Brushed vs. Brushless DC Motors

Are you trying to decide between brushed vs brushless DC motors for your project? Understanding the differences between these two motor types is crucial for optimizing performance, efficiency, and longevity in your applications. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the mechanics, advantages, and limitations of both brushed and brushless DC motors.

What is an electrical DC motor and how does it work?

dc motor

An electrical DC (Direct Current) motor is a fundamental electromechanical device used to convert electrical energy into mechanical motion. It operates on the principle of electromagnetic interaction between a magnetic field and a current-carrying conductor.

At its core, a DC motor consists of two essential components: a stator and a rotor. The stator is the stationary part, typically housing a permanent magnet or field windings that generate a static magnetic field. The rotor, on the other hand, is the rotating component and carries the armature – a coil of wire.

When an electric current is applied to the armature, it becomes an electromagnet. The key to a DC motor’s operation lies in the interaction between the magnetic field generated by the stator and the magnetic field produced by the armature.

As the armature’s electromagnet interacts with the stator’s magnetic field, it experiences a force, causing it to rotate.

The direction and speed of the rotation depend on the direction and magnitude of the applied current. DC motors have simplicity, reliability, and precise control capabilities. Which find applications in a wide range of industries, from robotics and manufacturing to automotive systems and consumer electronics.

Brushed DC Motors

Brushed DC motors

Working Principle

In brushed motors, the stator (stationary part) contains permanent magnets while the rotor (moving part) contains electromagnets. Carbon brushes in physical contact with the commutator in the rotor transfer the electric voltage to it. This voltage creates an electromagnetic field in the rotor.

Brushed DC motors are a classic and straightforward type of electric motor. They operate on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The interaction between a magnetic field and a current-carrying conductor generates mechanical motion.

In brushed motors, the stator (stationary part) contains permanent magnets while the rotor (moving part) contains electromagnets. Carbon brushes in physical contact with the commutator in the rotor transfer the electric voltage to it. This voltage creates an electromagnetic field in the rotor.

The key to a brushed DC motor’s operation is the interaction between the magnetic field created by the stator and the magnetic field produced by the armature.

This interaction generates a torque, causing the rotor turns. The direction and magnitude of the current flowing through the armature determine the direction and speed of rotation.


Simplicity: Brushed DC motors are straightforward in design, making them cost-effective and easy to manufacture. They can rebuilt to extend their lifespan.

Precise Control: They offer precise direction and speed control, which controller is not required for fixed speed.

Ruggedness: Brushed motors are suitable for extreme operating environments, making them suitable for automotive starter motors and power tools.


Brush Wear: The brushes in the brushed motor are usually made of carbon or graphite compounds. The brushes and commutator experience wear over time, leading to maintenance requirements and a limited lifespan.

Efficiency: DC brushed motors are less efficient than their brushless counterparts due to energy loss from brush wear and friction.

Limited Speed: The brushed motor’s rotational speed can be limited by the brushes and commutator, as well as the mass of the rotor.


Brushed DC motors find applications in a wide range of industries. Such as electric vehicles, household appliances, industrial equipment, aerospace, robotics, and electric linear actuators.

Brushless DC Motors

Brushless DC Motors

Working Principle

Brushless DC motors (BLDC) are a more advanced category of electric motors that have gained prominence due to their efficiency and precision. They operate on the same fundamental principle as brushed DC motors – electromagnetic induction.

However, they differ in design and operation. In a BLDC motor, the stator contains permanent magnets, while the rotor houses multiple coils or windings.

The interaction between the magnetic field created by the stator and the varying current in the rotor’s windings generates mechanical motion.

Unlike brushed DC motors, BLDC motors use electronic controllers to precisely control the commutation, eliminating the need for brushes and a commutator. This electronic commutation, often accomplished through sensors.

It ensures that the motor operates with high efficiency and allows for accurate speed and torque control.


High Efficiency: BLDC motors are highly efficient due to reduced friction and energy loss. This makes them ideal for applications where energy conservation is crucial.

Longevity: The absence of brushes results in longer lifespans with less maintenance, reducing downtime and operational costs. Better suited to continuous or long-running duty cycles.

Low Noise: BLDC motors generate less electrical noise and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), making them suitable for noise-sensitive applications.


Complex Control: The electronic control systems can be more complex and may require specialized knowledge for maintenance and troubleshooting.

Higher Initial Cost: BLDC motors are generally more expensive than brushed motors initially, which can be a drawback in cost-sensitive applications.

Electronic Component Reliability: The reliability of electronic components, such as sensors and controllers, can be a concern in harsh environments.


Brushless DC motors are versatile and find applications in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, electric vehicles, industrial automation, and medical devices.

brushed vs brushless Motors

The primary difference between brushed and brushless motors is that brushed motors are mechanically driven and brushless are electronically driven.

Brushed DC motors, with their simpler design, utilize brushes and a commutator for current direction control, resulting in a straightforward and cost-effective solution. However, they are associated with brush wear, reduced efficiency, and limited lifespan.

In contrast, brushless motor designs employ electronic controllers for precise commutation, eliminating the need for brushes. This design allows brushless motors to achieve significantly higher efficiency, longevity, and lower noise levels.

While they may come with a higher initial cost and complexity in control systems, their advantages make brushless DC motors the preferred choice in applications demanding energy efficiency, minimal maintenance, and precise speed and torque control.

brushed vs. brushless DC motors


In conclusion, the choice between brushed vs. brushless DC motors is a critical decision that can greatly impact the performance, efficiency, and maintenance needs of your applications.

Brushed motors, with their simplicity and ruggedness, continue to thrive in specific industries, while brushless motors redefine efficiency, longevity, and precise control.

As the cost of brushless motors and their associated electronics continues to decrease, brushless motors are finding their way into applications that have traditionally been held by brushed motors. Yet, the time-tested reliability of brushed motors remains undeniable.


Are brushed and brushless motors interchangeable in the same applications?

Brushed and brushless motors are not typically interchangeable in the same applications due to their different designs and characteristics. Brushed motors have brushes that deliver power to the rotor, while brushless motors use electronic commutation. They have distinct control requirements and efficiency levels, making them suitable for different applications.

Do brushed and brushless motors require different maintenance?

Yes, brushed and brushless motors do require different maintenance. Brushed motors have brushes and a commutator that are subject to wear over time, necessitating regular maintenance to replace brushes and service the commutator. This maintenance can lead to downtime in some applications.

In contrast, brushless motors have fewer moving parts and do not use brushes or a commutator. As a result, they require minimal maintenance, offering longer lifespans and greater reliability.

The reduced maintenance needs of brushless motors make them ideal for applications where continuous operation and minimal downtime are crucial.

What Is The Difference Between AC And DC Motor?

AC and DC motors differ primarily in the type of electric current they use and the way they generate motion.

The AC motors operate on alternating current, where the current periodically changes direction, while DC motors run on direct current with a continuous flow in one direction.

AC motors, like induction and synchronous motors, rely on electromagnetic induction for rotation and are often more suited to high-power, industrial applications.

DC motors, such as brushed or brushless DC motors, offer precise speed control and are commonly used in applications like electric vehicles, robotics, and portable electronics, where efficient and controlled movement is critical.

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