This Toolstop blog explains the differences between power tools with brushless motors vs brushed motors, and why brushless motors are better and the benefits they bring.
What is a Brushless Motor?
Brushless motors aren’t new, in fact, they’ve been around since the 1960s, but over the last decade, we’ve seen them creep into just about every category of cordless power tool. In this Toolstop Guide, we’ll explain how brushless motors work, why they make for better cordless power tools, and three types of power tools that benefit from brushless motors the most.
But first, lets start off with brushed motor power tools.
What is a Brushed Motor?
The motor in your power tools is usually made up of 6 parts:
- Armature or rotor
- Field magnet
- DC power supply of some sort
While common and historical, brushed motors have problems:
Conventional brushed motors are typically bulky and heavy. This translates itself into bulky, heavy power tools which are tiring to use
Brushed motors, due to their very nature, produce sparks and heat. These are forms of "energy loss"; in the case of a cordless tool, this energy – even though it is lost to you – is drawn from the battery. Your cordless battery’s life is potentially shortened. Lost energy means more charges, more charges shorten the life of the battery
The brushes themselves wear and and need to be replaced. This costs you time and money
So, what advantages does going brushless have for you and your power tools on the job site?
How Does a Brushless Motor Work?
There are 3 key points that make brushless power tools better than brushed:
- Fewer moving parts
- Less build-up of harmful heat
- Better efficiency energy-wise
Rather than having, per a traditional brushed motor, carbon brushes, a ring of magnets, an armature, and a commutator, a brushless motor loses the brushes – obviously – and the commutator. They’re replaced by magnets and a small circuit board to coordinate the energy delivered by the battery to the windings of the motor.
Overall, the motor is smarter, only using the energy required by the application, rather than just wanting to run on full power, which is typically the issue with older, brushed motors.
It goes without saying that motors with a smarter approach to drawing energy stored in the battery have a massive “tick” in their favour. But add to this the fact that the motors are more durable, more able to withstand knocks and bumps, tend to be a little bit larger, and can more efficiently turn battery energy into power output, it becomes abundantly clear that brushless cordless power tools are just better than their brushed cousins.
Some manufacturers claim that you’ll see around 30% longer runtimes from your batteries when they’re slotted into a brushless power tool. Watch our brushless motor video guide which explains the complete ins and outs of brushless motors:
Why Brushless Motors?
Below we have listed some power tools which benefit from having a brushless motor. Of course, a brushless motor will always provide the 3 great points mentioned above, but for these tools in particular, they are a game changer:
Brushless SDS+ Rotary Hammer Drills – click to see what’s in stock
Big-hitting tools that require plenty of power will always benefit from brushless motors. Guaranteed longer runtime from fully charged batteries, better durability to handle vibration and lighter motors all add up to a superior performance from brushless SDS+ rotary hammer drills.
Brushless Angle Grinders – click to see what’s in stock
As with SDS+ rotary hammer drills, angle grinders require loads of efficient delivery and handling of power from the battery in order to work properly. The brushless motor ensures that the tool runs cooler, only draws the power it needs and gets you longer runtimes per charged battery.
Brushless Impact Drivers – click to see what’s in stock
Finally, a brushless impact driver is the sort of tool you’ll be reaching for all day long, ready for driving massive screws, fasting metal nuts or even making bit holes with spade bits. Of course, keeping the size of the tool compact helps when working in tight spaces, and of course, running a super-efficient brushless motor results in very long runtimes from your battery. You can’t go wrong with switching up to a brushless impact driver.
Why You Should Make the Switch to Brushless
These days, believe it or not, some power tools with brushless motors can perform equal to that of a corded machine, and others even exceeding their power. To sum up the benefits of power tools with a brushless motor:
They’re smaller. They’re lighter. They run cooler. They give you longer runtime from your batteries, whether you’re still packing 3Ah or if you’ve moved up to 5Ah or higher. They’re a big step up from brushed motors in the cordless power tool evolution.
We reckon the move towards brushless technology is one innovation we should all sit up and pay attention to. When it comes to power tools, are you brushless or brushed? If brushed, will you be making the switch?