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Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Apr. 24, 2022

Wave washers, also referred to as wave springs, are wavy metal washers designed to provide a compensating spring force or absorb shock when under load. Many design variations have evolved to best serve these basic functions.


Wave washers are one of several types of spring washers. They are defined by their wave-like appearance and their ability to bear a load as they are deflected in a linear range.


Types of Wave Springs

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Product :Medium and Small mulit-turn Wave Springs
Material: SUS631/17-7PH

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Product :Mulit-turn Wave Springs
Structure form:Mulit-turn(Peak to Peak)wave springs
Material: SUS631/17-7PH

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Product :Mulit-turn Wave Springs
Structure form:Mulit-turn(Peak to Peak)wave springs with shim ends
Material: SUS631/17-7PH

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Product :Tiny Mulit-turn Wave Springs
Material: SUS631/17-7PH

Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications

Product :Various Mulit-turn Wave Springs
Material: SUS631/17-7PH, SUS304, SUS316 available


6 Advantages of a Wave Spring


Spring operating height can be reduced by up to 50%.


In applications with tight space constraints, Crest-to-Crest wave springs optimize space concerns. The ‘multiple waves per turn’ design can offer the same spring force as a traditional coil spring, but at a reduced operating height. A reduction in operating height also decreases the spring cavity, yielding an overall smaller assembly size. Significant cost savings may be seen with a smaller, more light-weight assembly, as it takes less time and material to produce.



We can customize wave springs to fit your exact application requirements. The number of turns, end type, material type, and thickness are just a few parameters we can customize.
Our ability to accommodate virtually any design comes from our unique edgewinding process, where we take flat wire and then coil it on edge. With the freedom to coil to nearly any diameter (0.157 – 120 in.; 4 - 3000 mm), we can efficiently optimize your design, all without the need for additional tooling.



Accurate and predictable loads are achieved by putting a tolerance on load(s) at specific working height(s).


Whether it’s a static or a dynamic application, you’re able to pinpoint the load that a wave spring outputs. This is because we tolerance critical load(s) at specified working height(s), so you can expect reliable, consistent performance in your application.



Wave spring technology is the trusted solution across many different industries and applications.


From small to large diameters, light to heavy-duty parts, carbon steel to exotic materials, wave springs has been the trusted solution for tens of thousands of applications. From everyday consumer products like the smartwatch on your wrist, or the coffee maker in your kitchen, to an oil well deep under the Earth’s surface, to as high as, well, Mars, there is virtually no limit for wave springs. Below are some examples of common applications that utilize the benefits of a wave spring. 


Flow Valves: As fluid pressure increases, a Crest-to-Crest Wave Spring precisely controls the linear displacement of the piston.


Pressure Relief Valves: Air pressure under the assembly causes the spring load to increase, which forces the plate away from the sealing surface and provides a pressure relief mechanism. As pressure decreases, the spring returns to its original work height, allowing the unit to seal again.


Face Seals: The wave spring applies pressure to precisely load against a mating surface, properly sealing fluids.


Vibration Isolators: Under constant loading, the isolator dampens vibration from equipment operation. Wave springs are used to provide precise and predictable loading.



Exotic alloys are an option for your applications in extreme environments.


There are a variety of key factors when it comes to choosing the right material for your application, including environment, budget, and cycle life. Using a material that is not optimized for the environment that it’s in can lead to performance issues and decreased application life. We offer a variety of custom materials.
From cryogenic to high temperatures, magnetically-sensitive to electrically conductive, deep-sea to outer space, our engineering team will tailor a wave spring fit for optimal performance.



We know it’s important to ensure fit and function with prototype testing, so we offer free samples of our standards.


We also offer custom, economical prototypes that can be delivered to you in a short lead time with no minimum order quantity. This is a unique benefit of our edgewinding process, as traditional stamped parts have high up-front tooling costs, minimum order quantities, and traditionally longer lead times.

Other applications of wave washers

Wave washers, also referred to as wave spring washers, are some of the best load-bearing washers available. They are tiny metal discs with holes in the middle, similar to small doughnuts in appearance. These components are not flat, but have a wavelike look as their name suggests. They are designed to absorb stress when beneath a load, and their three-point contact area and curved design makes them ideal for the task. There are a number of different ways they are used.


Shock Absorbers

Wave washers can be built as shock absorbers to function like compression springs. If you are dealing with space limitations, they can be particularly effective.



Wave washers can also assist in compensating for discrepancies in the operational capabilities of different mechanical devices. They can aid in preventing unwanted movement or vibrations if there are misalignments. If you are using bolts or screws, they can help stop any loss of friction that may cause the pieces to become unattached and fall out.


Improve Functionality of Ball Bearings

These parts can also be used to prolong the life of ball bearings and improve their performance. They help by lowering bearing noise and getting rid of any vibrations that might otherwise impact how the bearings function.


Selection Criteria

In order to pick the correct component, you need to know the required outside and inside ring diameters. The outside diameters define the circumferences of wave spring washers, and the inside diameters are set by the size of the bolt or cylinder they must encompass. Two other important criteria are the thickness and overall height of the pieces. They come in several different materials; steel is a good choice and particularly durable. A well-equipped construction supply store should have a wide range of them available in many different sizes.

Wave washers are versatile components that can be used for a variety of applications including shock absorbers, compensators and improving the functionality of ball bearings. 


Wave Washers Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications