Brakes are one of the most important features of a car. If you do not have good brake pads, it is not safe for you to drive your vehicle. All vehicles are required to have a break system in place that meets the federal safety standards, but when it comes to the specific brake pads, the specific type that you choose is up to you. How can you tell which brake pads are the best? Well, there are some things that you should look for when purchasing a new pair of brake pads. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Considerations

  • Type of Vehicle – The brake pads that you need to purchase will vary based on the type of vehicle that you drive and the size of the load that the brake pads will need to stop. A large pickup truck that often tows equipment will not need the same brake pads that a compact car needs.
  • Weight – You will also need to consider the amount of work that the brake pads are going to need to do. For example, if you are towing a lot of sediment on a daily basis, having heavy duty brake pads may be required. On the other hand, using these on a smaller vehicle could cause the brakes to respond harder when you press them.
  • Certified Labels – Since brake pads do not have specific standards, many brake pad manufacturers choose to test and verify the quality of their products for you. If you are looking to ensure that the brake pads you purchase are safe, make sure that they pass Dual Dynamometer Differential Effectiveness Analysis (D3EA) and Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedure (BEEP) testing.

Types

Not all brake pads are constructed the same, so before we dive into the specific product reviews, let’s take a look at some of the different types of brake pads that you can purchase.

  • Organic Brake Pads – Also known as non-asbestos organic brake pads, this type of brake pad is the least expensive type on the market. In fact, it is used in about 70 percent of the vehicles that are seen on the road today. They tend to be soft and function quietly, but they wear out rather quickly, which makes them unsuitable for high performance driving. The material is easy on the rotors of your vehicle, but it is also easy to lose friction when the brake pads are overheated. Some examples of this type of material are glass, fiber, and rubber.
  • Semi-Metallic Brake Pads – 35 to 65 percent of these brake pads are comprised of metals. They are the most durable and versatile of the brake pad types, but they also create more noise and dust particles as well. They provide a firmer brake feel as well as an increased performance. When you utilize this type of brake pad, the rotors tend to wear more rapidly, which means not only do they cost more, but you will need to purchase new brake pads more often.
  • Ceramic Brake Pads – Ceramic brake pads are similar in design to a clay pot that has been burned in a kilt and hardened to provide strength. This type of brake pad is extremely quiet and it barely creates any dust, which means that the lifespan of this type of brake pad will be longer than the other two types that we have examined. One caveat though: they do not work quite as well in cold temperatures, so be careful when you choose this type of brake pad.
Item

Best Design Feature

Price

Rating

Akebono ACT1089 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

No break-in period is required with these brake pads.

$42.72

Stars 4.8/5

ACDelco 17D785CH Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

A friction material is molded to the back of the brake pads to create an extremely secure bond.

$44.09

Stars 4.5/5

Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Ceramic Disc Pad Set With Installation Hardware

These brake pads are 35 percent quieter than most of its competitors.

$26.44

Stars 4.5/5

ACDelco 14D785CH Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set with Hardware

These braking pads are ready to install right from the box without the need for curing or machining.

$29.74

Stars 4.5/5

Bosch BC865 QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Pad Set

The OE multi-layered shim design acts as an insulator to prevent excessive noise.

$24.19

Stars 4.7/5

Raybestos PGD1273C Professional Grade Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set

These brake pads feature premium quality shims that are extremely durable and capable of dampening any excessive noise.

$41.86

Stars 4.6/5

Wagner QuickStop ZD1158 Ceramic Disc Pad Set Includes Pad Installation Hardware

These brakes are OE-post cured for consistent braking and performance.

$27.72

Stars 4.3/5

1) Akebono ACT1089 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

Akebono is a Japanese company that has been designing and manufacturing brakes and brake components for over 75 years. These Akebono ceramic brake pads are designed from quality material that will optimize your vehicle’s braking performance and reduce the amount of brake pad replacements that you need to maintain a safe braking system, which in turn means that the life of your rotor will also be extended.

The brake pads are designed to be ready to use right out of the box, so there is no required breaking-in time for these pads. Harsh braking will be a thing of the past with these ceramic brake pads. In addition, because of the material that this product is crafted from, dust build up on the wheel and the surrounding area will be minimal. These brake pads will create the same feel when you press the brake regardless of whether it is the first time or the 1,000th time they stop your vehicle. They are also designed to minimize noise and vibration that you may feel with other brake pad usage.

2) ACDelco 17D785CH Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

ACDelco is a known manufacturer when it comes to car components and quality products that are made to last. This set of professional quality ceramic brake pads is one that has been tested against D3EA and SAE J2784 standards and gained a certification attesting to the quality of the brake pads. The brake pads are molded with a friction material on the back of each pad. This feature ensures that the pads and the plates are secure and that they fit your car perfectly.

This set of brake pads is also designed with premium shims, slots, and chamfers, which is another way to ensure that their effectiveness is above and beyond that of their competitors. These added features are also capable of reducing the harsh impact that can be felt with new brake pads. It reduces the vibrations that you feel when you apply the brake as well as reduces the amount of sound that can be heard.

3) Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Ceramic Disc Pad Set With Installation Hardware

Wagner is one of the brake manufacturers that is well known for creating innovative parts and braking components before most of its competitors. Their brake pads are designed to bring you the stopping power that you require without sacrificing other features that you desire. This ThermoQuiet brake pad set is designed to give you 15 percent more stopping power and last longer than its competition. Less dust will be created when you use these brake pads, which means that the wheels of your vehicle will be cleaner as well.

When it comes to the level of noise created by these brake pads, you will experience braking that is about 35 percent quieter than most of the other brake pads that are currently on the market. It is capable of reducing the noise by reducing the heat and the vibration that the brake pads experience. Installation is simple, and all of the hardware that you will require is included in the packaging.

4) ACDelco 14D785CH Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set with Hardware

The next set of brake pads on this list is another high quality product that is manufactured by ACDelco. It is a dependable, reliable set of brake pads that is easy to purchase because it is sold at a low price point. These specific brake pads are crafted from a ceramic material, which makes them a more durable, longer-lasting product. The dust level is minimal with these brake pads, and they are designed to be quiet as you drive down the road, whether it is a busy highway or a quiet neighborhood.

The hardware to attach these brake pads is included with the packaging of this ACDelco product. In addition, they are designed to be installed directly from the box; no machining or cueing is needed to complete the process. The vibration and harsh braking that can be felt with new brake pads is non-existent with this product.

5) Bosch BC865 QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Pad Set

If you own a vehicle, Bosch is another car part manufacturer that you have most likely heard of. They are well-known as a manufacturer that creates quality products at a low price point, and these QuietCast Premium brake pads are no exception. These ceramic brake pads are designed to stop you at any point without causing excess vibrations or noise during the process.

This product features molded shim technology that gives you a bit of stability when you are braking, which is actually due to the reduction in noise vibration as well. The chamfers on the brake pad are designed to create the optimal fit and improve the functionality of these brake pads. The multi-layered design creates an insulated surface that helps minimize the noise effects as well. Installation hardware and the lubrication are both included in the packaging of this product. This design also serves as a protective layer for the brake pads that keeps it in excellent working order for a longer period of time.

6) Raybestos PGD1273C Professional Grade Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set

Another manufacturer that produces high quality products to fulfill the needs of your car and braking system is Raybestos. This company is dedicated to providing you with quality products at a price point that will not break your wallet. This professional grade ceramic brake set is engineered to provide you with optimal performance braking in driving conditions that you would experience on a daily basis.

The product has a comfortable, form-fitting design that is easy to install. This snug fit is designed to ensure that the performance level is the same each time that you utilize the brakes. In addition, the pads are durable, which means that the lifetime of this product is longer than many of its competitors. Since the installation process is designed to be ready to go right from the box, this design reduces the harsh braking that you may experience with new brake pads. It is also designed to minimize the sound and the vibration that can often be felt when you apply the brakes.

7) Wagner QuickStop ZD1158 Ceramic Disc Pad Set Includes Pad Installation Hardware

The final set of brake pads on our list is another quality product that is manufactured by Wagner. They are specifically designed to provide the stopping power that you need without all of the noise that can be experienced with other brake pads. In fact, this product is OE-post cured to ensure that it is capable of providing you with a consistent braking application throughout its lifetime.

The ceramic-designed brake pads come with installation hardware to make the process simpler. In addition, OE-style lubricant is included with the purchase to ensure that each time the brakes are well oiled and ready to perform. They are also designed to be very quiet during their performance; in fact, most of the typical braking vibrations that you feel during your driving experience are reduced to a minor detail that you will barely be able to feel on the road.

Brake pads are one of the most important parts on any vehicle. Without proper brake pads, your life as well as the lives of others who are driving on the road near you will be in danger. Hopefully this guide has helped you find a pair of brake pads that are perfect for your car and your driving needs.

Out of all of the brake pads that we have reviewed in this guide, the Akebono ACT1089 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set comes out ahead of the rest. In our opinion, they have a quiet operation, a durable lifespan, a high performance level, and many more features that will have you purchasing this product again and again when the need arises.

If you are looking for more of a bang for your buck option, then we suggest testing out the Bosch BC865 QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Pad Set. It has the fit and functionality that most cars require, and it has a price point that is nearly half of its competitors, which makes it a great value for anyone on a budget.