How to Choose a Pillow Block Housing

Pillow block housing by Monroe Engineering

When shopping for housings for ball bearings, you may come across pillow block housings. Also known as plummer block housings, they consist of a pedestal assembly with a central ring.

You can use a pillow block housing by mounting the assembly to a machine, followed by inserting the shaft into the ball bearing in the central ring. The pillow block housing will then support the shaft as it rotates. For maximum benefit, though, you’ll need to choose the right type of pillow block housing.


Pillow block housings are available in different materials. Some of them are made of metal, whereas others are made of polymers. Thermoplastic polyester is a popular material in which pillow block housings are made.

As a polymer, thermoplastic polyester is immune to corrosion. You don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion if you choose a pillow block housing made of thermoplastic polyester. Furthermore, thermoplastic polyester pillow block housings will continue to operate at temperatures of up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some of the benefits of thermoplastic polyester pillow block housings include the following:

  • Never rusts or corrodes
  • Heat resistant
  • Can be cleaned by spraying with water
  • Doesn’t feature paint that will chip or peel
  • Long-lasting


You should check the finish when choosing a pillow block housing. The finish may be rough, or it may be smooth. Of those two types of finishes, the latter is recommended.

A smooth finish protects pillow block housings from debris. Over time, debris can accumulate on a pillow block housing. And if left unchecked, it can degrade the ball bearing within the pillow block housing. Pillow block housings with a smooth finish, however, are better protected from debris than those with a rough finish.


Pillow block housings are available in different colors. Two of the most popular colors include black and white.

The color, of course, won’t affect the performance of a pillow block housing. Nonetheless, the color will affect its aesthetics. You may want to choose a pillow block housing in the same color as the machinery shaft for a more consistent appearance.

Outside Diameter

Don’t forget to consider the outside diameter when choosing pillow block housing. The outside diameter refers to the diameter of the central ring.

All pillow block housings are designed for use with a ball bearing. The ball bearing is placed inside of the central ring where it will support the shaft. The size of this central ring, of course, may vary. You’ll need to choose a pillow block housing in the right size for the ball bearing with which you intend to use it.

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