What Are Washers and Why Are They Used with Fasteners?

Washers are mechanical machine components that are often used alongside screw fasteners like bolts and nuts. Generally, a washer consists of a flattened, circular, or disc-shaped piece of metal with a hole in the center. Before a threaded fastener is attached onto a surface, a washer can be placed between them for a number of reasons. 

Essentially, washers keep a screw from loosening, and they distribute loads from the other more sensitive components like the nuts or bolt heads onto the entire surface area. In terms of load distribution, these thin, flat rings of soft steel work optimally. However, it is important to note that different washers are equipped with varying capabilities. For example, some washers act as springs to counterbalance the distance between a bolt head and nut.

Apart from the spring action, these types of washers have points that strike into a workpiece and screw head. These points are known as teeth, and they are capable of bending or twisting across the plane of the washer face to create a connection that provides a secure locking mechanism.

Conical washers are another popular type of washer that has spring movement, but instead carries out the locking action through friction. Similarly, helical spring washers are also common washer types that function using the same mechanism. Regardless of the type of washer in question, they are almost always used with fasteners.

Why Are Washers Used with Fasteners?

  • Washers are used in conjunction with fasteners in a wide range of applications due to the need for weight distribution. For example, when a screw is forced into a wooden workpiece, the material may crack under the pressure. As such, a washer can reduce the risk of stress-related damage by evenly distributing the fastener’s load across the material surface.
  • Washers are often used in the place of spacers. If a threaded fastener is longer than the object's depth, it can be difficult to drive it into the workpiece, and the fastener may stick out as a result. To remedy this issue, a washer can be wedged through the threaded fastener before placing it into the object to create extra padding.
  • Washers can successfully absorb vibration, those of which are known as vibration-dampening or vibration-isolating washer types. These types of washers are normally made of softer materials like plastic, rubber, or urethane, and they are paired with fasteners for added protection.
  • Washers can also protect water or other liquids from entering an assembly; thus, they are good for water pipes and connections that necessitate a waterproof seal. By placing them with a fastener, this ensures that nothing leaks or makes its way in.


Expedited Quoting is a leading tried and tested distributor of aerospace washers, such as lock washers, sealing washers, vibration-dampening washers, helical spring washers, and many others. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items on our database, customers can easily meet rigid time constraints and inflexible budget requirements. As our supply chain network stretches across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we are equipped to offer expedited shipping services on domestic and international orders alike.

Peruse our expansive catalogs at your leisure and take note of any items of interest. To kick off the fulfillment process, request a competitive quote through our Instant RFQ service. We only ask that you provide as many details as possible, including target prices, desired quantities, and operational deadlines. Keep in mind that we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, alongside a strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge, meaning you can always trust in the integrity of our offerings. Get started today and see why customers choose Expedited Quoting as their go-to sourcing solution! 


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