Best Stepper Motors for CNC

Disclaimer: All claims are strictly my personal opinion. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

If you are into DIY CNCs or even 3-D printing, you will be aware of the many parts that go into making such machines.

If you want to ensure good performance or solve any issue, you should know what these parts are and where to get the best of them.

One such part is the stepper motor commonly used in CNC machines. It is an integral component of the machine.

Here I have listed out the best stepper motors for CNCs and outlined a guide to help you make your purchase.


QUICK PICKS

Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…

BEST PICK
STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor 2.8A...
STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor 2.8A...
Higher Torque; 1.26Nm(178.5oz.in) holding torque; NEMA 23 bipolar 2.24"x2.24"x2.2" 4-wire; 1.8 deg. step angle(200 steps/rev)
SaleBest Value
Anet 42 Stepper Motor for 3D Printer DIY CNC Robot, 1.8...
Anet 42 Stepper Motor for 3D Printer DIY CNC Robot, 1.8...
This item is a stepper motor, with 90cm 4 pin cable for convenient use.; It's good ideal for 3D printers, as well as CNC and robotics applications.

10 Best Stepper Motors for CNC Reviews

Here is a list of 10 Best Stepper Motors for CNC that we have picked as per our editors;

1. RTELLIGENT Nema 23 Stepper Motor

  • Material: Steel + Aluminum alloy
  • Motor Size: 57x57x80 mm
  • Weight: 2.55 pounds
  • Torque: 2.2Nm
  • Step Angle: 1.8° +/- 5%

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What we Like!
  • Durable
  • Value-for-Money
  • High Torque
Things to Consider!
  • Low Efficiency

Overview

RTELLIGENT’s NEMA 23 stepper motor is a durable and highly versatile motor made of steel and aluminum alloy making it quite a long-lasting product.

More importantly, the step accuracy of the motor is within the 5% range with a fixed step angle of 1.8-degree and has an insulation resistance of at least 100M ohms with 500VDC. Additionally, the motor can resist a voltage of as much as 500VAC for a total of one minute.

The radial runout of the device is at most 0.06, whereas the axial runout is 0.08 max. Moreover, the temperature can rise to 80-degree Celsius, but no more.

Plus, the torque of the stepper motor is 2.2 Newton-meter, with the size of the motor being 57x57x80 mm. And the default connection is Red A+, Blue A-, Green B+, and Black B-.

It would help if you were careful about using the motor to make sure that you connect it with a chopper drive controller or any other source that offers the constant current point because you cannot connect the motor directly to the power supply. This will cause the motor to burn out.

Lastly, not only can you use this stepper motor with a CNC laser router, but it will also work with machines like 3D printers, medical devices, robotic arms, and even stage lights.


2. STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor

  • Material: Steel + Metal + Copper + Aluminum
  • Motor Size: 57x57x56 mm
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Torque: 1.26Nm
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

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What we Like!
  • Bipolar
  • Strong Material
  • High Resistance
Things to Consider!
  • No Instructions

Overview

The StepperOnline Nema 23 stepper motor is a bipolar motor that is more powerful than the usual unipolar ones and has better accuracy and position when used with a CNC machine.

With a holding torque of 1.26 Nm and a size of 57x57x56mm, the StepperOnline motor comes with a total of 4 leads, a shaft diameter of 6.35mm, and a shaft length of 20.6mm. The motor’s step angle is 1.8° that can run for 200 steps per revolution and has a phase resistance of 0.9 ohms.

The good thing about this motor is that it is made out of Steel, Metal, Copper, and Aluminum. This makes it lightweight, weighing only 1.5 pounds, and has a small size, which allows for higher portability.

It has a square design and can run at 1000 rpm without any load. This indicates its efficiency, which allows for better carvings on several different materials through CNC machines.

The StepperOnline comes with Black A+, Green A-, Red B+, and Blue B- connections. But make sure that you do not connect the motor with a direct power supply; otherwise, it will burn out.

Instead, use a chopper driver controller or any other constant current source to avoid any accidents.


3. 4 Axis CNC Nema23 Stepper Motor

  • Torque: 2.8 N-m
  • Power supply: 400W
  • Step Angle: 1.8°
  • Support USB CNC Software
  • 4 Axis CNC Stepper Motor

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What we Like!
  • Stepper Motor comes with a driver
  • High torque
  • USB-CNC controller included
Things to Consider!
  • The controller only works with Windows 7

Overview

If you are looking for a full-fledged Stepper Motor kit that would seamlessly work with your CNC, then the 4 axes CNC Nema 23 Stepper Motor by RattmMotor is going to be your best choice yet.

The kit contains a 4-axis CNC Nema-23 stepper motor with a dual shaft and a torque of 2.8 N-m, which is great for a medium-sized DIY CNC machine that can engrave everyday materials like wood, plastics, etc.

Other relevant specifications of the stepper motor include a step angle of 1.8° with an accuracy of +/- 5% and a resistance accuracy of +/- 10%, while the inductance accuracy is +/- 20 %.

But since this is a whole kit, you get a great stepper motor and other items such as a USB-CNC breakout board, a switching power supply, a hand controller, a USB cable, and last but not least, a stepper motor driver.

The USB-CNC breakout board allows exceptional control of the motor. But the downside of this is that the only operating system that the controller works with is Windows-7.

And the minimum disk space necessary to operate the controller on the computer is 500 MB with a RAM of 512 MB and a CPU of 1 GHz.

Moving on to the switching power supply, it gives an output of 400-W on 36-volts against a current of 9.7 amps. This is on an input of 100-120 VAC or 200-240 VAC.


4. Hobby Unlimited Nema 34 Stepper Motor

  • Material: Steel
  • Motor Size: 86x86x118mm
  • Weight: 8.44 pounds
  • Torque: 8.5Nm
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Bipolar
  • High Torque
  • Can work on high voltages
Things to Consider!
  • Not lightweight

Overview

The HobbyUnlimited Nema 34 is a bipolar, durable and heavy-duty stepper motor that is great for DIY or Desktop CNCs meant for hobbyists and newbies alike.

With this, you will get a motor with a torque of 8.5 N-m and a length of 118 mm. Further, the steep angle of the motor is 1.8° with an accuracy of +/- 5% and an ambient temperature of -20°C to approximately 50°C.

Additionally, the phase resistance of the motor is 0.5 ohms, while the insulation resistance is equal to 100 mega-ohms against a minimum of 500-volts direct current.

Overall, the motor is long-lasting as it is made out of steel and comes with a 14 mm shaft with a 500 keyway. But the motor has high inductance, which means it will work with high voltages and slow speeds.

However, due to being made out of steel, it is a bit bulky.


5. Usongshine Nema 17 Stepper Motor

  • Material: Metal
  • Motor Size: 42x42x38 mm
  • Torque: 0.42 Nm
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Durable
  • Low Noise
  • Innovative stator technology
Things to Consider!
  • Low torque

Overview

It is not very common to see a brand offer almost everything relevant to the product at a reasonable price. But Usongshine has indeed left no tables unturned to provide the best stepper motor out there.

To start, the stepper motor is Nema 17, so it means that the dimensions of the motor are 1.7″x1.7″, with the length of the motor being around 1.5 inches. So it’s quite a small motor.

But do not be fooled by its small size. Because what it lacks in size makes up for it in other special features like low resistance, which increases conduction by quite a lot and does not raise the temperature much.

To talk in numbers, the torque of the motor is 0.42 Nm. But even with this, it can be used for a wide variety of things. For instance, it can be used with DIY CNC machines, 3D printers, stage lightning, textile machines, and medical devices.

The motor’s step angle is 1.8° with an accuracy of +/- 5%, while the resistance accuracy is +/- 10%, and inductance accuracy is +/- 20%. The motor’s temperature rises to 80°, while the ambient temperature is 20° to approximately 50.

In addition, the insulation strength is 500 VAC for a total of one minute, and the connections are Black A+, Green A-, Red B+, and Blue B-.

However, the specialties of this motor are the motor coil and the silicon steel rotor. This is because the motor coil is actually made completely out of 100% copper enamel through the current wire-passing process.

Due to this, it is resistant to burning out and does not generate a lot of noise, making the motor pretty quiet as a result.

Similarly, as the name implies, the rotor’s material is silicon steel with a surface coating of rubber epoxy resin, to be precise. All of this again contributes to the motor’s durability and low noise.

And if that’s not enough, the motor comes with 1 4-pin cable and a connector. The connections are Black A+, Green A-, Red B+, and Blue B-.

Lastly, the motor’s stator is designed to ensure that the stator gear remains polished from all sides. This really adds to the stability and speed of the motor.


6. NEMA17 Stepper Motor by Motou

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Motor Size: 1.7″x1.7″
  • Weight: 0.49 pounds
  • Torque: greater than 330 mN.m
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Lightweight
  • Low Noise
  • High Torque
Things to Consider!
  • No Datasheet

Overview

This set of 4 Nema 17 stepper motors will definitely be a great addition to your DIY CNC. It is durable, efficient, and able to handle long hours of work, all at a very reasonable price.

The motor comes with a high holding torque measure greater than 330 mN.m, while its detent torque is 18 mN.m. It has a steep angle of 1.8° with an accuracy of +/- 0.09.

Also, the maximum black switching frequency that the motor can reach is around 2000 PPS, with the rotational inertia being 43.2 g.cm.

And since the motor is Nema 17, it means that the dimensions are 1.7″x1.7″, while each motor weighs only 0.22 kg, so pretty lightweight.

Lastly, if you are worried about the motor making a lot of noise, then perhaps the fact that the motor comes with a German-made inner rotor and is covered with strong rubber to dull out the noise is enough to quell your worries.


7. Twotrees Stepper Motor Nema 17

  • Material: Steel
  • Motor Size: 1.7″x1.7″x1.5″
  • Torque: 42 N.cm
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

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What we Like!
  • Low Resistance
  • Plug and play
  • CE certified
Things to Consider!
  • A bit expensive for what you get

Overview

With a 1-m long power cable and a 4-pin Harwin connector that comes pre-fitted so that all you need to do is plug and play, the bipolar Nema 17 stepper motor by TwoTrees is truly a wonder to behold.

The stepper motor has a step angle of 1.8° with an angle accuracy of +/- 5% and a +/- 10% resistance accuracy. On the other hand, the inductance accuracy is +/- 20%, and the temperature can rise to a maximum of 80°.

The ambient temperature is 20° to around 50°, with insulation resistance being 100 M and strength standing at 500 VAC for up to 1 minute. Holding torque of the motor measures up to 42 N.cm with a rated current of 1.5 amps.

You can use the motor with various things, including CNC, 3D printers, robotic arms, and other similar machines.

Having low resistance and better conductivity, the stepper motor is highly efficient and does not get heated. And to assure you of its high quality, it is CE certified.


8. TOAUTO Integrated Nema23 Stepper Motor

  • Motor Size: 2.3″x2.3″
  • Torque: 2 N.cm
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • High Speed
  • High Positional Accuracy
  • Dynamic response
Things to Consider!
  • A bit heavy weighing 2.95 pounds

Overview

If you’re looking for something extraordinarily efficient and perhaps equipped with the most advanced technology that you can find, then ToAuto’s Integrated Closed-Loop Nema 23 stepper motor is definitely the motor you should buy.

Yes, it is a bit expensive than other usual stepper motors. But the price would be worth it once you start using this tech beauty. With a 2.3″x2.3″ size, the contraption is packed with the latest feedback algorithms that make the entire thing incredibly efficient.

For instance, unlike many other stepper motors, it is a closed-loop system that eliminates all the problems about synchronization. But that’s not all.

The motor comes equipped with position tracking technology, allowing the step motor to adjust the position and achieve great accuracy automatically.

The technology basically works by having a position encoder running behind the scenes, but of course, you couldn’t tell this by simply looking at the motor.

And not only this, the encoder allows for controlling the current, and the filtering technique, solves the low resonance frequency problem. This means that not only will the motor be much quieter, but the motion will also be smooth even at lower levels of speed.

Additionally, the motor is basically a hybrid system of both step and servomechanisms. This makes it very easy for real-time synchronization to occur and makes the motor highly responsive and stable. It also makes it very fast.

You must now be thinking that there must be an over-heating problem while having so many features in such a small case. But it’s quite the contrary. With the Encoder system in place, the current is automatically regulated according to the load. So no over-heating, and this is achieved whilst ensuring complete torque output.

Now coming to the actual numbers, the motor’s holding torque is 2 N.m, and the motor can support 36-volts on 5 amps of current. The step angle of the motor is 1.8° with a resistance of just 0.4 ohms. The Inductance measures 1.2 mh while the detent torque is 400 g. cm.

Lastly, as you might have already guessed, the machine can be used with a CNC router along with other things like robotics and medical equipment as well.


9. Anet 42 Stepper Motor | Best Pick

  • Material: Steel
  • Motor Size: 1.7″x1.7″x1.5″
  • Torque: 0.4 N.m.
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Low Noise
  • Low Price
  • Durable
Things to Consider!
  • Not or large CNC’s

Overview

The Anet 42 Stepper Motor is your everyday affordable, regular stepper motor to help you with simple engravings through your DIY CNC machines.

Made out of strong steel, the stepper motor is a NEMA 17, which means that it has dimensions of 1.7×1.7 inches, with a length of 38 mm.

It has a steep angle of 1.8° and a holding torque of 0.4 N.m. Along with a shaft diameter of 5 mm. You will also get a connecting cable of 90 cm.

Additionally, the motor is not very noisy and can support a voltage of 3.96 V with a current of 0.9 amps.

And like every other stepper motor, you will need to be careful not to plug the motor directly into a power supply. Instead, connect it to a chopper drive controller or to some other source of constant current to avoid the motor getting burned.


10. DOITOOL Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor

  • Material: Steel + Metal + Copper + Aluminum
  • Motor Size: 1.7″x1.7″x1.5″
  • Torque: 1.26 N.m.
  • Step Angle: 1.8°

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Good phase resistance
  • Value for money
  • Lightweight
Things to Consider!
  • Low torque

Overview

DOITOOL Nema 23 stepper motor is a bipolar motor with dimensions 2.24×2.24×2.2 inches. It is quite a sturdy device made from steel, metal, copper, and aluminum.

The motor’s step angle is 1.8° with a rated current of 2.8 amps and has a phase resistance of 0.9 ohms. The inductance of the motor is 2.5 mH with an inductance accuracy of +/- 20%.

It comes with a holding torque of 1.26 N.m and weighs around 1.5 pounds. The shaft diameter of the motor is 6.35 mm, having a total of 4 leads, with each lead measuring 300 mm.


Buying Guide for Stepper Motors for CNC

There are just too many things that you need to take care of when purchasing a stepper motor. It may seem like quite a small thing, but a good stepper motor can really improve the performance of your DIY CNC.

To be more precise, a high-quality stepper motor can improve the positioning and accuracy of the CNC engravings and allow for more efficiency and speed.

But of course, not all of us are experts at this kind of thing. This is especially true if you are starting in the exciting world of CNCs. And even if you are an expert, there is always something one can learn.

This guide has been prepared to keep in mind the beginners’ needs and provide some good advice for the professionals!

Types of Motor Drive

Stepper motors come in two types of motor drives; they can either be unipolar or bipolar. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. And it all comes down to what you will be using the motor for.

To understand this, you first need to understand a bit of the wiring in a stepper motor. The motor needs to be energized through current. And by energizing, what we mean is that the motor needs to generate force to rotate.

You should also know that stepper motors have something called poles. These are simply the steps that the motor rotates. For example, a stepper motor can have four poles A+, A-, B+, and B-  this basically means that the motor will turn along these poles in four steps.

However, to turn the motor along these poles, they need to turn into an electromagnet. This is done by passing current across the coils wound on these poles. And then, to turn the motor, the current needs to change, which causes the electromagnet’s polarity to change, which causes the motor to rotate.

So what this means is that to generate a higher force or torque, the motor needs to change the polarity once the current changes efficiently. And this is where the role of motor drives comes in.

In a unipolar motor drive, the current flows through only half of the winding on the poles with a center tap. And the wires are set up in a way that allows unipolar drives to induce a change in polarity. Basically, to change polarity with unipolar drives, you need extra wiring, which raises the motor’s costs and weight.

But the good thing about the unipolar drive is that they work very well at high speed. So if you want to apply engravings on light materials like plastic, then a stepper motor with a unipolar drive is the best.

However, due to the presence of a center tap, they don’t give good torque output compared to bipolar motors.

Bipolar motors, on the other hand, do not use a center tap. And there is no need for extra wiring as a bipolar drive changes polarity direction using extra transistors.

Also, unlike unipolar drives, bipolar drives let the current flow through the entire winding. This means that bipolar motors have a superior output even at low levels of speed.

Nevertheless, at high speeds, bipolar drives do not deliver a good performance. However, bipolar drives can be made more efficient by changing the way the wiring is set up. This is what we are going to discuss next.

Number of Leads

You will often hear or see that the specifications of a stepper motor include the number of leads. What is this anyway?

It is quite a simple concept. Stepper motors come with different numbers of wire setups. There can be a 4-wire, 6-wire, or 8-wire setup. But in other words, we can say a 4-lead, 6-lead, or an 8-lead stepper motor.

Bipolar motors usually have a 4-wire setup. With 4 phases, this means that each phase has only one winding. And since bipolar drives use transistors to change the polarity of the phases, the reduced number of wiring considerably reduces the motor’s cost, weight, and size. But as discussed earlier, such motors do not deliver good performance at high-speed levels.

We then have the 6-wire configuration. This is the usual configuration for unipolar drives where the wiring uses a center tap wounded across the 4-phases. Again, this configuration does not produce good output at low speeds.

So what can be done to benefit from the higher output of a bipolar motor while also taking advantage of the high-speed performance of unipolar drives?

Some may say that the only way around is to get a bipolar motor with 8 leads/wires connected in parallel. But what do we mean by this? Let’s discuss this next.

Wiring Configurations

For an 8-wire bipolar stepper motor, the wires can be arranged in parallel or series. Again, both types have their own harms and benefits.

With the wiring wounded in series, the 8-wire stepper motor again delivers great performance at low speeds.

However, when connected in parallel, the 8-wire bipolar stepper motor delivers a good enough performance even at higher speeds.

But sadly, there is a downside to this as well. A parallel configuration requires a lot of currents to turn the polarity. To be more precise, it requires 4 times the current required by a series configuration.

Torque, Inductance, and Resistance

The type of motor drive, the number of leads, and the wiring configuration affect three main factors of a stepper motor: torque, inductance, and resistance.

The torque of the motor is what we have been calling output in the discussion above. More technically, it is the force with which the motor rotates about an axis. The higher the force, the more the rotation and the better the output.

On the other hand, induction measures how unwilling the motor is to accept a change in the current and thereby change the polarity to allow the motor to rotate. Low inductance is good because it means that the motor easily changes the polarity when the current changes. This means the motor rotates more efficiently.

Finally, the resistance of a motor is the usual concept of how easily the current can pass through the wiring around the phases. Of course, a lower resistance is again a good thing because it means the current can pass through easily.

But all of these three factors are affected by the three fundamental principles discussed above. A bipolar drive usually has a higher torque as compared to a unipolar drive. But this is again true for lower speeds. At higher speeds, the unipolar drive wins.

A series configuration in bipolar drives delivers a good torque but increases both inductance and resistance.

And as discussed earlier, we can get a bipolar motor with 8 leads connected in parallel, which delivers good performance both at low and high speeds but draws more current.

Final Verdict

So, in the end, the main thing that you need to know when buying a stepper motor is what you’ll be using it for. Plus, it also depends on the type of CNC you have.

A regular unipolar motor drive would work for those with a DIY CNC and work on materials like plastic and wood. But if you want to engrave materials like metal, you can use a bipolar motor drive with 4 leads.

But make sure you also have a compatible CNC for such applications. Just having a stronger motor does not help.

Related Posts:

You may also love to read these my reviews and the buying guides…


People also Aked for Stepper Motors for CNC

Here are top questions people also asking for Stepper Motors for CNC;

What are the best stepper motors for CNC?

Here are the top rated as per our editors;

  1. RTELLIGENT Nema 23 Stepper Motor
  2. STEPPERONLINE Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor
  3. 4 Axis CNC Nema23 Stepper Motor
  4. Hobby Unlimited Nema 34 Stepper Motor
  5. Usongshine Nema 17 Stepper Motor
  6. NEMA17 Stepper Motor by Motou
  7. Twotrees Stepper Motor Nema 17
  8. TOAUTO Integrated Nema23 Stepper Motor
  9. Anet 42 Stepper Motor | Best Pick
  10. DOITOOL Nema 23 CNC Stepper Motor

What is the difference between NEMA 17 and NEMA 23?

NEMA 17 and NEMA 23 indicate the size of the motor. So a NEMA 17 motor means that the motor dimensions are 1.7×1.7 inches, whereas a NEMA 23 has dimensions of 2.3×2.3 inches. Of course, this means that the height of the motor can vary.

How does power supply affect performance?

The voltage of the power supply is what affects the output of a stepper motor. This is because the voltage is used by the motor drive to rotate the motor.

A higher voltage usually means that the speed of rotation increases. But this does not mean that the torque of the motor will also increase. In fact, bipolar motors do not have a lot of torque at higher speeds.

So in these cases, you should make sure your power supply does not have a lot of voltage. The necessary amount of voltage to generate a particular amount of torque is all listed in the specification section of the motor.

What is rated current?

Rated current is the amount of current that is required for the motor to operate efficiently. Current levels higher than the rate can damage the motor.

David Houghton
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