Some familiar examples of uses are the strong, helical torsion springs that operate clothespins and traditional spring-loaded-bar type mousetraps. Other uses are in the large, coiled torsion springs used to counterbalance the weight of garage doors, and a similar system is used to assist in opening the trunk (boot) cover on some sedans. Small, coiled torsion springs are often used to operate pop-up doors found on small consumer goods like digital cameras and compact disc players. Other more specific uses:
- A torsion bar suspension is a thick, steel torsion-bar spring attached to the body of a vehicle at one end and to a lever arm which attaches to the axle of the wheel at the other. It absorbs road shocks as the wheel goes over bumps and rough road surfaces, cushioning the ride for the passengers. Torsion-bar suspensions are used in many modern cars and trucks, as well as military vehicles.
- The sway bar used in many vehicle suspension systems also uses the torsion spring principle.
- The torsion pendulum used in torsion pendulum clocks is a wheel-shaped weight suspended from its center by a wire torsion spring. The weight rotates about the axis of the spring, twisting it, instead of swinging like an ordinary pendulum. The force of the spring reverses the direction of rotation, so the wheel oscillates back and forth, driven at the top by the clock's gears.
- Torsion springs consisting of twisted ropes or sinew, were used to store potential energy to power several types of ancient weapons; including the Greek ballista and the Roman scorpio and catapults like the onager.
- The balance spring or hairspring in mechanical watches is a fine, spiral-shaped torsion spring that pushes the balance wheel back toward its center position as it rotates back and forth. The balance wheel and spring function similarly to the torsion pendulum above in keeping time for the watch.
- The D'Arsonval movement used in mechanical pointer-type meters to measure electric current is a type of torsion balance (see below). A coil of wire attached to the pointer twists in a magnetic field against the resistance of a torsion spring. Hooke's law ensures that the angle of the pointer is proportional to the current.
- A DMD or digital micromirror device chip is at the heart of many video projectors. It uses hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors on tiny torsion springs fabricated on a silicon surface to reflect light onto the screen, forming the image.