Your Guide to Sprockets

Sprockets are versatile components that find use in a wide variety of applications, ranging from bicycles to agriculture equipment and tracked vehicles. Although the operating principle remains the same amongst all variants, sprockets can be explicitly manufactured to be compatible with the system in question. In general, sprockets can be classified as being Type A, B, C, or D. This classification system helps broadly categorize sprockets by similar functions, but does very little to describe the particular applications in which each may be used. Therefore, this blog will detail the sixteen most common sprocket types, helping customers choose which is most appropriate for their needs.

Chain Sprockets

Providing the rotary motion necessary to accelerate bicycles and motorcycles, chain sprockets are by far the most commonly used. These devices are often confused with gears, since they both feature teeth on their radial borders, but unlike gears, sprockets never mesh together in a system.

Duplex Sprocket

For applications requiring higher amounts of torque, duplex sprockets are typically the first option, owing to their extra force-generating capacity. Depending on the operating environment, these sprockets may be produced using cast iron, stainless steel, or other mild steel types.

Industrial Sprocket

Also known as timing pulleys, these high-precision sprockets are designed to function alongside timing belts in industrial applications.

Drive Sprockets

A chain-drive system consists of a smaller and larger sprocket, referred to as the drive and driven elements respectively. The drive sprocket has a smaller diameter and is paired with a shaft import to transfer power to the driven sprocket.

Triple Sprocket

Triple sprockets deliver the highest torque for their size and are reserved for heavy-duty applications. The 54 teeth, hub, and other assemblies are manufactured using the highest-quality steel to further bolster durability and operational longevity.

Shaft Sprocket

Limited to coal-handling machines, shaft sprockets constitute the power-delivering mechanism in a chain grate stoker. These systems consist of two sprockets connected to different drive mechanisms, one functioning at a constant speed and the other at a variable rate.

Drum Sprocket

Pressure is defined as the force over a given area. For industrial applications producing a great deal of force, pressure may be reduced by increasing the surface area of contact elements. In particular, drum sprockets feature teeth, plates, and hubs much wider than others in order to reduce pressure on the system.


Although most sprocket applications feature properly sized chains, there are cases in which excess chain length may cause sagging. This slack could potentially lead to whipping or uneven load distribution which may cause damage to the system. Idler sprockets prevent these issues by maintaining tension on the chain. When choosing an idler sprocket, customers should consider the component's diameter carefully. While sprockets with a smaller diameter may readily fit into machines, they must also spin at a faster rate to maintain tension, leading to excess wear and early replacement.

Quick Disconnect (QD)

QD sprockets feature tapered bushings that help position the sprocket and allow for easy removal and installation.


At Aerospace Simplified, we carry a diverse array of high-quality sprockets. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we give customers direct access to an inventory of over 2 billion ready-to-purchase items. Explore our expansive offerings by visiting our various part catalogs, or use our comprehensive search engine to find the exact component you need. Once you are satisfied with a particular item, you may begin the purchasing process at any time by completing an Instant RFQ form as found on our website. With account managers available around-the-clock to respond to customer inquiries, you will be provided with a customized solution within 15 minutes of your request.


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