Dr. Brush vs. Drillbrush: Which is the Superior Scrub Brush?
Posted by John Cittadino on
Drillbrush has been making and selling drill-powered cleaning brushes since 2007, and over the years we’ve had many competitors. Most don’t stick around very long, but lately one company has risen up to the challenge; Dr. Brush by Holikme.
Dr. Brush has been better than most; at least they take most of their own pictures. However, possibly due to Dr. Brush offering similarly designed brushes and having a logo that suspiciously uses the same font as ours, many people confuse Dr. Brush brushes for Drillbrush and vice versa. Some even think they are both brands under the same company.
In short, we are not the same company, but to help clear the air, we’re going to take a closer look at both Drillbrush and Dr. Brush products. We’ll do a visual comparison and a stress test to illustrate how the two are different, which should help educate your buying decisions.
We have produced a video that goes over the differences and shows the durability test, which you can check out here, but if you would like a more in-depth analysis and additional details, feel free to continue reading.
To perform our test, we ordered two brush kits from Amazon; one from Dr. Brush and one of our own. We did this so we can get a genuine out-of-the-box comparison and illustrate what it is like to be a customer ordering the products.
The Dr. Brush kit we settled on was one that featured a bullet-shaped brush, a 4 inch flat brush, a 2 inch short brush, all with yellow medium bristles, as well as a 5 inch extension. This is identical to a kit we sell, referred to as our Yellow 42O-5X kit.
After we crack them open, we’ll check out the design, construction, and included features for each kit. Then, we’ll put the brushes through a difficult high-stress cleaning situation and see which one holds up better.
With that said, let’s take a look at what we’ve got.
Before we even get to the brushes, let’s start with the packaging. Dr. Brush’s kit comes in a plastic bag sealed with a custom branded card. Meanwhile, the Drillbrush kit comes in a shrink-wrapped 5X5X5 inch box with custom branded graphics, including an installation guide and a color chart. Oftentimes, we’ve received Dr. Brush kits that arrived with crushed bristles, but this time, both arrived in good condition without any damage.
Though we just gaze at the packaging, so let’s get to the contents!
Which one’s the evil twin?
At first glance, they almost look like the same kit. However, upon closer inspection and utilizing tips from our [LINK: https://drillbrush.com/pages/counterfeits TEXT: Identifying Counterfeits Page] the differences become clearer.
The first thing that stands out are the bristles. The Drillbrush bristles are more yellow in color, while Dr. Brush’s slightly more orange tone. The bristles on the Dr. Brush products are more splayed out and aren’t as evenly cut, with some bristles extending further than others. This is most apparent on the bullet-shaped brush. Drillbrush’s bristles are neater, more consistently even, and organized into clusters. In addition, Drillbrush bristles have a neater crimping and are slightly thicker than Dr. Brush.
On the blocks for the Drillbrush products, there are embossed markings of “Useful Products LLC,” the company behind Drillbrush, as well as safety and recommended RPM information. Dr. Brush lacks any embossing and has a construction similar to other competitors. This indicates to us that Holikme uses the same or similar manufacturer as other drill-powered brush sellers.
Who would include an inclusion?
Often we find that competitor brushes have inclusions and defects in their block. These are dangerous, as they can fail under high speeds and potentially shatter the brush, sending chunks of plastic everywhere. Also, oddly, some test-buy brushes we’ve ordered, including some from Dr. Brush, have come with an odd whitish powder on them. It could be residue from the manufacturing process, but we have not been able to test this so buyer beware.
Dr. Brush kits we ordered this time only had minor inclusions in the block and had no powder. An improvement to be sure!
[picture of the DB bullet-brush stickers “DB-sticker”]
A seal of quality!
Another identifier, though admittedly just an aesthetic one, is the yellow Drillbrush sticker on the “Original” brush. Called this due to it being the first brush our founder designed, the sticker is unique to Drillbrush corner brushes. Our Mini Original brush has a similar sticker in green, and our Jumbo Original has one in black. Dr. Brush lacks this sticker, naturally, but again, this is merely a brand identifier and doesn’t affect performance.
Dr. Brush has a more generic look and sloppier construction, but overall, there are no major red flags yet. But let’s get to the stress test and test one of the most important components of a drill-powered brush; the shaft!
Our official testing grounds!
Drill-powered cleaning brushes like Drillbrush and Dr. Brush attach to cordless drills via a drill-bit shaft embedded into the block. As the main connector, the shaft endures the most stress when in use. If improperly manufactured and with too great of a load, the shaft can twist, loosen, or snap out of the block.
Both brushes feature a ¼ inch quickchange shaft, which is compatible with most cordless drills and impact drivers. But if both brushes have the shame shaft, how can one outperform the other? Drillbrush is manufactured in such a way that reinforces the shaft to prevent it from breaking. Other competitors simply cut a notch in a bar of hex steel stock, stick it in the block, and call it a day, and as such, those brushes are prone to shaft spin-out.
For our test, we’ll be using the brushes on a carpeted car mat. For both brushes, we’ll gradually increase the drill-speed and the pressure in which we push down on the carpet until the brush breaks or we can’t add anymore force. The fibers in the carpet create friction that catches the bristles, adding resistance and making it more difficult for it to spin. Pressing down increases the difficulty and combining it with the energy being put in by the drill can cause the shaft to spin free.
This test simulates the wear and tear on a brush after many uses, as well as usage on heavy duty projects. We’ll be putting all three brushes from each company through the test and see how well they all do.
Results from the 4 inch test. Drillbrush 1, Dr. Brush 0.
Yellow Medium 4 inch Brush
We pressed the Dr. Brush 4 inch brush on the carpet and after only a few seconds the shaft spun out, leaving a gaping hole in the brush and a bunch of plastic-block confetti. This is troubling, as if you were to hit a snag when cleaning normally, there’s a chance you can break your brush right then and there.
The Drillbrush 4 inch on the other hand lasted three times as long before being stopped by the friction of the carpet and ultimately did not break. The brush still looked pristine and the shaft was still sturdy.
[picture from the Original test “dr-brush-o-fail”]
Results from the Bullet-shaped brush test. Drillbrush 2, Dr. Brush 0.
Yellow Medium Bullet-shaped Brush
Much like the 4 inch, the Dr. Brush bullet-shaped brush spun out. However it took roughly 10 times as long... 20 whole seconds compared to the 4 inch’s 2 seconds.. This failure was a genuine surprise to us, as it had never happened with any brush of this type that we have tested before. The small size of the core results in a low amount of torquing force being put on the shaft, meaning it has a very low chance of breaking in most cases.
Upon inspection, the shaft used in their bullet-shaped brush is the same one used by the 4 inch. Many drill-powered brush companies, Drillbrush included, will use different shafts for their flat and bullet-shaped brushes to adapt to the differences in the blocks. Dr. Brush does not, meaning that the shaft in their bullet brush is actually weaker than most other products.
Also like the previous test, the Drillbrush Original brush held on for far longer and did not break, twist, or bend.
We’ll call this a draw...
Yellow Medium 2 inch Brush
We tried to test the 2 inch brushes in the same manner as the other two. However, because the 2 inch brushes are very small the forces acting on the brush are quite different.
Like the bullet shaped brushes, the block has a small diameter resulting in a lower amount of torque being applied to the shaft. But unlike the bullet brush the 2 inch brush has a much smaller area of bristle-to-surface contact. This means that the brush is able to spin largely unhindered. The result was us melting the fibers on the carpet with both brushes, ending in an inconclusive test.
It is possible to break out the shaft, but I wouldn’t consider a vengeful pair of pliers a common hazard when cleaning, so for the 2 inch, it’s a draw.
Who can extend their lead?.
5 inch Extension
Many Amazon reviewers claim their Dr. Brush extensions broke during use or arrived broken, so we tried to recreate the normal-use situation failures. However, we couldn’t get either extension to break. So we pushed them further to try and get a result. Both fared admirably, but we ultimately got both to break using extreme measures.
The Dr. Brush extension broke into more pieces due to a failure in the ring that keeps the collar together. The Drillbrush extension fared a little better, as the chuck and shaft managed to hold on.
While our in house testing was inconclusive, I would say the reviews speak for themselves. Roughly half of the 1 star reviews on amazon mentioned the extension either breaking, arriving broken, or missing completely. Our own experience with previous Dr. Brush test buys can corroborate this. Additionally, we found it a bit harder to fit the shaft into the chuck of the extension on the Dr. Brush model.
That is not to say that there are not people who are happy with what they got, but this introduces a new factor to consider; manufacturing issues. Given what we have read and observed it seems obvious that there are some quality control issues at the Dr. Brush factory. I’m not sure about you but I’m not fond of the idea of gambling on if I will get the same quality product as everyone else for the same price. Over all we can safely mark this down as another loss for Dr. Brush.
After wrapping up the four tests, the final score is Drillbrush - 3, Dr. Brush - 0, and one draw. Overall, we must conclude that Drillbrush has a sturdier product that will last you for more cleaning sessions.
The reason our shafts are so durable is due to years of engineering, research, and improvement. We have carefully chosen our grades of steel and heat treatment processes to ensure a highly durable product.
In recent years, the only times we’ve seen customers break the brush is when folks have used Drillbrush in a machine with a higher than-recommended RPM, such as a grinder. Even then it was never a shaft failure, usually it was bristles being gnarled by the high speed.
Meanwhile, every Dr. Brush we’ve received has had its shaft spin out when tested, which means you’ll likely be spending a lot of money on replacements over the years.
When it comes down to brass tacks, Holikme’s Dr. Brush might be cheaper, but you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a high quality brush that is sure to last, the Drillbrush Power Scrubber is the way to go!
If you want to check out the video-version of our Dr. Brush vs. Drillbrush comparison, you can find that here
Well done, John. Very helpful. In next video let’s make it: DrillBrush vs. the evil Dr. Brush.
Laine Murphy on