What are Rare Earth Magnets?

 In Magnets, Types of Magnets

Prized for their superior strength and performance since their discovery in the 1960s, rare earth magnets have become a vital component not only in today’s industrial and technological applications, but for hobby crafters as well. They can be used in a variety of applications from DIY crafts to kid toys and electronics to heavy-duty manufacturing equipment. But what is a rare earth magnet and how does it differ from other magnets?

Rare Earth Magnets

Rare earth magnets are the strongest magnets. They are two to three times stronger than regular ceramic or alnico magnets. They are made from alloys of rare earth elements, rather than ferrite and alnico like other magnets. The term “rare earth” can be a bit misleading, however, as the metals are not exactly rare, but are rarely found in large, concentrated deposits.

There are two kinds of rare earth magnet – Neodymium (Nd-Fe-B) and Samarium Cobalt (SmCo). While both these magnets are stronger than regular magnets, Neodymium magnets are the strongest magnets on earth.

Properties of Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets

Primarily composed of neodymium, iron, and boron alloys, Neodymium magnets are the strongest magnet on the market today. But strength isn’t the only thing this rare earth magnet has going for it.

Small & Powerful

When you are short on space, but need the strength, Neodymium magnets are they way to go.  Neodymium magnets are capable of packing an extremely powerful punch into a small, compact package. They are the highest energy product for its size, producing about 1.5 tesla compared to ceramic magnet’s .5 tesla. Since they are two to three times stronger than your average magnet, you can get some amazing holding power from even the smallest of magnets.

Heat Resistant

Rare earth magnets are naturally resistant to heat. They all offer a greater level of heat protection than standard magnets, although some are more heat resistant than others and it varies with the magnet’s grade. A high-quality Neodymium magnet can withstand temperatures up to 212 degrees F without losing its magnet field. Whereas a Samarium Cobalt magnet can withstand temperatures over 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Long Lasting

Neodymium magnets are the most permanent magnets in the world. Overtime, all magnets will lose some of their magnetic strength. Standard magnets lose about five percent of their strength every 100 years. Rare earth magnets aren’t as susceptible, losing only a fraction of their performance every 100 years. They are also very resistant to demagnetization.

Prone to Corrosion

Rare earth magnets unfortunately do have a downside – low corrosion resistance. The iron in Neodymium magnets will oxidize quickly and cause them to rust over time. Additives are often used to increase their resistance to corrosion. Neodymium magnets are typically coated with gold, zinc or nickel to provide a protective layer that prevents them from corroding.

Common Uses for Rare Earth Magnets

Rare earth magnets come in nearly any size. They can be as small as 1mm diameter by 1mm thick or as big as 80mm diameter by 65mm thick and capable of lifting 150kg, making the possibilities for uses nearly limitless. Here are some common uses for rare earth magnets.

  • Magnetic separators
  • Linear actuators
  • Microphone, headphone and speaker assemblies
  • High-performance AC servo motors
  • DC motors (automotive starters)
  • Traction motors and integrated starter-generators in hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Computer hard disc drives, printers and speakers
  • MRI scanners and other medical devices
  • Wind turbine generators
  • Bicycle dynamos
  • Fishing reel brakes
  • Permanent magnet motors in cordless tools
  • Mechanically powered flashlights
  • Industrial applications such as maintaining product purity, equipment protection and quality control
  • Packaging closures
  • POP and tradeshow signage
  • Heavy machinery
  • Crafts and model-making

Where to Buy Rare Earth Magnets

Rare earth magnets are the most powerful magnets in the world. They can be the perfect solution for any project, large or small. At US Magnetix, we offer neodymium magnets in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your exact needs. You can purchase neodymium magnets online by visiting our online store today.

Still not sure if a neodymium rare earth magnet is the right choice for your product? We can help. Just give us a call at 800-330-1432 or send us a message. We have years of experience and expertise in helping customers decide which magnetic product is right for their needs.


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