© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd. The rotary inverted pendulum (RIP) is a problem difficult to control, several studies have been conducted where different control techniques have been applied. Literature reports that, although problem is nonlinear, classical PID controllers presents appropriate performances when applied to the system. In this paper, a comparative study of the performances of linear and nonlinear PID structures is carried out. The control algorithms are evaluated in the RIP system, using indices of performance and power consumption, which allow the categorization of control strategies according to their performance. This article also presents the modeling system, which has been estimated some of the parameters involved in the RIP system, using computer-aided design tools (CAD) and experimental methods or techniques proposed by several authors attended. The results indicate a better performance of the nonlinear controller with an increase in the robustness and faster response than the linear controller.