Circlip is a useful element in tightening machine parts.
Circlip comes in various sizes and styles and the usability is very diverse in terms of holding machine parts.

What are Circlips

The Circlips form an integral part of the engineering industries where they’re used to hold or fasten elements of a machine (shaft or groove etc.). They adjust themselves in such a manner as to unravel flexibility, radial installation, clearance diameter, and thrust load capacity issues. Thus, giving them the title of retaining ring, and Seeger ring.

Circlips come in various sizes and most are made from stainless steel. They are in a ring shape, with ends open to serve as a removable shoulder within a machine assembly. A circlip is usually light in weight so it is easy to install. It can be found in various types and sizes. Each type serves a special requirement.

Because of their appearance and functions, they’ve been given many names and types, i.e. C-type, E-type, and Snap-ring. The section will cover lots of information of circlip and how you can make the most out of it.

Circlip Pliers

Among the whole varieties of circlips, a particular type of pliers has been designed to fit or remove circlips from various surfaces.

Circlips pliers are also launched with different styles and each corresponds mainly to the type of circlip talked on the spot. You can install or remove a circlip with the help of pliers, or even push them a little towards the perfect fitting. Without the use of circlip pliers, you might get your hands injured or mess up certain body parts’ shapes.

Circlip pliers come in different sizes as well. They are generally much flexible and offer ease of installation or removal process. It has a very uniquely designed tip that makes the process of installing and removal much easier.

Circlip Pliers

Basic Types Of Circlips

Every circlip made is differentiated into two main types to work itself best in different environments. Below are the two main types.

The thought process for designing an External circlip is to make sure its curved beams can pull off amazing strength while retaining their ring shapes. External circlips are used in overweight, irresistible, and rotating shafts whereas internal circlips can work ideally in light and heavy machines. They provide invariable thrust load capacity and fit more perfectly due to their increased gap width. Both external and internal circlips and their types are further elaborated below.

Some of the common types of circlip includes Snap rings, E type circlips, increases abutment rings, spiral retention rings, tapered section circlip, inverted circlip, K-circlip, Grip ring, lugged, and standard. Following are the main types of circlip described briefly.

External Circlip Standard
These are the most common type of circlips that have their curved beams to oppose centrifugal forces from shafts. Their gap width is greatly reduced to make sure their shape stays clear and round like a ring. It is available in sizes like imperial and metric. Its most common benefit is that it saves up much space, and makes things easier to function.
External Circlip Lugged
The only clear difference between a standard external circlip and an external lugged circlip is the addition of equal spaced lugs around the O.D. Their contact points around the radiuses, chamfered, or edges are assisted by these spaced lugs.
Internal Circlip Standard
As discussed previously, internal circlips have their main focus on bearing the thrust load capacity. They can fit perfectly into wielding cups due to increased gap width and free diameter space. They are made of Carbon string steel with phosphated and oil film. For rapid fitting and removal, lugs with holes are provided. It also offers protection against corrosion when it is placed inside any equipment.
Internal Circlip Lugged
The design of the internal circlip lugged is almost similar to the standard style and the only existence of equal spaced lugs makes it different and much more suitable to make good contact with chamfered points.
E-Type External Circlip
Unlike the internal and external circlips, the E-type isn’t axially fitted. They are radially fitted into grooves but since they don’t have lugs, circlip pliers cannot be applied to them. A standard circlip plier can only push the E-clip to its place. You would not require circlip pliers to install this type of circlip.
Snap Rings
These are axially fitted onto needle bearings, sealing rings, and shallow grooves and do not require any external fitting tool assistance since they do not have the holes to allow the circlip pliers to grip. So removal of a snap ring is a bit harsh process and they usually yank off when pulled by a force through flat head screwdrivers or a pair of punches. You would not require special fitting tools for snap rings.
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Installation and Removal

Circlip Sizes
Circlip Sizes

Choosing the right size of circlip is important for offering a wide range of flexibility and to cope with the different environments they are kept in. Small circlips with sizes less than 2 inches in diameter or 25mm in the radius are the most common ones in action. Large circlips with diameters above 350mm are also in use.

The correct hole diameter, thickness, and size of the circlip signify positioning and fitting into the correct space.

Installing Circlip
Installing Circlip

The best way to install any circlip is determined by what kind of circlip is being used? Does it require help from pliers or assistance fitting tools and where does the installation process take place? Say, If it’s an internal circlip, it will be installed to the inside of a shaft and if it’s an external circlip, the installation will be around the outside of the shaft. Follow our guided lines for the installation of a particular circlip.

Installation of External Circlip

  1. Use an external circlip plier that can fit into the circlip holes.
  2. Insert the flier tips onto the ends of the circlip grips.
  3. Squeeze the handle of the plier to let the circlip expand.
  4. Fit this circlip into the destined groove and finish the installation process.

Installation of Internal Circlip

  1. Use internal circlip pliers that can fit into the holes on the circlip.
  2. Fit the plier tips to the end holes of the circlip.
  3. Squeeze the handles to allow the circlip to contract and close.
  4. Bring the circlip into its destined groove spot and release pliers.

The removal of circlips is an easy 3 step process but this process requires patience and care. Also, the question on spot is again which type of circlip is being removed? Follow the guidelines below to proceed with removal or circlips. Each process or steps explained below need to be carefully implemented.

Removing External Circlip

  1. Pick up a pair of external circlip pliers.
  2. Fit it into the tips or holes on the end of the circlips.
  3. Use the pliers and remove the circlip from the groove with caution.

Removing Internal Circlip

  1. Pick out a pair of internal circlip pliers.
  2. Grip them onto the end holes of the circlip.
  3. Squeeze gently to release and remove the circlip.

    Internal Circlip
    Internal Circlip
Applications of Circlip
Applications of Circlip

Below are given some common applications where the use of circlips is essential in rotating, spinning, or, turning the object about a pivot.

  1. Piston
  2. Turbine
  3. Vehicles
  4. Optical devices
  5. Wheeler bearings
  6. Clutches
  7. Gearing
  8. Electronics
  9. Electric motors
  10. Brakes

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Advantages of Circlip

Circlips function most effectively on simple shoulders with low static loads. They are lightweight, and generally easy to install (no torque or installation sequences required). They can function in small spaces, with some capable of retaining components in shafts and bores as small as 0.8mm in diameter. A circlip is very useful for its purpose. It can easily be used in tiny or very compact places.

The general and most common advantages include some of the following.

Strong Grip
Strong Grip
If a part of a machine requires aggressive gripping, then grip circlips can be of huge help to the machine. They will keep hold of the device components before you could say, Jack Robinson. With wide use of a circlip and its functionality, and due to this benefit, a circlip can be found in numerous machines.
Holds in Place
Holds in Place
Heavy machinery at times pulls and pushes against such strong forces that their smaller components might fall off their place or loosen up because of the great opposing tensile force. Ring circlips are an ideal option for holding the systems into their place and resisting the opposite forces breaking these components parts.
Maintains Constant Unit
Maintains Constant Unit
Irregular sizing of the circlip rings affects the functioning as well as the placing of a certain circlip into its destined place. This warning banks straight into external circlip rings which have increasingly reduced gap widths and free diameter space. It is able to bear a considerable thrust load.
Retaining Ability
Retaining Ability
Retaining rings often work on heavy-duty or impact-load applications, because without the touch of retaining rings, these devices will end up losing their grips on body parts. Many retaining ring types are launched with modified ends to meet your requirements of retaining the objects to their places. A circlip has the durability and strength to hold particular elements longer in bores or shafts, depending on the internal or external use.
Smooth Gear Function
Smooth Gear Function
Rotating or moving devices such as vehicles or bicycles apply gearing every time it accelerates or stops. The reason why this happens so smoothly and swiftly is because of the presence of circlips ensuring that none of the gears slip out of the axial phase.


With a variety of circlip options to choose from, you can operate your machinery at the drop of a hat. Whether your machinery involves rotation, turning over, pivot point, bearing, grip, or movement, circlips will be by your side all the time to prevent casualties that might lead to disorder or dysfunction of the machine. So, make sure you like and subscribe to this section as this talk is all about the uses, functions, and capabilities of various circlips.

Lastly in this article, you can find some common questions asked regarding a circlip. These questions might answer you as well and might be able to clear your confusions. After examining the qualities of the circlip, you’ll be able to understand its function better and make good use of it if you’re thinking of implanting it in a machinery or any of your project.

How to remove Circlips without holes?

Snap rings are common circlips that do not have holes. The easiest way to remove a snap ring is to use a pair of pliers or any assistance tool which can gain access to the circlip and securely hold the circlip. Pulling the arms of pliers will widen the snap ring and easily remove it from the spot. Needle-nose pliers are also effective in removing snap rings because they look similar to them.

Another alternative and effective method are to use a pair of punches to widen the snap rings and remove them. Though, this task requires strength and needs practice as well. Hope you find pair of punches that can fit into the circlip.

How to measure internal circlip size?

Inside circlips fit the inside of the bore or housing, so measuring the internal diameter of the bore will help find the exact size of circlip to be used. Say a 29mm bore requires 29mm of circlip to perfectly fit into it.

Normally all circlips are made to standard size. And if the circlip size is needed to be measured to see where it fits, then the measurements must be made from both the outside and inner sides.

What are some common uses of circlips?

They can help run the devices you commonly use in routine. Normally, devices that involve pivoting, rotation, movement, and turning acquire the use of circlips to keep them working swiftly. Such examples include bicycles, cars, washing machines, etc.

How to measure external circlip size?

Since external circlips attach themselves to the outside of the shaft or surface, to measure the circlip size, the out diameter of the shaft must be known.

To find which shaft is suitable for a circlip, you have to measure the circlip from both the inner and outer sides.

How to remove circlip without pliers?

No worries if your mechanic toolbox doesn’t have a plier. Flathead Screwdrivers are the second-best option to remove a circlip. But the process is risky. It was easy with the pliers holding onto the circlips till they were removed, using a screwdriver can unscrew the attachments onto the circlips but, it cannot the circlip, so they might be yanked off by the screwdrivers. Either you or the circlip itself will be damaged or injured.

Some common benefits of circlip?

They are easy to use and are made especially for assembling the body parts of a machine and holding them into correct positions. Since they’re made of various materials, shaped into various styles and designs, and scaled into different sizes, they can be installed into any shaft or groove part easily.

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