Excellent question but actually there is indeed a brushless handheld portable vacuum cleaner in the market as recently as 2022, which is the Ofuzzi H9 Pro. Before delving into that in a bit more detail, considering the technical and engineering aspect of a brushed and brushless motor, it is pertinent to delineate the differences between the technologies, and why brushless motors are superior.
What are brushed and brushless motors?
To address the question comprehensively, we must know what they are in the first place.
A brushed motor has permanent magnets inside its outer body with a rotating armature inside. The permanent magnets are stationary and are called the ‘stator’. The rotating armature contains an electromagnet and is called the ‘rotor’. In a brushed DC motor, the rotor spins 180 degrees when an electric current is applied to the armature. In order to travel beyond the initial 180 degrees, the poles of the electromagnet must flip. Carbon brushes contact the stator as the rotor spins, flipping the magnetic field and enabling the rotor to spin 360 degrees.
In contrast, a brushless motor works by alternating the polarity of windings inside the motor. It is essentially an inside-out brushed motor, which eliminates the need for brushes. In a brushless DC motor, the permanent magnets are fitted to the rotor, with the electromagnets on the stator. An electronic speed controller (ESC) regulates or 'commutates' the charge to the stator's electromagnets, enabling the rotor to travel through 360 degrees.
What's the basic difference between brushed and brushless motors (and why is brushless more desirable)?
I already discussed the operational differences above but what about the benefits and demerits of each? Why are brushless motors used in more sophisticated products in automobiles, medicine, and home accessories? Let’s attack that question now in the context of vacuum cleaners.
· Longer lifespan: Brushless DC motors don't have brushes, requiring less maintenance than their brushed counterparts.
· Efficiency: The lack of brushes means no speed is lost, making brushless DC motors a little more efficient, typically 85-90% compared with their brushed counterparts at a typical 75-80% efficiency.
· Quiet operation: Due to the lack of brushes, brushless motors run extremely quietly and have a particularly smooth operation. This is especially useful for applications requiring such properties as patient hoists.
· Brushed motors need more maintenance than brushless do: Due to the effects of friction on a motor’s carbon brushes, they will naturally wear over time. As a result, brushed electric motors are more likely to require some sort of maintenance in the form of brush cleaning or replacement. Brushless motors are practically much more immune to this wear.
· Higher speed than brushed counterpart: Despite a high starting torque, brushed motors are not as capable of maintaining high-level speeds. This is because running a brushed motor at a consistently high speed can cause it to get warm. The brushless solution does away with this limitation.
Appliances and electronics that opt for brushed motor usually does it to save cost but sacrifices quality and durability. As I alluded to before, among vacuum cleaners, the Ofuzzi H9 Pro is a completely brushless solution. Let’s see what benefits it reaps from using a brushless approach.
With the brushless motor, what improvements has H9 Pro had in suction and service life?
In general, using a brushless motor, the H9 Pro has the merits mentioned above of all brushless technologies e.g., longer lifespan, low maintenance overhead, higher speed, more efficiency, and quieter.
As for the operational superiority in suction and service life as a portable vacuum cleaner, it outperforms brushed vacs in several ways. Some metrics will make this vividly clear. In a portable vacuum cleaner, the brushed motor's life (because of the carbon brush) is low, with about 75-125 hours of running time, along with low speed, a small vacuum chamber, large flow, and a large motor system size. However, the brushless motor, with no carbon brush, life is more than 500 hours, and the speed can be up to 95,000 turns, which leads to a high vacuum, small flow, noise, and size. The motor efficiency can be up to 40%-43% of the whole duct system, compared to the brushed motor of about 26%-30%.
To expand a little, the H9 Pro is the brand’s flagship portable handheld vacuum cleaner with all the bells and whistles of $500+ vacuum cleaners at 1/5th the price. It really blew me away. This USB-C charged supremely versatile gadget was a Godsend for my carpets (both in the car and at home) thanks to the dogs and my kids’ crumbs. More technically, it is a handheld vacuum cleaner with 40AW (13 kPa) surging power of the brushless motor which implies outstandingly powerful suction that picks up visible crumbs and dirt alongside fine dust and pet hair. Its 80,000RPM motor and 600mL dust tank rival the ones in the kilobuck range. It is quite a marvel that its stellar performance makes no compromise while keeping it extremely quiet.
As such the H9 Pro is an impressive piece of gadget breaking the stereotype that brushless electronics are more expensive.
What is the regular price of a handheld vacuum cleaner with a brushless motor on the market?
Since science is moving extremely fast, good things are getting cheaper and cheaper things are getting better. What used to cost more than $1,000 a decade ago can be had in a much more convenient and smaller profile (like the H9 Pro). The brushless motor-powered vacuum cleaners hover between the $100 and $500 mark on Amazon and other retailers at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
How much does the H9 Pro cost and where to buy it?
Sporting one of the best engineered brushless motors, the flagship H9 Pro vacuum cleaner from Ofuzzi retails for around $100 which is significantly the best bang for the buck with an extremely high-value proposition. But don’t be fooled – after picking it up, I never had to look back at my 7-year-old Black and Decker upright one which was around five times the price.
Moreover, the H9 Pro goes on sale during significant times of the year like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and so forth. Here’s a tip – watch out for amazing deals and discounts during December (for the holidays), November (during Thanksgiving week), Prime Day, and other notable occasions.
To recap, if you have an alternative to choose between a brushed and a brushless vacuum cleaner, always go with the brushless one for the benefits discussed here. For instance, the H9 Pro has a quieter and feature-rich profile that outlives almost all other portables.