Difference Between Belt Drive and Direct Drive

By: | Updated: Oct-14, 2022
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Belt drive and direct drive both are common types of drive for mechanical power transmission. Mechanical power transmission is used to transmit power to a shaft of an engine or machine but also includes power transmission through belts, chains and shafts, gears, and other devices.

Summary Table

Belt Drive Direct Drive
Uses a belt to turn the motor. Don’t use a belt.
Cheaper. More expensive.
Less convenient to use. Is more convenient.

Difference Between Belt Drive and Direct Drive

A belt drive is used for low-power applications such as small motors and pumps, while a direct drive is used for high-power applications such as large motors and fans.

However, there are still some differences between belt drive and direct drive. The purpose of this article is to give the readers a clear understanding of these differences.


A belt drive is the system of belt, pulley, and idler wheel, where the belt runs in the pulley and drives the idler wheel. It is a simple but effective system to transfer power.

The difference between belt drive and direct drive is that the belt drive has a center pulley while direct drive does not.

A Direct Drive transmission is a system where the driving shaft is directly connected to the transmission gearbox. This means that there are no belts or gears inside it.

Direct drives are commonly used in large machinery such as generators and electric motors, etc. In this case, no noise is caused by power transmission because of its smoothness and efficiency.

Belt Drive Vs Direct Drive

The main difference between belt drive and direct drive is the center pulley. In a belt drive, the power is transmitted through a belt. This is because of the center pulley where all the pulleys are arranged in one direction.

On the other hand, the direct driver does not have a center pulley, which means that all the driving shafts are connected to one driving gear.

Belt drive has been used since the 1960s and is still used in small equipment such as vacuum cleaners and small motors.

The most important advantage of belt drive is that it is lightweight, durable, and has less maintenance cost. It is a simple and effective method of power transmission.

Direct drive on the other hand is usually more expensive than belt drive because of its more complex design.

Direct drives have higher maintenance costs because of the number of gears involved in the system.

Direct drives are more efficient than belt drives, which makes them better for large applications such as generators and motors.

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