(Updated on July 12, 2021)
Your vehicle’s braking system consists of some of the most important components in the entire vehicle. While getting up to speed is important in your car, truck, or SUV, slowing down and stopping is even more crucial.
Brake pads and rotors are considered consumable products and they will require regular replacement (pads more frequently than rotors). While OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are often just fine for normal use, they are often more expensive than aftermarket brake parts.
In addition, some drivers require a bit more than the performance that stock pads and rotors provide. Whether you participate in autocross, high performance driving events, or simply prefer better performance for your “spirited” driving, a huge selection of aftermarket brake pads and rotors is at your disposal.
To help narrow down the selections, here are some of the best brake pads and brake rotors available on the market today.
Best Brake Pads
The disc braking system of an automobile is comprised of brake pads and disc brake rotors. A rotor is the circular component that is attached to a wheel. As the wheel spins, its rotor spins as well. The brake pad is the component which presses against the rotor to slow down the wheel.
Each time you step on the brake pedal, the brake pads of your vehicle are pressing against the corresponding brake rotors. This is how the vehicle is able to slow down and stop.
Brake pads are not all made the same. Some are made from different materials than others. In most cases, there are steel backing plates on the brake pads which have friction material.
This friction material is what presses against the rotating disc. The quality of the material will depend on how long it lasts. For this reason, you need to choose the best brake pads for your vehicle’s braking system.
Here are 7 of our favorite brake pads.
1) Akebono ProACT ACT787 Ultra-Premium Brake Pads
The Akebono ProACT ACT 787 Ultra-Premium brake pads are ceramic pads that are engineered to precise Original Equipment (OE) standards. Out of all the brake pads on the market, Akebono ProAct are arguably the best in the biz.
You can use these brake pads with more than 400 different car models. And even though they are durable and won’t wear down so easily, they will also go easy on your rotors as well. This means your rotors will last longer too.
Each time you step on the brake pedal, your brakes will work faster, make less noise, and make on minimal brake dust. In other words, you’ll stop quicker, without the squealing noise, and your wheels will stay cleaner.
2) Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Brake Pads
The innovative Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A ceramic brake pads have gained a reputation for not having any copper. The name “ThermoQuiet” was given for a reason. These brake pads reduce the common squealing noises by 35%.
Not only that, Wagner claims their ability to stop the vehicle is improved by 15% as well. Best of all, the brake pads have a long lifespan because they don’t wear down easily. There is installation hardware included with this brake pad set. However, be aware that Wagner does not make these brake pads for all vehicles.
3) Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Brake Pads
The Bosch BC905 QuietCast is a premium set of ceramic brake pads which have “Molded Shim technology” integrated into them. This technology is designed to increase the longevity of the brakes and to keep them stable during their use.
The brake lubricant that comes with this premium set will help ensure that you have a quieter braking experience. The only downside is there are no sensors included.
4) ACDelco 14D1159CH Advantage Brake Pads
ACDelco 14D1159CH Advantage are affordable ceramic brake pads that are compatible with most cars on the road. Most people purchase these brake pads as OEM brake pad replacements.
They are easy to install as soon as you open their packaging and take them out. Thanks to the simplicity of their shims, you will experience smooth braking and less vibrations and sounds.
5) Brembo P83024N Ceramic Brake Pads
Brembo P83024N Ceramic Disc Brake Pads are extra thick and perform better than a lot of the common semi-metallic pads out there. When you step on the brake pedal, your vehicle will stop quietly and without too much brake dust left behind (although they’re definitely not dust-free).
These brake pads might be a bit expensive, but they are easy to install and perform as well as you would want them to. Brembo’s reputation for making outstanding brake components can be seen in this example.
6) EBC Brakes DP31210C RedStuff Brake Pads
EBC DP31210C RedStuff are ceramic brake pads which have a great design to them. Many high performance and luxury vehicles use these brake pads, especially those from Europe. This means they can brake very quickly without producing too much dust or noise. They are often recommended for European imported vehicles.
They are quite a bit more expensive than typical brake pads, but when you need dependability on the track or on that Sunday afternoon drive through winding roads, EBC is a brand you can trust.
7) Toyota Genuine Parts Brake Pad
Toyota Genuine Parts brake pads are a direct OEM replacement for many Toyota cars and trucks. They’re worth mentioning on this list because of their excellent performance and quality.
If you have a Toyota vehicle and you’re looking for a set of brake pads made just for your vehicle, then this brake pad set is one of the best around. It will give you excellent braking performance without the hassle of noise and brake dust. The only downside is the higher price.
Best Brake Rotors
Brake rotors are also referred to as brake discs. In any disc braking system, each wheel will have a brake rotor with a brake pad attached to it.
The rotor basically looks like a flat circular steel component. The interior of the wheel contains a rod which is attached to the brake rotor. The rod allows the wheel and rotor to be linked together.
When you step on the brake pedal with your foot, this causes the brake pads to press against the spinning rotors of your wheels. The friction generated from this compression will cause the wheels to slow down and eventually stop. You cannot have a working brake system without good quality brake rotors.
Of course, there are many kinds of brake rotors available on the market. Some are better quality than others, so it is important that you choose the right ones for your vehicle to keep its passengers safe.
Below are some of the best brake rotors for the money.
1) ACDelco Gold 18A1705 Disc Brake Rotor
The ACDelco Gold brake rotors (formerly ACDelco Professional) are premium quality and one of the best aftermarket rotors around. They can be used on either the left or right side of your vehicle. These rotors have undergone numerous tests and have been proven to provide superior balance and smoothness in its braking performance.
It is also designed to be quite durable and heat resistant, which means less wear, vibration, and sounds. This is definitely a reliable rotor that you can trust. It’s no wonder they are such a popular seller.
2) Bosch 26010731 QuietCast Disc Brake Rotor
Bosch has been a key player in braking components since 1936 and its QuietCast brake rotors make use of innovative materials for excellent performance will preventing rust and corrosion via a clear look coating.
These rotors are precision balanced and designed for superior heat dissipation through their OEM-style vane configuration. While, a bit more spendy than most of the competition, Bosch rotors will also likely outlast them. Comes with ABS sensor rings (if applicable).
3) Wagner BD125669E Brake Rotor
The Wagner BD125669E features an e-shield coating which gives the brake rotor some extra protection from things like corrosion and rust. If you live in a location which has a lot of rain and nasty weather conditions, this brake rotor model will come in handy.
There is also a vapor corrosion inhibitor bag that reduces the amount of time it takes to install the rotor (as opposed to an oil coating). When ordering, make sure you double-check compatibility with your vehicle.
4) ACDelco Silver 18A925A Brake Rotor
The ACDelco Silver brake rotors are a step below their “Gold” line. Each rotor is comprised of several different alloys which make it resistant to heat. In addition, the alloys give the rotor more smoothness and durability in its operation.
Since it is a thick rotor, it can balance your vehicle just fine without the assistance of any other components. While the performance is not quite up to par as higher end rotors, ACDelco Silver is considered one of the best “bang for your buck” brake rotors around.
5) DuraGo Vented Brake Rotor
If you normally drive in tough environments with a lot of rain and humidity, the DuraGo brake discs are a good option. This rotor has a special electrophoretic finish that prevents corrosion and rust. The finish is a salt coating which gets sprayed onto the rotor to make it durable and resistant to the environment around it.
There are no unnatural chemicals used in this finish either. Best of all, the brake rotor comes pre-machined which means all you need to do is install the rotor.
6) Centric 120.40021 Premium Brake Rotor
The Centric 120.40021 Brake Rotor is comprised of many elements which give it the durability it needs to perform well and last a very long time. In fact, its durability can be largely attributed to the “e-coating” on the brake rotor. This is a special coating which makes the brake rotor resistant to corrosion and rust.
Not only that, it prevents you from having to do a lot of regular maintenance. Best of all, you don’t need weights to balance the vehicle because the rotor does that for you.
7) Raybestos 56631R Disc Brake Rotor
The Raybestos 56631R is another mid-quality brake rotor with non-directional finishing. Its metallurgy technology gives your vehicle more balance and stability on the road. In addition, the brake rotor is designed to be rust resistant and comply with SAE standards.
Overall, the brake rotor is compatible with most light trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars. They should work well on most types of road conditions.