This paper analyzes the kinematics and the efficiency of the planetary roller screw mechanism (RSM) to provide a fundamental basis to support its various applications. The mechanical structure and practical advantages are presented in comparison with the conventional ball screw mechanism (BSM). Kinematic analysis involves derivation of the angular and axial motions, as well as the development of the slip pattern between the contacting components. Results show that for any motion of the RSM slip always occurs. Kinematic analysis including elastic deformation is also presented. The load carrying capacity and efficiency of the RSM are derived based on geometric and equilibrium conditions, and the results are compared with the BSM.