LAST UPDATED: April 03, 2020

The Best Brake Calipers (Review) in 2021

Best Choice Callahan OE Semi-Loaded Caliper Assembly Set Callahan OE Semi-Loaded Caliper Assembly Set
Best Value ACDelco Disc Brake Caliper Assembly ACDelco Disc Brake Caliper Assembly
Premium Pick Callahan Rear Powder-Coated Calipers Callahan Rear Powder-Coated Calipers

Your vehicle’s braking system is made up of a number of many components that make it function. The rotors, pads, and brake calipers all help your car stop safely and smoothly. All three work together to ensure the vehicle stops when it is supposed to.

When you press the brake pedal, pressure runs through the brake line to the calipers. From here, pistons put pressure on the brake pads until the car comes to a stop. Making sure you have the best brake calipers will help improve your braking comfort and reduce stopping distance. We’ve listed some of the best calipers to choose from so you can make a better-informed decision and find great aftermarket calipers.

The Best Brake Calipers

Callahan’s brake calipers are developed out of a tough material that reduces noise and dust buildup on your brakes. Each one is made with premium boots, seals, pins, bolts, and hardware to ensure a high-quality fit and design. As another benefit, the bleeder screws come with dust covers to prevent any unwanted buildup from entering the system.

Each one comes with a mounting bracket for easy installation. They can be mounted as replacements for the front brake calipers or the rear brake calipers for extra convenience.

Key Features
  • Built to reduce dust buildup
  • Designed with premium boots, seals, pins, and bolts
  • Bleeder screws come with dust covers
Specification
  • Brand Callahan
  • Model EBYCK00969
  • Weight 3 pounds
PROS

Easy to install

Great replacement calipers

High-quality design

CONS

Not powder-coated

More prone to rusting

Built for certain vehicles

ACDelco has been in the business of designing car parts for years and its brake calipers are quite impressive. Each caliper is pressure-tested to ensure it provides safe, comfortable, and efficient stopping power. These specific calipers are developed with aluminum and iron castings for a durable, high-quality enhancement to your brake system.

The calipers are equipped with Ethylene Propylene (EPDM) rubber components that provide superior resistance to heat, corrosion, and leaks. They are quite simple to install yourself using the included mounting brackets, hardware, and copper sealing washers.

Key Features
  • Customizable with brake pads
  • Pressure tested
  • Aluminum and iron casings
Specification
  • Brand ACDelco
  • Model 18FR983
  • Weight 3.2 pounds
PROS

Durable and sturdy

Simple to install

Comfortable

CONS

Small and weak bolts

May feature different head sizes

Not coated

Callahan is back on our list with its full set of front and rear brake calipers. They feature brand new components that include the seals, springs, bushings, bleeder screws, and hardware. Each one has been pressure-tested to ensure they function properly and provide the best braking possible.

As an added benefit, each caliper is also painted with a bright red powder coating. This not only makes them look excellent on your vehicle, but also ensures they keep away rust or corrosion as well.

Key Features
  • Set of front and rear calipers
  • Powder-coated
  • Brand new components
Specification
  • Brand Callahan
  • Model EBYCK00794
  • Weight 3 pounds
PROS

Bright red color

Look great on vehicle

Easy install

CONS

Only fit on certain makes and models

Pricey

We thought we would include an entire brake kit with calipers as well so you can see what everything looks like together. The calipers are constructed out of a ceramic material so they will be quieter than metallic ones. They also look pretty good on your vehicle as well and stand out from the grey or metallic color of the rotors and brake discs.

The kit includes every part you will need to install the calipers. Plus, you can change out the rotors and pads as well. Combined with the carbon-fiber pads, the calipers also reduce brake dust for cleaner and smoother performance.

Key Features
  • Entire brake kit
  • Ceramic calipers
  • Includes mounting brackets and hardware
Specification
  • Brand Power Stop
  • Model KCOE2119
  • Weight 46.8 pounds
PROS

Look great

DIY install

Quiet and reduced brake dust

CONS

Entire kit can be expensive

Not powder-coated

Power Stop’s brand of high-performance brake calipers features a set of two durable calipers. They have been 100 percent pressure-tested to prevent brake fluid leaks. They also include new components so they are reliable and strong when under pressure. Plus, the calipers include high temperature EPDM rubber that helps extend their life and increases their grip.

Each is also painted a vibrant red color. This makes them stand out on your rotors, so they add a bit of personal flair and style to your vehicle. They are powder-coated with an electrostatic paint that resists corrosion as well.

Key Features
  • Include EPDM rubber
  • Set of two
  • Powder-coated
Specification
  • Brand Power Stop
  • Model S4638A
  • Weight 27 pounds
PROS

Bright red color

Look excellent

Durable and long-lasting

CONS

May not come with bleeder caps

A bit heavy

May freeze up less than a year after install

Another set of Callahan Brake Parts calipers makes our list due to their simple yet powerful braking power. The calipers are developed out of a premium grade alloy that increases their performance and reduces stopping time. They have been rebuilt from the ground up and contain brand new components that are capable of stopping quickly.

The calipers fit great and install quickly and easily. They are a dull gray color that will not stand out on your wheels. Therefore, if you want a good quality set of calipers without showing them off, these are for you.

Key Features
  • Remanufactured calipers
  • Built with new components
  • Pressure tested
Specification
  • Brand Callahan
  • Model EBYCK01174
  • Weight 19.51 pounds
PROS

Long-lasting

Increased performance

Reduced stopping time

CONS

Gray color

Lackluster look

Not powder-coated

Best Brake Calipers Buying Guide & FAQs

Brake calipers are one of the most essential features of your braking system. They should be strong, durable, and reliable so your vehicle can stop quickly and safely. They also need to be dependable as they help to protect the car’s brake pads.

By pressing the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure and fluid is sent through the entire system to all of the other components. The fluid travels to the calipers, which surround the brake pads so they aren’t damaged by dust or debris. The pads then press against the rotors until your vehicle comes to a gradual stop. It can be confusing to understand at first, but understanding why you need calipers will help you in the long run.

Benefits of Brake Calipers

Brake calipers provide several benefits for your vehicle. Aside from ensuring your car, truck, SUV, or Jeep stops abruptly, they help make sure you and your family are kept safe on the road. Getting brand new brake calipers is the best way to make sure the system functions properly and effectively. Worn out calipers may squeal and whine and can damage the entire system if not replaced quickly.

Swapping out for a brand new set of calipers is something you should think about often if you drive a lot. They are put under a lot of stress on the road and need to be one of the most effective parts of your vehicle. It’s recommended to change them every 50,000 miles. They can enhance the performance of your vehicle. They will also reduce your overall stopping distance so the vehicle stops sooner. They can also lengthen the lifespan of the pads and rotors as well.

  • A high-quality brake caliper completely surrounds the brake pads, keeping them out of harm’s way by helping to prevent dust, grime, and dirt from building up under the pads.
  • They increase safety by making sure the vehicle stops more efficiently and quickly.
  • Brake calipers can boost vehicle performance by providing a tighter and more secure hold on the brake pads.
  • Calipers reduce stopping distance so the vehicle stops ahead of any roadblocks, cars, or animals on the road.

Red aftermarket brake calipers

Types of Brake Calipers

There are two types of brake calipers to focus on when deciding on a new set for your vehicle. The first we will be discussing will be floating which are made up of moving parts to make your car stop. The second ones are called fixed brake calipers and are stationary. They are one of the more common types of calipers you will find on modern vehicles.

  • Floating

A floating brake caliper features one or two pistons on the inboard side of the brake rotor. Each one of these pistons pushes the caliper back and forth as soon as the brake pedal is applied. This then creates friction between the brake pads and both sides of the rotor, thus beginning the process of slowing down the vehicle.

The calipers work by moving in and out relative to the rotor as well. The force from the inboard pad pressing against the surface of the rotor causes the caliper to slide on the pins mounted to the steering knuckle. The clamping force is what causes the wheel to slow down. Ones designed with floating brake caliper pistons tend to be less expensive than its fixed caliper counterpart.

  • Fixed

You could instead choose to go for fixed calipers instead of floating ones. As their name suggests, they themselves do not move but instead have pistons arranged on opposite sides of the rotor that do. The pistons can be chrome-plated steel or phenolic plastic, both of which are hollow and lightweight.

These types of brake calipers are the most common and have improved performance. They also clamp more securely to the pads, so the vehicle stops more effectively. However, they are also more expensive than floating calipers as they are more effective and provide a smoother stop. High-performance fixed calipers can also have more pistons.

Features to Look for in Brake Calipers

As far as key features go for your new brake calipers, there are three main things to look at and one other factor that you should be aware of. The brake calipers should be constructed out of a durable material that won’t rust or fall apart during your journey. They also need to last a while so you can continue to use them without swapping out a new pair every thousand miles. Unless you’re a professional race car driver, you shouldn’t be going through brake calipers that often.

  • Material

Brake calipers need to be constructed out of a durable and sturdy material as they are put under constant stress on highways and streets. There are several different kinds of brake calipers to choose from, and all offer nearly identical benefits and features. Though, they may vary in price due to their construction as either a semi-metallic, full-metallic caliper, or ceramic caliper.

Semi-metallic and full-metallic calipers help to increase the overall braking performance, longevity, and durability of your vehicle’s brakes. However, there is a downside as they can be quite noisy and generate quite a bit of brake dust. You may also want to consider ceramic calipers. These work by reducing nearly all noise coming from the brakes and are stronger but at a steeper price.

  • Lifespan

Since your brakes are put under a lot of stress and pressure on the road, it is essential you find a set of brake calipers that can take a beating from excessive braking. It can be difficult to tell just how long a set of brake calipers will last, but they should last you at least 50,000 miles.

The strongest brake calipers feature thick metallic pistons and are powder-coated as well. This extra layer of protection works by increasing their lifespan while reducing any brake dust, grime, dirt, or debris that contact them and the brake pads and rotors. No matter what though, your brakes will gather a layer of brake dust. To reduce the amount of dust on them, consider choosing a pair of ceramic brake calipers.

  • Noise

You may hear a whining or squealing sound coming from your older brake calipers and it’s a sign that you should change them out quickly. The noise is a good indication that the brake calipers are wearing down or they could be wet. To test that theory, you should drive your vehicle on a sunny day and brake. If the sound persists, then they are wearing down.

You may also find calipers can be loud during everyday operation and that isn’t a cause for concern. Fully-metallic and semi-metallic calipers tend to be the noisiest of them all, while ceramic ones are typically the quietest. If you can find calipers with a rubberized coating, they will be the quietest on the road.

Repairman evaluating car brake system and calipers

Tips for Buying and Using Brake Calipers

There are some things you can do to take better care of your brake calipers once they are on your vehicle. The best thing you can do is increase their lifespan so they last longer and you travel more. Though you will need a manual transmission and should always keep an eye on what’s ahead of you.

You may also want to swap out other braking components as well when you change out the brake calipers. With these tips you will understand your brake calipers a bit better and know how to take care of them so they last you several thousand miles.

  • By looking at what’s ahead, you can anticipate when you need to gradually brake instead of slamming on them at the last moment.
  • Vehicles with a manual gearbox have an advantage over automatic ones because they can downshift to brake instead of hitting the pedal.
  • When you swap out the brake calipers, you should consider getting new brake pads and rotors as well.
  • Make sure you check to see if they will fit your make and model vehicle, as some are only designed to fit certain cars like Hondas or Silverados.

Best Brake Calipers FAQs

We’ve listed a few common questions about brake calipers so you can better understand them and how they work. If they are making noise, you may need to change them out. But what sound is a bad one? Brake calipers are an important component of your vehicle and its braking system so you should get to how they function.

Q. How can I tell if the calipers are wearing down?

A: One of the best ways to tell if the brake calipers are starting to fail is to listen to them. Any excessive squealing or rubbing may mean they need to be upgraded. You can also look at them if you need a second opinion. If you see uneven pad wear, it is a good indication that you need a new pair of calipers. If they make noise in the rain, they may be all right.

Q. How long will a set of brake calipers last?

A: It all depends on how often you drive and what kind of driving you do. If you commute to work on a daily basis, then you may want to swap them out every 50,000 miles, while track racers may want to consider swapping them out sooner.

Q. Are brake calipers universal?

A: No. You should check to see if they are compatible with your vehicle make and model before making a final purchasing decision.

Our Top Pick

Our best choice for brake calipers are the Callahan Brake Parts Premium Grade OE Semi-Loaded Caliper Assembly Pair Set. They may not look great, but they offer a reduced stopping time and quick response time when you press the brake pedal. They are constructed out of a sturdy alloy that reduces noise and dust buildup, and each one is made with premium boots, seals, pins, bolts, and hardware.