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The ability of the jaws to remain parallel under pressure separates these clamps from other styles. All of the clamps have a fixed jaw at one end of the bar and a sliding jaw that travels along the bar.
Despite the advantages some clamps have over others in engaging the bar, ultimately they all were able to pull together everything we tried in our tests. With steel-reinforced, resin-covered jaws 3" to 4" deep that tighten up parallel to each other, beefy steel bars, heavy-duty handles and screws, and loads of clamping strength, these clamps have gained a reputation for high performance and prices that keep hobbyists at a distance.

To test this, we clamped equal-length 2x6s on edge in each set of clamps, and then measured the distance at three places between the jaws: at the bar, in the center, and at the tip.
We also tested a few other types of clamps (one-handed bar clamps, pipe clamps, and aluminum bar clamps) and found their jaws canted more than the parallel-clamp jaws. Using a small hydraulic ram with a dial gauge, we had 15 woodworkers of varying ages max out each clamp, and achieved from 496 to 1,071 lbs of clamping force with the tested clamps.
Half of the clamps use setscrews to engage the serrations on the top and bottom of the bar while you tighten the handle.

Rarely do you need more clamping force to secure a project, but cold-bending wide, laminated workpieces around a form, for example, requires oodles more force, and the deep jaws of a parallel clamp excel here.

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