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There are a lot of components that go into your vehicle’s brakes, but perhaps the most important ones are the brake rotors. Without them, your car won’t be able to stop. When you press the brake pedal, the calipers hold tightly to the brake pads on the rotors. This creates friction and heat, causing your vehicle to slow more effectively, quickly, and safely. This makes them a crucial part of the braking system. If you’re looking for the best brake rotors, check out our buyer’s guide below.
The Best Brake Rotors
Brembo is perhaps one of the biggest names in vehicle brakes, so you know you’re getting a high-quality set of rotors. These drilled brake rotors are sleek and designed with calculation and precision to provide you with maximum performance. They are evenly balanced to help eliminate vibrations and wobble.
Each Brembo brake rotor includes enhanced venting technology that increases cooling. This also helps the rotors to provide 40 percent more resistance to thermal cracking. Be aware that the rotors are quite expensive, and the price you pay is for a single rotor and not a pair. Also, these rotors are only designed for front braking systems.
Protective UV coating
Quality name brand
Evenly balanced design
- Weight27.2 pounds
Sleek and aggressive
Heaviest of our choices
These ACDelco brake rotors are designed out of a tough and durable metal alloy. The material is designed to help guide and dissipate heat away from the rotors. This boosts the performance and power behind your brakes, so you stop quicker and more efficiently. However, they are not coated, so they may rust or corrode if kept wet.
They look nice and feature a rounded radius for increased strength. As a smooth brake rotor, they provide your vehicle with reliable braking power, reduce noise, and lower the amount of vibration you feel when braking. They also maximize airflow away from the rotors to prevent a buildup of heat and gas.
Designed out of high-quality metals
- Weight1 pound
Dissipates heat well
No protective coating
Can rust easily
As our premium choice, the Power Stop Front Brake Kit rotors are durable, come with an aggressive look, and feature a strong design. They are developed out of a carbon-fiber ceramic compound that pairs well with ceramic brake pads. This enhances their effectiveness on the road no matter if it’s slick or dry. You also get a full kit, which includes brake pads. However, the compatibility chart may not be accurate.
One great benefit is that they reduce the amount of dust released when braking. This makes sure your pads and rotors last a longer amount of time. They are also nearly silent and don’t whine or squeak when you slam on the brakes. However, you may get a bit of noise if they are wet. They are also versatile as they feature a drilled and slotted design.
Drilled and slotted design
- BrandPower Stop
- Weight24.6 pounds
Reduce dust from braking
Function great on wet and dry surfaces
May be noisy when wet
Compatibility chart may be inaccurate
These Bosch Quietcast Premium Disc Brake Rotors are designed out of a sturdy material for optimum performance. They feature a bi-metal aluminum and zinc casting for a clean look. Plus, the addition of alutherm 80 helps to extend their life, and they stick out on your wheels. Also, the coating reduces and prevents rust or corrosion from forming on the rotors.
One huge benefit of these rotors is they include G3000 heat-flowed castings. This means they wear more evenly, last longer, and operate quietly. They also disperse heat away from the rotors easily. A bit of an issue may come when you want to fit them to your car. They are only compatible with certain types of vehicles.
G3000 heat-flowed castings
Bi-metal aluminum-zinc coat
- Weight13.91 pounds
Excellent heat dissipation
May not be compatible with all vehicles
Fitment issues on some cars
ACDelco is back on our list and for good reason. The company understands vehicle performance and makes high-quality brake rotors. Its Professional Front Disc Brake Rotor is impressive, reliable, and brakes smoothly. Whether under pressure or slowly tapping the brake pedal, these rotors look great and ride even better.
Their design features a thickness variation that helps to reduce pedal pulsation and brake noise. This makes the pedal stiffer under your foot, so you know exactly how much pressure is required. Each one also disperses heat to prolong the life of the rotor and brake pads. However, their heavy-duty build makes them a bit more expensive than other brands. Also, the coating can peel off in time making the rotors vulnerable to rust.
- Weight26 pounds
Reliable and smooth braking
Reduced pedal pulsation
Minimal to no noise
A little expensive
Coating can peel off
Brembo made our list again, but these rotors are slightly less expensive and don’t compromise on quality. These front disc brake rotors will stand out and shine behind your wheels. They are comfortable and stop smoothly and quickly without wobble or vibration. As with the other Brembo rotors on our list, these are priced high and only include a single front rotor.
When it comes to their build, they don’t disappoint. As high-end brake rotors, they are developed from high-carbon cast iron for more reliable and long-lasting performance. Each one is designed using pillar-vented technology that improves their overall cooling ability. So, they will remain cool, steady, and durable under pressure.
Cast iron constructed
- Weight21.3 pounds
Reliable and powerful
Shine and stand out
The protective coating is oil-based and not the strongest
To prevent rusting, you may need to apply another coat
This smooth brake rotor from Wagner is built with an E-Shield coating to prevent corrosion and rust damage. A benefit of that smooth surface finish is that it reduces the amount of time it takes to break in the brake pads. They are also easy to install with the included vapor corrosion inhibitor bag.
Their braking ability is quite powerful as well. Each rotor is developed with a patented vane and rib design that reduces brake noise and stopping distance. This component also stiffens your brake pedal to give you better control over braking. They may not fit all types of vehicles, so make sure you check the compatibility chart.
- Weight13.9 pounds
Quick response time
Lower break-in period
Easy to install
May not be compatible with all vehicles
May get a bit of noise
Best Brake Rotors Buying Guide & FAQ
Buying new brake rotors is something you should think about carefully. They are a vital part of your vehicle, and the best ones will allow your vehicle to stop on a dime. We’ve put all the information you need about rotors below to help you choose the best ones for your car, truck, or SUV.
Why Do You Need Brake Rotors
If you feel your car isn’t braking hard or fast enough, then it’s time to consider new brake rotors. They increase your vehicle’s braking performance by providing you with smoother braking. New brake rotors function better in wet weather conditions and last longer than OEM brands.
- Brake rotors improve your car’s overall braking performance by allowing you to slow down more quickly and decrease your stopping time.
- New rotors let your vehicle brake more smoothly and make your brake pedal more responsive and sensitive to touch.
- High-quality rotors can increase your vehicle’s effectiveness in the rain or snow.
- Premium brake rotors will ensure your braking system has a longer lifespan to last you many miles.
Types of Brake Rotors
There are three types of brake rotors, and each one has different benefits. Knowing which one is best for your car will help you make the right purchasing decision.
A drilled brake rotor has holes drilled into it. While numerous holes may sound like a bad idea, there is a reason for it. The holes exist to help control heat. The friction from the brake pad generates a lot of heat, and if it has nowhere to go it can reduce the stopping power of the brake. Another reason for the holes is to reduce the amount of gas produced by older model brake pads. The final reason is the holes help guide the flow of water so it doesn’t make the brake rotors slippery.
Slotted brake rotors come with slots carved onto their surface. This helps to move and guide gas, heat, and water away from the rotor so your vehicle brakes more efficiently. Slotted brake rotors are designed for high-performance cars or cars developed for racing. They are built with sturdier materials and tend to be the most durable type of rotor.
Smooth brake rotors do not include holes or slots in their design. They may also be referred to as blank brake rotors. These are most commonly installed on vehicles straight from the showroom floor. They are typically cheaper to manufacture and generate a lot more heat than the other two types, which may cause warping or bending in the metal. They are designed for everyday drivers who don’t put a lot of pressure on their vehicles.
What to Look for When Buying Brake Rotors
There are a few key components and factors you should consider before making a final decision on brake rotors. After all, they are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle when it comes to keeping you and your family safe.
Brake rotors are designed out of a variety of materials. While the majority might be built out of cast iron, other types include steel, aluminum, and carbon. Cast iron is a sturdy and powerful material, but it is also rather heavy. Steel can be lighter and help transfer heat more effectively. Aluminum brake rotors are the most lightweight and may be lower in price. Carbon rotors dissipate heat well and boost your vehicle’s braking performance.
- Protective Coating
Your brake rotors will be subjected to constant road debris, water, dirt, and other elements. Therefore, they should come with a reliable rust-resistant coating. Many rotors feature protective chemicals and treatments designed to fight against corrosion buildup. This will also help to expand their lifespan on the road.
As mentioned above, you should strongly consider the type of rotor you need. If you do a lot of high-performance driving like racing, off-roading, or if you haul a trailer, you may want to consider slotted brake rotors. Drilled rotors offer advantages for everyday drivers that will make a difference on the road.
Tips for Buying and Using Brake Rotors
Knowing exactly how and what your brake rotors do is an important thing to know. Taking care of them is another thing drivers should be aware of. So, to help you understand your brake rotors, we’ve put together some tips to guide you.
- To measure the wear on your brake rotor, use a micrometer to see how thick they are.
- If your vehicle shakes or wobbles a lot when you brake, you should check the rotor to see if it is warped or bent.
- You can tell a brake pad or rotor is wearing down if you hear a high-pitched whining or squeaking noise when you brake.
- You can help increase the lifespan of your brakes by anticipating the road ahead. Keep an eye on how close you are to other vehicles and gradually slow down instead of slamming the brakes.
Best Brake Rotors FAQ:
Q: Do I need to break in my brake rotors?
A: Always break in or “bed” your brake rotors after installing them. To do so, drive somewhere away from other vehicles and gradually stop a few times from 35 mph. Then increase the speed to 45 mph and brake a bit harder. This will get rid of debris or dust from the brake rotors and pads to ensure your vehicle stops effectively.
Q: Do I need to swap out my entire brake system with the rotors?
A: We recommend swapping out your vehicle’s brake pads and rotors at the same time. This will ensure that both components wear down evenly over time. Plus, it will improve your overall braking system and increase its performance and efficiency.
Q: How long do brake rotors last?
A: This depends on the type of brake rotor, your driving style, and the vehicle they are on. Generally, brake rotors can last between 30,000 to 75,000 miles. However, if you do a lot of high-performance driving, this could drastically reduce the mileage.
Our Top Pick
If you’re looking for one of the best and most reliable brake rotors for your vehicle, then consider the Brembo UV Coated Front Disc Brake Rotor. As one of the leading names in vehicle parts, Brembo knows what it's doing. The brake rotors are strong, long-lasting, and evenly balanced to reduce vibrations. Each one also includes enhanced venting technology that increases cooling. Their drilled design makes them a great addition for anyone looking to upgrade their rotors.