Choosing between different motor enclosure types such as ODP and TEFC motors can have a big impact on your business. Workers in various industrial settings face the same problem: keeping their equipment clean and functional. Motors specifically are at risk of exposure to moisture, dust, and other contaminants that diminish performance, increase operating costs, and shorten their lifespan.

Thankfully, modern motors are equipped with enclosures that protect the internal components from harmful debris. Keep reading to see what type of motor is best for your applications: TEFC vs. ODP.

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Motor Enclosure Types & Ratings

An enclosure rating tells you the type and level of protection a motor provides. It measures a motor’s ability to protect itself from outside pollutants. There are two classification types used to rate motors: NEMA and IP.


NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) sets the national standard for enclosure ratings for industrial applications. This classification system provides more detailed descriptions of how well an enclosure fends off debris and contaminants in various conditions.

NEMA rates motors on a scale of 1 to 12, with a NEMA 4 enclosure being one of the most effective at protecting internal components from debris. NEMA 4 enclosures are airtight, watertight, durable, and designed for indoor and outdoor use.


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets the international standard for enclosure ratings for industrial applications, called the IP (Ingress Protection) classification system. This method provides more technical, precise descriptions of how well the enclosure protects the operator and the motor.

An IP rating contains two digits. The first digit measures the enclosure’s protection level against solid objects while the second digit measures its protection level against liquids. The second digit measures the enclosure’s ability to protect itself against liquid that enters the motor. The higher the rating, the better the enclosure's protection against both solids and liquids, with IP66 being the highest rating a unit can achieve.

Motor Enclosure Types

Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC) Motors

As the name suggests, TEFC motors are totally enclosed, which protects them from the elements and common contaminants. However, they’re not fully airtight or watertight. Seals and gaskets keep air from traveling between the motor’s interior and the surrounding area. While air doesn’t circulate inside the motor, a fan outside the unit blows air around it to keep the windings cool to prevent overheating.

Pros & Cons of TEFC Motors


  • Low maintenance
  • Closed chamber provides better protection against contaminants than ODP motors, making the motor last longer


  • More expensive than ODP motors

Ideal Applications, Environments, & Uses for TEFC Motors

TEFC motors are better suited for outdoor industrial applications but can also be used for indoor applications.

TEFC motor used in outdoor construction industrial application

Open Drip Proof (ODP) Motors

ODP motors protect against liquid that drips vertically from an angle. Thanks to its open vent configuration and an internal fan that circulates air through the device, the motor stays cool and doesn’t overheat.

Pros & Cons of ODP Motors


  • Low cost
  • More efficient


  • Limited protection from dust, moisture, and other contaminants
  • Prone to corrosion and dirt buildup if used outdoors or in a contaminated area
  • Shorter average lifespan

Ideal Applications, Environments, & Uses for ODP Motors

ODP motors are ideal for clean and dry, indoor areas, such as a manufacturing facility.

What to Consider When Choosing a Motor

Choosing the right motor depends entirely on what your intended application is. Here are a few factors to consider before deciding between an ODP vs. a TEFC motor.

  1. Environment: TEFC motors are better for outdoor use because they’re fully enclosed, preventing debris and contaminants from entering the unit. ODP motors are better for indoor use because they offer little protection against debris and pollutants.
  2. Cost: ODP motors have a lower upfront cost than TEFC motors. However, TEFC motors are more affordable in the long run because they require less maintenance and fewer repairs and replacements.
  3. Efficiency & Longevity: ODP motors are generally more energy-efficient because the windings maintain a lower temperature. This energy efficiency keeps their components in good condition and prevents overworking, helping the unit last longer. You can find the efficiency rating on the motor nameplate.
TEFC vs ODP from Phoenix Phase Converters on Vimeo.

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