Difference Between Bushing and Bearing: Major Differences

What's the difference! What is bearing? Which is bushing?

If you want to know the difference between bushing and bearing, you should first understand What the bearings are.

Generally, “bearings” facilitate movement between two parts and reduce friction.

A typical bearing has two surfaces that roll against each other, allowing the two mating parts to move without friction.

According to the rotational motion and the linear motion, they are mainly divided into Ball Bearings, Needle Roller Bearings, Rod End Bearings, thrust bearings, Sleeve Bearings, and Self-aligning roller bearings, etc.

The shape and clearance or interference fit with mating components of each bearing are designed to suit its specific application. 

Bearing shapes can vary widely, and features such as flanges, balls, and holes can be customized to improve the overall performance of the application.

The bearing has two key functions:

  1. They transmit motion, i.e., they support and guide parts that rotate relative to each other.
  2. They transmit forces

Bearings can transmit loads radially or axially (thrust) and in many cases both radial and axial loads.

Bearings usually consist of the following components:

  1. Two rings with raceways-The raceways are hardened, and ground.
  2. Rolling elements in the form of rollers or balls
  3. The cage that keeps the rolling elements apart and guides them.
  4. Inner ring/outer ring: The inner and outer rings are usually made of special high-purity chrome steel. 

This material has the necessary hardness and purity – both important factors for high load ratings and long lifespan.

Difference between bushing and bearing - What are sleeve bearings?

Sleeve bearings are often very inexpensive, compact, lightweight, and have a high load-carrying capacity. 

Sleeve bearings are also known as bushings, bushing bearings, plain bearings, or journal bearings. 

The sleeve bearings feature is to ensure linear or rotational movement between the two parts. They are used to constrain, guide, or reduce friction in rotary or linear applications. They function via a sliding action instead of the rolling action used by ball, roller, and needle bearings. 

Sleeve bearings consist of one part that is built up of many types of materials, layered, and combined into a load-carrying system to provide smooth operation and greater durability.

Bushing bearings are usually made of anti-corrosion materials such as PTFE or graphite or POM, etc. They are usually cast on the inner surface of the bearing pad. 

Unlike the rolling action of the ball or roller bearings, sleeve bearings can run with relubrication or dry running without additional lubrication to ensure smooth and continuous operation.

Therefore, some sleeve bearings on the surface of the covering layer have many pockets to retain lubricating grease. Because sometimes extra lubricant is beneficial in terms of wear and friction so additional grooves in some bushing surfaces can serve as reservoirs for lubricant.

Difference between bushing and bearing - What features do sleeve bearings have?

Simply, sleeve bearing facilitates movement between two components, absorbs friction, and reduces vibration so they not only feature excellent wear resistance, but also their contact areas are highly resistant to shock loads, making them suitable for a variety of heavy-duty applications.


  1. They are relatively low-cost and maintenance-free.
  2. Compact, lightweight, and easy to install
  3. They compensate for the misalignment of other components.
  4. They can deal with high load capacity and high temperatures with very low wear. 


Common sleeve bearing applications:

  • The auto industry – Transmission shafts, links, pins, and crank components
  • Ag Industry – Linkage assemblies on attachments, steering gear
  • Off-road Industry – Clevis bearings for hydraulic cylinder pins
  • Marine industry – Steady bearings for driveshafts
  • Food industry – Processing and packaging applications where lift and tilt devices are used.

Difference between bushing and bearing - What's the difference between bushing and bearing!?

Comparing sleeve bearing with the ball bearing and roller bearings, sleeve bearings have a sliding effect and are generally self-lubricating to ensure smooth and continuous operation.


In a sleeve or plain bearing, the shaft and bearing move in opposite directions on the sliding surfaces. In contrast, the two parts of a rolling bearing that are close to each other – the inner ring and the outer ring – are separated by rolling elements. This design produces much less friction than sleeve bearings.


In conclusion, the bushing is bearing but bearing may not necessarily be a bushing type.

Sleeve bearings are the most common type of flat bearing and are used in a variety of applications. Sleeve bearings are designed to carry linear, oscillating, or rotary shafts and function by sliding action. Plain and sleeve bearings are generally compact, lightweight, and generally good value.

sleeve bearings typically contain PTFE and are self-lubricating to ensure smooth operation and extended bushing life. Bushing bearings do not require external lubricants such as grease or oil, ensuring they perform reliably under robust operating conditions and a range of operating temperatures. However, sometimes extra lubricant is beneficial in terms of wear and friction so additional grooves in some bushing surfaces can serve as reservoirs for lubricant.

Thanks for reading “Difference between bushing and bearing“.

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