ThePipingMart Blog Fasteners Lock Washer vs Flat Washer – What’s the Difference

Lock Washer vs Flat Washer – What’s the Difference

Lock Washer vs Flat Washer

Lock washers and flat washers are small but essential components of many DIY projects. But what makes them so different? Let’s dive into lock washers and flat washers to understand their nuances.

What is Lock Washer?

Lock washers create tension and grip between two surfaces or objects when tightening them. They are designed with a slight “bulge” in the middle, allowing them to fit securely around the bolt or screw. The bulge creates pressure on the surface it is being tightened against, preventing it from slipping out. As a bonus, lock washers also help reduce vibration when items are tightened together since they keep everything in place even over time.

What is a Flat Washer?

Flat washers differ from lock washers because they provide a larger surface area for tightening screws or bolts down onto a surface. Unlike lock washers, flat washers do not create as much tension or grip when an item is tightened down. Instead, their primary purpose is to distribute pressure evenly across a wide area; this prevents damage to whatever material is underneath the bolt or screw head. Additionally, flat washers can act as spacers by reducing friction between two surfaces that need to move relative to each other freely (such as gears).

Difference Between Lock Washer and Flat Washer

  • A lock washer is a type of washer that is used to prevent a nut or bolt from coming loose.
  • A flat washer is a type of washer used to distribute a load of a fastener over a larger area.
  • Lock washers are made from steel, while flat washers are made from brass.
  • Lock washers are available in various sizes, while flat washers are only available in one size.
  • Lock washers are more expensive than flat washers.
  • Lock washers should be used when it is critical that a nut or bolt not come loose, such as in applications where vibration is present.


Whether you’re working on a DIY project at home or are a professional engineer who needs some extra security for your components, understanding the difference between a lock and a flat washer is key! Lock washers provide invaluable grip, while flat washer offers superior protection against damage to underlying materials due to pressure distribution. Knowing which type of component will work best for your project will ensure its success!

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