Types of Boat Actuators

Here at Progressive Automations are specialty is electric linear actuators but electric actuators are not the only type of linear actuators that can be utilized in boat automation. There are four main types of actuators which are electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical.

Our PA-17 Heavy Duty Actuator


These are the types of boat actuators that we manufacture and distribute here at Progressive Automations. They are able to convert rotary motion into linear motion and are powered by an external or internal power source like a motor. The electrical energy produced is used to create the linear motion in the actuator. One of the big positives that come with electrical actuators is that since they don’t need oil or gas to run they are one of the cleanest and most easily accessible types of actuators.


These actuators usually run on oil and are primarily used in applications where high force and output is needed. They allow for much tighter control then pneumatic actuators and because of this are ideal for jobs that require precision control systems. It does have drawbacks though, such as taking longer to get speed and power as well as slow back down. Since they run on oil it can lead to problems with leakage and the need for extra equipment like fluid reservoirs, pumps and release valves.


Pneumatic actuators are similar to hydraulic actuators except they run on pressurized gas/oil instead of liquid. The compressed gas/oil is then converted into linear motion for linear actuators. These types of actuators are ideal for applications where high speed is needed. They are able to start and stop very quickly because the power source doesn’t need to be stored in reserve. Even though they don’t run on liquids they are still susceptible to leakage problems and are not as efficient as mechanical and electrical actuators. They also tend to take up a lot of space and make a lot more noise then other actuator types.


These are similar to electrical actuators in that they are also able to convert rotary motion to linear motion. To do this mechanical actuators use parts like gears, chains, rails, screws and others. Mechanical actuators are mostly more powerful then electromagnetic actuators and generally the ideal option for high torque applications and machinery. They also tend to include safety mechanisms that are there to protect against overload and system damage.

All four of these actuator types can be used for boat automation, its just a matter of preference as to which you prefer. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making a decision. We believe electric linear actuators to be the best option when it comes to boat actuators which is why we pride ourselves on producing the highest quality electric actuators money can buy. If you’d like to order one today or want to learn more about our actuators then contact us and one of our on staff engineers will help with whatever questions or concerns you may have.

Comments are closed.