The best car brake pads in the UK 2023

Are your brakes squeaking or is your wear light coming on? It's time to replace your brake pads. As an essential part of your vehicle's braking mechanism, choosing new brake pads should not be done lightly. In this buying guide, you will find the criteria to consider before purchasing your brake pads as well as a selection of the best products available.

Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 1

Editor's Choice

Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads

The best car brake pads in 2021

A very good value for money for this set of 4 rear brake pads, produced by Brembo. They are ECE 90R compliant and suitable for an extra wide range of car brands.

16,40 £ on Mister-auto

For a premium model at a reasonable price, opt for this set of 4 Brembo P85020 rear brake pads. The Italian brand has demonstrated the supremacy of its know-how in the assembly of this model, based on a hundred different friction materials. Designed according to the scorching technology, a specific surface heat treatment, it guarantees an excellent efficiency from the first braking and even at very high temperatures.

Brembo has also highlighted the OE press process with direct molding, which guarantees unquestionable precision in the manufacture of this model. And while the performance is there, this pad set also offers optimal driving comfort thanks to the presence of a thermal insulator, absorbing vibrations and noise, between the piston, the pad and the brake fluid. The P85020 comes with all the necessary mounting kit and is ECE R-90 approved.

Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 2

Best Value

Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads

The best entry-level car brake pads

For great performance at an unbeatable price, go for the Bolk BOL-1021 rear brake pads. This set is compatible with several famous car brands like Ford, Citroen, Peugeot, Audi or Volkswagen.

10 £ on Mister-auto

Performance doesn't have to mean high cost. The Bolk brand has demonstrated this with this set of 4 brake pads BOL-1021, an entry-level model with a more than correct quality. It is undoubtedly one of the cheapest products on the market with a design on par with the best references of the moment. These are brake pads designed for the rear axle. The braking system is manufactured by a brand of undisputed reputation in the field: TRW Lucas Girling.

Another significant advantage is that this model fits a wide range of popular car brands such as Renault, Peugeot, Ford, Seat, Volkswagen, Citroen, Audi, Skoda, Zhonghua, Brilliance, etc. If you buy this product, you will benefit from a 1 year non-renewable warranty. Also note that each of the plates has a thickness of 17 mm, a height of 53 mm and a width of 87 mm.

Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack 3

Best Premium

Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack

The best high-end car brake pads

An exceptional top of the line with ceramic design and premium quality, this set of BC 1645 Quietcast front brake pads meets all the requirements in this area.

71,02 £ on amazon

With cutting-edge technology confirming its position as the benchmark in the field, Bosch has developed a ceramic design, the hallmark of high-end brake pads, for its BC 1645 Quietcast model. Featuring outstanding braking performance with very little dust, this set of front brake pads meets the most demanding requirements in the field. The state-of-the-art aerodynamic alloy used in this patented formula combines ceramic and semi-metallic materials to meet the 2025 copper-free legislation.

The combination also includes a multi-layered rubber shim for unparalleled strength and excellent noise isolation, resulting in an extremely comfortable riding experience. This model is also equipped with a protective transfer layer that provides optimal rotor and pad life. Despite a rather limited compatibility, with Ford 2013-2017, Escape 2014-2017 and Transit Connect, this set of brake pads undoubtedly has the characteristics of premium quality.

Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads 4


Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads

Performance brake pads with wear indicator

The reliability of the German brand Bosch can be felt in this set of 4 front brake pads, ECE R90 certified and with an integrated wear sensor to warn you when it is time to replace.

37,52 £ on Mister-auto

A mid-range set of excellent quality as Bosch knows how to make it, this set of 4 front brake pads is designed with a set of premium materials, featuring a copper content of less than 0.5%. The manufacturing process is fully compliant with the most demanding standards and specifications. As a result, these pads can withstand extreme loads. In addition, the BP 1505 is equipped with an electrical wear indicator and is compatible with several vehicle models such as Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda.

This Bosch pad set also stands out for its optimal and consistent performance in all situations. It is also equipped with an excellent comfort of use with an incomparable feeling to the pedal. The design has been meticulously studied to fully control vibration and noise. And like all models of proven reliability, this pad set is ECE R-90 approved.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best car brake pads

Any specific needs?

The best car brake pads in 2021

The best entry-level car brake pads

The best high-end car brake pads

Performance brake pads with wear indicator

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best car brake pads

Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 5
Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 6
Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack 7
Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads 8
Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads
Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads
Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack
Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads
A very good value for money for this set of 4 rear brake pads, produced by Brembo. They are ECE 90R compliant and suitable for an extra wide range of car brands.
For great performance at an unbeatable price, go for the Bolk BOL-1021 rear brake pads. This set is compatible with several famous car brands like Ford, Citroen, Peugeot, Audi or Volkswagen.
An exceptional top of the line with ceramic design and premium quality, this set of BC 1645 Quietcast front brake pads meets all the requirements in this area.
The reliability of the German brand Bosch can be felt in this set of 4 front brake pads, ECE R90 certified and with an integrated wear sensor to warn you when it is time to replace.
Assembly side
Braking system
A disc, Lucas/Girling/TRW
Braking quality
Thickness :17 mm/Height: 53 mm/Width : 87 mm
Thickness: 17 mm/ height: 53 mm/ width: 87 mm
Thickness : 8,26 cm/ height : 13,34 cm/ width : 20,96 cm
Thickness: 20 mm/ Height: 65 mm/Width: 160 mm
ECE R-90 standard
Wear indicator
Compatibility with auto models

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Buying guide - car brake pads

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How to choose your car brake pads

The choice of your brake pads must be done with care because they guarantee your safety. Here are the 5 main criteria to consider when buying brake pads.

#1 - The references of your brake pads

When buying, check that the brake pads offered are compatible with the model of your vehicle, as well as the year or the type of braking (ABS or not). Indeed, it is not uncommon that for the same model, from the same manufacturer, the parts do not match.

In order not to make a mistake, you can check them either on your worn brake pads or in your car manufacturer's manual. You can also call a professional if you are not a mechanic. The shape and dimensions of the model will depend on these references.

#2 - The brake caliper

After the reference of your pads, it is also necessary to know the brand of your brake caliper. Once your wheel is removed, it is the type of base with two slots for the pads with the disc in between. It can be floating, sliding or fixed.

The composition of the pads should be similar to that of the brake caliper. If you buy different brands and designed with a different material than the caliper, the brake pads simply won't do their job.

#3 - The assembly side: front or rear

Another thing you definitely don't want to get wrong is defining which side of the assembly you need to change the pads for. Is it the front or rear axle of your vehicle? Indeed, the wear will probably not occur at the same time for both sides of the assembly. And a set designed for the front will never be compatible with the rear and vice versa.

#4 - The 90-R or R-90 standard

Your safety on the road depends largely on how well you brake. That's why you need to make sure the brake pads you're about to buy are R-90 or 90-R approved. This standard means that the model has been subjected to a series of highly specialized compliance tests and is therefore a guarantee of reliability and performance that should not be overlooked.

How do I replace my car brake pads?

Brake pads are an integral part of a vehicle's braking system and are sold in sets of 4. Consisting of a steel base and a lining made of organic or metallic friction materials, their main role is to frictionally engage the brake disc, allowing your vehicle to slow down and stop.

When the lining becomes thin and reaches a critical thickness (usually 3 mm) as the miles accumulate, it is time to replace your pads. It is recommended that you seek the services of a professional to do this, but if you need to change your pads yourself, here are the main steps to follow:

  • Make sure the vehicle is on a stable, level surface,
  • Loosen the wheel, position the jack to lift the car and remove the wheel,
  • Open the brake fluid reservoir located under the hood,
  • Turn the wheel and loosen the brake caliper by unscrewing the lower column with 2 wrenches,
  • Remove the worn brake pads by hand after having deactivated the wear indicator if there is one,
  • Clean and grease the brake pad holders thoroughly,
  • Install the new pads by inserting them correctly in the caliper,
  • Reconnect the wear indicator,
  • Position the wheel and tighten it with a torque wrench after lowering the wheel to the ground,
  • Repeat the same operation for the wheel on the opposite side and close the brake fluid jar,
  • Press the pedal 4 times to ensure that the brake pads adhere well to the disc and then remove the jack.

The different types of car brake pads

The material used for the design of the brake pads is the essential criterion for differentiating the various models on the market. We present the 4 main types of brake pads.

Semi-metallic brake pads

The majority of brake pads used by motorists belong to this category. Their alloy is composed of at least 65% metallic materials. The remaining 35% is a combination of graphite and inorganic compounds. The whole is assembled by resin. Due to their composition, this type of brake pad is particularly suitable for everyday driving.

These models generally have a high braking power and evacuate heat efficiently. This means that they are more resistant and therefore suitable for heavy trucks with high loads. On the other hand, these pads often cause a very unpleasant squeaking noise when they are in an advanced stage of wear. In addition, their greater hardness can contribute to early deterioration of the brake disc.

Organic brake pads

The assembly of these pads should generally not include more than 15% metal. This type of product is thus distinguished by its quieter operation, even after prolonged use, and smoother operation compared to semi-metallic models. They are made of organic components such as glass, Kevlar or rubber, with a resin joint, which makes them environmentally friendly materials par excellence.

They work best at high temperatures as the heat further strengthens the bond of the components. However, they generally wear out faster than other types of inserts due to their composition. They also have a lower performance than semi-metallic inserts and generate more dust. As a result, they are better suited for light vehicles without aggressive driving.

Ceramic brake pads

While they are available at a higher cost than other types of pads, ceramic models are high-end fabrications with high braking efficiency. They are typically made of an alloy of ceramic fibers, nonferrous metals and synthetic rubber.

These pads are less abrasive and have a constant coefficient of friction, making them the ideal choice for sports cars and other high-performance vehicles that generate high temperatures during braking. They also have a significantly longer service life compared to other types of brake pads.

Original or adaptable car brake pads?

Original car brake pads

A set of original brake pads offers a better guarantee of reliability and safety. It is supplied by recognized manufacturers and the design is based on quality materials ensuring excellent braking performance.

Original brake pads have also undergone a series of stringent tests and meet specific standards. They hold the 90R approval. But not surprisingly, the only catch is the price. These products usually cost twice as much as the adaptable pads.

Adjustable brake pads

There are currently adaptable car brake pads. Although their technical characteristics are inferior to those of the original models, it is possible to find some with a correct performance. Their main advantage is their accessibility in terms of price.

However, as they are not governed by any manufacturing standard, the design of some types of adaptable pads may be questionable in terms of reliability. Therefore, these offerings should be considered with twice the caution, especially if they are available at an excessively low cost.


Investing in original brake pads is a very good alternative, as the technical standards and specifications that regulate them are a sufficient guarantee of quality. However, if you are on a limited budget, or if you are planning to use them temporarily, choose models that are adaptable but whose reliability you can guarantee.

Why buy car brake pads?

An essential part of the disc brake system

Brake pads consist of a metal base and a lining. Their job is to press and clamp the brake disc to allow the vehicle to slow down or stop. Brake pads are the only components that are compatible with the brake disc and calipers to make the braking system truly operational.

Replacing worn brake pads

Brake pads wear out as the vehicle is used. When it becomes too thin, the pad set no longer functions optimally to allow your car to brake properly. In this case, the only option is to replace the pads with new ones.

Optimal safety

The correct functioning of a braking system is the only guarantee for the safety of the driver and the other occupants of the vehicle. Therefore, worn brake pads will no longer serve to slow down a car and can be the cause of accidents and major damage. So, for your safety, avoid delaying changing your brake pads when they are worn.

Preventing wear on your brake disc

When the lining of your brake pads decreases until it becomes insufficient to fully assume its role, the direct friction between the metal support and the brake disc will cause the latter to deteriorate rapidly. To avoid greater expense (a brake disc is much more expensive than a set of pads), consider replacing your pads as soon as you see the first signs of wear.

For a comfortable ride

Generally speaking, worn brake pads cause vibration at the steering wheel or brake pedal. And in some cases, especially with semi-metallic models, advanced wear can be detected by uncomfortable squeaking noises. And these signs affect driving comfort, especially if you have to deal with them over a long distance.

The best brands of car brake pads

In our opinion, the best brands of car brake pads in 2022 are :


Thanks to cutting-edge technology and rigorous technical specifications, the Italian brand Brembo has become the world leader in the highly competitive car brake pad segment. The brand offers products with an almost unbeatable quality/price ratio.

The German brand Bosch represents an unavoidable reference in terms of car brake pads. Its reputation is unquestionable and it specializes mainly in the design of high-end products and original equipment.

It is an exclusive brand of the French company Mister auto. Bolk is mainly positioned on the entry and mid-range but is nonetheless a very reliable brand, offering brake pads with great performance and meeting the requirements of European standards.

Pioneer of brake linings, British manufacturer Ferodo has been world-renowned in the automotive equipment sector for over a century. The company produces premium quality brake pads for city cars but also for racing cars.

Valeo is an internationally renowned French automotive supplier. Present in 33 countries, the company has become an authorized supplier to the largest vehicle brands. It offers highly reliable and 100% pre-run brake pads.

What is the price car brake pads

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

10 £ to 25 £
25 £ to 60 £
more than 60 £
Price range diagram


Take care of your brake pads

Adopting a smooth and composed driving style can help you avoid frequent and intense use of your brakes and thus prevent rapid pad wear. In this sense, eco-driving is a good alternative to preserve your braking system effectively. Using engine braking or regressive braking also takes great care of your brake pads.

To maintain your brake pads on a daily basis

After washing your car or driving through puddles, your brake pads can get wet. This can slightly affect braking performance because the moisture can interfere with proper friction on the disc. To counteract this, gently depress the brake pedal several times. This will help dry your pads faster.

Break in your new pads

Most new brake pads require a break-in process to work properly. This can take about 500 km (500 miles) while they adjust to the brake disc. During this time, be extra careful and avoid hard braking.

Check your brake discs when you change your pads

When you remove your vehicle's wheels to replace the brake pads, take the opportunity to make sure the brake rotors are still in good condition. They should generally be free of cracks, warping, or reach the minimum required thickness. Otherwise, it's also imperative to change them.

Remember to grease the caliper bracket before you install new pads

When you replace your brake pads, remember to properly clean, with a wire brush or sandblasting for example, the caliper support as well as other mounting points. Afterwards, proceed to lubricate the supports. These steps are essential to avoid premature wear of the pads and to ensure a quiet ride.


How long does a set of car brake pads last?

The life of a set of brake pads depends on several parameters such as your driving style, the characteristics of your vehicle (performance, weight, etc.) as well as the type of roads you drive on. So, to define in a very precise way the life of a set of brake pads is almost not feasible but generally it oscillates around 30,000 km.

How do you know if you need to change the brake pads?

If your car is not equipped with a brake pad wear indicator, check the brake fluid level indicator. If it's at minimum, it indicates that you need to replace your pads, as their wear is proportional to brake fluid consumption. Other signs that can be felt while driving, such as vibrations on the steering wheel or pedal, or abnormal noises when braking, also alert you to the need to change your brake pads. Longer braking distance is also a warning sign.

Do the front and rear brake pads wear out at the same time?

Brake pads located at the front of your car tend to wear out faster than those located at the rear. This is because the braking power is carried more by the front end of your vehicle. The frequency of replacement is therefore not the same for the brake pads on the 2 sides of assembly and you need to change the front ones more recurrently.

What is the thickness of the brake pads?

The dimensions of a set of brake pads depend mainly on the brand and type of models offered. Generally, the thickness of new pads is between 12 mm and 18 mm. When the thickness reaches 3 mm, it is already a sign that the pads are worn and should be replaced. If the thickness drops to 2 mm, it is critical.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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  2. What are the different types of brake pads?,
  3. Brake Pads: How to Know When to Change Them?,
  4. How to Recognize Worn Brake Pads,
  5. 5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Brakes,
  6. Technical Tips: Cleaning and Lubricating Brake Calipers,
  7. Brake Pads - Tips,
  8. Which Brand of Brake Pads to Choose?,
  9. How to Choose the Right Brake Pads,
  10. How To Choose The Best Brake Pads For Your Car,
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  27. Brake Pads and Discs : Prices and Online Quote ...,
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See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 9
Brembo P85020 - Set of 4 rear brake pads
Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads 10
Bolk BOL-1021 - Set of 4 rear brake pads
Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack 11
Bosch BC1645 - QuietCast™ - Ceramic Front Brake Pads Pack
Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads 12
Bosch BP 1505 - Set of 4 front brake pads


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