Choosing the right brake pads for your vehicle is crucial because a good amount of investment goes into it.
There are several factors on which picking up suitable brake pads depends, such as heavy driving, budget, extreme environmental conditions, amount of wear, etc.
Ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads are the two most commonly used brake pads for both commercial and personal use.
- Ceramic brake pads are quieter and produce less dust than semi-metallic brake pads.
- Semi-metallic brake pads are more durable and perform better under high-temperature conditions than ceramic ones.
- Ceramic brake pads are more expensive than semi-metallic brake pads.
Ceramic vs Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
The difference between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads is ceramic brake pads are formed from durable ceramic compounds and cause comparatively less wear. On the other hand, semi-metallic brake pads are pocket-friendly but, at the same time, cause more wear due to more stress on the brake rotors.
Ceramic brake pads are ideal for those drivers who don’t drive in extreme situations and want long-lasting brake pads.
Though ceramic brake pads are the costliest among all types of brake pads, they cause very less wear, and extremely fine dust particles are produced. Ceramic brake pads are not noisier, and one experiences a very peaceful drive.
Semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for drivers who drive in extreme climatic conditions like very low temperatures or humid climates.
Since metals are good conductors of heat, they are suitable for heavy driving like trucks and other heavy vehicles. Semi-metallic brake pads are not as expensive as ceramic brake pads, but the former causes more noise and wear.
|Parameters of Comparison
|Ceramic Brake Pads
|Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
|Ceramic brake pads mainly contain durable ceramic compounds. Recent years have seen a reduction in copper content in the same.
|A major portion of these brake pads contain metals like iron, copper, and steel. It also contains graphite lubricant.
|Ceramic brake pads are costlier than semi-metallic brake pads.
|It is relatively pocket-friendly as compared to ceramic brake pads.
|Ceramic brake pads are not suitable for extreme driving conditions, whether freezing cold or extremely hot.
|Semi-metallic brake pads provide improved braking power over a wide range of temperatures and conditions.
|Ceramic brake pads are best known for the almost no-noise driving experience.
|These brake pads are much noisier than ceramic ones, leading to a noisier ride.
|Ceramic brake pads tend to last much longer, and as they wear, fine dust particles are produced, leading to less debris on the vehicle.
|Semi-metallic brake pads tend to put more pressure on the brake rotors; hence, the wear and tear increase.
What are Ceramic Brake Pads?
The purpose and type of your vehicle determine the right brake pads to buy. Ceramic brake pads are ideal for compact cars and low brake usage.
It is long-lasting because it doesn’t wear easily and also produces almost no noise while using it. Ceramic brake pads are not ideal for heavy vehicles because the heat absorption and transfer rate are not as fast as other materials.
Ceramic brake pads are made of clay and porcelain and bonded with copper filaments. But, nowadays, the usage of copper has been reduced in ceramic brake pads.
These types of brake pads became very famous in the automobile industry during the 1980s. And the reasons why these brake pads became famous were less noise and wear.
Ceramic brake pads are also known for producing less dust, reducing the chances of vehicle debris.
So, ceramic brake pads are an ideal choice for people who have an easy driving style and do not use heavy vehicles.
It is perfect for personal or family cars as there is almost no noise production, and the durability is much longer than other brake pads.
What are Semi-Metallic Brake Pads?
Semi-metallic brake pads are one of the most common types of brake pads, especially for heavy vehicles like a truck. These brake pads contain 30% to 70% metals.
It can be made of copper, steel, iron, or composite alloys. Semi-metallic brake pads are different from fully metallic brake pads because fillers like graphite lubricant are used instead of 100% metal in the former type.
Semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for use in a wide range of temperature conditions. Since metal is a good conductor of heat, these brake pads are suitable for the high-temperature environment and have a faster cooling rate.
Due to this reason, the braking performance of semi-metallic pads is much improved. It is also less expensive than ceramic brake pads.
One of the disadvantages of semi-metallic brake pads is that it creates a lot of noise. The amount of pressure applied on the brake rotors is also very much, which leads to wear of the pads.
And the debris from this wear settles in the vehicle. So, it is a good choice for rough use but not for luxury compact cars.
Main Differences Between Ceramic and Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
- Ceramic brake pads mainly contain durable ceramic compounds. Recent years have seen a reduction in copper content, whereas semi-metallic brake pads contain metals like iron, copper, steel, and composite alloys. It also contains graphite lubricant.
- Ceramic brake pads are costlier than semi-metallic brake pads. In fact, ceramic brake pads are the costliest, whereas semi-metallic brake pads are relatively cheaper.
- Ceramic brake pads are not suitable for extreme driving conditions, whether it is freezing cold or extremely hot, whereas semi-metallic brake pads provide improved braking power over a wide range of temperatures and conditions.
- Ceramic brake pads are best known for the almost no-noise driving experience, whereas semi-metallic brake pads produce a very loud noise.
- Ceramic brake pads tend to last much longer, whereas semi-metallic brake pads cause wear very easily due to more stress on the brake rotors.
Last Updated : 13 July, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.