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Brushless vs. Brushed Motors: Which Is Right for Your Application?

When powering various machines and devices, choosing between brushless vs. brushed motor is a critical decision. These motor types have unique characteristics and advantages that demand a closer look for informed decision-making.


YD Force, a trusted partner in motor control technology and planetary gears, is at the forefront of advancing the efficiency and performance of both brushless and brushed motors. With YD Force solutions, you can harness the full potential of these motors in a wide range of applications.

Brushless vs. Brushed Motors

Table of Contents

Definition of Brushless and Brushed Motors

This establishes a clear understanding of what brushless and brushed motors are. Brushless motors, often referred to as BLDC (Brushless Direct Current) motors, are electrical motors that operate using permanent magnets and electronically controlled windings.


In contrast, brushed motors rely on brushes and a commutator to control current flow through the motor windings. These fundamental differences in construction result in varying performance characteristics and applications.

Brushed vs Brushless Motor
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Significance of Choosing the Right Motor for Your Application

The choice between brushless vs. brushed motor is significant in various industries and applications. Selecting the appropriate motor can impact efficiency, maintenance costs, lifespan, and overall performance.


So, understanding the pros and cons of these two motor types is important so you won’t make regretful choices when buying a motor for your applications.

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Construction and Working Principles

It’s crucial to understand the basic construction and working principles of brushless and brushed motors before picking your motor. Here are the basic principles of a brushless and brushed motor.

Brushed Motors

Brushed motors rely on a mechanical commutator and brushes to control the flow of electrical current. The commutator, a rotary switch, changes the direction of the current in the armature windings as the rotor turns. This alternating current in the armature windings produces a magnetic field that interacts with the field windings to create motion.

Brushless Motors

In the case of brushless motors, they utilize permanent magnets on the rotor and electronically controlled windings on the stator. This electronic control system often employs sensors like Hall effect sensors.


Which precisely synchronizes the current in the stator windings with the rotor’s position, creating a rotating magnetic field that drives the rotor’s motion. Note that when it comes to optimizing the performance of brushless motors, the choice of gearbox can have a significant impact on torque and speed characteristics across various applications.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Brushed Motors

Brushed motors have their own set of advantages and disadvantages that cater to different application needs. Here’s to break it down:


Simplicity and Reliability

Brushed motors are known for their simplicity and reliability. With fewer components and a straightforward design, they are easy to understand and maintain. This makes them suitable for applications where robustness is a priority.


Brushed motors are generally more cost-effective in terms of initial purchase and maintenance. This affordability makes them a practical choice for applications where cost is a significant consideration.


Limited Lifespan

The physical contact between brushes and the commutator in brushed motors leads to wear and tear. This wear limits the lifespan of brushed motors, making them less suitable for long-term applications.

Lower Efficiency

Brushed motors are less efficient than their brushless counterparts, mainly due to energy losses resulting from brush and commutator friction. This lower efficiency can lead to increased energy consumption in some applications.

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Key Differences

Auto Machinery Electric Brushless Dc Motor

Understanding the key differences between brushless vs. brushed motor types is crucial for making an informed choice.

Brushed Motors

Brushed motors rely on brushes and a commutator for electrical contact, which can lead to wear and tear over time. They are known for their simplicity and ease of control, making them suitable for various applications.


The simplicity of brushed motors often translates into cost-effectiveness, particularly in applications where high precision and efficiency are not paramount.

Brushless Motors

Brushless motors eliminate the need for brushes and commutators, resulting in reduced maintenance and an extended lifespan. They are celebrated for their high efficiency, power density, and precise control capabilities.


The electronic control system in brushless motors enables precise adjustments, making them ideal for applications demanding top-tier performance.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Brushless Motors

Now, see the advantages and disadvantages of brushless motors, providing insights into their growing popularity across diverse applications.


Higher Efficiency

Brushless motors are significantly more efficient because they eliminate the friction and wear associated with brushes and commutators. This efficiency translates to less wasted energy and improved performance.

Longer Lifespan

One of the standout features of brushless motors is their extended operational lifespan. With reduced mechanical wear, they are ideal for applications requiring continuous and long-term usage. This longevity not only reduces replacement costs but also enhances reliability.

Lower Maintenance

Brushless motors require minimal maintenance since there are no brushes to replace or commutators to clean. This translates to less downtime, reduced maintenance costs, and increased productivity for applications that rely on continuous operation.


Initial Cost

While brushless motors offer long-term savings in terms of maintenance and efficiency, they often come with a higher initial cost. This cost can be a barrier for budget-conscious projects, particularly in industries where upfront expenses are closely monitored.

Complex Control Systems

The electronic control systems used in brushless motors can be complex, requiring specialized equipment and expertise for maintenance and repair. This complexity may present challenges in applications where access to such expertise is limited.

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Historical and Current Uses of Brushed Motors

Brushed motors have a long and storied history of applications across various industries due to their simple and cost-effective design. While newer motors have gained prominence in recent years, brushed motors continue to find their place in specific niches where their reliability and affordability make them an ideal choice.


In the automotive industry, brushed motors were once commonly used for various applications. Some key examples include:


  • Powering Window Regulators
  • Windshield Wiper Systems


Brushed motors are utilized in certain household appliances thanks to their uncomplicated design and cost-effectiveness. Some of the household appliances that still employ brushed motors include:


  • Blenders
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Kitchen Appliances


Power Tools

Traditional power tools, including drills, angle grinders, and circular saws, have long been powered by brushed motors. The key reasons brushed motors have been the go-to choice for power tools are:


Power tool manufacturers have often favored brushed motors due to their cost-effectiveness. This cost advantage has allowed them to offer a wide range of power tools at competitive prices.


Brushed motors are known for their reliability and ability to provide consistent power output, making them suitable for various tasks in construction and DIY projects.

Ease of Control

The simple design of DC brushed motors allows for straightforward speed and torque control, making them practical for applications requiring precise control over their tools.

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Emerging Domains for Brushless Motors

What is Servo

In recent years, brushless motors have become increasingly prominent, particularly in emerging domains where their unique advantages make them the motor of choice. These motors are characterized by their high efficiency, longer lifespan, and minimal maintenance requirements, which make them ideal for applications prioritizing reliability and energy conservation.

Electric Vehicles

One of the most significant and transformative applications of brushless motors can be observed in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Here, brushless motors have become a preferred choice for various critical components in electric cars, including propulsion and energy management systems.


In the rapidly growing field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, brushless motors have revolutionized flight capabilities. These motors are integral to drone propulsion systems, providing the precise control and energy efficiency required for agile and controlled flight.

Industrial Automation

In industrial automation, brushless servo motors have become integral components in various applications that demand precision and reliability. Their applications include conveyor systems and robotic arms, among others.

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Choosing Between Brushless vs. Brushed Motor

When deciding between brushless vs. brushed motor for your specific application, there are several critical factors to consider. Each factor plays a significant role in determining the suitability of the motor type for your needs. Let’s explore these factors in detail:

Efficiency Requirements

Efficiency is a crucial consideration when selecting a motor for your application. It directly impacts the energy consumption and, in turn, operational costs. Here’s how to approach this factor:

Define Your Efficiency Requirements

Some applications, such as electric vehicles or industrial automation, require high efficiency to optimize energy use and reduce operating costs. In such cases, brushless motors may be the preferred choice due to their improved efficiency and reduced energy losses.

Consider the Load Profile

Examine the load profile of your application. If it involves frequent start-stop cycles, varying speeds, or the need for precise control, a brushless motor’s ability to deliver consistent and efficient performance under changing conditions may be advantageous.

Calculate Energy Savings

Compare the estimated energy savings between brushless vs. brushed motor. Consider factors like operating hours, load variations, and electricity costs to gauge the long-term financial benefits of a more efficient motor.

Maintenance Costs

Understanding the long-term maintenance costs associated with a motor type is crucial for budgetary planning and minimizing downtime. Here’s how to address this factor:

Brush Replacement

For brushed motors, one of the primary maintenance requirements is the periodic replacement of brushes. Consider the frequency of brush replacement and the associated costs, as well as the impact on operational downtime. This maintenance can be a significant factor in applications where uninterrupted operation is essential.

Maintenance Frequency

Compare the maintenance frequency of brushless vs. brushed motor. Brushless motors typically require less maintenance due to the absence of brushes and commutators, which can reduce downtime and lower maintenance costs.

Total Cost of Ownership

Analyze the total cost of ownership over the motor’s expected lifespan. This should include initial purchase costs, maintenance expenses, and potential energy savings. Understanding the complete financial picture can aid in selecting the most cost-effective motor type for your application.


The expected lifespan of the motor is another essential factor to consider when choosing brushless vs. brushed motor. Different applications may have varying requirements regarding the motor’s longevity:

Application-specific Demands

Evaluate the demands of your application. Some industries, like manufacturing or automotive, rely on motors that can withstand continuous operation over extended periods. Brushless servo motors often have a longer lifespan due to reduced wear and tear, making them a suitable choice for applications that demand durability and reliability.

Durability Under Load Variations

Consider the impact of load variations on motor longevity. Suppose your application involves frequent changes in load or speed. In that case, brushless motors may offer greater durability, as they can adapt more seamlessly to these variations without incurring excessive wear and tear.

Comparative Lifespan

Compare the expected lifespan of brushless vs. brushed motor to determine the most suitable option for your specific application. Longevity is a key factor in minimizing replacement and maintenance costs over time.

Cost Considerations

The financial aspect of motor selection is a crucial factor, encompassing both the initial purchase cost and the long-term operational expenses:

Initial Purchase Cost

Recognize that brushless motors typically have a higher initial purchase cost than brushed motors. This higher upfront expense may impact the initial investment required for your application.

Budget Constraints

Take into account your budget constraints when making a choice. It’s essential to balance the upfront costs with the potential savings and benefits offered by each motor type.

The Right Choice is Yours to Make!

Advancements in motor technology are continuously evolving, pushing the boundaries of what both brushless and brushed motors can achieve. Researchers and engineers are working on innovations that may bridge gaps between these two motor types, potentially offering the best of both worlds. But in the meantime, choose between brushless vs. brushed motor types for your applications.

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Are there any industries where brushed motors are still preferred?

Yes, industries with budget constraints and applications where the simplicity and reliability of brushed motors suffice continue to use them. Examples include some household appliances and traditional power tools.

What is Servo

How can I reduce maintenance costs for brushed motors?

Reducing maintenance costs for brushed motors can be achieved through regular maintenance routines, such as cleaning and brush replacement. Additionally, proper heat management can extend the lifespan of brushed motors.

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Are there specific safety considerations when using brushless motors?

Yes, brushless motors can generate electromagnetic interference (EMI) due to their electronic control systems. Proper shielding and grounding may be necessary to address EMI concerns and ensure safe operation.


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