Brushed vs Brushless RC Motor: A Comprehensive Guide

Brushed and brushless DC motors are both widely used in various applications, including remote-controlled (RC) vehicles. While they share some similarities, these two motor types have distinct differences in terms of their construction, operation, and performance characteristics. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of brushed and brushless RC motors, providing you with a thorough understanding of their advantages, disadvantages, and technical specifications.

Construction and Operation

Brushed DC Motor

A brushed DC motor consists of a rotor (armature) with windings that are surrounded by a magnetic field created by permanent magnets on the stator. The rotor is connected to a commutator, which is a mechanical device that switches the current flow to the windings as the rotor turns. The commutator is in contact with carbon brushes, which transfer the current from the power source to the commutator.

Brushless DC Motor

In contrast, a brushless DC motor has a stationary set of windings on the stator and a rotor with permanent magnets. The current flow to the windings is controlled electronically by a motor controller, which uses sensors to detect the position of the rotor and switch the current flow accordingly. This eliminates the need for mechanical commutation and brushes, which can wear out and require maintenance.

Performance Comparison

brushed vs brushless rc motor


Brushless motors have a significant advantage over brushed motors in terms of efficiency. Brushless motors can achieve efficiencies ranging from 75% to 94%, while brushed motors typically have efficiencies around 60%. This higher efficiency translates to longer run times on a single battery charge, making brushless motors a better choice for applications where battery life is crucial.

Power and Speed

Brushless motors also tend to be more powerful and faster than brushed motors. They can deliver higher torque and reach higher top speeds, with some brushless motors capable of reaching speeds up to 20,000 RPM, compared to the 10,000 RPM limit of brushed motors.

Noise and Heat

Brushless motors are generally quieter and produce less heat than their brushed counterparts. This can be an advantage in applications where noise and heat dissipation are concerns, such as in indoor RC racing or sensitive electronic environments.


Brushless motors have a significant advantage in terms of maintenance. Since they do not have brushes that can wear out, brushless motors require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan compared to brushed motors.

Technical Specifications

Here is a table comparing the technical specifications of brushed and brushless DC motors:

Specification Brushed DC Motor Brushless DC Motor
Voltage 12V, 24V, or 48V 12V, 24V, or 48V
Current Up to 100A Up to 100A
Power Up to 500W Up to 1kW
Speed Up to 10,000 RPM Up to 20,000 RPM
Torque Up to 2 Nm Up to 5 Nm
Efficiency Around 60% 75% to 94%
Lifetime Short to medium Long

It’s important to note that these are general ranges, and the actual specifications of a particular motor may vary depending on the manufacturer and model.

Examples and Numerical Problems

Example 1: Brushed DC Motor Efficiency

Suppose a brushed DC motor has a voltage of 12V, a current of 10A, and a power of 120W. What is its efficiency?

To calculate the efficiency, we can use the formula:
Efficiency = (Power Out / Power In) × 100%

In this case, the power out is 120W, and the power in is:
Power In = Voltage × Current
Power In = 12V × 10A = 120W

Substituting the values, we get:
Efficiency = (120W / 120W) × 100% = 100%

However, as mentioned earlier, brushed DC motors typically have efficiencies around 60%, so the actual efficiency of this motor would be lower.

Example 2: Brushless DC Motor Efficiency

Now, let’s consider a brushless DC motor with a voltage of 24V, a current of 20A, and a power of 480W. What is its efficiency?

Using the same formula as before:
Efficiency = (Power Out / Power In) × 100%

The power out is 480W, and the power in is:
Power In = Voltage × Current
Power In = 24V × 20A = 480W

Substituting the values, we get:
Efficiency = (480W / 480W) × 100% = 100%

Again, this is an idealized example, but brushless DC motors can have efficiencies of up to 94%.

Figures and Data Points

Here are some additional figures and data points to further illustrate the differences between brushed and brushless DC motors:

  • Brushed DC motors have a commutator and brushes, which can wear out and require regular maintenance, typically every 50-100 hours of use.
  • Brushless DC motors have no brushes, which eliminates the need for maintenance and increases their lifetime to thousands of hours of use.
  • Brushed DC motors have a lower power density, typically around 0.5-1 kW/kg, compared to brushless DC motors, which can have a power density of 1-2 kW/kg.
  • Brushless DC motors have a higher torque-to-weight ratio, allowing for more compact and lightweight designs in RC applications.
  • The cost of brushless DC motors is generally higher than brushed DC motors, with the additional electronics and control systems required.
  • Brushless DC motors have a wider range of available sizes and power ratings, from micro-scale to industrial-scale applications.


In the world of RC vehicles, the choice between brushed and brushless DC motors is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the performance, efficiency, and maintenance requirements of your RC system. Brushless motors offer superior efficiency, power, and longevity, making them the preferred choice for many RC enthusiasts. However, the higher cost and complexity of brushless motors may be a consideration for some users.

By understanding the key differences between these two motor types, you can make an informed decision that best suits your RC needs and preferences. Whether you choose a brushed or brushless motor, this comprehensive guide has provided you with the technical knowledge and practical examples to help you navigate the world of RC motor selection.


  1. Monolithic Power Systems, “Brushless vs Brushed DC Motors: When and Why to Choose One,”
  2. Reddit, “What’s the difference between a brushed and brushless motor, and which one is better for RC cars?”
  3. RC Universe, “Brushed vs Brushless vs kV – Ratings,”
  4. R/C Tech Forums, “Brushless vs brush @ energy consumption,”

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