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In this article, we’ll go over the differences between a brushless drill vs brushed drill, so that you can decide what is the best tool for your next project.

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Brushless Drill
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DEWALT 20V MAX* Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, Brushless (DCD777C2)
BOSCH PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit with (2) 2 Ah Batteries
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Brushless Drill
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DEWALT 20V MAX* Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, Brushless (DCD777C2)
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Brushed Drill
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BOSCH PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit with (2) 2 Ah Batteries
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Reviews
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Best Pricing

If you’ve been browsing through the power tool catalogs recently, you’ve probably noticed an emerging technology on the market.

Brushless motors are in high demand these days, and the power drill is no exception. It is, as a matter of fact, one of the most widely used tools that have adapted to the new motor.

While each brand will extol the virtues of this new power setup, the question of whether a brushless drill is superior to a brushed drill remains unanswered.

Take, for example, the hoverboard. Millennials were propelled around by their ability to balance on those two-wheeled boards.

As interesting as the technology appeared to be, it resulted in many people losing their homes when it was discovered that lithium-ion batteries had a proclivity for catching fire.

Not to be mistaken: the brushless motor has shown that it can work without any terrible failures. The point is that it’s never a bad idea to learn a little more about emerging technologies before you put your credit card number in.

Brushless Drill vs Brushed Drill Motors

Before we get into the comparison between a brushless drill vs brushed drill, it’s necessary to understand the brushless motor’s technology.

Not to worry, we’re not going to go all nerdy and get all technical on you. Getting an in-depth overview of how these motors operate, however, would make evaluating the two options and how this affects a power drill much simpler.

Brushless Motors

Brushless motors lack brushes, which is one of the most significant distinctions between them and brushed motors. But that isn’t the only distinction. It needs to be mentioned that a brushless motor can also be referred to as a “smart motor.”

To put it simply, electronic sensors have taken the place of brushes in this sort of motor. These sensors transmit signals to the magnets, telling them how quickly they should go or the amount of torque they need.

This drill has fewer moving parts, and the components are smaller and more compact.

Brushed Motors

These motors have brushes that source electricity from a power supply. Consider a tube consisting entirely of magnets.

A collection of large revolving teeth can be found inside the magnets (also called the armature). Imagine a rod (communicator) running through the tube’s middle, with brushes on both sides.

When you squeeze the drill handle, the electricity first goes to the brushes. The electricity is then sent to the rod, which is connected to the brushes. The current is then sent to the spinning teeth by the rod. The electrical current is converted into a magnetic field here.

Remember that the tube is made of magnets as well. The teeth rotate and the drill moves because of the interaction of the opposite magnets.

This is a crucial section. Brushes generate the most power because they are the first to receive electricity. Furthermore, the more you squeeze the trigger, the faster your drill rotates—a feature that will be useful later.

Comparison Of Brushless Drill vs Brushed Drill

Brushless Drill

We can return to the discussion now that you understand better the differences between brushed vs brushless drill motors and how they operate.

So, how does the brushless drill fare? What are the differences, and does the latest technology have a place in your tool kit? Let’s find out…

Power

In the case of power, the brushless drill will triumph over the traditional drill. Since there are no brushes to waste friction (or generate heat), the torque receives all the power.

If you’re drilling through hard stone or soft sheetrock, you’ll be able to apply a decent amount of torque.

There would be no excess heat if there was no friction. As you can imagine, heat is detrimental to the functionality of your tool. It’s what wears out the mechanics of your drill and causes it to lose energy.

The sensors and circuit board in the brushless motor perform the same functions as the brushes but without the waste of energy, heat, or friction.

Upkeep And Durability

Without the heat, friction, and wastage of energy seen in brushed motor drills, these power drills are durable and last for a long time. They also have few moving parts, which means they’re less likely to wear out or break.

However, when a brushless motor eventually fails, the cost of repair is quite high. You’d almost certainly have to hire someone to do it for you.

Since sensors and other parts are difficult to fix or install, labor costs can be prohibitive. Whatever the case may be, you may find that this choice requires little or no upkeep.

Besides, because there are no brushes to wear off, you end up having a tool that lasts longer.

Efficiency

The performance of this kind of drill is greatly improved due to the lack of friction and heat, as stated in the previous section. All of the energy is focused on the task at hand.

Not only that, but it also extends the battery life. Your battery is only consuming the amount of power required to operate the drill because there is no waste of energy.

The “smart” sensors are another feature associated with the tool’s performance. The drill’s sensors can detect the type of material you’re working with and automatically adjust the torque and power.

This reduces the strain on the drill while also increasing overall efficiency. Bear in mind that not all brushless motors can do this, but the vast majority do.

Price

This is the main downside of the brushless drill. Regrettably, they are more expensive than comparable models. However, with less upkeep, a longer tool life, and greater energy efficiency, the additional cost still makes it attractive for new buyers.

Adaptability

This is another instance where the brushless tool stands out. As you might expect, a tool with fewer moving parts is more compact and smaller, making it easier to handle and putting less pressure on your body.

Furthermore, a much smaller drill produces the same amount of power, if not more, than a larger brushed counterpart.

Another advantage of brushless motors is that they are much quieter to operate. Brushless drills make less noise because they don’t have any friction or moving parts.

Many people with kids, nearby neighbors, or who don’t like the sound of noisy tools working in their homes will appreciate this aspect of the tool.

Finally, this form of power drill does not get as hot as its older alternative when it comes to friction. Some motors can become not only warm but also hot enough to be painful to carry. For a brushless drill, this is not the case.

Brushed Drill

Is it worthwhile to invest in a brushless drill? Is it a better option compared to our trusted electric drill?

Next, let’s get to the brushed drill to see what we can do with it.

Power

Unfortunately, the brushed motor does not perform as well as the brushless choice in this area. Remember how we said that the brushes would be the ones to receive the electricity first?

You should also keep in mind that regardless of how hard you squeeze the trigger, they receive the same amount of electricity.

With such a steady supply of electricity, the drill causes so much friction, which generates quite a bit of heat. Consequently, since friction saps energy, more heat equals less power.

For instance, if you squeeze the trigger really hard, you’ll find it has less torque. This is due to the friction and heat produced by the brushes.

When dealing with thick materials, we’re sure you’ve had to pause and let your drill cool down for some time. Brushed motors have this drawback.

Upkeep And Durability

For the brushed drill, this segment has both positives and negatives. But first, let’s go over the negatives. As you might know, a tool with a lot of friction and wasted energy isn’t going to last long.

The heat produced by the motor will eventually wear down not only the brushes but also the remaining parts of the motor.

The positive aspect is that this kind of drill is easy to keep in good working order and repair when appropriate. Replacement brushes are available from most power drill manufacturers for a reasonable price.

Not only that, but removing the old brushes and replacing them is a breeze. Replacing the brushes will effectively provide your outdated, worn-out drill with an extended lifeline, as this is what is depleting the battery and lowering the performance.

Efficiency

The power goes hand in hand with the performance, but we felt it needs a section of its own for a few reasons. The first explanation has already been stated.

With this drill, the power-to-torque ratio can be a little off. The more power you apply to the drill, the less torque it produces. This takes us to the next point.

With a lot of friction inside a brushed motor, it’s only natural for it to wear out. This friction takes its toll on the motor, thereby having a negative impact on overall performance.

The brushes are no longer able to transmit the required quantity of energy to the remaining parts of the drill as they wear down due to the heat. After a while, you’ll find that your drill isn’t as effective.

Furthermore, you are consuming your battery, which is another concern. In scientific terms, the brushed motor’s friction is an unwanted by-product of the motor. This implies that the friction is a waste of energy for which your battery is being depleted.

Price

brushed drill will cost anywhere between $20 and a few hundred dollars. You will almost certainly have to pay more for a solid power drill that will provide you with the torque, power, and battery life that you need.

However, the older brushed motor drill is less expensive than its modern equivalent. When you consider that they are also inexpensive to fix, you will discover that this tool is the most cost-effective option.

Adaptability

Brushed drills are available in a variety of sizes and weights. They are, however, the heavier of the two alternatives.

Using a brushed drill can be taxing on your back, hands, and shoulders due to the accessories, various bits, and motor housing.

The noise is also a disadvantage. A power drill isn’t a chainsaw by any standards, but it can be very noisy depending on what is being drilled through.

This isn’t always a problem, but loud tools aren’t always the best choice for apartment dwellers, DIYers, and other people.

Final Thoughts

When used at high power, the brushed drill has issues with torque. They waste a lot of energy, and their performance suffers as a result. They are, however, inexpensive to purchase and maintain.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. It can be difficult to navigate new technologies and tools. They may not be always worth the money, so sometimes sticking with the tried-and-true alternative is not a bad idea.

That being said, knowing the differences between the brushless drill vs brushed drill tools will help you understand why going with the newer model is a better choice as a tool for your next project.

It’s a smart idea to get a brushless drill if you’re going to be dealing with a lightweight, battery-powered drill.

In battery-powered options, the motor in those tools is more powerful and lighter, which makes a big difference. When using a corded electric drill, the difference is less apparent.

If cost is a driving factor, a brushed drill could be a better option for a short period. Of course, you’ll need to put in more effort to replace the brushes, but they’re usually inexpensive.

However, if you want to avoid the hassle of routine maintenance, a brushless motor is the way to go.

We recommend going for a brushless option now that we’ve looked at the two styles of power drills in greater detail. While the initial cost of this tool might be higher, the overall efficiency and durability are well worth it.

Not only that, but the longer lifespan will gradually pay for itself, and your body will be less stressed handling it.

Be sure to check out the comparison guide for cobalt drill bits vs titanium.

By Robin M


Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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