LAST UPDATED: March 31, 2021
The Best Vacuum Brake Bleeders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Vacuum brake bleeders can be a saving grace for anyone looking to bleed their brakes.
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PUBLISHED ON March 31, 2021
Bleeding brakes is a task that nobody particularly enjoys doing. But luckily, there are a few ways to make it easier. Even luckier, some tools eliminate the need for you to pick up the cell and phone in a buddy to step on your brake pedal a million times.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the best brake bleeders that use vacuum pressure to get the job done. If you’re looking for other options, consider our sister guide to Brake Bleeder Kits. Our buying guide will also give you some pointers for picking out the best vacuum brake bleeder for your shop.
This vacuum bleeder uses a shop air source to draw fluid through the brake lines automatically. The built-in hanging hook works to free hands completely for other steps of the process.
- Competitive pricing
- Simple operation
- Speeds up the process
- Relies on an air compressor to function
An affordable option that relies on a traditional design. Manual operation is required to build a vacuum but is still a relatively smooth and straightforward process.
- Excellent price point
- Simple operation
- Comes with storage case
- Durability is a concern
Vacuum bleeder that uses an air compressor for automatic operation. Variable speed controls and a built-in silencer provide an efficient and enjoyable experience.
- Variable speed control
- Swivel fittings present on air connection
- Offers superior speed
- Premium price point
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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.
Benefits of Vacuum Brake Bleeders
- No need for friends. Vacuum brake bleeders eliminate the need to call for a helping hand, which can be the difference between performing the job and not.
- Efficiency. Many times, brake bleeder tools are quicker and more efficient than trying to remove air from the lines otherwise.
- Keep things clean. Because brake bleeding tools feature built-in reservoirs, they do a much better job containing the fluid than one could without one.
Types of Vacuum Brake Bleeders
Manually operated pumps are likely the most widely available and are probably even the form of brake bleeding tool you are familiar with. The system works by sliding an adapter over the top of the bleeder valve, and you physically actuate the pump to create vacuum pressure. This option's main benefit is that they are generally far more affordable than other types. They also do not rely on an external power source or operating system, meaning you can use them pretty much anywhere.
Air Source Operation
Brake bleeders that use an air compressor can be a trick to understand. After all, compressed air is the exact opposite of a vacuum. Contrary to what our minds immediately think, the system is set up to create suction and is useful for draining the master cylinder and bleeding the system. The benefit is that they automatically and continuously provide suction. Though they are a much more significant investment, they are far more convenient than traditional methods.
Much like those that work with an air compressor, electric brake bleeders are designed to provide constant vacuum to bleed the brake lines automatically. These are typically slightly more affordable than those that work on compressed air. No need for an air compressor is desirable to some weekend warriors as they don't need to depend on other costly pieces of equipment they may not have.
With a headquarters in Seattle and decades of experience, Ares is a name many wrench turners are familiar with. The brand is known for producing automotive tools, but electrical, industrial, and general tools are also on the roster.
Since 1971, Mityvac has been a manufacturer of automotive diagnostic and repair tools. The company’s history begins with developing the first hand-held vacuum pump for medicinal purposes. Today, the company is headquartered in St. Louis and produces top-quality products.
Vacuum Brake Bleeder Pricing
- $20-$50: You can expect to find a good blend of types of brake bleeders in this price range. Almost all manually-operated options and budget-oriented automatic systems exist within it.
- $50 and up: Most brake bleeders that list for more than $50 will offer some automatic operation. Depending on the tool's quality and performance, the price can extend above the $50 or even the $100 mark.
Necessary Fittings and Hose Lengths
When you’re picking up a brake bleeder, you likely don’t stop to think about the fittings that it includes. However, if you are working with an odd platform or considering a brand you’re unfamiliar with, it is essential to make sure it has what you need to get it to work. Yes, there are ways to fix the issue of not having the right fittings after the fact, but it’s still worth saving yourself many headaches by double-checking the fittings and hose it includes before you start.
Ample Reservoir Size
Every brake bleeder comes with a reservoir that’ll generally work just fine. However, if you intend to flush the entire system, you’ll want a larger reservoir. Having one that’s too small requires you to stop and empty it more frequently. Limiting interruptions of workflow is always desirable. It also helps that a bigger reservoir also reduces the likelihood of spills.
- Automatic Operation. A big reason to buy a brake bleeder is to make the process as easy as possible. You might want to consider investing in a model that will do the work for you. By eliminating the need to pump the system manually, you reduce fatigue and even speed up the process. Yes, they are a more significant investment, but the convenience level is undoubtedly worth the investment.
Best Vacuum Brake Bleeders Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This particular brake bleeder works in conjunction with an air compressor to automatically bleed the system. There's no need to have a buddy pump the brakes, nor is there the need to manually build up vacuum pressure—just hook it up and let it do the work for you. As if that doesn't make life easy enough, the built-in hanging hook frees up both your hands to get the job done even faster. The system also includes transparent lines allowing you to perform a visual inspection of the fluid as you work. It also features a 1-liter reservoir to capture the fluid you're pulling from the system.
Since this vacuum brake bleeder relies on an air compressor to function, you'll need an air compressor for this option to work, which can be an extra expense.
This is the type of vacuum brake bleeder everyone is familiar with, and it just so happens to have an asking price anyone can justify. The first thing that separates it from what you’re used to finding at the parts store is the blow-molded case: it’s not a premier storage solution, but it’s far better than the clamshell we’re all used to seeing. As for the bleeder itself, it works to build up a vacuum with a simple trigger mechanism and comes with a good range of connectors that allow you to hook it up to any brake system. These connections also make it possible for you to test and troubleshoot other systems on the vehicle.
Expect the quality to match its price point, which means it will have a relatively short life if not taken special care of.
Everything about this system is perfectly engineered, allowing it to rise above nearly any other brake bleeding system. As you might expect, it works on an air compressor system so that you only need to crack the bleeder and let it go to work. At full force, this thing can pull about two quarts per minute. A variable speed control system gives you the control you need to prevent wasting any precious resources. And to keep your mind at ease, it comes with an automatic refill system to prevent you from bleeding your brake lines dry. One more trick detail is the inclusion of a swivel connection for the air lines to keep you from binding as you work.
While you are getting a good quality product, it's just a little too high in price compared to the competition for many to justify.
We think this vacuum brake bleeder offers the most valuable purposes to the typical gearhead. As for bleeding brakes, it can do so in two ways: You have the option to manually pump up vacuum pressure or hook it up to an air supply that’ll do the work for you. This kind of flexibility goes a long way, considering you don’t always have the option to hook up an air compressor. And because it comes with a range of attachments and uses a 6.5-liter reservoir, you can use it for extracting other fluids. This unit will serve you well when performing oil changes, changing transmission fluid, or even draining coolant.
If you’re looking for a brake bleeder, this probably isn’t the best option due to its size. While it will do the job, it can be cumbersome to deal with, and manually building up vacuum pressure can be unnecessarily complicated.
This brake bleeding device works in combination with an air compressor. We can’t express just how handy it is to have something automatically bleed the system for you—all you need to do with this model is hook it up to the bleeder valve with the universal fitting and let it draw out the fluid for you. The 40-inch silicone hose the adapter fits onto lets you set the device down pretty much anywhere you need to while you work. What separates this entry from some of the competitors is the built-in silencer that your ears will certainly appreciate.
There’s no questioning that this is a quality piece you’ll get plenty of use out of. However, we find that the price is way above what most of the competitors ask for.
This vacuum brake bleeder is easy to use on any vehicle. The system comes with a range of attachments that allow you to bleed brakes and troubleshoot multiple systems throughout the car. Of course, any bit of versatility goes a long way with such a low price tag. The operation is simple: you hook it up, squeeze the trigger, and crack the bleeder until all the air is eliminated. It's nice that this option also comes with a blow-molded case to keep the kit organized into any drawer and transport it to any vehicle. We also must mention that you can choose one of three colors to match your taste.
While this system does the job it is supposed to, it is likely to prematurely fail if you're not careful with it. The blow-molded case certainly helps with this issue, though.
If you’re serious about getting a brake bleeder that works with an air compressor, here’s one to consider. What’s going to catch your eye immediately is the competitive price point: it might not be as low as some others, but what you’re getting is well worth the money. The bleeder itself comes with a 2-liter reservoir and can bleed brakes at the calipers or the master cylinder. It does feature a built-in silencer that helps keep noise at a minimum while you work. What else separates it from those within its price range is the included auto-fill reservoir that reduces the risk of bleeding the system dry.
The system has plenty of benefits, and for the most part, this setup does what it says it will do. Unfortunately, there seems to be some concern with missing or defective parts keeping many reviewers from getting any real use.
Finally, a traditional system that’s easy to use and makes no compromise in quality. We understand that not everyone has a use for air compressor-dependent systems. If you don’t want to reinvest in the cheap alternatives repetitively, this is likely the best way to go. Right upfront, you can see this vacuum brake bleeder has a much more comfortable and robust design than most. It works like many competitors, but the overall fit and finish of all components is far better than cheaper ones making for an improved user experience.
It doesn’t come with a blow-molded case, but the packaging is perfectly shaped for organizing this entire setup into any drawer of your toolbox.
An air compressor isn’t the only way to build a vacuum without a manually-operated pump. There’s always the means of doing so with an electric pump, which is what this option has—all you need to do is plug it in, hook it up, and you’re ready to bleed your brakes. This system is broken up into two major components: the pump and the reservoir. Other than that, the layout is straightforward and easy to use. Furthermore, the set includes plenty of hoses and power cords to keep you from having to bunch everything in one place. Moreover, it comes with a storage case to help you keep everything neatly stored between uses.
The problem with this pump is its slow speed. Even though it is a hands-free experience that doesn’t require the use of any expensive machinery, you’re going to need plenty of patience when using this setup.
This budget-friendly model allows you to tap into that air compressor power we've been raving about this whole time. After all, many will invest in the more cost-effective solutions before grabbing the top-shelf option. That said, this setup has everything you could expect in this price range and more. It comes with the bleeder itself, along with all of the connections you'll need. It also happens to include an auto-fill reservoir and four master cylinder adapters that work to prevent you from accidentally bleeding the system dry.
However, there are some problems with this bleeder's quality. For one, many reviews state it has trouble performing. It's also worth mentioning that many folks claim that it doesn't include the necessary fittings for some typical applications.
- While you bleed the brakes, be sure to prevent the likelihood of air entering the system by keeping the reservoir full of fluid.
- Brake fluid is highly corrosive. You must be sure to contain it as much as possible and never let it come in contact with your paint or skin.
- Investing in high-quality tools makes life easier in many ways, which is why you should consider investing in the best that you can afford. If you’re looking for other tool suggestions, view our guides to timing lights, shop vacs, and battery blowers.
- Nobody likes to think of the worst-case scenario, but not even bleeding the brakes can prevent the brake lines' failure. That said, you should know what to do in case that happens as you drive. Engine braking is a technique to at least familiarize yourself with.
Q: What is the best brake bleeding tool?
Our top pick goes to the Ares 70923-1-Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder. However, the best tool is the one that you have available to you. They all achieve the same goal, and you don’t need to rely on the latest and greatest features.
Q: How do you use a vacuum brake bleeder?
Brake bleeders work by applying a vacuum to the bleeder screw, then opening the screw so that it draws fluid and air through. You must repeat the process until no air is present in the system.
Q: What is a vacuum bleeder?
A vacuum brake bleeder is a tool that uses vacuum to pull air and fluid through the bleeder screws. Bleeding brakes with this method is the easiest way to ensure no air can enter the system during the process.
The Ares 70923-1-Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder is our top pick because it is both affordable and efficient. However, we understand that depending on an air compressor isn’t something everyone is OK with. In that case, the CARSC Vacuum Pump Tester Set and Brake Bleeder Kit is just as desirable because of the low cost and simplicity of operation.