Best Car Brakes: Generate Reliable Stopping Power

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

Best Overall

Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor

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Best Value

KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set

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Honorable Mention

AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

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There’s nothing more important in your car than the brakes. Without solid brakes, you risk getting into an accident and encountering 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.

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 QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor

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Best Value

KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set

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Easiest To Install

AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Rear Disc Brake Pad Set

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Premium Pick

Power Stop Autospecialty Replacement Brake Kit

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Honorable Mention

Detroit Axle Brake Replacement Kit for Nissan Altima

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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.