bar clamp vs parallel clamp

Bar Clamp vs Parallel Clamp: Which is Right for the Job?

When you’re looking to clamp something tightly together, there are two main styles of clamps that most people encounter in the workshop: bar clamps and parallel clamps. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so we decided to make an in-depth comparison between bar clamp vs parallel clamp so you can choose which one to use based on your current task and needs.

What is a Bar Clamp?

bar clamp

A bar clamp is a tool that is used to secure two or more pieces of wood together. The bar clamp has two jaws, one of which is fixed in place while the other jaw is movable. The jaws are connected by a bar, which is used to apply pressure to the wood. The jaws are opened and closed by a handle that is connected to the jaw. Bar clamps are used in woodworking and carpentry to hold pieces of wood together while they are being glued, screwed, or nailed together.

What is a Parallel Clamp?

parallel clamps

A parallel clamp is a specialized clamping tool that is used to hold two or more pieces of wood together in a parallel configuration. This type of clamp is typically used by woodworkers when they are assembling furniture or other wood products. The clamp consists of two jaws that are connected by a screw mechanism.

The jaws of the clamp are adjustable so that they can be opened or closed to the desired width. Once the jaws of the clamp are in the desired position, the screw mechanism is then tightened so that the jaws grip the wood securely. This type of clamp is very effective at holding wood in a parallel configuration and prevents the wood from slipping or moving out of alignment.

Bar Clamp vs Parallel Clamp

Similarities Between Bar Clamp and Parallel Clamp

There are a few key similarities between bar clamps and parallel clamps that are worth noting. 

  • First, both types of clamps are designed to provide a secure hold on materials during woodworking or other projects. This is achieved by their jaws, which grip the material tightly.
  • Both bar clamps and parallel clamps have a screw-type mechanism that is used to adjust the clamping force. This is important in order to ensure that the material is held securely but not so tightly that it could be damaged.
  • Both clamps have a release lever that is used to quickly and easily release the clamping force. This is a valuable feature as it allows for quick adjustments to be made or for the clamp to be completely released when finished.
  • Both types of clamps are designed to be used in different circumstances. These are the most versatile woodworking clamps among all.
  • Both clamps are durable and designed for long-term use. This is important for any woodworking project, as clamps are often required to hold materials in place for extended periods.
  • Finally, both bar clamps and parallel clamps are available in a variety of sizes. This is important because it allows the clamp to be selected based on the size of the clamped material.

Overall, bar clamps and parallel clamps share many similarities. They are both designed to provide a secure hold on materials, have a screw-type mechanism for adjusting the clamping force, and are available in various sizes.

Know More: How Clamps Work: Different Types and Their Mechanisms

Dissimilarities Between Bar Clamp and Parallel Clamp

Though both bar clamp and parallel clamp serve similar purposes, some key differences set them apart. If you’re unfamiliar with either clamping style, it can be hard to decipher which option might be best for your current project. This guide will help you make an informed decision when choosing a bar clamp or parallel clamp.

bar clamps
  • Bar clamps are typically longer than parallel clamps. This means that they can be used for longer boards or for holding boards together while you glue them.
  • Parallel clamps have jaws that are designed to grip the wood more tightly. This makes them ideal for use with small pieces of wood or for applying more pressure when needed.
  • Bar clamps typically have a single handle, while parallel clamps usually have two handles. This makes it easier to apply more pressure with a parallel clamp.
parallel clamp handle
  • Bar clamps can be used with one hand, while you will need two hands to use a parallel clamp.
  • Bar clamps are typically less expensive than parallel clamps.
  • Bar clamps are more versatile than parallel clamps since they can be used for a variety of different projects.

No matter what type of clamp you need, there is definitely a tool out there that can help you with your project. Just make sure to do your research and choose the right clamp for the job.

Applications of Bar Clamp

bar clamp uses
  • Bar clamps are commonly used in woodworking and carpentry. They are also used in other crafts, such as leatherworking and upholstery.
  • Bar clamps are very versatile. They can be used to clamp two pieces of wood together while you drill a hole through them or to fasten two pieces of wood together while you glue them.
  • Bar clamps are also useful for holding a piece of wood in place while you see it. This is especially useful when you are cutting a circular piece out of a larger piece of wood.
  • Bar clamps are relatively inexpensive, so they are a good investment for anyone who does a lot of woodworking or other crafts. They will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
  • In metalworking, bar clamps can be used to weld two pieces of metal together. The clamp is used to hold the two pieces of metal in place while the welding process is completed.
  • Automotive applications for bar clamps include holding brake discs in place while the brake pads are being replaced and holding body panels in place while they are being painted.
  • Bar clamps are an essential tool for many different applications. They are strong, durable, and can be adjusted to fit various needs.

Applications of Parallel Clamp

parallel clamps uses
  • Parallel clamps are extremely versatile, and you’ll find them used in various woodworking applications. 
  • They’re essential to help you glue pieces together during finishing or assembly projects. You can also use them to hold pieces together to be jointed, sanded or planned into straightness. 
parallel clamp
  • You may even want to use them while you cut certain materials on your table saw, like plywood or other sheet goods. If so, be sure to clamp a piece of scrap wood over your workpiece before securing it with a parallel clamp. 
  • You can even use parallel clamps to hold your workpiece when you’re working with a router. A piece of scrap wood clamped in place at one end of your workpiece will help you make accurate, repeatable cuts.

Frequently Asked Questions are Answered

1. What Are 3 Types of Bar Clamps?

Some common types of bar clamps are F-clamps, C-clamps, and pipe clamps.

Know More: What Are Clamps : A Beginners Guide to Woodworking Clamps

2. Are Parallel Clamps Worth it?

The answer may vary depending on who you ask, but in general, most people would say that parallel clamps are definitely worth the investment. There are a number of reasons why parallel clamps are worth the money.

First, they provide a much sturdier grip than traditional clamps. This is especially important when working with larger and heavier pieces of wood. Secondly, parallel clamps allow you to apply even pressure across the entire piece of wood, ensuring a more even and professional-looking finished product.

3. How Many Parallel Clamps Do You Need?

To determine the number of parallel clamps needed, divide the length of the object being clamped by the maximum reach of the clamp.

4. What Type of Clamps Do I Need for Woodworking?

There are many different types of clamps used in woodworking, but the most common are bar clamps, C-clamps, and F-clamps.


A bar clamp and a parallel clamp can both be great additions to your workshop, but they’re not identical tools. While a bar clamp is ideal when you need to apply pressure to long workpieces, a parallel clamp will prove useful when working with smaller pieces of wood. If you’re starting out in woodworking, it’s important to have as many tools at your disposal as possible.

Related Posts

  1. How to Store Wood Clamps Without Taking Up Too Much Space
  2. What Are Clamps : A Beginners Guide to Woodworking Clamps
  3. How to Clamp Wood for Cutting Perfectly Every Time
  4. Bar Clamp vs Parallel Clamp: Which is Right for the Job?

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