Ceramic vs steel ball bearings, which one is more worth it?

Ceramic vs steel ball bearings
Ceramic vs steel ball bearings

Read this blog to learn about ceramic vs. steel ball bearings. Examine durability, heat resistance, affordability, and performance to determine each material’s benefits. Choose depending on your application requirements and budget.

Differences Based on Internal Bearing Construction

Ball bearings made of steel and ceramic are physically identical; both types employ a ring, balls, cages, and an inner ring. Ceramic bearings utilize non-metallic balls (often silicon nitride), whereas steel bearings use metallic balls (typically chrome steel). This is the fundamental difference between the two types of bearings.

Differences based on Advantages

Ceramic Bearings Steel Ball Bearings
  • Smooth Moves     
  • Lightweight
  • Rust-Repellent
  • Excellent Heat Resistance
  • Electrically Safe
  • Good Precision


  • Budget-Friendly
  • Durable
  • All-in-One
  • Electricity-Friendly
  • Heavy Duty
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Widely Used


Differences based on Disadvantages

Ceramic Bearings Steel Ball Bearings
  • Expensive
  • Impact Prone
  • Can be brittle
  • Precision Cost


  • Friction Factor
  • Weighty Side
  • Rust Risk
  • Heat Hesitation


Differences Based on Performance

  Performance Factor Ceramic Bearings Steel Ball Bearings


Lower friction, smoother surface Slightly higher friction
Corrosion Corrosion-resistant, does not rust Susceptible to corrosion, may require coatings
Current withstand capability Non-conductive materials reduce the risk of electrical charge Conductive, risky electrical charge
Heat resistance Superior heat resistance, suitable for high-temperature applications Lower heat resistance may experience heat buildup in high-temperature conditions

Differences Based on Service Life

Ceramic and Steel ball bearing service life
Ceramic and Steel ball bearing service life


Ceramic bearings are less hard than steel ones. It may shorten their lifespan. So, ceramic bearings last longer and resist wear better than steel bearings.


The denser structure of steel bearings makes them heavier than ceramic ones. Moving parts can last longer with ceramic bearings instead of steel bearings.

Differences based on Price

 Price Aspect Ceramic Bearings Steel Ball Bearings
Upfront Cost


High Budget-Friendly
Precision Investment Higher costs are justified by precision Balanced cost for various uses

When to Choose Between Ceramic and Steel ball bearings

When to Choose Between Ceramic and Steel ball bearings
When to Choose Between Ceramic and Steel ball bearings

Differences Based on the application

  1. High-Speed Applications
    • Ceramic Bearings: For applications involving high speeds, these bearings are often used because of their decreasing centrifugal forces, lower density, and how little friction and heat they produce.
  2. Corrosive Environments:
    • Ceramic Bearings: These bearings are hypoallergenic and won’t react with most substances. They also resist corrosion. Their resistance to corrosive chemicals makes them perfect for uses where such compounds might be present.
  3. High-Temperature Environments:
    • Ceramic Bearings: Ceramic bearings outperform steel bearings in terms of temperature resistance because of their superior thermal qualities.
  4. High Load Capacities:
    • Steel Bearings: Because of their greater load-carrying capability, steel bearings are often chosen in situations that involve significant loads. Due to its greater strength and toughness, steel is better equipped to withstand significant axial and radial stresses.
  5. Electric Insulation:
    • Ceramic Bearings: Because of their low electrical conductivity, ceramic bearings are ideal for use in electric motors and other devices that might damage other types of bearings. Alternatively, steel bearings have a conductive property.



Do ceramic ball bearings and steel bearings need lubrication?

Ceramic bearings don’t need oil; steel ones do.


Steel or ceramic bearings depend on your needs. Ceramic bearings are the most precise, while steel ball bearings are reliable. Make an educated decision by considering your goals, budget, and applications.

More Resources

Koyo Bearing – Source: totalbearings.com

Different types of Bearings – Source: totalbearings.com

Snap Rings – Source: totalbearings.com

SKF vs Timken – Source: totalbearings.com

Camshaft – Source: totalbearings.com

How to Install Oil Seals – Source: totalbearings.com

Bearing History – Source: totalbearings.com

Middle Bearing – Source: totalbearings.com

Needle roller and cage assemblies – Source: totalbearings.com

Related Article

Ceramic Bearing
Ceramic Bearing
Plastic Bearing
Plastic Bearing
Stainless Steel Ball Bearing
Stainless Steel Ball Bearing
Cam roller Bearing
Cam roller Bearing

Stay Connected with TotalBearings



Scroll to Top