What Are The Different Types Of Washers?

There are many different types of washers, some only applicable to specific situations, but all follow the same principle of holding the nut and bolts in place.

Common Washers

Flat Washers

Flat washers spread the force caused by tightening a nut across a wider surface area on the material being tightened. Looseness most often occurs when the screw bearing surface sinks under the surface pressure and can be negated by using a washer to resist this pressure. 

Flat Washers are used in domestic and industrial applications and can also be used to provide electrical insulation.

Commonly associated with: General manufacturing, maintenance, and repair.

Repair Washers 

Repair washers, although the name suggests otherwise, are not used to repair materials or fixings.  

They are, however, far superior for fixing to weak or damaged materials as their outside diameter is much greater than standard washers. Their increased surface area spreads the force from tightening the fixing over a much greater area, reducing the pressure in one single spot. 

They are available in metric and imperial sizes; imperial repair washers are thicker than metric repair washers and so better suited for heavy-duty applications.  

Spring Washers

Spring Washers, or Lock Washers, are designed to provide an axial load to fasteners to withstand vibration or thermal expansion or to limit movement.

Spring Washers are appropriate for applications that require a degree of flexibility and is why they are commonly used in the aerospace industry for actuators, including flight controls and landing gear.

Commonly associated with: Automotive, aerospace, and domestic applications.

Serrated Shakeproof Washers

Serrated Shakeproof Washers, or Tab Washers, are ideal for harsh environments as they can withstand extreme heat conditions or heavy vibrations. Tab Washers are designed with single or multiple tabs and notches that form to shape around the fasteners, or it is designed to lie flush.

There are two types of shake-proof washers – internal and external.

Commonly associated with: Aerospace and medical applications.

Branded Washers

Nord-lock Washers

Nord-lock Washers are innovative locking washers that use tension, rather than friction, to achieve the lock. They are typically sold in pairs.

They utilise a cam face on one side and radial teeth on the other side. Upon tightening, the radial teeth grip and lock the coupling surfaces producing a wedge effect preventing the fastener from rotating loose.

Commonly associated with: Engineering, construction, manufacturing, and rail.

Schnorr Safety Washers

Schnorr Safety Washers are a variation of a spring safety washer that features a conical serrated disc and are used with environments that are prone to vibration.

The locking serrations can prevent friction whilst also safeguarding components from damage.

Commonly associated with: Automotive, Machinery, Agricultural and constructive engineering, Textile Machines, and others with anti-vibration requirement, such as mowing machines.

Specialist Washers

Crinkle Washers

Crinkle Washers, also known as Wavy Washers or Wave Washers, are a variation of locking washer that can be used in replacement to other locking washers.

They are appropriate for applications that require light pressure to avoid damage to the surface that is being clamped.

They are designed for pre-loading and spacing to improve the number of contact points for added stability.

Commonly associated with: Engineering, construction, and manufacturing.

Square Plate Washers

Square Plate Washers are typically used where a larger clamping surface is needed, and a normal round washer is inappropriate.

Commonly associated with: Timber construction.

Red Fibre Washers

Red Fibre Washers are used to create an effective seal to prevent leaks.

Commonly associated with: Plumbing and automotive.

Taper Washers

Taper Washers, or D Washers, are used under the head of bolts on the tapered faced of steel joists to provide a level seating.

They are also commonly used beneath nuts that have tapered flanges to ensure that the bolt sits squarely when tightened.

Commonly associated with: Automotive, marine, medical, and more.

Starlock Washers

Star-lock Washers are a variation of push-on fasteners that feature teeth and are designed to grip on to round shafts.

Once they are secured on to the shaft, they immediately grip and are almost impossible to remove without damaging and likely destroying them.

Star-lock washers are available in a capped and uncapped variant.

Capped versions feature a push-on cap that hides the internal serrated section.

Commonly associated with: Automotive, Electrical, Medical, Industrial, Manufacturing, Marine, and more.

Interested in more information about Washers?

We regularly update our Guides & Tips section with additional information, tutorials, and showcases, covering a variety of topics based on the products we offer, ranging from nuts & bolts, screws, washers, heads, threads & finishes, construction fixings, threaded rod, and tools & abrasives.

Our team of industry experts are always on standby, email us at [email protected] or call us at 01484 531 787, and we will be delighted to assist you with any enquiries, quotes, or custom orders.

We may source or design bespoke products to your specifications, so please contact us if you do not see what you are looking for on our website.