When you imagine the contrast in magnetic strength between the business card magnet on your refrigerator and something like a rattlesnake egg, it’s clear that not all magnets are equal. For an industrial application, choosing the correct magnet is crucial to the proper function and efficacy of that application. 

There are five different common magnets appropriate for use in an industrial setting, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages when considered for particular applications and contexts. But before you can pick a magnet for your application, you need to know exactly how the magnet will need to perform. For example: If you require a magnet to perform at extremely high temperatures, you will want to avoid neodymium magnets. If you are working with a small budget, samarium-cobalt magnets may not be your ideal selection.

Characteristics of Common Magnets

Here are a few of the best qualities and drawbacks to five of the most popular magnet types in industrial settings:


Some of its most common uses: Due to neodymium’s incredible strength, these magnets are used in applications like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), lifting machinery, levitation devices, jewelery, bearings, audio equipment, and hard disc drives.

Advantages of neodymium magnets:

  • Best power to weight ratio of all magnets
  • High resistance to demagnetization
  • Often the most cost-effective choice

Disadvantages of neodymium magnets:

  • Magnetism starts to decrease (and can be permanently lost) at 80°C*
  • Low corrosion resistance (if the plating is damaged)
  • Brittle (may break, crack, or chip upon sudden collisions with other magnets or metals)

*Note: Different neodymium blends (like N-30EH and N-28EH) can allow these magnets to withstand higher temperatures, but that temperature resistance comes with lower magnetic strength and higher prices.

Aluminum-Nickel-Cobalt (Alnico)

Some of its most common uses: Very popular in audio applications, you’ll find these magnets in guitar pickups, microphones, electric motors, sensors, and bearings.

Advantages of alnico magnets:

  • High corrosion resistance
  • High physical strength (do not chip, crack, or break easily)
  • High temperature resistance (up to 540°C)

Disadvantages of alnico magnets:

  • They can easily be demagnetized (horseshoe magnets need to be stored with a keeper to ensure the magnetic field continues to flow around the magnet itself)
  • Weaker magnetic pull


Some of its most common uses: Because they’re strong and cheap, ferrite/ceramic magnets are commonly used for fridge magnets, loudspeakers, surgical drapes, musical instruments, brakes, and sweeper magnets.

Advantages of ferrite/ceramic magnets:

  • Good demagnetization resistance
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Inexpensive

Disadvantages of ferrite/ceramic magnets:

  • Brittle (may break, crack, or chip upon sudden collisions with other magnets or metals)

Samarium-Cobalt (SmCo)

Some of its most common uses: Thanks to their durability, you’ll often find these in humid environments, sensors, pump couplings, travelling-wave tubes, and high temperature applications.

Advantages of SmCo magnets:

  • High heat resistance (up to 350°C)
  • Resistance to low temperatures (below absolute zero -273°C)
  • High corrosion resistance

Disadvantages of SmCo magnets:

  • Brittle (may break, crack, or chip upon sudden collisions with other magnets or metals)
  • Generally more expensive

Magnetic Rubber

Some of its most common uses: Since it’s so flexible, magnetic rubber is often found on the back of flexible sheeting, like those found in refrigerator magnets, to create rolls and strips of magnetic materials.

Advantages of magnetic rubber:

  • Flexible
  • Can be cut
  • Corrosion resistant

Disadvantages of magnetic rubber:

  • Low magnetic pull
  • Magnetism starts to decrease at 100°C

If you still aren’t sure which magnet is right for your company’s latest project, you can
contact our team for advice, or browse through our expansive catalog. We specialize in neodymium