Induction motors present a lagging (inductive) power factor to the power line.The power factor in large fully loaded high speed motors can be as favorable as 90% for large high speed motors. At 3/4 full load the largest high speed motor power factor can be 92%. The power factor for small low speed motors can be as low as 50%. At starting, the power factor can be in the range of 10% to 25%, rising as the rotor achieves speed.
Power factor (PF) varies considerably with the motor mechanical load (Figure below). An unloaded motor is analogous to a transformer with no resistive load on the secondary. Little resistance is reflected from the secondary (rotor) to the primary (stator). Thus the power line sees a reactive load, as low as 10% PF. As the rotor is loaded an increasing resistive component is reflected from rotor to stator, increasing the power factor.
The graph below illustrates Induction motor power factor and efficiency.
Article extracted from: Lesson in Electric Circuits AC Volume Tony R Kuphaldt under Design Science License.