Benefits and Drawbacks of Electric, Pneumatic, and Hydraulic Linear Actuators

linear actuator

Air, pressurized fluid or electricity are all viable sources of power for linear actuators. The main benefits and drawbacks (pros and cons) of hydraulic, pneumatic, and electric linear actuators will be discussed in this essay. You will also be able to observe the main distinctions between, for instance, an electric linear actuator and a hydraulic linear actuator.


Piston-cylinder technology is used by hydraulic linear actuators. The cylinder is filled with an incompressible liquid via a pump, which drives the piston to move. The piston moves linearly within the cylinder as the pressure rises, and the speed can be altered by altering the fluid’s flow rate. A high-speed hydraulic actuator may deliver a substantial force in addition to being quick. By applying fluid to the opposing side or by experiencing a spring-back force, the piston retracts back into its extended state.

Benefits of Linear Hydraulic Actuators

Due to the use of an incompressible fluid, hydraulic actuators can maintain a constant force without the pump supplying more fluid.

They are able to generate enormous forces and speeds.

It can result in high speeds.

Hydraulic Linear Actuators’ Drawbacks

Leaks in hydraulic fluid might result in a reduction in efficiency. Issues with cleanliness could result from this.

Need a lot of auxiliary parts, such as a fluid reservoir, pumps, motors, release valves, heat exchangers, and noise-canceling gear.

Systems that require extensive maintenance and regular monitoring of several components.


Similar in operation to hydraulic actuators, pneumatic actuators use air as the driving fluid as opposed to hydraulic fluid. In a piston-cylinder configuration, the gas is compress, producing a linear force.

Pneumatic linear actuator benefits

It’s fairly easy to use a pneumatic linear actuator. The majority of aluminum cylinders have the best maximum pressure ratings, which accommodate various forces.

Due to the safety of using air rather than potentially dangerous chemicals or electricity, a pneumatic linear actuator is frequently utilize in locations of extreme temperatures.

It is a reasonable choice.

Pneumatic linear actuator drawbacks

Pneumatic devices are less effective than other linear motion techniques due to pressure losses and the compressibility of air. If a compressor, if no movement is require, runs continually to maintain the operating pressure.

To be effective, pneumatic actuators must be sized for a particular task. This increases the cost and complexity because proportional-size valves, regulators, and compressors are need.

Oil or lubrication might contaminate the air, causing downtime and maintenance.

Electric linear actuators: Pros and Cons

Rotational motion is convert to linear motion by electric linear actuators. The electric motor first produces rotational motion. The torque needed to move the lead screw is then increase by gearbox reduction of this high-speed rotating motion. The lead screw’s rotation causes the acme drive nut to move linearly. Imagine it being like driving a screw into a piece of wood, but depending on the direction of rotation, the wood will either move toward or away from the screw rather than the other way around.

Electric linear actuators have advantages.

The most precise actuators are electric ones.

Scalable to any need or level of force.

They can be quickly programmed and simply connected to the network. For diagnosis and maintenance, immediate feedback is accessible.

They offer individualized speeds, stroke lengths, and applied forces to give movements total control.

Compared to hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, they are quieter.

Electric linear actuator drawbacks

The force can be lower than with hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, but prices are much lower, and the integration and installation much easier.

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