Are Brushless Cordless Tools Worth The Cost?

Are Brushless Cordless Tools Worth the Cost?

Brushless motor technology has been the big trend in cordless power tools for the last couple of years. Every major manufacturer now sells a brushless lineup of tools, but is it worth it for you?

Brushless motors aren't new to power tools, but after Makita, DeWalt and Milwaukee launched full lineups of tools with powerful battery platforms to match, the race was on.

The ToolGuyd has a great primer on the structural difference between a brushed and brushless motor. In a tool with a brushless motor, the motor adjusts according to the task. The more resistance a drill or saw senses, the more power it draws, and conversely a lack of resistance lessens the pull. This is a huge advancement when it comes managing battery life, improving runtime for cordless power tools. A standard brushed motor will always max out on whatever speed it's set at.

A brushless motor also does not have the friction or voltage drop that a standard motor deals with, which will increase the life of the motor and overall performance.

With so many benefits, why don't all cordless tools switch to brushless motors? Cost.

There is currently an added cost to the design and construction of the tool due to motor size and advanced electronics that are required to manage the motor properly. Brushless tools are roughly 30% more expensive than standard lithium-ion cordless tools, which make them more appealing to tradies who work with their tools everyday than to weekend renovators.

There are many solid standard brushed cordless tools available, and it's unlikely you'll notice a difference between them and a brushless tool when it comes to jobs around the home. But stick to a lithium-ion battery as opposed to NiCd. The smaller size and lighter weight of lithium-ion batteries is well worth the higher cost.


Comments

    Unless 'yer using them all day, as in a tradesmen... Stick to 'yer cheapies until the price comes down to somewhere close to what you paid for 'yer current tools..! And it will... eventually..! :)

    Last edited 04/11/14 5:32 pm

      I completely agree.

      For the guy who drills one hole every couple of months, no point.

      For the guy who wears out a brushed motor in month or two, Brushless are the way to go.

      I think that's true for many tools, but there are some where it isn't. For example, I have bought several cordless hand drills from cheapies to Bosch Blues and the difference in power is enormous and can matter for day-to-day tasks. On the other hand, my experience is that for a drill press or circular saw the difference is not enough to matter.

    > "The ToolGuyd has a great primer on the structural difference between a brushed and brushless motor. In a tool with a brushless motor, the motor adjusts according to the task. The more resistance a drill or saw senses, the more power it draws, and conversely a lack of resistance lessens the pull. This is a huge advancement when it comes managing battery life, improving runtime for cordless power tools. A standard brushed motor will always max out on whatever speed it’s set at."

    This is a TERRIBLE paragraph. If you don't understand something, don't write about it.

    Brushed motors don't "max out on whatever speed it’s set at." Power drawn is a function of torque, rpm and efficiency, and a brushed motor will NOT use max power except where those inputs means it must.

    I can only assume Timothy looked at the relatively flat maximum power curve for a brushed motor and didn't understand it (but thought he did).

    Brushless motors waste less energy from their batteries because they have less resistance in them.

      Ahh New here I see.
      Yes you'll get this a lot here and yes he May have been wrong or misinterpreted what was given.
      brushed motors give maximum torque at stall speed and it drops as rpm increases where as brushless motors are flatter in their torque curve. But as far as only consuming power that's needed it's still good ol v2/r. In day to day usage your not really going to notice much of a difference besides the brushless is a bit lighter and you'll get a few more minutes out of it.

    http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/schroeder-hand-drill-photo.jpg

    Power curve of this model directly linked to the size of the bowl of weeties you had for brekkie. ;)

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