Ceramic bearings might be more expensive than steel, but these bearings provide reduced friction, reduced weight and have the potential to last much longer than the traditional stainless-steel offering in many harsh environments. That said, the application needs to warrant the increased price.
Full ceramic bearings are generally used in environments that are too hostile for steel bearings such as temperature extremes or use with corrosive chemicals or liquids. Consider bearings for marine applications as an example. Ceramic bearings can provide excellent resistance to salt water, prolonging the lifespan of the bearing in ocean environments. However, full ceramic options are not recommended where heavy shock loads are likely, due to the bearings risk of cracking. In these instances, 316 stainless steel bearings might be a better option as long as the load is low.
More information on the different types of ceramic bearings we provide can be found here.