Are Magnets stronger when side by side?

Does placing two magnets side by side double the pull force? We get questions like this from customers regularly about how different set ups of magnets will affect their performance.

The answer truly to this question is it depends on the exact circumstances and set up you are using for your magnets. So, we decided to look and explain what the results would be when placing two magnets side by side.

The pull force of two magnets side by side attracting to a steel plate can vary in several ways; including the gap between the magnets, the distance between the magnets, the steel surface they are attracting to, and finally what direction the poles of the magnet are facing.

What should we expect?

Before revealing exactly what happens in these scenarios, why not think about what might happen when testing the pull strength of these magnets.

So, if two identical magnets are placed with a large gap between them, the pull force will be doubled as there is no interference from one another.

However, if these magnets are now placed side by side with no gap between them and both of their north poles facing the same direction, this set up mimics a single, larger magnet. Despite this, you cannot just double the pull force as before as the two magnets will now be interfering with each other.

But to try and understand the pull force from this set up you could try and find the single magnet of this size. For example, if your setup has two 10mm magnets, looking at the pull force of the 20mm version of these magnets may indicate the pull force.

Generally, two magnets set up adjacent to one another will provide slightly less than double their individual pull force. To figure out exactly how much less will be completely dependent on the shape and size of the magnets in question.

Why is it stronger?

Magnetic field pictures help us indicate why magnets with poles facing opposite directions are providing a stronger pull force. However, these images show how the poles facing the opposite direction provide a stronger magnetic field in the steel its sticking too, explain the stronger pull force.

Do opposite pole directions always provide greater pull forces?

Magnets are not this simple, placing the poles in opposite directions will not always mean better results.

As explored above, we see that magnets placed closely together will perform better with their poles facing opposite directions, yet when the magnets are placed with a larger gap between them the pull force is hardly affected no matter what direction the poles are facing.

However, the direction of the magnet’s poles will be completely dependant on the product or application of the magnets.

Two magnets side by side with their poles facing the same direction.
Two magnets side by side with their poles facing opposite directions.

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