Stop on a dime: our guide to the best brake pads
If you’ve started hearing an annoying squeal every time you even think of going near the brake pedal in your car, it might mean it’s time to change your brake pads, but if you’ve got no idea where to even start when it comes to sourcing replacements, help is at hand, as we here at DriveTribe have put together a comprehensive list of ten of the best brake pads you can buy for your car.
Brembo brakes are recognised universally which is unsurprising given they make some of the best brake pads around. But while Brembos are typically seen as being an aspirational thing fitted most commonly on high-performance cars, the reality is that Brembo produces OEM-replacement brake pads and other brake components for plenty of mainstream cars as well, with the ones shown here being suitable for a number of Volkswagen Group cars. They're very much on the affordable side, too, so getting state-of-the-art brakes for your car doesn't have to cost a fortune.
The German set
Bosch is known for producing many automotive components, most commonly electrical, but the company also produces some of the best brake pads available. Developed to withstand extreme loads, Bosch brake pads are made using the highest quality raw materials available to provide both excellent braking performance, comfort and smoothness. And, let's face it, if you were going to intrust a nation to do your brakes – it would be the fastidious Germans.
Bendix is well-known as a producer as some of the best brake pads around, and it's TitaniuMetallic II line offers a unique point of difference as the face of the pad is given a titanium coating to alleviate the need for the traditional break-in period many other brake pads require.
While perhaps not as much of an instantly recognisable name as some others on this list, ATE is a name that will no doubt come up when you are looking for the best brake pads for your car as they are actually an OEM supplier to some manufacturers. These Ceramic pads are designed to produce less brake dust, making cleaning your wheels easier, while also increasing the life of your pads and discs.
If high-performance braking is what you're after, EBC offers some of the best brake pads available, with its flagship Yellowstuff line offering the highest in performance. These UK-made pads are ideal for higher-powered cars and SUVs, with fast road use and track days where repeated heavy braking is required, offering excellent fade resistance and shorter stopping distances while still maintaining strong cold bite.
If you don't need something quite as heavy-duty as the Yellowstuff pads, EBC's Redstuff line is another one of the best brake pads around. A mid-level street upgrade for hot hatches, and saloons and estates making up to 250bhp, they utilise a ceramic formula like the ATE pads for reducing brake dust and increasing pad life, while also offering excellent control.
TRW is an OEM-supplier of many components found on new cars today from steering parts to shock absorbers, and providing some of the best brake pads available to car manufacturers is yet another area they have specialised in over the past 100 years. Featuring the company's COTEC friction coating to assist during the break-in period, if these are good enough for many of the world's car makers in their brand new vehicles, they'll be good enough for your car, too.
If you're a big fan of carbon fibre, Power Stop Evolution Sport might just be the best brake pads for you. They're as made using a carbon fibre-infused ceramic formula, the primary benefit of which is superior braking power, while premium rubberised shims are also added to reduce braking noise.
If you're buying on a budget, it pays to shop around and if you're looking to replace expensive OEM Brembo units Borg & Beck has you covered with its range of affordable substitutes. Using fine metallic fibres consistent with the formulation of OEM brake pads, these units are copper-free to be kinder to the environment and to be less corrosive on your brake discs, and all sets feature any required wear sensors, leads, and accessories.
If your brakes are well and truly shot, simply getting a set of the best brake pads available might not be enough, so replacing your discs could be a necessary step, too. Thankfully, many companies like Mintex offer complete sets with discs and pads both bundled together, making it a cost-effective option as well.