Quicklist: Types of Pipe Clamps
- Standard Pipe / Split Band
- Plastic Pipe
Functioning as an essential form of fixing or stabilizing plumbing of all sorts, pipe clamps have developed over the years from a simple application of rope or chains to manufactured parts that can be used in a variety of situations and conditions.
Fundamentally, pipe clamps are designed to keep a pipe or segment of plumbing in place, either in a specific location or suspended in the air.
How Pipe Clamps Actually Work
Many times pipes and related plumbing have to go through cavities, ceiling areas, basement walkways, and other areas.
To keep the lines out of the way where people or things would be moved, but to still run the plumbing through the area, they have to be fastened up high on the walls or suspended from the ceiling.
This is done with an assembly of rods attached to the ceiling on one end and clamps on the other.
Otherwise, the pipes are secured by clamps to the walls to keep them in position high up. However, not any simple clamp will work. Some have to be able to handle high temperatures.
Every clamp needs to be secure to avoid movement in the pipeline. And they need to be able to address expansion changes in pipe metal that can make the diameter bigger or smaller with cold or heat.
The simplicity of the pipe clamp hides how important a function it serves. By keeping a plumbing line in place, the equipment helps ensure the liquids or gases moving inside stay where they belong and arrive at their intended destinations.
If a pipe were to come loose, the fluids inside would immediately spill into the immediate area or the gases would contaminate the air in a similar fashion. With volatile gases, it could even result in fires or explosions. So clamps serve a vital purpose, no argument.
Standard Pipe Clamp Types or Split Band
The most basic design in pipe clamps is the standard version which involves two parts held together by screws. The clamp is split into two equal parts that surround half of a pipe.
The parts are connected together by sandwiching the pipeline in the middle and secured by screws that hold the clamps together tightly.
The most basic of standard clamps are bare metal; the inside surface sits right against the pipe skin.
There are also insulated versions. These types of clamps have rubber or material lined on the inside which provides a type of cushion between the clamp and the pipe skin.
The insulation also allows for extreme expansion changes where the temperature is a big issue.
Because they are the most common, standard clamps come in a variety of sizes as well as shapes.
There are versions that address a single pipe and others that can secure two pipelines simultaneously. In any form, standard clamps work best with plumbing that utilizes a rigid material, whether that’s metal or plastic.
Types of Clamps for Pipes
U-Bolt Clamps for Pipes
Utilizing a metal rod bent in the shape of a U with the ends threaded, the U-clamp is secured with a plate that fits over the two rod ends and tightens down with nuts on the threaded ends.
U-clamps are not lined and are used for bunching lines, plumbing and metal rods together.
These clamps are often used for outside applications where the elements are involved and exposure would ruin smaller or weaker clamps.
Saddle Clamps for Pipes
Using the same approach as a Split-Band clamp, the Saddle Clamp is a one-piece application that allows the pipeline to fit in on one side only.
The Saddle Clamps is then secured with screws to a flat surface, either the ceiling or a wall. These types of clamps are best used where the plumbing line needs to be secured onto a flat surface versus hanging suspended.
Most saddle clamps are not insulated inside, so they work as a basic holding mechanism and should not be used on pipes where temperature or noise is an issue.
Plastic Pipe Clamps for Pipess
Specific to just plastic plumbing or PVC type piping, plastic pipe clamps provide a softer hold that won’t crack or break plastic material like metal may do when tightened.
That makes plastic pipe clamps useful for copper plumbing as well since it tends to be a softer metal as well.
These types of clamps are ideal in applications where the pipe diameter tends to be thin and delicate or it handles a lightweight load, such as gas.
Some of the most modern plastic clamps are very much put in place and attach style applications, reducing the need for lots of drilling and tightening.
This approach is frequently used where electrical wiring and data cables need to be routed and protected from friction at the same time.
The plastic material also prevents corrosion damage in situations where the plumbing or routing line runs through environments highly damaging to metal material.
Heavy-Duty Clamps for Pipes
Frequently used to hold up or keep a main line stable, these types of clamps are robust, strong, and tend to have some weight of their own.
Made of metal as well, they are unlikely to break or let loose except under extreme strain, which is more than enough to hold up very heavy plumbing with a full load running through.
These types of clamps are frequently used for main water supplies or holding up steel or metal beams that have substantial weight, as well.
They come with both insulation as well as bare form, and they can be used in securing construction as well.
Heavy-duty pipe clamps are often used on suspension bridges as well as outdoor structures where weighted material needs to be carried without failing or risk of breaking.
They most frequently are seen on large plumbing lines running on the outside of buildings or refineries where the plumbing has to be suspended but kept secure at the same time.
An adjustable pipe clamp has a screw mechanism that allows the user to simply loosen or tighten the clamp as needed. This is the most common type of pipe clamp, as it can be used for a variety of different projects and applications.
A cushioned pipe clamp has a soft padding material between the clamp and the pipe. This type of clamp is often used when working with delicate or fragile pipes, as it helps to protect the pipe from damage.
Extended: An extended pipe clamp has a longer reach than a standard pipe clamp, making it ideal for use in hard-to-reach areas.
Multiple: A multiple pipe clamp is designed to hold more than one pipe at a time. This type of clamp is often used in plumbing or other applications where multiple pipes need to be secured together.
Pipe Clip: A pipe clip is a small clamp that is used to secure a single pipe in place. Pipe clips are often used in plumbing applications to secure pipes to walls or other surfaces.
Rigid: A rigid pipe clamp is designed to provide a secure, tight fit. This type of clamp is often used in high-pressure applications or when working with heavy-duty pipes.
Riser: A riser pipe clamp is designed to secure a pipe that is raised up off the ground or surface. Riser clamps are often used in plumbing applications to keep pipes from sagging or drooping.
Side Beam: A side beam pipe clamp is designed to be used with a side beam pipe support. This type of clamp helps to secure the pipe in place and provide added stability.
Center Beam: A center beam pipe clamp is designed to be used with a center beam pipe support. This type of clamp helps to secure the pipe in place and provide added stability.
Top Beam C Clamp: A top beam C clamp is designed to be used with a top beam pipe support. This type of clamp helps to secure the pipe in place and provide added stability.
Welded Beam: A welded beam pipe clamp is designed to be used with a welded beam pipe support. This type of clamp helps to secure the pipe in place and provide added stability.
Steel Weldless: A steel weldless pipe clamp is a type of pipe clamp that is made of steel and does not require welding for installation. This type of clamp is often used in applications where welding is not possible or desired.
Two-Bolt: A two-bolt pipe clamp has two bolts that are used to secure the clamp in place. This type of clamp is often used in high-pressure applications or when working with heavy-duty pipes.
Three-Bolt: A three-bolt pipe clamp has three bolts that are used to secure the clamp in place. This type of clamp is often used in high-pressure applications or when working with heavy-duty pipes.
Yoke-Type: A yoke-type pipe clamp has a yoke-shaped bracket that is used to secure the clamp in place. This type of clamp is often used in high-pressure applications or when working with heavy-duty pipes.
A primary pipe clamp offered is a rubbered lined cable clamp. They provide up to one inch of cushion to protect your pipes. They’re usually made of stainless steel and have anti-rust and anti-corrosion capabilities, and they’re salt resistant.
Cinch clamps, crimp rings and hose clamps are other types of hardware that Lockman offers. Some uses include hanging pipes from the ceiling or walls. Others provide extra support at joints after attaching pieces of tubing together.
What They’re Used For
Lokman lined, crimp or cinch clamps provide support for a variety of household operations. They’re normally for holding pipes to one another. However, you can also use them for woodworking storage projects, such as hanging a rod for clothing.
On the other hand, you would normally see the Lokman hose clamps on automobile hoses. Usually, it’s for the water or air lines. Some people might use them for muffler work too. It helps them hold off until a scheduled exhaust pipe repair appointment.
SPINNER makes lightweight strap clamps meant for smaller tubes. I recommend the U-bracket type meant for humid environments. Their construction enables resistance against rust and corrosion. They come in 5mm to 80mm sizes, with several circumference options.
They may not hold up as much pressure as the talon (hook) clamp though. Still, they provide stability for thinner gas, air, hydraulic or water lines. ISPINNER also makes the hose and cable clamps.
Irwin is known more for its line of vice grips and C-clamps, but also they also make cable clamps. The C-clamps they make typically come in heavy-duty steel with large threads and flat plates for holding heavy objects together.
Cable clamps sold by Irwin come with rubber linings. This prevents wear and tear near pipe seams. It also provides extra protection against damage caused by gravity, so you can use them for hanging or wall pipes.
Selizo’s most famous clamp is probably the hose type. They typically come in seven different sizes. The Selizo stainless steel hose clamps have traditionally held automobile engine hoses together.
However, I don’t see why they can’t hold household pipes in place. For instance, I often have seen them on sump pump hoses. They also hold hoses that hook up to washers and dryers and send wastewater to basement or washroom drains.
One signature pipe Highcraft sells is its suspension pipe clamp. Butterfly style is one, which would work better against the wall or a post instead of holding plumbing lines to a ceiling.
They’re made of durable plastic. A ½ inch is a popular size, and they’re often used with PEX flexible tubing normally installed in commercial hot water lines.
Where to Buy
Have you wondered if there’s an easier way to hold pipes onto a wall? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s another secret: Pipe clamps don’t just work for household plumbing, and you can find more types available for sale than you think. You need to know where to buy them though.
What are pipe clamps?
Pipe clamps hold water (or other liquid), air or fuel lines in place. You can suspend the pipes in mid-air or stand them on end when using the right clamps. Certain types work better for horizontal placement, but others work better for vertical placement.
What type of pipe clamps are available?
Some standard suspension clamps come in a hard plastic material. You might use them for ¾-inch PVC or copper tubes, for example. Sometimes, you’ll see them used with PEX, which is a flexible tubing material often used for commercial water lines.
Touchdown™ and Touchdown II™ clamps often come with a UV-resistant coating, so you probably could use them outside or near windows. They accommodate multiple tube sizes too. You can also get versions that absorb noise.
Saddle clamps could work for standard household pipe fixes in certain situations too. You will need to find some made of stainless steel treated with an anti-rust coating. Sealed, protected, clamps hold up better in moist conditions.
You could use strap pipes for holding copper tubing or securing water, gas or hydraulic pipes to a wall or ceiling. They’re also useful for keeping pipes made of other materials in place. For instance, you can secure pieces of PVC, stainless steel or brass to a flat surface.
The larger pipes would probably call for U-bolt clamps instead of the strap types. They would adjust for holding tubing of different sizes. You’d need to verify the minimum and maximum pipe size when ordering.
U-bolt clamps typically come in a rounded or flat style. They usually have a hole on either side where you can insert heavy-duty bolts.
Talon (Claw Type)
The talon pipe clamp looks like a claw. I think it would be excellent for times when you feel like the substance pressure, such as water or air, coming through your plumbing lines would not hold up if using a strap or U-bolt pipe clamp.
Lined clamps typically come in galvanized steel or similar strong metal. You might find them lined with rubber or felt. For outdoor use, they do have their advantages and disadvantages.
The rubber may resist moisture and outdoor elements. However, the felt ones do provide warmth. However, ice may form on them if they do come in contact with rain, condensation or snow.
Most types of pipe clamps, especially the saddle, talon (hook) and suspension types, come in either metal or plastic. It’s important to check the temperature range for plastic clamps, so you know they will hold up in your climate zone.
Which Plumbing Clamp Types Do I Choose?
The short answer is, it depends. What is needed on a plumbing or line installation, as well as the environment that it will be relied upon, are two of the more important factors that often decide which clamp type should be used.
Temperature can create a lot of havoc on a plumbing line if the wrong clamp is used and expansion or contraction from heat or cold starts to have an effect.
For example, if a clamp is applied too tight, it may not allow for the line to expand as it heats up. That can cause a pinch point or a line breaking, resulting in catastrophic damage to the immediate area.
Clearly, anything that can’t handle a corrosive environment such as moisture or chlorine, for example, shouldn’t ever be relied on, even as a temporary fix.
Where a heavy line is going to be installed, a clamp that is robust enough to carry 10 times the weight absolutely should be the only choice or failure could get someone hurt.
Most weight-bearing clamps will be clearly labeled so a user knows how much it can carry safely.
The size of the routing or plumbing will also influence the clamp choice, as well as the need for sound protection and stabilization of the line from moving.
Most installers know about these issues first-hand and will point out the specific need or clamp type right upfront if something is requested that would result in an incorrect application.
However, if a person is working on a do-it-yourself (DIY) job, then a bit of research and learning is a very good idea before getting started.
Be aware as well that using the wrong clamp can also result in an unwanted chemical reaction between the clamp and the plumbing line.
For example, plastic piping can be held up but both plastic clamps as well as metal ones. However, metal clamps need to be lined.
If not, the type of plastic used in the plumbing can actually result in a reaction with the metal of the clamp, causing corrosion and clamp failure.
This corrosion comes from the very compounds used in the plastic plumbing type, which ranges from oils to acids to greases, each resulting in a different effect.
A similar problem can occur when one tries to use steel clamps on a copper line. The two metals actually react with each other. To avoid this potential problem, the metal clamps need to be nylon-insulated or avoided altogether by using plastic clamps, instead.
If you have ever banged two pieces of metal together, then you know they make a lot of noise. This can happen repeatedly with plumbing that handles a heavy load, causing the pipe to vibrate.
Without insulation and padding, the line can start to wiggle within a bare metal clamp, making a very loud racket. If vibration is a concern, then bare clamps simply can’t be considered.
Instead, installers need to be using rubber-insulated clamps that can keep a line secure and dampen the vibration effect without the related racket.
The speed of installation can be an issue, as well. If a job needs to set up and secure a line quickly, having one connection point for clamp results in half the work time than two securing points. So choosing a clamp with one screw intends to be the better solution, as long as it can handle the weight, as well.
Understanding Clamp Coding and Color Branding
In most cases, the size of the pipe and the matching clamp is identified by either the outer diameter (O/D) or the nominal bore (NB).
These two metrics allow an installer to match the clamp size to the pipe or routing that will be used exactly. Again, this is essential to either remove any play or to compensate for expansion, depending on the installation environment.
Color coding is used in the world of insulated clamps to quickly identify the type of insulation and application. The choices include the following:
- Black-lined clamps: This choice is applicable on steel and metal pipes to create traction so the line doesn’t move or slip through the securing points once set.
- Green-lined clamps: This coloring signifies use with plastic piping. The interior of the clamp has no resistance, so the plastic piping can slide along without issue for fast installation and little friction.
- Red-lined clamps: Red typically means hot or watch out, and the same thinking applies here, as well.
Red-lined clamps have a special silicone layer that can withstand heat as high as 200 degrees Celsius. No surprise, these types of clamps are favored in hot pipe situations or hot environments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do pipe clamps work?
Pipe clamps apply two-directional pressure to wood panels and other surfaces that require affixing.
The jaws of the clamp squeeze together, applying dual outside pressure on the object or objects being locked in place. As the operator rotates the handle clockwise, the clamping pressure is increased.
What are pipe clamps used for?
Pipe clamps are incredibly versatile and can be useful in numerous scenarios. They are popular with tradesmen and crafters because of their simple operation and extra-firm holding power.
Plus, because the length of the pipe isn’t fixed, pipe clamps can be used in myriad construction and crafting situations.
How to remove pipe clamps?
To remove a tightened pipe clamp, rotate the handle counterclockwise. This will separate the clamp’s jaws, which accommodates loosening. Of course, tightening a pipe clamp simply involves the reverse motion of rotating the handle clockwise and the jaws closer together.
How to store pipe clamps?
There are loads of intelligent ways to store pipe clamps. For instance, you could build a custom rack, buy a specialty toolbox online, or even keep them in a large tote you purchased from any department store. Keeping them dry and safe from harming others is what matters most.
What size pipe clamps do I need?
Pipe clamps are very versatile and can adapt to numerous different object sizes. Determine the minimum size of the pipe wrench you’ll need by measuring the intended use pattern.
For instance, if you want to clamp two 2 x 4 studs together, your pipe clamp would need to be at least three inches, which is twice the thickness of one stud.
How do you choose the right pipe clamps?
“You will find clamps in different designs and sizes, each one meant for specific work,” says Kevin Rodgers on Medium.
You need to choose clamps of the correct size, shape and material. This calls for knowing the diameter range of the chosen clamp and the circumference of the pipes, rods or tubing you use.
What can you use pipe clamps for?
One of the most common uses is for household plumbing. However, you can also apply them to automobile piping, or you could clamp wooden rods in a storage area or closet with them.
You could otherwise use them if making a homemade vehicle roof rack (which is what I thought about doing) or for just about any woodworking or furniture product. Whatever you choose to use pipe clamps for, make sure you seek approval for such according to local or state construction codes if necessary.
Concerning the use of clamps, here’s a point to remember when applying them:
“When applying a pipe clamp to an exhaust pipe on a vehicle or in a plumbing application, it is best to never over-tighten the clamp,” says Lori Kilchermann of About Mechanics.
Kilchermann also mentions that an over-tightened clamp could crush a pipe, making it impossible to separate later. In addition, clamping plumbing lines too tight could result in tubing distortion, which causes leaks.
So where do you buy pipe clamps?
I have seen limited supplies available at local discount or department stores that have a home improvement or audio department. Hardware and auto part stores might also have them.
However, you may need to search online for the right sizes and types if you don’t find them in a local shop. If you don’t know where to buy them online, start with Amazon, Harbor Freight or eBay — or order from a hardware store near you.