Can Stack Stepper Motors vs. Hybrid Stepper Motors: A Comparison



Are you in the market for a stepper motor but unsure which type to choose? With the wide range of options available, it can be overwhelming to decide on the ideal stepper motor for your specific application. Two popular choices are can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors. In this article, we will compare these two types of stepper motors, exploring their similarities, differences, and the advantages they offer. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of which stepper motor is best suited for your requirements.

The Basics of Stepper Motors

Before diving into the comparison, let's briefly review the fundamentals of stepper motors. Stepper motors are devices that convert electrical pulses into precise mechanical motion. They move in discrete increments or steps and are commonly used in applications such as robotics, 3D printers, CNC machines, and automation systems.

Stepper motors offer several benefits, including precise control, high torque at low speeds, and the ability to hold position without external feedback. Their rotor position is determined by the number of pulses received, making them extremely reliable and ideal for open-loop systems. Now, let's explore the differences between can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors.

Can Stack Stepper Motors

Can stack stepper motors, also known as variable-reluctance stepper motors, are one of the most basic and economical types of stepper motors. They consist of a cylindrical stator with multiple windings and a rotor with a permanent magnet. The stator windings are energized sequentially, attracting the rotor's teeth and causing the motor to move.

One significant advantage of can stack stepper motors is their simplicity. They have a straightforward design, with fewer parts compared to other stepper motors. As a result, they tend to be more reliable and easier to maintain. Can stack stepper motors also have a high step resolution, allowing for precise positioning and smooth motion.

However, can stack stepper motors do have some limitations. They generally have lower torque compared to other stepper motors, making them more suitable for applications requiring lower torque outputs. Additionally, can stack motors may exhibit greater vibration and noise due to their variable reluctance operation. This can be mitigated by incorporating damping techniques or using microstepping technology.

Hybrid Stepper Motors

On the other hand, hybrid stepper motors combine the best features of can stack stepper motors and permanent magnet (PM) stepper motors. They feature a multi-tooth rotor and a stator with both permanent magnets and electromagnetic windings. The rotor teeth align with the stator's teeth to produce motion when the stator windings are energized.

One of the key advantages of hybrid stepper motors is their excellent performance-to-cost ratio. They offer higher torque output compared to can stack stepper motors, making them suitable for applications requiring more demanding torque requirements. Hybrid stepper motors also provide higher step resolution, enabling finer and more precise movements.

Another significant advantage of hybrid stepper motors is their ability to operate in open-loop and closed-loop control systems. By integrating encoders or position sensors, hybrid stepper motors can achieve closed-loop positioning, improving accuracy and eliminating the possibility of missed steps. This makes them ideal for applications that require highly accurate and reliable positioning.

Comparison: Can Stack Stepper Motors vs. Hybrid Stepper Motors

Now that we've examined the individual characteristics of can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors, let's compare them across different parameters to determine their suitability for various applications.

1. Torque

When it comes to torque output, hybrid stepper motors outperform can stack stepper motors. The inclusion of permanent magnets in hybrid stepper motors results in higher torque density, allowing them to generate more torque at higher speeds. However, it's worth noting that can stack stepper motors can still provide sufficient torque for applications with lower torque demands.

2. Step Resolution

Both can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors offer excellent step resolution. However, hybrid stepper motors usually provide higher step resolutions, especially when paired with microstepping technology. This enables smoother and more accurate movements, making hybrid stepper motors well-suited for applications that require precise positioning.

3. Cost

Can stack stepper motors are often more cost-effective compared to hybrid stepper motors. Their simplified design and fewer components contribute to their lower cost, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious applications. Hybrid stepper motors, while more expensive, provide a higher level of performance and versatility, justifying the price difference for applications requiring greater precision and torque.

4. Noise and Vibration

In terms of noise and vibration, can stack stepper motors might have a slight disadvantage. Their variable reluctance operation can lead to increased vibration and noise levels, which may require additional damping measures to reduce their impact. Hybrid stepper motors, on the other hand, have a smoother operation due to their hybrid design, resulting in reduced noise and vibration levels.

5. Application-Specific Considerations

When choosing between can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors, it's important to consider the specifics of your application. If your application requires high torque at low speeds, precise positioning, and cost-effectiveness, a can stack stepper motor might be the right choice. On the other hand, if you need higher torque output, finer step resolution, closed-loop control capability, and are willing to invest in a higher-performance motor, a hybrid stepper motor would be more suitable.


In conclusion, can stack stepper motors and hybrid stepper motors each have their own unique advantages and considerations. Can stack stepper motors are straightforward, reliable, and cost-effective, making them suitable for applications with lower torque demands. Hybrid stepper motors offer higher torque output, finer step resolution, closed-loop control capability, and are well-suited for applications requiring increased precision and performance.

When selecting the ideal stepper motor for your application, consider factors such as torque requirements, step resolution, cost limitations, noise and vibration sensitivity, and the need for closed-loop control. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose the stepper motor that best aligns with your specific application and ensures optimal performance and efficiency.


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