Have you seen the different bearing types like ball bearings and roller bearings? They look very similar as both of these are bearings and perform the same function. However, there is a lot of difference in the way they are put to use. Let’s see the difference between a ball bearing and a roller bearing.
Why do we need bearings?
A shaft is used to transfer power from one point to another. For example, one end of the shaft is connected to an electric motor, and the other end to a belt or any other component where you want to transfer the power. Because of the movement, the shaft would be under different kinds of loads like axial load and radial load. There would be possible up and down deflection of the shaft and jerks while moving. Due to this vibration, the load transfer does not happen properly. To resolve this issue what we need is continuously moving support, which is called bearings.
Bearing is a machine component that supports the machine element and permits relative motion between the contact surfaces of the members while carrying a load.
Bearings all essentially consist of a set of rolling elements fitted between the two rings, inner and outer. This arrangement allows the bearing to take up the load while in operation. The bearing will rotate or roll when the load is applied in case of radial load and it can take up thrust load too.
Being in use for many years, bearings are evolved into many different types depending upon the requirement of the machine and the operation. When the loading is perpendicular to the axis of the shaft it is called a Radial load. When loading acts parallel to the axis of the rotating shaft, it is Axial /Thrust load.
Bearings have three components: bearing rings, rolling elements, and cage. When the rolling element is spherical balls, they have termed ball bearings. They are commonly used in small wheels and hard drives. These are mostly standardized and sold as assemblies. These are typically used at higher speeds and lighter loads.
In the case of roller bearings, the rolling element makes a line contact rather than a point contact like a ball bearing. They can take heavier loads and shocks as compared to ball bearings. These are generally disassembled and replaced in parts. These bearings are more sensitive to angular misalignment.
Ball bearings Versus Roller bearings in a nutshell
No Ball Bearings Roller Bearings
1 Each ball contacts a race in a very small area theoretically a point. Line contact rather than point contact
2 Higher speeds and lighter loads are Better for shock and impact loading
3 Sold as assemblies Often dis-assembled and sold
4 Mostly standardized and interchanged vendors Not very standardized like ball bearings and not easily interchangeable
5 They fail due to fatigue and spalling. More sensitive to angular misalignment
Whichever is bearing type you are looking for, with New Ball Bearing Co. (NBBC), you would get the best component and advice along with excellent aftersales service. Please visit us at — for all your needs for purchasing bearings.