How to choose an actuator for your robot?

2. Actuators for building different types of robots

In this section, you can see which actuators are commonly using to build different types of robots.

2.1 Industrial Robots

2.1.1 Industrial robotic arm: Harmonic drives, Hydraulic and Pneumatic actuators
2.1.2 Collaborative Robots (Cobots): Harmonic drives, custom designed actuator modules.
2.1.3 Warehouse mobile Robots: BLDC Gear motors, High-Torque BLDC servos.

2.2 Consumer Robots

2.2.1 Robotic vacuum cleaner: Brushed DC Gear motors.

2.3 Drones

Most of the drones are working using BLDC Motors like this.

2.4 Medical Robots:

2.4.1 Surgical Robots: Linear DC actuators1, Linear DC actuators2, Harmonic drives.
2.4.2 Prosthetic arm: Brushed DC servo motors

2.5 Entertainment Robots:

2.5.1 Social robots: DC gear motors, Smart digital servos

2.6 Education Robots:

2.6.1 Mobile robots: DC gear motors, RC servos, DC motors, Stepper motors
2.6.2 Robotic arm: RC servos, Digital servos, Stepper motors

2.7 Research robots:

2.7.1 Mobile robots: Custom designed BLDC motors, Industrial servo motors, DC Gear motors
2.7.2 Robotic arm: Harmonic drives, Smart digital servos

2.8 Military & Security robots:

2.8.1 Military Robots: Military-grade DC gear motors and servos, Hydraulic actuators.

2.8.2 Security mobile robots: BLDC motors, DC gear motors

2.9 Telepresence robots:

Mobile base: Brush & Brush less motors

2.10 Underwater robots:

2.10.1 Underwater drones: Thrusters, Brushless motors, Thrusters from Maxon

2.11 Humanoid Robot:

2.11.1 Toy sized Humanoid: Smart servos, RC servos, Smart servos-Herkulex
2.11.2 Full-sized humanoid: BLDC Motors, Smart actuator: Dynamixel Pro

Lentin Joseph

View posts by Lentin Joseph
Roboticist | Author of 8 robotics books | TEDx speaker


  1. Very nice article for beginners! Thank you ?

  2. Shimon Payyanadan says:

    Great explanation and I found the video on harmonic drives very helpful. Thank you for sharing it here. Expecting more

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