LAST UPDATED: January 31, 2021
The Best Ceramic Brake Pads (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Your vehicle isn’t complete without ceramic brake pads
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PUBLISHED 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
The Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pad is a fantastic all-around choice. This ceramic brake pad offers two critically important benefits: exceptional stopping power on the road and extremely quiet operation. You won’t have to worry about your brakes working effectively or concerning squeals or squeaks — this Bosch brake pad can offer excellent quality and reliability. Each brake pad is made with an advanced aerospace alloy that features copper-free ceramic and semi-metallic friction materials. A rubber core multilayer shim provides insulation against noise. A protective transfer layer extends the brake pad’s life and helps lessen the dust each time you stop.
However, this ceramic brake pad is only designed for use on specific Infiniti and Nissan models, so if you have any other brand car, you will need to look at other brake pad options.
If you’re looking for brake pads that’ll offer long-term reliability and consistent performance, the Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set is a great choice. Even after many drives and many years, these ceramic disc brake pads will offer even and consistent braking. This set, which includes brake pads and all the stainless steel installation hardware you need, restores like-new braking performance to your vehicle. It offers OE fit and design, with special engineering that ensures you get long-term durability. The brake pads can reduce vibrations, which quiets any noise, and they’re designed, tested, and certified to function as your original brakes.
Keep in mind that these ceramic brake pads only fit specific vehicles. Check to make sure your car is the right fit before purchasing.
This brake pad is an excellent fit for muscle cars or other performance cars. Made out of carbon-fiber ceramic, each brake pad features a thermal scorched pad surface that breaks in quickly. Chamfered slots ensure you’ll enjoy noise-free braking every time you stop. Premium stainless steel shims also help quiet any braking noise. A high-quality powder-coated backing plate enhances braking performance and helps increase durability by resisting rust and corrosion. You’ll also get brake grease and premium-quality stainless steel hardware with each brake pad. If you’re looking for high performance and extreme braking capability, this is the ceramic brake pad for you.
As with the other options we’ve mentioned on this list, these brake pads fit specific make and models, so check to see if yours is the right fit.
The Wagner ThermoQuiet Ceramic Disc Pad Set is a great option if you’re tired of hearing your car’s brakes each time you apply pressure. This ceramic brake pad set is specially designed to offer quieter operation, with a unique laser-created shape that spreads out heat, sound, and vibration to reduce noise. You’ll get effective, reliable stopping power thanks to significant friction, but you won’t hear a thing on the road. These ceramic brake pads also help keep your wheels cleaner, reducing rotor wear and improving braking performance, so there’s less brake dust.
You’ll also experience less brake fade, which helps ensure you get long-lasting friction and stopping ability. Along with the ceramic brake pads, you’ll also get premium stainless steel hardware in this set for an easy and complete installation.
The ACDelco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set offers a great combination of value and reliability. Affordable in price, this ceramic brake pad set packs solid braking results and increased safety. Made out of a ceramic formula designed to provide safe braking, these brake pads—along with the shims, slots, and chamfers—help lessen noise on the road and decrease vibrations. The ceramic brake pads offer less dust, too, thanks to a unique construction that uses less metal.
Ready to be installed right out of the box, this set offers you even more value by including both front brake pads and all of the hardware you’ll need for easy installation. Just make sure your vehicle is a perfect fit for these brake pads before purchasing.
The 100 percent copper-free vehicle specific formula of the Bendix Premium CFC1237 ceramic brake pads is designed with a four-layer noise-eliminating shim. As a shim corrects small differences that sometimes lead to noise, Bendix provides four-layers to ensure its brake pads are close to noise-free. These copper-free ceramic brake pads are tested for performance and meet industry standards. Bendix includes hardware, brake lubricant, etc. The copper-free friction materials allow brake pads to perform better than others, including better stopping power, improved wear resistance, and reduced dusting and noise.
Before buying Bendix Premium copper-free ceramic brake pads, make sure you learn the right size for your specific vehicle to ensure proper fitting and avoid breakage.
The KFE KFE905-104 Ultra Quiet Advanced Premium ceramic brake pads have dual-rubber shims, which reduces vibration sounds and other noises dramatically. It has a no-hassle Limited Warranty and OEM fitment. Due to the KFE Ultra Quiet Premium pads being thermo scorched during the manufacturing process, it requires less break-in time than other ceramic brake pad brands do.
Check to see if your vehicle has slotted/chamfered features as KFE offers slots and chamfered edges to extend pad life and reduce noise, yet not all vehicles have this option. Vehicle compatibility is crucial to ensure the correct fitment of these brake pads.
The Wagner QC1324 Ceramic Disc brake pad set's unique laser-shaped friction spreads out heat, vibration and reduces noise. Along with quiet operation, the Wagner brake pads are made of a superior formula designed to lower heat for more extended friction performance and brake fade reduction. Due to their proprietary formula, these brake pads provide excellent braking performance. It cuts down on the production of brake dust, allowing for cleaner wheels. Wagner brake pads are a one-piece design as the IMI technology integrates friction material, backing plate, and insulator into each of their brake pads (for select applications). The brake pad set includes premium stainless-steel hardware.
This Wagner set only offers front brake pads and requires the purchase of another set for rear brake pads. To avoid fitment issues, check size and vehicle compatibility.
Made of specific premium materials, the Bosch BC1451 QuietCast Premium ceramic brake pads have exceptional stopping power. It has a quieter operation and produces a lesser amount of dust. The Bosch Quiet Cast’s quiet operation comes from its rubber core multilayer shim: the shim not only strengthens the brake pads, but it also insulates against noise. Compliant with 2025 copper-free legislation, these Bosch brake pads use advanced aerospace alloy. Its protective transfer layer extends the life of each brake pad. The kit includes slots chamfers and synthetic lubricant.
Always check for vehicle and brake pad compatibility before purchasing to refrain from experiencing fitment problems.
The ACDelco 14DC85CH silver ceramic brake pads are made of ceramic, semi-metallic, and organic formulas to provide reliability and safety for an assortment of automobile applications. The brake pads have basic shims, slots, and chamfers, which help reduce noise. As brake pads from other brands can make unwanted squeaking and vibrating sounds, ACDelco ceramic brake pads do not. These ACDelco silver brake pads are efficient, economical, and dependable.
The ACDelco Silver Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set is mostly limited to General Motors (GM) vehicles but can work with other makes and models. However, make sure these brake pads fit your specific vehicle before purchasing.
- 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.