What Type of Motor Is Best for Robotic Arm


Selecting the right type of motor for your robotic arm is crucial for achieving optimal performance, precision, and cost-effectiveness. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various types of motors commonly used in robotic arms and evaluate them based on factors such as price, ease of control, performance, and suitability for closed-loop control. That way we could compare and choose what type of motor is best for robotic arm.

Types of Motors for Robotic Arms:

Servo Motors:
  • Price: Typically moderately priced.
  • Ease of Control: Relatively straightforward to control, offering precise positioning.
  • Performance: Servo motors excel in precision and accuracy, making them ideal for applications demanding the highest levels of accuracy and repeatability. They come equipped with integrated feedback mechanisms, such as encoders or resolvers, which continuously monitor the motor’s position, ensuring real-time adjustments.
DC Motors:
  • Price: Generally affordable.
  • Ease of Control: DC motors are easy to control in terms of speed and direction.
  • Performance: While DC motors are cost-effective and versatile, they may not match the precision of servo motors. For improved accuracy, you can integrate external encoders or feedback systems.
Stepper Motors:
  • Price: Typically moderately priced.
  • Ease of Control: Stepper motors offer precise control over angular displacement, though they may require more advanced control algorithms.
  • Performance: Stepper motors are ideal for applications requiring precise step-wise movement, such as 3D printing and CNC machines. However, they can struggle with high-speed operation and may lose steps if overloaded.
Brushless DC Motors (BLDC):
  • Price: Moderately to moderately high cost.
  • Ease of Control: BLDC motors provide good control over both speed and torque.
  • Performance: Combining the advantages of traditional DC motors with improved efficiency and reliability, BLDC motors strike a balance between cost and performance, making them suitable for a wide range of robotic arm designs.
Pneumatic or Hydraulic Actuators:
  • Price: Can be expensive due to the need for compressors or hydraulic systems.
  • Ease of Control: Achieving precise control can be complex, especially for exact positioning.
  • Performance: Pneumatic or hydraulic actuators are favored for high-force applications, such as industrial material handling. However, attaining precise control can be challenging, often requiring electric motors for tasks demanding both force and accuracy.
Linear Actuators:
  • Price: Cost varies depending on type and capacity.
  • Ease of Control: Relatively straightforward to control for linear motion.
  • Performance: Linear actuators are well-suited for applications requiring linear motion. They find use in linear robotics and medical devices, although their suitability depends on your specific project requirements.
Closed-Loop Control:

Closed-loop control is essential for precise robotic arm motion. Here’s how each motor type performs in closed-loop control scenarios:


The selection of the best motor for your robotic arm hinges on your unique requirements. Factors like precision, cost, ease of control, and the necessity for closed-loop control all play a role. Servo and stepper motors are often the top choices for high-precision applications, but with the appropriate sensors and control systems, other motor types can shine. Make an informed choice to optimize the performance of your robotic arm.

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