Brushless tools tend to cost more than tools with brushed motors. Find out how brushed and brushless motors differ to decide whether a brushless drill or driver could be a better investment than a conventional brushed tool.
Get Inspired | February 28, 2022
Are Brushless Tools Worth the Investment?
Brushed vs Brushless Tools
In brushed power tools, such as drills, drivers and saws, small metal brushes work alongside the attracting and repelling forces of magnets to spin the shaft. These metal brushes are actually small blocks of carbon that compression springs press against spinning electrodes attached to the rotor. This mechanism changes the magnetic polarity as the electromagnet spins.
With brushless motors, there are no brushes to get worn out. Instead, they use an electric circuit board and sensor to serve the same commutative function. Eliminating the contact zone between brushes and electrodes prevents the loss of energy to friction and also ensures that any heat buildup that occurs dissipates quickly. The result? Tools with brushed motors run up to 50% longer on battery power. Compared to brushless, brushed motors run at top speed and use the same amount of power, regardless of resistance. Over time, this can lead to a shorter battery life for cordless power tools, and may make it necessary to replace the brushed components after 50 hours of use. The electronic systems in brushless motors are able to adjust the power supply, speed and torque based on the material and task for a longer motor life.
The Advantages of Brushless Tools
A big selling point for brushless tools are designs that omit components with regular contact zones. The absence of physical contact between the rotor and stator prevents the friction, power loss and wear that occurs when using brushed tools. An electronic module in a brushless motor or housing also continuously regulates current, so brushless tools always run at maximum efficiency.
The power-saving features of tools with brushless motors are likely to be most apparent to the pros who use these tools for extended periods of time on a regular basis. At the same time, the fact that these tools generate less heat, wear and tear enable both the batteries and the motor to last longer.
Brushless tool models by Hart provide reliable performance for DIYers, hobbyists and professionals. The benefits of the electric commutations systems in these tools include more precise positioning, higher motor speeds and greater flexibility with regard to power, speed variations and torque settings. The quality of the bearings in a brushless motor is the main determining factor for the duration of a tool’s service life.
The Best Brushless Tools
Drills and drivers are the most common consumer and professional power tools available with brushless motors. These tools can cost up to twice as much as brushed alternatives, but, in return, brushless models are more efficient, durable and powerful. If you plan to use a power tool for prolonged sessions on a regular basis, investing in a brushless model can pay off in terms of savings on replacement brush components and a prolonged service life.
Brushless tools also stand out in terms of performance. The HART 20V Brushless Impact Driver reaches up to 3,000 rotations per minute and delivers up to 2,200 in-lbs of torque. The variable speed trigger provides up to 3,800 impacts per minute. This brushless driver also delivers up to 30% more power and is 20% faster than brushed alternatives. It also features a ¼” hex chuck to make changing bits easier and faster.
Brushless motor technology is also available in the 20V Brushless Drill/Driver, which provides up to 1,800 RPM. This tool features a 24-position clutch for adjusting torque, a 2-speed gearbox for optimal control and speed, and an LED work light for increased visibility. The Brushless ½” Hammer Drill reaches up to 31,000 blows per minute—powerful enough to drill through brick, concrete, masonry or even rock. This tool works about 25% faster than the brushed Hammer Drill and runs for 2x as long on a charged battery.
How To Maintain Brushless Tools
Not needing to replace power tool components commonly referred to as “brushes” is one of the main advantages of switching to brushless tools. The batteries and motors in these tools also have a longer service life on average, as tools with a brushless motor design run cooler than tools with brushed motors.
Another plus is brushless tools don’t require air vents. That’s because the winding mechanism that creates heat is located on the casing of the tool rather than in the interior like you’ll find on most brushed tools. Vents tend to accumulate dirt and debris, so eliminating them altogether keeps cleaning and maintenance to a minimum.
It’s always a good idea to wipe down tools with a clean cloth during and after use. Follow instructions for safe use, maintenance and storage in the manual for any brushed or brushless power tools. The handles and grasping surfaces of tools should be clean, dry and free of grease or oil. It’s also important to check the alignment and positioning of moving parts and inspect components and accessories for signs of damage or wear. Thanks to the unvented casing and cooler operation, brushless tools tend to require minimal maintenance over years of use.