Ledger Locks Vs. Lag Bolts: What Should Be Your Pick?

Ledger locks and lag bolts are the most common items for woodwork. As both are screws and pretty much identical, it’s hard to know the differences.

So, which one should be your pick if we go ledger locks vs. lag bolts? Well, that depends on your requirements. 

Ledger locks or ledger fastening screws are mostly carbon steel and used to secure joins without a washer and drilling. In contrast, Lag bolts are screws mostly made of stainless steel and capable of holding up leam beams. 

They have many more differences. Know the benefits and drawbacks to pick the best one for you.

Table of Contents

Key Comparison Table between Ledger Locks and Lag Bolts

Ledger Locks Vs. Lag Bolts

If you are in a hurry, check the difference between ledger locks and lag bolts at a glance. This table will let you the basic and premise information about them. 

Features Ledger LocksLag bolts
MaterialMostly carbon steelMostly stainless steel
Head styleHex, Multi-lobe, Flat, etc.Hex
Drive system External hex, Torx, one way, etc.External Hex
Pre-drilling requirement NoYes
Required forceDoesn’t need much forceNeeds additional force
Availability Not as much as lag boltsHigher availability 
Weight holdingLower Higher
WasherThe washer is built-inNeed washer to set up securely
Ease of useQuick and easier to set upTime-consuming and hard to install
Upfront priceRequires at least $0.7/count or moreCan be as low as 0.11/count
Setup expensesIsn’t muchComparatively more
Suitable projectSuitable for projects that requires quick and affordable solution Suitable for heavy-duty application for prolong the project lifespan 
Size1 specific size5 different sizes 

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Overview Of Ledger Locks?

ledger locks

The ledger locks come to save money and labor cost with its free 5/16″ driver bit. You can use these locks for joining two ledger boards without drilling and requiring any washer. 

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On top-notch, it gets Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) approval as a woodworking material free from arsenic and chromium. So it is environmentally friendly and suitable for long-lasting decks and safe outdoor projects. However, though they are not as tough as lag bolts, they are easy and quick alternatives.

What You Get In The Box

  • 12 pieces of 5 inches locks


  • It doesn’t require pre-drilling and separate washers
  • Excellent work, even for heavy stuff
  • Easier to install and a tremendous time saver


  • It doesn’t hold as much weight as lag bolts

Whom Are These Locks For? 

It’s best for projects where the joints won’t need to hold much weight, so the locks are ideal for light woodwork. Though it can be used more in numbers to hold more weight, that isn’t recommended. Since adding too many screws may damage the board itself. 

Overview Of Lag Bolt?

Lag Bolts

Lag bolts, also known as lag screws, are one of the toughest fastener types that help to secure two heavy materials or hold up heavyweight after fastening the materials. For each lag bolt, it requires two drilled holes. 

They are mainly used for heavy-duty applications, which won’t require pre-drilling. The drilled hole needs to be precise for optimal performance of the bolts. Even after pre-drilling, you need to put extra force into setting them up because of their structure. 

They come at a comparatively affordable price. It costs less if you buy them in boxes, especially the longer bolts.

What You Get In The Box 

  • 6 pieces ¼x3 inches bolts
  • 8 pieces ¼×2½ inches bolts
  • 10 pieces ¼×2 inches bolts
  • 15 pieces ¼×1½ inches bolts
  • 15 pieces ¼×1 inches bolts
  • 54 pieces ¼ inches flat washers 


  • Perfect for all woodworks that require strength
  • Corrosion resistance ensures the durability of your projects
  • Various sizes meet multiple purposes 
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  • Some users complained about their rougher thread edges 

Whom Are These Bolts For? 

The Lag Bolts are usually used in home projects like lam beams, roofing, building decks, securing house joints, fixing stairs, etc. So if you are a professional woodworker or a home improvement contractor, you must need these bolts to uplift your project’s joining quality.  

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Ledger Locks vs. Lag bolts Detail Comparison

Learning the critical difference may not be enough to clearly understand which one to choose. Knowing the details and understanding them will be a lot more beneficial. So here’s the in-depth analysis 

  1. Material

Ledger locks

Ledger locks are constructed with carbon steel, which makes them durable enough to offer your long-lasting joint with no risk of corrosion. 

Lag bolts

As you can see in the comparison table, lag bolts are usually made of stainless steel. That keeps them safe from corrosion, making them durable. Apart from this, some other materials are used for lag bolts, like alloy steel or steel.  

Winner: Lag bolts

  1. Finish

Ledger locks

Ledger locks usually have a plain and galvanizing finish to make the project look as lucrative as possible. 

Lag bolts

The most common external finish for lag bolts is stainless steel, galvanization, or oxide finish. The finishing altogether with the material helps increase the durability of these screws.

Winner: Lag bolts

  1. Washer Requirements 

Ledger locks 

In comparison, ledger locks have built-in washers that help save both your time and money.

Lag bolts 

Setting up lag bolts with washers is good to place them more securely. They often come with the lag bolt box, or you may need to buy them separately. 

Winner: Ledger locks

  1. Weight holding Capacity 

Ledger locks

Ledger locks are better for lightweight holding than heavier projects. So these are still strong enough to be holding up joints securely.

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Lag bolts

Lag bolts are suitable to hold an intense load, as the washers and double holes help securely hold the weight. 

Winner: Lag bolts

  1. Availability and price

Ledger locks 

Ledger locks are comparatively expensive and not much available. These locks cost more than $.7/ count, so they are unsuitable for big projects. 

Lag bolts 

Lag bolts are comparatively more available, and the price difference depends on the size, type, brand, finishing, and washer. You can get them at $0.11/ count, to the very least. You will see the prices under $1/count on average. But lag bolts come at about $5/ count or more.

Winner: Lag bolts

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Which one is more affordable between Ledger locks vs. lag bolts? 

If you go by upfront price, lag bolts are the affordable ones. But as they require washers and drilling, ultimately, they need a bigger budget. In that context, ledger locks are more affordable to set up.

Which material is better between Ledger locks vs. lag bolts? 

Here, it is essential to know that stainless steel is better than carbon steel in terms of strength and corrosive protection. As a result, lag bolts made of stainless steel are a better choice than carbon steel’s ledger locks for durability.

Do lag bolts weaken studs?

Yes, if you use traditional lag bolts, they can weaken studs by quickly stripping and losing traction. 

When would you use a lag bolt?

Tag bolts are ideal for projects with heavy weight, like a heavy limber. 

Which One Is Better? Ledger Locks vs. Lag bolts

This answer depends on the project requirements. Both of them have their own benefits and disadvantages. You can’t choose one for all purposes. Knowing the differences would have already let you determine that.

Ledge locks are more for fastening boards, framing, changes in the interior or exterior of the home, etc.

As for lag bolts, they are more suitable for projects like household renovation, repairing, and adding extra decks for family gatherings.

Summing It Up

It may seem like what effects can a screw possibly have on the project? Is it necessary to give this much attention? 

Honestly, it is essential. Every small thing of the project matters and is capable of changing the performance. It is better to pay attention to every single thing from the very first.

So, what is your next project? And what’s your pick regarding ledge locks vs. lag bolts for that project? Let us know in the comment section.