This paper introduces a hybrid controller (HC) which consists of a parallel connected sliding mode controller (SMC) and a neuro-fuzzy controller (NFC) for the speed control of a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) drive. The aim of this study is to obtain a controller that eliminates the chattering phenomenon and provides a fast and smooth dynamic response for the speed control of a PMSM drive. Therefore, using an error band method, the system is controlled by the SMC to get a fast dynamic response in transient mode and is also controlled by the NFC to get a smooth dynamic response in steady state mode. To illustrate the performance of the proposed controller, the simulation and experimental studies are presented separately for the SMC, NFC and HC. The results are compared with each other and discussed in detail. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.