North & South Good To Knows

Our experts often get questions regarding magnets and how they work. From how North and South work to how that applies to the different ranges. With is in mind, we have broken down all the key bits of information, along with the frequently asked questions our experts get asked, in order to help your understanding on the world of magnets.

What are Poles?

Every Magnet has at least two magnetic poles, one NORTH and one SOUTH and a magnetic field flows continuously from NORTH to SOUTH.

Are there any differences between North and South?

Aside from the fact that they are opposite poles, there are no difference between North and South. There is an assumption that North is the better pole out of the two, but a North pole has the same attracting force as a South pole when attracting Ferromagnetic materials.

Repelling and attracting

If two bar magnets are pushed together end to end, then they will either attract each other or repel each other depending on which polarities are used.

Repel: South & South or North & North

Attract: South & North or North & South

What if the magnet is a different shape?

No matter if the magnet is disc, rectangular, countersunk, rod or square, if your application requires magnet to magnet contact, you will require both north and south magnets.

On the left is a North polarity countersunk magnet and on the right is a South polarity countersunk magnet. As you can see these aren’t painted in red or blue. There is often an assumption that because they look the same, only one polarity is required. If your application requires magnet to magnet contact, you will need the opposite polarity version too.  

How does North and South work in pot magnets?

With a ‘naked’ magnet, the magnetic field is uncontrolled and is always looking for a surface to attract to. With pot magnets the magnetic field is concentrated in one area, due to the steel shell/case that directs the magnetic field downwards. As a result, the magnetic field is concentrated on one face, and will only attract to a surface on this face.

How does North and South work in flexible magnets?

Magnetic Sheets and Rolls

Flexible magnetic sheets and rolls are striped with both polarities (North-South-North-South). Magnetic sheets and rolls are used mostly to create a magnetic surface for you to place ferrous/steel materials to, rather than using them as sheet to sheet or roll to roll contact. Due to their striped polarities, there will be misalignment if they are applied together.

​Magnetic Tapes

Our tapes are available in two polarities, Polarity A and Polarity B. For tape to tape contact you would require both Polarity A and Polarity B tape.


As well as tapes in Polarity A and B, we do supply some tapes that self-mating. If your project requires tape to tape attraction, you can use our self-mating magnetic tapes as they allow for perfect alignment from use of the same roll.

​If you require any advice about magnets, please call our experts today on 0845 5194701!

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