Torsion vs. Extension Springs

Posted on August 18, 2020 by IDC Spring

While it may seem garage doors work by magic, they require springs to do the hard work of moving them up and down. There are two different types of garage door springs — torsion and extension springs.

Torsion springs are newer than the extension variety, and they have very different ways of functioning. Still, both types provide steady service for garage doors and other items we use in our daily lives. Read on to learn more about each type of spring and where you can find them besides garage doors.

Uses for Torsion and Extension Springs

By design, torsion springs have pent-up energy waiting to be unleashed. The torsion spring most people are familiar with is the clothespin. The simplicity of the design perfectly demonstrates how the torsion spring works. You can also find torsion springs in farm machinery, medical equipment and automobiles.

Extension springs use resistance. You must pull them apart to engage their energy. People use them to bring objects back to where they started. When you move the object, it stretches the spring. When you stop exerting force on the object, the spring returns it to where it began. You can find extension springs on farm machinery, dock levelers, automotive assembly and more.

Both styles can be used for garage doors. How can you determine whether a garage door has a torsion spring versus an extension spring? Here are the main differences:

  • Torsion springs twist to create the tension needed to move the garage door. They sit above the garage door, and their ends have a metal cone that attaches to a metal tube.
  • Extension springs rely on resistance to create the tension that moves the garage door. They sit on the side of the garage door opener. The end of the extension spring is a loop, which attaches to a pulley. An extension spring must be designed specifically to assist a garage door or the pulley system may not function correctly.

Do You Need Both Torsion and Extension Springs?

You do not need to use torsion and extension springs on your garage door — either style will provide the power needed for correct operation on its own. However, you do need both types for everyday usage in other applications.

Each type of spring enjoys its own unique efficiency, so you can’t use extension and torsion springs the same way. Imagine trying to replace the spring on a clothespin with an extension spring. The design simply wouldn’t work, just as a trampoline wouldn’t work with a torsion spring. Someone may prefer one type of spring to the other for their garage door, but both are capable of keeping buyers safe in their homes.

Ultimately, the torsion versus extension spring debate depends on personal preference. Both provide viable options for garage door springs, and they both lift heavy weights effectively. IDC Spring is here to serve your project needs either way, so come to us for the extension and torsion springs you need for smooth garage door operation. Get in touch to learn more about either product or to request a quote.