Brushless motors in power tools are being cited by manufacturers as the holy grail, with brands racing to release brushless models in more of their tools.
They cost quite a bit more than their brushed counterparts, so just what is it that you are paying for when you buy brushless?
Without getting bogged down in technical speak, brushed motors deliver power through carbon brushes that transfer energy in a manner not dissimilar to a distributor cap in carburettor engines. This method creates sparking, friction and heat, which symbolises energy not being transferred to your auger bit or holesaw.
What’s more, carbon brushes wear out in time and need to be replaced, just like the points in your dizzy cap.
Brushless motors reflect the more modern electronic fuel injection (EFI) engine. In brushless motors, internal circuitry creates a revolving magnetic field and thus less friction and heat. This transfers more energy into your auger bit and also gives you a longer tool life.
Brushless motors also allow more advanced communication between the switch and battery, allowing the tool to be shut down in the event of you jamming your auger bit. What’s more, they are usually more compact and weigh less, leading to better ergonomics.
So is it worth the extra coin? Well there are a number of variables that come into play and a good brushed motor can still well and truly do the job. They are significantly cheaper to manufacturer, and thus cost less to buy.
If you are using the tool day in, day out and regularly drill massive holes or punch in hundreds of batten screws with your impact driver then a brushless tool is a no brainer. The cost of having your tool burn out mid-job is worth far more than what you’ll save by going brushed.
However if you only use your tool for less intensive tasks, then you may want to consider the brushed version.
Also remember that not all brushed or brushless motors are created equal, with build quality also ranking highly.
If brushless tools are everything manufacturers say they are, then choosing a brand that stands behind theirs with a solid warranty makes sense.