Bearing Isolators

What Are Bearing Isolators?

Bearing isolators are part of a seal, with the sole purpose of isolating the bearings of a pump from the process fluid. Bearing Isolators play a role in preventing contamination and reducing the risk of leaks.

Two main components make up bearing isolators. The first is a stationary element that attaches to the pump housing, and the second rotating part is attached to the shaft. A gap separates the two pieces, which are sealed by a lip or sealing mechanism. As the shaft rotates, the sealing mechanism blocks the process fluid from leaking out of the gap and contaminating the bearings.

Two Types of Bearing Isolators

Bearing isolators can be grouped into two types, contact and non-contact designs. The bearing isolator is typically made of rubber or another flexible material. When it is installed outside the bearing, it creates a barrier between the bearing and the processing fluid. These components help extend the life of the bearing and prevent it from failing prematurely. Platinum Performance Products currently only provides non-contact bearing Isolators.

Contact Bearing Isolators

Contact bearing isolators (you may also know them called face seals or contact seals) use direct contact between the seal and the rotating shaft or another component to create a barrier against contamination. Contact bearing isolators are made of flexible materials, like rubber or polyurethane.

They are designed in a way that provides a tight, secure seal around the bearing. Contact bearing isolators are used in applications where there is a risk of contamination from dust, dirt, moisture, or other debris. This is why they are often used in heavy industrial environments, such as manufacturing plants, power plants, and other facilities where bearings are subjected to harsh conditions.


Non-contact bearing isolators (you may know them as labyrinth seals or air seals) use a series of channels, grooves, or other features to create a barrier against contamination without making direct contact with the rotating shaft or other components.

They are made of a hard, durable material, such as metal or plastic. They are designed to provide a high level of protection against contamination while allowing the bearing to operate in a controlled setting.

Non-contact bearing isolators are typically used in applications where there is a need to maintain a clean, debris-free environment around the bearing. They are ideal in environments where dust, dirt, and other contaminants are a concern, such as in medical equipment, food processing machinery, and other sensitive applications. Platinum Performance Products currently only provides non-contact bearing Isolators.



Bearing isolators are used in pumps, compressors, and equipment with rotating components. They are instrumental in applications with a risk of contamination or leaks that could cause safety hazards or environmental damage.

One of the main advantages of bearing isolators is their ability to prevent leaks. By isolating the bearings of a pump from the process fluid, bearing isolators can reduce the risk of leaks and contamination, which extend the pump’s life and prevent costly repairs and downtime.

By isolating the bearings from the process fluid, bearing isolators can reduce friction and improve the pump’s efficiency. This results in lower energy consumption, operating costs, and overall improved performance. 

When considering the entire design of a pumping process, bearing isolators are also relatively easy to install and maintain. In most cases, they can be installed without needing special tools or equipment. Once installed, bearing isolators require little maintenance other than periodic inspections and replacements as needed.


Despite their many advantages, bearing isolators have some limitations. The most important one to point out is they are unsuitable for applications where the process fluid is abrasive or corrosive. In these harsh environments, they wear out more
quickly. Proper installation can not be overstated when it comes to the successful
use of bearing isolators.

Installing a bearing isolator typically involves the following steps:

1. Shut down the equipment and allow it to cool down before replacing the bearing isolator.
2. Locate the bearing that needs to be serviced.
3. Remove any external components blocking access to the bearing, such as guards
or covers.
4. Install new Bearing Isolator and check to see if O-ring fits snug.
5. Reassemble the equipment and reconnect the shaft or other rotating components.
6. Start the equipment and check for smooth operation. If the equipment is not operating properly, shut it down and check for any issues or problems.

NOTE: Following the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing a bearing isolator is important. The specific steps may vary depending on the equipment and the type of bearing isolator used. Always use the appropriate tools and safety equipment, and seek professional assistance (link to Mechanical Seal Repair page) if you are unsure how to replace a bearing isolator properly.

Bearing isolators keep pumps running smoothly. When installed, used and maintained correctly, they prevent leaks, and contamination, improve the performance of the equipment and reduce operating costs. While bearing isolators do have some limitations, they are relatively easy to install and maintain and can provide many benefits in the proper setting.


Contact Platinum Performance Products for your next pump part or seal repair. For additional information and assistance for all your pump and seal applications, contact us at