A drilling machine is essential for anyone looking to do minor repair work at home or a professional crafting different articles. These days, brushless drills are taking the market by storm. But, some professionals still prefer using the old brushed drills. At this point, you might wonder what does brushless drill mean? Is it really worth buying? If all this confuses you. Don’t worry! This brushless vs brushed drill guide will help you understand the differences, weigh the pros and cons and help choose the best variant for your use.
Brushed drills use an old style of motor to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. As the name suggests, a brushed drill has a brushed motor—a motor with carbon brushes and a wire wound rotor.
When connected to a power supply, electricity goes through the carbon brushes. It induces a magnetic field that rotates the rotor to 180 degrees. To make it turn further, the rotor comes in contact with brushes that flip the electric current and help it complete the rotation.
Features and Examples
- Brushed drills come in corded and cordless designs. Corded designs have AC motors, while cordless designs typically have DC motors powered by a battery source.
- They usually come in 12V, 18V and 20V battery specifications. 12V is suitable for most DIYers, while later ones are suitable for heavy-duty work.
- Brushed drills can have a rotation speed ranging from 200 to 1,300 RPM. Some drills have clutches to negate vibrations during drilling.
- Chucks, weight and LEDs are other vital features of a brushed drill.
One of the popular brushed drills popular among masses is Bosch PS31-2A.
Pros and Cons
- Brushed drills have a simplistic design
- They are easy to maintain as parts are readily available
- Brushed variants are inexpensive as compared to their counterparts.
- Brushed drills have carbon brushes that are easily worn out
- Drills’ performance and runtime reduces because of the heat caused by friction and sparks
- They are bulky and can be challenging to manage while drilling holes
To understand brushless drill meaning, it is vital to be familiar with the motor that powers such a machine. Unlike traditional motors, a brushless motor does not need carbon brushes for electrical contact.
A brushless motor is essentially an inside-out brushed motor. It relies on the electronic circuit, sometimes called a controller, for rotation. Thus, there is no need for carbon brushes to maintain electrical contact. The rotor is made of permanent magnet and stator is electromagnetic. When connected to a power source, the magnetic field changes around the stator that rotates the rotor, which is a permanent magnet.
Features and Examples
- Brushless drills typically come in cordless designs requiring a DC battery.
- Like brushed DC drills, brushless DC drills come in 12V, 18V and 20V battery specifications. Higher voltage brushless drills are also on the market for heavy-duty work.
- A DC brushless drill has a rotation speed of 200 to 1,650 RPM.
- Brushless drills also have LEDs, clutch, chuck and other features like brushed drills.
Bosch 12V GSB12V-300N is a quality cordless brushless drill that is compact and easy to manage.
Pros and Cons
- More power efficient than brushed drills
- No loss of power and torque
- Usable for an extended period as there is no friction and sparks
- No wear and tear issues as the brushless designs are free from carbon brushes
- Light in weight
- Costlier than brushed drills because of expensive parts.
- Repairs are costly, and sometimes brushless drills are beyond a repair
Key Differences between Brushless vs Brushed Drills
To settle the brushless vs brushed drill debate, let’s consider the key differences between both variants.
Brushless drills are more powerful than brushed drills, as there is no friction and heat. The carbon brushes inside a brushed drill are where most electrical and mechanical energy is lost.
Similarly, brushless drills are better in performance than brushed drills. Losing mechanical and electrical energy is the culprit behind the loss of performance.
On average, a brushless drill is up to 50% more energy efficient. It can run on a similar battery for more extended periods. Also, a brushless drill produces about 15% to 35% more torque and rotations under similar conditions.
Longevity and Maintenance
A brushless drill offers more in terms of longevity and maintenance. The lack of carbon brushes and heat due to friction means brushless drills don’t undergo many maintenance cycles.
However, it is easier to replace worn-out carbon brushes in brushed drills. But remember that you might have to replace carbon brushes every 50 to 60 hours of usage.
Usability and Cost
Again, brushless drills come on top when considering usability. This is because they are usually compact and less noisy. You can use a brushless drill for longer because there is no heat caused by friction. But, in terms of cost, a brushed drill is a clear winner.
Which one should I choose?
Choosing a brushless vs brushed drill depends on your usage and budget.
If you rarely use a drill machine and are looking to buy one just to use it for repairs, then your best bet is to buy a brushed motor. For professionals and DIYers, investing in brushless drills makes sense.
If you are tight on a budget, go for a brushed drill to get the job done. Although, you might need a power source nearby to avoid inconvenience.
All the aspects mentioned above explain the craze for brushless drills. Nevertheless, brushed drills are still useful and, sometimes, a perfect tool for the job. But before deciding, consider key differences between brushless vs brushed drills.
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