Common Types of Washers and How They are Used?

Across all industries, washers are components that can be found in countless assemblies that utilize fasteners. Often coming in the form of a flat disc with a hole, washers are used for the means of distributing weight and fastener loads. Additionally, they can also be relied on as spacers, vibration reducers, fastener locking components, and much more. Depending on the particular need of an application, there are numerous types of washers that one may choose from. As a result, it is crucial that one has a basic understanding of the most common categories so that they may find an optimal fit for their particular needs.

Plain Washer

Plain washers are the most common variation, primarily being used for the distribution of fastener loads for the protection of the surfaces they are secured to. For the installation of such components, fasteners are passed through the hole of plain washers until the head is reached. At that point, the fastener can be installed into a material, compressing the washer between the installation surface and the head of the fastener. There are numerous types of plain washers that one may procure, common examples including the flat washer, fender washer, wall washer, repair washer, and torque washer.

Spring Washer

Spring washers, otherwise known as disc springs, are a variation of washer that feature irregular shapes. Rather than being flat, such as a plain washer, spring washers will feature a unique, wave-like shape that can be compressed when placed under a load. Generally, spring washers are used when an assembly needs to maintain tension, eliminate rattle, compensate for material expansion or contraction, absorb shock loads, and more. For their subtypes, spring washers come in the form of Belleville, crescent, dome, finger, wave, and single wave washers.

Lock Washer

As their name suggests, lock washers are a type that may be used to prevent fasteners from loosening with their locking design. Generally, such washers feature a rigid or prolonged design that is capable of maintaining the washer in place. While vibration can normally cause a washer and fastener to turn and loosen over time, the lock washer will secure the assembly in place with high efficiency and reliability. As a result of such capabilities, lock washers typically find use in numerous aerospace and automotive applications where vibrational forces are commonplace. Similar to other washer components, lock washers can come in numerous forms. For the most common types, lock washers may be procured as split lock, sealing, internal tooth, external tooth, flat, and flat retaining washer variations.


Once you have narrowed down the type of washer that will best serve your application, it is important to consider the requirements of an assembly before making a purchasing decision. Generally, one should take into account factors such as the washer’s dimensions, material, load capabilities, lubrication environment, and resistances so that no issues arise later down the line. Once you have further determined your needs, take advantage of a dependable sourcing solution like NSN Sphere to rapidly procure all the washer parts you require.

NSN Sphere is a trusted distributor of aircraft parts and other components that cater to various industries and applications, presenting an ever-expanding inventory of over 2 billion items. Explore our vast offerings at your leisure, or utilize our search engine and filters to rapidly narrow down results with ease. Once you have established the items that you are most interested in, you may request quotes for your comparisons using our provided RFQ service and online submission forms. With industry experts readily available 24/7x365, customers can be assisted throughout the purchasing process however necessary. Start procuring the parts that you need today and see why customers choose to steadily rely on NSN Sphere for all their operational needs.


October 21, 2021

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