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How do I separate two strong magnets? How do I combine them again?

If you have two or more magnets that are firmly stuck together and can seemingly no longer be separated, the following tips on this page can help you. Please note: The higher the adhesive force of a magnet, the greater the risk of injury to you. If in doubt, put on work gloves so that you don’t injure yourself when separating magnets.
We can also give you tips for joining strong magnets. You will find all the information relating to these topics on this page.
Table of Contents

Lateral sliding by hand

With weaker magnets, it will be enough to slide the magnets sideways away from each other.
Moving the magnets sideways is much easier than pulling them apart. This has to do with the displacement force, which is only equivalent to approx. 15–25 % of the adhesive force. You can find more information about the adhesive force and displacement force on our FAQ page "What is the difference between adhesive force and displacement force/shear force?".

Sideways sliding along an edge

If the magnets are so strong that you can no longer slide them sideways by hand, then this method can help you. Place the two magnets on the edge of a table. One magnet needs to stick out over the edge. Now push this magnet down along the edge of the table. Sometimes rotating the magnet helps, as you can see in the animated picture. Hold the magnets firmly when separating them so they don’t immediately reconnect.
Are your joined magnets so strong that they can’t be separated with this method? Then read the next section.

Lateral sliding with a wooden wedge

This method is perfect for separating strong magnets. Please remember to wear work gloves to avoid injuries.
  1. Place the joined magnets sideways on a table edge so that one magnet sticks out over the edge.
  2. Hold the magnets firmly on the table and, with a wooden wedge, push down on the overhanging magnet.
  3. Press firmly and evenly to slowly slide the wedge between the two magnets.
  4. As soon as you feel slightly less resistance, quickly push the wedge with the magnet downwards. If you aren’t quick enough, the magnet pair could simply reunite in the blink of an eye, and you will have to start over.
  5. Store your magnets safely until the next use.

Build a DIY magnet separator

Certain magnets are so powerful and dangerous that you should not attempt to separate them by hand. And even if you were to try, it would take enormous strength to succeed. If you frequently handle strong magnets, then it is worth building your own magnet separator out of wood. It allows you to separate strong magnets effortlessly and, above all, safely. On our project page Magnet separator for strong magnets, you will learn step by step how to build your own magnet separator.

Separating small to medium neodymium magnets

Generally, there are two options for separating small to medium neodymium magnets without damaging the magnets or injuring yourself:
  • Sliding the magnets sideways over the edge of a table
  • Sliding the magnets sideways by hand
Both of these methods are shown in the following video.

Separating medium to large magnets

Medium to large magnets with spacers can be best separated on the edge of a table. Hold both magnets firmly so they don’t reconnect immediately and pinch your fingers.
You can find other methods for separating medium to large magnets in the customer project 'Separating strong magnets'.

Separate huge neodymium magnets

The previous tips come up short when you have extremely strong neodymium magnets combined with each other or a ferromagnetic surface. In this case you need a little bit more imagination and protective gear (especially gloves).
The following customer video demonstrates how much effort it takes to separate a huge magnet (200 kg adhesive force) from a steel plate. It also shows that such strong magnets can cause serious injuries, even when handled with care and protective gloves.

Merging magnets safely

Joining strong magnets in an uncontrolled manner may cause them to break. To prevent this, use a small wooden wedge. Before joining the magnets: Put on gloves!

  1. Place one magnet on a flat and stable surface. Keep the second magnet at a safe distance!
  2. Place one side of the wedge flat on top of this magnet.
  3. Keep a good grip on the wooden wedge and, from above, carefully place the second magnet on top of the wood.
  4. Now you can carefully slide the magnet to the tip of the wedge and then slowly combine it with the bottom magnet.