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What's the Difference Between Brushed & Brushless Rc Motors

Updated on March 3, 2016

The Million Dollar Question

Being a keen hobbyist of RC racing I get asked the same question a lot by people keen to take up the sport or hobby as others call it.

The question I hear a lot is what's the difference between brushed RC motors and brushless RC motors. It’s pretty obvious one has brushes and the other doesn’t but what does that mean exactly?

Here I explain the difference in a simple to digest manner that is unscientific and easy for newbie’s and beginner level hobbyists to understand.

Brushed RC Motors

Brushed electric motors have been the most popular motor type for remote control cars over the years but this is not through choice, but, rather there a lack of. The Brushed motor is the type of motor that powers most toy grade RC cars and other toy grade remote control vehicles. Brushed motors are also commonly used by beginner grade hobbyists.

The term ‘brushed’ comes from the tiny contact brushes located in the motor that initiates electricity for the motor to spin at speed. The brushed RC motor is the cheapest type on the market hence its popularity in remote control toys and starter hobby kits.

In small remote control cars, helicopters etc the most common type of brushed motor is the fixed version. The fixed version can’t be cleaned, modified or tuned for optimised performance as where the no fixed version can. The non fixed version is the type of brushed motor found in many high end remote control toys and the lower end of the hobbyist starter RC kits. Fine tuning remote control cars can be the difference when racing friends or racing in competitions.

The downside to brushed RC cars is the friction restricts optimum speed and rouses heat, the biggest killer of small engines in brushed RC cars and other remote controlled toys.

Brushed Rating

 
 
 
Price
****
 
Speed
**
 
Durability
**
 

Brushed RC Motor

Brushless RC Motors

Now for the opposite motor ‘brushless’. This type of RC motor is becoming the most sought after due to its high speed performance and durability. Brushless RC racing cars have recently broke the land speed record for remote control car racing. The lightning speeds created by the brushless motor is possible due to the mass amounts of power created as there are no brushes, no friction, no overheating and they can handle a a lot more voltage than its predecessor.

The appeal for brushless remote control cars is expected to outstrip gas and nitro in the near future but for the moment they are quite expensive, limiting sales to serious RC racers and hobbyists.

Brushless Rating

 
 
 
Price
**
 
Speed
*****
 
Durability
****
 

Brushless RC Motor

Choosing Your Brushless RC

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The scientific part if you wish

Brushless designs and choices explained. Courtesy of hobby parts.

I Hope This Helps

I hope this description helps you to better understand the difference between brushed and brushless motors in RC cars

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