Best Brake Pads for Trucks: How to Find Them and Which to Buy?

Best Brake Pads for Trucks: How to Find Them and Which to Buy?

Replacing brakes on a standard commuter car might not require much forethought. When it comes to trucks, though, your performance demands are a bit higher. Here we’ll look at what types of brakes are available, what’s ideal for trucks and 4x4s, and our recommendations for the best brake pads for trucks.

Bottom Line Up Front

From everyday drivers to occasional heavy-duty towing, there’s a brake solution with the features you need for safe stopping and performance. Our top choice for brake pads on trucks is Power Stop Z36-1363 Truck and Tow Brake Pads for clean operation and mid-range performance.

Carrying heavy cargo and towing large loads means you need excellent performance with durability to last. Power Stop’s Z36 brakes are also ideal for keeping wear and tear on your entire braking system relatively low, giving you stopping power that lasts.

Different Types of Brake Pads for Trucks

trucks

Four general types of brake pads are available; semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic, low-metallic NAO, and ceramic. Which option you select for your truck depends on where you drive, how often, in what temperatures, and what your preferences are for comfort, performance, and noise. Read on for information on each type of brake pad plus which options are the best.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are mostly metal like steel wool or wire, copper, graphite, or other ingredients plus some inorganic fillers. Sometimes these also carry the label “metallic,” since most of the pad is metal.

Metallic brake pads come with different ingredient lists, so there is some variation among the various offerings on the market. Drivers who appreciate performance tend to rely on metallic brake pads, as they offer quick braking without much pressure.

It is possible for metallic brake pads to negatively affect your truck’s performance, though, especially when it comes to noise. Metallic brake pads tend to produce more noise than other types, and they are rough on your overall brake system.

Non-Asbestos Organic Brake Pads

Non-asbestos organic brake pads (also known as organic or NAO) have fibers (like glass, carbon, rubber, or Kevlar) with additional filler ingredients. Unlike older types of brakes, NAO organic pads don’t rely on asbestos as their main ingredient.

Organic brake pads are easier on braking systems overall, but they often wear out faster than alternatives. You might also notice you have to apply more pressure to brake effectively with organic types of pads. Organic and semi-metallic are the most commonly available types of brakes, meaning they’re most often on store shelves.
For better performance and a bigger range of options, it’s often necessary to look outside of your local auto parts store to get brakes with the features you want.

Low-Metallic NAO Brake Pads

Low-metallic NAO brake pads have a bit of copper or steel, along with organic components. A blend of ingredients makes these types of brake pads a blend between organic and semi-metallic options, and there’s a compromise as far as noise and other factors as well.

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads contain primarily ceramic fibers, but they can also involve bonding agents, some metal, and other fillers, too. It might seem strange to have brake pads which have the same composition as pottery, but ceramic is ideal for performance in a range of situations.

You will likely notice less dust from ceramic brake pads over time, and they are often a top choice in intense climates. When it comes to wear on your brake system, ceramic brake pads can be a bit heavy duty; they generate excess heat where other types of brake pads don’t.

Ceramic brakes do tend to be easier on your braking system as a whole, which is helpful for long-term performance. Ceramic can generate more heat than other types of brakes, however.

How Brake Pads Work

breaks

Brake pads create friction against your vehicle’s wheels to slow down and stop your truck. When you apply the brakes, the pedal starts a chain reaction which involves pushing fluid through the brake lines, giving the brake pads the pressure they need to slow the wheels.

It’s understandable that brake pads wear out often, given the hard work they do and the conditions they operate under. Before it’s time to change your brakes next, read on for more on how to find an option that works for you, plus our top choices for the best brake pads for trucks.

How to Find the Best Brake Pads for Trucks

Average brake pads wear out between around 30,000 and 70,000 miles, which means most people need to replace them every few years at least. Depending on how often you drive, what the weather conditions are like, and the amount of overall pressure on your brakes, it’s possible you’ll need to replace them more often.

When it’s time to replace them, here’s what to look at to find the best brake pads for trucks.

Consider Cost

Organic brake pads are often the most widely available and the most affordable. Organic brake pads come on most new vehicles in the US and follow the more old-fashioned asbestos design. In modern times, asbestos is a far less common ingredient than in previous years.

Ceramic brake pads tend to cost more than other types, in part because they also include copper inside, but they are also resistant to changes in temperature and different driving conditions. Metallic brake pads tend to fall somewhere in between the other types of brakes in terms of cost.

Look at Performance

For small cars and trucks, lightweight-duty brake pads might be enough to get the job done. With larger vehicles, it’s usually a better idea to use brake pads with higher metal content. Metal can help your truck stop faster and reduces the odds of wearing out organic brake pads sooner.

Replacement brake pads are available in a range of styles and materials, and most will perform safely enough in most applications. When we talk about performance, we don’t mean stopping power: all brakes meet standards for safety.

Performance is a separate consideration from safety and involves extra features which go beyond just braking. Brakes which have less dust or are less noisy might be ideal for consumers, but they’re not any safer than regular brake pads.

Think About Noise

Most people expect well-functioning brakes to be nearly noiseless, but it depends on the materials in the brake pads. Ceramic pads, for example, are the quietest option available and are virtually silent. Organic brake pads are about middling, while metallic pads are the noisiest of all.

Depending on the noise level you are familiar with or how loud your truck runs, choosing a different type of brake pad could improve or worsen your driving experience overall.

Wear & Tear on Brake Systems

For the average daily driver, wear and tear might not be a big worry. If you tow or carry heavy cargo often, you might want to look at the brake solution with the least effects on your brake system overall.

Wear and tear also applies to the amount of heat moving through your truck’s brakes and the adjoining systems, so depending on where you live and the temperature variations, it’s worth considering how the brakes you choose will affect how hot the vehicle runs.

Additional Features

Brakes aren’t exactly fancy systems, but some options feature additional features. Wear sensors are common additions, for example, which help enhance the user experience by notifying you (usually via an annoying noise) when your brake pads need replacing.

Other types of brake pads have built-in noise reduction layers or elements, and some don’t require grease to keep them from squeaking. Many brakes need break-in periods, while others have technology which makes the adjustment period short or practically nonexistent.

Note the manufacturer recommendations for installation and break-in periods to keep your brakes in the best shape possible for the longest period.

Make and Model Compatibility

truck driving

Most of our choices are available in different sizes for a range of makes and models. Make sure to check the compatibility for your unique vehicle before selecting a set of brake pads—plus ensure you’ve got the hardware you need to complete the job.

Some kits come with all the hardware you need for installation, while others might require you to hang onto some of the parts you remove from your old brake pads. Take note of what comes in each package, but also heed the manufacturer’s instructions—some brake pads require grease, while others don’t, for example.

Wagner Severe Heavy Duty SX756 Semi-Metallic Disc Pad Set

wagner severe duty sx756

Wagner’s heavy-duty semi-metallic brake pads offer long life and exceptional pad strength, both ideal features for pickup trucks with demanding jobs.

  • Front set
  • Includes installation hardware
  • Semi-metallic construction

For heavy towing and other demanding applications, Wagner’s semi-metallic disc pads offer excellent performance for your pickup truck. Fast stops and very little noise are two highlights, though results can vary depending on just how heavy a load you’re toting.

Pros

  • Formulated for extreme heat
  • Ideal for heavy loads

Cons

  • Longer stopping distance than comparable options

Bosch BE655H Blue Disc Brake Pad Set

bosch be655h

Bosch’s blue disc brakes use a special formulation, a blend of NAO-ceramic and semi-metallic formulas, to help dampen noise and enhance performance.

  • NAO-Ceramic and semi-metallic blend
  • Multi-layer shims with superior noise dampening
  • Rust-inhibitive coating
  • Hardware kit and lubricant included
  • NAO-ceramic and semi-metallic

Compatible with a range of vehicle makes and models, Bosch’s BE655H blue brake pads provide great stopping power in an economical package. For those looking for an affordable replacement brake pad set, Bosch’s might be the best option.

Pros

  • Noise dampening
  • Rust prevention coating

Cons

  • No sensors included
  • A bit noisy during the break-in period

Akebono ACT1005 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

akebono act1005

Akebono’s ACT1005 ceramic brake pads cut out the dust and noise from alternative material blends for super quiet operation.

  • Ultra-Quiet controls noise and vibration
  • No break-in period necessary
  • Rotor friendly for longer rotor life
  • Ceramic construction

Minimal dust and low noise are highlights of Akebono’s ceramic brakes. For those who are looking for more performance features, the ACT1005 brake pads might even help enhance rotor life and make break-in periods less troublesome. If you have brake sensors, those fit easily onto the pads, too.

Pros

  • Ultra-quiet
  • No break-in period required

Cons

  • No hardware included

ACDelco 14D882CH Advantage Ceramic Brake Pad Set

acdelco 14d882ch

ACDelco’s Advantage Ceramic brakes deliver all the performance you expect from ceramic brakes without a huge cost investment.

  • Comes with hardware
  • Ceramic construction
  • Designed to cut noise and vibration

With nearly quiet operation and clean driving day after day, ACDelco’s ceramic brakes are a high-performance option for the budget-conscious truck owner. Whether it’s a heavy vehicle overall or one you tow with, you can expect good stopping distance and longevity with ACDelco’s brake pads.

Pros

  • Exceptional braking distance
  • Quiet
  • Very little dust

Cons

  • Pads tend to get hot

Power Stop K1970 Front Z23 Evolution Brake Kit

power stop k1970

If you need to replace your rotors as well as your brake pads, Power Stop’s K1970 kit is a high-performance option to get the job done.

  • Drilled/slotted rotors
  • Ceramic brake pads
  • Dual layer high temp rubber shims
  • Zinc-plated rotors
  • Hardware included
  • High-performance lubricant
  • Bolt-on upgrade

With increased stopping power, Power Stop’s brake kit is ideal for both daily drivers and heavy-duty pickup truck applications. Low noise and low dust mean better performance overall, and if looks are a concern, the upgraded slotted rotors help enhance your vehicle’s style.

Pros

  • Low dust thanks to ceramic and carbon-fiber compound
  • Precision drill holes for maximum rotor cooling
  • No modifications required to upgrade to the K1970

Cons

  • Break-in period necessary

Bosch BP760 QuietCast Semi-Metallic Brake Set

bosch bp760 quiet case

Heavy duty and high quality, Bosch’s BP760 brake set comes with all the hardware you need for a quick swap of your existing equipment.

  • Quiet operation
  • Advanced aerospace alloy material
  • Copper-free
  • Protective transfer layer
  • Includes hardware kit

A laminated rubber-core shim and dual steel layers help eliminate noise and enhance the brake pads’ strength, making these ideal of heavy-duty scenarios. Bosch’s BP760 brake pads are also copper free and use aerospace-quality alloy material.

Pros

  • Protective transfer layer for longer pad and rotor life
  • Dust-free

Cons

  • The average strain on vehicle brake systems

Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1324 Ceramic Disc Pad Set

wagner thermoquiet qc1324

Wagner’s ThermoQuiet QC1324 brake set might be the best affordable option for ceramic brakes with better performance than OEM parts.

  • Ceramic construction
  • Hardware included

You might want to break these in (per the manufacturer instructions), but afterward, you can expect great performance from Wagner’s ThermoQuiet brakes. A standard replacement with staying power, these produce minimal dust and are easy to install with the included hardware.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Minimal dust

Cons

  • Require a break-in period

Power Stop Z36-1363 Truck and Tow Brake Pads

power stop z36

Power Stop’s Z36 brake pads are a heavy-duty option for trucks with performance ceramic construction and heat reducing features.

  • Ceramic construction
  • Designed for trucks and 4x4s
  • Low dust
  • Stainless steel shims
  • Powder-coated backing plate
  • Thermal scorched pad surface

Break-in doesn’t take much time with Power Stop’s Z36 brake pads since they have a thermal scorched pad surface. Stainless steel shims help promote heat dissipation, meaning a cooler and smoother stop. You’ll also notice less dust than other brake options.

Pros

  • Low dust
  • Good heat dissipation

Cons

  • Require a brief break-in period

Bosch BP477 QuietCast Brake Pads

bosch bp477

Bosch’s BP477 brake pads are a great fit for a variety of Jeep vehicles, giving noiseless and copper-free braking for select 4x4s.

  • Rubber core multilayer shim
  • Aerospace alloy construction
  • Copper-free
  • Protective transfer layer

Quiet and clean operation comes with Bosch’s BP477 brakes, a semi-metallic option with OEM-level performance. Aerospace alloy construction keeps things dust-free, and the rubber core multilayer shim helps with preventing squeaking and typical brake noise.

Average stopping power means these might not be ideal for heavy loads or quick stop times, but for most light-duty truck applications, they’re a perfect fit.

Pros

  • Low dust
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Average stopping power

Comparing the Options

Many drivers visit their local auto parts store for replacement brake pads, but you may not find the high-performance replacement parts (or upgrades) you want. Especially when it comes to ceramic and metallic options, there aren’t always choices available in-store. Tons of options are available online, and navigating them can be a challenge.

Product Brake Pad Type Features 
Wagner Severe Duty SX756 Semi-metallic Heavy duty reinforcement 
Bosch BE655H NAO-Ceramic and semi-metallic Noise dampening, rust prevention 
Akebono ACT1005 ProACT Ceramic Ultra-quiet, rotor-friendly 
ACDelco 14D882CH Ceramic Great braking distance 
Power Stop K1970 Ceramic Kit Full kit, performance, aesthetic appeal 
Bosch BP760 Metallic Aerospace-quality alloy, noise reduction 
Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1324 Ceramic Minimal dust, quiet operation 
Power Stop Z36 Ceramic Low dust, exceptional heat dissipation 
Bosch BP477 Semi-metallic 

Final Thoughts

Our list of the best options for pickups and other trucks helps narrow down the choices—just make sure you get the right fit for your vehicle make, model, and year and you’ll soon be enjoying better braking performance with less mess and noise.

Close Menu