Learn the Key Difference between Shim Washers and Spring Washers

Learn the Key Difference between Shim Washers and Spring Washers

Both shim washers and spring washers are widely used across industries. They form a part of various machinery and equipment. The basic use of both these washers is to fill the gap between two parts of an object and allow it to function smoothly. There are more similarities between these washers in comparison to the way they differ from each other. This is why they are often confused with one another. In this article, we have shared the details about different types of shim washers as well as various kinds of spring washers. This will help you understand the various differences between the two. The key differences between the two have also been highlighted separately to demarcate them. So, read on!

What are Shim Washers

Shim washers are thin pieces of different shapes and sizes used to fill the gap between two components of a machine. They remain intact as an application runs. They do not deform during the process.

Types of Shim Washers

Shim washers have been categorized into four broad categories. Let us take a look at each of them:

  • Traditional Shims– They are sturdy and durable because of which they are used in various applications. However, unlike certain other varieties of shims, traditional shims are not adjustable.
  • Edge Bond Shims– They have layers of different thickness because of which they are easy to adjust. You can remove these layers and reuse them.
  • Tapered Shims– This type of shim is used mainly if the mating components of an application are curved. They tighten the components and help the application run appropriately.
  • Peelable Shims– This type of shim comes with three dimensional layers that can easily be peeled to get the needed thickness.

What are Spring Washers?

Spring washers are commonly used in machines and appliances to absorb shock, reduce noise and aid in their smooth functioning. They are built in a way that they change form as an application runs and come back to their original shape when the process completes. This elastic deformation of the spring washers is necessary for the functioning of the application. However, when these are used over and over again, they tend to deteriorate and deform permanently. Good quality spring washers remain in good condition for years. Low quality ones do not pass the test of time.

Types of Spring Washers

There are five broad categories when it comes to spring washers. These are wave washer, crescent washer, dome washer, finger washer and belleville washer. Let us learn about each of them in brief:

  1. Wave Washer – This type of spring washer rotates in two directions as the application runs. This makes it look like a wave. It works well with equipments that exert moderate load and moderate deflection. They have a subcategory termed, single wave washer. These washers are known for their flattened load points that prevent friction.
  2. Crescent Washer - When it comes to appliances with light loads and small deflection, crescent washers work best.
  3. Dome Washer - This type of washer is capable of bearing a high load with minimum deflection.
  4. Belleville Washer - To tackle high loads with small deflection, it is best to use a Belleville washer.
  5. Finger Washer - It is the right choice for high-speed applications.

The Main Difference between Shim Washer and Spring Washer

Now that you have a fair idea about the different types of shim washers and spring washers, let us understand the key factors that demarcate them:


Shim washers are made using different kinds of materials. These include plastic, wood, stone and different kinds of metals. Spring washers are mostly made of plastic or certain types of metals.

Shape and Size

Shim washers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to match different requirements. Spring washers are usually in the shape of a doughnut. They are also available in different sizes. Shims are thinner in comparison to spring washers.


The usage of spring washers and shim washers is more or less the same. They are both used as a spacer between two components that form a part of an object. They distribute the load and prevent damage to the components when the application runs. The aim is to ensure the seamless functioning of the application.


Shim washers are quite different from spring washers even though the purpose they solve is largely similar. Both types of washers fill the gap between two parts of an object to tighten them and allow the object to work appropriately. They differ from each other in terms of shape and thickness. While the shim washers are available in different shapes, spring washers are usually doughnut-shaped. Besides, shim washers are quite thin. It is important to understand your requirement well to determine whether you need a spring washer or a shim washer. It is suggested to make the purchase from a reputable manufacturer to get good quality washers that are reliable and durable.

Need Help?

Please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you with 1-2 business days. Or just call us now


Get in touch

Request a Quote