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Gear Reducers, Speed Reducers and Gearboxes—What’s the Difference?

January 28, 2019

In this blog, we’re going to break down the differences between gear reducers, speed reducers and gearboxes. This is quite an easy task, actually, because all of these terms can refer to the same piece of mechanical equipment.


Gear Reducer = Speed Reducer

Gear reducers are also known as speed reducers. The mechanical accessory that goes by either of these names is meant to reduce the rpm (revolutions per minute) transmitted between a motor and the machinery it is powering. A speed reducer effectively 1) decreases the speed produced by the motor to control the speed at which the machinery is operating, and 2) increases the torque produced by the motor. Multiplying the amount of torque generated by the motor increases the amount of usable power for the machine—this process is said to create a “mechanical advantage”. In greater context, the gear reducer is basically a tool used to increase efficiency in facility operations.


“Gearbox” is a Catch-All Term

The term “gearbox” is used to refer to any piece of equipment connecting a motor and a machine that consists of a series of gears, otherwise known as a gear train. It receives the primary input speed from the motor and alters it to a different output speed using its gears. Different types and combinations of gears fulfil specific purposes. The types of gears found in gearboxes include spur, bevel, spiral, helical and worm gears. The performance efficiency of a gearbox is indicated by its gearbox ratio, which is the ratio of the input source rpm to the output source rpm.


A speed reducer is expected to have a higher gearbox ratio, where the input source rpm is greater than the output source rpm. Not all gearboxes, however, are speed reducers or gear reducers. There are other types of gearboxes that perform different functions. For example, another type of gearbox performs the opposite function of a speed reducer—it increases the speed produced by a motor and reduces torque.


At Bauer GMC, we have a diverse range of gear reducers that are built to maximize the efficiency of your facility operations and the longevity of your motor. Check out this blog on how to choose the appropriate gear reducer for your specific needs. We also have a highly skilled team of specialists who can repair gear reducers and gear motors. Contact us today if you're in need of high-quality geared motor solutions!