Most Popular Types of Bearings

Bearings are crucial components found in many types of machinery; thus, they are manufactured in a wide variety of forms and shapes. Regardless of the bearing type in question, all allow a specific type of motion in a system that is subjected to static or dynamic loading. More than that, these high-precision elements enable equipment to move at numerous speeds while efficiently transferring significant weight.

When two metal parts come in contact inside a machine, large amounts of friction are generated, leading to wear and tear of the material over time. With bearings, one can ensure that one element rotates seamlessly relative to another. Due to their capabilities, bearings are an integral part of many applications. To better understand the extent to which bearings are used, this blog will outline some of the most popular types and the applications they benefit.

Plain Bearings

Also called a bushing or sleeve bearing, a plain bearing has a cylindrical shape and lacks moving parts. Generally, plain bearings are used in machines with a rotating or sliding shaft component. They are available in metal or plastic variations, and they can be lubricated with oil or graphite to reduce friction between the shaft and the hole it rotates in. As such, they are typically utilized for sliding, rotating, oscillating, or reciprocating motion. There are also a few common subtypes, those of which include spherical plain bearings, rod end bearings, and two-piece plain bearings.

Rolling-Element Bearings

Often referred to as anti-friction bearings, rolling-element bearings have lower friction and reduced lubrication requirements when compared to their counterparts. They are designed to support and guide rotating and oscillating machine elements like shafts, wheels, or axles, and they can transfer loads between different components in an assembly. As they can minimize friction and enable high rotational speeds, rolling-element bearings reduce heat and energy consumption. This category of bearings can be subdivided into two main groups: ball bearings and roller bearings.

  • Ball bearings are characterized by the point of contact between the balls and the raceways. That being said, they rotate very quickly, but are not equipped to support large loads. If the bearing is overloaded, the balls can become damaged. Nevertheless, this bearing type is frequently used in electric motors, generators, pumps, farm machinery, conveying systems, robotics, and more. Some common subtypes include deep-groove ball bearings, angular contact ball bearings, self-aligning ball bearings, and thrust ball bearings.
  • Roller bearings are characterized by line contact, meaning that they offer a higher load rating over other bearing variations of the same size. Unfortunately, they only operate optimally at low speeds due to the increased friction at the contact line. This group of bearings can be classified into the following subtypes: spherical roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings, and needle roller bearings.

Jewel Bearings

Jewel bearings are plain bearings with a metal spindle that turns in a jewel-lined pivot hole. Usually, the hole is torus-shaped and slightly larger than the shaft diameter. Meanwhile, the jewel material is a synthetic sapphire or ruby. Furthermore, jewel bearings are considered precision instruments where low friction, longlife, and dimensional accuracy are critical to a particular application.

Fluid Bearings

Fluid bearings support loads through a thin layer of rapidly moving pressurized liquid or gas between the bearing surfaces. As there is no contact between the moving parts, there is an absence of sliding friction. This allows fluid bearings to experience lower friction, wear, pressure, and vibration. For this reason, they are used in machines that work at high speeds and loads. It is also important to note that they can be classified into two types: hydrostatic bearings and hydrodynamic bearings.

Magnetic Bearings

Magnetic bearings use the concept of magnetic levitation to hold a shaft mid-air. Since there is no physical contact, these bearings are considered zero-wear bearings. More than that, there is also no limitation on the maximum amount of relative speed it can withstand. With this in mind, they are often preferred over other variations because they can easily accommodate some irregularities in shaft design. Like the aforementioned types, magnetic bearings can be classified into two types: active magnetic bearings and passive magnetic bearings.

Other Common Types:

  • Linear Bearings
  • Flexure Bearings
  • Radial Bearings
  • Thrust Bearings


Internet Of Purchasing is an online distributor of aircraft parts, as well as countless other top-quality components found in various industrial sectors. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items on our database, customers can easily meet rigid time constraints and strict budget parameters. Get started with a competitive quote on any featured parts and see how Internet Of Purchasing can serve as your strategic sourcing solution!


Recent Twitter Posts

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships

Thank You for Visiting.

We hope that you will visit us again the next time you need industrial parts and make us your strategic purchasing partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.