Screw jacks are often used on lifting and positioning equipment. There are many types in the market. Maybe you as a designer or engineer are very confused. What’s the difference between these screw jacks, what are the main factors needed to be considered? And how to choose them? Don’t worry, here is an ultimate guide for you.

Screw Jack Classification

how to choose the right screw jack
The main parts of the screw jack are the lifting screw, worm gear, worm shaft, gearbox, bearing, etc.

Classified by lifting screw, it can use either ball screw or machine screw. 

When it uses an acme screw or trapezoidal screw, it’s called machine screw jack. When it uses ball screw, it’s called ball screw jack.
Machine screw jacks are most commonly used, it’s an economic solution for heavy load, slow speed, low duty circle application. In addition, its resistance to back driving, an ideal choice for vibration environments, manual operation and high static loads.
While for ball screw jack,  the rolling friction improves efficiency greatly, only a little drive power can general great thrust force, it speeds up the travel of screw easily. It requires less power and has a longer lifetime than a machine screw jack. It’s not self-locking, so brake motors are required.
Both machine screw jack and ball screw jack can incorporate worm gear set or bevel gear set.

Classified by gear set, it can use either worm gears or bevel gears.

When it uses worm gear, it’s called worm gear jack. When it uses bevel gear, it’s called bevel gear set. Worm gears are most commonly used. Bevel gear is more efficient.
So in general:
  • Machine Screw Jack—The screw jack uses a machine screw(acme/trapezoidal/lead screw). Can incorporate a worm gear set or bevel gear set.
  • Ball Screw Jack——The screw jack uses a ball screw. Can incorporate a worm gear set or bevel gear set.
  • Bevel Gear Jack—–The screw jack uses a worm gear set inside. can be equipped with a machine screw or ball screw.
  • Worm Gear Jack—–The screw jack uses a bevel gear set inside. can be equipped with a machine screw or ball screw.
Machine ScrewBall Screw
Worm Gear SetSlower travel speed
Lower Efficiency
Lower duty circle(20%ED)
Full static capacity in Tension/Compression
Usually self-locking in most cases
The ideal choice for small-load manual operation
Sliding friction generates more heat
Typical 1~120T load capacity, 1 or 2 input shaft
Faster Travel Speeds
Higher efficiency)Higher duty cycles (30%ED)
Not self-locking, need a brake motor to hold the position
Not suitable for manual operation
Rolling friction generates less heat
Typical 1~50T load capacity, 1 or 2 input shaft
Full static capacity in Tension/Compression
Bevel Gear SetModerate travel speeds
Moderate efficiency
Usually holds position without a brake
Smaller jacks may be operated manually
Ideal for moderate duty cycles
Sliding friction generates more heat
Typical 1~20T load capacity, 1,2 or 3 input shaft
Full Static capacity dependent on mounting
Fastest travel speeds
Highest efficiency
Requires a brake motor to hold the position
Not suitable for manual operation
Ideal for high-duty cycles (near continuous)
Rolling friction generates less heat
Typical 1~20T load capacity, 1,2 or 3 input shaft
Full static capacity dependent on mounting

How to Choose the Right Screw Jack

For Your Application?

When it comes to industrial applications that require lifting heavy loads, achieving precise positioning, or performing controlled movements, choosing the right screw jack is crucial. With various options available in the market, it’s essential to understand the factors that influence your decision. In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting the perfect screw jack for your specific application, ensuring optimal performance, safety, and long-term value.

Assess Your Load Requirements

Determining the weight and load capacity is the first step in choosing the right screw jack. Consider both the maximum load and the dynamic load that may occur during operation. Evaluate the load distribution and any potential impacts or vibrations that could affect the performance of the screw jack.

Consider Duty Cycle: Matching Screw Jack Types to Application Requirements

Certainly! When selecting a screw jack, considering the duty cycle is crucial. The duty cycle refers to the amount of time the screw jack will be in operation within a given time period. Different types of screw jacks are suitable for specific duty cycle applications. Here’s some information on machine screw jacks, ball screw jacks, and bevel gear jacks in relation to the duty cycle

The largest determining factor in calculating the duty cycle is the ability of the jack to dissipate heat that builds up during operation. Anything that reduces or increases the generated heat increases or decreases the duty cycle accordingly. Additionally, jacks may be limited by their maximum operating temperature (200°F) and not duty cycle.

Machine Screw Jacks:

  • Machine screw jacks are commonly used for intermittent duty applications.
  • They are designed for lower-duty cycles, typically ranging from 10% to 20%.
  • Intermittent duty refers to applications where the screw jack operates for a limited duration and then remains idle for a significant period.

Ball Screw Jacks:

  • Ball screw jacks are suitable for both intermittent and continuous-duty applications.
  • They are capable of handling higher duty cycles, typically ranging from 25% to 35%.
  • Continuous duty refers to applications where the screw jack operates continuously without prolonged idle periods.

Bevel Gear Jacks:

  • Bevel gear jacks are commonly used for continuous-duty applications.
  • They are designed to handle higher duty cycles, typically ranging from 60% to 100%.
  • Continuous duty refers to applications where the screw jack operates continuously without prolonged idle periods.

Evaluate Operating Conditions

Take into account the operating environment and conditions in which the screw jack will be used. Factors such as temperature, humidity, dust, and corrosive substances can impact the durability and reliability of the equipment. Choose a screw jack that is designed to withstand the specific conditions of your application.

High Temperature:

  • Choose screw jacks with materials that can withstand high temperatures. Look for heat-resistant components such as specialized alloys or heat-treated steel.
  • Opt for lubricants that are specifically designed for high-temperature applications, as conventional lubricants may break down or lose effectiveness.
  • Consider thermal insulation or cooling mechanisms to protect the screw jack from excessive heat.
  • Ensure proper ventilation and airflow in the surrounding environment to prevent heat buildup.

Low Temperature:

  • Select screw jacks that are designed for low-temperature applications, with materials that can withstand cold temperatures without becoming brittle.
  • Choose lubricants that remain effective in low-temperature conditions to ensure smooth operation.
  • Consider insulation or heating mechanisms to prevent freezing or icing of the screw jack components.
  • Ensure proper sealing and protection against moisture to prevent water ingress and subsequent freezing.

Humidity, Dust, and Corrosive Environments:

  • Choose screw jacks with corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or coated surfaces to withstand humid or corrosive environments.
  • Select screw jacks with high IP (Ingress Protection) ratings to prevent dust or water ingress. IP ratings indicate the level of protection against solid particles and liquids.
  • Implement regular cleaning and maintenance routines to remove dust, debris, or corrosive substances that may accumulate on the screw jack.
  • Consider additional protective measures such as enclosures, seals, or covers to shield the screw jack from direct exposure to humidity, dust, or corrosive substances.

Consider Space Constraints

Evaluate the available space for installing the screw jack. Measure the vertical and horizontal clearances to ensure proper fit and alignment. Consider the dimensions and mounting options of the screw jack, as well as any additional accessories or components required for installation.

Determine Speed and Precision Needs

Depending on your application requirements, you may need a screw jack that offers precise positioning or the ability to handle fast movements. Consider the speed and accuracy specifications of different screw jacks to ensure they align with your specific needs. Factors such as pitch, lead, and gear ratios can influence the speed and precision capabilities of the screw jack.

For applications that require higher speeds, ball screw jacks are generally the preferred choice. They offer lower friction and higher efficiency, allowing for faster operation.Machine screw jacks are suitable for applications with moderate speeds. While they may not achieve the same speed capabilities as ball screw jacks, they can still provide reliable performance at a reasonable speed range.

If your application demands high precision and repeatability, ball screw jacks are typically recommended. They offer low backlash and high positioning accuracy, making them suitable for precise positioning tasks. Machine screw jacks can provide sufficient precision for applications that don’t require ultra-high levels of accuracy. They can still offer reliable positioning control within acceptable tolerances.

It’s important to note that the selection of screw jack type based on speed and precision should also take into account other factors, such as load capacity, environmental conditions, and budgetary constraints.

Consider Screw Buckling and Guide Systems for Long Stroke Applications

When considering long-stroke applications, the potential for screw buckling becomes an important factor to address. In such cases, selecting a larger and more robust screw jack model is recommended to ensure stability and prevent buckling under load.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Screw Buckling: Screw buckling occurs when a long and slender screw is subjected to compressive forces, causing it to deform or buckle under the load. To mitigate this risk, it is advisable to choose a screw jack model with a larger diameter and higher load capacity. This helps provide the necessary strength and rigidity to resist buckling.

Stroke Length and Aspect Ratio: The aspect ratio, defined as the ratio of the screw length to its diameter, plays a role in determining the susceptibility to buckling. As the stroke length increases, the aspect ratio also increases, making the screw more prone to buckling. Therefore, selecting a larger model with a shorter aspect ratio is essential for long-stroke applications.

Guide System: In addition to selecting an appropriate screw jack model, incorporating a guide system can further enhance stability and minimize the risk of buckling. Guide systems, such as linear guides or anti-rotation devices, help to maintain the axial alignment of the screw, reducing lateral movement and improving overall system performance.

By considering the potential for screw buckling in long-stroke applications and choosing a larger and more robust screw jack model, as well as implementing a suitable guide system, you can ensure the reliability and safety of the lifting or positioning process

Explore Customization Options

In some cases, standard screw jacks may not fully meet your application requirements. Look for manufacturers that offer customization options, allowing you to tailor the screw jack to your specific needs. Customizable features may include different gear ratios, motor options, protective coatings, or specialized mounting arrangements.

Consider Cost-effectiveness

While cost should not be the sole determining factor, it is an important consideration. Evaluate the initial investment cost of the screw jack, as well as any ongoing maintenance or operational costs. Additionally, consider the long-term value and durability of the equipment to ensure that it provides a cost-effective solution for your application.

Assess the Manufacturer’s Reputation

Choose a screw jack from a reputable manufacturer with a solid track record in the industry. Research the manufacturer’s experience, certifications, and customer reviews to gauge their expertise and reliability. A trusted manufacturer is more likely to provide high-quality products and excellent customer support.


Choosing the right screw jack for your application requires careful consideration of load requirements, duty cycle, operating conditions, space constraints, speed and precision needs, customization options, cost-effectiveness, and the reliability of the manufacturer. By following these guidelines and assessing these factors, you can make an informed decision that ensures optimal performance, safety, and long-term value for your industrial application. Take the time to research, evaluate, and select the right screw jack that will enhance the efficiency and reliability of your specific application. With the knowledge gained from this article, you are now equipped to make a confident choice and achieve superior results in your industrial operations.

Contact Us Now For Expert Guidance and Support

LiftingMotion manufacturers of all these types of screw jacks can customize your application. If you have any pending projects and would like to know more about these jacks, please contact us today. Our engineers can provide a 2D or 3D model of a solution before placing an order.