Brushed vs Brushless Motor

Struggling to decide whether it’s better to buy a brushless or brushed motor is not uncommon. The same can be said when you have to choose between buying a tool that uses a brushed vs. a brushless motor. There are plenty of things that can be compared and determine whether you’ve made the right choice.

It’s always advised to do your research before buying something like this, as it can result in either a great experience with no trouble or one that could mess everything up for you. No matter what you’ll be using the motor for, knowing how these different types of motors work is the first step to understanding which one you need.

I’ve made sure to explain this below and list a few advantages and disadvantages for both of them, making your decision easier. Hopefully, after reading what I have to say, you will know exactly what you’re looking for.

Brushed Motors

brushed motor

Image Source: GalcoTV

How Do Brushed Motors Work?

The brushed motor has been around for quite a while before the brushless one. Before I can explain how it works, you need to know all of the components present inside. Brushed motors are different from brushless ones in more than one way. The main difference in components is the brushes and the commutator.

They usually have two permanent magnets, meaning the magnets don’t move at all as opposed to brushless motors. The magnets stand above the armature, holding the wire winding. Then, the commutator and the brushes come into play. The ends of the wire winding are connected to the commutator, allowing the coils to be energized.

The parts bringing the energy to the commutator and then to the armature coils are the brushes. The brushes are connected to the rotating coils and to the external power supply, making it possible for energy to flow between these parts. When it comes to brushed vs. brushless motors, they don’t work in the same way, and as a result, have different components.

Advantages of Brushed Motors

Low Cost

One of the best things about brushed motors is that they don’t cost an extraordinary amount of money. Due to their simpler design and easy control, they cost less. Even though they’re not as expensive as the brushless motors, don’t let that fool you into thinking that they won’t do the job.

These motors were around way before the brushless and managed to be extremely useful. Most cordless drills and similar power tools used and still use the brushless motor, making them less expensive.

Motor Control

Among the main reasons for buying a brushed motor is how easy it is to control its speed. Since brushed DC motors generate torque directly from DC power, it’s easy to control how much power they get, thus influencing the speed it rotates at.


As I mentioned, these motors managed to serve the world for many years before the brushless came out. They’ve been reliable for most jobs and provide excellent services thanks to their high torque and very adjustable speeds. They can also have the luxury of being smaller while still attaining the amount of power they release.

Disadvantages of Brushed Motors

Now comes the part that you need to be careful about and consider if it is a dealbreaker in your particular case.

Low Lifespan

The main thing limiting a brushed motor’s lifespan are the brushes. They do wear out and will render the motor useless when they do. However, you can still pay for maintenance and new brushes, thus restoring its life and getting more hours out of the motor. Typically, a brushed motor will function properly within 1000 and 3000 hours of hard work.

High Maintenance

Brushed motors have parts that do wear and will require replacement at one point or another. Usually, this refers to the brushes and the commutator. Remember, if you’re planning to be a high-intensity user, their lifespan will decrease more rapidly.

Brushless Motors

brushless motor

Image Source: GalcoTV

How Do Brushless Motors Work?

The design of a brushless motor is mechanically simpler than the one of a brushed one. In this case, the permanent magnet is the rotor itself, and the coils inside become the electromagnets once energized. This is where controlling this type of motor becomes more tricky.

The coils inside are placed in sequences. This means that each pair of coils receives energy in sequence, making the rotor move. To put it simply, let’s say that there are three sets of coils, A, B, and C. When coil A is energized, the rotor starts moving. When the magnets in the rotor get close to coil B, then coil B is energized. The same is repeated when it reaches coil C, and the same process is done over and over.

Because the spinning rotor is now on the outside, this eliminates the need for transferring the power from outside to inside, thus eliminating the need for the brushes. Now that you know how this type of motor works, let’s see whether it would be a good fit for you by examining some of its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Brushless Motors

Long Lifespan

The lifespan is where one of the most significant differences can be found when you compare these two types of motors. Since there’s almost nothing that can wear, such as the brushes in brushed motors, the brushless one has a significantly longer lifespan.

Low Maintenance

The same reasons that increase the brushless motor’s lifespan also decrease the need and cost for maintenance. This is, of course, a good thing. The fact that you don’t have to worry about replacing parts of the motor or whether something would give out at the most inconvenient time is definitely worth a lot. More importantly, low maintenance means less money to spend afterward.

High Efficiency

Using a brushless motor will also mean whatever is using it will be much more efficient thanks to the previously mentioned advantages and in terms of how much power it provides. Tools such as impact drivers, drills, and similar are known to use both types of motors. Nowadays, when comparing a brushless vs. a brushed motor, the brushless has a tendency to prove much more efficient.

Disadvantages of Using Brushless Motors

High Initial Cost

I mentioned previously that it wouldn’t cost nearly as much to maintain a brushless motor as a brushed one. This is still true, but the initial cost of a brushless motor is higher. This can be a result of a few things, including the fact that it takes more time and work to assemble these motors.

Usually, the small space makes it difficult to install the windings on most of these motors. Because of this, the work has to be done by hand, making them instantly more expensive.

Complex Wiring and Control

The last significant disadvantage of these types of motors is the fact that they have more complex controls than the brushed motor. These motors need to have a sensor installed that would determine which of the sets of coils inside are currently energized.

No action can be taken before this is determined, meaning controlling the speed of the motor won’t be possible without this sensor, which immediately affects the expense and design of the brushless motor.


brushed motor vs brushless motor

Image Source: WorkshopAddict

Hopefully, showing you how these motors work, their necessary components, and a few of their crucial advantages and disadvantages was able to help you know which type of motor you’ll be needing. Think accordingly, compare, consider the circumstances, and you’ll do just fine. Just remember, brushed motors have a tendency to produce sparks, making them extremely dangerous for highly flammable workspaces.

About The Author

Stole Trishanski

Stole likes writing and DIY. Being raised by a single mother, he was forced to adapt and discover his way around the house by himself. He brings his life experiences to you in hopes of sharing his knowledge with everyone who needs it.

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