The SGS Thompson L293D is one of the most common motor driver chips, with built-in protection from the abuse motors can create.
This smaller brother to the SGS Thompson L298 is one of the most common motor driving chips out there. Each IC can handle two motors at nominally 600mA each, with spikes up to 1.2 amps, at a voltage range between 4.5 and 36 volts!
Other features of this chip include back-emf diode protection, and automatic thermal shutdown which automatically throttles current flow back until the chip cools down again..
Say, we've use this very chip in our own Secret Motor Driver kit. It's a nice, tidy way to use this chip if you're not used to using it!