Brushed Vs. Brushless Motors: What are The Difference?

An electric motor is standard in most power tools that you may have in your workshop. Their primary purpose is the conversion of electrical power to mechanical force. You will see this component in power drills, electric saws, and car lifts. There are two types of electric motors, which is also our main topic, brushed vs. brushless.

Understanding the variance between the two types is critical in understanding their efficiency and learning how they work. Let us look at each of the motors to see which the best is in various situations.

Brushed Motors

The first part of our discussion introduces us to brushed motors. They run from a direct current power source and have been a crucial component in the relationship between electrical and mechanical forces. As earlier hinted, they turn the electrical current into mechanical rotation.

Brushed motors have been on the scene for a long time since their invention in the 18th century. They play a significant role in several mechanical applications. You find them manufacturing plants, like steel rolling and paper mills, and in the construction sector. Additionally, they are prominent in RC cars.

A defining feature of this type of electrical motor is the brush. It transfers current from the wires to the rotating parts. The brush is a carbon construction, mostly graphite due to its high resistance.

brushed vs brushless motor which is better

How a Brushed DC Motor Works

Key to understanding how a brushed DC motor works is knowing its structure and organization. There are four standard parts: the armature, permanent magnets, commutator rings, and brushes. The armature is the moving part consisting of coils with electromagnetic properties when exposed to an electric current. It also holds the shaft.

The armature will have a series of coils going around steel or aluminum plates to maintain the shaft’s torque as it spins. Attached to the armature are the commutator rings. They contact the brushes and spin with the armature. The magnets make up the stator or immovable parts. They form a ring around the armature, with each side having an opposing charge.

The brushes pass electrical current from the wires to the coils in the armature. The current turns this structure into an electromagnet. Once powered, the coil gets attracted to the magnet with an opposite charge. When the current reaches the other brush, there will be a polarity reversal, making the other coil repel its adjacent magnet and attracted to the other.

This chain of reaction leads to the rotational movement of the coil-over structure. In short, a positively charged coil moves towards a negatively charge permanent magnet and vice versa.

Brushless Motors

Brushless motors have been on the scene since the 19th century, though their popularity soared around the 1960s. They also go by electronically commutated motors and differ from the brushed varieties by lacking a set of brushes. Furthermore, the structure looks like the reverse of brushed motors. In this case, the stator consists of the coils, while a permanent magnet is an armature or rotor.

In place of the brush and commutator rings, the motors have a controller. Brushless motors receive much praise due to their efficiency, with many preferring them over the brushed type.

brushed vs brushless explained

How a Brushless DC Motor Works

On how a brushless DC motor works, it is the opposite of the brushed motor. The electric current on the relay wires goes directly to the coils via a controller. The controller aids in the adjustment of the amplitude and phase of the direct current pulse. Subsequently, it gives you control over the speed and torque of the motor.

When the current powers the three-phased coils, they turn into electromagnets. The coils will cause the permanent magnet rotor to move through attraction or repulsion forces. At times, it is a combination of both, which boosts its efficiency.

The sensor is another essential part of the brushless motor.  It detects the rotor’s position and sends the information to the controller. In turn, the controller energizes the coils, focusing on specific timing and positioning. This is essential in regulating motion.

Brushed Vs. Brushless Pros and Cons

Brushless or brushed motor? A look at their respective advantages and disadvantages will guide you on knowing which the befitting one is.

Pros of Brushed DC Electric Motors

A standout advantage of brushed electric motors is the low cost of constriction, as it has a simple structure. It translates to affordability when acquiring them. The other impressive thing about the brushed version is that rebuilding is possible and effortless. Rebuilding this component improves its life and performance.

This type of electric motor is ideal for heavy and extreme conditions. It explains its continued use in industries like steel rolling and paper mills.


A major downside to the brushed motors lies in maintenance. It is both hectic and costly, as the brushes may wear out fast. For efficiency, you need to replace the brushes. It is also less efficient compared to the brushless. On efficiency, we look at speed and acceleration, and torque.

The brushed DC motor is also pretty noisy. This can be a nuisance to those who want a peaceful working environment. Furthermore, it produces too much heat when it runs. Excessive heat hastens the rate of wear and tear.

Pros of a Brushless Electric Motor

The brushless electric motor has many advantages, explaining why many people are shifting to it. Its top redeeming factor is efficiency. It is fast, operating perfectly at different speeds and weight load limits. Maintenance is straightforward as it lacks brushes.

Additionally, brushless electric motors produce minimal sounds. As such, working with them is manageable. This type of motor has impressive thermal management characteristics. It does not overheat when running. Moreover, you will notice that they are light, translating to comfort when handling machines operating on such motors.


A downside you cannot overlook is the cost of brushless electric motors. They are pretty pricy, though the cost is justifiable, courtesy of their attributes. In addition, there is the risk of demagnetization of the permanent magnet due to temperature fluctuations. It requires care to prevent the loss of magnetic properties.

Brushless Vs. Brushed Drill

A drill is a standard in the mechanic’s toolbox that comes in handy in creating holes for various fixtures. The brushed vs. brushless Ryobi discussion is an excellent starting point to see the type of drill to pick. Brushed drills perform well and are affordable. If you are on a tight budget, a brushed DC motor drill is a worthy option.

Brushless Ryobi drills are professional-grade tools that assure you of the best service. They are lightweight, meaning handling is stress-free. The motor is fast, with ample torque, enhancing its usability. The sound is low and won’t be a nuisance as you use it. Apart from the relatively high price, the brushless electric motor drill is the go-to choice.

Brushed Vs. Brushless Performance

Performance-wise, we will have the brushed vs. brushless RC crawler motor debate for guidance. Brushed motors have been common in RC construction. They are cheap, and by RC standards, very reliable. Furthermore, they have excellent throttle control, essential for slow-speed driving, like rock climbing or load towing in rough terrain.

Brushless motors made their way to the RC scene, with many enthusiasts buying into them. Noticeable attributes of this electric DC motor are durability, speed, torque, and ease of maintenance. You can pick either of the two motors for your RC, depending on the intended use.

Brushed Vs. Brushless Inside Views

Going inside brushed and brushless electric motors will give you a clear picture of how they function. Here, you see variations in their respective components and their functionality. Brushed motors have a coil-over armature that comes in contact with a set of brushes on the commutating rings. Surrounding the armature are permanent magnets.

On the other hand, brushless electric motors do not have brushes. A permanent magnet is an armature, while a set of coils form the stator. In brushed varieties, the coil rotates between permanent magnets, while on the other one, a permanent magnet rotates between a ring of coils.

Brushed Vs. Brushless Price

A crucial area to touch on the brushed vs. brushless DC motor topic is price. The former is cheaper than the latter, with its simple construction being a contributing element. Despite its price is low, maintenance may be pricey, especially for industrial-grade ones.

The brushless motor price is high, but you get a better value. It is durable and practicable, assuring you of the best service.

What Is The Difference Between Brushless And Brushed?

Brushless and brushed motors perform the same function of turning electrical energy into mechanical rotational power. However, they have contrasting structures. Brushed have a set of brushes that are the electrical conduct point between the wire and armature, connecting to it via commutator rings. Surround the armature is a set of immovable, permanent magnets. The electric current turns the armature into an electromagnet, and opposing magnetic forces make it turn.

Brushless motors, as their name hints, lack brushes. Instead, they have a controller for current regulation. The armature is a permanent magnet with wire coils surrounding it. When current passes through the coils, they become electromagnets, causing the magnetic rotor to rotate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Brushless Better Than Brushed?

When picking a motor for your equipment, you have a choice of brushed and brushless. Brushed motors have been around for a considerable time and use a brush to relay electric current. Some of the perks of this motor are affordability and a simple structure that allows for rebuilding.

Brushless motors have had a popularity surge in the last few decades. Despite being expensive, they are effective, with low sound and heat production, lightness, and speed. When you compare brushless’ attributes against its competitor’s, you see it takes the top spot.

Q: Are Brushless Motors Faster Than Brushed?

On the brushless vs. brushed motor subject, speed is a feature put into consideration. The former is faster, making them more functional. The higher speed is due to its lack of a brush, which can cause friction and resistance and reduce the shaft or rotor’s speed.

Q: How Long Do Brushed Motors Last?

A downside to brushed motors is the fast wear rate of the brushes. These parts are essential in running the motor, and if worn, the motor may stall. Averagely, the brushes can serve you for 1000 to 3000 hours. You should regularly check on the brushes and maintain the motor to improve their service life.

Q: How Long Do Brushless Motors Last?

A factor that many people appreciate about brushless electric motors is their long service life. Reports indicate that brushless motors can last up to twice the timeframe of brushed motors. As such, on average, brushless motors can last from 3000 to 6000-hours. With proper maintenance, primarily focusing on shielding the motor from heat, you can add more hours to the figure.

Q: Are Brushless Tools Worth The Extra Money?

A discouraging thing about brushless tools is their steep price tag. The good thing is that it is a justified value, giving you the best from your spending. A brushless tool guarantees you power, durability, comfort, and speed. These are critical factors to look at when getting any power equipment. So, yes, brushless tools are worth the extra money.

Final Word

Brushless and brushed motors power different power tools in our garages and workshops. In this piece, we look at their differences, giving you an idea of their functionality. Brushless motors emerge victoriously in this discussion when looking at each of their respective features. However, brushed motors are excellent for RC’ing and are affordable.

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Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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