Replacement Parts

2017 Best Ceramic Brake Pads Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

best ceramic brake pads

Frustrated with your search for the best ceramic brake pads? We know how difficult researching can be, which is why we reviewed the top 5 ceramic brake pads. If you would like to know more about ceramic brake pads in general, you may use the following as a buyer’s guide.


What is the Difference between Organic, Semi Metallic, Full Metallic, and Ceramic Brake Pads?

  • Organic: Organic material is used to make these brakes. They’re affordable and don’t reduce the lifespan of other components. However, organic brake pads lack power for downhill journeys or pulling trailers. Braking capacity is also reduced in wet driving conditions.
  • Semi Metallic: These brakes are made of soft metals, and the design improves braking. However, it does wear out the drums and rotors quickly.
  • Full Metallic: These are superior to semi-metallic brakes. The drawback with metallic brake pads is they can be noisy, and they take their toll on drums and rotors.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic provides the best performance among the four types of brake pads. They are also more durable when it comes to high temperatures. Performance doesn’t get affected, even when it’s wet.

Most cars are equipped with semi-metallic brake pads. These are adequate for a while, but wear and tear take its toll. If your vehicle experiences a lot of heavy duty use, ceramic brake pads are the better option.


Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Brake Pad NameQualityPriceRating
Akebono ACT914 ProACT Ceramic Brake Pad SetA$$4.5 stars
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Disc Pad SetA-$4.5 stars
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC598 Ceramic Disc Pad SetA++$5 stars
ACDelco 17D1210CH Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad SetA-$$4.5 stars
Power Stop K690 Front Ceramic Brake Pad KitA+$$$4.5 stars

What are the Benefits of Ceramic Brake Pads?

Ceramic brake pads have compounds and fibers rather than the steel fibers found in metallic and semi-metallic brakes. This provides several benefits.

  • Ceramic brake pads are very capable of handling high temperatures.
  • Recovery is faster after a sudden stop.
  • These tires produce less dust, reducing pad and rotor wear.
  • Ceramic pads are quieter than other brake pads.

How Do I Choose Ceramic Brake Pads?

Look for those that produce as little dust as possible. All ceramic brake pads generate less than their metallic counterparts, but quality among these pads vary. The highest quality brake pads are also easy on rotors, even with heavy use.

You should also get brake pads that have been tested for noise, vibration, and harshness. The stopping power is obviously important, so look for manufacturers with a solid reputation in the field.

You also have to consider your driving style and where you drive. Other factors that should be addressed are the weather in your area, the vehicle you drive, and the driving conditions. You also have to consider your own tolerance for brake noise, and if you have any plans of taking your vehicle to more rugged terrain.


How Do You Install Ceramic Brake Pads?

This video shows you how to install these pads and slotted rotors:


A few reminders:

  • Inspect the entire brake system before installing the new brake pads.
  • The brake pads will only work properly if the rotors are in good condition. The master and slave cylinders should also be inspected.
  • If the vehicle is 8 years old or more, flush the old brake fluid out. Removing these from the hydraulic system keeps brakes working at optimum levels.

Is There a Difference between Ceramic Brake Pads and Brake Shoes?

A brake pad is designed for the disc brakes, which are located on the front axle of most vehicles. Brake shoes are meant for drum brakes, which are found on the rear axles of trucks, cars, and other vehicles.


Are Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes the Same Quality?

Disc brakes are more powerful than drum brakes because they have to deal with more stress. Disc brakes were actually invented for aircraft and race cars as a way to slow the vehicles down without causing the brake shoes to burn. The same principles used for these are applied to commercial brakes, which is why disc brake pads have to be high quality too.


5 Best Ceramic Brake Pads

Brake Pad NameQualityPriceRating
Akebono ACT914 ProACT Ceramic Brake Pad SetA$$4.5 stars
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Disc Pad SetA-$4.5 stars
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC598 Ceramic Disc Pad SetA++$5 stars
ACDelco 17D1210CH Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad SetA-$$4.5 stars
Power Stop K690 Front Ceramic Brake Pad KitA+$$$4.5 stars

Akebono ACT914 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

The ProACT brake pads have been designed to run quietly, so it doesn’t make any squealing noise. The brake pads are easy to install and they don’t vibrate. The brake pads have also been upgraded for superior performance under diverse driving conditions.

The ProACT brake pads are made from special materials so they’re more durable and compatible with different open wheel aluminum designs. The unique construction also minimizes the amount of dusting in the system. The brakes are smooth so they respond quickly, even if you make an emergency stop.

The ProACT is engineered to high standards, ensuring it is optimized for different vehicles. The brakes have also been tested for NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), which makes them ideal upgrades from regular pads and superior OEM pad performance.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Rotor friendly
  • Reliable performance

Cons

  • The material feels a little too soft

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Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1083 Ceramic Disc Pad Set


The ThermoQuiet QC1083 pad lives up to its name. These pads have always been quiet, but this set makes even less noise even when you suddenly slam on the brakes. The brake pads are also made from heavy-duty material, so it lasts longer than regular pads.

Brake dust won’t be an issue, and the stopping power is superb. Once installed, the brake pads perform smoothly. The instructions are easy to follow and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. The manual says there’s no need to use anti-squeak solutions, but if the pads do squeal, most stop squeak products will work.

These brakes are compatible with different vehicles, and that speaks for its versatility. They’re not compatible with the 2004 Ford E450, but work with the 2006 F150 4×4.

Pros

  • Quieter than older versions
  • Superior stopping power
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Pads are a little long

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Wagner ThermoQuiet QC598 Ceramic Disc Pad Set

Wagner ThermoQuiet QC598 Ceramic Disc Pad Set

Like the others in ThermoQuiet series, the QC598 runs more silently than regular ceramic pads. The stopping power has been fortified, so the brakes respond more quickly when you make a sudden stop. There is also an installation guide, so you’ll be up and running in no time.

If you have tried Wagner ceramic pads, performance is as good as those models. If you’re not familiar with them, these pads are basically “set and forget”. Once installed, the brake pads do their job. They’re quiet, hold up well, and last thousands of miles. The brakes will squeal when it’s time for a replacement, but that will take a while. Even up to 8,000 miles, these disc pads will hold up.

Pros

  • Comes with 4 brake pads
  • Easy to install
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Hardware clips need some push to install

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ACDelco 17D1210CH Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

The ACDelco brake pads have undergone Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NVH) testing, so they’re not going to squeak or shake while you drive. These brakes have also undergone wear, so they’ll hold up even under difficult driving conditions.

These ceramic pads have anti-corrosion properties, so they’re not going to wear out as quickly as regular brake pads. If your vehicle’s pads quickly deteriorate, the ACDelco is a good replacement. The brakes have quality shims that reduce noise and improve performance.

The ACDelco disc pads don’t use a lot of metal, so it doesn’t make as much noise. The low dust design is further complemented by removing the need for curing. Its stamped backing-plate also provides protection against deterioration.

Pros

  • NVH certified
  • Comes with quality shims
  • Quality backing plate

Cons

  • Manual lacks some details, but it’s easy to install

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Power Stop K690 Front Ceramic Brake Pad Kit

Power Stop K690 Front Ceramic Brake Pad Kit

The Power Stop K690 kit comes with slotted and cross drilled rotors for better brake performance. These are carbon fiber brake pads, and its dust-free formula leads to greater braking power. The brakes are also quiet, so they won’t make the squeaking noise common with other ceramic brake pads.

These ceramic brake pads also use custom Carbon-Fiber Ceramic formulas, giving them additional brake power without compromising reliability. These pads are also made using G3000 metallurgy while adhering to OE tolerances, so modifications are not required.

The drill holes ensure optimum rotor cooling, so there’s little chance the brake will overheat when driving on rugged terrain and hot weather. The rounded slots also help remove debris, which leads to smoother and safer brakes.

Pros

  • Easy to configure
  • All necessary components are included
  • Dust free

Cons

  • Not compatible with the 2008 Honda Accord Sedan XL

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Our Top Choice

The five ceramic brake pads are high quality, but for performance and reliability, we give the edge to the Power Stop K690 Brake Kit. All the components are pre-matched, and the pads do a better job of reducing dust than the other pads. The kit also lives up to its claim of being dependable for the long term.

Quality ceramic brake pads are easy to install, quiet, and durable. The Power Stop kit’s hardware is stainless steel, and the efficient design makes it an ideal choice for drivers. Throw in its Zinc Dichromate plating, and you’ve got corrosion and rust protection too.

Check out all ceramic brake pads on Amazon here