Best Clamps For Welding
Using clamps for welding projects is one of the easiest ways to complete fabrication jobs on your own. You can fit up large projects without needing additional help, and achieve proper angles while doing so.
This article will cover our top welding clamps that we use on a daily basis for MIG, TIG and Stick. These are name brands that are tried and true; and we are confident that they will help you make quick work of your upcoming projects.
Keep in mind that these are not ground clamps. They are just clamping tools that allow for easy fabrication procedures throughout the course of a work day.
This is the clamp that we use the most in our shop. It is 11 inches in length which is nice and sturdy. It’s moveable swivel pads can clamp at odd angles, and they offer a nice surface area for maximum clamping strength. These smooth pads dig into steel much less than traditional clamps, and the pads can be at different angles from each other while clamping.
The swivel pad model is slightly more expensive than the regular (R) model, but the additional capability makes it worth it. The prices have come down in recent years, which makes it more manageable to start building your set of C clamps.
We enjoy the adjustability of the bolt on the rear of the clamp. It lets you tighten it down for small projects, and loosen it all the way for clamping super thick material.
Irwin Vise Grip 11R Locking Welding Clamp
These clamps are very similar to the swivel pad model, but they have normal jaws with a thinner width. These are great for clamping in tight spaces, where the swivel pad model would be too wide. You can also put a metal shim between the jaws so they wont dig into your material; we especially recommend this for softer metals like aluminum.
These are probably the most classic welding clamp around. They have been in the industry for ages and we’ve never seen one fail. The worst thing that can happen is a broken spring, which takes about 30 seconds to replace. Spring failure happens very rarely, and usually after years of heavy use.
Welders love the Irwin brand because they don’t use unnecessary bells and whistles in their products. They have kept the design the same for many years because it works so reliably.
Bessey SQ4 6 inch Super Welding Clamp
Bessey is a highly trusted German brand that has revolutionized the world of clamps. Their sliding arm F clamps have gathered a huge following over the years. This is because they are rock solid, very simply designed, and can be set up way faster than a traditional clamp; the sliding arm allows you to get the clamp into position within a few seconds. You don’t have to fiddle around with the adjustment bolt found on C clamps.
The strength of Besseys is also unmatched. This specific model has 1,330 pounds of clamping pressure when tightened fully (by hand). The larger models can reach clamping strengths of over 5,000 pounds!
They also feature a heavy duty swivel pad that can clamp at odd angles; this is quite similar to the Irwin 11SP, but with a heavier duty construction. The entire clamp is made of high end cold rolled steel for maximum strength.
Bessey WSM-9 Angle Welding Clamp
This is the ultimate clamp for getting a 90 degree angle for your project. The two way spindle allows you to achieve a 90 degree angle – even with two different material thicknesses. This clamp can be used for plates, angle, square tubing, pipe, and even channel material.
This self centering jig saves us tons of time when fabricating. Although it isn’t used on every project, it is a great way to know that you have an exact right angle before you start welding. The trusted Bessey name makes us confident that this clamp will perform for years to come.
If you plan on fabricating projects with exact square angles, we highly recommend this jig.
Irwin Vise Grip 6R Locking Welding Clamp
These are the mini versions of the Irwin 11R clamps for welding mentioned above. These 6 inchers come in handy for smaller fabrication projects, especially with TIG applications. And, we love the fact that they can get into tighter spaces; and for their size, they are extremely strong.
We recommend these for welders fabbing light duty projects, or welders that love to make small items with TIG or MIG processes. If you plan on always working with heavier gauged steel, then these probably won’t cut it. However, if you’re a sheet metal fanatic – then these will be your best friend.
These also come in the swivel pad version as well, but we find the R model works great for most small scaled projects.
Irwin Quick Grip C Clamp (Medium 6″)
If you enjoy fabricating smaller projects, you’re not going to want a huge collection of large clamps. You may want to opt for a more subtle clamp that can grip thinner material in tight areas.
These mini C clamps from Irwin are great for sheet metal projects as well as smaller scaled projects in general. They are not overpowering, and they are better suited for fitting in tight corners and joints.
They are still built with the same precision and quality of the vise grips, but they allow for more finesse in your clamping applications. We always have a few of these around the shop incase we get a call to build something small for a client.
They feature a high grade steel construction, and a double rolled thread for faster clamping and tightening.
Irwin Quick Grip C Clamp (Large 8″)
If you enjoy the clamping style of the true C clamp from Irwin, but want to build some larger projects, this is a great option. It still has the sleek profile of the 6 inch, but it allows you to clamp thicker metals.
These are a great substitute for the vise grips, and we like having these around to have extra options. They are also a bit more affordable than building up a collection of vise grips.
MAXPOWER 11″ Heavy Duty C Clamp
If the original Irwin Vise grips seem a bit expensive, these are a great alternative for the budget conscious welder. They are made with the same design and components, but you aren’t paying extra to have a name brand item.
We have found that these hold up really well over time, and their strength is very similar to the original Irwins. This model will allow you to build up your clamp collection without having to shell out a lot more money.
The alloy steel is heat treated and drop forged which means it lasts for a long time. It also features a lifetime warranty, which is rare for most clamps.
Your clamping needs will be based on your specific welding projects. Heavier welding applications will require larger clamps, and vice versa. It is good to play around with different clamps, and eventually you will have a quiver that aids you in building different things.
Clamps need to be of a high quality. It is better to buy it once and have it last a lifetime, than to have to replace a crappy clamp.
We hope this has helped narrow down your selection, and remember – there is no right or wrong. I have friends that only use Bessey’s, while I prefer to have a large set of Vise Grips instead. It comes down to personal preference, and the clamps you have had success with in the past will stay in your arsenal for years to come.
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