What Is a Brushless Drill and Do You Need One?

Brushless drills are a relatively new invention compared to many other power tools, becoming popular around the 1980s and featuring a new type of motor that could compete with the more traditional brushed drill. For electric tools, the brushless motor drill was a game-changer, but you still will often see both types of tools on the shelf and it’s hard to tell what the difference is between the two.

If you’ve wondered what exactly a brushless drill is, these should be all the answers you need to understand this unique brushless tool. Whether you need one is entirely up to you, but there are some significant benefits that come with a brushless power tool that you should definitely consider when purchasing an electric drill for yourself.

What is a Brushed Drill?

Before talking about brushless drills, let’s get into the more traditional brushed motor drill to understand the difference. Most classic power drills generate power using the friction of a spinning motor rubbing against a small carbon brush, which generates heat that the brushed drill can use to run faster based on the speed and level of friction.

This can lead brushed drills to overheat much easier when active for long periods of time, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad or dangerous. They can often have greater power for those needing more intense drills, and with proper use, they aren’t bound to break down, but they definitely have way fewer benefits for most users than the more recent innovation of brushless drills.

What Are Brushless Drills?

As the name would suggest, brushless drills have a motor that isn’t powered through friction, instead twisting through the use of several magnets and stators that react with sensors to turn the tool. This brushless technology can result in the brushless cordless drill having relatively less power than a brushed drill, but the pieces are significantly more reliable since there are fewer parts rubbing directly against each other.

Brushless drills have quickly become more popular among DIY crafters and more casual power tool users, since they don’t generally need the power that brushed drills have. You’ll still find brushed drills on heavier industrial tools like jackhammers, but brushless motor technology is far more common now in power tools like cordless drills on account of their lighter uses.

Which Is More Expensive, Brushed Drills Or Brushless Drills?

Generally speaking, most brushed drills are going to be less expensive since the parts are easier to manufacture. They’re also much more intended to be replaced, and to make replacing the product or parts more accessible, the cost of each individual drill and motor needs to be fittingly small.

However, these are becoming more expensive on account of how uncommon they are now, especially since brushless drills tend to last much longer and be safer investments. The cost of parts for a brushless model has also decreased massively, meaning many popular brands have moved toward solely producing brushless drills at more reasonable prices.

Less expensive models like the Goxawee 20V Cordless Drill manage to cost around $50 as a result of this, making it just as expensive as many premium brushed drills. If you want premium brushless drills, the impressive Dewalt 20V Max XR Brushless Drill/Driver is only around $140, making for a more reasonable price point for those uninterested in brushed drills.

Benefits Of Brushless Drills

a red drill with a set of drills

This should give you an idea on the difference between brushless and brushed motor drills, but there are tons of other consequences that come with this motor besides having more or less power. If you’re still undecided, these are just a few of the biggest differences between brushless power drills and brushed power drills.

Less Heavy

Especially when it comes to cordless drills, the weight of your tool is going to be a huge factor in how much and how easy it is to use. This is one of the biggest benefits of brushless drills, as the parts required for their motors are significantly lighter and less bulky compared to their brushed counterparts.

Besides the motor itself, this weight difference also comes in the form of the battery your power drill uses, since brushless drills are generally weaker than brushed power drills and don’t require as much energy. This makes brushless drills far easier to use if you’re new to power tools, or if you simply aren’t as experienced wielding bulkier tools in general.

Much Quieter

The friction required to power brushed motors is incredibly loud, as carbon brushes are still quite sturdy, and the motor needs to run at a very high speed to create sufficient heat to power the tool. This is another great strength of brushless drills, as the magnetic field makes no impact between the drill’s parts that would generate noise.

This isn’t to say that brushless drills are silent, as they still spin at quite high speeds with enough strength to be heard from a fair distance. However, the noise is going to mainly come from the exterior, rather than the loud grinding noise that would normally come from a brushed drill, making brushless drills far less disruptive while active.

Fewer Repairs

One of the greatest features of brushless drills is their longevity, as the parts involved in a brushless motor are far less likely to break down. The buildup of dust that comes with many power tools can be very damaging to brushed drills, as it can cause the devices to overheat much faster and frequently demand repairs or replacement.

Brushless drills will still capture some dust, but it won’t become trapped thanks to the lack of a brush, and only an intense amount would likely cause the power drill to lose power or strength. They still can be damaged by being dropped or impacted heavily, of course, but the fact that they won’t degrade over time and use as easily makes them much more worthwhile investments.

Speed Settings

One of the more interesting factors of brushless drills is that they often feature more options for speed and power, since brushed power drills can often be designed with just a few speeds in mind and a little less fine-tuning in terms of how its speed settings vary. Brushed motors change speeds based on the movement of the pieces, and as a result, it can be difficult to shift between clear speeds.

Brushless motors are significantly more precise, and often have more speed settings since the drill isn’t rubbing against different pieces and can interpret its controls more easily. If you’re new to using power tools like drills and want to have full control over how it functions, you’re simply going to have more options and greater reliability with a brushless drill.

Do You Need a Brushless Drill?

You don’t necessarily need a brushless drill over a brushed power drill, since they’re functionally identical in terms of how they’ll perform. However, if you had to choose and want the more effective model, brushless drills are far superior in terms of quality and consistency than brushed drills. You won’t be dissatisfied with a brushed drill, especially thanks to its traditionally lower costs, but it just won’t perform anywhere near as well as a brushless alternative.

Nonetheless, any power tool comes down to your preferences and uses. If you need something with more strength that you plan to use regularly with tough materials, a brushed drill might make more sense for your toolbox. If you’re simply a DIY crafter who doesn’t need as much intensity, though, it absolutely will be more worthwhile to pick up a brushless drill instead.

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