The objective of this paper is to estimate the parameters of a permanent magnet DC motor (PMDC) using the genetic algorithm (GA) and compare the speed control of a PMDC motor using PI, PID, and state feedback controller. The electrical, mechanical and electromechanical parameters estimated using genetic algorithm is used in modelling of the PMDC motor in Matlab/Simulink. The speed controllers are designed from the estimated parameters of PMDC motor in Matlab/Simulink. The performance of PI, PID and state feedback speed controllers are compared. The simulation results of state feedback controller for speed control of PMDC motor provides less peak overshoot as well as faster settling time compared to PI and PID controller. © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.