Steel bearings: your essential guide to this essential workhorse
Traditionally steel has reigned supreme as the bearing material of choice.
While it may be tempting to step away from the most common bearing material, in favour of ceramic or plastic bearing types, steel very much still has its part to play in certain applications. But which ones? And how do you weigh up if steel is the right choice for you?
Stainless steel vs chrome steel bearings – what’s the difference?
In brief, chrome steel is the most common material for ball bearings due to its high load capacity, good low noise properties and affordability. Stainless steel bearings are designed for wet and mildly corrosive environments, where the bearings are required to cope with medium to high loads or speeds.
To counteract confusion over the different steel bearing variations available, we’ve put together this handy steel bearings buying guide.
As the final guide in our materials mini-series, we present the differences between chrome steel and stainless steel, along with our handy advantages and disadvantages summaries. We cover three popular steel bearing options:
- SAE52100 Chrome steel
- 440 Martensitic grade stainless steel
- AIS316 Austenitic stainless steel – commonly referred to as marine grade stainless steel
We also delve into the applications where stainless steel ball bearings are ideal, helping you to make an informed material selection choice.
Will the bearing be operating in a corrosive environment?
But, how do you know when it’s worth investing in stainless steel bearings? Answering this question is easy with our corrosion resistance chart, available within this guide. SMB Bearings’ steel bearings guide simplifies the decision-making process with clear, comparable information, equipping you with the tools to specify the right bearing for your operating environment.
Download the guide here to determine which steel bearing type is right for you. We stock steel bearings in both imperial and metric sizes to fit a range of shaft diameters.
Steel bearings guide 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 steel bearings.
- Are all components of my bearing fabricated from the same steel?
- Stainless steel bearings vs ceramic bearings
- Can stainless steel bearings be used without any lubrication?
Click here to download your essential guide to steel bearings.
Alternatively, to speak to a bearing specialist, contact the SMB Bearings team directly on +44 (0) 1993 842 555 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.