Best Motors: Increase the Efficiency of Your Power Tools
Improve the power output of your electric tools with these motors
Power tools such as drills may stop working after a period of time. That may be due to a blown motor, which you can replace by yourself if you are a DIYer. If you have a rough idea about how your tool's internal components work and would like to install a new motor, consider one of the options in our buying guide below.
Benefits of Motors
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- Versatility. Motors are used in a wide variety of applications. They operate everything from small electronic devices, such as your cell phone, to robotic gadgets, power tools, and much more.
- Highly efficient. Electric motors generate motion by changing electrical energy to mechanical energy. They are strong, useful in high-torque applications, and, depending on the brand, long-lasting.
- Replaceable. If you have a favorite power tool that stops running, you don't have to throw it away. With just a small investment and a little know-how, you can replace the motor to get it working again.
Types of Motors
This type of motor is one of the most common. It is used in toys, home appliances, and automobiles. The contact brushes connect to a commutator to direct the current. These motors are not very expensive to produce and are easy to control. They provide great torque at low speeds, which is measured in revolutions per minute (RPMs). The drawback is you must replace worn-out brushes frequently. Also, they are not as fast as other motors, and they tend to be loud due to brush arcing.
These motors, which have permanent magnets in the rotor assembly, are also common and are used frequently by hobbyists. Compared to DC brush motors, brushless ones are more efficient, quieter, more powerful, and they don't require as much maintenance. However, they can be hard to control if you don't have a specialized regulator. They also need special gearboxes. Overall, they are more expensive and complex than other motors.
Printers, machine tools, and other equipment use stepper motors, which are designed for precision. They are high-torque motors that allow the user to go from one step to another. A controller sends a signal to a driver, which transfers the necessary voltage to the motor. Stepper motors are easy to make and control, but they have a tendency to draw a lot of current, and top speeds can be limited.
Hobbyists often use servo motors for remote control devices such as robots and RC toy vehicles. They provide position control but not precision. These motors feature a potentiometer and a control circuit. Electrical pulses are sent to a control wire, and the motors can be either AC or DC. DC is used for hobby applications, while AC is for industrial machinery.
German electrical engineer and industrialist Werner von Siemens founded the electrical and telecommunications company in 1847. Siemens manufactures a variety of motors, ranging from servo motors to high-voltage and DC motors. Two of its small motors include the Siemens 1800 Rpm 208 230/460-Volt 215tc General Purpose Electric Motor and the Siemens 3600 Rpm 230/460-volt 143t General Purpose Electric Motor.
Marathon is one of the brands of Regal Beloit Corporation, which is headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin. The company has facilities throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The Marathon brand provides high-quality and efficient motors to hundreds of industries. One of its top products is the Marathon B208 Blower Belted Motor.
- Between $5 and $25: Motors vary in price depending on what type you purchase and what its application is. DC motors are quite affordable and usually cost less than $25.
- Between $6 and $85: Vibrating motors can be found for under $85.
- Between $12 and $45: This price range is where you can purchase a brushless motor.
- Between $13 and $125: Stepper motors are the most expensive motors. They can cost up to $125.
The current powers a motor. If there's too much, it can harm the device. Operating and stall current are critical on DC motors. The operating current is the amount of current the motor is likely to use under conventional torque. Stall current allows the motor to run at a stall speed or 0 RPM.
The voltage keeps the current running in one direction. The more voltage a motor has, the more torque it will have. To determine how efficient a DC motor is, look at the voltage rating. If you do not apply enough volts, the motor won't work. Too many volts will cause power loss or total failure.
The RPM determines the velocity and speed of a motor. Usually, motors are most efficient if they are used at the highest speeds. However, gearing may prevent you from using high speeds. The addition of gears decreases a motor's efficiency. As a result, you need to also consider speed and torque.
- Enclosures. Some motors have enclosures, while others do not. An enclosure keeps the internal parts of the motor protected and is recommended in certain environments. For example, motors used in an ambient atmosphere typically have open drip-proof enclosures. Some also have fan-cooled enclosures, which provide ultimate protection.
- Environment. Consider the type of environment the motor will be operating in before making a purchase. The device's dimensions and durability play a big role when you're working in a high-temperature, damp, or corrosive area, for example. In particularly rough environments, motors should have reinforced and shock-resistant casings.
- Efficiency. Energy efficiency is an important factor for many people. When you're selecting a motor, you want to determine how efficient it is. One benefit is that a motor that uses less energy will be more cost-effective. Therefore, if you want to save money, choose a motor that has a low energy impact.
Best Motors Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Best OverallQianson DC Motor
This 12- to 36-volt DC 775 motor includes ball bearings in the front that can deliver from 3,500 up to 9,000 RPM. It has a shaft length of 17 mm and a diameter of 5 mm. The body diameter is 42 mm, and its length is 66.7 mm. It has a mounting hole size of M4.
This motor can be used to power nearly all types of electrical tools and suits most needs. It delivers a large torque, and it's highly efficient and stable. The motor has high speed operation, and it runs quietly. A cooling fan is included, and it comes with two mounting holes for a perfect fit.
Unfortunately, it has a lower RPM rating than many of its competitors, and there is no power labeling on the motor. Also, it may be too large for some power tools, and it does not work as a replacement motor for a Genmitsu router machine.
Best ValueAUTOTOOLHOME Mini DC Motor
This 6- to 12-volt metallic motor with 12,000 RPM is designed to power small DIY toys and electric power tools. It's great for PCB jewelry walnut drilling and hand drills. This DC motor is quite strong and speedy for its size.
One of the best things about this product is that it is very cost-efficient. It's also suitable for high torque applications and delivers low-noise operation. The motor is solidly constructed and has a lightweight design. It's great for powering electrical testing equipment, and it's packed in a safe bubble bag so it's protected during shipping.
However, the motor has a low power rating. Also, there are inadequate technical details about the product, so it's unclear exactly what applications it can be used on. It may burn out when used in power wheels, and it's better on small toys versus larger ones, such as big robots.
Honorable MentionGreartisan DC 12V 100 RPM Gear Motor
Use this motor for a variety of applications in the home, shop, or business. It has pure copper windings for more power, less resistance, and lower heat. The company uses “precision winding technology,” which yields a 30 percent increase in power.
The motor is made of electro-plated, high-hardness steel, which makes it impact-resistant and provides a long service life—for the motor itself and for the bearing. The motor has a negative-positive rotation and produces high torque: 10 rpm drives 15 kgs. The three main parts to this motor—the housing, the winding, and the end cap—are all quality components and when combined, give you a powerful, long-lasting dynamo you can use in many situations.
One downside is that you can only reduce the speed of the motor, not increase it. Also, the motor may be excessively noisy for some people.
Honorable MentionAmpFlow E30-150 Brushed Electric Motor
This motor from AmpFlow has 5600 RPM and can be 12V, 24V, or 36 VDC. With a 17-inch cable, it will be easy to reach your project with the added power of this motor. The housing diameter is 3.06 inches and it weighs just over three pounds. The motor is made from aluminum castings and it is finished in a black powder coat paint. If you would like a gearhead, that does come as an option at an additional price. It weighs less than 4 pounds. This motor is great for industrial motor control, semiconductor manufacturing, power tools, pumps, and other projects.
All around, it isn’t a cheap tool. But this motor is priced fairly reasonably around the mid-market range. It does tend to get quite hot depending on how much power you are using. There are some reported issues of it smoking, so you will need to be careful with its usage. It also is a bit bigger than you would expect.
Honorable MentionBestTong Large Torque Motor for Electrical Tools
This is a DC 12V 24V round shaft 775 electric motor with a dual accuracy ball bearing. With 24V you can get 19,800 RPM. It has a smaller size, with a shaft diameter of five millimeters and a shaft length of 17 millimeters. Overall this is an extremely affordable motor, priced well below competitor products. It is easy to wire and install and is made to be used with electric tools, electric fans, electric cleaners, and similar projects. With its small size, it is easy to transport, store, and install. Despite such a small size, it packs a very large torque.
The motor starting current needs to be 10A. It is a strong and dependable motor, but this motor can also get quite hot. Due to its lower price, it likely will not last as long as other pricier motors. But for the price, the size, and the torque, it is hard to find a better deal.
- Before deciding that a bad motor is the cause of your power tool’s failure, consider checking the wiring and electrical outlet. Ensure that the power cords are well connected and that you are getting a steady power supply.
- If you recently purchased a new motor, inspect it for corrosion, rust, or any sort of damage before installing it. It’s not uncommon to receive a used motor, especially if you are buying it online.
- Any physical abuse or mishandling of your power tool can weaken the motor’s magnetic fields. Keep your power tools in a safe storage place and avoid dropping them.
Q: What are the signs of a faulty motor?
One of the major signs of a bad motor is an excessive rattling or vibration sound from the internal components, especially when running the power tool at high speeds. Also, the speed of the power tool may be difficult to control and may render the controls almost useless.
Q: What is a universal electric motor?
A universal motor can run on either a single-phase AC supply or DC power. Universal motors deliver high torque and can run at speeds of up to 3,500 RPM. They come as stock motors for most power tools, such as portable drills, and even domestic vacuum cleaners.
Q: Do motors need lubrication?
Yes. Proper lubrication of the motor’s ball and roller bearings can prevent premature motor failure that’s often caused by rust. Environmental conditions can also corrode the motor. You should lubricate it with grease as opposed to wet oil since it’s less likely to leach out when the motor is running.
The Qianson DC Moto is our top pick. It’s highly efficient and can be used to run any power tool or electronic toy. Its power rating is also high enough to power domestic tools, such as a sewing machine.
If you are looking for a cheap and high-quality motor, consider the AUTOTOOLHOME Mini DC Motor.