How Much Weight Can a Tension Rod Hold?

Sep 18, 2021 | Home Decor Reviews, What To Buy

You want to hang a heavy mirror or another item on your wall, but you’re not sure if the tension rod in your closet will hold it up. 

If you don’t know exactly how much weight a tension rod can hold, then you might be one of the many people who have had their expensive items fall off their walls and break into pieces. This is especially true when using long hanging rods that extend from floor to ceiling.

We did some research and found out that a typical tension rod can hold 20 pounds of weight. Sturdier tension rods can hold up to 30 pounds.

What’s a Tension Rod?

A tension rod is a spring-loaded cylindrical rod that expands and contracts.

Tension rods are typically made of metal but can also be found in plastic, wood, or even stainless steel.

While curtain rods are mounted into brackets along the wall or ceiling, tension rods are attached to one wall with their springs expanded to the opposite wall.

The weight of the object being hung will compress one side of the cylinder so it’s under pressure to expand again once an item is removed from it. It essentially locks itself in place so nothing can move unless you press down on its center which releases this pressure.

Tension Rod Pros

A tension rod is the least expensive way to hang something on your wall. It can hold up anything from small jewelry boxes and picture frames to heavy tools and rolled-up posters.

A tension rod is a great way to hang curtains without putting holes in your walls. With this simple but effective solution, you can easily install it and then use any shower curtain or bath accessory that suits the occasion. It’s also easy for renters because they won’t have to worry about damaging anything when using their own items as decoration at home.

A tension rod (or water hook) has been an affordable & practical option since its invention centuries ago – now there are even command strips that make hanging from above much easier than before.

Tension Rod Cons

However, there are some problems that come with using a tension rod as your hanging mechanism:

1) You need two supports (sides of the wall).  This isn’t always possible if you’re dealing with irregular walls or plaster/sheetrock lining them instead of studs. If one side of the wall is disturbed in any way, such as having a window or light switch installed, then it might not be able to support the necessary weight for tension rods.

2) The distance between both sides must be exact – too far apart and the rod will lose tension. Too close together and the rod won’t be able to tighten enough to hold anything in place.

3) You can’t use it for hard-to-hang items, such as pots or planters, since they require screwing into studs.

4) It can only hold light to medium weight items. If you’re attaching something heavy like a television set then you’ll need a sturdier form of support.

How Much Weight Can a Tension Rod Hold?

Tension rods can hold a variety of weight depending on their size and how strong they are. A typical tension rod will hold up to 20 pounds with a little extra for the spring pressure.

And if you want to hang curtains, the short ones that cover just a window or door work best. Longer rods can be hard to maneuver around corners and may not fit in smaller spaces so look for one that is at least 9 inches wide.

In most cases, you should have no problems hanging your curtains with a tension rod unless it is too heavy then it’s possible that is might break when you release it from its lock position.

What Are the Uses of a Tension Rod?

Tension rods are made of sturdy metal springs that are easy to install.

This style of rod is typically used for hanging drapes, but it can be put to other uses, too. Here are some examples of what you can hang on a tension rod.

Bedroom Curtains

Tension rods work well as window treatments in a child’s room or even as a closet organizer.

Kitchen Utensils

Hang pots and pans from the oven door with a tension rod to free up floor space in your cupboards. It also makes it easier to grab one when removing items from the oven because you don’t have to open the cabinet doors first.

Shower Curtain

You can save space by installing a tension rod inside your shower stall instead of putting up a traditional rod and hanging it over the glass doors. This also works for small bathrooms where space is limited.

Bathroom Items

You can install one between walls in your bathroom to hang up towels, loofahs, washcloths, etc. It’s very handy since there’s no need to buy towel bars for every wall.

Gardening Tools

A tension rod makes an excellent holder for your garden tools when you’re working in the yard or doing other outdoor chores. Since you’ll be moving them around often, this is especially convenient with the lightweight plastic holders that are available now.

How To Install Tension Rods

Measure twice before installing your curtain rods because once they are installed they cannot be removed without leaving behind holes.

Put in two screws at the top and two hooks at the bottom of the rod so it hangs evenly between them when you put something on it.

Then slide your curtains onto this rod. You can purchase a second rod if needed to ensure the drapes don’t fall off as they are being hung up.

How To Remove a Tension Rod

To remove a tension rod, first release the spring by pressing down on its center gently. Then unhook one side from whatever is holding it in place and slowly let go of the pressure as you lift that end up and away from the back wall.

The entire mechanism should retract into itself once there is no more downward force on it. It’s now safe to walk away and reach in to unhook the other side. Now your curtains can be slid off of it or you can pull them down if they are on hooks at the ceiling instead of the rod itself.

Once you’re ready to put tension rods back up, just follow these same steps in reverse.

Where to Buy Tension Rods

The easiest way to find one is at your local home improvement store.

You can also order them online from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Lowes, etc.

Alternatives to Tension Rods

If you’re having trouble finding a tension rod that will fit in your space then there are other options available. Here are some examples:

Corner Brackets and Wall Mounted Holders

These offer a more permanent option that blends into the wall instead of standing out like the traditional rods do. They come with either single or double brackets depending on how wide your window is and which style best fits your decorating taste. The only drawback here would be if you need easy access to where they are, such as if you live in an apartment or condo building.

Double Rods

These are most commonly used in the kitchen for hanging pots and pans. They do not leave any spaces open so they work well if you need to close doors behind them, but they’re more difficult to install than a tension rod is. Also, since they are mounted higher up on the wall they tend to be less versatile in what kinds of curtains you can use with them.

Utility Hooks

For smaller jobs that don’t require much strength, there are lightweight plastic utility hooks that screw into the wall then lift out when needed for storage. Since they are all one piece, this type of hook won’t fall off when your curtain weight is released like a tension rod tends to. Instead, it uses the same fastening process as a traditional curtain rod does, which is much safer for your curtains.


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