Stirling engines work with all kinds of heat sources thanks to the external heat supply. It has many advantages over internal combustion engines, especially in terms of noise emissions and pollutant emissions. Since the first Stirling engine invented by Robert Stirling, development work continues on it. Considering the problems caused by fossil fuels, Stirling engines are promising in the recovery of solar energy, geothermal energy and waste heat. As a result of the studies carried out from the past to the present, many Stirling engine types, cylinder configurations and drive mechanisms have been designed. In this study, the importance, advantages-disadvantages, usage areas and working principles of Stirling engines are explained. The Stirling cycle has been analyzed in detail. Carnot cycle and Ericsson cycle are mentioned and these three cycles are compared with each other in terms of work and efficiency. Stirling engine classifications, cylinder configurations and drive mechanisms are explained in detail. The design differences, operating characteristics, technological details and structural features of these configurations are examined. The advantages and disadvantages of all these different structures in terms of design, production, cost, power, efficiency, friction, wear, sealing, weight, dead volume, noise and number of parts are stated.