5 types of bearing used in a fan

The type of bearing used in a fan can affect its performance and noise output. Most fans use one of the following bearing types:

Sleeve bearing fans use two surfaces lubricated with oil or grease as a friction contact. Sleeve bearings are less durable as the contact surfaces can become rough and/or the lubricant dry up, eventually leading to failure. Sleeve bearings may be more likely to fail at higher temperatures, and may perform poorly when mounted in any orientation other than vertical. The lifespan of a sleeve bearing fan may be around 40,000 hours at 50 °C. Fans that use sleeve bearings are generally cheaper than fans that use ball bearings, and are quieter at lower speeds early in their life, but can grow considerably noisier as they age.

Rifle bearing fans are similar to sleeve bearing, but are quieter and have almost as much lifespan as ball bearings. The bearing has a spiral groove in it that pumps fluid from a reservoir. This allows them to be safely mounted horizontally (unlike sleeve bearings), since the fluid being pumped lubricates the top of the shaft. The pumping also ensures sufficient lubricant on the shaft, reducing noise, and increasing lifespan.

Ball bearing fans use ball bearings. Though generally more expensive, ball bearing fans do not suffer the same orientation limitations as sleeve bearing fans, are more durable especially at higher temperatures, and quieter than sleeve bearing fans at higher rotation speeds. The lifespan of a ball bearing fan may be around 63,000 hours at 50 °C.

Fluid bearing fans have the advantages of near-silent operation and high life expectancy (comparable to ball bearing fans). However, these fans tend to be the most expensive. The enter bearing fan is a variation of the fluid bearing fan, developed by Everflow.

Magnetic bearing or maglev fans, in which the fan is repelled from the bearing by magnetism.

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