Which Lifting Clamp is Right for Me?

lifting clamps from us cargo control

When it comes to handling different material load types in a safe and efficient manner, many opt to use durable lifting clamps to complete the job. These tools come in a wide range of makes catered for specific materials and freight sizes. However, when choosing the right lifting clamp, knowing which specifications you need is crucial for safe and proper usage.

Read on to learn more about the different factors to consider when choosing a lifting clamp, as well as the different types we offer through U.S. Cargo Control.  

Considerations For Choosing Lifting Clamps

To start, it's important to note that not all lifting clamps are made equal. Each one exhibits a unique design and functionality for lifting specific cargo items. For example, a beam clamp looks drastically different from a vertical or horizontal plate clamp, and functions very differently as well. Additionally, keep in mind that certain clamps work in pairs for different tasks in order to safely hoist specific objects. You should already know or have an idea of the type of objects you will be lifting, as well as the shapes of these objects, before browsing for heavy-duty clamps.

That being said, there are a few different factors to mull over when choosing the right clamp:

1. Load Weight

Always use a lifting clamp with a working load limit close to the weight of the cargo load. This is a good practice to have not only for clamps, but for all lifting and rigging products. By choosing a clamp with a smaller working load limit, you put yourself and other personnel at risk when utilizing these devices, as well as risking damage to your cargo.

2. Maximum Jaw Capacity

Secondly, consider the jaw opening, or the maximum jaw capacity, for your clamp. The thickness of the material you plan on clamping should be nearly equivalent to the jaw capacity of the clamp. If the jaw ends up being too small, then it won't latch onto the cargo. Too large of a jaw opening, on the other hand, creates a loose grip on the materials, potentially damaging the cargo.

3. Clamping Force

Subsequently, if the thickness of the material matches the maximum jaw capacity, the clamping force increases substantially. Other kinds of clamps have different means of applying a solid clamping force such as using a threaded rod.

4. Object Orientation

Finally, the way the object is lifted and placed is important to consider. Different clamps apply  to materials and lifted in different ways. In certain situations, multiple clamps need to be used to stabilize the loads. Therefore, choosing the right clamps involves understand the type of hoisted load.

There are tons of different clamp styles out there for lifting various freight and materials. U.S. Cargo Control offers Terrier and Crosby® lifting clamps for superior quality and high performance. 

Types of Lifting Clamps

vertical plate clamp

1. Vertical Plate Lifting Clamps

The first type on this list are vertical plate clamps. These devices work to lift and handle plates or sheets of material from a horizontal position to a vertical orientation. Vertical clamps are commonly used in steel fabrication, construction, and manufacturing industries to move and position large steel plates or sheets.

Vertical plate clamps attach easily and provide a nice, secure grip on the materials lifted. However, improper usage of these clamps may lead to damage or accidents, as well as leaving marks on the materials' surface.

All vertical clamps contain a hoisting eye for secure connection with cranes and multiple leg lifting slings. Some of the hoisting eyes allow for better rotation and adjustability of material positioning, specifically when grabbing cargo that's horizontal and pulling it up into the vertical orientation. Other versions, such as the IPU10/A clamp, clicks on the material once the clamp is placed on the plate. This is especially handy for plates that are harder to reach.

horizontal lifting clamp

2. Horizontal Plate Lifting Clamps

Additionally, horizontal plate lifting clamps work for lifting plates or sheets (both sagging and non-sagging materials). These often use more than one lifting clamp and employ a wider gripping surface for optimal securement. Horizontal clamps are found in metalworking and construction industries where efficient material handling is necessary.

If your freight requires horizontal handling to prevent damage, then using horizontal clamps makes for much more efficient work. Similarly, they also cause damage to the surface of your materials when used improperly. Make sure that all lifting clamps used for the horizontal lift fit appropriately to the material at hand.

crosby ibtk beam lifting clamp

3. Beam Clamps

Beam clamps work by attaching to structural beams, providing a secure anchor point for lifting or suspending heavy loads from overhead. These devices are typically constructed from sturdy materials to ensure durability and safety during lifting operations, often featuring adjustable mechanisms for easy vertical and lateral positioning.

There are various configurations to accommodate different types of beams, load capacities, and attachment methods. These clamps are ideal for hoisting equipment, machinery, and heavy loads in warehouses, construction sites, and other industrial settings.


terrier tvk drum lifting clamp 

4. Drum Lifting Clamps

Drum lifting clamps work for safe lifting and transportation of cylindrical drums or barrels, often featuring adjustable gripping arms that firmly grip the circumference of the drum for stability during lifts. These are commonly found in warehouses, manufacturing plants, and logistics centers for handling drums containing liquids or other materials. 

Some of the benefits with drum lifting clamps include controlled lifts of heavy cylindrical objects without damaging the barrels themselves. This also reduces risk of spills or other damage to the material, equipment, or personnel. Of course, these clamps are limited to their use with specific drum shapes, and with untrained operators, the clamp can exert pressure on the drum's surface, which can cause slight deformation or marking if not careful.

Two types of drum clamps include versions that automatically lock onto the lip of the drum like the Terrier TVK Drum Clamp, as well as the TVHK clamp that transports drums and other cylindrical items in an upright position. Both versions are also available as Crosby drum lifting clamps.


crosby pipe lifting clamp

5. Pipe Lifting Clamps

Pipe lifting clamps facilitate the lifting and positioning of pipes or cylindrical objects, often equipped with adjustable jaws or hooks that grip onto the surface. They accommodate different pipe diameters and constructed from durable materials like steel to withstand the stresses of these heavy loads.

These are widely used in construction, plumbing, and industrial applications for moving pipes and tubes such as for oil and gas. While pipe clamps are great for gripping and reducing slippage, their compatibility with other types of objects are slim, and moving these particular objects requires proper training to ensure the safety of others around work areas.

U.S. Cargo Control offers pipe clamps for vertical lifting, as well as Terrier TPH horizontal pipe clamps as an alternative option.

terrier tscc screw lifting clamp

6. Specialty Lifting Clamps

Lastly, specialty lifting clamps are catered for specific applications, as detailed below:

  • TBS Shipbuilding Screw Clamp: This device works as a temporary lifting point in any place where HP-profile is being used. This includes sectional ship parts and ship engine rooms.
  • Rail Lifting Clamps: Made for horizontal rail lifting and turning of rail profiles, these clamps feature special rail profile cams and a safety mechanism that prevents slipping of the clamp.  
  • TBLC Vertical Clamp: This is a non-marking clamp that contains synthetic anti-friction pads made ideally to lift with stainless steel, aluminum, nature stone, composite, painter materials, wood, glass, and plastic in a vertical fashion.
  • TSCC Screw Clamp: This is a multi-purpose clamp used for vertical and horizontal lifting. This screw clamp can also be attached upside down to use as a temporary lifting point. 
  • TTL Vertical Tube Clamp: Lastly, this horizontal lifting clamp works to transport tubes, pipes, bundles and rolls, and other solid round materials.

Safety Tips for Using Lifting Clamps

Using lifting clamps generally involves hoisting up heavy loads that can cause serious damage. Ensuring the safety of yourself and others around you needs to be top of mind. Therefore, always keep these tips in mind to maintain safe working conditions for lifting jobs:

          • Always inspect clamps every 1-4 weeks to ensure safe usage. 
          • Never use lifting clamps on objects with surface contamination like dirt, grease, or scale.
          • Remove clamps from operation and replace any that do not work or are unsafe for use.
          • Distribute the load evenly among multiple lifting clamps to prevent stress and possible instability.
          • Verify that the clamp has a secure grip on the load before hoisting. Ensure all surfaces are in proper contact with the load and that it is balanced.
          • Never exceed the maximum load capacity.

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