Belt-driven stages are ideal for applications requiring long distances and high speeds. Belt drives can easily travel 50 feet or more. They can operate at high speeds without the disadvantages of screw whip. Belt-driven actuators are also significantly cheaper than other technologies. On the downside, they lack the mechanical advantage introduced by screw-type actuators. As a result, belt-driven systems frequently need gearboxes. This can negate the cost savings of using a belt drive. Adding a gearbox also introduces mechanical error as a result of factors like backlash, hysteresis, and compliance due to couplings.
Many belts require routine tensioning. They are not recommended for vertical applications because of the risk of load free-fall in the event of belt failure.