Spherical roller bearings - ball bearings

How do I compare top brands of ball bearings?

by Kevin Sweeney
14 November, 2022
10 min read

The first thing in comparing brands is to identify what areas you want to compare. Quality bearing manufacturers meet international standards. It is easy to identify brand part numbers as they are universally coded however there are differences in manufacturing components and processes.

As a rule, those manufacturers recognized as top manufacturers will allow you with great confidence to specify and buy from any of them. However, like many things, the devil is in the details, and you would be prudent to look closely at what manufacturing processes and components are used based on the level of sophistication for your application.

The standards for bearing manufacturing tolerances  are identified as follows:

  • AFBMA – Antifriction Bearing Manufacturers Association (American)
  • ABMA – Annular Bearing Manufacturers Association (American)
  • ABEC – Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (American)
  • RBEC – Rolling Bearing Engineering Committee (American)
  • ANSI – American National Standards Institute
  • ISO – International Standard Organization-International
  • DIN – Deutsches Institut für Normung -German 
  • JIS – Japanese Industrial Standard

Quality Bearing Companies use the same standards for manufacturing however they may use different designs and incorporate different features so while they are interchangeable for form and fit sometimes the function can behave differently due to internal design differences.

The design differences between two top-quality manufacturers could lead to failure by one and success by the other. You cannot conclude that the failed design does not still come from a reputable and quality manufacturer.

Companies like SKF, NMB, Schaeffler Group consisting of Barden, FAG and INA, Kaydon, RBC, TPI, NMB, RBC, Myonic, and NB are all good examples of companies that we consider as offering quality, and value.


Companies like PIB offer Engineers and others online tables to select bearing types. After specifying what bearing you want you can purchase samples online. If you want to compare brands you can call us for more information regarding internal designs for each type. Internal designs such as cage type, ball diameter, raceway curvatures, materials, rockwell hardness, etc.

For example – SKF Deep groove ball bearings

Using top brands will save you much time and effort. Customers seeking the lowest cost parts often find them to be the predominant cause of application failures. Over the years countless dollars have been needlessly spent trying to fix the problems that cheap inexpensive bearings have caused. 

Cost is a driving factor for many due to the high volume and need to design low-cost products. Bearings are generally critical in most applications so it is not advisable to look at bearings as a commodity.

In my experience, it is notable that cost savings can be achieved through thoughtful design and bearing selection seeking quality and value. Find and use Distribution companies who have a track record in the industry and can steer you in the right direction.

Bearing Distribution companies offer stock and know the differences between brands highlighting those who excel based on type.

Top 10 bearing manufacturers in 2024

1 – SKF Group
A Swedish company is known for its wide range of bearings and related products. Featuring brands such as Kaydon, MRC, Cooper, Peer, Lincoln, GBC, and Alemite.

2 – NSK Ltd.
A Japanese company that specializes in manufacturing bearings and precision machinery.

3 – NTN Corporation
Another Japanese company that produces bearings and various mechanical parts.

4 – Schaeffler Group
A German company that owns the brands INA, FAG, and LuK, offering a broad range of bearing products.

5 – Timken Company
An American manufacturer of bearings and related components. Featuring brands such as TIMKEN®, BEKA, CONE DRIVE, DIAMOND DRIVES, GROENEVELD, LOVEJOY, PHILADELPHIA GEAR and ROLLON.

6 – JTEKT Corporation
A Japanese company known for its Koyo brand of bearings and automotive components.

7 – MinebeaMitsumi Inc.
A Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures miniature and small-sized ball bearings, among other products. Featuring brands such as NMB and NHBB.

8 – RBC Bearings Incorporated
An American company that specializes in precision-engineered bearings and components.

9 – Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp.
A Japanese company that produces bearings, cutting tools, and hydraulic equipment.

10 – Regal Rexnord is an American bearing manufacturer with a wide bearing and power transmission product range. The following companies make up the Rexnord branding.


Autogard designs and manufactures mechanical torque limiters and flexible couplings for use in industrial power transmission systems.

Berg is a manufacturer of miniature precision mechanical components used in robotics.

Browning manufactures V-belt drives and power transmission products like gearing, bearings, and couplings.

Duralon manufactures completely non-metallic bearings.

Durst® manufactures gear drives and transmissions.

Euroflex is a leading supplier of high-performance disc couplings.

Falk industrial mechanical gearboxes and power transmission products. 

FOOTE-JONES® manufactures helical, parallel shaft, and spiral bevel gear drives.

Grove Gear® manufactures industrial-duty gear reducers and gear motors.

Hub City Since 1892, Hub City® industrial-duty gear reducers and gear motors.

Link-Belt manufacturers industrial chain.

McGill®  manufacturer of cam followers and unmounted bearings. 

Milwaukee Gear industrial motors range from 1/12 to 6,000 HP, with a variety of enclosures and accessories like blowers, brakes, and encoders.

Morse® manufactures chain drives, mechanical clutches, and worm gearing and couplings.

Rex manufactures quality gears, industrial chains, bearings and couplings.

Rollway® manufactures roller cage bearings. 

Sealmaster® manufactures high-quality mounted bearings that include the Sealmaster Gold Line.

Looking for top-quality bearings from trusted manufacturers? Explore our extensive online catalog now to find the industry’s best offerings from renowned companies like SKF, NSK, NTN, Schaeffler Group, Timken, and many more.

Which is better SKF or NTN?

Determining whether SKF or NTN bearings are better depends on various factors, including the specific application, requirements, and preferences. Both SKF and NTN are reputable bearing manufacturers known for producing high-quality bearings, but they may excel in different areas.

1 – Product Range

SKF offers a wide range of bearings and related products, including deep groove ball bearings, spherical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings, and more. They also provide solutions for various industries, from automotive to industrial applications.

NTN also has a comprehensive product line, with offerings similar to SKF. They are known for their precision-engineered bearings and a variety of specialized bearings for specific industries.

2 – Quality and Reliability

Both SKF and NTN have a strong reputation for producing high-quality and reliable bearings. Their products are subjected to rigorous quality control measures, ensuring consistency and performance.

3 – Application Expertise

Your choice may depend on the specific application. Pacific International Bearing Inc has experts who can guide in selecting the most suitable bearing for your needs. PIB, for instance, is known for its engineering expertise and offers various engineering services to assist customers in optimizing their applications.

4 – Availability and Distribution

Availability may vary depending on your location and supplier. In some regions, one brand may be more accessible than the other. It’s essential to check with Pacific International Bearing Inc to ensure you can source the bearings you need promptly.

5 – Pricing

Pricing can also vary based on the specific bearing type, size, and quantity. It’s advisable to request quotes from Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc. to compare prices for your particular requirements.

Bearing manufacturers like other industries specialize and display dominance in different manufacturing areas. Contact us and we will help.

Work with Qualified and Authorized distributors like Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc.

Contact PIB [email protected]

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Written by

Kevin Sweeney

Founder and CEO at Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc (PIB)
Education: BS Business and Economics California State University Hayward Ca
CBS (Certified Bearing Specialist)

My role with Pacific International Bearings (PIB) is currently CEO. Since 1976, I have been deeply involved in the bearing industry, working in manufacturing sales at NTN Bearing and subsequently in Bearing Distribution. Before establishing PIB in 1990, I gathered valuable experience in bearing manufacturing and distribution. The last 45 + years in the bearing industry have been both rewarding and challenging, assisting customers across a large number of diverse bearing applications.
Outside of the bearing industry, my interests are family, woodworking, motorcycling, cars, gardening, and golf.
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