Bearing selection guide | Bearing selection procedure | bearing selection catalogueBearing selection: your essential guide to choosing the right bearings

There are a huge number of variables you need to weigh up when selecting the right types of bearings for your project. There’s no doubt things can get confusing, particularly if your project is non-standard.

That’s why we’ve written this bearing selection guide. With clear sections dedicated to environment, size, speed, load, tolerances and lubrication, we will help you to ask the right questions and look closely at the application and the environment your bearings will be used in.

Whether it’s a high-speed application, or for a product with an axial load, this guide has you covered.

Bearing selection procedure

Getting the right bearings and lubrication combination ensures a long service life for the bearings and rolling elements of machines. The selection procedure is much more than just checking the load rating supplied by the manufacturer, although this is a good starting point!

You need to analyse your application closely, and really consider the many different design factors that make up ball bearings. From varying materials, to high-temperature lubrication, there is a lot to think about.

For example, when selecting bearings for high moisture environments like marine applications, full ceramic bearings are often the go-to option, especially for fully submersed applications. 316 grade stainless steel bearings are also commonly used in moving water or above the waterline. Also known as marine grade stainless steel, this material is an austenitic stainless steel, meaning it has very good corrosion resistance.

Whatever operating environment you’re working with, we’ll help you weigh up your best options in this guide.

Don’t push your bearings beyond their limits

When selecting a bearing, it is sometimes tempting to push them beyond their speed or load ratings, but as this guide explains, that’s a bad idea.

Of course, there are ways to boost a bearing’s capabilities, such as using a bigger bearing for increased loads. Similarly, we believe many design challenges can be overcome with strategic bearing considerations. If you have a bearing conundrum on your mind, get in touch today. We can discuss rotational speed, limiting speed and combined loads to name just a few technical factors.

Bearing selection FAQs:

In this guide, we have collated the extensive knowledge of the SMB Bearings technical team. But, if you still want further information, we also answer some of the most commonly asked questions related to bearing selection:

Click here to download your essential guide to bearing selection or explore further common customer queries on our FAQ page.

Missed our ceramic bearingsplastic bearings and steel bearings guides? Follow the links to download each of our informative material guides.

Alternatively, to speak to a bearing specialist, contact the SMB Bearings team directly on +44 (0) 1993 842 555 or e-mail

Our determination to remain specialised gives us a high level of product knowledge, providing bearing and lubrication solutions to existing or potential customers, whether individuals or large corporations. We don’t just sell bearings, we help to solve your problems. - Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings.