Mechanized mechanical valve actuators are adapted to adjust the situation of various types of valves. The actuator is a component operated by an external power source to produce a particular movement that controls the location of the valve. Either direct (straight, flat, or vertical) or rotational motion can be generated by the actuator (spinning around a fixed hub).

The key power source regulating the actuators' movement is the fundamental difference between the pneumatic actuator and the electric actuator. The power source is air or gasses for the pneumatic actuators, which generate the desired movement, which controls the valve.

With a diaphragm actuator, the most common form of pneumatic actuator, air pumps into a hollow casing where it operates on a diaphragm to depart it from that position. The diaphragm is associated with a stem that pushes and pulls a flowing fluid into a linear movement. In general, linear movement can be accomplished with pneumatic actuators but also rotating motion can be produced.

Electrical actuators produce motion in drives by using electricity as their key power source. Electrical actuators are often known as solenoid actuators or motor actuators. The electrical current in powered solenoid actuators passes through the spindle that creates a magnetic field and pushes the disk up and down or sideways by the stem assembly. The AC or DC powered actuators use the power source to transfer a stem regulating disk operation, and either linear or rotary movement may occur.

With such actuators with a pressure rate of 250 psi, pneumatic actuators can generate the greatest closing forces of all forms of actuators. The closing speeds exceed two m/s, the closing speeds with electric actuators are relatively fast. By fine-tuning a pressure relief valve or adjusting a flow regulator, both the speed and the actuator's strength may be changed accordingly.

The relatively low cost per unit, allowing simple upgrades to larger sizes and large air compressors, with the continuous and cost-efficient powering of many pneumatic machines, is another significant benefit of pneumatic actuators.

The pneumatic drives are relatively safe, clean in operation, lack an ignition source, and therefore very reliable to use in highly flammable environments C motors, pumps, and ventilation systems.

With pre-programmed stops and start positions at any predetermined input, electrical actuators can be mounted relatively easily. Electric actuators are the fastest of all kinds of actuators at speeds of 10 m/s. The isolation of the power source from the main actuator guarantees reasonably secure operations and makes it easier to maintain power supplies, reducing replacement costs.

Compared to the other types of actuators, electrical actuators make less noise as compared with other actuators.

In heavy machinery and vehicles, for example, for-lift chariots, excavators, and lorries, electric actuators are used. Lighter-duty electric actuators are required for factory robotics and other production automation.

Pneumatic actuators create linear movement but can also generate rotary movement. To drive the actuator's motion, electric actuators use electricity. Motor-driven actuators are an electric actuator subset and operated at source A/C or D/C.