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Difference Between Gears & Sprocket

Difference Between Gears & Sprocket

A very common question & a very confusing one, when you ask someone about the differences between Gears & sprockets. They would simply refer to it as one & same thing or they would call it a wheel with teeth because they visually look the same but if you actually observe it thoroughly you will find quite a few differences. 

Differences Between Gear & Sprocket

Gears & sprocket are used in machines to transfer mechanical power to the desired end. Before getting into the differences, let’s look into what gear and sprocket really are.


A gear is a wheel with interlocking teeth which mash up together with other gears to transfer rotational movement or speed. The teeth of the two connecting gears completely interlock with each other so when one gear moves; it rotates the other in the opposite direction. 


It is used for increasing or decreasing torque & speed by using different sizes of gears.


A sprocket has the same visual design as gears because It is also a wheel with teeth. but these teeth are designed in such a way that they don’t interlock with the teeth of another sprocket. In fact, they are designed to fit into the slot of a chain or belt.

SprocketSprocket in tanks

A bicycle has no gears in it, there are two sprockets connected together with a chain that transfers the motion from one place to another. The other point to note is that when the sprocket moves, the other sprocket moves in the same direction and not opposite as in gears system.

Differences Between Gears & Sprocket

Gears Sprocket
Teeth of two gears interlock with each other Their teeth do not interlock, they fit into the slots of a chain or belt.
The gear transmit motion in any axis The sprocket transmits motion only in a parallel axis.
The transmitted torque is opposite in direction It transmits torque is in the same direction.
Usually, multiple gears come together as one gear system for perfect transmission of power. They usually work with two sprockets & a chain as seen in a bicycle.
If one of its teeth is damaged during operation, it will lose some efficiency but it will work. Damage to one or more than one of sprocket’s teeth may cause the chain to fell off & breaks the system.
Gears are used in almost every mechanical system such as motors, vehicles, etc. The most common use of Sprocket besides in bicycles is in tracked vehicles such as tanks, bulldozers or for transmitting power where gears are unsuitable.  

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