Flat Washers And Lock Washers: What Is The Difference?

General Article

Whether it’s a major construction project or a simple household repair task, nuts and bolts often play an important role in the process. The majority of the time, if these fasteners come into play, washers take their place right next to them. They’re vital to preventing slipping, providing correct spacing, and distributing pressure.

Washers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. They are also divided into categories. Before you start choosing between types, it’s important to do a little research. Depending on the project you are working on, you may need a very specific washer type.

What Do These Washers Do?


According to experts from Superior Washer Company, even if washers are similar, they have different purposes. For example, the key feature of a flat washer is its ability to increase the surface area to even out the force distribution while tightening the fastener.

On the other hand, the goal of the lock washer is to maintain tension during the tightening process. It keeps the nut from loosening with time. While metric & domestic flat washers also serve a tension maintenance purpose, they aren’t as efficient for the task as lock washers.

Types Of Flat And Lock Washers

It’s not enough to choose between washer types. You also have to understand which variety of washer you may need within a specific category. Several types of flat washers exist. Some examples are:

Lock washers aren’t simple either. The following common types are available:

  • Split locks
  • Sealing locks
  • Internal tooth
  • External tooth

By researching each type, you can figure out which one is best for your project. For example, internal and external tooth lock washers are excellent for a tight grip with smooth materials.

Features That Matter

When choosing the right washer for your task, you should also consider the following parameters:

  • Interior diameter
  • Exterior diameter
  • Thickness
  • Materials

Depending on the project, you may want to browse certain materials. Both flat and lock washers can be made of stainless steel, silicone bronze, chrome, rubber, etc.

Which Projects Can Lock and Flat Washers Be Used For

Both flat and lock washers can be used for numerous applications in many industries. Whether it’s home appliance manufacturing or making marine industry parts, something as simple as a washer can’t be overlooked. The strength and numerous uses of washers make them an integral part of many projects.

At the same time, these washers can be used in different manners. For example, washers can be installed either on the bolt or nut side. The way you install washers can affect the efficiency of the equipment.

Overall, flat and lock washers serve different purposes. A professional approach is required to choose the right one for any task.