We hear this question from time to time. When researching actuators for a project or OEM product, clients will reach out and ask why linear actuators are so expensive?
Frankly, it’s a fair question. There are dozens of factors that affect the price of a linear actuator and generally (though not always), as with most items, you’re going to get what you pay for. Actuators are a complex piece of machinery and all of the parts need to be individually selected and tested to ensure compatibility and longevity.
Micro actuators are a relatively new product
Why do actuators range so much in price?
Motors for example, are available from dozens of manufacturers. We need to choose a motor that provides good performance and longevity within our devices, and is also affordable enough that we can maintain competitive pricing. Two actuators that look the same can be very different internally. If one manufacturer chooses to use a cheap motor, cheap circuit boards, cheap wire etc., and another chooses to use only high-quality materials, you end up with two devices that look similar but one will have a much shorter life span.
Components that impact actuator cost
- Motor housing
- Aluminum or steel shaft
- End tip
- End limit switches
- Circuit board
- O rings
Other cost factors to consider
There are a variety of other factors that can drive actuator cost. Testing for example, is huge. Some manufacturers just receive their stock from the factory and ship it straight out. At Actuonix, we choose to test every single unit before it leaves our facility in Canada. This increases our cost and our quality.
Another thing to consider is additional components. Does the actuator ship with a hardware kit, or do you have to purchase that separately. Solid customer service and a great warranty also have a cost to the manufacturer.
You can also expect to pay more for an actuator that has special ratings and certifications. Products with an IP rating or a RoHS certified for example will generally be more expensive than products that are not.
Of course, profit is also a consideration. Businesses based in the US and Canada generally need to make a higher profit to support their operations than companies that sell directly from China.
Is the actuator an original product?
Many “manufacturers” have copied our products. You can find products that look nearly identical to Actuonix actuators all over the internet. They bear a variety of names but all look largely the same.
There is a reason these products all look so similar. Most of these products were copied from our original design. Resellers who are purchasing and selling these actuators don’t bear the additional costs of designing and testing these actuators, and so they can offer copies of our products at a typically lower price point.
How to reduce your linear actuator cost
There are also generous quantity discounts available for clients purchasing more than ten actuators.
Are high quality actuators worth the price?
While it’s prudent to be wary of actuators that are considerably cheaper than the competition, a cheap actuator is not necessarily a bad actuator, and on the flip side, an expensive actuator is not necessarily a good actuator.