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 Planetary vs Cycloidal Gearboxes: Which Offers Better Performance

Planetary vs Cycloidal Gearboxes: Which Offers Better Performance


With more than 20 years of experience in designing industrial gearboxes. KONIC gearbox offers professional advice based on customer requirements . Our engineers met whether we should use planetary gearboxes or matching cycloidal gearboxes. Because we manufacture both cycloidal and planetary gearboxes. So, our engineers summarized planetary vs cycloidal Gearboxes and advantages and disadvantages. we hope to provide more gearbox knowledge with professional answers and help. Then we will go through this article. To understand the planetary vs cycloidal Gearboxes and their respective advantages.

Table of Contents

KONIC provides professional and high quality industrial gearbox services Working Principles Of Planetary VS Cycloidal gearbox

Planetary Gearbox:

Structure: A planetary gearbox consists of three main components – a central gear (sun gear). multiple smaller gears (planet gears), and an outer ring gear (ring gear). The planet gears mounted on a carrier that rotates around the sun gear. while meshing with both the sun gear and the ring gear.

Structure of planetary gearbox

Operating Principle: When the input (connected to the sun gear) rotates, it drives the planet gears. which in turn rotate around the sun gear and inside the ring gear. This combination of motions results in the output shaft rotation. The planetary gearbox can provide different gear reduction ratios. Depending on which component held stationary.

Cycloidal Gearbox:

Structure: A cycloidal gearbox, also known as a harmonic drive. consists of three main components – a flexible circular spline (outer gear). A rigid elliptical cam (wave generator), and a high-flexibility flexspline (inner gear).

Structure of Cycloidal Gearboxes

Operating Principle: The wave generator, typically connected to the input, rotates. causing the elliptical cam to flex and deform. As the elliptical cam deforms. It pushes against the flexible circular spline, causing it to rotate. The flexspline, in turn, meshes with the output shaft, resulting in its rotation. This deformation and flexing of components create a high-precision, zero-backlash motion transfer.


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Featured of Planetary VS Cycloidal Gearbox

Featured of Planetary vs Cycloidal Gearboxes

Planetary Gearbox Features:

Advantages :

  • High torque transmission capability.
  • High efficiency due to multiple contact points.
  • Compact design.
  • Widely used in various applications, including automotive transmissions.


  • Complex structure with multiple moving parts.
  • Limited suitability for high-precision applications.
  • Potential for backlash.

Cycloidal Gearbox Features:


  • Zero-backlash transmission, ideal for high-precision applications requiring accurate positioning.
  • High precision and repeatability.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Low vibration and noise during operation.
  • Customizable to meet specific application requirements.


  • Limited torque transmission capacity compared to planetary gearboxes.
  • Generally higher cost due to precision manufacturing.

Comparison Planetary VS Cycloidal Gearbox

  • Planetary gearboxes preferred for high-torque applications, offering efficiency and versatility.
  • Cycloidal gearboxes excel in precision and zero-backlash operation, suitable for high-precision positioning.
  • Planetary gearboxes are commonly used in a wide range of industrial applications.
  • Cycloidal gearboxes chosen for precision-critical applications like robotics and aerospace.
  • The choice depends on specific application requirements. including torque, precision, space constraints, and cost considerations.

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How to Choose Between Planetary VS Cycloidal Gearboxes

By comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the two gearboxes. it is easy to see that the cycloidal gearbox seems to outperform in all areas except torque capacity. Although the cycloidal gearbox is more durable and can withstand very high torque loads. it cannot transmit as much torque as a planetary gearbox of the same size.

As we know, torque in industrial gearboxes it enables machinery to transmit energy and force in a controlled manner. adapting to the needs of different industrial applications. Whether it’s used to increase productivity, enhance industrial automation or handle heavy loads. but also the high motion accuracy of a cycloidal gearbox makes it ideal for starting and stopping servo motors. but if you don’t need the high accuracy, a planetary gearbox will also work.

Application of Planetary VS Cycloidal Gearboxes

Major Industries For Planetary Gearbox

  • Cement
  • Vehicles
  • Chemical
  • Conveying
  • Lifting
  • Environmental Protection

Major Industries For Cycloidal Gearbox

  • Automotive Manufacture
  •  Production Line Conveyors
  •  Parcel Handling
  •  Automation
  • Robotics
  • Food Processing
  • Textile Manufacture


Cycloidal gearboxes have a smaller footprint than planetary gearboxes. so if you have the space, you can use a larger planetary gearbox to get the required reduction ratio. even though you could use a smaller cycloidal gearbox to do the same job.

Sometimes it may be more cost-effective to use a larger standard planetary gearbox. rather than a high-performance, compact cycloidal gearbox. Before making a decision, consider how the features might apply to your own application. Of course, you can always contact us to help you meet your requirements!


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