Yet another type of bar clamp, quick-action (also known as QA, trigger or quick-jaw clamps) are so lightweight and easy to tighten that they’re “must-have” clamps for any modern shop. QA clamps have reinforced-plastic clamping heads with rubber-padded jaws and feature a hand-pumped lever that closes and tightens the jaws, so you can set the clamp with one hand (Bessey’s PowerGrip clamps are a hybrid, featuring both a pump lever to advance the jaws and a handscrew, for final tightening). A small button or lever instantly releases clamping pressure. Quick-action clamps come in many sizes as well as lengths, from the large 54-in. Jorgensen EZ Clamp II model to 4-1⁄2-in. Gator mini clamps. In my shop, I’ve found the 6-in., 12-in. and 24-in. sizes to be the most useful for everyday clamping duties on my projects.
Various QA clamp brands and models offer different features: The Stanley Fat-Max Extreme has a built-in power reel that automatically closes its jaws lightly when you press the release button. Most QA clamps allow their jaws to be reversed on the bar, for spreading work. Bessey DuoKlamps have a dial that reverses the direction of the jaws when the lever is pumped. WolfCraft’s PowerCam clamp features a small pump lever that opens the jaws wider. The unusual Alpha Clamps features a second bar that slides in and out of the moveable jaw, making it a versatile choice for cabinet installations.