Types of Metal Spring Clips: A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Metal spring clips have a long history, dating back to when humans first started using metal for tools and construction. The evolution of these clips, whether they be flat spring clips, u-shaped spring clips, or other variants, reflects the constant innovation in the field of hardware.

Metal spring clips are crucial components in various applications, spanning from electronics to automotive engineering, construction, and more. Whether it’s holding a battery in place with a clip spring retainer, fastening a seat with seat spring clips, or providing tension in a window screen frame with spring clips, their importance cannot be overstated.

Metal Spring Clips

Understanding Metal Spring Clips

What is a Metal Spring Clip?

Metal spring clips are small, mechanical devices made of metal used to hold or fasten objects tightly together. They come in various types, shapes, and sizes, such as the 1 spring clip, 3 spring clip, or 3 8 spring clip, to cater to different needs. They typically work on the principle of spring force, where the clip exerts force on an object when it’s clamped or released.

Basic Structure of Metal Spring Clips

The structure of a metal spring clip largely depends on its specific type. For instance, a round spring clamp is circular, a horseshoe spring clip resembles a horseshoe, and a pole spring clip has a pole-like structure. 

Despite their variations in shape and size, they all work on a common principle. When the metal spring clip is applied or released from an object, it exerts a force. This force is due to the elastic properties of the metal used, whether it be a spring wire hose clamp or a spring tension clip.

Materials Used in Metal Spring Clips

Common Materials and Their Properties

Metal spring clips can be made from various types of metal, each with unique properties that make them suitable for different applications. Stainless steel is often used for its strength, durability, and resistance to rust, while brass spring clips offer good conductivity and corrosion resistance. Steel, known for its hardness and toughness, is another common choice.

Factors Influencing Material Choice

The choice of material for metal spring clips depends on the specific requirements of their use. For example, if electrical conductivity is a key factor, brass spring clips or copper spring clips might be chosen. 

On the other hand, applications that require durability and strength might use stainless spring clamps. The environment in which the clips are used also plays a role – for instance, plastic spring clips might be used in settings where corrosion is a concern.

Types of Metal Spring Clips

A. Flat Spring Clips

Flat Spring Clips
  1. Definition Flat spring clips, also known as metal spring tension clips, are usually made from a flat strip of metal bent into a specific shape to exert a spring force when applied. 
  2. Application:These types of clips are used extensively in various applications due to their flexibility and versatility. For instance, they’re seen in automotive components, medical devices, and electronics.
  3. Pros: The primary advantage of flat spring clips is their versatility. They can be tailored to meet unique application requirements, providing robust performance with minimal space requirements. 
  4. Cons:However, they may not offer as much force as other types of spring clips, such as a 3 spring clip or gas strut retaining clips.

B. U-shaped Spring Clips

U-shaped Spring Clips
  1. Definition : U-shaped spring clips or spring U clips are designed with a U-shaped body that uses tension to grip or hold objects securely. 
  2. Application: They are popular in automotive, construction, and electronic industries for their ability to securely fasten components. You’ll find them in car door panels, trim, and even home applications like securing a window screen with window screen frame spring clips.
  3. Pros: The most significant advantage of U-shaped spring clips is their excellent grip strength. They provide secure fastening without the need for additional fasteners. 
  4. Cons :However, their specific shape might limit their versatility for certain applications compared to flat spring clips or metal frame spring clips.

C. S-shaped Spring Clips

  1. Definition : S-shaped spring clips, similar in structure to the previously discussed U-shaped spring clips, are versatile and provide an excellent balance between flexibility and strength. 
  2. Application:You’ll often find them in applications like home decoration or garden use, particularly for hanging items.
  3. Pros The primary advantage of S-shaped spring clips is their ease of use, as they can be easily attached and detached without any tools. 
  4. Cons:However, they may not be suitable for high-stress applications due to their open design.

D. V-shaped Spring Clips

V-shaped spring clips
  1. Definition: V-shaped spring clips, also known as threaded spring clips or chip clip springs, have a distinct V shape
  2. Application: Thye are commonly used in industrial applications such as automotive and electronics for their high tension and excellent holding capacity.
  3. Pros :V-shaped spring clips offer a high level of tension, making them ideal for applications that require strong holding force. 
  4. Cons: However, they may not be as flexible or easy to use as other types, such as S-shaped spring clips or flat spring clips.

E. Custom Spring Clips

Custom spring clips
  1. Definition: Custom spring clips, as the name suggests, are designed and manufactured to meet specific customer requirements. 
  2. Application: They can be any of the above shapes or entirely unique, depending on the application. For instance, you might need single button spring clips for a unique assembly or strong metal clips for heavy-duty applications.
  3. Pros: Custom spring clips offer the advantage of being tailored to fit your exact needs, whether it’s a unique shape, material, or size. 
  4. Cons: However, they can be more expensive and take longer to produce due to their custom nature.

F. J-shaped Spring Clips

  1. Definition and Application :J-shaped spring clips feature a J-shaped design that’s often used in applications like holding cables or hoses, for example, spring wire hose clamps. Their shape makes them a perfect fit for rounded objects.
  2. Pros and Cons: J-shaped spring clips are highly versatile, providing a secure hold on various round objects. On the downside, their specific shape might limit their use in other types of applications.

G. Wire Form Spring Clips

  1. Definition: Wire form spring clips are typically constructed from round or flat wire and are bent into specific shapes to meet various application requirements. 
  2. Application: They can range from pipe spring clamps to metal frame spring clips, used in a variety of industries.
  3. Pros: Wire form spring clips are favored for their versatility, as they can be formed into almost any shape. 
  4. Cons: However, intricate designs may require more advanced machinery or manufacturing techniques, which can increase costs.

H. Garter Spring Clips

Garter Spring Clips
  1. Definition: Garter spring clips, often used in seals or bearings, consist of a coiled spring with the ends connected to form a circle. 
  2. Application: They are used when a radial force is required in a circular application, like in a gas strut retaining clip.
  3. Pros:The primary advantage of garter spring clips is their ability to exert radial force in circular applications. 
  4. Cons: However, they are not suitable for applications requiring linear force.

I. Wave Spring Clips

  1. Definition: Wave spring clips are coiled wire forms that incorporate a wave pattern.
  2. Application: This design gives them unique advantages in providing a force that compensates for load deflection, which is particularly useful in applications like shaft spring clips.
  3. Pros :The wave pattern of these clips allows for greater load-bearing capacity and a wider range of deflection. 
  4. Cons: However, the manufacturing of wave spring clips can be more complex, leading to potential increased costs.

J. Circlip/Snap Ring Spring Clips

  1. Definition :Circlip/Snap ring spring clips are ring-shaped clips with open ends. 
  2. Application: They’re typically used in machinery to secure components on a shaft by fitting into a machined groove. These clips are often used as a clip spring retainer or a spring link clip.
  3. Pros and Cons :Circlip/Snap ring spring clips are cost-effective and simple to install. They are designed to withstand significant force, but their effectiveness can be limited if the groove isn’t machined properly.

K. Button Clips

Button Clips
  1. Definition and Uses :Button clips, or single button spring clips, are a unique type of spring clip used in adjustable telescoping tubes. The button pops into a hole in the tube to secure the adjustment position, providing a quick and easy solution for adjustments in products like camping poles or even hospital equipment.
  2. Pros and Cons: Button clips are simple to use and allow quick adjustments. They are quite durable, but it’s essential that the hole in the tube aligns perfectly with the button for secure fastening.

L. Constant Force Spring Clips

  1. Definition: Constant force spring clips are a type of metal spring clip that exerts a nearly constant force over its range of motion. 
  2. Application:They are often used in applications like window sashes (window screen frame spring clips) or in retracting mechanisms like seat belts (seat spring clips).
  3. Pros :These clips provide a consistent force, which can be essential in safety equipment. 
  4. Cons:However, the constant force nature might limit their suitability for applications requiring variable force.

V. Considerations when Choosing Metal Spring Clips

A. Material

The material of a spring clip affects its durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and cost. Common materials used include steel, stainless steel, brass, and aluminum.

B. Size

The size of the metal spring clip can impact its performance. Larger spring clips like large spring clips and 3 spring clips may offer more strength and hold heavier loads, but they may also be heavier and bulkier. Smaller clips like miniature spring clips and 1 spring clips are lighter and more compact but may not be as strong or durable.

C. Strength

The strength of a spring clip is determined by the material used and the clip’s design. For applications that require strong hold, such as gas strut retaining clips, you’ll want to choose a strong, durable material and a design that provides a firm grip.

D. Corrosion Resistance

Depending on the environment in which the spring clip is used, corrosion resistance can be a vital factor. For instance, spring clips used in the marine or construction industries, or outdoor applications may be exposed to harsh weather conditions or corrosive substances. Materials like stainless spring clamps or brass spring clips are often preferred for their superior resistance to corrosion.

E. Cost

While plastic spring clips might be a cost-effective choice for some applications, they may not offer the same level of durability and strength as metal spring clips. Hence, it’s crucial to balance the cost with the requirements of your specific application.

VI. Application of Metal Spring Clips

Metal spring clips  Application

A. Industrial Applications

Metal spring clips are widely used in various industrial settings. These include mounting spring clips for securing components in place, shaft spring clips for rotational devices, and window screen frame spring clips for holding screens securely.

B. Electronics

In the electronics industry, spring clips serve several functions, such as holding components securely on PCBs or providing electrical connections. Plastic spring loaded clips are often used for attaching heat sinks to electronic components to help with heat dissipation.

C. Construction

In construction, the importance of metal spring clips cannot be understated. They’re used in a multitude of applications, from pipe spring clamps used in plumbing installations to spring nut clips which help secure fixtures and fittings. Moreover, horseshoe spring clips are often employed for securing round objects such as pipes and rods.

D. Automotive

The automotive industry also makes use of metal spring clips. Gas strut retaining clips are essential components in the suspension systems of cars, and seat spring clips are used to secure the upholstery in vehicle interiors. Clip spring retainers are also common in various vehicle parts to provide secure fastening with easy removal when needed.

E. Other sectors

Aside from these, there are countless other applications for metal spring clips. They’re used in everyday items like broan bathroom fan spring clips or ceiling light spring clips in home appliances, spring wire hose clamps in gardening tools, and even torsion spring for hair clips in the beauty industry.

VII. Conclusion

In conclusion, metal spring clips have been and will continue to be an indispensable part of various industries due to their versatility, affordability, and effectiveness. From flat spring clips to u-shaped spring clips, button clips and custom spring clips, these simple but powerful tools are here to stay. They are a testament to human ingenuity, serving as small components that play big roles in countless applications.

You can trust Chengli Hardware to provide high-quality and cost-effective solutions that will meet your specific requirements.


What are the different types of metal spring clips?

There are numerous types of metal spring clips, including flat spring clips, u-shaped spring clips, button clips, custom spring clips, and more

What are spring clips called?

Spring clips go by several names, including tension clips, retaining clips, or clamps.

What is a spring fastener?

A spring fastener is a type of fastening device that uses spring tension to securely hold or fasten objects together. Spring clips are a type of spring fastener.

What are spring snaps?

Spring snaps, also known as snap fasteners, are two-piece fasteners typically made of metal that snap together to secure fabric or other lightweight materials.

What is a spring clamp?

A spring clamp is a type of clamp that uses a spring to create a clamping force to hold objects together. It is often used in woodworking or for temporary holds during glue-ups.

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