Whether you are a woodworker or metal worker, chances are you know that the tool company Bessey makes some of the best clamps available.
For several years, I’ve been using Bessey parallel clamps, bar clamps, face frame clamps, 90-degree clamps and a few other specialty clamps in my shop. I’ve been very happy with the results I can achieve with their incredible clamps.
Recently, I was asked to try out Bessey’s new EHK Trigger Clamps and let them know what I think. Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan trigger clamps and wasn’t expecting much of an improvement from the Bessey models over the other big brand clamps found in the big box stores. Don’t get me wrong, trigger clamps are very useful and have their place in just about any shop, but with the items I make, I like to have the precise straight high clamping force that parallel clamps always provide.
After using the Bessey EHK Trigger clamps in my shop for about a month now, I’ve gained a new-found respect for the trigger clamps.
Bessey EHK Trigger Clamp Review Overview
There are several things I look at when I’m using trigger clamps for the first time.
- Can the clamp be operated easily with one hand?
- How well does the release lever work?
- How much clamping force can you get?
- Does the clamp shift your work pieces when applying pressure?
- Can the clamp be set up to be used as a spreader?
I’ve bought trigger clamps before that were complete disappointments. When this happens, the clamps quickly find their way into the trash.
In this review, I will be looking at the new Bessey EHK Trigger Clamps the same way I look at every other trigger clamp I have owned in the past.
Bessey EHK Trigger Clamp Review Features
The first thing that caught my attention when ordering these clamps is that you can purchase these in either light duty, medium duty or heavy-duty options. The heavy-duty clamps produce a force of 600 lbs., the medium-duty clamps produce a force of 300 lbs. and the light-duty clamps between 40 and 100 lbs. This to me is huge.
Ergonomic composite handles make it easy to get the most clamping force possible.
The clamp release mechanism is in the trigger handle.
The soft touchpads are used to eliminate the risk of marring your work-piece. These touchpads are also removable.
A push-button is used to quickly set up the unit as a spreader. No tools required.
Bessey EHK Trigger Clamp Review Performance
Let me just start off by saying the new Bessey EHK Trigger Clamps are the best performing trigger clamps that I have ever used. Hands Down!
The 600 lbs. of clamping force from the heavy-duty clamps is by far the highest rating I have ever seen in a trigger clamp. This is very important to me in what I do in the shop. When I need to do a glue-up, I need to make sure the pieces of wood make good contact, so no cracks develop down the line. In the past, the only clamps I felt comfortable using for these glue ups were parallel clamps which produce forces of between 1,400 and 1,700 lbs.
I’ve used (and thrown away) trigger clamps in the past that when used, did not keep the pressure directly straight across the clamping surfaces. Because the bars used were so thin, it would bend when a lot of pressure was applied rendering the clamp useless in my book.
The Bessey trigger clamps are very well made with heavy-duty bars. I was not able to make these clamps deflect at all. This goes for the heavy-duty clamps as well as the medium-duty clamps. Light duty clamps aren’t meant for large clamping pressure, so I wouldn’t expect them to perform the same way as the other clamps. With that being said, I am still impressed with the light-duty clamps.
The distance that the clamping heads travel when the trigger is squeezed is less than the other clamps I have used. At first, this sounds like a negative, but I don’t see it that way. To me, it gives me more control over keeping my pieces aligned properly. This is probably the second-best thing about these clamps.
The clamp release mechanism located in the trigger handle is probably the only knock I have. It’s probably more of an issue of what I am used to than function. I find operating the lever isn’t as quick to operate as others. I find myself searching for the lever instead of instinctively reacting. I’m sure this will change with time, but for now, it is slightly difficult.
Turning these clamps into spreaders is a simple operation with the release push button. I don’t use spreaders very often, but when you need one, it is sure nice to be able to set up quickly and easily.
The removable soft touchpads are common in most trigger clamps. I almost consider them a necessity. From time to time, you will get some residual glue stuck on the pads. Its nice to be able to take them off and clean them up so you don’t cause damage to your next project.
Bessey EHK Trigger Clamp Review Value
Value can often by a tough to rate because everyone’s’ situation is different. So, I am just going to go about this from my point of view.
The EHK should be available in stores soon. Here are the anticipated prices and sizes of clamps that will be offered.
|SKU||Description||US Price||Canadian Price|
|EHKMICRO||Trigger clamp, micro, 4-1/2 In x 1-5/8||5.97||7.76|
|EHKM06||Medium trigger clamp, 100 lb, 6″ x 2-3/8″||10.97||14.26|
|EHKM12||Medium trigger clamp, 100 lb, 12″ x 2-3/8″||14.97||19.46|
|EHKL06||Large trigger clamp, 300 lb, 6″ x 3-1/8″||15.97||20.76|
|EHKL12||Large trigger clamp, 300 lb, 12″ x 3-1/8″||19.97||25.96|
|EHKL18||Large trigger clamp, 300 lb, 18″ x 3-1/8″||22.97||29.86|
|EHKL24||Large trigger clamp, 300 lb, 24″ x 3-1/8″||24.97||32.46|
|EHKL36||Large trigger clamp, 300 lb, 36″ x 3-1/8″||29.97||38.96|
|EHKXL06||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 6″ x 3-5/8″||22.97||29.86|
|EHKXL12||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 12″ x 3-5/8″||24.97||32.46|
|EHKXL18||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 18″ x 3-5/8″||27.97||36.36|
|EHKXL24||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 24″ x 3-5/8″||29.97||38.96|
|EHKXL36||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 36″ x 3-5/8″||34.97||45.46|
|EHKXL50||Extra Large trigger clamp, 600 lb, 50″ x 3-5/8″||39.97||51.96|
In my opinion, these clamps are worth the price. Sure, you can find cheaper trigger clamps at Harbor Freight and the other manufactures found in the big box stores, but they cannot compare to the EHK trigger clamps from Bessey.
Bessey EHK Trigger Clamp Review Final Thoughts
The Bessey EHK trigger clamps have changed my mind on how useful a trigger clamp can be. I once thought of them as clamps used only as an extra hand. Now I plan on using them in more of my woodworking projects.
Knowing the quality products Bessey creates, I shouldn’t be surprised by these trigger clamps, but I am. I never really thought the issues I had with trigger clamps could be overcome. Nice job Bessey.
VERY helpful review. The only questionable issue I see is some potential confusion between the “L” in the model number. You mentioned light, medium and heavy duties, so one might assume L means LIGHT. Then in the price list, you refer to the model numbers as medium, large and extra large, L meaning LARGE. But they appear to be all the same size. So if one buys the EHKL, are they getting “light” or “large”? Price-wise, the L is more expensive than the M so, only because of your price list, one might deduce that the L is LARGE, not LIGHT.
Great review! Thanks.