5 Types Of Clamps For All Your DIY Needs

When working on projects at the house, it is nice to have an extra set of hands to help with your DIY needs. Clamps are like that. They are tools that hold objects or materials in place temporarily. But there are so many available. We’ve researched the topic and found several types that you should have in your toolshed.

Many different clamps exist for specific functions. Here are a few clamps that will meet all your DIY needs:

  • C clamps
  • Spring Clamps
  • Pipe Clamps
  • Locking clamps
  • Bar clamps

That looks like a long list. Bear with us, and we will explain what each of them is used for.

Wooden door with a red bar clamp attached to it. 5 Types Of Clamps For All Your DIY Needs

Multiple Clamps To Know

Overall, clamps are used to hold objects steadily in place while you work. Each clamp may function well for multiple jobs, but not every clamp can be used in every job. Thus, you should have various clamps in your DIY arsenal.

toolbox and repair tools laid on a dark mat


Often proclaimed as the favorite and most popular clamps among DIYers, C-clamps hold certain items, like metal or wood, in place. Also called G clamps, they are shaped like G or C.

C clamps on white background

Typically, you don't want your hands or fingers in the way while you work with wood or metal. With a C-clamp, your hands are free while the clamp holds the wood together. At home, you might need this while the glue sets, while you saw off pieces of wood, or during melding.

By the wall, only certain materials can withstand the heat in welding. Here is an iron C-clamp that can be used for welding. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

How to Use a C-Clamp

Follow these steps for how to use it:

  1. Use the tommy bar to open the C clamp as wide as you need it.
  2. Place the anvil against the table.
  3. Use the tommy bar to tighten the screw.
  4. Ensure that the shoe is snug against the object.

Whew, that was a lot! Check out this video that discusses the terms and shows how to use the clamp:

Spring clamps

For a spring clamp, you might picture something like a strong, durable clothespin. It has two handles connected to a jaw with a spring mechanism.

Plastic spring clamps are clamping to glue two pieces of wood

In DIY woodworking projects, spring clamps are used to hold wood pieces firmly in place. A large spring clamp can hold a doorframe in place while you let the glue set. But remember to insert padding between the clamp and the wood, so you don't damage the wood.

Alligator clamps isolated On White Background

For electrical work, it's best to use metal spring clamps. Also called alligator clamps, you have probably seen them used for restarting cars. For safety, the handles are enveloped in rubber. A wire runs through the handles, and the ends of the clamps attach to the battery terminal.

Here is a pack of 10 that is inexpensive. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

How to Use Spring Clamps

It's easy to use these clamps! Follow these steps:

  1. Grasp the handles and squeeze them together.
  2. Attach the jaw of the clamp to the object.
  3. Release the handles.
  4. Ensure that the jaw is securely fashioned by tugging on the handles.

Pipe Clamps

pipe clamp attached to a galvanized iron pipe in white background

A pipe clamp connects various lengths to hold together long pieces of material, such as wood or metal. In the end, there is a jaw that grasps an object. Additionally, the length can easily be adjusted to fit the length of the material. For DIY home projects, you can use them for woodworking or cabinet making.

Here is a set of 4 pipe clamps that can be used for a lot of your DIY jobs. Note that you will need to purchase the pipes separately.

Click here to see them on Amazon. 

How to use pipe clamps

For cabinet making, pipe clamps are invaluable tools. Typically, cabinets are too cumbersome to securely hold together with just your hands. They require evenly distributed pressure while the glue sets. So, use these if you don't want your cabinets to fall apart while you work.

Fitter, manual construction worker man, installing integrated kitchen furniture with clamps and plumbing in a new kitchen custom made with opened window

Follow these steps for how to use them:

  1. Screw the pipe into the front pipe clamp.
  2. Slide the back pipe clamp onto the same pipe.
  3. Adjust the back pipe clamp as needed for size.

Check out this video to see how:

Locking Clamps

Locking C-clamp with swivel pads isolated on white background

Locking clamps pinch and hold an object while you work on it. At the end of one handle, there is a screw to adjust how much pressure is applied to the object. On the other handle, there is a lever that controls the locking mechanism. Often, you can use them for metalworking or welding.

For more intricate DIY jobs, you might want to use these clamps. But your hands help manipulate the object because they twist and bend the material as desired.

Close up locking pliers on wooden background

Locking pliers, or vice grips, are common types of locking clamps. They are pliers that lock and hold an object in place.

Here is a set of 3 locking pliers. Click here to see them on Amazon. 

How to Use Locking Pliers

Follow these steps for how to use them:

  1. Grasp the handle and release the lever to open the jaws.
  2. Apply the open jaws to the object.
  3. Adjust the knob at the end of the handle to change the size and pressure of the clamp.
  4. Pull the lever on the other handle to secure the jaws in place.
  5. Use the knob to adjust the pressure again as needed.

Check out this video to see how:

Bar clamps

Hand in working glove holds F-clamp speed clamp isolated white background

Another favorite clamp, bar clamps, are excellent options for a lot of your heavy-duty DIY needs. Also called F clamps, bar clamps are shaped like an F with a long metal bar. Typically, they are used in woodworking and metalworking.

woodworker using bar clamp on his cabinet project

For large DIY tasks, you might find a bar clamp useful. A bar clamp can hold together furniture, like gluing together wood pieces for a tabletop.

Here is a great steel bar clamp. Steel is ideal for bar clamps because it will promote durability. Click here to see it on Amazon.

bar clamps holding up door jamb for installation to concrete wall

For most jobs, you will need 2 bar clamps. As pictured above, you can use two bar clamps to help hold in place a new door frame. This will save you the cost of hiring a carpenter!

Here is an excellent pair of bar clamps. Click here to see them on Amazon. 

How to Use Bar Clamps

Follow these steps for how to use them:

  1. Place the anvil against a stationary object.
  2. Slide the shoe to the desired height.
  3. Use the turntable to tighten the screw and secure the object.

Check out this video to see how:

What Are The Strongest Clamps?

Man clamps iron products into c-clamps. Man works with clamps. Steel workshop concept

Overall, C clamps appear to be some of the strongest clamps available, especially considering their small size. Typically, they only weigh around 1 to 2 lbs. Yet, they can withstand hundreds or thousands of lbs of pressure. Of course, it depends on the type of clamp.

Mostly, you will use non-commercial C clamps. At home, you usually don't need a clamp that can withstand thousands of lbs of pressure.

Instead, you probably need a C clamp that can hold up to 500 lbs of pressure. Plus, you can add multiple C clamps to increase their overall strength.

What Can You Use Instead Of Clamps?

Sometimes you don't have access to the right clamp. So, you might need to get creative with them.

Although they are not as secure as clamps, you can probably find several options lying around the house. Here are a few alternatives:

  • Bookends
  • Dumbbells
  • Heavy books
  • Scrap metal
  • Spare wood

A stack of wood 2x4 beams, view of rough cut ends

Spare wood is a great option because you probably have a few cut 2 x 4 pieces lying around. Also, they are usually even and flat, thereby providing stability. For example, if you are lining up cabinets, you can place 2 x 4 blocks of wood on the sides to keep them stable while applying glue or insert nails.

How Many Clamps Do You Really Need?

assorted wood clamps used to make a mold frame

In reality, you don't need all the clamps available in the hardware store. You would do fine if you only had a few of the inexpensive ones. Plus, a lot of them can be found on Amazon as sets, so you get more than one!

Here are the cheapest clamps:

  • C-clamps
  • Spring Clamps
  • Locking Clamps

Here is a set of 3 C-clamps. Click here to see them on Amazon. 

Here is a set of 30 spring clamps. Click here to see them on Amazon. 

Here is a set of 3 locking clamps. Click here to see them on Amazon. 


In summary, several types of clamps exist for your DIY projects, including C clamps, spring clamps, pipe clamps, locking clamps, and bar clamps. Once you learn how to use them, they're easy and valuable tools to own! Good luck with your DIY projects!

If you're working on fixing up your house, then you should check out our articles:

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