Reviews

LAST UPDATED:  October 24, 2019

Best Car Brakes: Generate Reliable Stopping Power

Reliable car brakes are essential for safe, care-free driving

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PUBLISHED ON October 24, 2019

There’s nothing more important in your car than the brakes. Without solid brakes, you risk accidents and other problems. That’s why it’s imperative to install the best brakes you can. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. It just means doing your research and buying and installing quality brakes for your vehicle. Check out our recommendations for superior brakes—with great online savings.

Best Overall
Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor
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Summary
Summary

Bosch’s brake rotors are developed out of a bi-metal aluminum and zinc coating. Extended lifespan, more durable, and enhance the look of your vehicle. Each operates smoothly and efficiently and features no pedal pulsation at all.

Pros
Pros

Feature a homogeneous heat flow and cool quickly. They reduce your stop time when braking quickly or slowly. Plus, they also come with ABS sensor rings included in their construction.

Cons
Cons

They can rust over time due to their design. The zinc coating may not last all that long and may rub off after the first few uses. It is also quite heavy at just around 13 pounds.

Best Overall
Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor
Best Value
KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set
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Summary
Summary
These front brake pads fit various Nissan and Infiniti vehicles and feature dual rubber shims that reduce vibrational noise. The “thermo-scorched” manufacturing process reduces break-in time. Slots and chamfered edges increase brake bite, extend pad life, and helps reduce noise.
Pros
Pros
The product is known for its great stopping power. The manufacturer provides a “no-hassle” limited warranty. The price is one-third that of OEM brand pads.
Cons
Cons
Brakes squeak on some vehicles. You must order brake hardware separately to install these pads.
Best Value
KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set
Honorable Mention
AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set
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Summary
Summary
These pads provide reliable, safe stopping action. They are ready to install right out of the box and require no machining or curing. Shims, chamfers, and slots help provide smooth braking while reducing vibration and noise.
Pros
Pros
These pads fit perfectly on a broad range of vehicles. They are easy and fast to install and produce little dust. Quiet operation.
Cons
Cons
They can be squeaky in hot weather. The pads do not fit all makes and models.
Honorable Mention
AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Car Brakes

  • Increase safety. Over time, your vehicle’s brakes will get weaker and not operate at their full capacity. This can increase your stopping time on concrete, slick roads, and off-road. By swapping out your original equipment, you get peace of mind by having a better braking system.
  • Reduce stopping time. When you brake you, want to be able to come to a complete stop quickly and effectively. New brakes operate more smoothly without bouncing or jostling the car around when you slam on the brake pedal. High-quality brakes will give you more control when your car stops. The brake pedal will become more stiff and, therefore, more responsive to pressure from your foot.
  • Longer lifespan. Upgrading your braking system will increase the lifespan of every component. You should swap out both the rotors and brake pads to ensure your system lasts you several thousand miles on the road.
  • Quieter operation. Nothing can really compare to the sound of squeaky or noisy brakes when you press the pedal. They can be annoying and loud to you, your family, and other drivers. Plus, noisy brakes can mean they are starting to weaken. Upgrading to more premium brakes will get rid of the noise so you can drive in peace and quiet again.

Types of Car Brakes

Disc

Disc brakes are perhaps the most common brakes you will find on today’s new vehicles. They are made up of a rotor that is attached directly to the disc or wheel of the braking system. They activate when pressure from the master cylinder causes the brake calipers to clamp onto the brake pads. The friction from the pads and the rotor is what causes the vehicle to slow down.

Drum

A brake drum consists of a large drum attached to the inside of the wheel. They are most commonly found on large shipping trucks, lorries, and construction equipment. When the brake pedal is pressed, hydraulic pressure pushes the two brake shoes together around the brake drum. This friction, like disc brakes, slows the vehicle.

Top Brands

ACDelco

ACDelco is an American-based automotive parts and manufacturer owned by General Motors. The company was founded in 1916 and has a headquarters in Grand Blanc, Michigan. It is one of the most well-known companies in the automotive business and makes everything from air conditioning, batteries, belts, bumpers, brakes, and basically everything else inside and outside of a vehicle. Take a look at its AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Rear Disc Brake Pad Set.

Bosch

The Bosch company was founded in 1886 in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a multinational electronics and engineering company that is known for designing premium and high-quality products built for vehicles and home appliances. The company also manufactures vehicle braking systems, including the Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pad and the Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor.

Car Brakes Pricing

  • Under $30: You can find a great set of brake rotors or pads in this price range. They may vary in quality and lifespan, however. You should conduct a brake system comparison check to find the system that works best for you.
  • $30 - $60: You can typically find some of the best and most durable brake pads and rotors in this price range. These can include semi-metallic, organic, and ceramic pads. Each component will also be more durable and weather-resistant. 
  • $60 and up: This higher-tier section is for drivers who prefer to push their vehicle to its maximum limit. Race car enthusiasts or drivers who spend their weekends at the track and heavy-duty truck owners should consider shopping for high-performance brakes here.

Key Features

Pads

First, you should be aware that your braking system comes down to two main parts: rotors and pads. Brake pads come in semi-metallic, fully-metallic, organic, and ceramic coatings. All of these types offer you excellent braking performance and control on the road, but choosing the best can be difficult. Metallic pads last longer and are built more durable but they can be noisy and produce a lot of brake dust. Organic pads are more eco-friendly and easier on your rotors and discs. However, they lack braking power and longevity. Ceramic pads are ultra-quiet, powerful, and offer great braking power but are more expensive.

Rotors

Brake rotors are developed out of a sturdy and reliable cast iron, which is quite heavy. They can also be made out of steel or layered steel for extra reinforcement and durability. This also makes them lighter and capable of dissipating heat better throughout the system. You can also find aluminum brake rotors that are more lightweight and better equipped for motorcycles. Carbon rotors dissipate heat well and boost performance, while ceramic rotors cool more efficiently and quickly to prevent reaching high temperatures.

Use

You know your vehicle best and the type of driving you do on a daily basis. If all you do is commute to work or drive to and from the grocery store, then you shouldn’t need robust or expensive brakes. However, for those who race for a living or drive large trucks, you might want to consider more durable brakes built out of longer-lasting materials.

Other Considerations

  • Brake Dust. You may never see it, but brake dust will build up over time on your brakes. It can degrade your brakes and cause them to whine or groan over time as well. If you want to reduce the amount of brake dust on your brakes, consider ceramic brake pads first over the other types.

Best Car Brakes Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall

Bosch’s brake rotors are developed out of a bi-metal aluminum and zinc coating. This increases their lifespan, makes them more durable, and enhances the look of your vehicle. Each operates smoothly and efficiently and features no pedal pulsation at all. Plus, they are quiet and reduce vibrations.


One of the best features of these brake rotors is they have a homogeneous heat flow. This means they cool quickly and come with a superior heat dissipation to not overheat under pressure. They reduce your stopping time when braking quickly or slowly. ABS sensor rings are included in their construction.


There are a few things about these brake rotors that you should be aware of. One drawback is they can rust over time due to their design. The zinc coating may not last all that long and may rub off after the first few uses. This brake rotor is also quite heavy at almost 14 pounds, so it may be awkward to install by yourself.

Best Overall
Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor

Bosch’s brake rotors are developed out of a bi-metal aluminum and zinc coating. This increases their lifespan, makes them more durable, and enhances the look of your vehicle. Each operates smoothly and efficiently and features no pedal pulsation at all. Plus, they are quiet and reduce vibrations.


One of the best features of these brake rotors is they have a homogeneous heat flow. This means they cool quickly and come with a superior heat dissipation to not overheat under pressure. They reduce your stopping time when braking quickly or slowly. ABS sensor rings are included in their construction.


There are a few things about these brake rotors that you should be aware of. One drawback is they can rust over time due to their design. The zinc coating may not last all that long and may rub off after the first few uses. This brake rotor is also quite heavy at almost 14 pounds, so it may be awkward to install by yourself.

Best Value

This is a solid pair of front brake pads that will fit on various Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. They feature dual rubber shims that reduce vibrational noise, and the “thermo-scorched” manufacturing process reduces break-in time. They also come with slots and chamfered edges that increase brake bite, extend pad life, and help to reduce noise.


When it comes to braking, you want the best brakes you can find to stop when you need to, and KFE’s front brake pads do the trick. The manufacturer provides a “no hassle” limited warranty. Plus, the price is vastly reduced when it comes to other brands and brake pads on the market, and they are made out of a reliable ceramic material.


You will find a few not-so-great things about these brake pads, though. For one, the brakes may tend to squeak on some vehicle models. Plus, if you want to install them yourself, you have to order brake hardware separately to install these pads.

Best Value
KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set

This is a solid pair of front brake pads that will fit on various Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. They feature dual rubber shims that reduce vibrational noise, and the “thermo-scorched” manufacturing process reduces break-in time. They also come with slots and chamfered edges that increase brake bite, extend pad life, and help to reduce noise.


When it comes to braking, you want the best brakes you can find to stop when you need to, and KFE’s front brake pads do the trick. The manufacturer provides a “no hassle” limited warranty. Plus, the price is vastly reduced when it comes to other brands and brake pads on the market, and they are made out of a reliable ceramic material.


You will find a few not-so-great things about these brake pads, though. For one, the brakes may tend to squeak on some vehicle models. Plus, if you want to install them yourself, you have to order brake hardware separately to install these pads.

Honorable Mention

These ACDelco brake pads provide reliable, safe, and efficient stopping power. One of the greatest things about them is they are ready to install right out of the box and require no machining or curing. Plus, their shims, chamfers, and slots help provide smooth braking while reducing vibration and noise.


You won’t have to worry about finding what vehicles they fit on, as these pads are capable of fitting on a broad range of vehicles including cars, trucks, and SUVs. You can also install them yourself as they are easy and fast to attach. They also produce little to no visible dust and provide quiet operation.


As far as negatives or downsides go, you may notice a bit of sound or whining if you drive them in warmer or hot climates. They may also fit tightly onto your brakes but a little grease will go a long way. They also may not come with replacement clips or all the hardware required.

Honorable Mention
<strong>AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Rear Disc Brake Pad Set</strong>

These ACDelco brake pads provide reliable, safe, and efficient stopping power. One of the greatest things about them is they are ready to install right out of the box and require no machining or curing. Plus, their shims, chamfers, and slots help provide smooth braking while reducing vibration and noise.


You won’t have to worry about finding what vehicles they fit on, as these pads are capable of fitting on a broad range of vehicles including cars, trucks, and SUVs. You can also install them yourself as they are easy and fast to attach. They also produce little to no visible dust and provide quiet operation.


As far as negatives or downsides go, you may notice a bit of sound or whining if you drive them in warmer or hot climates. They may also fit tightly onto your brakes but a little grease will go a long way. They also may not come with replacement clips or all the hardware required.

Honorable Mention

This brake kit from the Power Stop store has everything you need to have top-quality car brakes. It includes stainless steel installation hardware and ceramic brake lubricant. It has OE-style replacement rotors that are balanced to ensure your ride is smooth and comfortable. The shims insulate noise for braking that is as quiet as possible. This kit is fairly affordable compared to others on the market. They are designed to be dust-free, boosting the performance of your brakes throughout their lifespan. 


This brake kit, obviously, only fits certain types of vehicles. Power Stop provides an extensive list on their product page, as well as details, so you can be certain it is the right product for your vehicle. There are a small handful of reports of the package arriving incomplete, but customer service at Power Stop seems to be responsive to these issues.

Honorable Mention
Power Stop Autospecialty Replacement Brake Kit

This brake kit from the Power Stop store has everything you need to have top-quality car brakes. It includes stainless steel installation hardware and ceramic brake lubricant. It has OE-style replacement rotors that are balanced to ensure your ride is smooth and comfortable. The shims insulate noise for braking that is as quiet as possible. This kit is fairly affordable compared to others on the market. They are designed to be dust-free, boosting the performance of your brakes throughout their lifespan. 


This brake kit, obviously, only fits certain types of vehicles. Power Stop provides an extensive list on their product page, as well as details, so you can be certain it is the right product for your vehicle. There are a small handful of reports of the package arriving incomplete, but customer service at Power Stop seems to be responsive to these issues.

Honorable Mention

This very specific brake replacement kit from Detroit Axle is just what Nissan Altima owners need. It works for Altima models from 2013 through 2017. For the 2013 models specifically, they must be the sedans. The drilled and slotted disc brake rotors provide better braking power overall. The ceramic brake pads help to preserve the life and quality of your new brakes. With installation hardware included, another perk for buying from Detroit Axle is their 10-year warranty. 


Even though this is specific for Nissan Altimas, it is still a good idea to double-check your car to be certain it will fit. These make noises after installation, and they are not of the strongest quality that you might expect. For the price, though, and the customization for the Altima, these are worth looking into.

Honorable Mention
Detroit Axle Brake Replacement Kit for Nissan Altima

This very specific brake replacement kit from Detroit Axle is just what Nissan Altima owners need. It works for Altima models from 2013 through 2017. For the 2013 models specifically, they must be the sedans. The drilled and slotted disc brake rotors provide better braking power overall. The ceramic brake pads help to preserve the life and quality of your new brakes. With installation hardware included, another perk for buying from Detroit Axle is their 10-year warranty. 


Even though this is specific for Nissan Altimas, it is still a good idea to double-check your car to be certain it will fit. These make noises after installation, and they are not of the strongest quality that you might expect. For the price, though, and the customization for the Altima, these are worth looking into.

Tips

  • Safety is paramount when upgrading your brakes. Always set the parking brake, block your vehicle, and use jack stands while removing your old brakes and installing new equipment. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris and brake dust and use gloves to protect your hands against brake dust and scrapes. 
  • Research information in order to receive the correct part the first time. If the pad set is not listed to fit your car, call the manufacturer. Also, check the reviews for potential problems.
  • Gather the proper tools before you start. Sometimes corroded or rusted parts can be difficult to remove without an air ratchet. Don’t risk injury attempting to disassemble a part that is badly corroded.

FAQs

Q: How do I know if my brakes are bad?

If you can hear a scraping or rubbing sound coming from the wheel and brake area of your car, it’s time to replace the brakes. Also, most garages routinely check the condition of your brakes when they perform an oil change or other routine maintenance.  

Q: Do I need to replace the rotors too?

The average lifespan of brake pads is between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. Rotors (or discs) last between 50,000 and 70,000 miles. Keep these numbers in mind when replacing brake pads. Rotors may become warped or too thin to reuse. If you have any doubt, get them inspected. Many shops inspect them for free in order to gain a customer.

Q: Are there other parts I may need to replace besides the brakes?

Calipers and springs may also need replacement after many miles. If a caliper is leaking or is inoperative, it’s time to replace it. Inspect springs and fittings for wear and replace as necessary. If you have any doubts, get your brakes inspected. 

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best overall car brakes, the AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set, fits a wide variety of vehicles. 

Our best value recommendation, the KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set, uses a special manufacturing process that helps reduce noise.