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Spherical Roller Bearing Types: 7 Most Popular Ones

Bearings and their usage have only increased over time, and their technology has advanced greatly. One of these majorly used bearings is the spherical roller bearings. The spherical roller bearing types can be further classified into seven broad categories. 

These include single-row spherical, double-row, thrust roller bearings, sealed roller bearings, vibratory spherical roller bearings, and spherical plain bearings. Each is designed differently and has unique characteristics.

Spherical roller bearings play a crucial role in understanding any technology involving rotation. It is also important to understand the types of spherical roller bearings. 

7 Most Common Spherical Roller Bearing Types

The 7 most common spherical roller bearings are:

  1. Single Row Spherical Roller Bearings

This is mostly because of their versatility and excellent performance.  These are self-aligning roller bearings with solid outer rings. These rings have a concave raceway.  They also have a barrel roller with a cage. 

Single Row Spherical Roller Bearings
Single Row Spherical Roller Bearings

They have deep raceway grooves and a mildly larger radius than balls do. 

Single-row spherical bearings cannot possibly be dismantled and are generally suitable where high shock-type loads occur.

Their main application is in places where there is not enough space. They are used in light to medium loads and small machinery. 

2. Double Row Spherical Roller Bearings

As the name suggests, these bearings have two rows. The outer ring here has a common sphered raceway and can accommodate radial and axial loads. They can be held in both directions. Hence, they are suitable for large radial loads and generally apt for medium speed. 

Double Row Spherical Roller Bearings
Double Row Spherical Roller Bearings

These are self-aligning bearings when it comes to wide limits. So they can accept minor misalignment.

To ensure more efficient and simplified lubrication, the double-row spherical bearings can be supplied with peripheral lubrication grooves (in the middle part). They are mostly used in heavy machinery, construction, and mining equipment. 

3. Thrust Spherical Roller Bearings

These are designed to handle high axial and radial loads somewhat.

They are built out of asymmetrical spherical rollers and can accommodate misalignment. The roller is the intermediary that helps transmit the load between the raceways (at an angle to the axis). The flange here guides the roller. 

Thrust Spherical Roller Bearings
Thrust Spherical Roller Bearings

These are used in machines or conditions when the load one has to carry exceeds the load rating of any other type of bearings (like ball bearings). 

Thrust spherical roller bearings are mainly used in vertical pumps, rolling mills, crane hooks, or other heavy axial load applications.

4. Sealed Spherical Roller Bearings

These are mainly characterized by sealing washers. These are mounted on the outside edges of both sides of the bearing. 

Sealed Spherical Roller Bearings
Sealed Spherical Roller Bearings

The main reason these sealing washers are installed is that they protect from the ingress of particles into the bearing. 

They are generally used as they have a long operating life, consume less grease, and reduce the maintenance outlay. They are also appropriate for harsh environments.

Sealed spherical roller bearings are used in heavy industries, mining, agriculture, and material handling. 

5. Split Spherical Roller Bearing

These bearings have two rows of symmetrical rollers. They also have a common sphered outer ring raceway and an inner raceway whose angle is set to the bearing axis.

Split Spherical Roller Bearing
Split Spherical Roller Bearing

They are designed to easily accommodate heavy radial loads amalgamated with or without axial loads on both ends.

The split spherical roller bearings are flexible and can be used for location and non-locating bearing positions. This concerns the shafts.

The bearing's split design makes it advantageous for inaccessible applications where mounting, dismounting, and maintenance are basic disputes. 

These are mostly used in machinery that is difficult to access and large convoy equipment. 

6. Vibratory Spherical Roller Bearings

The purpose behind developing the vibratory spherical roller bearings is to stand the harsh working environment.  They can bear the regular vibration of practices such as mining, quarrying, and construction industries. 

Vibratory Spherical Roller Bearings
Vibratory Spherical Roller Bearings

These help advance roller guidance and lessen the bearing damage caused by slippage and flaking. 

Unlike the other spherical roller bearing types, these bearings have robust internal designs and special surface treatments. 

The vibratory spherical roller bearings are used in vibrating screens, road rollers, and compactors.

7. Spherical Plain Bearings

The spherical plain bearings consist of an inner ring with a sphered convex outside. The outer ring here has a sphered surface. But, the inside is concave.

Spherical Plain Bearings
Spherical Plain Bearings

They are used for oscillating movements and have misalignments. These are also cables that withstand heavy loads. 

These are used in hydraulic cylinders, agriculture machinery, and construction equipment. Modern machinery has seven main types of spherical roller bearings. 


The design of spherical roller bearings has been decided to accommodate radial and axial loads. The environment plays a central role here. Hence, it is crucial to know which bearing is used for what purpose and in what devices. 

They are all structured to withstand different loads and conditions. Hence, they are very versatile and accommodate multiple industry options.


Why are spherical roller bearings used?

The main application of the spherical roller bearings is that they can be used in very tough and harsh environments. This means they can be seen in types of equipment where there is a higher probability of misalignment or shaft defection

What is the difference between spherical and cylindrical roller bearings?

Cylindrical roller bearings are less accommodating than spherical ones. They can only manage limited thrust loads. On the other hand, spherical roller bearings are more capable of withstanding misalignments and accommodate more thrust. 

What is the life span of a spherical roller bearing?

The basic life of these bearings is generally up to one million revolutions. 

How do I choose a spherical roller bearing? 

The main aspect that defines which spherical roller bearing you should use depends on its application. It is also important to note the kind of environment it will be used. Hence, it becomes essential to understand the spherical roller bearing types and their structure.

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