types of gears : ultimate guide

mechanism, gears, machine
Examples of gears - How gears work - Illustration of the different types of gears available, including bevel, rack and pinion, planetary, internal, spur, helical, and worm gears.

What We Mean By Gears ?

Gears has a lot of types and they are rotating machine elements that transmit torque from one shaft to another via the teeth machined into them. Gears with similar tooth profiles mesh. This allows transmitting the power from a driving shaft to a driven one.

Different types of gear are used in machines as they can be designed for a range of forces from a range of materials. They can also be used to increase/decrease rotational velocity as well as change the direction of rotation.

Gears can also be used to pump liquids as in the case of gear pumps for fuel oil and lubrication oil for instance. They mesh so well (forming a positive displacement pump) that the liquid is pushed ahead with high delivery pressures.

They are also used in chain blocks to lift heavy objects easily. Thus, gears are a core component of most equipment as they are quite versatile and able to perform a variety of tasks.

What is the difference Between Gears & Sprockets

Gears and sprockets both use teeth to transfer torque. While at the outset, they both are similar-looking components, there are some marked differences that can help us identify them with ease.


A sprocket

  • Many types of gears are the preferred solution for short-distance transmissions. Using a sprocket and a chain helps to transmit the power over a considerably longer distance, using a chain.
  • While the teeth of two gears mesh perfectly with each other, it is not so for a sprocket. A sprocket tooth is actually designed to fit into a cavity such as the chain of a bicycle or the tracks of a military tank.
  • While gears are capable of transmitting torque in parallel, perpendicular, and any other orientation in between, sprockets can only do so along the parallel axis.
  • Gears transfer torque in the opposite direction. If the driving shaft is rotating clockwise, the driven shaft will rotate anticlockwise. With sprockets, the rotational direction remains the same.
  • Gears with a broken tooth may not be as effective as a perfect system but they will work. In case of sprockets, one or more broken teeth can cause the chain to leave its position and the system will come to a halt.

Different Types of Gears and Their Uses

and every one offers some trade-offs. It comes right down to what expectations a designer has from a gear train. The factors which will be considered are as follows:

  • Service environment
  • Torque/duty cycle needs
  • Rotation speed/gear ratio
  • Budget
  • Space availability/restrictions

Based on these factors, the choice is further narrowed all the way down to whether the gears are operating on parallel/non-parallel and intersecting/non-intersecting axes. Let’s learn a bit more about what choices one has and what every one of them offers.

Spur Gear

Spur gear

The most frequent kind of gears employed, spur gears are developed with straight enamel reduce or inserted parallel to the gear’s shaft on a round (i.e., cylindrical) tools body. In mated pairs, these gears hire the parallel axes configuration to transmit movement and power. Depending on the application, they can be mated with any other spur gear, an inside tools (such as in a planetary equipment system), or a tools rack (such as in a rack and pinion equipment pair

The simplicity of the spur tools teeth diagram approves for each a excessive diploma of precision and simpler manufacturability. Other traits of spur gears consist of lack of axial load (i.e., the thrust force parallel to the equipment shaft), high-speed and high-load handling, and excessive effectivity rates. Some of the negative aspects of spur gears are the quantity of stress skilled by using the tools tooth and noise produced in the course of high-speed applications.

This type of gear is used for a huge vary of velocity ratios in a range of mechanical applications, such as clocks, pumps, watering systems, electricity plant machinery, cloth dealing with equipment, and garments washing and drying machines. If imperative for an application, a couple of (i.e., greater than two) spur gears can be used in an equipment instruct to furnish greater tools reduction .

Gear Rack

Gear rack and pinion system

It is feasible to mix spur gears with a rack to convert rotational action to linear motion. A rack consists of enamel reduce in a straight row on a flat surface. These enamel have the identical profile as the spur gear.

The spur tools enamel mate with the enamel on the rack comparable to how they would mesh with every other spur gear. When the tools rotates, it pushes the rack in a straight line.

The equipment rack system, additionally acknowledged as rack and pinion system, finds use in many merchandise such as automobiles, stairlifts, railways etc. It is used to fine-tune equipment parameters to, for example, manipulate the quantity of gas that enters a diesel generator via a high-pressure gas pump.

Internal Gear

Internal gear

Spur gears may also additionally be blended with an inner equipment to create a planetary equipment system. An interior tools has enamel on the interior of an annulus-shaped equipment body. This tools mates with spur gears positioned inner it to transfer motion.

Internal gear mechanisms are of three types: planetary, solar, and star. Depending on the utility and different pertinent factors, a range of pace transmission ratios may additionally be produced alongside with the preferred rotational direction.

Internal gears are employed in a range of industries the place they are regularly used as discount gears. They are best for altering tools ratios in bicycles, watches, and automated transmission in cars.

Helical Gear

Helical gear

Similar to spur gears, helical gears usually appoint the parallel axes configuration with mated tools pairs, but, if aligned properly, they can additionally be used to pressure non-parallel, non-intersecting shafts. However, in contrast to spur gears, these gears are built with enamel which twist round the cylindrical tools physique at an perspective to the tools face. Helical gears are produced with right-hand and left-hand angled enamel with every equipment pair comprised of a right-hand and left-hand equipment of the identical helix angle.

The angled plan of helical enamel motives them to have interaction with different gears in another way than the straight tooth of spur gears. As suitable matched helical gears come in contact with one another, the degree of contact between corresponding enamel will increase gradually, as a substitute than attractive the whole enamel at once. This gradual engagement approves for much less affect loading on the equipment tooth and smoother, quieter operation. Helical gears are additionally successful of larger load abilities

 however function with much less effectivity than spur gears. Further dangers encompass the complexity of the helical teeth design, which will increase the diploma of subject in its manufacturing (and, consequently, the cost) and the reality that the single helical equipment enamel format produces axial thrust, which necessitates the employment of thrust bearings in any utility which makes use of single helical gears. This latter necessity in addition will increase the whole fee of the usage of helical gears.

As helical gears are additionally successful of coping with excessive speeds and excessive loads, they are appropriate for the identical sorts of functions as spur gears, such as pumps and generators. Their smoother, quieter operation additionally fits them for car transmissions the place spur gears are commonly no longer used.

Single or Double Helical types of Gears Design

Helical gears are one of the kinds and are accessible in single helical and double helical designs. Single helical gears consist of a single row of angled tooth reduce or inserted round the perimeter of the equipment body, whilst double helical gears consist of two mirrored rows of angled teeth. The benefit of the latter plan is its increased energy and sturdiness (than the single helical design), and the removal of axial load production..

Additional types of Helical Gear Designs

Other types of helical gears consist of herringbone gears and screw gears.

Herringbone: Herringbone gears are a kind of double helical enamel in which the two tracks of enamel touch, instead than being separated by means of a groove, which varieties a “V” structure comparable to that of the herringbone pattern.

Screw: Screw gears, additionally referred to as crossed helical gears, are helical gears which are used for non-parallel, non-intersecting configurations. Unlike the helical gears used for parallel configurations, screw gears rent same-hand pairs instead than a right-hand and left-hand tools per pair. These gears have pretty low load capacities and effectivity fees and are now not appropriate for excessive strength transmission applications.

Double Helical Gear

Double helical types of gears are a exclusive kind of helical gear. They have been created to overcome the excessive axial thrust related with single helical gears.

Double helical gears mix two contrary orientations of tooth together, generally alongside the center of the equipment face. The axial thrust produced by using the left-hand enamel is nullified via the right-hand tooth, consequently disposing of the want for a thrust bearing.

Typical use-cases for double helical gears consist of high movers such as gasoline turbines and generators. They additionally locate use in fans, pumps, and compressors.

As in the case of single helical gears, double helical gears additionally provide smooth and silent operation at all speeds.

Herringbone Gear

Herringbone gear

Herringbone equipment is a extraordinary kind of double helical gear. Whereas the helical tools has a groove in the center between the teeth, the herringbone tools does not.

Such a layout helps to cancel out the axial forces on every set of teeth. Thus, large angles are allowed as there is much less hazard of failure.

It usually makes use of the intersecting axes configuration the place the two shafts are perpendicular to every other. The electricity is transmitted from the herringbone equipment to a ordinary double helical gear.

Herringbone equipment does not produce any axial thrust and ensures a quieter, smoother, and nice operation at all speeds and loads.

Screw Gear

One of the gears sorts is the Screw tools is additionally recognised as crossed helical gear. They are used for action transmission between non-parallel non-intersecting shafts.

While helical gears generally interact between parallel shafts, screw gears do so at ninety degrees.

The enamel on a screw tools are in the structure of a helix. They shape a factor of contact between two gears and as a result are not very appropriate for excessive load and high-speed applications. They additionally have low efficiency compared to different helical gears.

A special trait of screw gears is that they use the equal hand pair when engaging. Motion is transmitted as the identical hand pairs slide in opposition to every other. Lubrication of screw gears is consequently a necessity. There are no boundaries on the aggregate of the variety of teeth.

Bevel Gear

Bevel gear

The types of gears we name bevel are cone-shaped, putting the enamel on the conical surface. The cone top is lopped off. The two mating gears are commonly positioned on perpendicular intersecting shaft axes.

One of the most frequent makes use of for bevel gears is for changing the electricity transmission axis. While doing so, RPM and torque may also be modified as critical by means of various the equipment size.

There is additionally the choice to amplify or reduce the perspective between the shafts. The two shafts want now not be precisely perpendicular.

Due to the format of bevel gear, when two mating enamel come in contact, the contact takes location all at as soon as as a substitute of gradually. Thus, a comparable trouble of excessive stress as in the case of spur gears occurs.

This excessive influence mating produces more noise and motives immoderate stress on the equipment tooth. The excessive stress finally impacts the sturdiness and carrier lifestyles of the bevel gear.

It additionally influences the type of purposes they are used for. Straight bevel gears are normally used at low RPM (less than five hundred RPM or two m/s circumferential speed).

Despite these limitations, they locate use in many specific industries. Some of the tools that makes use of bevel gears are automobiles, pumps, computing device equipment (milling and turning), meals packaging equipment, fluid manipulate valves, and gardening equipment. They are additionally the best to manufacture and hence, are pretty lower priced and handy in a range of sizes.

Spiral Bevel types of Gears

spiral bevel gear

Spiral bevel kinds of gears are used to overcome the obstacles of straight bevel gears. As the identify suggests, the tooth on a spiral bevel equipment are organized in the shape of a spiral.

When two spiral gears come in contact, they do so gradually. This avoids influence loading of the tooth as the preceding equipment tooth pair (that are now dropping contact) are nonetheless carrying some of the load. From this pair, the new mating pair assumes the load slowly.

This makes the operation smooth and quiet. It additionally will increase the secure loading ability of the gear. Thus, spiral bevel gears find use in especially stressful applications (speeds higher than five hundred RPM) for secure and dependable operation.

Some of these purposes are strength transmission, automobile differentials, robotics, bow and stern thrusters in ships.

Mitre Gear

Mitre types of gears are bevel gears with a velocity ratio of 1:1. An enticing pair will constantly have the equal wide variety of teeth. They transmit electricity between intersecting axes.

Mitre gears are used in machines to change the path of rotation only. They do now not reason a exchange in the shaft pace or torque.

A mitre equipment may additionally be of straight or spiral type. Straight mitre gears provide the benefit of no longer having to deal with any axial thrust. But they come with the barriers of straight bevel gears. Spiral mitre gears produce axial thrust necessitating the want for thrust bearings.

Mitre gears normally have interaction at ninety degrees. But they may additionally be produced to mate at different angles as well. If they mate at any different attitude between zero and 180, they are regarded as angular mitre gears. Most frequent vary for angular mitre gears is between forty five and a hundred and twenty degrees.

Hypoid Gear

Hypoid equipment resembles a spiral bevel equipment however there are some marked differences. Unlike spiral gears, hypoid tools shafts do now not intersect.

The hypoid equipment is one of the kinds gears that positioned offset to the crown wheel which is generally a spiral bevel gear. This positioning of the hypoid tools consequences in higher contact when mating. This improves load-carrying capability as nicely as the sturdiness of the transmission system.

Another distinction is the structure of the hypoid gear. The equipment physique is in the structure of a revolved hyperboloid.

This form fits flawlessly barring any interference with the spiral bevel tools as the two mating gears are positioned a little to the side.

Compared to bevel gears, hypoid gears acquire greater velocity discount due to their massive contact ratio. The expanded contact also permits greater load transmission whilst suppressing noise and vibration.

The meshing is, however, complicated and the manufacturing is additionally difficult. Hypoid gears are used in automobile differential systems.

Hypoid gears endure some similarity to worm tools structures however they have sure blessings over them. Firstly, much less sliding occurs, decreasing strength consumption. Secondly, the offset between the two gears is much less which saves space. Finally, each gears can be heat-treated which imparts greater pressure decreasing the dimension of gears used.

Worm type Gears

Worm gear

In a worm equipment drive, a worm engages with a worm wheel and movement switch takes place. A worm tools resembles a screw and as it rotates it meshes with a cylindrical gear, once in a while additionally recognised as worm wheel.

This method is used to switch movement between two non-parallel, non-intersecting shafts. Worm gears offer one of the very best equipment discount ratios.

A special attribute of this tools power is that the tools pair rotation can be locked. This is due to the fact the worm wheel can’t flip the worm equipment if it is set at a sure angle. However, the worm tools can flip the worm wheel at any angle. This property is utilized in applications that require self-locking mechanisms.

Worm gears come with sure risks though. The transmission effectivity is now not as appropriate in contrast to different gears. Also, the truth that sliding takes place between the worm and worm wheel in the course of transmission makes lubrication a aspect to pay interest to. Continuous lubrication is the foundation for clean operation.

Worm gears are frequent in automobiles, guidance systems, lifts, and fabric dealing with systems.

Gear Parameters

Now that we have a frequentnotion of the exceptionalkinds of gears, we are in a higherfunction to get a bit technical and apprehend the which means of a number ofphrases that one can also come throughoutwhilstgaining knowledge of about gears.

Outer Diameter

This is the most diameter of a gear. It is the distance from the equipment physique centre to the enamel tip. The outer diameter signifies the outermost extent of a gear.

Pitch Circle

The pitch circle of two attractive gears contact every different at the factor the place the mating tooth come in contact with every other. It runs roughly round the core of the equipment tooth. Pitch circle is the place where action switch takes area and hence, this circle is used for all calculation purposes. The factor  gears contact is recognized as pitch point.

Centre Distance

It is the distance between the centres of two mating gears of a system. It is necessary that this distance is set suitable for niceswitch of torque. It is calculated by means ofincluding the pitch circle diameter of the two gears and dividing by means of two.


Root is the factor the place the teeth connects to the equipment body. It is the trough between the bottom-most phase of two adjoining equipment teeth.

Root diameter is the distance between the center of a equipment physique and the base of a equipment tooth. The enamel top of two mating gears should be reduce in a way that it does no longer exceed the root of the tools to forestall contact of enamel tip with the different gear’s root at some point of rotation.


Pitch is described as the distance between the equalfactor on two adjoiningtools teeth. It can be calculated effortlesslythrough dividing the circumference of the equipment at that factorvia the quantity of teeth.

But the phrase ‘pitch’ can be difficult as at distinctivefactorsalongside the enamel height, the cost will be different. Thus, the diameter desires to be specified. Some famous pitches are round pitch, regular base pitch, and angular pitch. Circular pitch is the distance between the equalfactors on two tooth faces alongside the pitch circle.

Diametral Pitch

Diametral pitch informs us of enamel density. It is calculated through dividing the complete quantity of equipment tooth through the pitch circle diameter. Its unit is the wide variety of tooth per meter.

Tooth Profile

Tooth profile refers to the structure of a equipment tooth. There are many one of a kind selections we can pick from. We may want to make them rectangular, triangular, in the structure of a round arc, or cross on to greater complicated shapes such as a parabola or an involute.

Simple shapes such as rectangles and triangles, however, create excessive vibration, noise, and would be very inefficient due to excessive sliding. Complex shapes enhance effectivity and allow quiet operation. Let’s see what kinds of profiles are in use today.

Involute Tooth Profile

There are certain advantages of using involute gears, because It is the most widely used tooth profile such as:

• Can accommodate small deviations in the centre distance.

• Easy and inexpensive to manufacture

• Constant pressure angle during operation makes operation smooth

• High root thickness imparts strength

Cycloidal Tooth Profile

The cycloidal enamel profile is the 2nd most frequent profile in use. This profile ensures the identical put on happens on the whole tooth. Cycloidal tools tooth discover use in watches and instruments. It is seldom used for intensive purposes as it is challenging to produce.

Arc of Circle Profile

This profile is now not as famous however it has the gain of sluggishput on as the arc is uneven. It is categorized into two types: single arc and compound arc.

As the title suggests, the enamel has a cylindrical form which mates with the different gear. Sometimes, a convex arc may additionallyin shape into a concave arc for higher transmission. This profile, however, is hard to produce in contrast to the involute profile.

Gear Materials and Surface Treatment

Gears are produced the usage of a range of cloth and this choice will additionally have an effect on the floor remedy technique that might also be chosen to enhance performance.

Gears may be produced from different types of metals as well as non-metals such as steel, cast iron, plastic, nylon, and fibre. Each material has its own salient features:

  • Steel is used for intensive applications. It provides high strength and hardness. Carbon and alloy steel are common choices.
  • Cast iron is easy to produce and is generally preferred when gears are to be mass-produced. Precision is, however, lost in this type of production.
  • Nylon is an inexpensive, lightweight and non-corrosive option as a gear material. Nylon is a good choice for low load, corrosion-prone applications.

Surface therapy of gears is generallyfundamentalearlier thaninserting them into service. Two beneficialmethods for equipmentfloorending are grinding and heat treatment.

Grinding tools tooth makes them easy and leads to quiet operation. It does extend the remaining price of manufacturing though.

Many warmness remedy strategies are handy for enhancing the strength, floor finish, and sturdiness of gears. Some of these approaches are carburizing, annealing, tempering, floor hardening, and normalizing.

Depending on the cloth used and system employed, the gears can be made strong, heat-resistant, hard, and durable.