In this paper, the dynamics of tilting pad journal bearings (TPJB) with four and eight pads are studied and compared experimentally and numerically. The experiments are performed on a rigid vertical rotor supported by two identical bearings. Two sets of experiments are carried out under a similar test setup. One set is performed on a rigid rotor with two four-pad bearings, while the other is on a rigid rotor with two eight-pad bearings. The dynamic properties of the two bearing types are compared with each other by studying the unbalance response of the system at different rotor speeds. Numerically, the test rig is modeled as a rigid rotor and the bearing coefficients are calculated based on Navier–Stokes equation. A nonlinear bearing model is developed and used in the steady-state response simulation. The measured and simulated displacement and force orbits show similar patterns for both bearing types. Compared to the measurement, the simulated mean value and range (peak-to-peak amplitude) of the bearing force deviate with a maximum of 16% and 38%, respectively. It is concluded that, unlike the eight-pad TPJB, the four-pad TPJB excites the system at the third- and fifth-order frequencies, which are due to the number of pads, and the amplitudes of these frequencies increase with the rotor speed.