The Difference Between Compression and Tension Springs

Within the spring industry there is a vast variation of designs, shapes, sizes and applications. At European Springs Ireland, we offer a wide array of springs, including compression and tension springs, but what are their uses and what makes them different from each other?

These two springs look incredibly similar, and they can easily be confused, but they each have different designs and functions. Here, we will look into what these springs are, what they are used for, and the differences between the two.

metal springs

What is a Compression Spring?

As spring manufacturers, we are experienced experts regarding compression springs. The most common recognisable component is the helical shape of compression springs. These springs are designed to resist a compressive force and, although they are commonly produced from round wire, they can be manufactured from square or rectangular materials to meet specific needs. Here are some examples of this type of spring:

  • Conical
  • Hourglass
  • Barrel-shaped
  • Torsional
  • Magazine

Were you aware there was more than just one type of compression spring? These springs are manufactured from a large gauge wire and are the most common type of spring that can be found in many different products and machinery in our everyday lives.

Compression springs

What Are They Used For?

Being hugely popular, compression springs have many different applications for several different industries. We use these springs throughout our daily lives, even in places you may not have known, such as:

  • Valves
  • Locking doors
  • Railways
  • Cars
  • Electrical switches
  • Large stamping presses

What is a Tension Spring?

To many, tension springs are also referred to as extension springs; these are one of the most archetypical, tightly wound, or closed coiled springs which are designed to operate with tension. When no load is placed upon the spring, the individual coil touches and the coils are pulled apart as the spring stretches due to the force.

A tension spring will always try to revert back to its original shape, and this is the process that causes the springing action; however, if the coils of a tension springs are damaged, they cannot return to their original state of tension.

Mechanical spring of the yellow metal is not a white background

What Are They Used For?

As tension springs come in a wide array of sizes and can be used for many applications, being frequently found in lever based mechanisms. These include:

  • Trampolines
  • Automotive interior and exterior
  • Garage doors
  • Farm equipment
  • Pliers

The Similarities and Differences

The similarity between these two springs exist in their design, as both are made up of a coil spring which is devised for elasticity and strength. The main difference is that tension springs are created to hold two things together while compression springs are designed to keep components from coming together.

Although they seem similar, they are both used for different products. If you would like to find out more about our springs here at European Springs Ireland, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today by calling 0208 663 1800 or emailing, and we will be happy to help.

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