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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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON April 2, 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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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to 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
- 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.