Tech Talk: A Beginner’s Guide to Brushless Motors

You may have heard about or seen various manufacturers advertising brushless power tools. But what exactly does “brushless” mean? And is there a sizable impact upon the performance of your tools? While this technology is still relatively new, Snow Joe + Sun Joe was one of the early adopters to roll out brushless motors across its cordless suite of all season products. And many competitors have followed suit, as brushless innovation promises to boost the life and output of cordless tools – two factors that weigh heavily on consumer buying decisions. To understand the hype, you’ll need to get in-the-know with what brushless is all about.

Brush On - Brush Off

Most power tool motors contain concealed, spring-loaded slabs of carbon. These slabs are called brushes, and they rub against the revolving part of the motor, supplying electricity and creating a revolving electrically charged field that makes the motor spin. While brushes can be credited as an integral advance in technology, they pose two eventual limitations: wear and friction. Because brushes are designed to press against revolving motor parts, they will ultimately wear out. If the brushes aren’t replaced during the precise time, the motor will be irreparably damaged. Your tool will tell you when its brushes need replacing if you begin to experience poor to zero performance, sparking or irregular smells. However, some tools do not give you access to the brushes. A good indicator to know if you can replace these parts is to look for screws/covers for the brushes. Most product manuals include a model diagram which should signify if the brushes are replaceable. Another issue with brushes is that they waste energy. Rubbing equals friction and sparking, which leads to less output time on each battery charge. Brushless tools avoid the constraints of both wear and friction. Instead of the mechanical system of brushes and springs to trigger motor revolution, brushless tools rely on electronic circuitry to accomplish the same outcome with fewer moving parts. Snow Joe brushless motors increase battery efficiency, maximize motor performance, decrease noise and vibration and extend motor life to last at least 1,000% longer than brushed motors before wearing out, and deliver an estimated 40-50% more work from a battery before recharging is necessary. Snow Joe offers a wide assortment of brushless tools in categories such as snow blowers, snow shovels, lawn mowers, chain saws and leaf blowers. The performance gains delivered by brushless tools are made possible by reducing the amount of lost energy in the form of heat, and converting said energy into work.
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