Classifications of Roller Bearings and Their Uses

by Michael M.

There are various types of bearings, and each has its advantages. As you know, getting the right part is critical for the success of your design. Many suppliers are providing different types of roller bearings to accommodate a wide range of applications.

Cylindrical Roller Bearings

What distinguishes cylindrical roller bearing from other types is their shape. Ideally, they use cylinders that act as rolling elements instead of balls that are used in ball bearings. In fact, the cylinders are greater in length as compared to diameter. The good thing about these bearings is that they have higher radial load capacity. Also, the cylindrical design means that parts can run at higher speeds than other types of roller bearings.

The main types of cylindrical roller bearings are single row and double row. Single row type is the most popular, and you can separate them. Thus, it is easier to mount and dismount. However, they cannot support a higher radial load in some applications. Double row types provide a higher load capacity. They also transmit the axial loads in a given direction.

Uses of Cylindrical Roller Bearings

Due to their ability to provide excellent radial load capacity, they accommodate higher speeds and provide other benefits. Also, they are great for use in various industries. They can be used in electric motors, wind turbines, gearboxes, pumps, material handling, steel mills, and machine tools.

Tapered Roller Bearings

Some applications demand special bearings. In fact, the tapered roller bearings enhance product performance in applications that need bearings designed to work in a given angle. For instance, tapered roller bearings excel at handling both thrust and radial loads. Moreover, they allow tilting movements.

Due to their benefits, tapered roller bearings are used in different industries. Some of the industries that widely use these bearings include automotive, oil and gas, gearboxes, wind energy, printing, and railway.

Spherical Roller Bearings

There are times you need bearings designed to handle complex situations. In such a case, you can use spherical roller bearings that can withstand demanding conditions. These types of bearings are suitable for medium and low-speed applications. With self-aligning capability, these bearings accept deviations in misalignments.

Other than handling misalignment, they have some beneficial features that include:

Being non-separable

Suitable for large radial load

The ability to handle small axial loads in all directions

Uses of Spherical Roller Bearings

Their ability to overcome shaft misalignment makes them suitable for many industries. These are some of the areas where they can be used:

Food processing

Oil and gas


Material handling

Wind energy



Needle Roller Bearings

These are the lightest and smallest of roller bearings. For the past few years, they have become popular because of their engineering advantages in certain applications. For instance, they are effective at minimizing the friction of the rotating surfaces. Also, they are suitable for applications that need minimal weight and space. Even with their compact design, they can handle heavy loads. Moreover, they are more cost-effective than other types of roller bearings.


This type of roller bearing is used in construction, agriculture, and automobile applications. For instance, you can find them used in gearboxes, suspensions, torque converters, and transmissions.

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