O-Ring vs Gasket: Which Seal Is Best for Your Application?

31 Mar.,2023


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Gaskets and o-rings both serve a similar purpose–to seal against liquid or gas in a specific application. However, the two sealing devices vary greatly in appearance and are designed for different environments.

When choosing a seal for your application, how do you know whether a gasket or o-ring is right for you? Here are the major differences between gaskets and o-rings you need to consider. 

O-Ring Basics

As the name suggests, o-rings are round, ring-shaped sealing devices that sit in a groove between two parts, which are often cylindrical. It is the compression of the two parts that allow the o-ring to form an air or liquid-tight seal. Generally, o-rings can withstand pressure and vibration within their application. Based on their shape, o-rings can be designed for both static and dynamic applications. 

O-Rings can be manufactured in a variety of different flexible materials and can be customized in size and thickness depending on the design. 

Common applications that require o-rings include:

  • Hydraulics

  • Fuel systems

  • Medical and pharmaceutical 

  • Oil

  • Pipe joints

  • HVAC

Gasket Basics

While o-rings are typically round and vary in thickness, gaskets are flat seals that sit between two flat surfaces. Gaskets are often circular, however they can be cut into virtually any shape, including square, triangle, rectangle or any other complex form. Similar to o-rings, gasket seals are often manufactured with flexible materials. However, gaskets can also be designed with harder materials such as rigid polymers or metal. 

Common applications that require gaskets include: 

  • Electronics

  • Electrical motors

  • Power generation

  • Transportation and automotive

  • Telecommunication devices

Choosing the Best Seal for Your Application

While gaskets and o-rings are both dependable sealing devices, their stark differences make them suitable for different environments. O-Rings are the best choice for high-pressure applications as they can withstand extreme amounts without failure. While both sealing devices can function in a wide range of temperatures, gaskets are better suited for extreme temperature environments. 

The shape of the seal is also a key deciding factor between gaskets and o-rings. O-Rings are made for circular joints and require a groove, whereas gaskets can be designed to fit virtually any shape. 


Want to learn more about gaskets and o-rings? 

Contact an engineer today. 

O-Ring vs Gasket: Which Seal Is Best for Your Application?

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