A DC motor is any of a class of electrical machines that converts direct current electrical power into mechanical power. The most common types rely on the forces produced by magnetic fields. Nearly all types of DC motors have some internal mechanism, either electromechanical or electronic, to periodically change the direction of current flow in part of the motor. Most types produce rotary motion; a linear motor directly produces force and motion in a straight line.
DC motors were the first type widely used, since they could be powered from direct-current lighting power distribution systems. A DC motor can have its speed controlled over a wide range, using a variable supply voltage or by changing the strength of current in its field windings. Small DC motors are used in tools, toys, and appliances. The universal motor can operate on direct current but is a lightweight motor used for portable power tools and appliances. Larger DC motors are used in propulsion of electric vehicles, elevator and hoists, or in drives for steel rolling mills. The advent of power electronics has made replacement of DC motors with AC motors possible in many applications.