Stepper vs. DC Motors: Tips for Choosing the Right One

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Stepper vs. DC Motors: Tips for Choosing the Right One

When shopping around for motors, it can be overwhelming to sift through all the different options. If you already narrowed it down to a stepper vs. DC motor, here are some tips are choosing the right one for your needs.


Because of their varying characteristics, DC and stepper motors have different uses. In general, DC motors are a better choice whenever a constant toque is necessary, such as in handheld fans or cordless drills.

When precise positioning is more important, you should choose a stepper motor. These are handy for desktop printers and security cameras.


With a DC motor, there are no controls. Adjusting the voltage will change the speed, and reversing the leads is what makes it change directions.

Stepper motors need a microcontroller. This will help provide excellent speed control and is great for automation and robotics. Using a stepper motor pump in the proper context can be a game-changer.

Speed Range

Overall, DC motors have a moderate speed range, depending on their type. There are a variety of different forms of DC motors, providing a more comprehensive range of speed than steppers. For example, brushless DC motors can be high-speed.

If low, non-continuous speeds are what you need (under 2000 RPM), then a stepper motor is ideal for you.


DC motors are moderately reliable, which is remarkable considering they are continuous-use machines. However, they require constant maintenance to take care of the brush parts (unless you get a brushless version).

Stepper motors are highly reliable. They can easily last over 10,000 hours of use or around four to five years. Their simple construction helps make them significantly sturdy.


Being a more “mature” technology, DC motors are moderately efficient, running at around 75 to 85 percent efficiency.

On the contrary, stepper motors are low efficiency. They lose a lot of energy due to heat, and since they draw maximum current, they tend to burn through energy rather quickly. They are power-hungry little machines.

Both motors are fantastic choices and have a similar price point. After reviewing these tips for choosing a stepper or a DC motor, you can quickly decide which one is best for you.