Types of Washers and their Application

What is washer?  Washer is a disk shaped thin plate with a center hole. Washers are used for load distribution. Application of washers Includes Spacers, Springs, pre-loading screws and vibration reduction.  In this article we will discuss various types of washers and their application.

Washer Standards

Washers are classified in following types.

  1. Plain Washer
  2. Spring Washer
  3. Lock Washer

1) Plain Washer

Plain Washer are used to distribute load relatively larger area. Therefore they prevent damage to the assembled surfaces. They are classified in following types.

1.1) Flat washer / Type-A plain washer 

Flat/Plain Washer are thin, flat and circular washers with a hole in the center. Plain washer application is to distribute load to relatively larger area and provide support to smaller head screw.

1.2) Fender washer

Fender Washers has larger outside diameter as compared to the inside diameter. These washers distributes loads to relatively larger area compared to flat washers.  

They have application in automobile, plumbing, sheet metal and electrical applications, attaching sign boards, panel and drywall.

1.3) Shoulder Washer

Shoulder washer has a shoulder type structure. They are used to insulate screw, wire or any other part from assembly. 

Shoulder washers are available in fiber-glass, phenolic, nylon, PCTFE, PTFE and Metals

1.4)  C-Washer 

C- Washer are designed to slide in and out of position on a bolt or shaft.

1.6) Countersunk Washer 

Countersunk washer has a 90° or 120° countersunk on top. These washers works as a flat washer for flat head countersunk screws. It provides a flush surface to countersunk screws. 

2) Spring washer

Spring washers provide axial load to fasteners during vibration or shock. They are classified in following types.

2.1) Belleville / Conical Spring Washer

Belleville or Conical spring washers keeps an assembly in tension during thermal expansion and contraction conditions.

They supports very high load with small deflection. Conical washer load-deflection characteristics depends on its height and thickness ratio.

2.2) Crescent / Curved Spring Washer

Curved spring washer supports relatively small loads and wide deflection range.

They provide uniform spring rate over the deflection range and have linear load-deflection characteristics. These washers have application in flexible and load-cycling products.

2.3) Dome Spring Washer

Dome spring washers have very high load capacity with relatively small deflection range. They have ground curves to create a flatter load-bearing surface.

 2.4) Finger  Spring Washer

Finger Spring Washers are used to counteract noise, excess wear, vibrations and reducing skidding wear on rotating elements.

These washers are manufactured from carbon steel. Finger spring washers combine the flexibility of a crescent washer with the distributed load points of a wave washer.

2.5) Wave Spring Washer 

Wave Spring Washer have good load capacity and deflection. They works as cushion springs or spacers on a shaft.

Wave spring washer have a moderate load capacity and deflection range.

3) Locking washers

Locking Washers is a type of spring washer. It prevents fasteners loosening by preventing unscrewing rotation. Lock washers secure fasteners that has a tendency to rotate or loose friction. 

3.1)  External tooth Lock Washer 

External tooth lock washer prevents a nut or bolt head from loosening using teeth strut action. They work best with larger head screws.

They also provide maximum torsional resistance, when the teeth bite into a mating surface and resisting compression force.

 3.2) Internal Tooth Lock Washer

Internal teeth lock washer prevents a nut or bolt head from loosening using teeth strut action. Washer teeth also absorb shock and vibration.

3.3) Helical / Split Lock Washer

Helical spring lock washers increases the preload on screws during tightening. Increased preload provides protection against loosening during vibration and corrosion.


To sum up, various types of washers are available in different materials. Each washer type has different application. As per design requirements and application, washers are selected. 

Washers are always used along with screws and bolts. Read this article on various types of screws.

Got Questions?  We will be happy to help.

If you think we missed Something?  You can add to this article by sending message in the comment box. We will do our best to add it in this post.

You can check more details on washers from manufacturer website. (e.g. BossardPV Fasteners etc. ). 

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