On this page we will be having a look at what types of wire brush attachments are available that you can attach to a drill. We will also be having a look at what different uses there are for these types of brush attachments. There are a few different types of brush available, and we will go through each type in detail.
To keep things simple though, there are two types available on the market.
- Wire cup brush - One is an attachment where the wire comes out of the bottom. This is known as a cup type.
- Wire wheel brush - the other type is where the wires come out of the circumference of the brush attachment, and this is known as a radial attachment.
We have shown these below so as you can quickly see the difference.
WIRE CUP BRUSH
WIRE WHEEL BRUSH
How Much Do Wire Brush Drill Attachments Cost?
A typical average price for an attachment like this is about £10 but they go as low as £3 and all the way up to £25 depending on the quality, and the particular type that you want. So the good news is that these are not that expensive and certainly a cheaper option than buying an angle grinder.
Why Buy a Wire Brush Drill Attachment?
You can buy a large wire brush and also smaller wire brushes to remove rust and paint. The larger style wire brush costs around £10 and a set of 3 smaller wire brushes will cost around £3 as shown to the right.
The set contains a brush with brass wires, one with stainless steel wires and the other has nylon wires.
These work extremely well but the disadvantage is that they are manual and need a lot of physical effort to get the job done.
The main benefits of using these is that you do have total control. You are really trading your time to get a lot more control than you will get with a drill attachment.
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The benefit of using a wire brush drill attachment is about speed and time saving. They will get the job done much faster which is the big time saver. They also do a better job as your drill can spin much faster than any type of hand movement. It's very handy if you have had your mig welder on the go and and need to do a bit of tidying up.
What are wire brushes used for?
Generally speaking wire brushes are used to remove rust from metal. Please never use one of these without wearing safety glasses or goggles. The last thing you want is a piece of rough and hot metal lodged in your eye. We would also strongly recommend wearing gloves and a face mask as that will stop you having to breathe in any dust.
Many users also wear some type of either a dust apron or overalls. The sparks from metal can very easily burn through your clothes, and it is worthwhile covering up when using this type of drill attachment.
What are cup wire brushes used for?
Wire cup brushes are used for surface preparation such as the removal of rust, removing old paint and tidying up welds. The video below is a really good example of how a wire cup brush can be used to remove rust.
The important thing is though, that they do work, but they are also hard work. You will get bumped about quite a lot in your arms as they deal with uneven surfaces. That means the brush can bounce around a bit. When you have used this type of attachment a few times, you do get the knack of stopping it from moving about too much.
What are wheel wire brushes used for?
The radial or wheel type drill attachment brush has several different uses and in the main they are used to loosen up the rust on a surface of all types of metal. Mainly they are used on older cars and vehicles but can also be used on gates, hinges and anything metallic
So as you can see there are quite a few uses for these. Clearly it is not something that you will do everyday, and in fact may never do at all. That said we think it is handy to have one of each of these as part of your tool kit. For around £10 you can pick up one of each type, and they are useful to have when you need them.
People use them on old gates and railings which are suffering with rust. You can remove the rust from them using a radial, and then do the more awkward welding joints with a cup brush. That will get them ready for a good primer and paint.
Anyone working on old cars will have many uses for these.
If you have decided that you can make use of these, then just below we have explained a little more about wire cup brushes, and below that about the wheel style brushes. Both types of drill attachment brush come in different size of heads, different head material and different types of drill shank.
A popular choice is to buy a brush drill attachment set. These sets come with a mixture of cup and wheel options with different materials used for the heads. (nylon, brass and stainless steel)
Wire Cup Brush Options
Cup brushes also come with different types of wire as shown below:
- Wire cup brushes with stainless steel wire - perfect choice for cleaning and removing loose paint, scale and rust from metal parts and heavy duty scrubbing.
- Wire cup brushes with brass wire - You can use this type to clean unfinished metal parts like screw threads, connection terminals, and cutting tools without damaging the surfaces or the finer features
- Wire cup brushes with nylon wire - These are best used for finished surfaces, sweeping away dirt and debris from in and around interior door panels, trim pieces, dashboards etc.
The vast majority of these will have a Hex style shank that fits into the chuck of your drill. This type of shank is so much better than a round shank, as the flatter sides of the Hex shank give a much better grip and will stop the wire brush attachment from slipping in the chuck when you are working.
Our Recommendation for Wire Cup Drill Attachments
We would recommend buying this set of wire cup brush attachments for a drill as we think these are the best value for money.
The set includes 1 x 3"(75 mm) heavy duty, 1 x 3"(50mm) finishing cup and 1 1"(25mm) for those hard to reach areas
These can be used on metal or wood
They have a 1/4" hex shank and they will fit all drills
Ideally we would always prefer these type Hex shafts, and although they are more expensive, they are really worth the extra few pounds. I find the round shanks always seem to spin for me, no matter how much you tighten them.
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Wire Wheel Brush Options
The wheel or radial brushes for drills also come with different types of wire as shown below:
- Wire wheel brushes with stainless steel wire - perfect choice for cleaning and removing loose paint, scale and rust from metal parts and heavy duty scrubbing.
- Wire wheel brushes with brass wire - You can use this type to clean unfinished metal parts like screw threads, connection terminals, and cutting tools without damaging the surfaces or the finer features
- Wire wheel brushes with nylon wire - These are best used for finished surfaces, sweeping away dirt and debris from in and around interior door panels, trim pieces, dashboards etc.
These also come with a Hex shank which we have explained above.
Our Recommendation for Wire Brush Drill Attachments
We would recommend buying this set of wire brush attachments for a drill as we think these are the best value for money.
The set includes 1 x 3"(75 mm), 1 x 2"(50mm), 1 x 2-1/2"(63mm) and 1 x 1.57"(40mm)* and 2 x 2"(50mm) wheel style brushes and 1 x 2" wire cup brush
These can be used on metal or wood
They have a 1/4" shank (not hex) but they will fit all drills
Now ideally we would prefer Hex shafts, but they are more expensive and these will still work really well and there is not as much pressure on these compared to the cup style brushes above
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Summary of Wire Wheel Brush Options for Drills
They are useful for a variety of metal cleaning tasks, and also good for the removal of rough metal work, and rust. Anyone who works on cars will probably have any number of these sitting around their workshop. They are very good for removing rust on gates and railings.
They do work really well and they certainly take all the manual work out of the process. They can be difficult to use. Our advice is that if you have never used these before, then practise on an old piece of metal first. They do tend to skid off surfaces and they can be hard to control. You do get used to it though and we think it is useful to have a couple of these as and when you need them.
We would recommend using these with a good quality cordless drill.