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How to Calculate Force to Find the Right Linear Actuator

How to Calculate Force to Find the Right Linear Actuator For Your Application

Orlaith Morris
Orlaith Morris
PA Engineer

What force actuator should I buy? We get asked this question every day here at Progressive Automations. Therefore, we have dedicated this article to walk you through the process on how to calculate the actuator force required to successfully lift the load of your application. There are a couple of factors involved when it comes to finding the right force, including the load, the angle at which it is being pushed and the size of the load.

Most of our actuators have customizable force!

How to Calculate Force of a Linear Actuator

Mounted Straight Up

If you are pushing/pulling a load straight up, then the actuator you are looking to buy should be the same force rating as your required weight. However, you should always have room for manoeuvre and go with a higher rated actuator than your load to be on the safe side. For example in the below picture, if your load is 50 lbs then the force rating (F) of the actuator should be greater than or equal to 50lbf

Actuator load mounted straight up

Mounted at an Angle

When the load and the actuator need to be mounted at an angle, the means to calculate an actuator’s push/pull force changes quite significantly. As the actuator will be pushing at an angle, in most cases it will need a higher force than the actual load to lift it.

Actuator load of mounted at an angle

The above figure perfectly demonstrates the factors to consider when calculating force for an angled mount. For example: if your load is 50 lbs and it is mounted at a 45° angle (θ) to the ground, you then need to make sure that the force perpendicular to the load (F sin θ, in this case) is greater than or equal to 50 lbs.

 Сalculater force for an angled mount linear actuator

This means that if you are pushing a load of 50 lbs at a 45° angle, you would need an actuator that can push at least 71 lbs.

Alternatively, if you are planning to push the load sideways and would like to push it at an angle of 60°, it is the same equation but altered to account for direction you are pushing your application’s load – see the below image.

Actuator load of mounted at an angle of 60°

You will also be using the same method as shown previously, as per the below equation.

Сalculater force for an angled of 60° mount linear actuator

Use our Actuator Compare Tool to check and compare multiple actuators at once!

Final Word

To sum up, the equations mentioned in this article represent each scenario whereby your linear actuator’s mounting is perpendicular to the load. Use these calculations to determine the required force rating of your actuator, ensuring you are never undercutting the amount you will need. It is a simple step but can help save you a lot of time when selecting the right force actuator!

We hope this article helped you today on how to choose a linear actuator that contains the appropriate force requirements. However, if you do require further assistance on selecting the right electric linear actuator for your application, give us a call at 1-800-676-6123, or email us at

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