The synchronous motor and induction motor are the most widely used types of AC motor. The difference between the two types is that the synchronous motor rotates at a rate locked to the line frequency since it does not rely on current induction to produce the rotor's magnetic field. By contrast, the induction motor requires slip: the rotor must rotate slightly slower than the AC alternations in order to induce current in the rotor winding. Small synchronous motors are used in timing applications such as in synchronous clocks, timers in appliances, tape recorders and precision servomechanisms in which the motor must operate at a precise speed; speed accuracy is that of the power line frequency, which is carefully controlled in large interconnected grid systems.
Synchronous motors are available in self-excited sub-fractional horsepower sizes to high power industrial sizes. In the fractional horsepower range, most synchronous motors are used where precise constant speed is required. These machines are commonly used in analog electric clocks, timers and other devices where correct time is required. In higher power industrial sizes, the synchronous motor provides two important functions. First, it is a highly efficient means of converting AC energy to work. Second, it can operate at leading or unity power factor and thereby provide power-factor correction.