The best 2-finger grippers for your robot

January 30, 2024
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Getting a grip on 2-finger robot grippers

A 2-finger gripper, as the name suggests, uses two fingers or jaws to grab and manipulate objects.

Now, compared to single-finger or multi-finger grippers, a 2-finger gripper offers more dexterity and control. It can pick up a wide range of objects of different shapes, sizes, and materials.

2-finger grippers can be either parallel or angular

What should you keep in mind before you buy a 2-finger robot gripper?

Before you buy, there are several factors you should definitely keep in mind. 

They are: 

  • How much can the gripper carry, and how strong is it? Make sure the gripper has enough strength to handle the weights you need to lift, while still being within the payload capacity of your robot (that’s the sum total of the robot and the gripper’s weight). The grip force, measured in newtons (N), will determine how tightly it can grab onto objects. 
  • What makes it move around? Pneumatic grippers use air pressure, electric grippers use motors, and hydraulic ones use fluid pressure. Pneumatic and hydraulic can handle heavier loads but do need more equipment, while electric is often simpler to set up but typically has a lower payload.
  • Jaw material. Go with a gripper with jaws made of a material suitable for your chosen application. Hard jaws like steel are good for rigid objects, while soft, compliant jaws made of rubber or silicone conform to the shape of objects and reduce slippage, which makes them ideal for those fragile, brittle items. 
  • Is it compatible? Make sure the gripper can connect properly to your robot. Many use standard connections like ISO 9409-1-50-4-M6, but some may need you to purchase a separate adapter. Also, check if your robot software has built-in support for controlling and programming the gripper.
  • Additional features. Grippers with position and force sensors provide feedback to help with precise movements and handling of fragile objects, and an automatic part detection feature can detect when an object is between the jaws. Think hard about whether a gripper with exchangeable jaws or a built-in tool changer will suit your needs.

How do you integrate your 2-finger robot gripper into your robotic arm?

Once you’ve made a purchase and have your new 2-finger robot gripper in your hands, it’s time to plug it into your robot arm. 

There are a few things to keep in mind for a smooth integration:

  • Get ready to provide power - Some grippers run on the same power supply as your robot, while others require a separate power source. Check the specifications to determine the gripper's voltage and amperage requirements.
  • Can you even plug it in? - Determine how your gripper will connect to your robot. Many grippers use standard interfaces like M4 or M8 connectors that connect directly to your robot arm. If not, you may need an adapter or interface kit, while some grippers require a serial connection to your robot's controller.
  • How do you control it? You'll need a way to control and program the gripper's movements and gripping force. Many robot manufacturers offer software that is compatible with the most popular gripper, allowing you to control the gripper through the same interface you use to program your robot. If not, you may need to look into a standalone gripper control software.
  • Time to mount - Attach your gripper to the end of your robot's arm – this usually involves mechanical mounting using bolts, though some grippers can attach magnetically or via a standard tool changer. Make doubly sure the gripper is securely mounted and balanced before turning your robot on.

Time to give instructions - Finally, you'll need to program your robot to control the gripper. This involves moving the gripper into position, closing and opening the fingers, and adjusting the gripping force. Then, test the program with light payloads first to make sure things are going smoothly before putting the gripper into production.

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The 3 best 2-finger robot grippers on the market

There are quite a few 2-finger robot grippers making the rounds. Some are good, some are bad, and some are plain ugly. 

So, to save you hours of detective work, we’ve rounded up the best of the best for you.

They are: 

Robotiq 2F-85 Adaptive Robot Gripper

This popular gripper from Robotiq can handle payloads up to 5 kg, with a stroke of 0.8 inches (20.3mm) for its two fingers.

It’s an electric gripper, powered by a 24V DC motor with an encoder, and has sensors that provide gripper position feedback. 

The gripper body is made of anodized aluminum, while the gripping surface pads are made of urethane for a good, solid grip on objects.

Price: Around $5,000.

Onrobot VG10 Electric Vacuum Gripper

Need a 2-finger gripper with suction? This gripper can grab onto a wide range of objects. It has an oval suction cup made of silicone and can generate up to 210 mbar of vacuum. The gripper has a stroke of 0.8 inches, can handle payloads up to 15 kg, and is IP54-rated against dust and water. 

It’s powered by 24V DC, with an air pump to generate the vacuum, and has sensors for grip feedback. 

Also, the VG10 uses two independently controllable vacuum zones within its single, oval-shaped suction cup. This allows it to create a pinching effect similar to two fingers, enabling it to grab and manipulate objects of various shapes and sizes.

Price: Around $1,320.

OnRobot 2FG7

This compact and powerful two-finger gripper is built to tackle demanding applications, handling up to 11 kg.

At its core, a single 12-24V DC motor drives a robust mechanical linkage, with smooth and precise jaw movement for controlled gripping. Its textured gripping surfaces minimize slippage. 

And, to top off, at a lightweight 0.2 kg, 2FG7 is compatible with a wide variety of robot arms – especially Collaborative robots, maximizing payload capacity and robot performance.

Its user-friendly plug-and-play makes it very easy to integrate with a wide swath of robot arms. 

Price: Ranging between $5,800 - $7,300.

Summing up

At this point, you should have a solid understanding of two-finger robot grippers. 

Now, it’s just a matter of finding the right one to suit your application, payload, and the texture of your workpieces. 


Do 2-finger grippers work with any robot?

Most major robot brands offer 2-finger gripper options that will work specifically with their robots. However, some gripper manufacturers like Robotiq and OnRobot make universal grippers that can work with a wide variety of different robot brands, as long as your robot arm has an industry-standard connector like an M4 or M8. 

How do I control and program a 2-finger gripper?

2-finger grippers are typically controlled using your robot's software. Many are "plug and play", meaning you simply plug the gripper into your robot arm and it is automatically detected and ready to program. You can control parameters like grip force, jaw opening/closing speed, and jaw position. Also, some grippers have force sensing capabilities so you can program precise gripping force. 

What types of parts can a 2-finger gripper handle?

Two-finger grippers can grasp a wide range of parts, as long as they have two roughly parallel or angular surfaces to grip. They work well for picking up sheet metal, plastic, or wooden parts, electronic components like PCBs, injection molded parts, and more. As a general rule, if a human can grasp and lift the part using just their thumb and forefinger, a 2-finger robot gripper should also be able to.

How much can a 2-finger gripper lift?

The payload capacity depends on the specific gripper model. Smaller “micro” grippers may only handle a few kilograms, while larger industrial grippers can lift 20 kg or more. In general, a 2-finger gripper can lift between 2-15% of its own weight. Also, make sure you remember the payload is the sum total of the robot arm and the gripper.

Next steps

Shopping around for a robot arm compatible with a 2-finger gripper for various applications? RO1 from Standard Bots emerges as #1 on that list. 

RO1 features universal M8 connectors and seamlessly integrates with OnRobot end-effectors, making it a versatile choice for both large and small machine shops.

  • Affordability: RO1 stands as the most budget-friendly option in its category. Its pricing is highly competitive, starting at nearly half of what you would expect from other leading brands, with leasing options starting at just $5 per hour.
  • Advanced vision technology: RO1 is outfitted with superior vision systems, facilitating task execution with its straightforward, code-free programming. This feature is particularly useful for identifying tiny flaws and imperfections.
  • Safety and collaboration: Safety is a priority with RO1, which includes safety sensors and integrated collision detection, ensuring it operates securely in any area of your shop floor.

Chat with our solutions team today to arrange a complimentary, 30-day trial on-site. Our team is ready to provide comprehensive guidance and advice on implementing your first robot effectively.

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