Ball Bearing vs. Sleeve Bearing Motors

One aspect of motor selection that can get overlooked is motor bearings, and it can have big consequences.

Sleeve bearings are most common in residential and light commercial applications because they are less expensive and quieter. They don't have rolling “balls” but rather rely on a thin film of oil on metal sleeves.

Sleeve bearings work well when noise is a consideration and when the shaft load isn't high, which is especially true in residential direct-driven blower and condenser fan applications.

Ball bearings are the best choice when the motor is under greater shaft tension or when fan speed controllers are in place. These conditions are common in larger commercial and industrial applications, especially when the motor drives a belt that pulls on the motor shaft.

If you accidentally use a sleeve bearing in a situation where there should be a ball bearing, the motor will fail early.

If you use a ball bearing motor where there should be a sleeve bearing, it may be bothersome from a noise standpoint.

—Bryan

Related Tech Tips

An Evaporator Coil With No Fins?
Let's use a bit of imagination for a minute. Imagine you have two totally identical 3-ton systems. One of them is completely normal, and the other has no fins at all on the evaporator coil. They both have the same charge, airflow, and compressor capacity. What will be different in terms of readings and performance […]
Read more
What Should My Superheat Be?
  The most common and often most frustrating questions, that trainers and senior techs get goes something like this. “What should my ______ be?” or “My _____ is at ______ does that sound right? Usually, when the conversation is over both the senior and junior techs walk away feeling frustrated because the junior tech just wanted […]
Read more
Oxygen Safety Tip - No Oil and Grease
Some of the scariest practices that occur in the field surround brazing practices and tank and regulator handling. A few obvious tips are: Store tanks completely secure and upright with nothing nearby that can easily open or damage the tank valve. NEVER store tanks in a torch kit with it off only at the torch […]
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loading

To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from