Popular aftermarket brake brands: A comparative review

If you’re a DIY mechanic, you understand the importance of reliable brakes in your vehicle. When it comes to upgrading or replacing your brakes, there’s a wide array of aftermarket brake brands to choose from. But how do you navigate this crowded marketplace and find the right brakes for your specific needs? In this two-part article, we’ll dive into a comparative review of some of the most popular aftermarket brake brands, providing you with valuable insights to make an informed decision.

Understanding the Aftermarket Brake Market

Before we delve into specific brands, let’s take a moment to understand the aftermarket brake market. Aftermarket brake components are parts not produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of your vehicle. They offer a range of benefits, including potential cost savings, performance improvements, and a wider selection of options.

Why Consider Aftermarket Brake Brands?

  1. Performance Enhancements: Aftermarket brakes often feature innovative materials and designs that can improve braking performance. This is especially attractive to those seeking better stopping power or reduced brake fade.
  2. Cost Savings: In some cases, aftermarket brakes can be more affordable than their OEM counterparts, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious DIY mechanics.
  3. Customization: Aftermarket brake brands frequently offer a variety of options, allowing you to select brakes that align with your driving style and specific vehicle needs.

Key Criteria for Evaluation

When comparing aftermarket brake brands, it’s essential to evaluate them based on specific criteria to determine their suitability for your vehicle. Here are some key criteria to consider:

  1. Braking Performance: How do these brakes perform in terms of stopping power, brake fade resistance, and overall braking feel?
  2. Durability: Are the components durable and able to withstand the stresses of daily driving or more demanding conditions?
  3. Noise and Vibration: Do these brakes produce excessive noise or vibrations during operation, or do they offer a smooth and quiet ride?
  4. Installation Ease: Can DIY mechanics easily install these brakes, or do they require professional installation?
  5. Price: What is the cost of these brakes, and do they offer good value for the performance and durability they provide?

Brand 1: Brembo

Brembo is a name synonymous with high-performance braking. This Italian manufacturer is renowned for its extensive line of brake components, including brake calipers, rotors, and pads. Brembo brakes are often the choice for enthusiasts seeking top-tier performance.


  • Exceptional stopping power.
  • Excellent heat dissipation, reducing brake fade.
  • Trusted by many high-end automakers for OEM applications.


  • Premium pricing.
  • May be overkill for everyday driving.

Brand 2: EBC Brakes

EBC Brakes is a UK-based manufacturer known for producing a wide range of brake components designed for various driving conditions. They offer everything from standard replacement parts to high-performance solutions.


  • Diverse product range to suit different needs.
  • Good balance between performance and affordability.
  • Range of pad materials, including their renowned Greenstuff and Redstuff pads.


  • Not as high-performance as some specialized brands.
  • Quality varies across their extensive product line.

Brand 3: Hawk Performance

Hawk Performance focuses on high-performance and motorsports applications. They produce a variety of brake pads and rotors designed to provide optimal stopping power for enthusiasts and racers.


  • Ideal for high-performance driving.
  • Track-tested and trusted by motorsports enthusiasts.
  • Exceptional heat resistance.


  • May produce more dust and noise than standard brake components.
  • May be less suitable for daily driving.

Brand 4: Power Stop

Power Stop is known for its comprehensive brake kits, including calipers, rotors, and pads. These kits are designed to provide a hassle-free and performance-oriented solution for various vehicles.


  • Complete brake kits simplify the upgrade process.
  • Affordably priced.
  • Geared toward DIY mechanics with easy installation.


  • Performance may not match specialized brands.
  • Limited high-performance options.

Brand 5: StopTech

StopTech, a division of Centric Parts, offers a range of high-performance brake components. They are popular for their slotted brake rotors and performance brake pads, making them a favorite among enthusiasts.


  • High-quality slotted rotors improve brake bite and cooling.
  • Brake pads designed for enhanced performance.
  • Balanced combination of performance and affordability.


  • Not as high-end as some specialized brands.
  • Limited options for more extreme racing applications.

Brand 6: Wilwood Engineering

Wilwood Engineering is synonymous with high-performance brake systems. They offer a wide array of brake components, from calipers and rotors to master cylinders and pedal assemblies, catering to the motorsports and high-performance markets.


  • Top-tier performance for racing and high-performance applications.
  • Customization options for tailored solutions.
  • Comprehensive range of components for complete brake system upgrades.


  • Premium pricing.
  • May be overkill for standard or daily driving.

Brand 7: Akebono

Akebono focuses on providing high-quality brake pads, with a reputation for producing OEM brake components for many automakers. They offer a range of pads for daily driving and light performance applications.


  • Quiet and low-dust brake pads.
  • Ideal for everyday commuting.
  • Often a top choice for luxury and high-end vehicles.


  • May lack the high-performance characteristics of specialized brands.
  • Limited options for racing or heavy-duty use.

Brand 8: Centric Parts

Centric Parts is a well-established manufacturer known for providing a wide range of brake components, including rotors, pads, and calipers. They offer solutions for both standard and performance-oriented applications.


  • Comprehensive product range.
  • Balanced performance and affordability.
  • Extensive distribution network, making their components readily available.


  • May not excel in extreme performance scenarios.
  • Some products may vary in quality.

In Conclusion

When it comes to selecting aftermarket brake components, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your choice should be based on your specific needs, driving style, and the demands you place on your vehicle. While specialized brands like Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Wilwood Engineering offer exceptional performance, they may be overkill for standard daily driving. Brands like EBC Brakes, Power Stop, and StopTech strike a balance between performance and affordability, making them suitable for a wider range of applications. Akebono and Centric Parts are trusted for quiet, low-dust pads ideal for daily commuting.

Ultimately, the best aftermarket brake brand for you depends on your vehicle, how you drive, and what you prioritize in your braking system. It’s always a good practice to consult with experts or experienced mechanics when making your selection. We hope this comparative review provides valuable insights to assist you in your decision-making process.

Before making your purchase, be sure to check product reviews, consult with professionals, and consider your unique driving needs. And remember, proper installation and maintenance are just as important as the brand you choose for the optimal performance and longevity of your brakes.

Thank you for reading our comparative review of popular aftermarket brake brands. Whether you’re a performance enthusiast or seeking reliable daily commuting solutions, the right brake components can make a significant difference in your driving experience.

Stay safe on the road and enjoy your DIY mechanic projects with confidence, knowing you’ve chosen the best aftermarket brakes for your needs.

That concludes our comparative review of popular aftermarket brake brands. Happy braking!

Note: This article provides a broad overview of popular aftermarket brake brands. Individual product performance can vary within each brand, and it’s essential to research specific models and consult with experts or professionals for the best results.

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