What's the name of the "circle" that the arrow points to?

In the picture is the end of a barbell. That thing that arrow points to is put onto the tube. The tube has a "dent" where that circle fits. There are eyes in the end of the circle that are used to expand it slightly so it can move easily onto the tube and when it's in the dent, it's released so it clasps.

Photo of tube accompanied by partially open rings

3 Answers 3


That is called a "circlip" and can be removed or positioned with special pliers made for them. They come in internal and external varieties. What you have pictured are internal. Some circlip pliers are reversible (the ones in the picture) so you can use them with internal or external circlips.

enter image description here

  • 14
    Or a "snap ring".
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 21:22
  • 1
    Larger circlips can be operated with a set of very fine-nosed needle nosed pliers in an emergency. (i.e. you haven't managed to come up with an excuse to get to Harbor Freight to pick up a set yet. :) )
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 12:42

The clips that you are referring to are called snap rings in North America.

  • 4
    also often "retaining ring" Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 3:12
  • 1
    "Circlips" was a popular term for such things in the 1960s, judging from the number of US trademark registrations filed in that era that described them as "retaining rings". The ones in the photo are "internal" rings, as contrasted with "external", having slightly different geometry.
    – Upnorth
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 4:31
  • 1
    @NPM Depends where you are from. In North America, they are called "Snap Rings", but it appears that Circlips is more popular elsewhere: trends.google.com/trends/…
    – dberm22
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 12:51

I've also seen them called C-Rings* or C-Clips, to differentiate them from E-Clips/E-Rings. E-Clips perform a similar function but have a slightly different shape, including a spacer (the bar in the middle of the "E") which keeps the ring at a set distance from the shaft:

enter image description here

*If you Google "C-Ring", add the word "retaining" or have Safe Search on!


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.