Brushless vs brushed motor power tools

Brushless vs brushed motor power tools: Is it all hype?

Engineers constantly work on updating the power tools, and the biggest update in recent years was with the motor. While most of you may think that the brushless motor is just a trick from the leading manufacturers to increase sales, the reality is very different. So, what is the difference between brushless and brushed motors?

Brushless motors use less power, which is quite good if you have a battery operated tool. A brushless tool will work for longer than a tool with a brushed motor on the same level of battery charge. On the other hand, if you use a corded tool, being power efficient is not really needed, as you will have a constant power supply through the cord. 

However, there is a lot more on brushless vs brushed motor power tools, continue reading this article to find out.

Before I start with the comparison, let’s define both types.

Brushed vs brushless motor overview

This is a very common question in the last few years, as people just can’t decide which one should they go for. As much as it is quite technical electronics stuff, I will try to keep things as simple as possible so everyone can understand.

Once you notice the difference, the decision about which to buy becomes much easier.

Related: the best cordless drills on a budget

Brushed motor

The brushed motor is made of few parts:

  • Stationary – magnets and brushes
  • Rotary – the armature and commutator (that rotate on the motor shaft)

Once the electricity / energy gets to the motor, it goes through the brushes and in the commutator. The function of the brushes here is to make contact with the commutator.

The commutator then drives the charge to the armature, usually made of copper windings. They are magnetized by the charge, they push in opposite direction of the ring of magnets which forces the armature to spin.

How long will it spin depends on the charge – when there is no charge, it will stop spinning.

Related: corded vs cordless drills

Brushless motor

What about the brushless motor? Obviously, it doesn’t have brushes, but it doesn’t have commutator as well.

So how does it works?

The magnets and the windings are located reversely – magnets are on the motor shaft, while the windings are fixed around the shaft. Rather than the brushes and commutator, the energy is transmitted to the windings thanks to the circuit board.

But this is just way too much science. Although I tried to make it as simple as possible, there are people who are not interested in this. Isn’t there an easier way to understand the differences? Or, better said, can we compare both motor types?

Brushed vs brushless comparison

Once you know the physics behind the motors, it is time to learn why would you choose one over the other.

Note: If you are using a corded tool, a brushed motor is usually a better idea, this is because brushless tools are usually more expensive. However, if you decided to go for a cordless one, then you should definitively continue reading.

Brushed motor

Summary:

  • requires maintenance because of the carbon brushes
  • brushes create restrictions which reduces the power
  • fast battery drain

Brushes constantly touch the commutator. Since the commutator is a rotary part, that creates friction.

Why is friction bad?

Friction means heat, and friction creates wear. This means, the parts won’t last forever, and once they are completely worn out, you will have to change them.

Brushed motor provide the same amount of power at any time. If you are using a corded tool, this isn’t something to worry about, but, if you have chosen a battery operated tool, this will drain the battery very fast.

Lastly, brushed motors are much cheaper than brushless.

Brushless motor

Summary:

  • no brushes=no friction=longer life
  • no restrictions mean more power
  • longer battery life due to its efficient usage

In brushless motors, there are no brushes which mean no friction. Because of this, they are more efficient and have a longer lifespan.

Most of the brushless motors have electronic sensor capabilities on the circuit board. Thanks to those sensors, the brushless motors get information about the toughness of a task, so you will be able to change the amount of power.

With this feature, you will drain your battery less, as you will save power in some situations.

Finally, the price. Brushless motors are great in so many ways, but they also cost much more.

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Which one is better?

Manufacturers are pretty sure about this technology, but is this really so good? Check this numbers.

  • brushless motors have 10 times longer life
  • brushless motors have up to 50% more run-time
  • brushless motors have up to 25% more power
  • brushless motors are 30% more expensive

Additionally, I would recommend looking at the video below. You will be able to see testing three similar power tools – two with a brushed, and one with a brushless motor. I won’t tell you the results.

The brushless technology makes people crazy, so the real question is – should I go for a brushless motor?

We already mentioned the benefits that these motors have, and the biggest one I would say is the power efficiency. If you want to stick to a corded tool, this doesn’t affect you. But in case you want a cordless one, this is something you will really need to consider.

RelatedCorded vs cordless power tools

What about the price?

Well, it is up to you to define the budget, and it can vary depending on the type of the tool. However, brushless motors are costly to produce, mostly because of the electronic parts included.

If you are still in doubt, have in mind that this is the latest technology available, and there is a reason why the biggest manufacturers put their time and efforts into developing brushless motors.

Conclusion

Starting from the 1800s, the brushed motors have been with us for quite a while. On the other hand, we have the brushless technology that seems to be better and was developed not so long ago.

Making a choice between these technologies isn’t easy, but I hope this article will help. You will understand the benefits of each type, and hopefully, you will succeed and find the right motor.

Which one would you go for – a brushless or a brushed motor? Feel free to post your opinions in the comment section and share this article with your friends.

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Brushless vs brushed motor power tools Is it all hype

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Comments 1

  1. I would (and will) go with brushless motor, definitely. Yes, it is a higher cost, and the difference is quite big, but I think its worth every dollar. I mean, you made it pretty clear here as well- when you compare the statistic, I think its worth it.

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