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Comparing Brushless and Brushed Motors in Drones

by Anshika Malik 23 Feb 2024



In the exhilarating world of drones, the choice between brushless and brushed motors is a crucial consideration for enthusiasts, hobbyists, and professionals alike. Both types of motors serve as the powerhouse behind these aerial marvels, yet each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Whether you're a seasoned pilot or just dipping your toes into the drone scene, understanding the differences between brushless and brushed motors can help you make an informed decision when selecting your next airborne companion.

Understanding the Basics

Before delving into the comparison, let's briefly outline the fundamental differences between brushless and brushed motors:

i. Brushed Motors:

These traditional motors feature brushes and a commutator to transfer electrical power to the coils that drive the motor's rotation. They are relatively simple in design and tend to be more affordable compared to their brushless counterparts. However, they are also less efficient and have a shorter lifespan.

ii. Brushless Motors:

Unlike brushed motors, brushless motors eliminate the need for brushes and commutators. Instead, they employ electronic speed controllers (ESCs) to manage the flow of electricity to the coils, resulting in improved efficiency, reliability, and performance. While brushless motors are typically more expensive upfront, they offer higher power-to-weight ratios and greater longevity.

Let's explore how these differences play out in the context of drone propulsion.

i. Performance and Efficiency

One of the primary factors that set brushless motors apart from brushed motors is their performance and efficiency. Brushless motors are renowned for their superior efficiency, which translates to longer flight times and increased agility. By eliminating the friction and wear associated with brushes, brushless motors can deliver more power while consuming less energy, making them ideal for applications where battery life and performance are critical.

In contrast, brushed motors tend to be less efficient due to the friction generated by the brushes rubbing against the commutator. This inefficiency results in shorter flight times and reduced overall performance compared to brushless counterparts. Additionally, brushed motors are more prone to overheating, which can further degrade their performance and lifespan.

ii. Power and Torque

When it comes to raw power and torque, brushless motors once again take the lead. Thanks to their advanced design and electronic control, brushless motors can deliver higher levels of power and torque compared to brushed motors of similar size. This increased power output enables brushless drones to achieve faster speeds, perform intricate maneuvers, and carry heavier payloads with ease.

Brushed motors, while capable of providing sufficient power for basic flight operations, may struggle when tasked with demanding maneuvers or carrying heavy payloads. Their lower power-to-weight ratio limits their performance capabilities, making them better suited for lightweight or entry-level drone models.

iii. Durability and Maintenance

Durability is another critical consideration when comparing brushless and brushed motors. Brushless motors, with their streamlined design and absence of moving parts, are inherently more durable and resistant to wear and tear. This increased durability translates to a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and replacement.

On the other hand, brushed motors are more susceptible to wear and degradation due to the friction generated by the brushes. Over time, the brushes can wear down, leading to decreased performance and reliability. Additionally, the brushes themselves may require periodic replacement to maintain optimal performance, adding to the overall maintenance costs.

iv. Cost Considerations

While brushless motors offer undeniable performance advantages, they often come with a higher price tag compared to brushed motors. The advanced technology and precision engineering required for brushless motor production contribute to their elevated cost. However, many enthusiasts and professionals view this upfront investment as justified, given the long-term benefits in terms of performance, efficiency, and durability.

Brushed motors, on the other hand, are more affordable and readily available, making them an attractive option for beginners or those on a tight budget. While they may not offer the same level of performance or efficiency as brushless motors, they can still provide adequate propulsion for entry-level drones and recreational flying.


In conclusion, the choice between brushless and brushed motors ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget constraints. If you prioritize performance, efficiency, and durability, brushless motors are the clear winner, offering superior power, longer flight times, and reduced maintenance requirements. However, if cost is a primary concern or if you're just getting started in the world of drones, brushed motors can provide a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing basic functionality.

Whether you're a professional aerial photographer, a competitive drone racer, or a hobbyist looking to explore the skies, understanding the differences between brushless and brushed motors is essential for selecting the right propulsion system for your needs. By weighing the factors outlined in this comparison, you can make an informed decision and take your drone flying experience to new heights.

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