When it comes to woodworking, it can be frustrating to hold two pieces of wood together at a 90-degree angle to join them. It’s a process that could benefit from an extra set of hands. A corner clamp, or right-angle clamp, is a better option for these projects.
A right-angle clamp consists of an L-shaped arbor that pushes against an L-shaped frame via a handle that attaches to a spindle. The vise holds two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle with the ends perfectly aligned, which frees your hands to join the two pieces together either with glue or fasteners.
This guide will review the top picks for some of the best right angle clamp for DIY projects.
- BEST OVERALL: Housolution Right Angle Clamp
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: HORUSDY 90° Right Angle Clamps/Corner Clamp
- BEST LIGHT-DUTY: SEDY 90 Degree Right Angle Clamp/Corner Clamp
- BEST MEDIUM-DUTY: WEICHUAN Woodworking 90 Degree Corner Clamp
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Corner Clamp TACKLIFE Right Angle Clamp
- BEST DUAL-HANDLE: SAND MINE Double Handle Corner Clamp
- BEST MULTI-ANGLE: Yakuin Multi-angle Corner Clamp
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Right Angle Clamp
Joining wood, metal, or any other material at a right angle can be a clumsy process. A right-angle clamp can make the entire ordeal easier, but only if you buy the right one. To determine which right-angle clamp is best for your workshop, it’s prudent to consider factors like durability, accuracy, and clamping range.
A right angle clamp’s construction is the key to its performance. Lightweight clamps are made out of thinner aluminum or even plastic, meaning they’ll work well for light-duty jobs, such as picture frame building, but won’t hold up to clamping together heavier materials for projects like cabinet building or metal welding. For heavy-duty tasks, look for clamps with reinforced aluminum bodies and steel spindles and arbors.
Accuracy and material type go hand in hand. Durable aluminum alloy and steel clamps won’t warp or bend under pressure, which allows for a perfect 90-degree angle. Single-handle clamps also offer a high degree of accuracy, as they enable you to clamp both pieces simultaneously via a single handle once aligned.
A right-angle clamp isn’t suitable if it can’t hold the materials you want to clamp together. Make sure to check how wide the clamp’s jaws can open to determine if it offers a wide enough range to hold the materials you need to join. Most clamps can hold materials up to 60mm (2.36 inches) to 70mm (2.75 inches) wide. All clamps on our list can join materials of two different widths.
The clamp’s capacity incorporates both its range, described above, and the jaw’s width and depth. Most clamps have a jaw width between 3.5 and 4 inches and a jaw depth between 1 and 1.5 inches. A clamp with a wide and deep jaw has more surface area to clamp the materials you’re joining.
The greater the jaw’s width, the more stable the clamp can hold longer and heavier materials in place. So while a smaller angle clamp may suffice for a picture frame project, an angle clamp with a longer jaw is necessary for projects involving larger pieces, such as cabinet-making.
The spindle is the long nut attached to the handle that threads through the arbor and into a bolt. The handle turns the spindle, which tightens the clamp. Given that it’s responsible for holding the material in place, it’s the critical component in a right-angle clamp. Most spindles are made out of aluminum. Heavy-duty clamps feature heat-treated spindles with steel nuts, which are harder and thus more durable than standard steel. Heat-treated spindles are less likely to bend or strip under the pressure of clamping larger materials.
Given how tricky the process is to align two pieces of wood, metal, or glass into the clamp, the handle is an integral part of a right angle clamp. In most cases, you’ll need to operate the handle with one hand while using the other to steady the two pieces you’re clamping together. For ease-of-use, most right angle clamps work with a single handle that clamps both parts simultaneously. The handle should be large enough to tighten easily with one hand.
Getting a good grip on the handle as you’re holding everything in place is crucial. With that in mind, most handles feature padded non-slip grips that are easy to hold while tightening the clamp.
It used to be that right-angle clamps featured multiple handles and jaws that required more aligning and turning. Innovations in right-angle clamps make setup much more manageable nowadays. Clamps designed with single handles operate one L-shaped jaw that can clamp both pieces at the same time. These clamps can also pivot on the spindle to accommodate pieces with two different widths. And if that doesn’t offer enough ease, most angle clamps feature holes in the base that allow them to be mounted to a workbench to add more stability for setup.
Our Top Picks
A right angle clamp will make an excellent addition to a workshop. They are built with durable materials and innovative designs that simplify the process of joining wood and other materials at right angles.
With its sturdy and simple-to-use design, this right angle clamp from Housolution is a winner for woodworkers. With its one-handle setup, simply hold the material in place with one hand, and tighten the knob to lock the workpiece securely in place with the clamp’s 3.75-inch wide jaws. This right-angle clamp is capable of clamping wood, metal tubes, and even glass with a maximum jaw opening of 2.7 inches.
An easy-to-grip rubberized handle allows you to operate the clamp with ease while a durable die-cast aluminum body ensures this clamp will tightly grip both pieces without warping or cracking. Two holes allow you to affix this clamp to a workbench.
When it comes to a woodworking project, chances are you’ll need to hold more than just one corner of a project piece at a 90-degree angle. You may need to hold two or more in position. That can become quite expensive if you need four right angle clamps. That’s what makes this right-angle clamp from Horusdy such an attractive buy. With its inexpensive price tag, you can afford to buy multiple clamps.
There’s little compromise in quality, too. It features a durable die-cast aluminum body and a large rubberized handle for locking the pieces into place. The clamp screw also pivots to allow two different size pieces to be joined. With a jaw that can handle parts up to 68mm (2.7 inches) wide, this clamp is an excellent option for a variety of different projects.
Light-duty projects such as picture frames and crafting projects don’t demand a heavy-duty clamp with heat-treated steel and large jaws. For smaller projects, this right-angle clamp will get the job done. Its aluminum construction prevents warping or cracking, while a rubberized grip makes tightening the clamp a breeze. With a clamping range of 2.6 inches, this clamp offers plenty of clearance for most projects.
The clamping screw also pivots to allow for joining materials of different thicknesses. Holes on the clamp base allow for mounting the clamp to a workbench. This is a great crafting option that even includes a kid-proof handle to prevent little fingers from being clamped.
For bigger jobs, you need a clamp that will hold up to the weight of larger pieces of wood and metal. With its larger capacity and durable quality, this right-angle clamp can manage larger projects. Its jaws open wide to handle materials up to 2.8 inches wide. It’s also strong enough to withstand tough jobs with its rustproof steel arbor and aluminum body construction.
This makes it a viable option for furniture making and even welding. This clamp is also easy to operate, thanks to a large handle and rubber-coated grip. Other features include moveable jaws for clamping different sized pieces together and holes for mounting the clamp to a workbench.
Durable construction and a large capacity make this right-angle corner clamp from Tacklife an excellent option for serious woodworkers. It’s made of aluminum alloy with a tough steel arbor and a ribbed design that gives it a high load capacity.
It won’t warp or crack under the pressure of heftier materials. It offers a maximum clamping range of 2.8 inches (70mm), giving it plenty of capacity for bigger projects. A thick rubberized handle provides something substantial to turn while a heat-treated threaded rod and steel rotating nut ensure the clamp will hold up to a lot of pressure. This is an excellent clamp for heavy-duty projects such as cabinet making, welding, and glasswork.
Some projects demand the versatility of a two-handled clamp. With its durable construction and innovative functions, this clamp is an excellent option for larger jobs that require more clamping power. This clamp features two spindle screws and clamps, each opening to a maximum width of 65mm (2.5 inches).
Both clamps feature large rubberized handles for ease of use. The handles tighten each jaw with separate spindles, doubling the clamping strength of single handle options. Turning two clamps instead of one takes more time, so Sand Mine adds the ease of quick-release buttons on both clamps to remove the material. With its durable construction—the clamp is made of die-cast aluminum—this clamp is tough enough to stand up to larger jobs.
Some projects require all four corners to be held in place simultaneously. Purchasing individual right angle clamps to meet that demand can become a costly affair. Not so with this four-piece multi-angle corner clamp system. It features four spring-loaded clamps. Each clamp includes an angle spacer that joins two pieces at 60, 90, or 120-degree angles.
For added convenience, each clamp can be operated with one hand, allowing for easier clamping of all four corners. Best of all, this clamp set costs about the same as other single right angle clamps. Just keep in mind that they offer smaller plastic jaws, making this clamp a great choice for light-duty projects. This system will work with materials with a maximum width of 22mm (.75 inches).
FAQs About Right Angle Clamps
If you need a bit more guidance before choosing one of the best right angle clamps, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. How do you use a right angle clamp?
Place the clamp face-up on a flat surface, making sure there’s enough space for the two pieces you plan to join and that the clamp’s jaws are open. Slide the first piece into the clamp, lining the end up with the corner of the clamp’s arbor. Slide in the second piece until it meets with the first piece. Align the two parts until the ends are flush to each other with no overhanging edges. Hold the pieces in place with one hand while tightening the clamp with the other. Tighten by turning the handle clockwise until firm. Avoid over-tightening, which may damage the material.
Q. How do you clamp an irregular shape?
Irregularly shaped materials will not fit flush to the clamp’s flat jaws, preventing it from adequately holding the piece. To fix this problem, you need to create a brace out of scrap wood that fits between the clamp jaws and the material. The brace, which can be a single piece or multiple pieces, includes a flat side that fits flush to the jaws and an irregular side that fits flush to the piece. The brace allows the clamp to grip firmly by filling the gaps between the jaws and the irregularly shaped piece.
Q.How do you join two pieces of wood at right angles?
There are a couple of ways to do this. One method is to use a miter saw to create a miter joint. Cut each end to be joined at a 45-degree angle using a miter saw. Apply glue to the ends of the pieces. Using the right angle clamp, clamp the pieces so the mitered ends butt together, creating a mitered joint. Allow the glue to dry, then use nails or screws to reinforce the joint. If using screws, drill a pilot hole for each screw to prevent the wood from splitting.
You can also join the two pieces using a basic butt joint. Simply place the end of one board against the side of the end of the other in the angle vice, making sure the ends are flush. As with a miter cut, use glue to join and reinforce with nails or screws once dry.