Rail clamp circuits are widely used for electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection in semiconductor products today. A step-by-step design procedure for the traditional RC and single-inverter-based rail clamp circuit and the design, simulation, implementation, and operation of two novel rail clamp circuits are described for use in the ESD protection of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. The step-by-step design procedure for the traditional circuit is technology-node independent, can be fully automated, and aims to achieve a minimal area design that meets specified leakage and ESD specifications under all valid process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) conditions. The first novel rail clamp circuit presented employs a comparator inside the traditional circuit to reduce the value of the time constant needed. The second circuit uses a dynamic time constant approach in which the value of the time constant is dynamically adjusted after the clamp is triggered. Important metrics for the two new circuits such as ESD performance, latch-on immunity, clamp recovery time, supply noise immunity, fastest power-on time supported, and area are evaluated over an industry-standard PVT space using SPICE simulations and measurements on a fabricated 40 nm test chip.