The Best Ceramic Brake Pads (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Your vehicle isn’t complete without ceramic brake pads
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BY Amanda Ryan / LAST UPDATED ON January 31, 2021
The brake pads are one of the essential pieces of a vehicle’s braking system. The pads are there to help bring you to a stop — and that means they face a lot of pressure and a lot of critical power. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your car is equipped with reliable, durable brake pads. Ceramic brake pads are a popular option, and they can be a great replacement for your existing brake pads.
Made out of ceramic materials and copper fibers, ceramic brake pads are some of the quietest and cleanest you can buy. They produce less noise, less dust, and can last a very long time. If you’re looking for the best ceramic brake pads available, check out the following top options.
No longer worry about your brakes working effectively or making squeaking noises — this Bosch brake pad can offer excellent quality and reliability.
- Exceptional stopping power
- Extremely quiet
- Only designed for use on certain Infiniti and Nissan models
These brake pads offer long-term reliability and consistent performance.
- Reduces vibrations, which quiets any noise
- Designed, tested, and certified to function like your original brakes
- Only fits specific vehicles
- Check to make sure your vehicle is the right fit before purchasing
The ceramic brake pad deserves its name as an extreme choice — it’s a great fit for muscle cars or other performance cars.
- Premium stainless steel shims
- Helps quiet any braking noise
- Only fits specific vehicles
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Benefits of Ceramic Brake Pads
- Reduce noise. If your vehicle’s brake pads squeak or squeal, it most likely does not have ceramic brake pads installed. Ceramic brake pads are not noisy; instead, they are very quiet and create almost no sound when pressing on the brakes.
- Reliable in all driving conditions. Hot or cold, ceramic brake pads are more reliable in a wider range of temperature and driving conditions than organic pads. With ceramic, you can drive more places without worrying about the status of your brake pads.
- Reduce wear and tear residue. When your vehicle is coming to a stop, ceramic brake pads produce less dust and kick up fewer particles than organic brake pads.
Types of Brake Pads
Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO)
Non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads (also referred to as organic brake pads) are made up of various fibers mixed with binding organic compounds to hold the fibers together. Common materials include glass, fiber, rubber, etc. The materials and tools used to make these brake pads are the least expensive today, which is why a high majority of new cars sold in the United States still come with them.
As the name implies, semi-metallic pads contain anywhere from 30-65 percent metal by weight, typically consisting of steel, iron, copper, etc., combined with friction modifiers and fillers, as well as a graphite lubricant. Semi-metallic brake pads are arguably the most versatile style available, with the slight compromise being more noise and dust. They are also longer lasting and more durable, and their metallic composition can help draw heat away from the rotor and aid in more efficient brake cooling.
Compared to organic brake pads, ceramic brake pads often create less dust and other particles on both the pads and rotors. They can be more reliable in a broader range of temperatures and driving conditions. Ceramic brake pads handle high brake temperatures with less heat fade, allowing for faster recovery after stopping at a stop sign or red light, etc.
Founded in 1899, ACDelco is an American automotive parts brand, and its parent organization is General Motors. GM manufactures OEM factory parts, which are sold under the ACDelco brand. The company also offers parts or aftermarket parts for non-GM automobiles.
Bosch Auto Parts
Founded in 1886 by Robert Bosch, the Bosch company, which was originally created to repair electrical equipment, has contributed to the evolution of mobility. Through its innovative gasoline and diesel systems, Bosch has become a world leader in powertrain technologies and parts.
Founded in 1997, Power Stop offers customers an array of affordable performance brake upgrade kits. The Power Stop kits are for extreme trucking, towing, sport driving, and commuting.
Founded in 1935 by Wilhelm Wagner, the Wagner company’s roots are in the blacksmith trade. As an industry leader in automotive braking and lighting, Wagner offers up-to-date replacement brakes and stylish lights that match OEM standards.
Ceramic Brake Pad Pricing
- $15-$80: Keep in mind that the price of ceramic brake pads typically depends on the type of vehicle you own and the complexity of the manufacturing process. Also, be sure to consider the maintenance cost for replacing brake pads, which can range from $100-$300 per axle.
As all brake pads wear down over time, they produce dust. However, ceramic brake pads produce a finer and lesser amount of dust and other particles. Not only is the lighter-colored brake dust less noticeable, but it also does not stick to the vehicle’s wheels as most other brake dust. The design of ceramic rotors is to last the lifetime of a car, yet, this will depend on the driver’s impact to the discs.
Nobody likes hearing a loud sound after pressing down on their brakes. Ceramic brake pads are much quieter than semi-metallic pads because they are not as abrasive. The noise they do emit is above the range of human hearing. Thus, you should hear very little or no sound when braking.
Whether you drive in hot or cold climates, ceramic brake pads are more stable than most other pads. The ceramic pads can handle a wide range of temperatures and still deliver consistent performance. Since they are more reliable in varying weathers, ceramic pads provide a fast recovery time after braking, produce less dust, and handle high brake temperatures with less heat fade.
- Change All Four Brake Pads at Once. When the time comes to replace your automobile’s brake pads, there are a few things to consider: it is best to change out brake pads in pairs—either the two in front or the two in the back. However, the front brakes wear faster than the rear ones due to doing most of the work, causing them to need replacing more often. It is highly recommended that you replace all four simultaneously to avoid uneven braking time or steering issues.
- Know When Your Brake Pads are Wearing Out. Your vehicle needs new pads if you start hearing high-pitched noises (squealing, squeaking, or grinding) whenever applying pressure to the brake, either when slowing down or stopping the vehicle. These noises are a good indication that your vehicle’s brake pads need replacing.
Best Ceramic Brake Pad Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Take note that ceramic pads do not prevent rotors from warping. If a driver misuses or overheats car brakes, the rotors will warp. Some brake pads have improved heat-dissipation qualities, which can help prevent warping, but only to a certain degree since there is no way for rotors to be completely exempt from becoming warped. Thus, handle the brakes of a vehicle with care by avoiding hard braking whenever possible.
- Whether you have a vehicle with new or replacement ceramic brake pads, go easy on the pads at first. With ceramic brake pads, it is a good idea to avoid stopping quickly or braking heavily for at least the first few 100 miles.
- Each brake pad manufacturer will have a different recommendation for when you should replace your vehicle’s brake pads. Yet, most shops urge car owners to replace brake pads when only 20 percent of the original thickness remains or anywhere up to 70,000 miles.
Q: Do ceramic brake pads wear down rotors faster?
The evolution of brake friction materials allows ceramic pads to handle high brake temperatures with less heat fade, smoother braking, and less friction. Ceramic pads are soft and wear down slowly; they do not damage rotors.
Q: Do ceramic brake pads squeak?
Ceramic brake pads are often very quiet. However, if squeaking sounds occur, it is often the result of not using a brake lining shim or needing more anti-squeal lubricant on the back of the brake pads.
Q: Do ceramic brake pads stop faster?
Just like their metallic brake pad counterparts, ceramic brake pads also uses metal parts in their formula, but the primary material is ceramic. The combination of ceramic compounds and copper fibers allow ceramic brake pads to handle higher brake temperatures with less heat fade, resulting in faster braking. Compared to organic brake pads, ceramic brake pads are also better at handling a more comprehensive range of temperatures and driving conditions.
If you are looking for powerful stopping and quiet operation, your best overall choice is the Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pad. If you prefer to focus more on affordability, reliability, and value, the Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set is your best bet.