AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

3 Tips for Choosing the Best Retaining Rings

Retaining rings are ring-shaped fasteners that are designed to fit onto shafts or bores to help keep machinery parts in place. Typically consisting of a small metal ring, these fasteners are some of the most common devices you will find in industrial machinery, vehicle construction, and more. Consequently, to suit a myriad of applications, they come in several different materials, sizes, and styles. With so many variations to choose from, here is a helpful set of tips you may reference to help find the best retaining rings for your assembly.

Choosing the Right Size

Retaining rings must be the correct size in order to properly fit the shaft or bore with which they are used. If a retaining ring is too large, it may slide off, and if it is too small, it may not fit. To avoid problems during installation, it is important to measure each of the mounting surfaces before purchasing retaining rings. Additionally, it should be noted that retaining rings have both an inner diameter and an outer diameter. The inner diameter represents the distance from the inner edge to the opposite inner edge. Conversely, the outer diameter is the distance from the outer edge to the opposite outer edge. Most retaining rings will have a stated inner and outer diameter in their product description.

Considering the Material

Retaining rings are made of different materials that have varying capabilities and resistance to external factors. Stainless steel and carbon steel are common materials in which they are made. Whereas stainless steel retaining rings offer a high level of protection against rust and corrosion, those made of carbon steel are even stronger and more durable. There are also retaining rings made of plastic which are immune to rust and corrosion but have less strength and durability overall. However, they may be helpful for use in environments that are wet or humid, such as in portions of the food industry.

Deciding on Style

All retaining rings feature a ring-shaped design but will have varying characteristics depending on their use. Of these design variations, the five most common include axially assembled, radially assembled, beveled, locking, and constant section retaining rings. As the most common type, axially assembled retaining rings consist of a tapered ring that is installed axially. This means that they must be placed onto the end of the shaft and then slid down to a machined groove, or slid similarly along the inside of a bore. Conversely, radially assembled rings can only be externally installed onto a shaft. Rather than creating a full circle, they have a wide opening on one end which allows them to be installed at an angle perpendicular to the rod.

Whereas other rings may have a cylindrical design, beveled retaining rings have a beveled edge to generate a more secure hold. Similarly, locking retaining rings are also adapted to securely lock in place, but specifically for one-time-use only. This feature allows them to be used at high speeds, withstand excessive vibrations, and absorb a degree of impact loading. Lastly, constant section retaining rings are a type that are characterized by their uniform, circular design. The diameter of these rings are the same at any given point. They are typically made from round wire, such as aluminum, copper, steel, or other metals, and are often specified for heavy-duty or impact loading applications.


When a part needs to be held securely in place, retaining rings are simple, lightweight, and durable solutions. As such, there is a large variety to choose from with each type suiting a different set of applications. If you are in need of top-quality aircraft fasteners or other aviation grade components, Logistics 3Sixty is here to assist you with all your parts fulfillment needs. We source from a wide selection of leading global manufacturers to provide our customers with access to high-grade aviation products at unbeatable price points. Browse our online catalog of available parts at your leisure and/or take advantage of our 24/7x365 RFQ service to receive competitive quotes for your comparison on any of our featured items.


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