What Is the Purpose of a Simple Machine?

A simple machine is a manual device that reduces the effort needed to perform a certain amount of work. These mechanisms alter the direction or magnitude of a force to help increase the ability to lift, push and pull objects.

Simple machines enhance the total output force while proportionally decreasing the distance traveled by the load.

Simple machines are the building blocks that compose all complex machines. The six types of simple machines are the wedge, ramp or inclined plane, screw, lever, wheel and axle, and pulley. These are the simplest mechanisms that apply leverage to magnify force. One or a combination of these devices enable a person to use less force or to apply force in a direction that's easier to maneuver.