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Toggle Clamps: What They Are & Why You Need Them

Jul 15, 2020 | Our Products | 0 comments

Year of the Toggle – Time to Clamp Down

Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products (SPEP) has earned a reputation for industry-leading quality over the past 30 years. Part of the secret to our success has been our 100% employee-owned structure, giving each worker a direct stake in the results of our work. We have also fostered excellent results through our intensive hardware quality control processes. SPEP’s highly trained & knowledgeable staff follow advance product quality planning procedures and utilize Oracle Quality for an integrated quality management system to collect and analyze critical quality data. Top of the line Mitutoyo Quick Vision (QVA) and optical inspection equipment is used for measurement inspection along with statistical data analysis to support all first article, production approval, and continuing conformance demands. SPEP also utilizes state-of-the-art Rapid Prototyping and manufacturing processes to develop unique attribute gaging to assist with product inspection. Another key contributor to our success is continuity with testing processes using the same equipment in our Corporate lab and worldwide production facilities to validate strength and load performance, corrosion and salt spray testing, and material and finish examination. All these quality capabilities bundled within our ISO certified system demonstrates SPEP is committed to providing quality product to our customers.

Toggle clamp used on fixture

First, toggle clamps are simple mechanisms that hold things together.  They generally consist of 3 primary components that are of interest:

  1.  a handle: the user-interface to operate the mechanism
  2.  a clamping arm: the contact point with the assembly or workpiece
  3.  a base: the permanent attachment point.  

There are also linkages that affect the motion (or stroke), and attributes like the holding capacity and the clamping force.  While applications may vary, I’ve found that most people that need toggle clamps aren’t really concerned with these details because it’s more of a size & function application (and the application generally doesn’t come close to the holding capacity or clamping force).  However, just to be complete:  the “Holding Capacity” is how much force is required to overcome the clamp when it is in the locked position and the “Clamping Force” is how much force the clamp can push down on a work piece.   

Toggle Clamps work base on a simple linkage-system.  The system “locks” or “clamps” when it is over-center.  When a clamp is in the “locked” or “over-center” position, it can only be released by pulling the handle or by overcoming the holding capacity. 

There are three basic toggle movements:  vertical-hold down clamps  (force is perpendicular to the base), horizontal-push clamps (force is parallel to the base) and horizontal-pull clamps (force is also parallel to the base, but hooking or pulling something in- also known as a squeeze clamp).


Within each category, there are several variations of handle movements. 

Furthermore, there are several items in our catalog that aren’t located in the toggle section that could be used for the “Pull” Toggle functionality (aka- the “Squeeze” Toggle):

These are generally called “Draw latches” and are considered very close cousins to the toggle switch.  They are used in a similar applications.  If you want to sound like a pro, try using the following terminology:

Once you have a general idea of what you want, give us a call @ 888-444-6437  or download some parts from our website


If you have any technical questions or comments, or you want to show off your unique toggle application, feel free to send us an email at