Introduction To The Best Front Brake Pads and Rear Brake Pads (By Brand)
Entire brake assembled
When it comes to brake pads, you can lean in a few directions. You can have “performance oriented brake pads”, “economy oriented brake pads”, or a mix of both. Your brake pads are an extremely important component of your vehicle, and should not be taken lightly when thinking of replacements and installations.
Having a good set of pads can mean the difference between hitting an object, and avoiding it. You can cheap out and get generic brands that ultimately, will start to fade very fast, giving you poor stopping power. You’ll also experience a ton of brake dust which, will powder coat your wheels through time and make the cleaning process a whole lot harder.
Types of brake pads
There are three basic types of brake pads: organic, metallic, and ceramic.
Organic pads are composed of organic fibers and other materials. While these types of brakes are inexpensive, they also wear out quickly, perform poorly and create an abundance of dust.
Metallic brake pads are comprised mostly of metal. They perform better than organics but create more dust and noise than ceramics.
Ceramics cost the most but perform better and last longer than any other type of pad. Their construction also allows them to brake cleanly and quietly.
How do you know when your brake pads need to be changed?
Unlike your engine oil, brakes don’t have a recommended maintenance schedule. How long your pads last depends on their quality, along with factors such as vehicle application and driving conditions.
Professionals can tell a set of pads need to be replaced just by looking at them. In most cases, replacement is recommended when the brake friction material gets down to about 4mm thick. Anything 3mm or below requires immediate attention.
Pad thickness can be measured with a brake lining thickness gauge or a vernier caliper. You can also visually inspect your pads to approximate the amount of material left. Look through your wheel directly at the pad – if it looks thin, and its backing plate is close to the rotor, it’s time for replacement.
Another, more obvious indication you need brakes is a metallic grinding noise. The sound may occur when coming to a stop, as the pad backing plate grinds into the rotor. It may also happen while driving if the pads are worn down to the wear indicators.
Finally, a low brake fluid level – often accompanied by a dashboard warning light – may indicate worn pads. This happens because, as the pads wear, they draw the caliper piston further out of its bore, displacing the brake fluid and causing the level to drop. When the level is low, the brake warning light illuminates on the dash.
Other Common Brake Pad Questions:
Here’s a summary of the most common brake questions and answers. Consumers often ask, “How much are brake pads?”, “What is the brake pads replacement cost?”, “Which material of brake pads should I go with?”
Brake pads can range from 15 dollars for a set (two wheels), to more than 100 dollars for a set.
Typically, shops charge between $200 and $300 to swap out a set of brake pads. The rotors may need to be machined or replaced at the same time. (We recommend buying brake pads online to avoid shop markup).
There’s no set schedule for when you should replace your brakes. Pad life depends on many factors including, but not limited to, driving conditions and the material of the brakes themselves. A rule of thumb is pads should last between 25,000 to 65,000 miles.
What type of pad should you choose? That depends on the type of vehicle you own, and the conditions it’s driven under.For everyday use, get a set of ceramic composite brake pads. If you want to set it up and have some added performance, get a set of kevlar brake pads, if you want all-out performance on the track and maximum stopping power then get a set of sintered bronze pads.
We’ve listed the top brake pads for 2018, so you can find the ideal match for your needs. We can’t pinpoint which set of pads you should get, primarily due to the fact that we don’t know which vehicle you need them for. Sizes vary, so instead we targeted them by brand, this should ultimately help you find the best brake pads for your vehicle.
**If you don’t feel up to installing the brakes yourself, take your vehicle to a shop that has a good reputation. **
Without a doubt, ACDelco has been around for decades (100 years to be exact). They are a leader in the automotive parts world, and break pads are one of those things.
You should consider getting a set of ceramic brake pads if you’d like to have good overall everyday performance. Not expensive at all in fact, a set of front pads should not cost you any more than 30-40 dollars. Check them out on Amazon for their lowest price, be sure to match the right fit for your vehicle.
“These appear to be the same or better quality than the factory pads. They come with everything you need to install them, including some lube to keep them quiet. I installed both sets in around 15 minutes and immediately noticed a difference. I use my truck to pull an RV and boat frequently so good brakes are important to me. I trust these pads to stop even if I have to slam on the brakes.”
Great for daily drivers
Limited applications – mostly for General Motors vehicles
5. Wagner Automotive Brake Pads
Yet another great company that makes brake made for every day type of vehicles. Whether you’re driving a Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, or Nissan Titan, this brand is perfect for you. They are targeted towards ever day type of performance, this is where the ceramic material comes in to help you with the stopping power, and overall increased life of the brake pads.
Match the correct set of brake pads for your vehicle, they should typically cost no more than 34-40 dollars on average. A set includes 4 pads in total, allowing you to either get the front brake pads OR, rear brake pads for the vehicle. So far, reasonably prices, check them out for their current best price below.
“We are huge fans of Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads. The QC465A pads replaced a set of the same pads with 50,000 miles! (combination highway and city miles) Although we still had some pad life left one of the factory front rotors with >147,000 miles developed a very slight warp,” a buyer writes. – Chris
“For the cost we simply replaced pads and rotors to restore a quality braking experience. Wagner ThermoQuiet Ceramic pads continue to meet our high standards in terms of quality, performance, and price. These pads are highly recommended”, another buyer comments! – Alan
Great for daily drivers
Backed by one of the best names in the business
Not the greatest for high-performance applications
4. Bosch Premium Automotive Brake Pads
These are a more premium oriented brand of break pads. A lot of German vehicles use Bosch as their all around pads. German pads + German vehicles = perfect compatibility. However, it’s not only German vehicles these pads work great on. Be sure to find the right fit for your vehicle, and if this brand is even compatible with your vehicle.
Overall, you should lean towards the Bosch brand because you want to “up the ante” just a bit in terms of performance. They are by no means track oriented, but just a bit better than most standard ceramic pads.
“These brake pads are very well made and very high quality! The pads for my application were friction rated “GG” which is very good. Everything that you could possibly need for pad replacement is included in the box: the new stainless slides/clips and silicone lube. I have installed over 100 sets of brakes pads and Bosch is now my “go to” pad for most applications. if you live in a salt/rust area, make sure that you remove the stainless clips and wire brush that area under the clips before installing the new ones that are provided. ensure that your pads slide easily and that you don’t have to force them in place.” – Steve
Great for both daily drivers and performance applications
Long service life
Can be pricey depending on the application
3. Raybestos Premium Grade Automotive Brake Pads
Coming from an American origin and over 100 years in business, Raybestos are a premium grade of pads for a wide range of automobiles. Again, they are catered towards everyday type of vehicles such as Ford Fiestas, and similar vehicles. The metallic and ceramic mix enables solid life, and good stopping power for those “hard stops” we so often can experience. You’ll get a set of shim’s to help you mount your new set of pads to your brake calipers.
These are very cost effective, usually not being any more than 30-40 dollars. Just go to the section where there’s a vehicle selection option, and match your vehicle with any of the pads available by Raybesto. Go ahead, give it a try below.
“Smooth, quiet braking. My car actually drives better with these and the Professional Grade rotors. It’s like new again,”– Jane
Great for daily drivers
Not ideal for performance applications
2. Akebono Premium Automotive Brake Pads
For straight up Japanese manufacturing, specifically for premium performing vehicles, Akebono is what you should be looking for. Originating in 1929 in Hanyu, Saitama, Japan, Akebono specializes in break technology for cars, trucks, scooters, and bikes of all types. These are semi-metallic OAM replacement type of pads that have much less fade compared to regular OEM pads you typically see. These tend to be quieter than ordinary brakes, and if you drive a vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, these would make for a perfect set.
Premium quality, but not at a premium price is what it seems like. You of course must first match up your vehicle before you choose any given set. See Amazon below to see what their current lowest cost is.
“I Replaced the front brake pads for Acura TL 2008 last week and it fits perfectly and works great. Bought extra brake grease from local auto parts store and no squeaking so far. Left the rotors as is as they only had 60K miles on them. The rotors will likely be replaced the next time. – Claire
Exceptional service life
1. StopTech Performance Brake Pads
These have the biggest bite of them all in terms of stopping power, StopTech Performance Brake Pads are the way to go if your vehicle is in any way quick. Whether you’re driving a high-end Mercedes, or a high-end Nissan, StopTech is probably the better option in this instance. These are perfect for spirited street and light duty track use, compared to the above brands, these will usually produce much less break dust when under heavy stress. Without a doubt, much like the brand Brembo Stop Tech makes some of the best brake pads for front and rear.
Each set includes everything you’d need to get it all setup in your caliper housing. Be sure to line-up your current vehicle with the proper fit, to ensure no hassle and a simple installation. View Amazon below for the lowest price.
“Incredible upgrade over OEM pads on my 2017 WRX. Probably the best $ vs reward I’ve spent so far,”– Chuck
Minimal brake dust
**Extra: we have some extra guides which you will find quite useful. Finding a good set of brake pads will help you in MANY situations. Having the best tires when snowing, a good set of snow chains, will make all the difference in the world.
All the brake pads listed above are excellent products worth installing on your vehicle. Which you choose depends on the type of car you own, the kind of driving you do, and your budget.
Don’t put off replacing you worn brakes any longer. Now that you’re armed with a little knowledge, take a few moments and order a brand-new set of pads.