The 10 Best Brake Rotors – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Brake Rotor

On average, you will need to replace your brake rotors after every 50,000 miles, but for some vehicles, the interval can be as short as 25,000 miles or as long as 75,000 miles.

And apart from getting the replacement interval correct, you also need to make sure that you buy the best brake rotors for your vehicle.

Brake rotors have a crucial role to play in your car’s brake system. They are what will push against the wheel to cause the friction that stops your vehicle. And it is because of this friction that you need to replace them as it leads to wear and tear.

These important braking components will come in different types and in styles for both the front and back wheels. Below we review 10 best-rated brake rotors and also highlight a few other important things you need to know when shopping for brake rotors.

10 Best Brake Rotor Reviews

#1. ACDelco 18A925A Advantage Non-Coated Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

ACDelco 18A925A Advantage Non-Coated Brake Rotor
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Multiple Alloys
  • Type: Smooth

As you are shopping for the best car brake rotors, it will be a wise idea to buy from a top brand like ACDelco, and the quality of their model 18A925A front brake rotors shows why they are a popular brand.

This top-notch quality brake rotor is made from multiple alloys that help to improve the heat dissipation and overall performance, and with a rounded radius for extra strength.

This smooth brake rotor is mill-balanced to eliminate the need for extra weights and it is quality validated to ensure it meets the required metallurgy and thickness.

Also, ACDelco makes it with special vane configuration for greater safety and performance, and also to reduce noise and vibrations while also maximizing airflow to the keep the rotor cool.

Pros:

  • High performing multiple alloys construction
  • Excellent heat dissipation
  • Rounded radius provides added strength
  • Mill-balanced to eliminate the need for extra weights
  • Non-directional ground finish

Cons:

  • Not coated to prevent rust/corrosion

#2. ACDelco 18A2497 Professional Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.9 / 5)

ACDelco 18A2497 Professional Brake Rotor
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Multiple Alloys
  • Type: Smooth

ACDelco makes this top-rated brake rotor for use on most of the cars on the road today, and to make it even better it in non-directional which means you can use it either on the left or right front wheel.

The brake rotor has been inspected for balance to ensure smooth brake operation and to reduce vibration. And it is also independently tested for noise, vibrations, and harshness to ensure that it lives up to the highest standards.

Each of these rotors will feature a thickness variation of less than 0.0004 to minimize common braking system issues like pedal pulsation and to improve pad life.

Also, no machining will be required when installing this rotor as it comes ready for installation straight from the box.

Pros:

  • Balanced for smooth brake operation
  • Effective in reducing noise and vibrations
  • High-quality and reliable
  • Ready for immediate installation
  • Non-directional for use on any side

Cons:

  • Relatively pricier

#3. Bosch 34010890 QuiteCast Premium Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Bosch 34010890 QuiteCast Premium Brake Rotor
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Aluminum and Zinc
  • Type: Smooth

Bosch 34010890 is the priciest item on our brake rotor reviews. Although it is a little pricey for a single brake rotor, you always get what you pay for, and so you can be confident it will not disappoint you.

The smooth front rotor is precision-balanced to ensure that you always get a smooth operation without ever having to worry about pedal pulsation.

It uses OEM style configuration that will provide more efficient heat dissipation and also reduce the vibrations that can cause annoying noise when braking.

Bosch also uses heat-flowed castings that help to provide consistent wear and a long rotor life. And they make the brake rotor with bi-metal aluminum and zinc and with clean-look coating for durability and to provide a clean look for those that prefer to use the open wheels.

Pros:

  • Precision balanced for smooth operation
  • More efficient heat dissipation
  • Reduced vibrations
  • Durable and with consistent wear
  • Clean finish for open wheels

Cons:

  • A little pricey for a 1-piece rotor

#4. Wagner BD125654E E-Coated Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Wagner BD125654E E-Coated Brake Rotor
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Type: Smooth

The choice of material and other features like the E-shield coating help to make theWagner BD125654E one of the best aftermarket brake rotors out there.

E-shield coating is designed to help prevent corrosion so that the brake rotor serves you well and for a long time.

Besides the E-shield feature, this Wagner brake rotor also features a smooth surface finish to ensure that your brake pads will not require a long break-in period.

Also, the rotor comes in a vapor corrosion inhibitor bag that will help to reduce the rotor preparation, and also saves you a lot of installation time.

The increased rotor surface area provides more effective and safer stopping power and also enhances heat dissipation, and the unique rib design will help reduce noise.

Pros:

  • E-shield coating prevents corrosion
  • Less brake pad break-in
  • Reduces rotor prep time and quick installation
  • Minimal rotor noise
  • Increased rotor surface area

Cons:

  • Still not as thick as the factory rotors

#5. Centric 121.61093 Front Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Centric 121.61093 Front Brake Rotor
  • Position: Front
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Type: Smooth

With this well-made and high-performing front brake rotor from Centric, you can be confident of going for thousands of miles before you need a replacement.

It is precision engineered to meet all OE standards, and so you can be confident that it will not only be efficient but also safe to have on your vehicle.

The brake rotor is durably made with G3000 metallurgy, and it goes through meticulous manufacturing and testing to ensure a perfect balance and excellent fit.

This brake rotor is non-directional which means you can use it on either the left or right wheel, and it is 100% machined when you get it.

Installation should also be a quick and easy process even if you are not a pro mechanic as the rotor will come with some detailed and easy to follow instructions.

Pros:

  • Well-made with a highly durable material
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Perfect balance and fit
  • Non-direction and 100% machined

Cons:

  • Not rust-proof

#6. ACDelco 18A2332A Non-Coated Rear Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

ACDelco 18A2332A Non-Coated Rear Brake Rotor
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Multiple Alloys
  • Type: Smooth

Like many other high-quality brake rotors from ACDelco, the model 18A2332A is made from a highly durable multiple alloy material that improves the performance and ensures excellent heat dissipation.

This rotor is mill-balanced to ensure proper functioning and eliminate the need for extra weights which makes it quite convenient. And it is also quality validated to ensure proper metallurgy and correct brake plate thickness.

With the rounded radius on this brake rotor, you will also get added strength. Also, it has a non-directional ground finish that helps to minimize thickness variation while also extending brake pad life.

There is also a special vane configuration on the rotor that will offer greater safety and performance while also dampening vibrations and noise.

Pros:

  • High-performance alloy material
  • Excellent heat dissipation
  • Mill-balanced for proper functioning
  • Rounded radius for extra strength
  • Non-directional ground finish

Cons:

  • Not coated for rust prevention

#7. Centric Parts 120.44146 Premium Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Centric Parts 120.44146 Premium Brake Rotor
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Type: Smooth

If you are looking for the best replacement brake rotor that will provide long corrosion protection, this premium one from Centric is a great pick thanks to the E-coating.

The double-disc clearance ensures that the brake rotor always provides quieter and smooth stops which are some of the key elements that many car owners are looking for.

Also, it features a machined finish that gives it a cleaner look that will be perfect for those that prefer to use the modern open wheels.

This brake rotor uses center-split core castings to ensure proper heat transfer, and it has a non-directional finish on its friction surface to ensure faster pad break-in.

Pros:

  • Non-directional finish
  • Long lasting corrosion protection
  • Quieter and smoother stops
  • Guarantees proper heat transfer
  • Machined finish for a cleaner look

Cons:

  • Warping seems to occur sooner than many car owners expect

#8. Raybestos 56631R Professional Grade Disc Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Raybestos 56631R Professional Grade Disc Brake Rotor
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Type: Smooth

The professional grade Raybestos 56631R is the cheapest item on our list, and so besides getting a high performing brake rotor you also save some cash.

It is designed to provide excellent braking and convenience. And the manufacturer makes use of various design components to achieve this.

They include advanced metallurgy technology that offers long-lasting durability and non-directional finish that makes them ready to install straight from the box.

With this brake rotor on your vehicle, you can also be confident of maximum stability once you fit them onto the wheel hub and they are corrosion resistant for easy installation.

Another thing that many users will find amazing about this brake rotor is that it has up to 99.8% compatibility for cars, SUVs and light trucks.

Pros:

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Brilliant vehicles stability
  • Relatively affordable
  • Non-directional ground finish
  • Up to 99.8% vehicles coverage

Cons:

  • Not coated for rust prevention

#9. ACDelco 18A876A Non-Coated Rear Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (5 / 5)

ACDelco 18A876A Non-Coated Rear Brake Rotor
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Multiple Alloys
  • Type: Smooth

For many vehicles’ owners, the brand always supersedes everything else. And if you are one of the many that will not use anything apart from ACDelco brake rotors, here is a more affordable option for you.

It is also made from multiple alloys that will ensure improved heat dissipation and great overall performance. The rotor is mill-balanced for proper functioning, and you will not need any extra weights.

This ACDelco rotor is designed to adhere to proper metallurgy and disc thickness standards and with a rounded radius to give it extra strength.

The brake rotor is ready for immediate installation when you get it, and is also designed to make the installation process quick and relatively easy

Pros:

  • Mill-balanced rotor
  • Stronger rounded radius
  • Non-directional ground finish
  • Ready for immediate installation

Cons:

  • Non-coated finish does not resist corrosion for long

#10. Wagner BD126059E Premium E-Coated Brake Rotor

Editor's Rating: (3.8 / 5)

Wagner BD126059E Premium E-Coated Brake Rotor
  • Position: Rear
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Type: Smooth

The quality, performance, and price make theWagner BD126059E the best brake rotor for the money on our list as you would need to spend more money to get anything better.

Corrosion and rust should also be the least of your worries with these brake rotors as they have E-coating to shield against corrosion.

This Wagner rotor will come in a VCI bag that helps to minimize the prep to make the installation faster, and its smooth surface is also a great feature as it helps to shorten pad break-in time.

Reduced rotor noise is also guaranteed by the vane design while the increased surface area improves heat dissipation while also providing safer and more powerful stops.

Pros:

  • Coated to prevent corrosion
  • Shorter pad break-in time
  • Minimal rotor prep and fast installation
  • Improved heat dissipation

Cons:

  • Still a little noisy

Types of Brake Rotor

Brake rotors will come in various types, and so before you decide to buy a new set you need to understand what each of the types is all about, and what sets it apart from the others. 

The four most common brake rotor types are smooth, slotted, cross-drilled and the drilled and slotted.

#1. Smooth

smooth brake rotors

As the name suggests, the blank or smooth brake rotors will have a smooth surface and with no marking or holes on the metal. These brake rotor types are designed to provide sufficient braking power under the normal driving conditions.

Most cars will come with this type of brake rotor from the factory and they tend to be the longest lasting type among the four common ones.

Smooth brake rotors are also relatively quieter to operate and produce very little dust. For those that do not have a luxury car and do not drive aggressively, smooth brake rotors are the right choice as they are also more affordable.

#2. Slotted

Slotted brake rotors

With the slotted type, there are grooves running through the rotors face where it interacts with the pad. These slots are meant to emit the dust that is produced during braking and allow the gasses that build up as the material gets heated to escape.

The slots will increase the coefficient of friction and also allow the pad to make better contact for more precise stops. With the high coefficient of friction, your vehicle uses less energy when stopping at high speeds or when towing heavy loads.

Slotted rotors will work best for tow trucks, SUVs, of road vehicles and heavy trucks. But thegreatest shortcoming even with the best slotted brake rotor is that the slots tend to increase the brake system’s wear and tear.

#3. Cross Drilled

Cross-drilled brake rotors

Like the slotted brake rotors, the cross-drilled types will feature escape routes that will allow the buildup gasses to escape.

With these brake rotors, holes are drilled all the way through and spread over the entire surface of the rotor. The aim of this is to provide better heat dissipation but can also provide a great wet bite when driving in the rain by allowing water to escape to keep the braking system dry.

These holes can also allow harmful dust to escape when using asbestos brake pads to enhance pad life. And this makes them ideal for general use in street vehicles.

Cross-drilled brake rotors are not a good choice for race cars as they cannot withstand the repeated heating and cooling cycles as they can develop crack and they also tend to wear unevenly.

#4. Drilled and Slotted

drilled and slotted brake rotors

The drilled and slotted rotors are designed to offer the benefits of both the drilled brake rotors and the slotted brake rotors. And their design will combine both slots and holes on the rotor’s surface.

With the slots and drills combo on these brake rotors, you can be confident of getting more precise and high stopping power.

Provided you do not force your brakes beyond their thermal threshold, these rotors should work fine and last longer. These are some of the best brake rotors for trucks, tow vehicles, and other vehicles that require more power to stop.

Buying Advice:

If you drive under normal conditions, are not willing to spend a lot on your brake rotors, and also want something more long lasting, the smooth rotors are your best pick.

Drilled rotors, on the other hand, are great for those that will be driving in rainy or wet conditions. And the slotted and the cross-drilled and slotted brake rotors are the best for heavier vehicles that require more stopping power.

How to Buy Brake Rotors

How to Buy Brake Rotors

You cannot afford to choose the wrong brake rotors as they can compromise the efficiency and effectiveness of your braking system, and hence also affect your overall safety. But, finding a good brake rotor should be easy as you only need to look out for the following things.

#1. Brake Rotor Brands

Like with other brake system components such as oil and filter, you need to make sure that you buy your brake rotors from a reputable brand.

The best brake rotor brands are those that have been in business for long enough to understand the performance requirements of different vehicles and are also known to adhere to strict quality standards.

Some of the top rotor brands in the market include ACDelco, Bosch, Wagner, and Centric. And it is important to note that there is always something that sets these brands apart.

ACDelco

ACDelco aims to give vehicle owners the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have a reliable braking system. They are one of the most popular aftermarket brake rotor brands, and they have a variety of models to suit different vehicles.

Their brake rotors will feature a thickness variation of less than 0.0004 to help minimize pedal pulsation and noise while also increasing the pad life.

Other things that give ACDelco rotors an edge over many other brands include the non-directional brake surface finish, mill-balanced surfaces and the fact that they require no-machining and are ready to install out of the box.

Bosch

Bosch is a household vehicles part and tools manufacturer, and their more than 70 years of experience should give you some confidence that they will have good brake rotors for your car.    

The company uses innovative materials to ensure the best bake rotor quality andprevent typical problems like brake judder, vibrations, and noise. And they also make rotors for a wide variety of vehicles.

Wagner

Wagner prides in being an industry leader in the manufacture of automotive braking components. They did not get there by chance as they have been making high-quality rotors and other braking system components for many years.

Their brake rotors are engineered for maximum performance and will feature advanced features like E-shield and vapor corrosion inhibitor. Also, most of their rotors have smooth surfaces to minimize pad break-in time and are field tested to ensure maximum reliability.

Centric

Centric offers high-quality brake rotors at a great value when compared to many other brands. They make rotors for a wide range of applications and they make them according to the OE fit, function and metallurgy specifications.

#2. Types of Vehicles

Brake rotors are designed to fit specific vehicles, and so before you buy any for your car, you should make sure that it is ideal for the vehicle.

Generally, you will need to think about the vehicle types in general such as cars, SUVs, heavy trucks or towing vehicles. And this is because these vehicles will require different stopping powers due to their size and weight and hence also different types of rotors.

The driving conditions also matter. For example, for normal driving conditions a smooth brake rotor works just fine but for towing vehicles, you need something that can handle the load such as the cross-drilled and slotted brake rotor.

#3. Material

While most brake rotors are made from metal, manufacturers will use different types of metals to make them. The most common brake rotor materials are cast iron, steel, aluminum, ceramic, and carbon.

Each of these materials will have both advantages and disadvantages which should help you determine the best one for you.

For example, cast iron provides the best performance and is a great choice for use in heavy-duty vehicles, but these rotors tend to expand a lot due to heat and are hence more prone to breaking. Steel brake rotors, on the other hand, are lightweight and can take more heat but are less durable.

#4. Ease of Installation

If you do not plan to install the brake rotors yourself, the ease of installation might not matter to you.  But if you want brake rotor replacement to be your DIY project, then you need to make sure that whatever you buy is easy to install.

Slotted and drilled brake rotors tend to be the most problematic to install because most smooth rotors are straightforward to install. And this is more so for the rotors with directional slots.

Watching a few online videos and following manufacturer installation instructionis often all you need to install most brake rotors if you have at least basic mechanical skills.

#5. Price

When it comes to the brake rotor price, you should always focus more on getting value for your money and ensuring you end up with something that enhances your safety.

You can get brake rotors that are as cheap as $20 while others can cost upwards of $100. Like with most other vehicles parts, it is important to avoid the excessively cheap ones as they are almost always low quality.

The wise idea is always to go for somethingfrom a top brand that is at least in the mid-price range.

Conclusion 

Brake rotors are an important component of your vehicle's braking system, and so you should always aim to get the best. If you are satisfied with what came with your vehicle, it makes sense to replace it with the same type.

For those that are looking for a brake rotor for a specific performance such as for race cars and towing vehicles or for use in rainy weather, our buying guide above will help you find something that suits your needs.

Lastly, also make sure you know what you are doing when installing the brake rotor to avoid causing unnecessary problems with your braking system.

  • September 14, 2018
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