Ring Shank Vs. Smooth Shank Nails: In-depth Differences And Features

Woodworking projects are incomplete without shank nails. A wide range of shanks is available. Ring shanks and smooth shanks are top choices for various types of woodworking. 

But pros and cons are part and parcel of each shank.

Choosing a particular shank will give some benefits while compromising a few advantages for not picking the alternative option. 

Here, we will go for in-depth details to check out the difference between ring shanks vs. smooth shanks.

A Quick Comparison Table

Want to learn quick details? You can glance over this comparison table to get an instant idea about both shank nails.

SpecificationsRing ShankSmooth Shank
Using purposeUnique optionMore common option
Holding conditionTwice holding powerDecent holding power
Sizing options 2-inch to 9-inch2-inch to 6-inch
Ideal usage Subflooring, underlayment, wall, and roof sheathing.Basic framing applications and interior finish work
Withdrawal  Requires twice the withdrawal strengthEasy to pull out
Durability More durable Less durable 
Cost A slightly priceyMore affordable option

Main Differences Between Ring Shank And Smooth Shank

Learning some technical things about shank nails is necessary to understand working ability thoroughly. Knowing some basic things may not be enough to select the right shank nails for your work. 

Below are in-depth details about them.

  • Using Purpose

Compared to ring shanks, smooth shanks are more common options. Most woodworkers use smooth shanks as you can easily use them for a wide range of wood surfaces.

  • Holding Condition
BOSTITCH ring shank nails
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Have you noticed the design of both ring and smooth shanks?

Smooth shanks have flat sides, while ring shanks feature round-shaped elevated sides.  

Ring shanks have twice as holding power as smooth shanks. When you put the round-shaped nails inside the woods, they stick to the woods more stiffly.

On the contrary, smooth shanks are perfect for everyday use and have enough holding power for regular woodworking tasks. 

  • Sizing Options 

We need different-sized shanks based on the wood thickness level and working objective. Ring shanks are available from 2-inch to 9-inch, making them more versatile and effective in more heavy-duty woodworking projects.

In contrast, smooth shanks have sizing options from 2-inch to 6-inch. Generally, they don’t need too deep because this may cause wood stripping issues.

  • Ideal Usage

Before choosing a particular shank, you must first decide where you are going to use it. Ring shanks are ideal for subflooring, underlayment, wall, and roof sheathing.

Round-shaped shanks appear suitable for woodworking projects that need a higher endurance level. This shank type can retain its stiffness on different wood surfaces to provide extra support. They are better for exterior areas.

Contrastly, smooth shank nails are ideal for basic framing applications and internal finish work. They can swiftly get into the internal area, whether it is hard or softwood.

  • Removal
B&C Eagle smooth shank nails
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Considering its removal process is also important if you want to use particular shank nails for the short term.

Smooth shanks are generally easy to remove from most woods. 

They don’t stick too hard to cause additional issues.

 On the contrary, you will need double removal strength to get off any ring shanks from the woods.

If the wood is extremely hard and the size of ring shanks is more than 5 inches, using additional might be necessary to get your job done.

  • Durability

Compared to smooth shanks, ring shanks are more durable. Round-shaped shanks can get into wood fibers more precisely and stay in a more stiff position. 

As a result, extreme wind or cyclical moisture conditions can’t harm it.

In contrast, the holding strengths of smooth shanks may become weaker over time. This mainly happens when wood regularly expands and gets affected by excessive moisture.

  • Cost

Both smooth shanks and ring shanks have almost the same price. But the average price of smooth shanks is a little bit lower per pound.

On the contrary, the starting price of ring shanks is slightly higher per pound. There might be a few versions that a more heavy-duty construction with a higher price tag.  

What Will Be The Suitable Choice For Your Wood Project?

Ring Shank And  Smooth Shank

It mainly depends on the type of wood projects you are handling. Smooth shank nails seem okay if you use them for the internal area or any basic purpose. 

In such a case, moisture and outside weather can’t cause any issues.

However, if you are working on heavy projects, especially for the outside area, using ring shanks is a practical option. Apart from ensuring long-lasting durability, they are not prone to come out from the wood over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a ring shank and a smooth shank?

Compared to smooth shanks, ring shanks have double withdrawal strengths —they can stay inside the wood fibers more firmly for an extended time.

Should I use smooth or ring shank framing?

Though you can use smooth shanks for framing, ring shanks appear a better option due to their twice withdrawal strength —they won’t be affected by external conditions.

What do you use ring shank nails for?

Ring shank nails are versatile for various wood or wood projects such as roofs, plywood, siding, decking, underlayment, subflooring, walls, etc.

Do ring shank nails hold as good as screws?

Unlike regular shank nails, rings shank nails have 40% more gripping power. Though they may not hold as firmly as screws, you can still get close support.

Should I use ring shank nails for roof sheathing?

Yes, you can use ring shank nails for roof sheathing since they can raise the uplift resistance and their extreme fastener capability.


Are you still wondering which one to choose, ring shanks vs. smooth shank? 

You should not! We have outlined all the precise information about both shank nails to help you get a clear overview of them.

Ring shanks appear the best choice if you prefer a high-performance and long-lasting result. But smooth shanks are easier to work with and ideal for regular woodworking tasks.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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