Spec’ing a 12V Actuator Properly

Getting the right actuator for the job makes all the difference. If this is your first foray into automation, you might need some help finding the proper actuator for the job.

All 12V Actuators Are Not Made Equal

Take some time to think about how many industries out there make use of linear actuators. If you need an automation system or mechanical movement, chances are you’ll need some sort of actuator. Industries all over the world have taken advantage of automation, and each of them, requires their own, unique type of movement. That means there is an actuator for each of those applications, and many of them have their own unique requirements.

This simply means that might have to do some detective work to find the actuator that works for you. Here are some primary specifications you’ll want to think about when choosing a 12v actuator.


What are you lifting? You probably have a good idea of how heavy the item you have is, and this will be a critical factor in choosing an actuator. There’s no need to overspec the weight, but if you underspec the weight, you’re actuators will do nothing at all. Consider that actuators have two different load types: static and dynamic. While they can be the same in many actuators, they can also be different from one another. Ask your manufacturer what both load capacities are.

Stroke Length

If you need an actuator, you want something to move from point A to point B. The stroke length is the distance between those two points. Spec this part incorrectly, and you’ll soon be back at the online shop, returning your actuator. This needs to be spec’d exact for your system to work properly.


Next, you’ll want to think about how fast you want your project to move from point A to point B. If speed is a critical factor, it’s worth doing the math to get an idea of exactly how fast your 12v actuator needs to go. Actuators can range in speed from less than an inch per second to over 9in per second.

These are just a few of the considerations when it comes to spec’ing your linear actuators. Take your time. Don’t rush into choosing one, and you’ll be in a better position for your project to work the way you want it to.

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