Are you in the market for a new linear actuator to use in your next project? If so, you may want to consider the factors affecting the price of a linear actuator. Purchasing cheap actuators is not a good idea if you want your project to last the distance, but purchasing overly expensive actuators may also not be worth your full investment.
Finding the right balance between cost/affordability and quality can be tricky since various factors affect the price. We have broken down everything for you in this article and discuss what to look for when purchasing a linear actuator and how to determine whether the price you are paying is worth the investment. Let’s start with the obvious question – are actuators expensive?
Are Actuators Expensive?
Actuators can be expensive depending on the application. For starters, you could have a very simple application where you may need to move 5 lbs a certain distance, determined by the stroke of the linear actuator. In this case, there is not be much material and force required to power this application, which could cost you as low as $70 per linear actuator.
However, if an application calls for a higher force rating of greater than 1000 lbs, you may require an industrial linear actuator with a larger motor and gearbox or you would need to purchase multiple linear actuators to avoid burnout/stalling. In short, you can find a low-cost linear actuator option, but it would come down to your intended application and the force you require.
Why Are Linear Actuators So Expensive?
Linear actuators have one purpose, and to do it well! Everything from manufacturing costs to testing, getting certifications, the labour required to assemble custom units, all contribute to the cost of the linear actuator to ensure it can perform to the best of its ability. Additionally, it may come down to the logistics of these products from the factory to the distributor.
Progressive Automations offer a variety of low- to medium-cost linear actuators for any application. Although these actuators are not the cheapest, they are also not the most expensive actuators on the market. One thing is for sure, they are affordable, reliable, and come with an 18-month warranty for extra protection.
Cost Factors To Keep In Mind When Buying a Linear Actuator
At Progressive Automations, all products are thoroughly tested, checked, and undergo rigorous quality control procedures throughout the production process and before being shipped to the customer. Not too bad for the price you pay! Below, are just a few factors that affect the cost of a linear actuator.
As mentioned previously, high-force linear actuators cost more than small/micro linear actuators. This is due to more material, a larger motor, and more gearing. Also, high-force linear actuators require larger power supplies to provide the motor with enough “juice”, adding to the cost.
IP-Rating and Certification
Based on your application, testing the IP rating of a linear actuator may be necessary. For example, if you know that your linear actuator is going to be exposed to a lot of water, you will need a waterproof actuator – we have the PA-06, and the PA-10 model (which has the highest IP rating with IP68M and IP69K!) It can operate underwater and can withstand high-pressure water jets when it is not in motion.
Units rated for IP66, like the PA-04 Linear Actuator and PA-09 Mini Industrial Actuator, can withstand both dust and liquid ingress. Cheap actuators generally do not have an IP rating. An IP-rated linear actuator will cost more since the cost of the certification is taken into consideration.
Three other certifications exist, namely, CE, RoHS, and UL. These certifications may be a requirement for your application. Bear in mind that if a whole application requires certification, each subcomponent of the system should also be certified. Off the shelf, Progressive Automations linear actuators do not come with UL certification, but you can request it if this certification is important to your application. Whether you require a certified linear actuator or a high-IP rating, it will increase the cost of the linear actuator.
Adding extras to a linear actuator will increase its cost. External extras can include mounting brackets, connectors, and switches. Internal extras can include positional feedback sensors (e.g., Hall effect or potentiometer). You will also need to factor in the cost of a control box or microcontroller as well as a power supply.
Are Quality Linear Actuators Worth the Investment?
A low-cost linear actuator does not mean you are not getting quality. Progressive Automation’s low-cost options provide just what you need for your application, without the exorbitant price tag associated with many other linear actuator manufacturers. Moreover, you can rest assured that each linear actuator you get from us has been tested and meets our stringent quality standards.
Be careful of overly cheap actuators. You may be buying low-quality components that could cause the actuator to burn out or stop working prematurely. Quality linear actuators are worth the investment because they will last the distance and save you on maintenance or replacement costs in the future.
In essence, not all low-cost linear actuators are low-quality. Depending on your application, it could just mean that you don’t need a high-force or stroke, or you don’t need extra features such as feedback that will drive the cost up. You do need to be weary of linear actuators that require a high-force, high-IP rating, and a lot of extra components, but the actuator is still relatively cheap. These may be using cheap components, and you need an actuator that will stand the test of time – in the long-run you’ll only be paying more when you need a replacement.
If you have any queries at all about our linear actuators, their costs, or even just general queries, please feel free to contact us!