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    Semi-metallic vs ceramic brake pads

    October 01, 2022

    When shopping around for brake pads, you probably saw there are a few types out there, notably semi-metallic and ceramic. Let’s see which one is best for your driving preferences and durability.

    Semi-metallic brake padssemi-metallic vs ceramic brake pads

    Semi-metallic brake pads deliver a well-rounded consistent braking performance. They are typically used for heavy-duty driving like racing on a track, towing heavy weights, and driving on steep hills. While the brake pads do deliver a decent lifespan, because of the toll it takes on the brakes, this lifespan is shorter than that of the ceramic brake pads. Semi-metallic brake pads are also more dusty and noisy, because of their application.

    Ceramic brake pads

    Ceramic brake pads are made from the same type of material as pottery - ceramic. While most new vehicles are outfitted with organic brake pads, a ceramic set can actually withstand more diverse driving and weather conditions while still being perfect for casual city driving. Although ceramic brake pads are the most expensive type of brake pad, they deliver strong performance that is quiet, less dusty, and very durable, compared to semi-metallic brake pads.

    Ceramic vs semi-metallic brake pads

      Ceramic Brake Pads Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
    Noise level Quieter Louder
    Dustyness Less dusty Dusty
    Performance Casual city driving Racing, towing, steep hills
    Price $$$ $
    Durability Longer lifespan Shorter lifespan


    All types of brake pads

    In total, there are four different brake pad types with varying uses and characteristics:

    • Organic pads are found on the majority of new vehicles in the United States and offer consistent braking performance for casual driving and commuting. They are also sold at accessible price points, extend the lifespan of your rotors because they are quiet, less dusty, and don’t cause as much damage to the rotors. 
    • Metallic pads are similar to semi-metallic pads, but as you can probably guess from the name, contain 100% metal as opposed to a compound that also includes composite alloys on top of iron, steel, and copper. You won’t find these used very often, only for truly extreme applications.
    • Semi-metallic brake pads are a middle ground for things like the race track or towing, not as extreme as fully metallic brake pads and not as every day as organic brake pads.
    • Ceramic brake pads are a step up from organic brake pads, offering consistent performance in different conditions but featuring a high price tag as well.

    Your choice for brake pads is truly personal depending on how and what you drive. Don’t forget that every make and model has different sizes for parts, which can also vary by year so search for your specific model first before purchasing a brake kit.


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