Thrust bearings should not be subjected to a radial load. They are designed for thrust/axial loads only. A standard thrust bearing is comprised of a brass or steel washer containing the balls sandwiched between two other washers which usually have raceways (ball tracks).

Thrust bearings are often used in conjunction with radial ball bearings so that a thrust load and a radial load can be supported. Radial ball bearings will support mainly radial loads with some thrust load capacity. Angular contact bearings are also used for radial loads with heavier thrust loads as they have a much greater thrust capacity than radial ball bearings.

Need more advice? The SMB Bearings team is available to answer any questions you may have on small, miniature and specialist bearings. Contact us on +44 (0) 1993 842 555 or

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