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Stepper vs Servo

Alex Maslakow - Applications Engineer

January 2019

 

Overview When designing a new system, it can be difficult to determine which type of motor should be used to achieve the required motion. When precise speed and positioning are required the two most common motor technologies are Stepper and Servo motors.

In many cases, the speed and/or torque required from the motor determines whether an application is a better fit for a stepper or a servo motor. Other factors that impact motor selection are cost, type of load, and integration into the system.

Speed vs Torque Generally, stepper motors can provide higher torque at lower speeds than a comparably sized servo. However, the output torque available from a stepper decrease as the velocity increases and the maximum velocity is typically around 3000 RPM. Whereas, servo motors can provide a fairly constant torque output over a wider range of velocities and are usually better suited than stepper motors for applications requiring speeds over 1000 RPM. Below are the Torque vs. Speed curves for a stepper and a servo motor of similar sizes.