Bessey Trigger Clamp Review
I use trigger clamps more than just about every other clamp I own. From holding auxiliary fences in place on my table saw, to clamping pieces together for glue up and 95% of the time(I did the math...) I’m reaching for a trigger clamp. Now obviously I still use my parallel clamps but that’s for things like panel glue ups and larger applications. But for the majority of the smaller tasks, trigger clamps are my go-to.
Recently Bessey sent me a few of their new trigger clamps(find official title for clamps) to test drive and to give feedback on the overall design and performance of the clamps. I received and tested the EHKMICRO, EHKM12, EHKL, and EHKXL clamps. I put them through the paces like I did my previous trigger clamps and overall I’m impressed. But before I give my final thoughts, here are a few observations.
Bessey Trigger Clamp Build Quality
Every Bessey clamp I’ve come in contact with is really well made. The bars are thick, the handles have soft rubber which is great softer on the hand and the jaws are nicely made. I’m no expert in plastics but they don’t feel as cheap as some of the cheaper trigger clamps I’ve purchased before at places like Harbor Freight or even the similar style Irwins.
Speaking of the jaws, they feature a nice crosshair design that is really handy. They are perfect for clamping small round objects like dowel rods and also come in handy for clamping mitered corners. The crosshairs also help determine if I’ve got the clamps in the same place on both ends by gauging the distance from the edge to the center line of the pad.
The overall clamping pressure of the trigger clamps is absolutely amazing. The nice thing about the Bessey trigger clamps is they allow you to really clamp down on the pressure and will continue to apply pressure unlike some of the cheaper trigger clamps I’ve owned. They would get to a certain point and you couldn’t even move the trigger anymore. Another thing that would drive me crazy with the cheaper clamps is releasing the jaw when you have it really clamped down. It would take a lot of effort to pull the release trigger, but that’s not the case on the Bessey trigger clamps. They are easy to apply pressure and even easier to release it.
See the chart below for clamping pressure for each clamp.
Ergonomics of the Bessey Trigger Clamps
Ok, this is probably one of my favorite parts about using the trigger clamps. The handles are really comfortable to use compared to my previous clamps. The handles are made so that it doesn't matter how you are holding the clamp, it's never awkward to use.
The handles also feature rubber inserts on both triggers which help give you the needed grip for getting the most out of your clamp. The rubber also makes for nicer feeling handles as well vs solid plastic.
One thing I will mention about the trigger clamps are that they come in different sizes and depending on your hand size, you may want to test drive these in person to find the model that fits your needs and hand size. The largest clamps (model EHKXL) may be too large for some hands but may bring the requirements needed for your tasks if you need a lot of clamping pressure. I find the EHKM12 model is the perfect size and clamping pressure for 99% of the work in the shop when I reach for a trigger clamp. The second size I use the most in my shop are the EHKMICRO. They may appear small, but wow are they super useful! They pack a punch for a 4.5" clamp and I find using them for holding down objects while sanding, or clamping small wooden pieces to be invaluable.
The video below shows the EHKXL in my hand:
One feature I touched on briefly above is the ability to remove the leading jaw and put it on the opposite end of the clamp to make it a spreader. What makes this entire process even nicer is the ability to do so without using a single tool. The head features a push button release that makes this task quick and easy.
Build quality, ergonomics, max clamping pressure and the tool-less head swap makes the Bessey trigger clamps some of the best on the market. I cant tell you that they are the overall best as I’ve not tried every brand out there, but out of the 4 brands I have tried, they are the top of my list. I absolutely enjoy using them and have replaced all of my trigger clamps with the Bessey’s.
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