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The Secret to Cordless Drill Power: Brushed Motor vs. Brushless Motor

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Brushed vs. Brushless Motor

Cordless drills are a staple in any toolbox, but many people don’t know the difference between brushed and brushless motors. Brushless power drills offer several advantages over brushed ones, so it’s worth your time to find out if you have a brushed vs. brushless motor.

To many people, all drills look the same, but for professionals, it is not. There are various types of drills available in the market, but the main difference to look out for is the motors that they come with.

There is a vast difference between brushed and brushless motors, battery, and to some extent, it affects the efficiency. The battle between brushed and brushless motors is always ongoing so let’s find out the difference.

Brushless Motor


How Does a Drill Motor Work

Before we being, let’s cover what different parts of drill machines are.

  1. A rotator or an armature
  2. Brushes
  3. Axle
  4. Commutator
  5. Field magnet for windings
  6. A motor for power supply

Ok let’s start with the basics, the drill runs on a motor that is used to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. The armature produces a high amount of magnetic energy through the poles through hall effect sensors which makes the drill machine work the way you want. It is good at windings.

All power drills are simple in use. Both types of drills work on the same principle by which the motor runs. They are all powered by electricity through the poles, which is measured in volts. Usually, the higher the voltage and polarity mean the drill machine will work faster as it has more power and hence, speed. The same power creates a torque that rotates the screwdriver fixed at the end, creating a spin and an electromagnet field.

Next, there is a trigger. It is located at the back of the power drill, and it gets the drill moving. The trigger comes in contact with the motion control, switching the rotor on and gives energy. This energy is converted to phase shaft rotation which allows the motor to do work.

The electric current is passed to all windings and coils, which maintains electric repulsion, which forces the tool to turn continuously. The brushes present inside the motor deliver the current to the motor and windings and then to the permanent magnet. Both motors work on the same principle given above. 

What are Brushed Motors?

Brushes are important for all electrical brushless dc motors. They are found near the rotating shaft of brushed dc motors and are responsible for conducting electrical currents between stationary wiring and moving parts. 

A brush is made of carbon materials such as natural and electro graphite, pitch bonded carbon, resin bonded carbon, including copper and silver graphite, and are situated near poles. A brush is equipped with a spring and a connector for maximum power at the motor.

Brushed Motor

How does a Brushed motor work?

So how does a brushed motor works? Here are the steps as to how a brushed dc motor circuit works.

1.      The brush in the dc motor makes contact with the Commutator.

2.      When the volts run through the brushes and Commutator, they power the windings and the pole, creating torque.

3.      This generates a magnetic field around the circuit and powers the windings.

4.      Next, both armature permanent magnets are pushed away from the pole to alternate the polarity of the magnetic field. Here the armature magnets are permanent magnets installed in all dc motors.

5.      This, in turn, spins the shaft, and the motor starts to get torque, speed, and work.


Advantages of Brushed Motors

People who have been working long in the construction industry will know the advantages of brushed motors, which have speed, torque, and control. They might not be used widely today but still have numerous advantages over the brushless dc motors and other power tools.


Since these were the original design for drill machines, they are made cheaper and have low manufacturing costs. That is why these motors are less expensive. They also have carbon brushes which are easily available too and easy for maintenance.


Extended life:

These motors are equipped with simple yet original mechanical parts. They are in a position to repair if any wear and tear occurs or is replaced in certain cases. Hence, one drill can have an extended life if used properly, avoiding the switching of parts and tools. 


Ideal for all environments:

Brushed motors have sensors, speed, and run through dc motors only. Simply, electricity is needed for electromagnets and that is the reason they can work in all environments and positions, even in harsh conditions. If you can find a plug and a long enough extension cord you are good to go.


Simple to control:

The brushed motor is quite easy to control. They don’t need a micro controller like the brushless drill does and are connected to a battery to run and show greater efficiency than other versions. 


Drawbacks of a Brushed Motor

All mechanical items come with pros and cons. Here are some drawbacks given for brushed motors.

Quick wear and tear:

The brushes rub physically against the Commutator, and they wear out quickly. So either you replace them or buy a new brushed dc motor.


Generates noise:

Since the brushed motor runs on electricity and it arcs between the magnets, brushes, and coils. This motor makes a lot of noise. The motion might not be best in certain conditions, and the technology have to be avoided.


Limited speed:

The brushes and commutator go through friction during working. There is no stator part. It creates friction, and the power tools heat up quickly. So you need to control or stop the use for some time.


What is a Brushless Drill Motor? 

The brushless drill motor comes in a Y design. This motor operates without grooves(1). Therefore it has speed. This style of motor has a permanent magnet on its exterior rotor with a specialized sensor that tracks its position. This, in turn, sends a signal to the controller, and in turn, the controller activates the three-phase coils one after the other.

How does a Brushless motor work?

As the name states, brushless motors have no brushes in motors. Here the permanent magnets are fixed on the rotor, and the electromagnets are fixed on the stator. Then a computer (in larger motors) is used to charge the electromagnets as the shafts start to run.

Advantages of Brushless Motors

Brushless drills are the new high-efficiency technology science has given us. The brushless motor comes with numerous benefits and is the reason to be used worldwide. Some advantages are given below.

Elongated service life: 

The brushless motor gives a hall effect and eliminates the problem of overheating as there is less torque and spin.

Light in weight:

Brushless cordless drills are quite light in weight and help to reduce noise and vibration as the image shown on the internet and catalogs.


With precise positioning comes an improved performance; the brushless motors can work up to twice the speed of brushed motors and make up the difference in flexibility.

Higher efficiency:

As there is less friction, brushless motors are more effective at work. They have fewer sparks and a longer battery life with good motion resulting in superior performance.


Drawbacks of Brushless Motors

Being a newer style of motor, there are fewer cons of brushless motors.

High cost

The cost of a brushless drill is higher. The addition of an electronic controller increases the initial cost of the entire system, as seen in the image. 

Hard to operate

The brushless motors have control, wiring, and a system, which is different from the brush motors. This change makes it difficult to operate the brushless dc motors and only experienced, and trained personnel can use it only.

External vibration

The vibration from the brushless motor can combine with the vibration of the other material and combined create resonance phenomena and heat, which can hinder work.


Which is more expensive: Brushed or Brushless Motors?

In a comparison of the brushed and brushless, the brushless is more expensive. The conventional motors have all parts built and fixed inside, such as a permanent magnet. Whereas the new one has a rotor, motor, magnets, and a stator of coils.

Furthermore, there is no physical contact between any parts in brushless dc motors; hence they last longer. But the brushless comes with electronic modules, which raises the cost, whereas, the conventional one wears down quickly, making another purchase compulsory.

It entirely depends on the construction and the surface where it is to be used.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are brushless motors waterproof?

The brushless motors are water-resistant, but not waterproof. The small particles in water can seep through the machine poles and other parts and rust them. The damage is not reversible. Usually, the bearings are affected the most and have to be replaced, creating a halt in construction.  

Are brushless drills intrinsically safe?

The recent survey states that brushed and brushless tools are not intrinsically safe. The brushless motor works in a spark, and the switching phase can be dangerous for anyone. The high efficiency makes it better for work, but since it works at speed, accidents are quite prone at windings. 

How to tell if a motor is brushed or brushless?

A brush motor comes with two conventional wires. With that, attach a dc voltage to the motor and pole, and if it runs without the connector, it is a brushed motor. Else, the brushless motor needs a connector as a tool for motion control because the brushless motor is programmed by a computer.


Which is better: Brushed or Brushless Motors?

Brushless motors are better because they don’t have any physical contact between the parts. They work with electricity which lasts longer. They also make less noise and are safer for people to use.

Brushed motors can wear down fast and may need to be replaced sooner than you would like, meaning that you might need a new one sooner than brushed motors.

If you can afford the price difference, a brushless motor is the way to go. Check out our best cordless drills here now that you know what to look for.


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