Since Haringx introduced his stability hypothesis for the buckling prediction of helical springs over 60 years ago, discussion is on whether or not the older hypothesis of Engesser should be replaced in structural engineering for stability studies of shear-weak members. The accuracy and applicability of both theories for structures has been subject of study in the past by others, but quantitative information about the accuracy for structural members is not provided. This is the main subject of this paper. The second goal is to explain the experimental evidence that the critical buckling load of a sandwich beam-column surpasses the shear buckling load , which is commonly not expected on basis of the Engesser hypothesis. The key difference between the two theories regards the relationship, which is adopted in the deformed state between the shear force in the beam and the compressive load. It is shown for a wide range of the ratio of shear and flexural rigidity to which extent the two theories agree and/or conflict with each other. The Haringx theory predicts critical buckling loads which are exceeding the value , which is not possible in the Engesser approach. That sandwich columns have critical buckling loads larger than does, however, not imply the preference of the Haringx hypothesis. This is illustrated by the introduction of the thought experiment of a compressed cable along the central axis of a beam-column in deriving governing differential equations and finding a solution for three different cases of increasing complexity: (i) a compressed member of either flexural or shear deformation, (ii) a compressed member of both flexural and shear deformations, and (iii) a compressed sandwich column. It appears that the Engesser hypothesis leads to a critical buckling load larger than for layered cross section shapes and predicts the sandwich behavior very satisfactory, whereas the Haringx hypothesis then seriously overestimates the critical buckling load. The fact that the latter hypothesis is perfectly confirmed for helical springs (and elastomeric bearings) has no meaning for shear-weak members in structural engineering. Then, the Haringx hypothesis should be avoided. It is strongly recommended to investigate the stability of the structural members on the basis of the Engesser hypothesis.