What Is an Elevator Bolt?

Pair of bolts

When researching some of the different types of bolts, you may come across elevator bolts. Like all bolts, they feature a head and threaded shank. Elevator bolts, however, are designed differently. They have several subtle features that distinguish them from standard bolts. What are elevator bolts exactly?

The Basis of Elevator Bolts

Elevator bolts are threaded fasteners consisting of a threaded shank — typically only partially threaded — as well as a thin and round head. They are known as “elevator bolts” because they were originally used in elevator systems. With a thin head, they don’t interfere in the operations of elevators. Elevators can move up and down without being impacted by elevator bolts.

At the same time, the partially threaded shank allows them to create a strong hold. When driven into an object, elevator bolts create a strong hold that prevents them from coming out or otherwise loosening. Elevator bolts are no longer used in most elevators, but you can still find them in furniture and woodworking applications.

Elevator Bolts vs Standard Bolts

One of the main differences between elevator bolts and standard bolts is that the former has a thin and round head, whereas the latter typically has a thick and hexagonal head. With a thick and hexagonal head, standard bolts provide more torque during installation. The thin and round head of elevator bolts, however, makes them a better choice for fastening applications in which a low profile is required.

Another difference between elevator bolts and standard bolts lies in their threading. As previously mentioned, most elevator bolts have a partially threaded shank. The threading may extend just halfway or three-quarters up the shank. In comparison, standard bolts typically feature a fully threaded shank. A fully threaded shank means the threaded runs the entire length of the bolt, starting at the tip and stopping at the head.

How to Choose Elevator Bolts

While all elevator bolts share several common features, such as a thin and round head, not all of them are the same. If you’re planning to use them for a fastening application, you’ll need to choose the right elevator bolts. For starters, make sure they are the right size. Elevator bolts must be the correct diameter and length of the application for which you intend on using them.

You should choose elevator bolts in an appropriate material as well. Stainless steel is a popular material in which elevator bolts are made. It offers a high level of protection against corrosion. If you plan on using elevator bolts in a humid or moist environment, you may want to choose stainless steel. For dry environments, on the other hand, carbon steel elevator bolts may be a better choice. Carbon steel offers less protection against corrosion, but it’s stronger than stainless steel.

See Monroe’s Bolts.