The importance of having the right hardware, especially when it comes to construction and home improvement, cannot be overstated. One such piece of hardware is the lag bolt, or lag screw. The year 2023 has seen several excellent offerings in this space. In this review, we're taking an in-depth look at the top lag bolts that have made an impact in 2023.
Understanding Lag Bolts
Lag bolts are usually large, robust screws with a hexagonal head. Unlike regular screws, they don't have a sharp point but rather a tapered lead-in that guides the screw into the material. They're typically used in heavy-duty applications, hence the need for a wrench or a ratchet, rather than a screwdriver, for installation.
Material and Finish
The first thing to consider when buying lag bolts is the material and finish. These two factors largely determine the bolt's durability and resistance to elements.
- Steel: Steel lag bolts are the most common type. They are strong and reliable but may corrode if exposed to moisture. They are suitable for indoor applications or outdoor applications with a protective finish.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel lag bolts offer superior corrosion resistance, making them perfect for outdoor applications, especially in moist environments.
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized lag bolts have undergone a chemical process to add a layer of zinc. This makes them more resistant to corrosion than regular steel bolts, although not as much as stainless steel ones.
- Brass or Bronze: These are less common but are excellent for particular applications, like marine environments, due to their high resistance to corrosion.
Sizes and Dimensions
Lag bolts come in various sizes, and it's crucial to select the right size for your project. Bolts that are too small may not withstand the load, while those that are too big can damage the material they're being driven into.
- Diameter: The diameter of a lag bolt is the width of its shank. Common diameters range from 1/4 inch to 1 inch.
- Length: The length of a lag bolt is measured from under the head to the end of the bolt. It usually ranges from 1 inch to 6 inches, but longer ones are available.
- Thread Count: The thread count of a lag bolt refers to the number of threads per inch. More threads mean a finer thread, which can provide more grip in softer materials. Fewer threads mean a coarser thread, which is stronger and better for harder materials.
Lag bolts typically have hex heads, which are turned using a wrench or a socket. However, other styles, like square or Torx heads, can offer better grip and reduce the chance of stripping.
Quality and Standards
Manufacturers often designate the strength of their bolts with a grade. For instance, a Grade 2 lag bolt is a standard hardware grade, while a Grade 5 or 8 bolt is stronger and used in high-stress or high-strength applications.
Additionally, certain standards, like the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), provide specifications for lag bolts. Bolts that meet these standards are generally of high quality.
Consider what you're using the lag bolt for. Are you attaching a deck to your house, securing a swing set, or mounting a heavy piece of machinery? Different applications require different types of lag bolts.
For example, for outdoor projects, opt for stainless steel or galvanized bolts. For heavy machinery, choose high-grade bolts. For softer materials, pick bolts with a finer thread.
Like with any product, price is a significant factor. While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, remember that with lag bolts, you often get what you pay for. Cheaper bolts might not be as durable or reliable, which could lead to problems down the line.
Top Lag Bolts of 2023:
1. DeWalt Performance Lag Bolts
DeWalt, a trusted name in the tool industry, has come out with its Performance Lag Bolts this year, and they are nothing short of stellar. Designed for heavy-duty applications, these lag bolts are engineered to provide superior holding power.
Constructed from hardened steel with a zinc finish, they offer excellent corrosion resistance, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects. The sharp points and aggressive threads allow for easy penetration into dense materials without the need for pre-drilling, saving time and effort.
A standout feature is the unique Torx head design, which minimizes cam-out, a common issue with many lag bolts. This feature ensures a secure grip when using power drivers. Despite their robust nature, DeWalt Performance Lag Bolts provide an aesthetically pleasing finish to any project.
2. Grip-Rite PrimeGuard Plus Lag Bolts
Grip-Rite's PrimeGuard Plus Lag Bolts are another impressive addition to 2023's offerings. These bolts are coated with a proprietary all-weather coating, making them an excellent choice for projects exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Grip-Rite has utilized high-quality carbon steel in the construction of these lag bolts, ensuring impressive strength and longevity. They also feature a hex head, which provides a secure grip and reduces the risk of stripping.
PrimeGuard Plus lag bolts stand out with their superior pull-out and shear strength, ensuring that your construction projects stay secure and stable. They're perfect for framing, decking, and other exterior wood applications.
3. Hillman Power Pro Lag Bolts
The Power Pro Lag Bolts from Hillman are designed with the professional builder in mind. These lag bolts are precision-engineered for high-performance applications and are built to withstand heavy loads.
One of the defining features of the Power Pro Lag Bolts is the Star Drive technology, providing twice the torque compared to standard hex drives. This unique feature gives the user more control and reduces the risk of stripping or cam-out.
Made from Grade 5 steel and coated with a bronze ceramic finish, these lag bolts offer excellent corrosion resistance. They also feature a self-drilling tip, eliminating the need for pre-drilling and making the installation process effortless.
4. FastenMaster TimberLOK Lag Screws
FastenMaster's TimberLOK Lag Screws are designed specifically for wood-to-wood applications, such as decks, fences, and roofing. Made from high-quality carbon steel, these lag screws offer superior strength and can penetrate even the hardest woods with ease.
A key feature of the TimberLOK Lag Screws is the sharp gimlet point, which not only facilitates easy installation but also provides a secure and tight connection. These lag screws also have a hex head with an integrated washer, ensuring a high pull-out resistance.
FastenMaster offers these lag screws in black oxide, providing a clean look that is perfect for outdoor applications. They have proven to be a reliable and cost-effective solution for many construction needs.
5. Simpson Strong-Tie SDWS Timber Screws
Simpson Strong-Tie is known for their high-quality products, and their SDWS Timber Screws are no exception. These screws are ideal for structural wood-to-wood applications, offering excellent performance and durability.
The SDWS Timber Screws feature a SawTooth™ point, making them easy to drive into even dense materials. The patented 4CUT™ tip reduces the need for pre-drilling and minimizes splitting.
These screws are made from carbon steel with a double-barrier coating for superior corrosion resistance. The large washer head provides maximum bearing area, and the T-40 6-lobe internal drive offers improved torque transfer.
The SDWS Timber Screws also come with an installation guide, making them an excellent choice for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
In conclusion, 2023 has brought an array of reliable and high-performing lag bolts to the market. Whether it's the unique Star Drive technology of Hillman's Power Pro, the all-weather coating of Grip-Rite's PrimeGuard Plus, or the Torx head design of DeWalt's Performance Lag Bolts, there is something for every project and every need. Always remember to consider the specific requirements of your project when selecting a lag bolt. With the right hardware, your construction or home improvement project will undoubtedly stand the test of time.