It’s the ultimate question when it comes to replacing your brakes: “What are the best brake pads for my car?” How to choose a brake pads? You want performance. You want to stop on a dime. You want quiet braking. Is that so complicated? Yes and no. Let me introduce how to choose a brake pads, Ceramic VS Semi-Metallic Brake Pads?
- The type of brake pads
- What is Semi-metallic brake pads
- The advantage and disadvantage of Semi-metallic brake pads
- What is Ceramic brake pads
- The advantage and disadvantage of ceramic brake pads
- Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads, How to choose brake pads
The type of brake pads
When it comes to choosing the brake pads for your vehicle, there is one thing that you will always give your full attention.
That is the material that was used in making the brake pads.
Different brake pads are made from different materials.
The most common material include:
-Ceramic brake pads
-Less metallic brake pads
-Semi metallic brake pads
-Organic brake pads
-Carbon brake pads
All these materials have different properties.
Although you may be forced to choose between all these types of brake pads, our focus will be on ceramic vs metallic brake pad
Semi-metallic brake pads
Semi-metallic pads contain 30-65% metal by weight, typically consisting of steel, iron, etc. Manufacturers combine metal fibers with friction modifiers and fillers, as well as a graphite lubricant. High-quality semi-metallic brake pads will have finer metallic fibers and lower-quality ones will be more coarse. Regardless of the thickness of the fibers in your semi-metallic brake pads, a noticeable advantage they have is the ability of the metallic composition to draw heat away from the rotor, giving you more efficient brake-cooling.
- Dramatically better braking performance than organic pads
- Perform well in a wide range of temperatures
- Less resistant to wear across temperatures (aka, higher thermal threshold)
- Good cold bite—they perform well from the outset, without being warmed up
- Provide a firmer brake pedal feel (low compressibility)
- Much more resistant to brake fade than organic pads
- Numerous compounds available — suitable for anything, from daily street-driving to extreme track use
- Tend to be noisier than organic or ceramic brake pads
- Produce more brake dust
- More abrasive than other types of pads — which you can expect to wear brake rotors more quickly
- More expensive than organic pads (but generally cheaper than ceramic brakes)
- Require careful and proper bedding-in for the best performance
Ceramic brake pads
Ceramic brake pads are the new-ish kid on the block. Developed in the 1980s, ceramic brake pads area blend of super-strong ceramic (think of it a bit like pottery fired in a kiln) with copper fibers embedded into the pad compound. So, like their metallic counterparts, they do use metal parts, but the main material is ceramic. Ceramic brake pads were developed as a quieter, less dusty alternative to organic and semi-metallic brake pads. Drivers have been happily using them since the 1980’s, but they’ve been getting more popular over the last few years, despite their high price tag. The ceramic compounds and copper fibers allow ceramic brake pads to handle higher brake temperatures with less heat fade, provide faster recovery after the stop and generate less dust.
- Quieter than semi-metallic brake pads, they emit noises that are above the range of human hearing
- Produce finer, lighter-colored brake dust, which doesn’t stick to wheels
- Longer lifespan than organic or semi-metallic brake pads
- Stable under a wide range of temperatures for consistent performance
- Usually the most expensive type of brake pad on the market
- Do not produce as much cold bite as semi-metallic pads, making them less than ideal in extremely cold climates
- Do not absorb heat as well as semi-metallic pads, which can increase brake system temperatures
- Good all-around braking characteristics, but not designed for heavy-duty performance or racetrack braking systems
As you can see, this adds some fuel to the fire that is the ceramic vs. semi metallic brake pads debate. Let’s break it down a bit more: Drivers of race cars and big trucks with even bigger loads, these probably aren’t the best brake pads for you. But when it comes to those other details—noise, brake dust, heat conductivity—ceramics stack up better than semi-metallic options. If you can afford the price tag, you’ll reap the rewards with less wear and tear on your entire braking system. If you don’t balk at a little noise and want the extra bite, metallic is your go-to.
Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads:How to choose a brake pads?
By now, you should be leaning slightly toward one or the other, semi-metallic vs. ceramic brake pads, based on your driving conditions and personal style. To make your final decision, pick those things that you aren’t willing to compromise on at all, and let them guide you.
But, like we said before, there is no single brake pad that can reign supreme in every single situation; nobody is taking home the title of “best brake pads.” The ceramic vs semi metallic brake pads debate is a compromise. If you want clean, quiet stops, you’ll pay for it in braking performance. If you want massive amounts of brake bite under extreme temperatures, you’ll be cleaning your wheels every few days. That’s just the way it works.
Ceramic brake pads offer quieter stops, cleaner wheels, and generally longer pad-life due to their harder composition. The downsides include less cold bite, rendering them less effective in cold weather or before the brakes are up to temperature. In addition, they typically have a lower coefficient of friction than their semi-metallic counterparts (the higher the coefficient of friction, the better a brake pad will stop your vehicle).
Ceramic pads were never designed to be extreme performance or racing brake pads. It’s just the truth. The ceramic material is a less effective heat sink than their metallic equivalents — instead, they act almost like an insulator. The less heat the pad is able to absorb, the more the heat is retained in the brake rotor and surrounding components, which can lead to increased temperatures of the entire brake system.
On the other hand, while semi-metallic pads do produce more noise and dust, they’re arguably the more versatile of the two. They are more effective over a wider range of temperatures and have a much higher thermal threshold. Metallic brakes provide better cold bite than ceramic brakes and maintain much more consistent friction characteristics throughout their operating range.
If you plan on driving your car on a racetrack (or even a spirited mountain run), semi-metallic brake pads are the clear choice.
For casual city or highway driving, commuting, or chauffeuring the kids around town, ceramic or organic pads offer ample stopping power with the added benefits of quietness, cleaner wheels, and longer lifespans.