What is the difference between sealed bearing bits and non-sealed bearing bits in Tricones?

6" Steel Tooth Tricone Opened Bearings

The bearings are what make the cones on a Tricone spin.

There are four common types of bearings:
– standard open roller bearings
– air-cooled roller bearings
– sealed roller bearings
– sealed journal (friction) bearings.

Let’s take a look into these different types of bearings, and try to explain the differences.

11" TCI Tricone Sealed Bearings
11″ TCI Tricone Sealed Bearings

Sealed Roller Bearings have some of the features of the non-sealed open bearings, but longer lifetime because the bearings are sealed with an O’ Ring Seal.

A lubrication and compensator system prevents leakage into the bearing system and stops the possibility of debris blocking the bearing as well as leakage of grease.


6" Steel Tooth Tricone Opened Bearings
6″ Steel Tooth Tricone Opened Bearings

Standard open roller bearings are bearings without a seal.

This means that the bearings are open to outside debris, which can enter through the cone.

The advantage of an open bearing bit is that they are usually cheaper. They are ideal for drilling shallow holes, in the hundreds of feet. If drilling deeper holes with an open bearing bit you will probably have to pull it out every couple hundred feet to clean out the debris in the cones to free them up.