TIW Review No. 01 - Harbor Freight F Clamps

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Blog entry by Shawn Sealer posted 07-14-2012 04:33 PM 5988 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I stopped by Harbor Freight, And I came across these F Clamps. Work Pretty good for the price.

-- -Shawn

5 comments so far

View Dwain's profile


538 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 07-14-2012 10:05 PM


Thanks for the review. I have several of the HF “F” style clamps in 6” and 12”. I think they are a really good value for light duty clamps. I noticed in your comparison the threads of the HF seem thinner than those of the bessey. I don’t know what this means, but there is a clear difference.

Thanks again for your review. I think those clamps are considered a “Hidden Gem” buy a lot of the Lumberjocks out here. Remember to use the 20% off coupon for extra savings!!! I got the 6” clamps for 1.99 each. A steal, I think. I also like their pipe clamps.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2790 days

#2 posted 07-15-2012 12:53 AM

Shawn I have a number of these clamps and I have been quite happy with them. I don’t doubt that Bessey makes good clamps but I can afford them. I think that what the clamp is made of might be the biggest difference.

At one time HF clamps were made almost identical to Bessey, right down to the rivet at the bottom of the bar. I still have some of these older style clamps and one of them failed. The threads in the movable jaw stripped out. I have not had a problem with the others. One thing will tell you as that the grips on the new HF clamps is that they are molded onto the screw. I know this because I recently bought some of the clamps you reviewed. I was using them on a project and while doing so the grip srtipped out. I was able to repair it with some epoxy, which worked out well. So, be aware the grips on your HF clamps my fail. As a matter of fact, I thouht that you would experience that when you tested the clamping pressure. I think they should have stayed with the pin through the handle design.

Also the finish on the HF clamps is a process called black oxide. It’s a less expensive process than chroming. The steel that the bar is made from is probably a lower grade than the bar of the Bessey clamp. The large grip could be a draw back. It does allow you apply a tremendous amount of clamping pressure, it also causes more stress on all of the parts of the clamp. Bessey may have designed their clamps with a smaller grip to keep this from happening. As you said, you probably would not apply that much clamping pressure.

I think that both companies make a good F style clamp. Like I said earlier, I can’t afford Bessey clamps.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View AjayO's profile


27 posts in 3500 days

#3 posted 07-15-2012 01:54 AM


Thanks for study and the video!

I too have many of HF ‘F’ bar (some older once some new once like you showed) and aluminum bar clamps as well. For the money I paid and functionality I get, I don’t have any complaints.

I do have these limitations (can’t call them issues as price is so low) with them:

1. Locking notches are too shallow as you noticed. Over time they are likely to strip.
2. The bar on HF clamps is noticeably thinner. This causes bigger (> 12”) clamps to flex so not good for parallel clamping situations.
3. The finish on sliding parts is not great so they slide as well as Bessy or Jorgensen.

Again, for the money they are an excellent buy. When I need lots of clamps for glue ups, I have a good supply.

For parallel work, I have some Woodriver (Woodcraft brand, Bessey style) and…..HF aluminum bar clamps.

My attitude towards HF brought products is the given the prices, I am not going to be too upset when the product fails! And they do have very good return policy during warranty period.


-- - Ajay

View Shawn Sealer's profile

Shawn Sealer

168 posts in 3143 days

#4 posted 07-15-2012 05:54 PM

Thanks for all the great input, I am herring mixed things across the boards some times they will break but not often. The consensus is that they are still worth every penny and a good value. I think i am going to run out and get some more today.

-- -Shawn

View Dwain's profile


538 posts in 3888 days

#5 posted 07-17-2012 09:25 PM

Don’t forget the 20% coupon, and try to stay away from anything over 12 inches! Good luck…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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