Choose Electric Actuators to improve your Application’s Performance

For many industrial clients, choosing between pneumatic and electric actuators for a particular application can be a tough decision. Each actuator has a certain set of advantages and disadvantages, which can add to the performance of an application. The question of whether one actuator is better than another has been argued about for years. However, with new design and manufacturing technologies, electric actuators are slowly coming out on top. Read on to know more.

A Comparison of Electric and Pneumatic Actuators

It is important to understand the variances and similarities between electric and pneumatic actuators. The easiest method to do this is to compare the pros and cons of each product.

Electric Actuators:
  • Pros:
    • Portable
    • Flexibility
    • Scalability
    • Adaptability
    • Repeatability
    • Low power consumption
    • Quiet, smooth movements
    • Precise positioning and control
    • Flexibility can lead to cost savings
    • Diagnostics and preventive maintenance
    • Modular design minimizes replacement costs
  • Cons:
    • Complex in terms of implementation
    • Accurate actuator size is essential. Using an actuator size larger than required can lead to more expenses
    • Some designs may trade thrust for speed or vice versa.
Pneumatic Actuators:
  • Pros:
    • Low carbon footprint
    • High force and speed
    • Low component costs
    • Incomplex installation
    • Economical in terms of size
    • Both speed and force can be easily adjusted


  • Cons:
    • Works best only in fixed motion processes
    • High compressor power consumption leads to high operating costs
    • Idle actuator leads to reduced efficiency and higher power consumption.
    • Has multiple system requirements, including valves, tubing, compressors, fittings, regulators, pressure gauges, etc. This can limit the applications in which it can be installed and used.

As you can see, electric actuators provide many more benefits than pneumatic actuators.

Assessing Costs of Both Actuator Types

Besides the general benefits and disadvantages, application users also have to assess the overall costs to see whether an actuator will be suitable for the application. Electric systems have higher component costs as compared to pneumatic actuators. However, operation and maintenance costs for electric actuators is less compared to pneumatic designs. Electric actuators are constructed utilizing modular designs, they reduce the overall changeover costs substantially. Pneumatic actuators require manual changeovers, which lead to production losses. Also trained personnel is required to perform the manual changeovers, which leads to more expenditure.

The Verdict

Electric actuators provide higher savings due to modular designs, and low operation and maintenance costs. Looking at the overall picture, it is clear to see how electric actuators are more beneficial than pneumatic actuators for industrial applications.