Though shaft misalignment is commonly referred to in terms of degrees, there are actually three types of misalignment: angular, parallel, and shaft displacement.

Angular misalignment is the angle between two nonparallel intersecting shafts, which is by far the most common type. Parallel misalignment refers to shafts that lie in the same direction, but are not coincident. Shaft displacement describes how one component moves relative to the other along a common centerline.