Completing a welding project with lots of workpieces to handle is a hassle. To reduce these stress welding clamps are used which are super easy to use and hold your pieces tightly. There’s almost no probability of your pieces to move, unlike welding magnets.
Another welding clamp is the grounding clamp which makes it a hell lot easier to ground your projects. You’ll no longer have to make those grounding tabs and everything.
The best welding clamps come with all sorts of features like swivel pads, black oxide coating, quick release etc. What are those? Well, I’ve discussed it all.
None comes with all the features. Which one to get? Relax, also got that covered. I’ve reviewed some of the best welding clamps on the market pinpointing their pros and cons.
Different Types of Welding Clamps and Their Purposes
There’re all sorts of welding clamps. Now let’s break it down for ya and see what each of them does.
Fundamentally welding clamps are two types and each serves a different purpose.
Welding Clamps for holding Workpieces
C-Clamps just like the name suggests is C shaped. Has a spindle and tommy bar to attach grab on to workpieces easily.
This whole equipment can be used with just one hand that’s the biggest attraction about it.
The anterior part is somewhat C shaped when it is closed but O shaped when it’s closed and not holding on to anything. Holds stack of sheet metals. Great for butt, edge, and corner joint.
F-Clamps uses friction and lever principle to hold on to objects. Just like the C-Clamps it can be used with one hand and has this spindle and tommy bar mechanism.
The sliding bar makes the jaw gap exactly adjustable and uses the friction and lever principle to grab on to objects tightly.
Two Axis Welding Clamps
Holds on to two metal tubes and rods at 90 degrees independent of the thickness of each. Has a spindle on the end of which is the movable portion which presses objects tightly to the rigid walls of the clamp.
Can be fixed on to welding table or ant wooden tables for the fixture and sturdier setup.
Right Angle Clamp
Serves the same purpose as the two-axis clamp but has two separate spindles to hold on two each tube.
Welding Clamps for Grounding
These are for making a ground connection for workpieces. Completely nullifies the chance of you getting shocked.
Looks just like a plier, the tooth holds on to the workpieces. Has a screw for crimp connection of wire.
The magnet holds on to the workpiece and has a screw and bolt for connection of wire.
Guide to Buying the Best Welding Clamps
This is a list of things that’ll help you to figure out which clamp you need and why you’ll need it. I’ve tried to list down every possible feature of a welding clamp and so that you won’t be missing out on anything.
Guide to Buy Welding Clamps for Holding Workpieces
Lot welding clamps come with a lifetime warranty. This proves the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality and durability of the product.
It’s very important to verify whether the workpieces being held by the clamps are perfectly aligned. Otherwise, your welding projects might get messed up.
How to know that your one holds things aligned? You’ll have to see the reviews.
Adjustable Exacting Pressure or Jaw Gap Adjustments
Turn screw or thread screw on the posterior end can be used adjust the jaw gap and also the pressure being applied on the workpieces.
You’ll have to see the product specification or the reviews to know about this.
Black oxide coating
The thread screws or the spindle in some of the clamps are coated with black oxide to impede rust, wear or tear.
If a welding clamp has this then you’ll see that the spindle or the screw is black but it’s better to see the specifications or the reviews.
Drop forging means that the equipment has been manufactured by beating red-hot metal not by melting the metal. Anything made this way is more durable.
You’ll find it in the specifications whether the clamp drop forged or not.
A lot of welding clamps has this locking feature. This mechanism is made to work with some sort of lever and welding mechanism.
This will hold on to the workpieces super tight.
It’ll always be mentioned in the specifications whether the clamp has this lock mechanism or not.
Those that come with locks also comes with the quick release mechanism too. This makes the tool handier.
Check the specifications to see if the clamp has a quick release or not.
Max Jaw Gap
Another thing that a lot of folks miss out on checking is the maximum jaw gap that a clamp might have.
Many a time, specifications don’t have this info. So, the quickest way to know about it will be the reviews.
Welding clamps are usually made out of cast iron or the good ol’ stainless steel.
Cast iron ones are cheaper but they are prone to rust. On the contrary steel, ones are all good but they are a bit on the expensive side.
It’s you call which ones you want to let go.
Check the reviews or the specification to know about this.
Swivel pad is a soft rubber pad or a metal one that’s placed on that portion of the clamp which will be in touch with the workpiece. It’s mainly for scratch prevention purposes and also to prevent dents on ‘em.
If you do get one with swivel pads, do check out the size of the pad. The bigger the better.
Check out the reviews if it’s not mentioned in the specifications whether there’s swivel pad or not.
Rubber Pads on Handle
It’s a debate if it’s a wise choice to have rubber pads or not on the handles. Why? Cause there’s a 100% percent chance that spatter will fall on it sooner or later and damage it.
So, it’s up to you whether you want this on your clamp or not. But hey! You can always take it off, it won’t hurt to have ‘em.
You’ll understand if there’s rubber pad or not just by looking at the pic of the clamp anywhere on the web.
Guide to Buy Welding Clamps for Grounding
If you are getting one of those magnetic ones then you gotta check out the shear force.
What the hell am I talking about? Shear force is the force in kilos or lbs that when applied parallel to the plane on which the clamp is set.
The greater the better.
Check out the specifications or the reviews as usual to get an idea about the shear force.
In case you are getting one of the plier types then it would be wise of you to check out the teeth. The stronger the tooth the stronger the connection the better the conductivity.
Every manufacturer or brand will claim that their tooth is awesome. The best choice would be to take a look at reviews.
Multiple Holding Angles
A lot of magnetic welding clamps serves the purpose of welding magnets too i.e. keeps the pieces held tight at multiple angles like 45 degrees, 65 degrees etc.
Few of the plier type grounding welding clamps have an extra piece of spring in between handles along with the one in the usual location i.e. in the neck to make the grip stronger.
Look at the pic of the product to get an idea about this.
Best Welding Clamps for Holding Workpieces
I’ve listed down some of the top-rated welding clamps on the market today pointing out their pros and cons. So that it gets easier for you to choose from various choices.
1. Locking Welding Clamps
Ones I am talking about is manufactured and sold by Capri Tools. The set consists of 11” C-Clamp, 10” Sheet Metal Clamp and a 10” Welding Clamp.
- ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIES: Three-piece welding clamp set to secure free-moving metal objects during the welding and fabrication process
- INCUDES THREE CLAMPS: Includes an 11" C-clamp, 10" sheet metal clamp and 10" general welding clamp to cover a variety of metal work
- DURABLE BUILD: Hardened steel jaws with adjustable pressure provide superior strength for professional metal workers and hobbyists
- QUICK-LOCK RELEASE: Locks metal pieces firmly in place and includes quick-lock release for easy removal
All of them have this quick release mechanism just like the Vise-Grip ones. Also, the jaw gap is adjustable with the turn screw on the back. This mechanism helps to adjust pressure too.
C Clamps can hold on to any plane objects or a couple of sheet metals at a time. The jaw can be adjusted to be 3” to about 3/8” so it can hold on to small and large objects at ease.
As for the 10” welding clamps, these are just the thing for butt welding by the perfectly aligned and tightly holding on to the sheet metals. U-shaped jaw makes things a lot easier with the visibility and working space on the entire alignment.
About the 10” sheet metal clamp. From the looks, you’re thinking it can only hold on to sheet metal. But wait, it can also hold on to tubes at 90 degrees if you set one from the side and another along the jaw.
On all of these, the robust jaws made out of steel proved superior strength for the welders and durability for the product.
Thread screw or the turn screw on the back is not up to the name of the brand, it makes rotating it a bit difficult, not very smooth. That’s what some of the users are complaining.
No swivel pads on the jaws of the C-Clamp which increases the chance of getting dents on the workpieces.
2. IRWIN VISE-GRIP Original Locking Welding Clamp
- U-shaped jaws provide enhanced visibility and more room to work
- Holds work in proper alignment
- For use in welding applications and for holding awkward shapes in place
- Turn screw adjusts pressure to fit work and stays adjusted for repetitive use
9” clamp gives a good grip & the U-shaped jaw allows a fine butt-welding joint experience. Metal sheets can be held in perfect alignment with a good view and working space on the entire alignment facilitating butt-welding joint.
Adjustable exacting pressure and jaw gap due to the turn screw on the posterior this will allow preventing dents on the workpieces.
Guarded quick release trigger for instantaneously releasing the workpieces.
Irwin Tools are confident enough on the durability to provide a lifetime warranty on this clamp. Constructed from high-grade heat-treated alloy steel i.e. a mixture of steel and few other metals for a robust clamp. It’ll be up for a lifetime of use unless abused or misused.
Soon enough you’ll find welding spatters sticking on the clamps. Turn screw might stop from being smooth after a while, that’s the experience of many welders.
3. Wilton Tool Group MMS-8 Mini F-Clamp
Manufactured by Wilton Tool Group.
- Black oxide spindle resists wear and tear while impeding rust
- Drop forged arm provides minimal flex under heavy work loads
- Swivel pad centers on work piece for a sturdy hold
- Sturdy tommy bar is engineered for durability and comfort
Sliding jaws and tommy bar makes it more of a one hand tool. Swivel pads placed on the clamp to hold on to the workpieces sturdily. Definitely a clamp for your labyrinthine projects due to its size.
Arms being constructed by drop forging makes the clamp truly heavy duty. Black oxide coating i.e. a coating of magnetite on the spindle prevents rust, wear and tear.
Not a clamp for holding tubes and definitely not one for butt-welding.
Can’t hold workpieces perpendicularly.
4. Hobart 770565 Two Axis Welding Clamp
- This Welding Ground Clamp has a copper plated clamping surface and a strong spring
- The extra copper strap on the inside will give it better contact
- The rugged copper plated jaws will hold on to the work material and ensure that there is conductivity
- It's a premium quality heavy duty welder clamp for Arc welding
Square tube, round tube, channel tube and some other things (you get the idea) can be held at 90 degrees by this welding clamp. Why does it have holes on two sides? Well, that’s for the fixture. You can fix it to your welding table or any wooden tables to have a sturdier setup.
Moving portion of the clamp can get as far as 3” from the fixed wall. But can only accommodate stuff of 2.5” breadth on each side max.
Black oxide spindle reduces the probability of wear, tear or rust of the spindle.
Almost no probability of damage during shipping……why? Because it comes in a cover of thick plastic.
Once you try to clamp a small sized tube…..umm like about 5/8” or so, you’ll see that the moving portion will be twisted and somewhat attain an elevated position from the fixed walls. So? This’ll cause the clamp to hold on to the pieces loosely!
Though the black oxide plating on the spindle is in the pros it would have been better if it had a copper plating. “Why?” you ask. Since that would stop the splashes from sticking on to the spindle.
PLASTIC HANDLE!!! Plastic handle on a welding equipment is a bummer.
5. Butt Welding Clamps
The one that I am talking about is made by Harbor Freight Tools. Comes in a set of eight.
- All new fin design lowers temperature by almost 27-percent
- Stronger hold in shear (vertical) position allows for use with heavy gauge ground cable
- No more tacking on tabs and searching for ground location
- Fast Setup, grounds instantly
This cheapo tool has more to do than meets the eye. Square peg in a square hole holds sheet metal super tight. But the thing about this is that it leaves just the right amount of space in between for butt joint.
A very simply engineered piece of equipment has a wing nut on top with a threaded bolt in the middle to loosen and tighten the grip i.e. adjustable pressure.
When you are done with the clamp all that you’ll have to do is to loosen with the wing nut and take off the peg. Walah! You are good to go.
Made out of simple sheet metal, no electroplating or black oxide plating whatsoever to prevent rust, wear or tear.
The sheet metal that holds the square peg and also the weight of the workpieces might get bent at some point.
Best Welding Clamps for Grounding
1. Magswitch 8100746 Ground Clamp
Magnetic clamp for grounding manufactured by Magswitch. Provides an end to all your miseries with grounding your welding projects.
- For welding perfect 90-Degree corners on square tube, round tube and angle and channel iron.
- Features a floating head and rotating spindle screw that adjusts to align and hold work pieces.
Thermodynamically friendly, due to the greater surface area created by the fins. This lowers the temperature by about 27%.
Holds on to the workpiece in whatever position it is as long as the workpiece is magnetic too. Magnet’s strength is about 40kg’s or so.
The height of the object is about 2.3 inches and has a screw on the side to hold heavy gauge ground cable.
Can withstand up to whopping 300 Amps.
Never holds on to the debris, you can clean whatever debris is sticking on the clamp easily by turning the magnet off. Funny thing is you can also use it somewhat like a vacuum cleaner for the debris, spatters or any metal dust in your workshop.
The shear force of the object is about 2kg’s or so.
Though the manufacturers claim that the magnets can hold on to about 40 kilos but it keeps falling off and is very dangerous to use in over the head welding. Some of the users claim so.
2. Heavy Duty Arc Welding Ground Clamp
This one’s manufactured and sold by Lifbitter.
- For securing sheet metal pieces together for welding
- Works with 3/16" to 26 gauge material
Really solid tooth and a binder or strap attaching both of the teeth makes the ground connection more and more reassuring. The tooth ate made out of copper for a solid connection.
Just like the one by Magswitch it can carry up to 300 Amps. Copper piece and nut and bolts for both crimp on connection or heavy gauge wire.
Weighs just about 150 grams not too heavy nor too light i.e. 5.3 oz. Has a length of about 6.7 inches i.e. 17 cm for a proper grip.
Jaws can only open up to 2.1 inches at max. So, it won’t be grounding your tube projects.
The clamp itself is made out of a very thin metal sheet, it could get bent at some point. More importantly professional welder highly doubt that this could conduct 300 Amps.
Welding clamps are for holding workpieces perpendicularly and there’s another type that’ll help you to ground your projects.
Many struggles with understanding and knowing about all those features that the best welding clamps come with. Now you don’t want to get into the market, be it online or offline being a complete noob. To relief you from this trouble, I tried to talk about those make it more understandable for the newbies in this field.
Some welding clamps have these other have those, which one do you get? To help you, in this case, I talked about some of the best welding clamps on the market to date.
If you’ve read it even partially chances are that you’ll be owning a welding clamp with no regrets of purchasing it.