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What are the Differences between Electric Motor and Electric Generator?

Electric motor and electric generator are almost similar from the construction point of view because both have stator and rotor. However, an electric motor and a generator can be differentiated on a number of factors. This post will explain some of the major differences between these two equipment.

How are Electric Motor and Electric Generator Different from Each Other?

An electric motor and generator can be differentiated from each other on following factors:

BasisElectric MotorElectric Generator
Rule Followed

An electric motor follows Fleming’s left hand rule.

An electric generator follows Fleming’s right hand rule.


It converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

It converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.


The current is supplied to armature windings.

The current is produced in armature windings.

Driven Element

The motor’s shaft is driven by magnetic force that is developed between the armature and magnetic field.

The motor’s shaft is attached to the rotor. It is driven by mechanical force.


Electric motor uses electricity

Electric generator produces electricity

Advantages of Electric Motors:

Following are some of the advantages provided by electric motors:

  • Long Life: As electric motors contain a few moving parts, thus they have a good operational life span. For example, a correctly selected electric motor, which is maintained properly can offer up to 30,000 hours of service.
  • Low Initial Cost: Electric motor has considerably lower initial cost than a fossil-fuel engine with the same output horsepower rating.
  • High Efficiency: Electric motors are highly efficient with ratings, which depend on the size of motor size, and its operating conditions.
  • Durable: Electric motors have extensive operating life, and are durable. They have minimal service requirements.

Advantages of Electric Generators:

Here are some of the advantages of electric generators:

  • Minimal Loss: Power outages are the main cause of ruining chilled or frozen merchandise. This can result in significant loss for businesses. Electric generators work as alternative power source, and they protect the merchandise during the power outage.
  • Increased Safety: In several situations, electricity is important for convenience, as well as safety. Keeping spaces well-lit during power outages will help prevent people from tripping and injuring themselves in the dark.

Applications of Electric Motors

Following are the applications of electric motors:

  • Interior permanent magnet motors technology in automobiles
  • Propulsion and traction in boats and amphibious vehicles
  • Pump drives
  • Energy regeneration
  • Material handling

Applications of Electric Generators

Electric generators find their application in:

  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) drive systems
  • Automotive starter generators
  • Wind generators
  • Aircraft auxiliary power generation
  • High speed gas turbine generators

As far as their functions are concerned, electric motors and electric generators are quite distinct from one another, however they represent two sides of the same coin. The choice of the right equipment will depend on your requirement.