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To determine the best car brakes, we looked at a range of factors that included quantity, vehicle compatibility, premium features, and installation kits. Vehicle compatibility is going to be the most important aspect you need to consider since not all brake kits are universal. Vehicle owners should also consider that when replacing brakes, they should at least replace an axle simultaneously to maintain even wear. And if you routinely drive through challenging terrain, you may need to prioritize premium features such as drilled holes and slots to improve brake performance. When you’re ready to get a new vehicle, you’ll need to check out our reviews of the best cars.
After considering all of the above, we selected the Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pads as our Top Pick. This affordable option offers a wide range of vehicle compatibility while creating a solid ceramic disc brake pad product that’s easy to install and powder coated to prevent rusting and corrosion. Keep reading to learn more about our other top picks.
Read Full Review: Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic
There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing that the brake pads you want to buy aren’t compatible with the year, make and model of your car. Bosch’s BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pads are our Top Pick specifically because they’re designed to be compatible with a wide range of cars, SUVs, and trucks. Plus, they’re one of the more affordable options that make brake pad sets specifically for the rear axle. If the lighting in your garage is not the best, then check out our best garage lighting advice.
These ceramic disc brake pads are designed from advanced aerospace alloy and include a copper-free ceramic that ensures quiet operation and low dust emissions. The rubber core helps to provide quiet operation and the powder-coated backplate helps to prevent rusting and corrosion. We like that these have an OE fit and that this kit comes with everything you need to quickly and easily install these brake pads on your car. It is as easy as installing the best car subwoofer.
Read Full Review: K1043 Evolution Drilled Slotted Ceramic
If you’re the type who drives in conditions that require constant braking, you know already that you need performance brakes that won’t give out with constant use. We’ve selected the Power Stop K1043 Front Brake Kit as our Honorable Mention because of this fact. This front brake kit features drilled and slotted brake rotors that guarantee faster cooling and improved performance.
The rubberized shims also help to ensure a quiet ride and noise-free braking. This kit comes with a stainless steel hardware kit and ceramic brake lubricant that’s easy to install. You’ll also like that the ceramic pads are made from Z23 carbon fiber for dust-free braking. However, do keep in mind that this is just a front axle kit although Power Stop does make rear axle and front & rear axle brake kits as well. Callahan Brake Parts makes the Front 294mm Premium Grade OE Brake Kit, which is another one of the best car brakes on the market today. One of this kit’s key features is the brakes’ superior stopping power due to having metallic pads and improved heat dissipation. Now that you have your brakes installed for safety, read about the best car alarm to keep your whole car safe.
Read Full Review: Wagner QuickStop ZD866 Installation Hardware
While your budget shouldn’t be the main decider when you’re shopping for new brake pads, the reality is that not everyone will be able to purchase performance level brake pads. The Wagner QuickStop ZD866 Ceramic Disc Pad Set is a great solution for the budget shopper who needs to replace their front brakes and doesn’t want to break the bank. These ceramic pads offer a wide range of vehicle compatibility.
You’ll like that this kit comes with stainless steel hardware and OE-style lubricant. You’ll like that these brake pads are designed to reduce vibration while providing consistent braking performance throughout their lifespan. The best car jack makes it easy to install new brakes. Similar to the Bosch QuietCast Brake Pads, check out the KFE815-104 Ultra Quiet Advanced Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pads. They have reduced vibration noise and break-in time, along with chamfered edges to extend the pad life. The braking power improves following the break-in period, so you can finally ride with smooth braking. KFE Brake Systems, alongside the others mentioned on this list, is one of the best overall brands for brake pads.
Read Full Review: K2316 Evolution Drilled Slotted Ceramic
Performance car owners or serious road warriors know that they need the right brakes that can stand up to the punishment they can dish out. The Power Stop K2316 Front Brake Kit is ideal for intensive use, especially because the drilled holes and slots help to quickly cool the rotors and improve overall performance.
We also like that these brakes create less dust than the competition. And the carbon fiber ceramic compound on the brake pads helps to also improve performance in the long run. And as with the other Power Stop brakes, you’ll like that the shims are rubberized to further help reduce noise for silent braking performance. Speaking of rubberized, the best truck floor mats will help keep your vehicle clean.
Read Full Review: K6083 Evolution Drilled Slotted Ceramic
Road warriors know that they can’t cut corners on their automotive maintenance. If you’re constantly running the road — especially in hilly conditions — then you need high-quality brakes that are guaranteed to help your car slow or stop without issues. Much like the Honorable Mention (also from the Power Stop brand), these high-performance brakes are perfect for heavier driving use.
You’ll get a complete front and back brake installation kit that features slots and holes to improve cooling. The ceramic disc brakes are made from Z23 carbon fiber for dust-free performance. And you’ll also like the rubberized shims for quieter operation. While this is a more expensive option, it’s a must-have if you’re a heavy driver — especially in rougher road conditions. As you can probably tell by now, Power Stop makes some great quality products, including the Z23 Evolution Sport Brake Kit. This kit’s suitable for your daily-driven car, truck, SUV, etc. and includes everything you need to be ready to install, from rotors and pads to calipers to give your wheels a smooth performance and some style. Following the installation of your new brakes, always keep an eye on your brake discs or brake pedal if there’s signs of wear and tear, a braking system leak, or other problems. And if you are a heavy driver, the best radar detector will be a must-have accessory for your car as well.
Most people don’t think about their car brakes until they hear them, and by then it’s long since been time to change your brakes. There are many factors to consider when shopping for brakes — quantity, vehicle compatibility, premium features, and installation kits.
When replacing brakes, you need to consider how many brakes need to be replaced. Even if only one axle needs to be replaced, it’s a good idea to change both rotors on an axle to ensure even wear. Because of this, you’ll note that none of the recommendations are single brake pads. Except for our #5 Best Quality selection, the other recommendations are all front brake installation kits. Our Best Quality pick is the only comprehensive brake kit with front and rear brake disc pads.
You’ll also note that all of the brake kits in our guide are ceramic brake pads. Ceramic brake pads are the preferred option as they offer solid performance and tend to last longer than other options like organic brake pads. But you’ll note that our Honorable Mention and Best Quality are performance brakes with rotors that feature slots and drilled holes to aid in quickly cooling the components. While these features are more expensive, they’re an ideal choice if you drive through more challenging terrain and rely on your brakes more than a typical driver. That in mind, Ceramics also give off less or no brake dust as an added perk.
And finally, always confirm vehicle compatibility before purchasing a brake installation kit. While we can’t guarantee that every brake kit we featured is going to work with your car, the options we’ve featured tend to have the widest compatibility. However, you will still need to double-check the year, make, and model of your car against each brand’s compatibility list for an individual brake product before making your purchase.
Of course, how frequently you need to replace your brake pads is going to depend on your driving. But in general, you should expect to replace your brakes every 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Regardless of what your odometer is saying when you hear that iconic squeaky sound, that means you have a metal on metal friction happening and it’s time to replace your brakes.
You might be surprised to find that aftermarket brake pads can be just as effective if not preferable to OEM options. Specifically, many automakers use organic brake pads which are known to be the lowest-performing options. In contrast, aftermarket brake pads come in a variety of materials — including ceramic brake pads that are known to be better for long term use.
Maintaining your car brakes is easier than you might think. From time to time, check your brake fluid and as needed, change it. When it starts to look milky it means that water has gotten into the system and it needs to be drained and replaced. And of course, check your brake pads and rotors for signs of wear and tear.
Always confirm that the brakes you plan to buy are intended for use with the year, make and model of your car. Also, check for return and warranty details in case the brakes you buy are incompatible with your vehicle.