Single-Phase Vs. Three-Phase Motors

Posted - June 14, 2023

There are two types of electrical motors used to power modern machinery: single-phase and three-phase. Which is best depends on the application in question.

Single-Phase Motors

A single-phase motor uses a single-phase power supply, which creates a revolving magnetic field. With this type of motor, a single loop of power travels from one terminal to the other in one direction with equal magnitude. Because a single-phase motor requires less horsepower than a three-phase motor, it is ideal for smaller industrial and domestic applications, such as:

  • HVAC systems
  • Refrigerators
  • Air conditioners
  • Fans

Three-Phase Motors

A three-phase motor is more powerful than a single-phase motor, because it uses a three-phase power supply, which creates alternating currents to power the motor. These currents work together to create a rotating magnetic field, which allows for higher output. This motor also requires a more powerful electrical grid. Typically, three-phase motors are used in industries that involve the operation of powerful machinery, such as aerospace and marine. Three-phase motors often are used to power:

  • Air compressors
  • Heavy-duty pumps
  • Ship propulsion systems
  • Aircraft power systems

Single-phase and three-phase motors each offer a variety of advantages that should be considered when determining which to use for a given application.

Advantages of Single-Phase Motors:

  • Cost-effective
  • Highly efficient
  • Lasts longer than three-phase motors

Advantages of Three-Phase Motors:

  • Provides greater power
  • Higher transmission at lower amperage
  • Require less maintenance
  • Self-starting

At BK Industrial Solutions, we sell high-quality Baldor electric motors in Louisiana and Texas. Contact us today to learn more. Reach us at (409) 838-1641,, or click here to request a quote.