what is a brushless miter saw? Is brushless better?

You might be wondering what is a brushless miter saw. If you follow news in the power tool niche, you may notice some people talking about brushless miter saws. Several of the big names in the tool world have released a line of brushless motor power tools. 

The technology itself isn’t new, brushless motors have been used in industrial sectors since the 1960s. Brushless motors first popped up in power tolls in 2009 when Makita released its brushless impact driver. 

So, what’s the big deal? Is a brushless miter saw worth all the hype?

The answer is probably. A brushless miter saw is typically on the more expensive end of the price spectrum, but they do end up lasting longer than their brushed brethren. You can get years of use out of your brushless miter saw only having to replace your saw blades. Plus, a brushless miter saw will require less maintenance over its lifetime.

brushless miter saw

Which is Better Brushed or Brushless Miter Saws?

If you are about to make a miter saw purchase, you are probably wondering which is better: a brushed or brushless version. To answer that question, we need to look at how each of the motors work. 

Brushed Miter Saw Motors

In a brushed motor, you have four main parts. There is are the carbon brushes, the armature, the commutator, and a ring of magnets. The moving parts in the motor are the armature and commutator. The brushes and magnets stay put. 

When you turn on the tool, the current runs from the battery and into the commutator — traveling through the motor’s spring-loaded brushes. The charge then moves to the copper windings of the armature through the commutator. This charge magnetizes the armature which begins to spin due to the ring of magnets that surround it.

Brushless Miter Saw Motors

In the brushless motor, there are no brushes and no commutator. Instead, a circuit board is responsible for getting the charge to the copper windings of the armature. This direct communication from the circuit board makes the brushless motor “smarter” as it can adjust to the task at hand, unlike the brushed miter saw which will always run at maximum speed. If you are cutting Styrofoam with your brushless miter saw, the motor won’t work as hard as it would if you were cutting a hard piece of mahogany. 

And the Winner Is…

Overall, brushless motors are the more powerful option. This is because of the way the copper windings are configured. By being on the outside of the saw’s motor, there is plenty of room for the manufacturer to make the windings larger. 

Also, brushless motors do not have the voltage drop which is caused by the friction of the brushes where they are making contact with the spinning commutator. That bit of contact causes a constant state of energy loss while the miter saw is in use. 

With a brushless miter saw, you get a more efficient tool that is highly durable. But…you pay for that efficiency and durability! For many hobbyist woodworkers, the cost of the brushless miter saw may put them out of reach. However, the industry expects the price to become more and more affordable over time as the battery technology becomes less expensive to make. 

So, who is the winner brushed or brushless? That kind of depends on your! Of course, the longevity and efficiency that you get with the brushless miter saw is a huge factor in deciding which to buy, but if it is totally out of your price range, it can hardly be considered a winner.  The winner is the miter saw that gets the job done and doesn’t break the woodworking bank. 

Brushless Miter Saws 

If the budget does happen to allow for the brushless model, there are exciting things to consider. A cordless brushless miter saw runs on a battery pack instead of being plugged into the electrical outlet. For instance, popular tool manufacturer Milwaukee’s brushless miter saws use their proprietary M18™ REDLITHIUM™ batteries which aren’t always included with the saw itself (something to consider when budgeting!) Due to being cordless, these brushless miter saws are more convenient for on location cutting, and they are considerably lighter than a similar corded model. 

There are also brushless compound miter saws available on the market. Similar to their corded, brushed counterparts, brushless compound miter saws allow you to pivot the blade from left tor right, as well as tilt the blade to make those beveled cuts. The cordless options are also easy to move around on a job site, and you can generally get several hundred cuts from a single battery charge. 

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