Collection: Pillow Block Bearings

Pillow block bearings consist of a housing and an insert bearing and are part of the bearing units family of bearings. In their simplest form the housing is made from cast iron and the insert bearings are based on deep groove ball bearings. They’ve been a mainstay in the bearing industry for decades and are commonly used in both industrial and agricultural applications.

Types of Pillow Block bearings

Pillow block bearings come with a few different styles of housing as shown below and then each of those housings can accept a range of different insert bearings.

NTN Pillow block bearings

The housings shown in the image above are :

Top left : UP Series
Top middle : P Series, there are P200, P300 and PX series
Top right : IP Series
Bottom left : HP Series
Bottom middle : PB Series
Bottom right : CM-P Series

The range of inserts is almost exhaustive from standard UC inserts, to HC, SA, SB, CS, UK and then all different sealing combinations as well as metric and imperial combinations. For each sized housing there is likely to be at least 30 different inserts that could fit into it, the range of choice with pillow block bearings is huge !

Pillow block bearing suppliers

At SGL Bearings Ltd, we can supply pillow block bearings from a wide range of manufacturers and also in our own SGL bearing which is an economically priced alternative to the major tier 1 manufacturers. We do however understand and appreciate that some customers either have to fit like for like because of warranty agreements or they’ve had problems with particular brands of pillow block bearings in the past so need to keep with what they know works. We can make sure that you get the right bearing for you.

Call us today on 01302 315144 or email us at with your pillow block bearing needs.

Pillow block bearing materials

We’ve already covered above that cast iron is most commonly used in the production of pillow block bearings. What you will notice however is that not all cast iron housings are the same. Some people wonder how some suppliers can be so much cheaper than others and one of the ways to achieve that is by using a lower grade of cast iron. Generally a good pillow block bearing housing will want to be manufactured from HT250 or HT300 cast iron. HT200 is a reasonable alternative but many suppliers, particularly those at the cheaper end of the market are supplying pillow block bearings where the housings are made from HT150 cast iron which just isn’t strong enough and isn’t durable. You may find that you often break the housings during fitment and whilst this is possible with any cast iron housing or bearing, it is significantly more likely with one made from a cheaper cast iron material.

Plastics are also commonly being used now in bearings, particularly with the increased regulations for food safe bearings and food grade pillow block bearings are now available with either plastic housings or stainless steels housings along with food grade bearing greases. Combinations of the bearing material, housing material and bearing greases can be tailored to suit your needs.

Pillow block bearing maintenance

Most pillow block bearings are fitted with a grease nipple to aid re-lubrication. It’s an unfortunate fact that the vast majority of bearing failures occur not because the bearing has reached the end of it’s life through wear but because the bearing hasn’t been protected and ends up becoming contaminated and the rolling elements become damaged. Lack of greasing is one way that a bearing will prematurely come to the end of it’s life. Bearing grease helps to protect the bearing from dirt ingress as the foreign matter is contained within the grease and can be flushed out during service intervals. Bearing manufacturers are starting to take this out of the customers hands by providing sealed for life bearing units. Pillow block bearings are commonly supplied with sealed for life bearings and these don’t come with a lubrication option. Instead, the bearing manufacturer supplies the pillow block bearing with an insert bearing that has specially designed seals that prevent grease leakage and dirt ingress, thus reducing the need to replacing the bearings as frequently and reducing the reliance on the customer to maintain their bearings.

Manufacturers of pillow block bearings

In the UK RHP were the king of pillow block bearings for decades. Manufactured in the UK and made from durable cast iron with high quality bearings they were the go to bearing. Nowadays, most of the major manufacturers can supply high quality pillow block bearings. Below are just some of the manufacturers that we work with who have excellent pillow block bearings with the highest quality

  • SKF
  • RHP
  • Asahi

If you require a more cost effective or budget pillow block bearing then we can offer a range of Chinese branded pillow block bearings such as :

  • FS
  • TR

We also have our own range of SGL branded pillow block bearings which are an excellent balance of quality and price. With 20 years of manufacturing knowledge working with OEM’s in China we are confident that our SGL pillow block bearings will stand up to the competition.

Choosing the right pillow block bearing

When selecting your pillow block bearing, we are happy to advise you on which option to choose. As we mentioned above, there are often 30 or more variants for each housing. If you tell us the bolt centres that you have to work with along with any other space constraints as well as the shaft size that the bearing is fitting on and give us an indication on the working conditions of the bearing then we can help you to select the right bearing. Some pillow block bearings are designed predominantly to keep the dirt out but with this comes sacrifices on working speed and increased friction. Some are designed to rotate at high RPM but those come fraught with sealing inadequacies so should only be used in clean environments. Sometimes you need grub screws to lock onto the shaft, sometimes you need to fit the bearings to a tapered shaft, sometimes you might even need a split pillow block bearing because you don’t have great access to the bearing for installation and servicing.

Do you need a heavy duty pillow bearing like a UCPX bearing or a UCP3 series ? These bearings have larger load carrying abilities and the housings are bigger and stronger. You'll need wider bolt centres to accommodate these but if you're looking for somethin indestructible then the heavy duty pillow blocks are where you need to start.

Whatever the application we can support you.

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are waiting to take your call or answer your enquiry. Contact us on 01302 315144 or email us at

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