Preferred over the Bessey DuoKlamp

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Review by Woodworker123 posted 04-01-2011 10:34 PM 15301 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Preferred over the Bessey DuoKlamp Preferred over the Bessey DuoKlamp No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I needed to pick up 4 clamps for a glue up, and it was between the Bessey DuoKlamp and the Irwin Quick-Grip. I haven’t seen any reviews or posts about the newish Irwin XP-600 line, so I thought I’d post my thoughts.

Bessey Duo-Klamps:
I recently started using Bessey K-Body parallel clamps and I’ve been impressed, so I bought 4 24” DuoKlamps. One of the features offered with them is the ability to switch from clamping to spreading with the switch of a dial. This seems really handy, you don’t have to disassemble jaws. However, you do have to switch the jaw pads from the inside to the outside, since you aren’t switching the jaw direction around. This is where I started to have mixed feelings. Switching the jaw pads around sounds easy, but I didn’t find that to be the case. The jaw pad material is a pretty stiff plastic, and the tabs holding them on the jaws are pretty deep. The result of this was that to switch them from one side to another took quite a bit of effort. So much effort, that I would rather have to remove a jaw and turn it around, than mess with the pads. I wouldn’t be surprised if over time the pads loosen up and it becomes easier, but I wouldn’t count on it personally. This flaw could have very easily been fixed if Bessey had simply included a few extra pads that could be left on the spreader side of the jaws. Unlike the Bessey K-Body clamps I recently got, the DuoKlamps had a feeling of cheapness. It’s hard to describe this exactly, I couldn’t place my finger on why exactly I felt this way. I decided to exchange them for the Irwin Quick-Grip XP600 clamps and see how they compared.

Irwin Quick-Grip XP600:
The Irwin’s were more expensive. At the local big box store, I paid $20 a piece for 24” DuoKlamps, compared to $32 a piece for the 24” XP600s. I didn’t really need them to be 24”, so I downgraded to the $25 a piece 12” XP600s. There are a few features that I think make it well worth the increase in price compared to the DuoKlamps. First of all, the DuoKlamps are rated at 290 lbs of clamping force, compared to the XP600 which has 600 lbs. In regards to the jaw pads, I’ve seen posts on LJ, where people point out the DuoKlamps have the advantage of larger clamping surface. Not compared to the new XP600s. The Jaw pad has a lower section that is not secured to the jaw, but rests against it when you are clamping something. This gives much more clamping surface than the DuoKlamps, and you can see the clamping surface goes all the way to the bar. The XP600 also features a resting pad that lets you lay the clamp down with the fixed jaw and this spacer flat on a table. The Bessey will let you do this as well because the trigger is on the jaw side of the clamp and has the advantage over the XP600, where the trigger body will have to hang off the table to be laid flat on the table. The final advantage I can see of the XP600 is the rotating jaws. The jaws have a lock button to allow you to lock them parallel and 90 degrees to the bar. They can be unlocked to provide a few degrees of tilt, if you were clamping something that was not square. I don’t see myself using this feature, but who knows?

One final note on the Irwins. In a recent kit purchase of Bessey K-Body clamps, I got a set of 4 KP Blocks. The length of the Irwin fixed jaws is slightly less than the KP Block heights (with the included adapters). This means I can have a work piece resting on the KP Blocks, and get the fixed jaw under the work piece to clamp vertically. Coincidental, but I’m glad about this, since I used this exact setup in my first used earlier today.

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 4140 days

6 comments so far

View Brit's profile


8457 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 04-02-2011 02:22 AM

Nice review Jack. I’ve been thinking of getting some quickgrips myself, so its nice to see you came to the same conclusion as me.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4362 days

#2 posted 04-02-2011 03:48 PM

I have some of each of these clamps and I prefer the Irwins for 2 reasons. You clearly can get a lot more clamping force with the Irwins. Also, my Besseys have a nasty habit of slipping into “neutral”. The switch that selects clamping or spreading sometimes moves into neutral when releasing pressure.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12439 posts in 4716 days

#3 posted 04-02-2011 05:10 PM

Very nice review, Jack. I love those Irwins.
Rich, your comment about clamping pressure is paramount. You can really get some squeeze with these babies!
BTW, I don’t have any Bessys with which to compare.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View SteveMI's profile


1170 posts in 4581 days

#4 posted 04-02-2011 05:37 PM

It seems that these Irwin are more like the Bessey K3 than the Bessey Duo-clamps. Amazon has the 24” Bessey K3 for $35 and the Irwin 36” XP600 for $39. Anyone have comment on Irwin XP600 to Bessey K3 comparison?

I don’t own either one of these yet, but need to get some better clamps in next couple months.


View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 4140 days

#5 posted 04-14-2011 06:17 PM

Steve, if I’m not mistaken, the K3 is the previous generation parallel clamp, akin to the KR (K body) parallel clamps I referred to briefly in my review.

I love those, and although they are comparable in price, they have some different applications. Namely, if you are trying to hold something and clamp it with your other hand, the Irwin is meant to be a one handed clamp and would be much less awkward.

I probably would have been fine using parallel clamps for what I used the Irwins for, but I had just bought 4 of those, and since I’m just building a collection of clamps, I thought some variety would be welcome.

View olegahg's profile


122 posts in 3271 days

#6 posted 02-12-2014 03:25 AM

Great review. Picked up 3 36” Irwins today at my local store for $30 each and buy 2 get 1 free.

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