Brush or brushless?

Rennie Heuer

Staff member
Constantine, MI
After 20 years of service my Ryobi 2 speed 18v drill has given up the ghost. RIP.

I'm looking at replacements (I'll be sticking with Ryobi as I have quite the investment in batteries and chargers not to mention 7 other tools using the same platform). There are some killer clearance deals on the brush versions. For instance - a drill, 3 batteries and an impact driver for the same price as just the brushless drill and 2 batteries. Tempting. However, given that this is likely the last drill I buy (don't know how much drilling I'll be doing when I hit 90) I'm giving a lot of consideration to going with the newer technology.

So, what's the difference? I've never used brushless. From what I read they are smaller, quieter, and more powerful with longer battery life. Sounds like it might be worth the money.

glenn bradley

No, not all of SoCal is Hollywood.
Of course, your drill motor did last 20 years so old-tech ain't all bad . . . In tests you see on You Tube and elsewhere that seem pretty non-biased, brushless tools run longer and are more efficient (get more work done in that time) than brush-style tools. The difference between brands like Makita, Milwuakee and DeWalt is pretty substantial (Milwaukee ran longer and drilled farther) so you may want to look at Ryobi specifically to see if your dollars really buy you more tool. For example I have standardized on mostly Ridgid hand power tools due to the free batteries and service for life warranty. The Ridgid brushless impact driver is reportedly 50% more in retail price but, will do twice the work per battery charge.

Like you, I have several tools and several batteries so, do I really care? Since you are buying new after wayyy getting you money's worth out of your 20 year old drill, I would pony up for brushless. I have been tempted before by a lower price for an aging technology and done OK. There have been a few times I really should have gone with the new versions and eventually did during the second go-round :whistling:
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