Reviews

The Best Brake Pads For Towing (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Get the reliability and traction you need with these top-rated brake pads for towing

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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON November 22, 2020

When you’re driving on tricky roads, a key to being able to tow a stuck vehicle lies entirely in the brake pads. Playing directly into the function and performance of your rotors, wheels, and brakes, your pads are an essential component. At one point, all brake pads were made out of a carbon fiber material. In modern times, we’ve expanded our material sciences. Now, ceramic pads are some of the most popular options out there. For one, they reduce noise and vibration significantly.

 

The other side is that they tend to create a lot less dust than other options. Either you need to replace your brake pads right now or are planning ahead. No brake pads last forever. But you can select quality options that last for a longer period than others. By focusing on durability and finding the right fit, you can get the best brake pads for towing. To help you along, we’ve crafted a breakdown of the best brake pads for towing. This guide details everything you need to know about how to choose the right brake pad for you.

Best Overall
Power Stop Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit
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Summary
Summary

Featuring a strong design and a blend of carbon fiber and ceramic, these brake pads are made to last.

Pros
Pros
  • The pads come with rotors and are made to be compatible with most vehicles.
  •   There is an option to get calipers with the system, too.
Cons
Cons
  • Depending on the terrain and driving style, the pads can wear down quickly. 
  • Check compatibility before installation.
Best Overall
Power Stop Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit
Best Value
Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set
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Summary
Summary

These affordably priced ceramic brake pads are designed for the front of the vehicle. Reducing noise and vibration, they are popular options.

Pros
Pros
  • The pads come with all the necessary hardware for installation. 
  • The variety of pads means there is a set for every vehicle type.
Cons
Cons
  • The pads don’t include rotors or calipers. 
  • There is no mix of carbon fiber, meaning you rely just on ceramic. 
Best Value
Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set
Honorable Mention
Bosch QuietCast Ceramic Brake Disc Pads
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Summary
Summary

Offering a quiet braking experience, these ceramic brake pads fit a wide range of vehicles. Affordable and high-quality, the pads reduce noise and dust.

Pros
Pros
  • These pads are meant to reduce vibrations.
  •  They improve your overall braking experience and fit a wide range of vehicles.
Cons
Cons
  • The set only includes a single pad with a wear tab. 
  • To replace an entire set, you need two of these rear brake pads. 
Honorable Mention
Bosch QuietCast Ceramic Brake Disc Pads
Best Brake Pads For Towing
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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 Brake Pads For Towing

  • Braking quality. With a quality pair of brake pads, you can stop the vehicle more efficiently. It gives you improved control of your truck’s directional force. This is necessary for safe towing. 
  • Noise reduction. Good brake pads for towing your trailer will limit the ambient noise when you are stopping the vehicle. It prevents damage and excessive sound while you are towing with your automobile. 
  • Less dust. Proper brake pads won’t leave behind a lot of dust in the wheel beds of your vehicle. This also means that they don’t wear down too quickly. Instead, they leave your truck’s wheels cleaner and improve braking. 
  • Improved wheel system quality. By placing the force of towing on the braking system, it prevents damage to your rotors and calipers. A proper set of brake pads keeps your truck running for longer, without warping the surroundings. 

Types of Brake Pads For Towing

Ceramic

Ceramic brake pads are the most modern version of this accessory. The ceramic tends to be less vulnerable to friction, though offers a high level of traction. Often, these brake pads are longer lasting. The ceramic isn’t prone to creating a lot of noise. It doesn’t leave behind a lot of dust and is highly durable. 

Carbon Fiber

The traditional material used in brake pads is carbon fiber. Designed to absorb the force of braking, these pads do tend to create a lot of ambient heat. The carbon fiber works effectively, taking on a lot of force. However, due to the easier wear and tear on the system, many default to ceramic or blended options instead. 

Blended

This type refers to brake pads that are made out of both ceramic and carbon fiber. The ceramic material fortifies the carbon fiber. Since carbon is a bit more affordable than ceramic, these brake pads tend to be more accessible. The ceramic limits dust and overheating. The carbon fiber pairs in to improve the overall braking experience. 

Top Brands

WAGNER

Originating in Minnesota, this company focuses on manufacturing a wide range of products for vehicles. Since 1976, it has grown into a household name for automobile products. A top selection is the Wagner ThermoQuiet Ceramic Disc Pad Set

BOSCH

A major name with a wide variety of offerings, the company deals primarily in automotive products. This German brand crafts high-quality parts for all sorts of automobile purposes. A leading offering from this brand is the Bosch QuietCast Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

ACDELCO

An American subsidiary of General Motors, this brand is a leading supplier and manufacturer of automobile products. In addition to factory supplies, it also offers aftermarket vehicle components. A popular selection is the ACDELCO Gold Ceramic Brake Pad Set. 

Brake Pads For Towing Pricing

  • Under $50: In this range, you are likely to find carbon fiber brake pads. In some cases, the pad will come as a single instead of a pair. 
  • Between $50 and $100: Pads in this price range span ceramic, blended, and carbon fiber. You can find them as either front or rear options. 
  • $100 and up: Pads in this price range tend to be ceramic or blended. Often, the set will include rotors or even calipers. The pads will come as a set for front or back. 

Key Features

Material

An essential feature to brake pads is the material that offers traction. The brake pad is the part that takes on most of the force of braking. Through friction, it brings the vehicle to a halt. For towing especially, this is very important. Ceramic is very effective, though towing can benefit from the forgiving qualities of carbon fiber when it’s blended together. 

Heat Dispersal

Braking deals with a lot of energy. This force is translated into heat. Though ceramic is not prone to damage from overheating on a large scale, it is still vulnerable to expansion/contraction caused by temperature change. By adjusting the slots and creating small gaps that don’t impede function, the pads can last for longer. These spaces let heat flow naturally away from the site. 

Noise Reduction

You will end up using the brake pads for both towing and regular stopping. Each of these activities can create a different level of noise and vibration (towing being the noisier option). Brake pads are designed to limit the vibrations incurred. It thereby reduces the ambient dust created along with lessening the amount of noise you experience. 

Friction

Ultimately, the goal is to use the power of friction to create reliable traction. Especially important when you are towing, you want a brake pad that holds tightly. Something that maximizes your force of friction gives you the best experience when towing. While a higher amount of friction leads to more wear and tear, it also means the brakes are more effective when you need them. 

Other Considerations

  • Compatibility: When you’re making your pick, the first thing you should look at is compatibility with your vehicle. Check the specifications on the brake pads themselves. Consult your owner’s manual and be certain that the brake pads will fit onto your automobile. Regardless of the type, the brake pads need to work with your vehicle. 
  • Installation: You want to make sure the installation is as efficient as possible. Look at the brake pads and think about how much time it will take. If you are doing the work yourself, check to see that you have all the necessary tools and hardware. Sometimes, the pads will come with installation gear. It helps to check beforehand to limit vehicular downtime. 
  • Maintenance: All vehicle components rely on maintenance. Brake pads tend to be easy to assess. You can often do a visual check on the pads themselves. Most of the maintenance is preventative, requiring some checks and possible lubrication during installation. Otherwise, it is a matter of wear and tear. If you want to reduce maintenance demands, be sure that you choose a material that is accommodating. 
  • Front or Rear: Finally (and this is a huge consideration), keep an eye on whether the brakes are designed for the front or the back of your vehicle. Though there are pads on both sides, chances are that they won’t wear down at the same time. For best results, replace both the passenger and driver’s side pads at the same time. Be sure that you are getting the pads you need (for example, front or rear). 

Best Brake Pads For Towing Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Power Stop Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit

If you’re looking for a complete setup for your vehicle, the Power Stop Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit is a solid option. The set comes with rotors as well as pads. Designed for the front of your vehicle, these pads are handy since front wear is the most common. It is meant to handle heavier amounts, like those seen when towing. It creates little dust and won’t lead to ambient vibrations. The pads incorporate a large amount of well-placed slots throughout the structure. These components reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the pads. It contributes to added longevity of the whole structure. Crafted with a view of towing specifically, these front brake pads are suitable to hilly roads and trucks hauling trailers for long periods.


Keep in mind that, while these brake pads are effective, they only work on select vehicles and nothing older than 2007. Trucks made before that year can’t use this option, though most newer models can.

Best Value
Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set

For those looking to save a few bucks on their brake pads, the Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set is worth looking into. The pads are built to go on the rear of the vehicle, meaning you don’t need to change them out too frequently. By using a ceramic construct, these pads last even longer. The design is well-crafted, using dense material that optimizes the overall friction. Thanks to the ceramic, there is limited dusting and no distinct shakiness as a result of the pad quality. The pads distribute pressure evenly across the whole structure, meaning it won’t unevenly wear down over time. Coming with everything you need to install the pads, this selection includes a high-grade lubricant to ensure an easy setup process. 


As with any vehicle accessory, ensuring compatibility beforehand is essential. It’s worth noting that, though these pads are strong, performance when towing depends on the vehicle setup. 

Best Noise Dampening
Bosch QuietCast Ceramic Brake Disc Pads

If you are planning a long trip hauling the trailer, Bosch QuietCast Ceramic Brake Disc Pads can help you reduce the noise in your cab. Compatible with most Nissans, these pads use top-quality ceramic materials to give a quality braking experience. Built for the rear of the vehicle, they deal with the brakes that are closer to the object you’re towing. Since these pads are made out of tough ceramic, made without copper, you don’t have to worry about overheating. This cause is furthered with the chamfers and slots that are strategically placed throughout the system. By adding in a semi-metallic component, there is improved friction without having to forego the reduced vibrations. Earning an honorable mention through the clever design, these are popular brake pads. 


It’s worth noting that, while these pads are well-made, the inclusion of the carbon material causes them to wear down sooner. However, since they are rear pads, it is less of a concern.

Most Heat Tolerant
Power Stop Carbon-Fiber Ceramic Brake Pads

Want something that just makes towing easier? The Power Stop Carbon-Fiber Ceramic Brake pads are a suitable choice. While the pads come in either carbon fiber or ceramic options as well, these are specifically crafted for towing. This is highlighted by the inclusion of carbon fiber coupled with the strength of the hardware (made out of stainless steel). The pads include a part that is designed specifically to deal with high heats. This means that the ambient energy caused by the friction of braking won’t impact the structural integrity. The pads are compatible with a wide range of vehicles, so it isn’t hard to find a good fit. When braking, these pads work to limit the dust that’s created. This, coupled with the limit on overall noisiness during your trips, helps to make your towing experience that much better. 


It warrants mentioning that these pads may require a bit of sculpting with a grinder for certain vehicles. That said, after the work, the pads perform very reliably.

Honorable Mention
ACDelco Professional Rear Brake Pad Set

Seeking a quality set of brake pads that won’t wear down easily? Try the ACDelco Professional Rear Brake Pad Set. These heavy-duty rear brake pads are of a high-quality, making them suitable for professional applications. Those that operate in a hauling business or rely on their ride for work can benefit from the reliability and low-maintenance needs of these pads. The set includes two rear pads. Each is crafted using effective ceramic material. It prevents heat distortion and premature wear. The set is fairly easy to install on most trucks. Despite being rear pads, this set does take a lot of force. By crafting the shims and backplate in a way that absorbs pressure and not heat, the resulting pads are effective over the long term.


It’s worth noting that, while these pads are effective, the ceramic isn’t combined with carbon fibers. As a result, long-term towing may result in excessive wear and tear.

Honorable Mention
Bosch BC1391 Premium Brake Pads

The Bosch BC1391 Premium Brake Pads are a good way to go for those with an SUV hitch. While it isn’t the most common form of towing, it is a popular way to travel. In these cases, you need a good set of pads that works for smaller vehicles without sacrificing towing abilities. These pads are made with careful consideration. The rubber interior and shimming absorb noise well. Since there is no bed in between the cab and towed object, this is especially useful. By combining the benefits of ceramic and carbon fiber in the metallic friction design, you get the best stopping power. The materials avoid copper (known for heating quickly) and lean into alloys that have proven to be effective in demanding conditions. 


Bear in mind that, though these pads are handy for SUVs, they don’t fit on every vehicle. Useful for Toyotas and Lexus autos, it’s best to check compatibility ahead of time.

Honorable Mention
Power Stop Z36-2087 Ceramic Brake Pads

Want to lean more into traditional materials? Power Stop Z36-2087 Ceramic Brake Pads are worth a look. Designed for trucks, these pads are excellent for towing. The materials uniquely incorporate stainless steel and ceramic. By incorporating the organic material in the structure, you can achieve a smooth towing experience. The plate that serves as backing comes coated with a corrosion-resistant material. On the front, the pad won’t leave behind dust. It also won’t result in a lot of noise while you’re driving. It incorporates several different slots that enable airflow. It serves to prevent the entire pad structure from getting damaged by the heat. Ideal for four-by-four vehicles, these towing pads are an excellent choice for long road trips on challenging terrain. 


It should be mentioned that, though these pads are really powerful, they are only for the front of the vehicle. Drivers need a separate set for rear pads. 

Honorable Mention
ACDelco 14D785CH Advantage Brake Pad Set

Need to overhaul your driving situation without breaking the bank? Try the ACDelco 14D785CH Advantage Brake Set. These pads are made to add ease to the overall driving experience. Made out of a unique blend of ingredients, these pads use the best of modern material science. The ceramic component limits dust. It adds hardiness to the structure and prevents the set from getting too hot. The metal inclusion works to add friction. The noise is buffered by the other materials, so you get the best of friction and noiselessness. Finally, the carbon (organic) component is there to foster increased force between the brake and the pad. While it wears down more quickly, the pads’ other materials more than compensate. Taken together, with the shimming and well-placed chamfers, these are high-quality yet affordable pads. 


Keep in mind that these pads are exclusively for the rear of the vehicle. Since the front absorbs most of the braking energy, you will need a front set during maintenance.

Honorable Mention
Power Stop K2164-36 Brake Kit

Is your main focus on towing? If so, the Power Stop K2164-36 Brake Kit is a worthy solution. It comes with everything you need to get your vehicle up to par in terms of towing. The pads are made using a blend of ceramic and carbon. The two materials work together to give you the best possible traction with the least amount of waste. The included rotors are strong enough to withstand the force of towing and are designed to work in tandem with these pads. The set comes with everything you need to switch out your worn down pads and get to towing. Made to limit the dust that builds up and create silence for the driver, these pads are high-quality. With heat-management slots and a strong design, these pads deserve an honorable mention. 


Though the pads are an excellent choice, they do come at a higher price point (largely due to the included rotors). However, as a total overhaul, this is an awesome way to go. 

Honorable Mention
ACDelco 17D1367ACH Brake Pad Set

Especially if safety is at the forefront of your mind, the ACDelco 17D1367ACH Brake Pad Set is a good solution. The front brake pads are usually the first to wear down. Since this comes with everything you need to switch them out, you will be in a better position to tow. The key is how effectively these pads let you come to a stop, regardless of the weather. They are tested to assess the quality of the structure. This includes the noise and durability, these pads withstand even the most intense conditions. By incorporating a backing that is built to limit damage from heat as well as pressure, the pads work well for both routine braking and towing. Strong enough to handle the forces of hauling, these pads are a solid choice. 


It’s worth mentioning that, while these pads are of great quality, they are usually only compatible with GM vehicles. Check the fit beforehand to avoid any potential issues.

Honorable Mention
Power Stop Z26-1405 Extreme Performance Brake Pads

For those who are looking for a set of pads that won’t stop working, the Power Stop Z26-1405 Extreme Performance Brake Pads are an awesome choice. They serve a major benefit for those who need to tow large amounts. The structure is made mostly out of ceramic. This is to create a better equilibrium in terms of heat. The carbon fiber is there to assist in terms of friction. By improving traction, it lets you come to a better stop more smoothly. Working together, ceramic and organic components prevent premature wear without sacrificing quality. Incorporating stainless steel for the setup parts, these pads aren’t vulnerable to rust or corrosion. Working in pretty much any environment, if towing power is your focus, this is a good way to go. 


It warrants note that, while these pads are excellent, they are mostly fitted to newer vehicles. Only one model made before 2010 fits, with the majority being 2015 or newer.

Tips

  • Limit the wear and tear on your brake pads by avoiding heavy braking when you aren’t towing a vehicle. 
  • Perform routine maintenance on the entire wheel system. The brake pads are connected to the rest and will thereby last longer. 
  • Keep an eye on the status of your brake pads. To get the best towing results, you need full pads. When they get low, swap them out. 
  • Have an extra set of brake pads and the necessary hardware on hand. This way, you can switch out the gear quickly. 
  • Pay attention to your front brake pads when towing. Generally, these pads wear down more quickly and require more frequent replacement. 

FAQs

Q: What type of brake pads are best for towing?

The ideal brake pads for towing are compatible with your vehicle and have a high level of friction. They should limit vibration, control heat, and reduce dustiness. Usually, ceramic blended with carbon fiber is a good way to go. Consider the POWER STOP Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit.

Q: What are the best rotors and brake pads for towing?

The best rotors and brake pads for towing are those which fit your vehicle and driving style. Choose something that displaces heat properly to limit wear and tear. A good choice is the Power Stop Ceramic Brake Pads and Rotor Set.

Q: What is the difference between ceramic and metallic brake pads?

Metallic (also known as carbon fiber) brake has quite a few differences. Ceramic brake pads are usually less dusty and reduce noise better. Metallic carbon pads tend to brake powerfully but wear down much more quickly. The key difference is the material used in manufacturing. 

Q: What type of brake pads lasts the longest?

Whether you break it down to organic (carbon structure) or synthetic (ceramic), the brake pads’ lifespan is directly related to your braking style. If you brake heavily or tow a lot during the season, any brake pad will wear down. That said, those with ceramic included tend to last the longest. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of brake pads for towing, you can get started. You might prefer the completeness of the POWER STOP Truck & Tow Front Brake Kit or the value of the WAGNER QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set.