The Best Way to Separate Strong Magnets
Instead of trying to pull magnets apart, firmly slide and/or twist them away from each other and far enough apart so that they don’t jump back together.
Neodymium magnets are exceptionally strong. If you’ve never handled them before, you will probably be surprised by how powerful these magnets can be.
This is because neodymium magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnet commercially available. In fact, they are far stronger than all other ceramic or alnico magnets of equal size – with a magnetic energy value as much as 18 times greater than these other magnets by volume and 12 times greater by mass.
Use a Magnet Splitter
If you are going to be using strong neodymium magnets - the fastest, safest and easiest way to separate them is to use a splitter / separator tool.
A magnet splitter / separator is typically made of wood, plastic or another nonferrous material. It works similar to a pez dispenser or guillotine. When you pull the blade lever down toward the base, it provides the leverage needed to separate magnets by applying downward pressure to slide them apart, one by one.
Tips for Separating Magnets by Hand
Neodymium magnets pull towards each other with a strong force, more than double the pull force rating of each magnet.
As a result, if you attempt to pull one magnet off a stack or two magnets directly apart you will need at least double the pull force to separate them as well as a greater amount of leverage than the magnet’s actual size allows. This challenge becomes even more pronounced with medium and large magnets.
The most efficient way to separate magnets is to devise a method to get more leverage or a better way to grip the magnets and to provide enough force to move the magnets laterally or sideways, which requires far less strength or force than trying to pull them directly apart.
How to Separate Small Magnets (0 - 5 pounds of pull force)
How to Separate Medium Magnets (6 - 11 pounds of pull force)
Be extremely careful with magnets in this size and strength range. While they may appear small and relatively harmless, they can easily snap back together forcefully and pinch your skin and even draw blood.
How to Separate Large Magnets (12 – 25+ pounds of pull force)
Some larger magnets with spacers can be separated by highly-experienced and strong hands. In most cases however, added leverage is needed – such as using the edge of a workbench or table, a vise or a magnet splitter.
You will also want to be extremely careful with magnets in this size and strength range. While they may still appear small and relatively harmless, they will jump back together more quickly and forcefully than small or medium-sized magnets.
Be sure to get them far apart once you have separated them.
You may also want to consider wearing work gloves and safety glasses and working with another experienced person when handling magnets of this size.