Stepper (requires a stepper motor driver or stepper motor controller to operate)
High positional accuracy makes them excellent for applications such as the Boxer Pumps iD Application where accurate dosing and high levels of control were crucial.
Very fine control of speed and position if using an intelligent controller such as the Zikodrive ZD4 Stepper Motor Driver.
Relatively low cost and widely available.
Not the most energy efficient.
Max speed is typically 1000rpm. Not suitable for applications requiring higher speeds.
As turning a stepper motor involves taking ‘steps’ around the 360 degree rotation (typically 200 steps per 360 degrees) they are not the smoothest. This can be improved using microstepping but a brushed DC or brushless DC motor will typically be smoother.
Brushless DC (BLDC) (requires a brushless motor driver, sometimes known as brushless electronic speed controller (Brushless ESC) to operate.)
Lightweight and energy efficient.
Able to achieve speeds of well in excess of 10000rpm.
Can be operated to maintain a constant speed under variable load. Also benefit from exceptional lifespan due to no wearable parts (except bearings).
Depending on your application and torque/speed/physical requirements, BLDC motors can be quite expensive. Prices are reducing all the time as more companies adopt them.
Sensorless brushless motors can be difficult to start. This can be offset by using an intelligent controller with an inbuilt startup acceleration programme such as the Zikodrive ZDBL15.
This is the traditional form of DC motor and has been around a long time.
Typically very smooth to operate.
Can reach high speeds and maintaining constant speed is possible if using an encoder.
Lifespan is often poor as the brushes used to affect commutation can wear or burn out. This can also lead to a drop in performance over the life of the motor as brushes start to wear out and the motor operates less efficiently.
Depending on the anticipated use cycle of the motor and the intended lifespan it can often be lower cost to use BLDC motors as these will require less maintenance and will maintain performance across lifespan. Positional control is virtually impossible.