A drill is an essential piece of tool that can make house repairs, improvements and overall maintenance easier. In the world of power tools, a simple drill may offer many features that are lacking in the average drill. Examples of such would be the brushed and brushless drills.
Between the two, many contractors, handymen, and DIY enthusiasts prefer using a brushless drill. That being said, what is a brushless drill anyway and why is it better?
The Brushed and Brushless Drill
Knowing the basics of what is a brushless drill and a brushed drill will help us identify and understand why most users choose the brushless drill.
A traditional, brushed drill is commonly run by a brushed motor consisting of four basic parts: a ring of magnets and carbon brushes that are in a fixed position even if the tool is used. The armature and commutator that both rotate on the motor shaft that is located within the magnets.
Once you supply the motor with power, a charge flows from the tool’s battery to the spring-loaded brushes. After which, it reaches the commutator which is responsible for directing the charge to the armature. Inside the armature, copper windings are magnetized because of the charge causing it to push against the ring of magnets surrounding it and forcing the armature assembly to spin.
Basically, what it entails is that physical connection between the parts is required during operation.
A brushless drill, on the other hand, is run by a motor that does not require physical connections between the moving parts.
Meaning, it has no brushes and commutator. Also, the magnets are located on the motor shaft while the copper windings of the armature surround the shaft and are stationary. Similarly, since it has no brushes and commutator, it uses a small circuit board instead to direct the delivery of energy to the windings.
So, when you power up a brushless drill, the circuit board controls the entire spinning action.
Advantages of a Brushless Drill
Unlike a brushed drill that runs on a steady amount of energy, whatever material you use, a brushless drill is able to adapt itself accordingly. Hence, saving you energy in the process.
Since a brushless drill uses a circuit board to communicate with the fixed windings directly, the drill is able to adjust itself according to the task at hand.
For example, if you are drilling a screw into a Styrofoam, it will be able to sense the lack of resistance coming from the material being drilled. This allows the drill to get a little charge off of the battery just enough for the task to get done.
Likewise, if it senses that you are drilling a more resistant material, it will adjust again and draw more current from the battery.
You may have noticed that when you use a brushed drill, there is a tendency for the tool to become warm. Sometimes, it even becomes hot to the touch if your drilling requires extra torque. This is because the brushed motor inside the drill has brushes inside it that create friction by dragging against the commutator as it spins. As more energy is generated, more friction is created.
The physical contact results in a continuous waste of energy during the operation process which can quickly drain the battery. On the contrary, with a brushless drill, energy wasted through friction is essentially eliminated because there is none going on among the moving parts.
As such, energy pulled from the battery is solely for the task at hand; thus maximizing your battery’s stored power. Aside from longer runtime, no friction also means no problem with your drill getting hot and uncomfortable while you use it.
Compared to bigger brushed models, smaller designs of brushless drills can provide more torque value. Since there is no energy loss due to friction during operation, the circuit board can put as much power as it can to the current task.
You also get the advantage of lesser weight, unnecessary power draw and noise reduction. Also, a brushless motor has its copper windings located on the outside of the motor configuration. Since there is room to make the motor larger, brushless drills can become more powerful overall.
Heat is the common reason why tools break down easily. With a brushless drill, there are no brushes to worry about, so your drill is virtually frictionless. This means less heat is emitted by the parts inside.
With the components kept cool during operation, the motor remains stable and there is a slower rate of wear and tear on the tool, so you can expect a longer product life.
Brushless drills are also quite popular because of its quiet operation, especially if you need to work on a project in your home. Definitely, having a tool that will not drown your entire household in noise is a must. Again, this reduction in noise is due to the frictionless design of the motor.
Brushed drills are usually bigger and heavier than brushless drills since the motor inside them requires room for their components to move around. With frictionless mechanism behind the brushless drill, a smaller housing is possible without compromising the power of the tool. This also makes the brushless drill easy to carry around and use.
What is a Brushless Drill: Final Thoughts
Power tools are generally more expensive than the average ones. In fact, power tools or drills with brushless motors are approximated to be 30% more expensive than standard cordless tools which makes it out-of-reach for the average person or household who will not be using it daily.
However, considering the added efficiency and features these tools offer, it is highly understandable. Likewise, brushless drills are also more comfortable to use and usually weigh less than the brushed one. Additionally, since they wear out slower, you will be able to use them for longer and save yourself from early breakdown and repair costs.
Nonetheless, even if brushless drills are still expensive to fit most budgets, a variety of options are available with different price points. Therefore, it is always best to compare different models to see which one is the best for you.
In the end, investing on a power tool or not will depend on what suit your needs at work or your home.