Our Top 10 Picks for Brake Pads, Rotors in 2020

Our top ten picks for brake pads and rotors in 2020

All the horsepower in the world isn’t going to help with track times if you can’t brake for corners, and it certainly won’t get you home if you’re brakes are faded to nothing. Same goes for hauling a trailer or other heavy loads, those mountain roads take a toll, and you’re relying on your brakes get you and your family there safely and ideally without gripping the steering wheel white knuckle tight.

So we thought we’d take a look at the current state of the brakes market and come up with a list of the best brake pads, rotors, and performance brake kits that will work best for a variety of needs, use cases, and price points — from OEM replacement to heavy duty track or towing use.

I went around the office and asked people what they liked to run on their cars, and threw a few of my personal picks into the mix for good measure. Let’s get into these!

Our Top Brake Pad Picks:

Assuming everything else is working correctly, your brake pads will be the biggest determining factor in the “character” of your brake system. They will make the biggest difference for the way they feel under different braking conditions, temperatures, and in how they stand up to heavy use. Shop according to your driving needs first, and then price!

Daily driver:

Posi Quiet Premium Ceramic brake pads:
posi-quiet premium ceramic brake-padsThese are an easy recommendation for anyone who just wants something quiet, hassle free, long lasting, and doesn’t want to have to deal with brake dust. Plus they have great cold bite, and have built-in shims to eliminate noise. They don’t hold up as well to high temperatures for fade resistance, so if you find that you’re work your brakes harder than most, these might not be the best choice.

Performance street/occasional track use:

EBC Yellow brake pads with bed in coatingEBC YellowStuff brake pads:
Striking a strong balance between daily driving manners and high temperature and fade resistance, EBC’s YellowStuff pads are perfect for the weekend warrior who drives his car out to track days on the weekends, but still needs to get to work in the morning on Monday. They also make for a solid pad for a dedicated weekend racer, as long as speeds don’t get too extreme. They can be a little louder than other pads, and dust a little more, but the trade-off is well worth it.

Heavy duty/towing:

Hawk Superduty Brake PadsHawk HP Superduty:
Designed specifically for carrying or towing heavy loads, Hawk’s proprietary ferro-carbon composite formula holds up to high heat after repeated slows to a stop on steep downhill sections. Plus, by very nature of this tough compound, they are very long lasting pads. Hawk recommends pairing these with a high performance rotor, as a pad of this high of performance can be rough on rotors. Plus, unlike a lot of high temperature performance brake pads, these maintain strong cold bite as well.

Our Top Brake Rotor Picks:

Daily driver:

Centric C-Tek RotorsCentric C-Tek Rotors
These have become my go-to recommendation for someone who just needs to get from A to B, doesn’t ask anything too demanding of their vehicles, and just wants something long lasting and reliable. Turns out you don’t have to spend much to get high quality rotors these days

Performance street/occasional track use:

Stoptech Slotted Sport RotorsStoptech Slotted Rotors:
Made for those who need reliable performance under high temperatures and stress, Stoptech delivers a serious performance bargain with these rotors. The slotting helps with brake dust dispersal, prevents glazing of the pads, adds bite and improves wet and dry braking performance. All this while maintaining better structural integrity than if they were drilled and slotted.

Heavy duty/towing:

EBC Premium Rotors:
EBC Premium rotorsDon’t be fooled by the “boring” look of these straight faced, OEM looking rotors. The EBC Premium rotors are very high quality, very well made, and can hold up to a ton of abuse. They are sold in pairs, factory treated against corrosion, and come with a 6-month warranty, which is the longest I’ve seen on a set of rotors at anywhere near this price.

Our Top Brake Kit Picks:

Daily driver:

Power Stop Autospecialty Brake KitsPower Stop Autospecialty Brake Kits:
At easy go-to pick for OEM replacement pads, rotors, and even calipers — especially with options for a full 4-wheel brake replacement. Featuring Power Stop’s well mannered Z17 ceramic pads and their Autospecialty OE replacement rotors, you’ll have everything you need to get your brakes back to working like new, and for a surprisingly affordable price on top of that.

Performance street/occasional track use:

Baer Sport Brake KitsBaer Sport Brake Kits:
If you’ve spent any time around racing, you’ll have no doubt seen that classic bear paw logo, and maybe even the serious performance that accompanies it. If there’s one place you can’t skate by on name alone, it’s the race track. Every lap is like a polygraph test for parts manufacturers, there is no escaping the brutal conditions that come with racing at 10/10ths what your car can do — something Baer is proud to say they can stand up to.

Heavy duty/towing:

Power Stop Z36 Truck & Tow Brake PadsPower Stop Z36 Truck & Tow Brake Kits:
Gamechanger. The Z36 kits bring levels of performance that wasn’t previously possible at such a low price point. Designed for improved heat dissipation and noise-free braking with stainless steel shims, this anti-rust brake kit provides zinc-plated drilled and slotted rotors for maximum cooling — available with our without calipers, depending on the health of your current equipment.

Bonus round:

I said top 10 right? And I only have 9 so far? Hrmmm, what else would I recommend… Ohh, I know what:

Stoptech Stainless Steel Brake Lines:
StopTech Stainless Steel braided brakelinesBraided brake lines aren’t just thrown on because they’re more durable, they actually are meant to cut down on brake line swelling under pressure. That’s right, your brakes can generate so much force, that the rubber expands and stretches, sapping braking power away from the calipers, and giving you a squishier pedal feel. Stoptech happens to have some of the widest vehicle coverage in the business with theirs, which is handy for us, because they also happen to be some of the best.Did I miss any that should have been on the list? Tell me what you cool cats are running down below and how you like them!

Have any questions on your brakes?
Drop a comment below or shoot me an email at gdavis@autoanything.com

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Garrett Davis
Garrett has something of a sickness when it comes to cars, working on everything from Jeeps, to sports cars, to over-engineered German nightmares. Currently he is embroiled in an Audi Allroad offroad project, and is slowly losing his grasp on sanity.


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