2 Jaw vs. 3 Jaw Grippers

Close up of robotic arm and grippers

2-jaw and 3-jaw grippers are the two of the most common types of robotic arm grippers. Each type has its pros and cons. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two types of grippers.

2-Jaw Grippers

A 2-jaw gripper is the most basic type of robotic arm gripper. It has two opposing “fingers” attached to the jaws of the gripper module. These fingers move in toward the center to grasp an object aligned with the middle of the gripper.

2-jaw grippers provide an equal amount of force from each finger. The jaws of this type of gripper can accommodate a wide range of objects of different shapes and sizes. This impressive level of versatility is one of the pros of using them.

Pros & Cons

2-jaw grippers are good for most applications. They have plenty of advantages over 3-jaw grippers, but they are not as good in certain applications.


  • Affordability: 2-jaw grippers are usually more affordable than 3-jaw grippers.
  • User-Friendly: These grippers are easier to automate because of their simple design.


  • Less surface area to distribute gripping force to workpiece
  • Does not provide ability to center workpiece like 3-jaw gripper
  • Can lack versatility in some applications

3-Jaw Grippers

3-jaw grippers feature jaws that are spaced at equal, 120° increments around the center point of the module. When this type of gripper grasps an object, all three fingers move toward the center of the gripper in unison. This allows the object to be centered accurately and held securely.

2-jaw grippers have been around longer than 3-jaw grippers. This is one of the biggest reasons why they’re still the most commonly used gripper. Over the years, however, 3-jaw grippers have gained more popularity.

Pros & Cons

3-jaw grippers are generally more effective in most applications than 2-jaw grippers. However, they do have some disadvantages. For example, some operations require 2-jaw grippers because they are adequate for the application, even if 3-jaw grippers would provide more accuracy.


  • Higher Level of Accuracy When Centering
  • More Versatility in Some Applications
  • More Secure Gripping Due to Increased Surface Area and Gripping Force


  • They Are More Expensive
  • Some Applications Don’t allow Access to Three Sides of Workpiece

Custom Grippers

Whether you choose to go with a 2-jaw or a 3-jaw gripper for your operation, there is a good chance that you will need to customize the gripper’s fingers. There are standard fingers available, but getting fingers custom-designed for your application will typically be more effective. Thankfully, this is a fairly simple task to accomplish with the help of the experts at GripShape.

When designing custom fingers, a qualified robotics company will carefully consider the dimensions of the part that needs to be grasped. They need to be able to anticipate where the gripper’s fingers will contact the part. If the fingers are designed well, the gripper will not need to apply as much force. This will extend the service life of the gripper.

Tips for Choosing Robotic Arm Grippers

If your operation is on a budget and you need the simplest and most affordable gripper possible, a 2-jaw gripper will work. Otherwise, you should consider a 3-jaw gripper. You should also consider getting custom fingers designed for your gripper.

Call GripShape Today

If you have questions about robotic arm grippers, contact our experts at GripShape. We’ve been in the industry for over six decades and provide innovative solutions for our clients. Call (877) 709-2436 or fill out our online form today to get started with a consultation. You can also click use our free custom design tool.

GripShape's Online Design Tool

Need a custom gripper? Reduce your design time by up to 95%.

Select your gripper module and let GripShape’s advanced configurator go to work generating the finger geometry for you.


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