7 Best Car Brake Pads of 2021

by Joshua Thomas

Being able to stop your vehicle as quickly as possible is extremely important for every motorist. And for this you need the braking system to always be in the best shape. One of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure this is by always using the best brake pads.

The brake pad is one of the most important components of your vehicle and it should always be in a tip-top condition so as to ensure your safety as well as the safety of other road users.

Moreover, a good brake pad will allow you to get more performance from your vehicle, improve your mileage, as well as run your vehicle more efficiently.

If you are planning to change your vehicle brake pad and looking for a quality model, we got you covered. Below we provide a selection of some of the best brake pads for the money and a guide for choosing the right ones for your vehicle.

Editors' Picks: Top Car Brake Pads of 2021
Editors' Picks: Top Car Brake Pads of 2021

Summary of 7 Best Car Brake Pads

Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Brake Pad

1. Bosch BC905 (Best Overall)

  • Premium quality materials
  • Rubber core multilayer shim
  • Advanced aerospace alloy
  • Protective transfer layer
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Brake Pad

2. Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 (Best Ceramic)

  • High-performing and durable ceramic material
  • Superior formulation design
  • Reduced brake dust
  • Quieter operation
  • Premium stainless steel hardware
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3. ACDelco 17D1367CH (Best Value for Money)

  • More budget friendly
  • Premium-quality shims, chamfers and slots
  • Stamped backing plate
  • Integrally molded
Akebono ACT1118 ProACT Ceramic Brake Pad

4. Akebono ACT1118 ProACT (Best Replacement)

  • Front and rear brake pad set
  • Vehicle optimized formulation
  • Consistent and smooth braking
  • Minimal dusting
  • Improved wear performance
Power Stop Brake Pad

5. Power Stop Brake Pad (Compatible with Most Vehicles)

  • Universal compatibility
  • Superior quality carbon and ceramic combo
  • Premium hardware kit
  • Thermal scorched surface
Bosch Brake Pad

6. Bosch Brake Pad (Best Brand)

  • Superior quality brake pads from a top brand
  • Comes complete with hardware depending on application
  • Effective noise-dampening
  • Consistent braking in any weather
Wagner Brake Pad

7. Wagner Brake Pad (Best Aftermarket)

  • Durable and dependable aftermarket pads
  • Application-specific design
  • Installation hardware included
  • Comprehensive vehicle coverage

1. Bosch BC905 - Best Overall

Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Brake Pad
Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Ceramic Brake Pad
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Ceramic

In terms of build quality, very few brake pads can compete with the Bosch BC905. Bosch makes these braking pads with some premium quality materials that will help ensure you get superior stopping power, a quieter operation and less dust production, which makes it our best overall product.

It uses a multi-layer shim made from rubber that dampens vibrations as well as limits noise. Furthermore, it has a protective layer made from a special material that will extend the life of your rotors and a powder-coated backing to keep rust and corrosion in check.

In addition, this ceramic brake pad does not have any copper, so it is compliant with the 2025 copper-free legislation law that prohibits the presence of copper metal in brake pads by the year 2025.

The slots and chamfers further ensure you get superior fit and function. And where applicable, these brake pads will also come with a hardware kt and lubricant to allow you to do a complete brake job.

These brake pads come from the Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Pad, which also has some other amazing brake pads or various vehicle types. Brakes in this line are known for their quiet operation, low dust performance and long life.

There does not seem to be a wear and tear indicator on these brake pads, but this is hardly an issue because, worn out brake pads are hard to miss for any experienced motorist.


  • Superior quality build for long service life
  • Quieter operation
  • Low dust production
  • 2025 copper-free law complaint
  • Rust and corrosion-preventing backing


  • No wear and tear indicator

2. Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 - Best Ceramic Brake Pad

Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Brake Pad
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Brake Pad
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Ceramic

The Wagner QC1083 is a pair of front ceramic brake pads that are made from a superior quality material designed to deliver exceptional stopping power. Also, the ceramic brake pads have as superior formulation design, which dissipates heat for fade-free performance and long service life.

These brake pads also deliver a quieter operation. They are able to do so by using a rubber core shim that dampens the noise and helps promote the lifespan of the brake pad. Additionally, you will experience fewer vibrations with this Wagner brake pad.

You also get a cleaner wheel when using these brake pads as they not only provide superior braking performance, but also reduce rotor wear to minimize the brake dust produced.

For some select operations, these brake pads will also come with some premium-quality stainless steel hardware.

Also, note that these brake pads are from the Wagner ThermoQuiet product line, which is one of the most popular brake pad lines from Wagner. This line of brake pads is known for superior-quality and super-quiet ceramic brakes.

Some motorists might find the front pads a little too long for their vehicles. However, in many instances, this only occurs when you do no pay attention to the vehicle compatibility when choosing the pads.


  • High performing material
  • Longer service life
  • Does not produce a lot dust
  • Low noise and limits vibrations
  • High-quality hardware


  • Front pads may be a bit too long for some vehicles

3. ACDelco 17D1367CH - Best Value for Money

ACDelco 17D1367CH
ACDelco 17D1367CH
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Ceramic

These braking pads are designed to ensure you get the best value for your money as they are not only highly durable but also offer superior braking power.

The durable ceramic material with less metal ensures you get more braking power, while also keeping the noise down and minimizing the production of dust.

Because these brake pads are integrally molded, they will deliver superior bond integrity, and the inclusion of stamped backing plate will ensure the pad moves correctly in the caliper assembly.

Also, these brake pads will include premium-quality slots, chamfers and shims, which are every effective at noise reduction and also minimizing braking harshness and vibration.

For some vehicles, the fit seems a little too tight. However, a little grinding is all it takes to ensure the brake pads not only fit better but also move freely.

Also, check out the ACDelco store for other brake pads options and various other vehicle accessories like brake drums and calipers.


  • Delivers exceptional value for cash
  • Durable ceramic formulation
  • Superior bond integrity
  • Less noise and vibrations
  • No curing required


  • Fit can be a little too tight

4. Akebono ACT1118 ProACT - Best Replacement Brake Pad

Akebono ACT1118 ProACT Ceramic Brake Pad
Akebono ACT1118 ProACT Ceramic Brake Pad
  • Position: Front and rear
  • Material: Ceramic

Akebono is not new to the industry and is one of the best brake pad brands on the market. If you need some high-quality replacement brake pads, their ACT1118 ProACT will be an impeccable choice.

The brake pads come as a set with both front and back brake pads. Also, they are vehicle-optimized to meet the factory required quality and ft standards and designed to offer improved pad wear performance.

Braking is guaranteed to be smooth and quiet regardless of the driving conditions, while the carefully selected materials used to make these brake pads will minimize and almost eliminate dusting entirely.

In addition, this model can be used to replace other OEM semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads found in a wide range of vehicles. Moreover, due to its efficient design, it has greater stopping power when compared with other ceramic brake pads on the market.

Furthermore, this is one of the few good brake pads that does not need a break-in time, which means they will be ready to install straight from the box.

In cold temperatures and when reversing, the brakes can squeal a bit. However, this is typical of almost any brake pad type, and it should not be a deal breaker.

There are also several other amazing replacement brake pads on the Akebono Pro-ACT Ultra-premium line. This brake pad series is known for virtually eliminating dusting and will deliver the ultimate braking experience.


  • Complete set of 4 brake pads for the front and the rear
  • Delivers smooth and consistent braking
  • Can be used to replace any OEM brake pads
  • Does not require any break-in time
  • Minimized wear for longer service life


  • Can squeal a little bit in cold temperatures

5. Power Stop Brake Pad - Compatible with Most Vehicles

Power Stop Brake Pad
Power Stop Brake Pad
  • Position: Front and back
  • Material: Carbon and ceramic

The Power Stop Brake Pad line is designed for all kinds vehicle as there is something for everyone in the line. But, besides the universal compatibility, there are still many other things that make these brake pads amazing.

Key among these other things include their superior build that combines carbon and ceramic to ensure you not only get superior stopping power, but also do so without compromising the durability of the pads.

These brake pads also make use of a dust-free technology to keep the wheels clean. And you can be sure there will be minimal break-in when using these brake pads thanks to the scorched surface.

Also, some brake pads in this class like the Z26 Street Warrior, which is meant for muscle cars will also come with premium stainless steel kit to ensure easy installation.

Some other amazing brake pads in this line include the Z36, which is perfect for truck and tow, and the Z23 Evolution Sport for daily drivers.

The only notable complaint about brake pads in this line is that the initial bite seems a little lacking. However, the superior stopping power and completely dust-free performance should make up for this.


  • Compatible with most vehicles
  • Durable combination of materials
  • Dust-free braking performance
  • Fast break-in
  • Comes with a high-quality kit


  • Initial bite is a little lacking

6. Bosch Brake Pads - Best Brake Pad Brand

Bosch Brake Pad
Bosch Brake Pad
  • Position: Front and back
  • Material: Ceramic and semi-metallic

Bosch has been making brake pads and other vehicle accessories for many years now, and the company has been in existence fore more than a century. What sets their brake pads apart from the other brands is that they always make their products to meet OEM quality specifications.

Some of their most outstanding brake pad lines include the Bosch Blue Pads, Bosch Euroline Pads and Bosch Severe Duty Pads.

Bosch Blue Pads provide a wide coverage for Asian and European cars and will include factor style and multi-layer shims designed to provide excellent noise dampening. These brake pads will also include hardware kits where applicable and a synthetic grease lubricant for all applications.

Bosch Euroline Pads are popular for their vehicle specific formulation and also offer low compressibility for an excellent pedal feel and high friction coefficient that delivers consistency in braking regardless of the condition.

The other line, Bosch Severe Duty Pads, is for heavy-duty performance, and the pads will feature a copper-free ceramic and semi-metallic formula and a new design that replicated the factory chamfers and slots.

While some brake pads in some Bosch lines, like the EuroLine Pads can be a little expensive when compared to what other brands have to offer, these are premium quality pads with a superior build quality and are hence worth every buck.


  • Reliable and efficient top brand pads
  • Dampens noise for a quieter operation
  • Hardware kit included where applicable
  • Built for effective use in any weather
  • Comes with synthetic grease lubricant


  • Brake pads in some likes can be a little expensive

7. Wagner Brake Pads - Best Aftermarket Brake Pad

Wagner Brake Pad
Wagner Brake Pad
  • Position: Front and back
  • Material: Ceramic and semi-metallic

Wagner is always a name you can trust when it comes to brake pads. They are known for making highly dependable and durable aftermarket brake pads designed to give you superior stopping power and a long service life.

The company makes their brake pads in both ceramic and semi metallic options, and they are designed to offer comprehensive coverage for all kinds of vehicle in the road toady.

Wagner Quickstop is their line of ceramic brake pads. These brake pads are built to provide like-new performance and will come in application-specific design, which is very effective at dampening vibration for a noise-free operation. Also, the brakes are formulated to meet the individual needs of every vehicle and ensure maximum consistency.

For the semi-metallic brake pads, there is the Wagner SeverDuty, which is engineered for vehicles and fleets that are driven in tough conditions. These brake pads handle extreme heat, heavy loads and frequent stops better than most others out there. And they have a zero-copper friction formulation.

There is hardly any shortcoming with most Wagner brake pads. But, they do not seem to be completely dust-free, which should not be a concern as it is typical of most aftermarket brake pads.


  • Well-built and dependable
  • Reduces vibration for quieter operation
  • Available for a wide variety of vehicles
  • Built with little to no copper
  • Comes with the installation kit


  • Not completely dust free

How to Buy the Best Brake Pads

How To Buy The Best Brake Pads
How To Buy The Best Brake Pads

1. Types of Brake Pads

Semi-metallic brake pad

As its name suggests, the semi-metallic brake pad is a combination of metals and nonmetals.

In general terms, it has at least 30% metals like copper, iron and even steel. While the rest contain a mixture of nonmetals. The main advantage of the semi-metallic brake pads such as Genuine Toyota 04465-0E010 is that it can withstand a lot of heat and is very durable.

Thus, this makes it an ideal type of brake pad for those who are heavy on the brakes. Particularly for activities like sports or for the braking system of trucks and over heavy vehicles.

But, these brake pads will wear down the rotors a little too fast and a re also relatively noisier when compared to other types

Ceramic brake pad

The ceramic brake pad is a more recent type of brake pad that contains a thick and dense layer of ceramic over the brake pad.

The main advantage of the ceramic brake pads like Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 is that it does not produce a lot of dust during braking and will not wear the rotors over time.

However, it is not as heavy duty as a semi-metallic brake pad and therefore, the ceramic brake pad is an excellent type of brake pad for city use or casual driving.

Non-Asbestos Organic

The non-asbestos organic brake pads are the types mad from high temperature resin, fiber and with filler materials.

Because they do not contain any asbestos, these brake pads are often listed as organic. But, what makes them amazing is that they tend to b less noisy and also provide softer braking.

However, these brake pads will produce more dust than both the semi-metallic and ceramic types and have a shorter life service as they deteriorate faster.

Low-Metallic NAO

Low-metallic NAO brake pads will contain between 10 and 30% metal and it can be either copper or steel.

The other materials in the brake pads besides the metal is usually organic. And although they are quite noisy and will produce more dust, these brake pads will offer superior braking power and heat transfer.

Buying Advice: Semi-metallic brake pads are always the best chose for vehicles that are driven under demanding condition and heavy loads like trucks and fleets. But, if you want something for daily drive vehicle, you will be better off with ceramic brake pads. That said the non-asbestos organic and low-metallic NAO are perfect if you prefer something more Eco-friendly.

2. Noise

If you do not want any type of squealing while pressing on the brake pedal then it is important to go with a model that has a design that is effective at dampening noise like Bosch Brake Pads.

Look for terms like "low noise "or "noise-free" to make sure that you are getting a model that produces no noise.

But, even these noise-free brake pads might still produce a little squeal when reversing or driving in cold weather, which is normal.

3. Compatibility

Of course, before purchasing a brake pad, you must ensure that it is compatible with your vehicle.

Not all brake pads with fit every vehicle at this is not a universal accessory. Additionally, you should choose an appropriate type of brake paddle based on the type of driving that you do.

For example, if you are usually heavy on the brakes then it is best to go with a semi-metallic brake pad rather than a ceramic brake pad.

On the other hand, for casual driving, the ceramic brake that is more affordable and the best brake pad for the money.

4. Ease of installation

Even if the brake pad looks intimidating, it is not very difficult to install. It can take an hour or 2 for the absolute beginner, but it is achievable as long as you have the necessary tools to dismount your braking system.

Pay attention if the manufacturer makes any mention of how easy it is to install the brake pad.

Also, those that will come with the installation hardware like the Wagner Brake Pads will give you an easy time even if you are an absolute beginner.

5. Brand

Since the brake pad is directly responsible for the security of the driver and the security of others, it is important that you go with the best brake pad brand that you can buy.

This is because reputable manufacturers put a lot of effort, expertise and use high-quality materials in the construction of their brake pads.

This makes a branded brake pad more heavy-duty, durable and long-lasting when compared to a no-name brake pad.

Look for brands like Wagner, EBC, Akebono, ACDelco, amongst others, as they are reputable manufacturers of brake pads.

How to Install the Brake Pad

How To Install The Brake Pad
How To Install The Brake Pad

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change or install a brake pad in their vehicles.

Step 1 - Gather your tools

You will need a few dedicated tools in order to change your brake pad. Some of the most common tools are:

  • 3/8" ratchet
  • 3/8" breaker bar
  • 1/2" ratchet
  • Hydraulic jack
  • WD-40
  • Hammer

Step 2 - Lift your vehicle

Loosen your wheel lugs so that it is easier to remove your wheel. Note that you may need to use WD-40 to be able to loosen your lugs.

Then, using the hydraulic jack, proceed to lift your vehicle. When you have done so, remove your wheels to can gain access to the braking system.

Step 3 - Loosen the calipers

Now that you have access to the braking system, you will find a pair of 12 mm or 14 mm bolt securing the caliper to the braking system.

You will need to remove the caliper first. Once you have removed the bolts, the caliper should slide out sideways. If you have difficulty removing the caliper, you can use a hammer to lightly tap on it.

Step 4 - Remove your old brake pad

Once you have removed your caliper and caliper carrier, your brake pads should now be exposed. Remove the brake pad from the rotor and inspect it.

Step 5 - Install the new brake pad

Similarly, that you have removed your old brake pad, backtrack and replace it with your brand-new brake pad.

Additionally, if your brake disc is in bad condition, now is a good time to replace it as well. Once you have installed your new brake pad, tighten the caliper and caliper carrier bolts again. Last step is to reinstall the wheels.

Step 6 - Press on the brake pedal

Now that you have installed a new brake pad, switch on your vehicle and put it in neutral. Then, press a couple of times on your brake pedal to align your brake pad to your brake disc correctly.

Also, you can drive the vehicle for a few minutes to test whether the new brake pads are working correctly.

When to Replace the Brake Pad

When To Replace Brake Pad
When To Replace Brake Pad

Since the brake pad presses against the brake disc every time you apply the brakes, it suffers from a lot of wear and tear.

Therefore, you should replace the brake pad quite often. But when do you replace it, exactly?

  • Regular maintenance: Every time you perform maintenance on your car, you should check your braking system and ensure that your brake pads are in good condition.

    We recommend that you perform a car maintenance and brake pad checkup every 5000 miles just to be safe.

  • Squealing noises: If you sometimes hear squealing noises when applying the brakes then there is a high possibility that your brake pads shims have worn down.

    Moreover, debris and dust may also get between your brake pad and brake disc thus closing this squealing noise.

    In any case, you should open your brake system to check and replace the brake pad if necessary.

  • Noisy and jittery braking: A noisy breaking system is generally caused by the brake pad.

    Moreover, if you press on the brake pedal and it becomes jittery then this also indicates a problem with the brake pad.

    Either the brake pads have thinned down or they are misaligned.

  • Thin brake pads: If you notice that your brake pads are thin then you should replace it immediately.

    Driving a car with a thin brake pad is a hazard and very dangerous.

  • Warning indicator lights: Modern cars have an ECU system that constantly monitors the status of your car and alert you whenever it detects a problem.

    It monitors the braking system as well. If you notice a warning light on your car dashboard concerning your brakes, then you need to open your brake system immediately.

Read More: Dashboard Light Meaning


Which Brake Pads have the Best Stopping Power?

A: It depends on the quality of the specific brake pad types that you have. However, ceramic brake pads are known for having superb stopping power, which is better than most other types.

Are OEM Brake Pads better than Aftermarket?

A: Yes, to some extent they are better as they are made to suit the specific needs of the car in different aspects from the quality to the fit according to the manufacturer's specifications. That said, aftermarket brake pads also have an edge when it comes to things like minimizing noise and dust production.

Are Cheap Brake Pad any Good?

A: No, they might save you some cash and still get the job done to some extent, but they usually do not last long, and the material is not good enough for extreme driving conditions.

How long do Brake Pads Last?

A: It depends on the driving conditions, your driving habits and also the quality of the brake pads. However, a typical brake pad will have a lifespan of between 25,000 and 65,000 miles.

How much does it Cost to Replace my Brake Pads?

A: The average cost of replacing brake pads ranges between $100 and $300 per axle if you are getting it done by a professional mechanic. However, if you are doing it on your own it can even cost under $50 as you will only need to buy the brake pad kit and not have to pay for any labor.

Should I Change the Brake Pads on the Same Axle at the same time?

A: Yes, you should always replace brake pads on the same axle at the same time to ensure consistent performance and safety. Also, in many instances they will wear out at the rate and hence the need to replace both. That said, it is still okay to replace the front brake pads without replacing the rear ones and vice versa if they are not worn out.


With the high-quality brake pads from top brands in our review above, finding the perfect option for your vehicle should be super easy now. And there is something for almost any kind of vehicle model and type on the road on our list.

To help you narrow down your options further, the Bosch BC905 is our best overall thanks to the premium quality materials and superior braking performance.

But, if you prefer the dust-free performance of ceramic, go for the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083, while the ACDelco 17D1367CH provides the best value for money.


  1. How to Change Your Car's Brake Pad - LifeHacker
  2. How to Change the Brake Pads in Your Car - WikiHow
  3. Wondering When to Replace Brake Pads? - Bridgestone

About Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.

He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.

His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.

Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.

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