In this article, we’ll show you which clamps we use to hang lights on aluminum box truss. We’ll share some basic safety guidelines and look at 6 different clamps, explaining why we would or wouldn’t use them.

Quick Answer: The trigger clamp is our favorite clamp for hanging lights from truss as it’s fast and easy to use while being inherently safe. We don’t recommend using J clamps or C clamps as they can damage your truss. 


This article and the accompanying video are not intended to replace a formal rigging course and certification. Reading this article does not qualify you to hang lighting fixtures from truss at an event; this article is offered only as an insight into the topic.

Safety Cables

Whenever you hang anything up in the air, you need to consider redundancy. In the world of light fixtures and truss, that redundancy comes in the form of a safety cable.

You can’t hang any fixture above people’s heads unless it has a safety cable loop and a safety cable. This cable needs to be rated to hold the weight of the fixture it is attached to.

Pre-Lift Inspection

Before we lift the truss or stand, we carry out a pre-lift inspection. Our team has a rule that the person who installs the lights on the truss can’t be the same person who lifts it. They need to have somebody else inspect each clamp and safety cable before the truss goes up.

This crosscheck ensures that nothing gets missed if someone has an off day and safeguards against potential safety issues at an event.

Light Fixtures Don’t Come With Clamps

When you pull your new light fixture out of the packaging, be prepared for the fact it doesn’t come with a clamp. The fixture will have one or more mounting points, but that’s it.

Fixtures with multiple mounting points can use two clamps to ensure the light is perfectly square to the truss, with the added bonus of additional security and redundancy.

J Clamp

We’re not huge fans of the J clamp, but it exists, so we’ll talk about it anyway. As the name would suggest, the J clamp consists of a J-shaped body, a long screw to tighten the clamp to the truss, and a nut to secure the clamp to the light.


  • Narrow profile.


  • We’ve never seen a J Clamp with a rating stamped on it.
  • The long tightening screw gets in the way and hits the truss crossmembers.
  • The clamp dents and damages the truss when tightened normally.

We would never recommend using a J clamp; you can find a much better alternative for the same price.

C Clamp

This is probably what most people would think of if they’re not overly familiar with lighting clamps. C clamps are used in many trades, but you need to ensure the clamp is rated and has a bolt in the bottom to use it for hanging lights from truss.


  • Hangs further from the truss than other clamps.
  • The long tightening screw makes it hard to work with.
  • The shape of the clamp and tightening screw can damage aluminum truss.

We don’t recommend using C Clamps with aluminum box truss. Even if you’re clamping to steel pipe, you can get better clamps for the same money.

Yoke Adapter

More commonly, yoke adapters are used to secure a light fixture to a floor stand. The clamp bolts onto the light fixture and connects to a baby mount on the stand.

Yoke adapters can also be used in combination with a half clamp to baby mount to secure lights to truss.


  • Unnecessary complexity with too many points of failure.
  • Hangs lower than other clamps.
  • The fixture will fall if the adapter is knocked loose.

We don’t recommend using a yoke adapter and half clamp converter unless that’s all you have to work with.

Half Clamp / Cheeseborough Clamp

The half clamp is a fast, simple-to-use clamp that bolts directly to the light fixture with a locking washer and wingnut. You can use a wingnut wrench to tighten the clamp to the fixture, but we recommend you only hand tighten the clamp to the truss.


  • Fast and easy to use.
  • Clear rating markings.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Safe.
  • Compact design keeps the fixture from hanging down.


  • You have to support the fixture until the clamp has been closed and tightened a few turns.

We love these lightweight, budget-friendly clamps and would take these over the previous options any day. 

Trigger Clamp

The trigger clamp is similar to the half clamp in that it secures to the light with a simple bolt, washer, and wingnut system.


  • Fast and easy to use.
  • Clear rating markings.
  • Oversized clamp wingnut.
  • Inherently safe design.
  • Supports the weight of the fixture as soon as it’s hung on the truss.


  • Harder to use if mounting inverted (upward angle).

We think this is the best design for a clamp, but they are 4-5 x the price of a half clamp. All things considered, we think the added safety and efficiency make the trigger clamp a worthwhile investment.

Manfrotto Super Clamp

We use these clamps with Astera lights as they have a different mounting system. They have a threaded 3/8″ hole, which won’t accommodate the passthrough bolt found on the other clamps.

Screw a 3/8″ spigot into the light, which slots into a receiver hole on the Manfrotto super clamp. The clamp itself is versatile, and you can clamp it to practically anything.


  • Fast and easy to use.
  • Clear rating markings.
  • Versatile clamping options.


  • Ugly/distracting design.

The only downside to the Manfrotto super clamp is its chunky design and the large tail on the clamp screw. If these clamps get lit on stage, they can be pretty distracting.

Featured Lighting Clamps Prices

How To Hang Lights On Truss Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:34 – Disclaimer
  • 1:24 – Safety Cable
  • 2:25 – Lights Don’t Come With Clamps
  • 3:25 – J Clamp
  • 6:40 – C Clamp
  • 10:10 – Yoke Adapter
  • 13:13 – Half Clamp / Cheeseborough Clamp
  • 18:11 – Trigger Clamp
  • 22:54 – Super Clamp
  • 25:30 – Pre-Lift Inspection
  • 26:05 – Final Thoughts

Disclaimer: Watching this video or reading this article does not qualify you to hang equipment at events.