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DC vs. AC Motors: What the Difference Between Them

There are so many things around us that their mechanical characteristics always matter when utilizing them in different applications. The same applies to motors used for electronics, automobiles, aviation, and other relevant fields.

The two most common types of motors used for these applications are either DC motors or AC motors, and before choosing them for a device, it is imperative to understand their relevance.

In this guide below, we have figured out a detailed analysis of the two motors, how they differ, and where they could be applied. You may read it below if you are also looking forward to some information on this.


What is the DC Motors

A DC motor is used widely in many applications, and it converts electrical energy into mechanical energy by forming an interaction between the magnetic fields.

A DC motor commonly has components including brushes, field windings, armature, and other minor ones. Brushes and commutators are essential if it is a brushed DC motor. It proves to be a rotary switch that comprises copper segments, and these segments are insulated.

The brushes also maintain contact with the commutator using electricity, allowing the current to flow toward the armature. Armature is an essential component that creates a magnetic field upon rotating.

Field winding also creates a magnetic field fixed within the motor comprising wire coils, which help generate this field.

Dc motor

Types of DC Motors

There are different types of DC motors, and each type has its characteristic and application; the common ones are discussed below:

Series Wound DC Motors

A series circuit is present in series-wound DC motors, allowing the current to pass through both armature windings.

They offer a torque that is high in the starting and hence is suitable for applications that need high power initially, like industrial machinery.

Shunt-wound DC Motors

Shunt-wound DC motors are opposite, and they have the windings of the armature in parallel. Hence the flow of current is observed in each of the windings.

These motors move at a constant speed and have different loads and therefore are suitable for applications where a stable speed is essential, like pumps and conveyor belts.

Compound-wound DC Motors

The compound-wound DC motors comprise a combination of the characteristic of series and shunt-wound motors and have two sets of series and shunt wounding. These motors offer high initial torque as well as stable speed control.

Permanent Magnet DC Motors

Permanent magnet DC motors consist of a fixed magnetic field and even have permanent magnets rather than field windings. Armature windings carry the current and interact with the magnetic field to ensure movement.

These motors are highly energy efficient and simple, need minimal maintenance, and are used in many small appliances and toys.


What is the AC Motors

An AC motor is an electric motor that operates on AC power, and like DC motors, they also convert electrical energy into mechanical energy through magnetic fields.

In the AC motor, the interaction between the magnetic field of the stator and rotor movement is induced, called rotation. Stator is a stationary part of this motor, consisting of laminated steel; when the current flows, the windings of the stator create a rotating magnetic field.

The rotor, on the other hand, comprises different configurations depending on which type of AC motor has been chosen, and with the rotating magnetic field, it interacts to start a movement.

AC Motors

Types of AC Motors

There are different types of AC motors, and some of these are discussed below:

Induction Motors

In AC motors, there are two types of induction motors, as discussed below:

The single-phase induction motors are used in applications that do not have three-phase power. Such applications need a single-phase alternating current supply to allow the rotor to move.

In a three-phase induction motor, the common types are used in applications common in the industrial sector. These motors are very efficient and perform robustly.

Synchronous Motors

In a synchronous motor, the hysteresis synchronous motor consists of a rotor manufactured through materials with a high magnetic hysteresis. They offer a consistent rotation speed and are used in applications like clocks, which require precise and constant speed.

Another synchronous motor is the permanent magnet, which uses the permanent magnet in the rotor. This rotor creates a magnetic field and is used in high-performance industrial machinery and electric vehicles.


Comparison Between AC and DC Motors

AC and DC motors are widely used in many applications, but they have some differences which must be known to choose them for suitable applications.

DC vs. AC motors


The DC motor’s efficiency is dependent on the type, design, and size they possess. The brushed DC motors have low efficiency as the energy loss is high due to brushes and commutators. At the same time, the brushless DC motors are highly efficient.

On the other hand, the three-phase induction motors and permanent magnet synchronous motors in AC motors are highly efficient compared to DC motors. They are simple in design, and the electrical losses are also less since they have no brushes.

Power Factor

DC motors have a power factor that is close to 1, and hence these are known to indicate efficient power utilization. On the other hand, the power factor in AC motors varies; in single-phase induction motors, it is less, and in three-phase induction motors and PMSMs, it is higher.

Speed Control

DC motors ensure great speed control because the current and voltage can be adjusted, and hence applications that need a variable speed may find DC motors a suitable choice.

On the other hand, AC motors have minimal speed control and may need additional control systems in applications that require a variable speed.


The reliability of DC motors could be better due to the high failure rate. At the same time, AC motors are highly reliable and can be used in industrial applications due to their low failure rate.

Cost of Motors

The cost of DC motors can depend on the size and type; compared to brushless motors, brushed DC motors are more affordable.

On the other hand, AC motors with three-phase induction are more cost-effective than permanent magnet synchronous motors.

Suitability for Applications

DC motors suit applications requiring high starting torque, precise speed control, and reversible motion. Hence, it is used in electric vehicles, compact appliances, and robotics.

On the other hand, AC motors are used in industrial applications like conveyor systems and pumps because of their easy maintenance, efficiency, and reliability.



After reviewing the detailed guide above, you must know everything about AC and DC motors and how they differ. These two motors are widely used in many applications, but due to their unique characteristics, their application criteria are different. Click here to learn more.

Dhmotor can offer the best dc motor products to you. Contact us to get a quote.




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