What Makes 12-Volt Linear Actuators So Popular in 2020?

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Anna

Modern linear actuator trends have been steering more and more towards electromechanical actuators, which have proven to be more efficient than hydraulic, pneumatic, and belt mechanisms. 12-Volt electric linear actuators are the most common type of linear electric drives. A telescopic tube, often of circular cross-section, serves as the movable element in the 12-volt linear actuators. When retracted, the rod sits inside the body of the device and when prompted, extends in a linear motion. One end of a screw is connected to the rod, and a nut is installed on the other, which rotates the 12-Volt DC motor through the gearbox. This can be a 12/24 V DC collector motor or 220/380 V AC induction motor. What is the difference between 12 V and 24 V? Firstly, 12-Volt is most common for onboard mechanisms. Secondly, small actuators with a 12-Volt electric motor are more cost-effective than high-voltage models.

Schema of linear actuator

Technical Features of Low Voltage Actuator

IP Protection

The design of the 12-Volt linear actuator allows for its compactness, the degree of which is assessed by the IP protection class. This is to guarantee complete protection from solid particles and pressurized water (IP68).


The maximum force that 12-Volt actuators are capable of starts from hundreds to tens of thousands of Newton-forces.


The speed of the rod can reach several tens of centimeters per second. The stroke length is limited only by the strength of the actuator, although it rarely exceeds 1 - 1.5 meters, depending on the type of actuator you opt for. In certain models, such as our PA-17, a smaller stroke can be set using the adjustable limit switches.

Photo of a linear actuator on white background

Additional Features

The list of options also includes reed switches - an electrical switch performed by an applied magnetic field – hall effect sensors, potentiometers that read data on the position of the rod, protective nuts blocking the rod when the actuator breaks down, and much more. Besides, the end mounts and the position of the 12-Volt DC motor may be different.

An inexpensive linear actuator is a common and affordable solution for linear displacement tasks. They are compact, easy to install, and use. They are designed to withstand loads applied parallel to the longitudinal axis of the actuator. Permissible lateral and bending forces should be small and not constantly active, while the rotation of the rod must be fixed.

Advantages of the 12-Volt DC Actuator

Mechanisms of linear actuators are designed with exceptional precision, ensured by the following factors:

  • modulation of speed control;
  • digital and analog feedback;
  • the ability to control through a programmable controller;
  • programming function of fixed limit switches.

12-Volt electric linear actuators do not need complicated, costly maintenance and also work longer than hydraulic and pneumatic units. It is much cheaper and easier to install an electric linear actuator rather than pneumatic or hydraulic.

Where Are Inexpensive Linear Actuators Used?

The installation of an actuator allows reducing labor costs for various operations, as well as increase safety, convenience, and productivity. Due to the diversity and versatility, 12-Volt DC actuators are used in making office tables, furniture, medical and industrial equipment.

Image of the are food Industry, construction industry, recreation vehicles, and small yacht

12-Volt Linear Actuators in the Food Industry

Actuators are used in industrial automation systems and give the highest level of safety and hygiene. Linear actuators are popular in technology for the production of food, drinks, and dairy products. Lightweight devices are also seen regulating the automation of catering and are used in mechanical equipment such as slicers, blenders, and so on. In large-scale production, they can be found in conveyor belts, ovens, bag machines, and chillers.

12-Volt Linear Actuators in the Construction Industry

It is impossible to imagine handling equipment, tractors, excavators, cranes, and bulldozers without heavy-duty actuators. You will easily find many of these devices in the construction industry throughout heavy-duty machinery and tools. These are throttles that control mechanisms such as the engine, hood lifts, steering wheels, side mirrors, and seat lifting.

12-Volt Linear Actuators in Recreation Vehicles   

Motor homes are becoming increasingly popular for family vacations. Naturally, it would take a lot of physical effort to transform the RV, but due to numerous 12-Volt DC actuators that perform the most difficult work, you can:

  • disconnect and connect trailers;
  • adjust the height of mobile customization;
  • operate wheelchair lifts;
  • automate the management of RV appliances - TV, satellite dish, sliding doors, hatches, lifting windows and so on.

Marine Linear Actuators

Executive mechanisms provide a modern level of automation for small yachts, huge cargo ships, and passenger cruise ships. This automation includes to steer and navigation systems, opening hatches, lifting platforms, and doors. The mechanisms of 12-Volt linear actuators provide passengers and crew with comfortable conditions for work and rest onboard.

Photo of the linear actuators by Progressive Automations


12-Volt linear actuators are becoming more and more common and attractive due to their cost-effectiveness in various fields and industries. When choosing your actuator, it is important to consider factors such as the following:

  • Determine the actuator’s expected working conditions. For instance, water-resistance – how much exposure to moisture will your actuator need to withstand? The same applies to dust – does the actuator need greater protection from it?
  • Which voltage should you opt for? Which actuator will suit your conditions best: 12 Volts or 24 Volts?

If you find it difficult to choose a proper actuator for your project, feel free to contact us and we will provide you with professional help.

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