AC Motor VS DC Motor: Find The Right One For Your Application

The electric motor industry is growing rapidly due to urbanization and industrial growth. According to Strategic Market Research, the global electric motor market is expected to rise by $209.68 billion by 2030.

Figure 1 AC Motor vs DC Motor

Figure 1: AC motor vs DC motor

Electric motors and related equipment are vital for commercial purposes nowadays. Since there are different types of electric motors available in the marketplace, people must understand what type of electric motor is suitable for their application. 

How do I differentiate between electric motors? 

The most widely used electric motors are AC and DC, based on their working principle and application. You must understand the primary AC motor vs DC motor difference to finalize the one that suits your application best. 

This guide will understand AC motor vs DC motors; their working, specifications, and application. 

So, let’s get right into it.

AC motor vs DC motor: What’s the difference?

All electric motors are powered by electrical energy and convert it into mechanical energy forms. The AC motor vs DC motor primary difference is the type of current each motor converts into mechanical energy. 

  • AC motors convert alternating current (AC) into mechanical energy.
  • DC motors convert the direct current (DC) into mechanical energy.

AC Motors:

Figure 2 AC Electric Motor

Figure 2: AC electric motor

AC motors (Alternating current motors) operate on alternating current. These motors drive the machinery by converting electrical power into mechanical energy. There are two main types of AC motors which include;

  • Induction Motors: Induction motors are the most widely used AC motors that run on the principle of electromagnetic induction. In these motors, an induced EMF is produced via the rotating magnetic fields, which rotate the rotor and produce mechanical power. For example explosion-proof AC motor.
  • Synchronous Motors: Another common type of AC motor is the synchronous motor. These motors run at the synchronized speed as the supplied power frequency. Synchronous AC motors are suitable for industries where precise speed control and high efficiency are required. 

These motors are available as single-phase and three-phase electric motors, specified for industrial and residential purposes. 

DC Motors:

Figure 3 DC Electric Motor

Figure 3: DC electric motor

DC motors are the type of electric motors that run on a direct current power supply. These motors are found in self-excited and separately excited-type. DC motors work when the current-carrying coil placed in a magnetic field experiences force. A commutator is set to keep the rotor moving in the same direction.

The following are the common types of DC motors;

  • Brushed Motors: As the name suggests, brushed motors are designed with brushes and commutators. The brushes regulate the speed and direction of current on the armature. Brushed DC motors are inexpensive and used in domestic appliances.
  • Brushless Motors: Brushless motors, also called bldc, do not contain any brushes and commutators. In these motors, electronic circuits control the direction of current flow. Brushless motors are more efficient, long-lasting, and durable than brushed motors. 

If you are thinking of buying your next electric motor from China, check out this guide.

AC Motor vs DC Motor: Potential advantages and disadvantages 

Did you know that the average efficiency of commonly used electric motors is approximately 85%? However, modern high-efficiency motors’ efficiency spiked up to 96%. Using the correct type of motor is essential to ensure the performance and efficiency required to drive commercial equipment.

Let’s uncover the AC motor vs DC motor advantages and disadvantages to help you conclude which one is best for your application. 

AC Motors: 

Here are some common advantages and disadvantages of AC motors;


  • Easy Availability: These motors run an AC power supply, a widely used power source. These motors are available at all manufacturing companies. 
  • High Efficiency: AC motors operate at high speed without malfunction with 90%-95% efficiency. 
  • Precise Control: AC motors are easily controlled with a variable frequency drive. Therefore, they are ideal for accurate speed and torque control.
  • Longevity: AC motors have a long lifespan due to their compact structure, which results in fewer malfunction chances. 
  • Adaptability: AC motors are versatile as they are available in different sizes, speeds, power ratings, voltage, etc. 


  • Need for AC drivers: The most common AC motor vs DC motor difference is the need for drivers. A driver helps control the speed of the motors. AC motors cannot drive at optimum speed without an AC inverter. 
  • Complex Structure: AC motors have complex structures and designs, making them difficult to repair and maintain. Sometimes, detecting the fault is challenging due to its complicated design.

DC Motors: 

Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of DC (Direct Control) electric motors;


  • High Efficiency: One of the significant perks of DC motors is their high efficiency. At normal operating conditions, the efficiency of direct control motors is about 95%. These motors are well-suited for industrial use because they don’t fail or burn out quickly. 
  • Precise Motor Control: The speed and torque of DC motors are controllable manually or with automatic devices. These motors are ideal for applications where speed control is required. 
  • High Initial Torque: DC motors generate high starting rotations and are self-excited; therefore, they are advantageous for operating heavy-load machinery. They can quickly start, stop, and reverse. 
  • Voltage Versatility: DC motors are available in several voltage standards and ratings to make them suitable for different applications. 


  • High Cost: DC motors are expensive to purchase in comparison with AC motors. The maintenance and repair cost of these motors is also higher than AC motors.
  • Risk of Explosion: Since these motors contain commutators and brushes, there are high chances of failure and explosion due to sparking caused by the brush’s friction. 

Applications of AC and DC Motors:

While comparing AC motor vs DC motor, it is necessary to understand the applications of AC and DC motors. Here are some typical applications of AC and DC motors;

AC Motors:

  • Office Equipment
  • Food and Beverage Machines
  • Conveyors
  • Washing Machines
  • Ovens and Water heating machines
  • Pumps and Compressors

DC Motors:

  • Steel Mills
  • Rolling Mills
  • Rotating Machinery
  • Lifts and Elevators
  • Cranes
  • Air Compressors
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Drilling Machines
  • Air Conditioners


AC motor vs DC motor comparison is crucial to grasp the fundamental difference between the two most common types of electric motors. Although both types are widely used in industrial and domestic sectors, their working principle, specifications, and applications are quite contrasting. 

Xinnuo Motor is a leading electric motor manufacturer in China that excels in designing the best quality AC/DC motors. Xinnuo also manufactures high quality Three-phase electric motors and OEM motors.

Contact us for more information and a free quote. 

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