temporary use for positioning components during construction and woodworking; thus, a G cramp or a sash cramp but a wheel clamp or a surgical clamp.

There are many types of clamps available for many different purposes. Some are temporary, as used to position components while fixing them together, others are intended to be permanent.

In the field of animal husbandry, using a clamp to attach an animal to a stationary object is known as “rounded clamping.” A physical clamp of this type is also used to refer to an obscure investment banking term, “fund clamps.”

Anything that performs the action of clamping may be called a clamp, so this gives rise to a wide variety of terms across many fields.

What is a clamp used for?

A clamp is a handy device, used for securely holding a workpiece in place while carrying out work on it.

Engineering Choice The Biggest Learning Platform

The applications that a clamp can be used for include:

  • Woodworking and carpentry: A clamp may be used for holding a piece of wood to a workbench, in order for a variety of woodworking tasks to be completed, such as sawing or chiseling
  • Metalworking: For applications, such as welding, grinding or fabrication, a clamp is an ideal tool to use for holding all types of metals, including steel, iron, aluminum and copper.
  • Drilling: A clamp can be used to hold a workpiece firmly in place on a drill table.
  • Filing: The pressure of filing will cause a workpiece to move, so a clamp comes in useful for this type of application.
  • Gluing: A clamp can be used to hold components in place while waiting for glue to set.
  • Painting: A clamp can be an ideal tool for holding a workpiece still when painting it.

How does a clamped work?

Clamps hold objects firmly in place. Whether it is being used to clamp an object to a work surface or to hold two or more objects together, the purpose of a clamp is to provide a firm grip for the user to complete the required task.

If a clamp has one jaw only then the device is designed to be used in conjunction with a work surface, such as a benchtop, to hold an item steady. However, if a clamp has two jaws, they will work together to hold the item.

The jaws are controlled differently on various types of clamps, depending on the mechanism used. Some types will use a trigger mechanism, whereby the jaws are adjusted using a trigger or lever. Alternatively, some types have a traditional screw that adjusts the clamp.

When the screw is rotated, the clamp closes around the workpiece, and pressure is applied to keep it firmly in place.

What are the different types of clamps?

This list encompasses 31 different types of clamps, some of that is versatile enough to be used on a range of projects, and others, such as surgical clamps, which have very specific uses. Use this list to learn more about different types of clamps, what they are used for, how they work, and if they are the right tool for your needs or upcoming project.

types of clamps

Types of Clamps

  • Sash Clamp
  • Spring Clamp
  • Power Clamp / Pneumatic Clamp
  • Toggle Clamp
  • Pinch Dog
  • Step Clamp
  • Bench Clamp
  • Web Clamp / Strap Clamp
  • Pipe Clamp
  • Wire Rope Clamp
  • Marman Clamp
  • Bench Vise
  • Mitre Clamp
  • Quick Action Clamp
  • G or C Clamp
  • Locking Clamp
  • Hand Screw Clamp
  • Trigger Clamp
  • Drill Press Clamp
  • Clip Hangers
  • Picture Frame Clamp
  • Flooring Clamp
  • Speed Clamp
  • Hose Clamp
  • Screw Clamp
  • Quick Grip
  • Cardellini Clamp
  • Kant-Twist Clamp
  • Pennington Clamp
  • Hemostatic Clamp
  • Mogen and Gomco Clamps
  • Foerster Clamp
  • Ear Clamp
  • Parallel Clamp
  • Corner Clamp
  • Cable Clamp

1. Sash Clamp

This clamp is used when working on large projects such as tabletops, doors, cabinets, or sash windows. Generally, more than one has to be used at a time to ensure that there is a strong grip on the project. They have a long flat bar that is very heavy and a fixed jaw attached to it.

You can adjust this fixed jaw with a screw. Additionally, they have a sliding jaw that can be moved along the length of the clamp and then locked into position to hold the materials in place. They’re great for clamping together large projects and allowing the glue to dry tight. They are a longer, more specialized form of the bar clamp.

2. Spring Clamp

These clamps are handheld clamps that operate via a tension spring. They are very strong, and once positioned in place, the spring ensures they hold tight and do not move, giving the user a firm, secure grip.

These clamps can be found in a range of sizes to suit an array of different projects. They are made from metal and usually have PVC coverings over the handle part and also the tips to prevent injury during use. They can be useful in carpentry, jewelry making, and various other crafts. If the PVC covers at the tips are removed, you can also use a spring clamp for solder work.

3. Power Clamp / Pneumatic Clamp

These are pneumatic clamps that lock together in a strong and powerful way. They are often automated, set on timers to clamp and unclamp at specific times. Power clamps were originally designed for use in the automotive industry in an attempt to increase productivity and move away from manual clamps.

Power clamps are now used in a number of applications, including assembly lines and manufacturing industries. They save time by operating automatically and reducing manual interference. They are also useful in fields where access is limited and ordinary clamps cannot reach, such as in drainage lines or in remote areas.

types of clamps

4. Toggle Clamp

These are relatively small clamps that are commonly used in metalworking, woodworking, and drilling. They have a flat bar that holds your equipment in the required position and a handle that can be pushed backward or forwards to loosen or tighten the grip. This handle operates the clamp and also involves pins and levers that can further increase the force of pressure.

5. Pinch Dog

These are small metal clamps that are used in woodworking. They are shaped like a square bridge, with ends that taper to a sharp point. When you have two pieces of wood freshly glued together, you hammer in a pinch dog to hold the wood in place while the glue dries.

The tapered ends ensure that the wood is tightened closer together the further the pinch dog is hammered in, resulting in a strong and neat glue line. These are very simple clamps that have a very basic premise, but they work incredibly well and are an essential tool for any hand woodworker.

6. Step Clamp

These clamps can be used in an array of industries but are most commonly found in milling and machining. They are typically manufactured from metal with an enamel finish and can be easily recognized by their serrated edges that look like a set of steps.

A step clamp will need three components; the clamp, clamp support, and a bolt with a nut for fixing the clamp into place. These are simple designs that are inexpensive to buy and easy to operate but are very effective.

7. Bench Clamp

Bench clamps are used to hold items in place on a bench and are common in woodworking. With these clamps, the bench itself takes the place of the jaw of the clamp. These woodworking clamps are ideal for fixing wood in place during sawing, drilling, or planning.

They are made from metal and can come in various sizes and designs. These are inexpensive tools that are essential in carpentry.

8. Web Clamp/Strap Clamp

These clamps are commonly used in furniture making and woodworking. They utilize a cord or fabric belt that straps around an item and then locks solid corners into place. The belt can be tightened with a ratchet.

These clamps are useful for tightly fixing themself to a large item to then load it onto a truck or for keeping it in place during work. It can also be used without the corner pieces if you are working with an item you are concerned about damage.

9. Pipe Clamp

As the name suggests, these clamps are intended for use with pipes. They are also known as gluing clamps because their primary use is to hold items in place for gluing. They work similarly to a sash clamp, but they have a cylindrically shaped shaft instead of a flat bar.

This is the part that goes around the pipe and can be tightened up with a screw. The jaw of the clamp is easily adjustable but gives a firm hold in a wide number of positions.

10. Wire Rope Clamp

This is a specialist type of clamp that will not easily be found in hardware stores, and if you require one, you may need to order online or find a specialist stockiest. These are also known as wire rope clips, and their purpose is to fix a loose piece of wire rope back onto the rope itself.

They are made up of a metal saddle and some bolts that hold everything together. The bolts will tighten or loosen the grip of the clamp. While these clamps are useful for their specific purpose, they have very little other use and are not versatile.

11. Marman Clamp

This is a piece of metal with a circular shape (like a band) that has a gap in, where a bolt is fixed to be able to loosen or tighten the clamp. These are ideally used to hold together two pipes or cylinders, and the easy bracket makes it good for quickly releasing the items. This band clamp type is a strong clamp that is often utilized when working with fuel lines in aircraft.

12. Bench Vise

These pieces actually have a parallel as well as a fixed jaw that can both be easily adjusted using a screw. Some bench vises are portable and can be screwed or clamped onto a workbench, making it easy to take your project with you to another location.

If you use a vise, then you don’t have to worry about the piece that you are working on moving or shifting while you are sanding, drilling, or sawing it.

13. Mitre Clamp

A miter clamp, as the name suggests, is a clamp that holds two items in place that have miter joints. These will typically be two pieces of wood, which are pushed together by the clamp so that they are held tight and still while you work on them. Basic miter clamps are made in a C-shape and are spring-loaded to hold the pieces in place.

You can get various types of miter clamps that are much more involved, with numerous parts to make the tool more versatile, reliable, and functional. Some miter clamps will have moveable jaws, while others serve their basic purpose with a right-angled clamp.

14. Quick Action Clamp

Quick-release clamps can also be known as one-handed clamps and are designed with a mechanism that allows the user to release a workpiece in one quick movement. There are different types of quick-release clamps, including lever clamps, spring clamps and trigger clamps.

15. G or C Clamp

These are incredibly versatile and very widely used. When most people think of a clamp, this is what they picture in their minds. It is used to either clamp two pieces of a project together or to hold a workpiece to the table.

The openings in the jaw can range from around one inch to more than eight inches, making it very easy to find one that will fit the needs of your project. The screw section generally can clamp onto irregular surfaces because of its swivel head.

16. Locking Clamp

Locking clamps have a feature that allows them to be quickly locked or released in one swift movement using the integrated lever. Due to their wide jaw opening and square shape, locking clamps are designed for clamping large or awkward objects, that other clamps may be unable to grip on.

The design of the jaw also means they are an ideal clamp for holding irregularly shaped or tapered workpieces. Many models of locking clamps are available which may have different features and jaw shapes.

17. Hand Screw Clamp

These clamps are also sometimes called “toolmaker’s clamps” and are generally used when working on metalwork. They’re great for repairing furniture as the jaws can be adjusted to easily fit onto and hold angled material in place.

They are generally all steel in construction, making them very hardy and long-lasting, although there are some companies that are making them now in wooden versions as well.

18. Trigger Clamp

This is a versatile clamp that is sometimes known as a one-handed clamp due to the fact that it can be used with one hand. It is easy to operate, strong and reliable, and can commonly be found in workshops, as well as around homes and gardens, and in various hobby toolboxes.

It has a trigger mechanism that can adjust the jaw. The trigger is controlled either by a button or a lever, which means that the clamp can be released quickly and easily.

19. Drill Press Clamp

These clamps are designed specifically to hold materials and boards to the drill press table, which allows users to make a very accurate and clean-cut each time they use their machinery.

They generally come with an easy way to adjust the tension of the clamp and a quick release that makes them very easy to not only put onto the material you are working on but also to release them. They make it very safe and precise when using your drill press.

20. Clip Hangers

This is a type of clamp fixed to a clothes hanger. It is easily operated by hand and usually comes in pairs on a hanger in order to hold clothing such as skirts or pants.

These clips are strong enough to hold lightweight clothing but have a certain amount of give in them to prevent the clothing from being held too tightly and damaged. Some of these clamps are padded to offer extra protection to fragile clothing items, such as those made from silk or wool.

21. Picture Frame Clamp

A picture frame clamp is basically a set of four miter clamps all connected together to create a space for a square or rectangular frame. These are used in the creation or manufacturing of photo frames, fitting four pieces of material together to create four neat miter joints.

These clamps ensure the photo frame is glued neatly and tightly, giving it a clean look and strong construction.

22. Flooring Clamp

These are large clamps that are used when laying down tongue and groove flooring. They are not versatile, and this is the only function they serve, though they do this very well. These floor clamps fix the floorboards in place so that the carpenter can nail them down, secure in the knowledge that they will not move, and will therefore be fitted in exactly the right place. Flooring clamps can hold as many as ten boards in place at any one time.

23. Speed Clamp/Bar Clamp

This clamp is also known as a bar clamp or an ‘F’ clamp due to the fact that it uses a long flat bar and looks like an ‘F’ shape. Bar clamps have a long metal bar that holds the two jaws parallel. The extensive bar allows the user to clamp long or wide workpieces effectively, making them a useful tool to have for heavy-duty work. 

There are various types of bar clamps to choose from, including T-bar clamps, sash clamps, and pipe clamps. Clamp heads are also available, which allows a user to build their own bar clamp, a cost-effective alternative to buying a brand-new model. 

24. Hose Clamp

While very similar in appearance and purpose to Marman clamps, these clamps come in a number of different types and styles and do not exert as much pressure as Marman clamps do. They can be used throughout the home or in the car and are often used when duct tape would suffice.

Since they create a slightly more permanent fix than duct tape does, they will last longer. They come in screw, spring, ear, and wire varieties with each variety having its own pros and cons and the best time to be used.

25. Screw Clamp

Screw clamps are types which use a screw mechanism to adjust the jaws and clamp a workpiece in place. The types which are found in the screw clamp category include G clamps (also known as C clamps), F clamps, edging clamps, wooden hand screw clamps, and rack clamps.

26. Quick-Grip

These clamps are useful for smaller projects, as their jaw is not very wide and therefore is best for holding two thin items together, such as two sheets of metal. They can be used with just one hand, leaving your other hand available to be working with your materials. They are quick and convenient to use and have a quick-release mechanism that enables you to swiftly let go of the materials you are clamping.

27. Cardellini Clamp

These clamps are designed to hold the tubing in place while it is worked on. They are compatible with round or square tubing and can also hold flat items in places like plywood or metal sheeting.

It is useful for use in tight spaces due to its lean and long shape and can be inserted anywhere with a capacity of at least two inches. These grips are especially susceptible to damaging the item they are holding when secured too tightly, even more so than most other clamps, so extra care should be taken when working with them.

28. Kant-Twist Clamp

This is a small but clever tool that is ideal for holding a wide range of materials in a number of circumstances, but it is especially useful in woodworking and metalworking. A Kant twist clamp is very similar to a ‘C’ clamp, but it is set at an angle so that it can hold materials that do not run parallel to each other.

These clamps are simple to use but offer a wide range of movement and are very strong and sturdy. They are typically made from steel or another alloy and are fairly inexpensive to buy.

29. Pennington Clamp

This is a medical clamp that also goes by the name of Duval clamp. It is shaped like a pair of slender scissors and has triangular eyelets at the tips. It is named after the Australian surgeon, David Geoffrey Pennington, who pioneered microsurgeries.

These clamps are favored in operations where tissue is needed to be grasped. They are common in rectal and intestinal procedures and also when performing Cesarean sections.

30. Hemostatic Clamp

These clamps are also used for surgical purposes and are shaped like scissors with ends that clamp shut to form a flat, tight line. They are especially useful in controlling bleeding and will commonly be used to clamp blood vessels before they are ligatured.

The handles of hemostatic clamps can lock together, thereby holding the clamp in place and ensuring it doesn’t spring back open while it is doing its job. These clamps go by several names, including arterial forceps and peans.

Various designs exist, some with straight tips and some with curved tips. Other models of hemostatic clamps that are used in other surgical areas include Satinsky clamps, Crile forceps, Kelly forceps, and Rankin forceps.

31. Mogen and Gomco Clamps

This is a medical clamp that is used to perform circumcisions. It is thought of as being very simple to use and results in minimal scarring. These can be used multiple times and, therefore, should be properly sanitized to prevent the spread of germs and potential infections.

31. Foerster Clamp

This is a surgical clamp that has a round eyelet at the end. It is also commonly called the sponge stick or a sponge clamp and is great for grasping both sponges and lung tissue during surgery.

They can be used with a sponge to carefully remove fluid that has collected in the area of the operation as well as to apply pressure to bleeding. Sometimes they are used for tissue dissection. Non-medically, they are often used for piercings.

32. Ear Clamp

This is a very small metal clamp (usually < 1″ in diameter) that is mainly used to secure a hose to a fitting, a pipe, or couplers. It is great to use for thin-walled applications such as small fuel, vacuum, and other parts in the automotive industry.

33. Parallel Clamp

A parallel clamp gives pressure to the materials clamped by two parallel vertical jaws with one-handed triggers. It is usually used to fix workpieces on spacious surfaces like tabletops, doors.

34. Corner Clamp

If you want to secure two workpieces’ joints into a 90-degree angle, there is no clamp better than a corner clamp. It is meant to utilize for corner joints, so may not be fitted for other ordinary clamp use.

35. Cable Clamp

A cable clamp is a u-bolt clamp that is used to tighten the loose sides of cable wires or steel ropes. This is a small clamp that will leave some spaces for the cables to move through and can be held to keep the cables in a neat and tightened position.