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Types of Simple Machines

One of the most important reasons that human being have become the most successful species on Earth is due to our mastery of tools and simple machines.

Read on to learn about some of the most influential types of simple machines that we utilize every day in a variety of ways.


What Makes a Machine Simple?

To put it simply, simple machines are tools that make work easier. They allow their user to accomplish more work while expending less energy.

Basically, the amount of work that you would need to put into a job is decreased by using one of these machines.

They can be broken down into six different categories.


Types of Simple Machines

Simple machines can be broken down into six different categories.

Pulley – A pulley uses grooved wheels and ropes/chains to raise, lower, or move a load. They can be combined with other pulleys to gain even more of an advantage and move heavier loads.

Lever – A lever is a bar that rests on a support and can be used to lift or move loads.

Wedge – A wedge is an object with a slanted edge which is sharp. It can be used to cut materials apart.

Wheel and Axle – A wheel, when combined with a rod through its center can be used to lift or move loads.

Inclined Plane – This is any slanted surface that is used to connect a lower surface to a higher one.

Screw – Screws are inclined planes that are wrapped around a pole which holds things together.


Examples of Simple Machines in the Real World

The odds are that you have probably seen examples of simple machines in your everyday life without realizing it. Here is a list of some everyday examples of simple machines.

  1. Pulley
    1. Blinds
    2. Garage Doors
    3. Flag Poles
  2. Lever
    1. See Saw
    2. Pry Bar
    3. Hammer
  3. Wedge
    1. Scissors
    2. Knife
    3. Axe
    4. Splitting Maul
  4. Wheel and Axle
    1. Toy Cars
    2. Office Chairs
    3. Bicycles
  5. Inclined Plane
    1. Wheel Chair Ramp
    2. Skateboard Ramp
    3. Slides
  6. Screw
    1. Jar Lid
    2. Drill Bit
    3. Bolt
    4. Light Bulb
    5. Bottle Caps

The Next Level: Complex Machines

Simple machines are just that, simple. They are perfect for the jobs for which they have been designed, but not much else.

However, if you are feeling inventive, you can combine these simple machines to make something entirely new – complex machines!


Complex machines are any machine that uses a combination of two or more simple machines to try and make work even simpler.

A scissors is a good example of a complex machine.

The blades are a wedge when the handle is a lever. When these two simple machines are combined, they make a complex machine that is perfect for cutting paper quickly and easily.

farmer in field

So Simple, Yet So Effective!

Simple machines might be simple, but they help make work so much easier!

So the next time you have a job to do, try and search for a simple or complex machine to make that job a bit easier for you!


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