A Basic Introduction To Different Types Of Stepper Motor

Ever heard of a "stepper motor" and wondered what in the world that is? Well, you've landed in the right place. Stepper motors, although sounding complex, have weaved their way into so many facets of our modern life, and it's essential to grasp their basics. 

October 09, 2023

These motors are a silent force driving many of our gadgets and devices, from the precision of a 3D printer to the reliable movements in your computer's disk drive. Stick around, and I'll demystify the stepper motor for you.

Stepper motors play a pivotal role in our world. From the automated assembly lines producing your favorite products to sophisticated robotics, these motors provide accuracy and control unparalleled by many other types of motors. So, when someone says "stepper motor," remember it's a powerful little machine that's probably working hard somewhere around you right now.

Alright, let's delve into the various types of stepper motors. Each type has its unique charm and application. Let's break them down!

Permanent Magnet Stepper Motor

Types Of Stepper Motors

Diving into the heart of our topic, let's explore the different stepper motor variants. Each type is tailored for specific needs, ensuring that whatever the task, there's a stepper motor up for the challenge.

Permanent Magnet Stepper Motor (PM)

Starting with the PM or Permanent Magnet stepper motor, the name itself gives away a hint. This motor uses permanent magnets in its rotor, which, as the name suggests, remain magnetized all the time.

Overview and Construction

Picture a magnet. It has a north and a south pole. Similarly, the rotor of the PM stepper motor has these poles, thanks to the permanent magnets. When the stator coils, which surround our rotor, are electrified, they create magnetic fields. The rotor, eager to align with these fields, turns, resulting in movement. It's a bit like playing with two magnets and feeling them pull towards each other.


Now, where might you find these PM stepper motors? They're commonly used in situations where the motor doesn't have to do a lot of heavy lifting but needs to be accurate. Think of computer printers or older disk drives. In these devices, PM stepper motors ensure precision without overcomplicating things.

Variable Reluctance Stepper Motor (VR)

Next up, we've got the Variable Reluctance or VR stepper motor. A bit of a mouthful, I know, but stick with me.

Overview and Construction

Unlike our PM motor, which uses permanent magnets, the VR stepper motor uses a soft iron rotor. This rotor doesn’t have its own magnetic properties but can be influenced by external magnetic fields. When the stator coils get electrified, they create magnetic fields that attract the iron rotor, causing it to move. It's a bit like when you use a magnet to move paper clips without touching them.


VR stepper motors shine in applications where a higher step angle is okay. You might find them in some industrial machines where the priority is reliability and simplicity rather than ultra-fine precision.

Hybrid Synchronous Stepper Motor (HS)

Last, but by no means least, meet the Hybrid Synchronous, or HS stepper motor. Think of this as the best of both worlds, combining features of the PM and VR motors.

Overview and Construction

The HS stepper motor is like the superhero of the stepper motor world. It boasts both a permanent magnet and soft iron teeth, maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of the PM and VR types.

This design allows it to make smaller, more precise steps while still packing a punch in the power department.


Because of their accuracy and strength, HS stepper motors are the go-to choice for many modern applications. From CNC machines that craft intricate designs to high-quality 3D printers, when precision and power are paramount, the HS stepper motor is often the star of the show.

Variable Reluctance Stepper Motor

How To Choose The Right Type Of Stepper Motor

Stepper motors are amazing, but how do you know which one to pick for your project? Let's break down some of the crucial factors to consider.

Torque Requirements

Think of torque as the 'muscle' of your motor. Heavier tasks need more torque. Before selecting a stepper motor, you need to figure out how much weight or resistance it'll need to handle. It's like choosing between a bicycle or a truck, depending on what you need to transport.

Size and Weight Considerations

Always consider the space and weight constraints of your project. If you're building a small gadget, a bulky motor isn't going to cut it. Remember, size often affects performance, so find a balance that works for your needs.

Compatibility with equipment

Before you fall in love with a stepper motor, make sure it'll play nice with your other components. It's like ensuring the pieces of a puzzle fit together. 

Hybrid Synchronous Stepper Motor


And there you have it! A whirlwind tour of the fascinating world of stepper motors. These little machines, with their precise steps and incredible versatility, truly are marvels of modern engineering.

Next time you marvel at a smoothly operating gadget or a piece of machinery, remember the unsung hero - the stepper motor - working diligently behind the scenes. Before diving into a project or making a purchase, always remember to assess your needs, do your research, and ensure that every step you take, much like our stepper motor, is a step in the right direction.

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