Extension Springs vs. Torsion Springs

tension and torsion springs

Clock springs, torsion springs, compression springs, extension springs – you may be surprised about how many different types of springs there really are. And whether you are looking to fix a garage door or design a retractable chair, there isn’t a universal spring that will fit each and every application. 

As part of our blog series into the major spring models and the differences between them, we will be taking a look at the difference between extension and torsion springs

What are extension springs?

Extension springs are designed to absorb and store energy by creating resistance against a pulling force.

Also known as tension springs, these springs contain two ends, typically a hook or eye, that fasten to a different component. When these two components are pulled apart, the spring’s tightly wrapped helical wound coils try to draw them back together again. 

With the ability to increase in length when stretched, extension springs create tension force when pulled. 

Extension springs can typically be found in:

  • Garage doors 
  • Trampolines
  • Farm machinery 
  • Toys
  • Push and pull levers

What are torsion springs?

On the other hand, torsion springs store mechanical energy by twisting its end and exerting a torque in the opposite direction, proportional to the force being applied. Designed to work both clockwise and counterclockwise, torsion springs come in an assortment of thickness, sizes and materials to suit nearly any use. 

Torsion springs can be found in:

  • Pegs
  • Clipboards
  • Hinges
  • Retractable seating
  • Mousetraps
  • Torsion pendulum clocks
  • Garage doors

What’s the difference? And how are they both used in garage doors?

You may be wondering how two very different types of springs can both be found on garage doors – they both have a very different, yet important role to play. 

Functioning in a far more traditional ‘expand and contract’ manner, extension springs are installed on either side to support its weight and lift or lower the garage door. Extension springs used for garage doors are typically quite low in price.

Torsion springs on the other hand, are installed above the garage door, extend less and use torque to lift. While they are typically on the pricier side, torsion springs can last between 15,000 and 20,000 cycles compared to extension springs that only last up to 10,000 cycles. 

When you use extension springs in your garage there is also the potential for them to open at an unpredictable pace, compared to torsion springs that open at a fixed pace. With more exposed mechanical parts than torsion springs, extension springs run the risk of disconnecting from the door and propel into the air, causing a severe safety hazard for any surrounding vehicles or people. While torsion springs are not immune to breakage, they do not have the potential to create a hazard to their surroundings, making them the safer and more durable option. 

While torsion springs are better suited for garage doors, extension springs have a variety of applications that torsion springs are not appropriate for. Whether you are after extension springs or torsion springs, Boynes Springs is a primary manufacturer of spring steel and stainless steel springs in Australia. 

We manufacture and coil our springs in our Perth factory before they are tested rigorously for total quality assurance. Boynes Springs can manufacture torsion springs to almost any shape, length and spring diameter, with wire diameters ranging from 0.25mm to 20mm and can manufacture a variety of extension springs depending on your requirements and intended use.

We also supply die, clock and compression springs which we have been manufacturing to order for a broad range of customers across a variety of industries in Western Australia since 1966.

Wanting to spring into action? Get in touch with us using the form below to find out what Boynes can do for you!