Best Brake Calipers: Brake More Smoothly and Efficiently
Add some distance between you and the car in front of you with these powerful brake calipers
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PUBLISHED ON October 13, 2019
There are many components that make up a vehicle’s brake system. If your car features disc brakes, then it comes with rotors, pads, and brake calipers. When you hit the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure runs through the brake line to the calipers, and pistons in the calipers place pressure on pads until the vehicle stops. Using the best brake calipers will improve your ride and comfort on the road. Here are the top-rated calipers you should consider if you need to swap them out.
- Best OverallCallahan Brake Parts Premium Grade OE Semi-Loaded CalipersSummarySummaryThese calipers feature a tough material to reduce noise and dust buildup on your brakes. Each is developed with premium boots, seals, pins, bolts, and hardware to ensure a high-quality fit and design.ProsProsThe bleeder screws come with dust covers to prevent any buildup from entering the system. They also come with a mounting bracket for easy installation and can be mounted in the rear or front brakes.ConsConsThey are not powder coated or painted, so they aren’t the best at fighting against corrosion or rust. Also, they will only fit certain vehicles.
- Best ValueACDelco Professional Front Side Disc Brake CaliperSummarySummaryThese are pressure tested to ensure each one provides safe, comfortable, and efficient stopping power. They are also developed with aluminum and iron castings for a durable, high-quality enhancement to your brake system.ProsProsACDelco’s calipers are equipped with Ethylene Propylene (EPDM) rubber components that provide superior resistance to heat, corrosion, and leaks.ConsConsThe included bolts are small and may not be the toughest you can find. Plus, they may all be a different head size. Also, the calipers are not coated or painted.
- Honorable MentionPower Stop Performance CaliperSummarySummaryThese feature a vibrant red electrostatic powder-coated paint that resists corrosion and rust. Plus, the extra layer of paint improves their lifespan and enhances the power of your entire brake system.ProsProsEach one includes high-temperature EPDM rubber components and premium silicone lubrication on the caliper pins for improved performance. They also install directly where the old calipers were placed.ConsConsThe red color will attract more dust and grime, and they are also on the higher price end for a pair of two rear calipers.
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Benefits of Brake Calipers
- Protect the brake pads. A high-quality brake caliper completely surrounds the brake pads, keeping them out of harm's way. They can help prevent dust, grime, and dirt from building up under the pads to ensure they work properly when you need them most.
- Improve safety.A vehicle that stops efficiently and quickly will promote safety. Worn-out brake calipers may not function at their maximum efficiency and will slow down your braking time. If there is an obstacle, roadblock, or car accident in your way, your vehicle needs to be able to stop quickly so you don’t get hurt or injure anyone else.
- Enhance performance. Installing brand new brake calipers will improve the overall performance of your vehicle, whether it’s an SUV, car, or truck. They will provide a tighter and more secure squeeze on the brake pads, allowing them more grip on the brake rotors.
- Increase in stopping power. If you have ever had to abruptly step on the brakes, you can feel the stopping power behind them. The best brake calipers will reduce the stopping distance of your vehicle by a large amount, keeping you further away from danger.
- Lengthen the lifespan. Swapping out your worn-out brake calipers with brand-new ones will lengthen the lifespan of your braking system. Those made of copper, metal, and dense ceramic last the longest and wear down your rotors, pads, and discs at a slower rate.
Types of Brake Calipers
Floating calipers feature one or two pistons on the inboard side of the rotor. Each piston pushes the caliper as soon as the brakes are applied to create friction between the brake pads and both sides of the rotor. The calipers move in and out relative to the rotor as well.
The counterpart to floating calipers are fixed ones. As their name suggests, they do not move and instead have pistons arranged on opposite sides of the rotor. These are the most common and have improved performance. However, they’re also more expensive. High-performance fixed calipers can also have more pistons.
ACDelco has been creating parts for vehicles, planes, and spacecraft since 1906. William Durant helped launch the company and worked with General Motors to design spark plugs, shocks, and brake parts for vehicles. One of its brake calipers is the ACDelco Professional Front Side Disc Brake Caliper.
The company has been designing and manufacturing performance brake upgrade parts since 1995. With headquarters in Chicago, Ill., Powerstop is known for its eco-friendly practice in supplying products, such as brake pads, that are 100 percent copper-free. A good set of brake calipers it makes are the Power Stop Performance Caliper.
Brake Calipers Pricing
- $40 or less:You’ll find both front and rear brake calipers in this price range. While they will be made with durable materials, they may only come in pairs of two. It’s recommended you buy four so you can upgrade all of your vehicle’s brake calipers at the same time.
- $100 and up: It is here you will find calipers designed with a sturdier and longer-lasting material. They may even come with more pistons for enhanced performance. Pricier calipers are usually designed for a more aggressive style of driving, such as racing or lengthy travel.
Brake calipers should be made with the strongest and most durable materials. There are a few options to consider, and all will offer you the same benefits and features. However, they may vary in price due to their construction. For example, semi-metallic and full-metallic calipers increase overall braking performance, longevity, and durability. However, they can also be quite noisy and generate brake dust. Ceramic calipers help reduce any noise coming from the brakes and are strong and reliable at a steeper price.
It’s essential you get a set of brake calipers that can take a beating from excessive braking. While it is difficult to judge how long each one should last, they should be durable enough to get through thousands of miles. The strongest ones feature thick metallic pistons and are powder coated as an extra layer of protection to increase their lifespan.
You can tell a caliper is wearing down when it begins to whine and squeal when you press the brake pedal. You may also find calipers can be loud during everyday operation. Fully-metallic and semi-metallic calipers tend to be the noisiest of them all, while ceramic ones are typically the quietest. If you can find calipers with a rubberized coating, they will be the quietest on the road.
- Brake Dust:Over time, your brakes and wheels will see a gathering layer of brake dust. You can lessen the amount of dust on them by choosing a pair of ceramic brake calipers. They produce less dust buildup than their metallic counterparts.
Best Brake Calipers Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Callahan’s brake calipers feature a tough material to reduce noise and dust buildup on your brakes. Each one is developed with premium boots, seals, pins, bolts, and hardware to ensure a high-quality fit and design. As an added bonus, the bleeder screws come with dust covers to prevent any buildup from entering the system.
Each one of these calipers comes with a mounting bracket for easy installation. That bracket also makes them quite versatile. They can either be mounted as replacements for the front calipers or the rear calipers for extra convenience. As far as performance, they are a great improvement for your brake pads and help reduce the stopping time of the vehicle.
As for the downsides, there are a few to note about these calipers. One is that they are not powder coated or painted, so they aren’t the best at fighting against corrosion or rust. The second thing is that they will only fit certain vehicles. You will need to make sure they fit your vehicle before purchasing them.
If you want one of the best-rated brake calipers you can get, consider this product from ACDelco. The company pressure tests each caliper to ensure it provides safe, comfortable, and efficient stopping power. Each one is developed with aluminum and iron castings for a durable, high-quality enhancement to your brake system.
ACDelco’s calipers are also equipped with Ethylene Propylene (EPDM) rubber components that provide superior resistance to heat, corrosion, and leaks. Each one is also quite simple to install yourself using the included mounting brackets, hardware, and copper sealing washers. Plus, the calipers are developed without attached brake pads, giving you more customization when it comes to putting them on by hand.
Keep in mind that the included bolts are small and may not be the toughest you can find. Plus, they may all be a different head size. Also, the calipers are not coated or painted and come in a dull black color. This means while they do feature materials that resist rust, they are capable of rusting more easily with time.
Honorable Mention: Power Stop Performance Caliper
If you want to add some style to your brake system, consider the Power Stop Performance Calipers. Their vibrant red color makes them stand out behind your wheels, while the electrostatic powder-coat helps resist any buildup of corrosion or rust. The extra layer of paint also improves their lifespan and enhances the power of your entire brake system.
That’s not the only component that extends the life of these rear calipers. They also include high-temperature EPDM rubber components and premium silicone lubrication on the caliper pins for improved performance. In addition, they install directly where the old calipers were placed, so upgrading to a new set is not a hassle.
Their red color may also come with a downside, however. It will attract more dust and grime, so you will have to clean them more often to keep them looking new. They are also on the higher price end for a pair of two rear calipers. You can probably buy two separate calipers at a lower price point than these.
- You can extend the lifespan of your brakes by anticipating each stop. Braking well before you reach your stopping point will ensure the brakes aren’t worn down.
- If you have a manual vehicle, you can reduce the amount of stress on the brakes. You can downshift instead of braking hard to slow down the vehicle. You should keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you, however.
- Consider swapping out the brake pads and rotors if you are upgrading the calipers. This will ensure the entire system is brand new and functions without issue.
Q: How do brake calipers work?
A: The braking system is made up of a lot of components, so understanding how it all works can be confusing. Each brake disc is made up of calipers, pads, and rotors. Pressing the brake pedal sends brake fluid to the calipers surrounding the pads. This presses the pads against the rotors, causing your vehicle to stop.
Q: How can I tell if the brake calipers are wearing down?
A: The best way to tell if the brake calipers are wearing out is to listen to them. If you hear excessive squealing or rubbing, it may be time to upgrade the calipers. You can also tell by checking the brake pads. If there is uneven pad wear on them, it is a good indication that you need a new pair of calipers.
Q: How long will a pair of calipers last?
A: This can be difficult to gauge and depends on your driving style. The general rule of thumb is to swap out brake calipers every 50,000 miles. However, a lot of racing or heavy braking can cause them to wear down more quickly.
For one of the best-rated and long-lasting brake calipers to slow you down, consider the Callahan Brake Parts Premium Grade OE Semi-Loaded Calipers. Or you can check out the ACDelco Professional Front Side Disc Brake Caliper if you want to save some cash and still improve your vehicle’s stopping power on the road.