How To Choose The Best Carbon Brushes For Power Tools

Do you know what an angle grinder, base cutter, and biscuit joiner have in common?  Aside from these items being power tools, they use carbon brushes as components in their machinations. Without a reliable carbon brush, these tools might give you difficulties during operations. Hence, continue reading to know more about these components, along with four factors to help you know the best carbon brushes for power tools.

What Is A Carbon Brush?

At first, you might be wondering what is a carbon brush. In simple terms, it’s an electromechanical conducting device found in different mechanical objects, such as hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, and several power tools. Also, note that carbon brushes tend to have different types, and each model has a specific function. Some of the types of carbon brushes you can find are:

  • Graphite brushes: ideal for contaminated environments
  • Metal graphite brushes: excellent option for tools like welding and plating generators
  • Electrographite brushes: use these models in high-temperature or low-humidity environments.

The proper maintenance of a carbon brush is essential to maintain its efficacy. Users should first look into the brush’s stability by checking the brush and its holders’ clearance. Ensure that these parts are stable and that the brush properly slides instead of grinds. However, if, upon checking, the carbon brush has several damages that render it unusable, consider replacing them instead of going through maintenance and repair procedures.

At this point, you should be searching for ways to find the best carbon brush. So, without further ado, here are the essential factors to check during your search:

Lubrication And Abrasion-Resistance

Carbon brushes tend to have self-lubricating properties, thanks to their layered crystal structure. This characteristic should also help these components have low friction coefficients, making them possess relatively high abrasion resistance. The best carbon brushes for power tools tend to require minimal outside interference for lubrication and abrasion-resistance. After all, you don’t want to take your power tools apart after a DIY project to apply lubricant on brushes to ensure their efficacy.

Consider getting brushes that can provide low friction under conduction. Otherwise, these components will grind against other parts, shortening the lifespan of your power tools.


The best carbon brushes should also provide excellent electrical conductivity to deliver efficient power usage in different power tools. If not, this could well likely be the main suspect as to why your tools aren’t performing well.

If possible, you can check the electrical conductivity of a brush using a continuity tester. You can do this test by removing the lead wires from the component’s circuit. Remember to label or tag each wire as you disconnect them from their sources to reconnect them later properly. Then, connect the tester clip to a motor lead. Ensure that you’re touching the probe to the other lead. Once you do this step, the tester should either light up or buzz. If the tester doesn’t emit a visual or audible response, you might need to replace the brush with a better model.


Carbon brushes in different power tools aren’t perfect. But, these components should last quite a long time with proper care and maintenance. Nonetheless, you should know some relatively common causes of brush wear and tear, which are:

  • Incorrect installation
  • Wrong brush size outfitted in a power tool
  • Winding faults
  • Voltage surges
  • Commutator issues

With those reasons in mind, consider acquiring carbon brushes combined with other materials. For example, electro graphite brushes tend to remain efficient even under significant pressure and high temperatures. Thus, consider electrographite brushes for your power tools if you want long-lasting options. These brushes tend to be ideal for use in various operating environments, such as those with low humidity or high temperatures.

Rideability During Sliding Contact

As an element, carbon tends to have superior rideability, particularly during sliding contact. You can achieve and maintain this trait by practicing proper power tool care. But, poor-quality carbon brushes tend to be weak in this regard, creating issues like unnecessary grinding when used in power tools.

Note that these brushes tend to perform using their non-linearity of sliding contact in relation to a device’s current production and use. Therefore, checking the rideability of these components during sliding contact may require measurement techniques focusing on checking the parts’ non-linearity.


Always consider using high-quality carbon brushes in your power tools to preserve their efficacy and ensure longevity. Remember to check for the brushes’ innate lubrication, abrasion resistance, conductivity, durability, and rideability. Follow this guide to help you choose the best brush for different tools.

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