harbor freight quick clamps??

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 02-26-2018 11:01 PM 1126 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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209 posts in 2786 days

02-26-2018 11:01 PM

I was looking at Dewalt and Irwin quick clamps at Big Tool Store in Derby KS. (local family owned – non chain—I highly recommend it) and couldn’t stomach the price. I then looked online at the Harbor Freight quick clamps and they’re really imexpensive compared to the name brands. Has anyone used the Harbor Freight variety & have opinions about those specifically? I don’t need them often, but when I do. :)

17 replies so far

View nutmegger13's profile


19 posts in 1040 days

#1 posted 02-26-2018 11:10 PM

I have the quick clamps, made of plastic. I also have the Irwin models. The harbor freight clamps are not as good and I have broken the handle while trying to apply pressure. The metal clamps, however I like very much.

-- nutmegger13, Connecticut

View eflanders's profile


326 posts in 2627 days

#2 posted 02-26-2018 11:50 PM

I have dozens of them that I have used for boat building. Nearly all of the 6” clamps I originally bought all broke in less than a year. None of the 12” clamps have broke yet in over 3 yrs. of use. All of the 6” units were replaced by Irwin clamps. None of those have broke yet.

View Knockonit's profile


675 posts in 978 days

#3 posted 02-27-2018 12:02 AM

yeah, they tend to go south if you over tighten them, i’d like to think the heat here in the desert has something to do with it, but who knows, i replace them a couple at a time, as i do not use them all the time, they are the stand by when i run outta the go to clamps. one can never have enough clamps, never, ...............

-- Living the dream

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

2440 posts in 939 days

#4 posted 02-27-2018 12:38 AM

I bought a dozen of these 6 months ago and all have lost their grip.
I probably put $10 of force on a $3 clamp….... now, they don’t hold pressure
past 3 pounds. I will toss them in a box for when I need some steel bar stock and cut them up.
I will be adding pipe clamps of assorted sizes to fill the hefty arsenal and probably get the
Irwin clamps for general table work. I am satisfied with the “C” clamps with the button quick release.
(motto: you get what you pay for).


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Woodknack's profile


13395 posts in 3156 days

#5 posted 02-27-2018 01:10 AM

Junk. I bought 2 to try out and both broke the first I used them. No joke. I bought a bunch of Yost squeeze clamps and they are as good as my Quick Grips.

-- Rick M,

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1316 days

#6 posted 02-27-2018 01:25 AM

I really like these quick release bar clamps (F clamp) from harbor freight I have around 100 of them now. Had them for years. Use them hard including students and they hold up well.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View BFamous's profile


341 posts in 897 days

#7 posted 02-27-2018 01:48 AM

I have a few of the F clamps as well, and they “aren’t bad”... Been using them semi-frequently for a few years without any issue. But the plastic quick grip style are a whole different question.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3291 days

#8 posted 02-27-2018 01:51 AM

The ones Kelster58 are using are my go to clamps. Must have 50 of them in my shop, and lost one, maybe two in the last 6-7 years.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 2000 days

#9 posted 02-27-2018 01:59 AM

I have the larger, 24” ones and they’ve held up so far. I do not like the quick clamps that have the trigger on the back of the handle though. To me they are just awkward as hell to use.

View trsnider's profile


209 posts in 2786 days

#10 posted 02-27-2018 02:17 AM

I’m making curvy inlaid breadboards. They’re useful for the initial clamping. To start to bring the board pieces and thin inlay strips together (unless you have 3 or more hands ). That’s all I use them for.

View Robert's profile


3748 posts in 2257 days

#11 posted 02-27-2018 03:20 PM

I’ve stayed away from the quick clamps the bars look too thin to me—but their F & bar aluminum clamps aren’t bad

On the AL bar clamps I put a piece of hardwood inside the track and file the slider a bit.

A bit cumbersome to use comp to parallel clamps, but nice and lightweight when you’ve got that large panel glue up you can have 150# of clamps !!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View brtech's profile


1068 posts in 3699 days

#12 posted 02-27-2018 04:36 PM

You rediscovered conventional thinking:
1. HF quick clamps = no good
2. HF F clamps, blue handle = HF gem 12” and under, the longer ones bend the bar too much but some folks like ‘em anyway
3. HF Aluminum bar clamps = HF gem, can be improved with hardwood core

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4007 days

#13 posted 02-27-2018 05:20 PM

You rediscovered conventional thinking:
1. HF quick clamps = no good
2. HF F clamps, blue handle = HF gem 12” and under, the longer ones bend the bar too much but some folks like em anyway
3. HF Aluminum bar clamps = HF gem, can be improved with hardwood core

- brtech

+1. What he said.

I also have several of the longer f style clamps that I use to help pull drawer sides into position during assembly. Don’t need much clamping force; mostly a third hand.

The F style are handy to have around, and cheep. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Zach Dillinger's profile

Zach Dillinger

29 posts in 3935 days

#14 posted 02-27-2018 09:12 PM

They are pretty good right up until you push them just the tiniest bit too far and they break without warning. The limit varies from clamp to clamp.

-- Author of "With Saw, Plane and Chisel" and "On Woodworking"

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1592 days

#15 posted 02-28-2018 04:51 AM

I had exactly the same experience as John Smith with the grip type quick clamps. After some rather unexpected failures, I gathered the whole lot up and threw them away. After one or two uses, these clamps won’t apply enough pressure on a thumb to make it hurt before slipping.

Sometimes, I disagree with the idea that “you get what you pay for” because there are still bargains to be had, even in Harbor Freight. This time, I agree entirely.

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