House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Brushless Power Tools: Are They Worth the Extra Money?

cordless power tool

cordless power tool

If you have been in the market for power tools lately, especially cordless tools, you have likely seen many brands marketed as having a brushless motor. Many companies offer two versions of the same drill, one with a standard engine and one with a brushless motor. Since the only obvious difference between them is often the price tag, it’s natural to have questions about if it’s worth the cost.

We’re going to take a close look at the brushed motor to see what makes it different from a standard motor to help you decide if you should pay the extra money. Join us while we discuss how it works and how it improves upon the standard to help you make an informed purchase.

divider 1

How do brushed motors work?

Brushed motors have four main parts: carbon brushes, magnets, an armature, and a commutator. The magnets and brushes remain fixed in place while the armature and commutator rotate with the motor shaft. When you apply electricity to the motor, it passes through the brushes into the commutator, which energizes the actuator and causes it to begin rotating. The motor will continue to spin as long as you supply power.

With this system, the brushes need to be in constant contact with the commutator. The continuous friction will cause the brushes to wear down, so they are usually spring-loaded. However, they will eventually wear down to the point that they no longer make contact and will need to be replaced. You will usually need to send the tool out to have a professional repair it and replace the brushes.

Tools with brushed motors deliver consistent power and last a long time. They are time-tested, reliable, and less expensive. However, the friction created by the brushes can rob your tool of some of its power, and it will also create heat that will put additional wear on the engine and could cause it to burn out faster.

Pros
  • Less expensive
  • Consistent power
  • Time tested
Cons
  • Wears out
  • Creates heat
  • Less power
Image Credit: Mark Hunter, Flickr

Why are brushless motors better than other motors?

As you might have guessed, a brushless motor eliminates the need for brushes, and it also removes the commutator. The motor keeps the magnets and copper coils fixed, but it controls the actuator with a circuit board. This circuit board allows for highly accurate control over the speed and torque produced. It can detect how much torque is required to turn a screw and adjust accordingly to save battery power, allowing your tool to run significantly longer per charge than the same tool with a brushed motor. Many companies market this as a type of “smart” technology.

Brushless motors eliminate the friction created by the brushes so it can deliver slightly more power. The batteries will also last longer because there is less drag, and there is no heat created, which could damage the coils.

The primary downside to using a brushless motor is that they are more expensive, and you can expect to pay about 30% more for the same type of tool with a brushless motor. Another rare problem with these tools is that the circuit board can malfunction, rendering the tool useless.

Pros
  • More power
  • Longer lasting
  • Runs cooler
  • Smart technology
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Circuit board can malfunction

Is a brushless power tool worth the extra money?

In short, our verdict is yes. For many people, the 30% price increase is a big hurdle, especially since many of these tools cost a lot to purchase in the first place. However, once you get past the price, we feel it is worth it. Most tools last considerably longer per charge, allowing you to get more work completed, and it gives the user a noticeable bump in power. Simultaneously, smart technology prevents the tool from stripping screws or pushing them below the surface. There are no brushes to wear out and replace, and since there’s no friction, it doesn’t get hot, and the motor will last longer.

What tools use the brushless motor?

Cordless tools are the biggest user of brushless motors because you can get more work done per charge. Any tools that use an electric motor to do the work are good candidates, including the drill, impact driver, handsaw, lawnmower, leaf blower, vacuum, snowblower, grinder, and many more.

driller
Image Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer, Flickr

Divider 2

Summary

We hope you have enjoyed our look into brushless motors and have found the answers you needed. We recommend spending the extra money and getting a brushless motor if possible because they not only deliver more power for a longer time, but they also require much less maintenance. If we have convinced you to give one of these tools a try, please share our views on if brushless power is worth the extra money on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image: bluebudgie, Pixabay

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools

woodworking

Garden

Automotive