Small Electric Motors


Small electric motors are defined as general-purpose, alternating-current, single-speed induction motors, built in a two-digit frame-number series in accordance with NEMA Standards Publication MG1-1987, “Motors and Generators”. Such motors include capacitor-start induction-run (CSIR), capacitor-start capacitor-run (CSCR), and polyphase motors ranging from 0.25 to 3 horsepower (hp). Typical applications for small electric motors include pumps, fans and blowers, and air compressors.


The current standards for small electric motors took effect in 2015. The standards depend on the motor type, hp, and the number of poles (electromagnetic winding sets). 

In 2023, DOE published a notice of proposed determination (NOPD) that amended standards for small electric motors are not warranted. 


Small electric motors are primarily purchased by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in equipment that they produce. The efficiency of small motors can be improved by switching to more efficient topologies (e.g., CSCR motors) and more generally by minimizing various losses including electrical resistance losses (I2R losses), core losses, friction and windage losses, and stray load losses. These losses can be minimized in a variety of ways, including changing the rotor/conductor design, improving the quality or reducing the thickness of the electrical steel core, and utilizing improved bearings and cooling.

Savings through what year?: 2045
Energy saved (quads): 2.20
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 112.0


Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2021
Updated DOE Standard Due 2018
1st Federal Standard Effective 2015
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2010
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2009
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1992

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.