Best Replacement Brake Rotors: Stop That

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

Top 8 Best Brake Rotors

best replacement brake rotors stop that

Let’s get one thing clear from the start – you shouldn’t skimp on brake products. They are, after all, one of the only things on your car between it and a nasty crash.

If you’re not sure about the process or procedure to replace the brake rotors on your car, take it to a professional mechanic. Spending a few extra bucks on installation beats the heck out of the sinking feeling one gets when hammering the brake pedal only to find forward motion is not decreasing. Take it from a guy who has owned cars whose brakes could be best described as ‘hesitators’ or ‘delayers’: having crap brakes is not fun.

Also note that we haven’t specified a singular make and model for each of these brake rotors. Some will fit your vehicle, some will not. Be sure to check your application carefully before hitting the Buy button. A pro may give you options other than the ones shown here, as well.

With that out of the way, here are eight picks for replacement brake rotors.

1. Editor’s Pick: Bosch QuietCast Premium Disc Brake Rotor

Despite their importance, most car owners have a list of things as long as their arm of stuff on which they’d rather spend their hard earned cash than automotive wear items. Hey, we’re not all track rats who swap out pads and rotors on a weekly basis. Forced to spend money on this stuff, these discs from Bosch seem to be a good spend based on overwhelmingly positive reviews from nearly 2,000 customers. So it's no surprise they make our list of the best replacement brake rotors.

The company says these rotors are precision balanced to insure smooth operation with no pedal pulsation. Anyone who’s had the fillings shaken out of their head when hitting the brake pedal knows the value of that. OEM-style vane configuration is said to provide more efficient heat dissipation, reduces vibration that can cause noise, and extends rotor life.

Pros

  • Excellent brand name, glowing reviews from a large sample size

Cons

  • Not available for some makes and models

Bottom Line

  • There's a reason Bosch has been in business for 134 years

Despite their importance, most car owners have a list of things as long as their arm of stuff on which they’d rather spend their hard earned cash than automotive wear items. Hey, we’re not all track rats who swap out pads and rotors on a weekly basis. Forced to spend money on this stuff, these discs from Bosch seem to be a good spend based on overwhelmingly positive reviews from nearly 2,000 customers. So it's no surprise they make our list of the best replacement brake rotors.

The company says these rotors are precision balanced to insure smooth operation with no pedal pulsation. Anyone who’s had the fillings shaken out of their head when hitting the brake pedal knows the value of that. OEM-style vane configuration is said to provide more efficient heat dissipation, reduces vibration that can cause noise, and extends rotor life.

Promoted Product: DuraGo Electrophoretic Brake Rotors

Your brake rotors are built to last a long time, but they are still susceptible to corrosion. This is where the DuraGo Electrophoretic brake rotors come in. DuraGo’s Electrophoretic coating is designed to resist corrosion, which is perfect for those of you who live in areas with serious winter weather where road salt can be a major issue. This isn’t some spray-on coating that won’t last a year. DuraGo dips the entire rotor into a tank where it is coated by a process it calls “Electrophoretic deposition.”

As an added bonus, these corrosion-resistant brake rotors won’t cost you any more than OEM replacements. In fact, they are typically less expensive. If you don’t think you need that Electrophoretic treatment, DuraGo offers a regular vented brake rotor for even less.

2. Upgrade King: Power Stop Drilled/Slotted Rotors and Ceramic Brake Pads

This one’s for the gearhead or shadetree mechanic who fancies themselves an Indy or F1 protégé. Styling of brake discs mean a lot to some people, especially when paired with a set of wheels whose open-spoke design leave little to the imagination as to what’s going on behind the scenes. These rotors deliver in that department, festooned with drilled holes and slots to make any whip look like something about to attack the Nurburgring.

In fact, this kit includes more than just the silver platters. Most applications also include a set of brake pads, meaning one doesn’t have to click around and find pads to go with their stoppers. The seller says they’re coated with zinc to prevent that unsightly rust which appears when a vehicle has been sitting for extended periods of time. Those pads are reinforced with carbon fibers, by the way, meaning that owners of these brakes can legitimately (if ambiguously) say they’ve got brakes just like a Porsche 911.

Pros

  • Looks great, comes with brake pads

Cons

  • People may ask to drag at stoplights

Bottom Line

  • Dandy yet affordable upgrade

This one’s for the gearhead or shadetree mechanic who fancies themselves an Indy or F1 protégé. Styling of brake discs mean a lot to some people, especially when paired with a set of wheels whose open-spoke design leave little to the imagination as to what’s going on behind the scenes. These rotors deliver in that department, festooned with drilled holes and slots to make any whip look like something about to attack the Nurburgring.

In fact, this kit includes more than just the silver platters. Most applications also include a set of brake pads, meaning one doesn’t have to click around and find pads to go with their stoppers. The seller says they’re coated with zinc to prevent that unsightly rust which appears when a vehicle has been sitting for extended periods of time. Those pads are reinforced with carbon fibers, by the way, meaning that owners of these brakes can legitimately (if ambiguously) say they’ve got brakes just like a Porsche 911.

3. Cheap Trick: ACDelco Advantage Non-Coated Disc Brake Rotor

Recall our warning earlier about not skimping on brake supplies? That still applies but we would be remiss if we didn’t list the cheapest brake rotor we could find. At less than the price of a Big Mac meal, there’s really no excuse in putting off you vehicle’s maintenance. These are also said to be “mill-balanced” but your author has had trouble in the past with cheap rotors warping not long after installation.

Beyond that, there’s not much to distinguish these el cheapo units from other low-cost brake discs on the market. They’re silver. They’re round. A vane configuration maximizes airflow to keep the rotor running cool instead of heating up faster than debate at a political convention. That’s for daily use, of course – don’t expect these things to hold up under frequent track abuse.

Pros

  • Easy to buy, cheaper than McDonald’s

Cons

  • Don’t cheap out on brake parts (is there an echo in here?)

Bottom Line

  • Will get you through a state inspection

Recall our warning earlier about not skimping on brake supplies? That still applies but we would be remiss if we didn’t list the cheapest brake rotor we could find. At less than the price of a Big Mac meal, there’s really no excuse in putting off you vehicle’s maintenance. These are also said to be “mill-balanced” but your author has had trouble in the past with cheap rotors warping not long after installation.

Beyond that, there’s not much to distinguish these el cheapo units from other low-cost brake discs on the market. They’re silver. They’re round. A vane configuration maximizes airflow to keep the rotor running cool instead of heating up faster than debate at a political convention. That’s for daily use, of course – don’t expect these things to hold up under frequent track abuse.

4. EBC Brakes GD1697 3GD Series Dimpled and Slotted Sport Rotor

Did I just put a set of brakes costing nearly $4,000 on this list? Yewbetcha. EBC is a well known brand in the performance sphere, supplying brake products to the likes of amateur and pro racers. These platters have wide slots to help them run up to 200 degrees cooler than normal, while their chemical composition reduces brake fade under load and at speed.

It’s not just track rats who can benefit from this braking technology. The company also offers this product for trucks and SUVs, machines which are often tasked with hauling heavy trailers in demanding conditions. Solid braking characteristics are just as critical here as it is at Road America, so it’s good to see the company expanding its lineup of products into new vehicle markets.

Pros

  • Stops on a dime with nine cents change, looks the business

Cons

  • Wallet hoovering price

Bottom Line

  • An true example of 'pay to play'

Did I just put a set of brakes costing nearly $4,000 on this list? Yewbetcha. EBC is a well known brand in the performance sphere, supplying brake products to the likes of amateur and pro racers. These platters have wide slots to help them run up to 200 degrees cooler than normal, while their chemical composition reduces brake fade under load and at speed.

It’s not just track rats who can benefit from this braking technology. The company also offers this product for trucks and SUVs, machines which are often tasked with hauling heavy trailers in demanding conditions. Solid braking characteristics are just as critical here as it is at Road America, so it’s good to see the company expanding its lineup of products into new vehicle markets.

5. Wilwood Brake Kit with Drilled Rotors

We'd be remiss to create a list of brake products without including the Wilwood brand. Long the darling of Saturday morning car repair shows - or at least the brand with a high budget for product placement - Wilwood has a great reputation for making top-notch products with a price to match its performance.

That's the case here, though it must be said this particular kit comes with not just slotted rotors and pads but also a pair of calipers. As for the latter, the seller says their four stainless steel pistons provide fully balanced pad loading, along with the corrosion resistance and thermal retardant qualities of a stainless alloy.

Pros

  • Killer appearance, great reputation and reviews

Cons

  • Not cheap by any measure

Bottom Line

  • The good stuff always costs more money

We'd be remiss to create a list of brake products without including the Wilwood brand. Long the darling of Saturday morning car repair shows - or at least the brand with a high budget for product placement - Wilwood has a great reputation for making top-notch products with a price to match its performance.

That's the case here, though it must be said this particular kit comes with not just slotted rotors and pads but also a pair of calipers. As for the latter, the seller says their four stainless steel pistons provide fully balanced pad loading, along with the corrosion resistance and thermal retardant qualities of a stainless alloy.

6. R1 eLine Plain Brake Rotors

If there was a prize for humility, we'd give it to this company. Instead of marketing these brake rotors as 'essential' or 'OE' or even 'non-slotted', they called them ... plain. Plain. Like those potato chips that go uneaten at a party. In any event, this package includes a quartet of brake rotors and eight ceramic brake pads with hardware.

Speaking to the, erm, plain nature of these items are billed as replacement rotors that are not drilled or slotted. Nevertheless, the ad says they offer equal quality as OEM rotors but at an affordable price. Every rotor apparently uses an iron grade of G3000 to provide great stability and braking power.

Pros

  • Affordable, available in an array of applications

Cons

  • Some reports of spotty build quality

Bottom Line

  • Be sure to use proper break-in procedures

If there was a prize for humility, we'd give it to this company. Instead of marketing these brake rotors as 'essential' or 'OE' or even 'non-slotted', they called them ... plain. Plain. Like those potato chips that go uneaten at a party. In any event, this package includes a quartet of brake rotors and eight ceramic brake pads with hardware.

Speaking to the, erm, plain nature of these items are billed as replacement rotors that are not drilled or slotted. Nevertheless, the ad says they offer equal quality as OEM rotors but at an affordable price. Every rotor apparently uses an iron grade of G3000 to provide great stability and braking power.

7. Raybestos Professional Grade Disc Brake Rotor

Few names are as well recognized in this segment as Raybestos. While a few people think the company has comprised their quality of late, there are still plenty of satisfied customers if the reviews on this product is any indication. It’s one of the few products – any product, not just automotive stuff – that has a full slate of five-star ratings (as of this writing), despite a customer reporting having to hit the hub portion and outer edges with a shot of high-temp paint to forestall rust.

Built by a company with more than a few years in the business, these silver hats are the Professional Grade series, this full-coverage rotor has options covering 99.8% of import and domestic cars, light trucks, and SUVs. The non-directional ground finish means it's ready to install right out of the box. This is helpful in a busy shop where mechanics don’t want to spend time on unnecessary prep tasks, whether or not they’re working on hourly.

Pros

  • Top-shelf reviews, known brand

Cons

  • Reports of surface rust

Bottom Line

  • Wear rubber gloves during installation

Few names are as well recognized in this segment as Raybestos. While a few people think the company has comprised their quality of late, there are still plenty of satisfied customers if the reviews on this product is any indication. It’s one of the few products – any product, not just automotive stuff – that has a full slate of five-star ratings (as of this writing), despite a customer reporting having to hit the hub portion and outer edges with a shot of high-temp paint to forestall rust.

Built by a company with more than a few years in the business, these silver hats are the Professional Grade series, this full-coverage rotor has options covering 99.8% of import and domestic cars, light trucks, and SUVs. The non-directional ground finish means it's ready to install right out of the box. This is helpful in a busy shop where mechanics don’t want to spend time on unnecessary prep tasks, whether or not they’re working on hourly.

8. Wagner Premium E-Coated Brake Rotor

This company likes to tout their E-Shield coating system which, sadly missing a ‘green’ opportunity – has nothing to do with electrification. Rather, it refers to an exclusive protective coating cooked up by Wagner engineers in the lab and applied to all non-braking surfaces to prevent corrosion. The bag in which they are packed is said to have properties to reduce rotor prep time.

A targeted range of Wagner Premium rotors are manufactured with patented, application-specific vane designs that deliver greater cooling capabilities for more effective stopping power. These specialized rib designs deliver smoother braking by controlling noise, vibration, and harshness. Tight tolerance specifications reduce thickness variation and lateral run-out for a balanced rotor.

Pros

  • Affordable, confidence inspiring ad copy

Cons

  • Some customers complain of noisy operation

Bottom Line

  • There's actual R&D in these things

This company likes to tout their E-Shield coating system which, sadly missing a ‘green’ opportunity – has nothing to do with electrification. Rather, it refers to an exclusive protective coating cooked up by Wagner engineers in the lab and applied to all non-braking surfaces to prevent corrosion. The bag in which they are packed is said to have properties to reduce rotor prep time.

A targeted range of Wagner Premium rotors are manufactured with patented, application-specific vane designs that deliver greater cooling capabilities for more effective stopping power. These specialized rib designs deliver smoother braking by controlling noise, vibration, and harshness. Tight tolerance specifications reduce thickness variation and lateral run-out for a balanced rotor.

FAQs

Are aftermarket rotors better?

When comparing the aftermarket rotors with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), the latter are more reliable. Although they are a bit expensive, they are made of strong material and perform better. In addition, OEM rotors are a perfect fit, pretty compatible with the brake pads, and are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. This might not be the case with the aftermarket rotors.

Therefore, the bottom line is, if you’re planning to get a new set, you must considere paying a bit more and getting OEM rotors for your safety and reliability.

What are the longest lasting brake rotors?

Although the durability of rotors majorly depends on how you drive and the way you apply the brakes, under normal usage, the OEM set may last anywhere between 30,000 miles and 70,000. And if you are pretty good at driving, sometimes they may last even longer. Furthermore, if you install coated rotors, their lifespan can be increased significantly.

With that said, regardless of the type of rotors you prefer, listed below are some of the most durable ones that you may want to consider while buying:

Brembo UV Coated

These are a bit expensive but can be relied on.

Bosch OEM Style

Although many of these are not coated, they have received a decent number of positive reviews on Amazon and therefore can be trusted.

Power Stop Kit

Mostly available in a set that comprises rotors and brake pads, the company manufactures some of the best-selling and highly appreciated pieces of equipment for your car.

What is a good brand for brake pads and rotors?

Although everyone has their preference while selecting a brand, some of the best manufacturers of rotors include:

Power Stop

This company is best known for two of its rotor series namely K200 and Z23 kits that also come with ceramic brake pads. The stainless-steel discs ensure that the produced heat is distributed evenly across the entire piece of equipment, thus making it last longer.

Max Advanced

The discs manufactured by this brand have G3500 Grade Iron Castings that offer additional protection against corrosion. The company produces brake pads and compatible front and rear discs that are available in most regions across the globe.

ACDelco

Being in the market for the past 100 years, in addition to manufacturing reliable rotors that are mostly purchased by General Motors for OEM purposes, the company also produces calipers, brake shoes, pads, etc.

Even though there are several other brands that make decent quality products, the ones that are listed above have received good user reviews and are worth considering.

Are coated brake rotors better?

A short answer would be, yes, they have proved to be better when compared to uncoated rotors. While the latter are the standard rotors with an unprotected exterior that remains prone to corrosions and come cheap, the former have a coated layer that protects the surface and covers the vent holes, thus remarkably increasing the life of the rotors by making them almost rust-proof.

Although the coating itself tends to wear off over time which may make the vanes vulnerable to rusting, the other parts of the rotors remain protected against corrosions for a longer duration.

Are drilled and slotted rotors better?

It depends on how you are planning to use your vehicle. For cities and streets, you can safely use drilled and slotted rotors as the amount of heat that is generated while applying the brakes is not much. On the other hand, if you own a racing car or are mostly on the highways with no speed limit, having such rotors could be extremely dangerous as the slots and drilled holes make them quite vulnerable to cracks.

Generally speaking, to be on the safer side, it would be wise to stay away from the drilled and slotted rotors.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Wanich Sirilon / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Apr 06, 2022

    I've done too many brake jobs over time. In my house, "motor pool" is part of my portfolio, so... I've learned that it is always safe to buy OE...it will cost more, though. You can do better than OE, but you have to research, and buy the supplier for OE (ATE, Brembo direct) or something better (Mahle, Zimmerman). This will usually be a bit less than the same part with OE stamped on it. BMW/Benz will charge 2x for the stamped version. Watch Bosch, some of their stuff is good, some of it is postively GM in (lack of) Quality. Cheap discs don't have the same metal, and won't last as long, or warp (yes I know they don't actually warp). I did cheap-o discs on one car, and it wasn't worth the $ saved. Brake pads, I do OE in most cases, even if I do different rotors...you know it will work. People who complain about brake dust, go away...I'm not changing my pads because of dust. They are street cars, not racetrack, so no harder pads or "needs a warmup" compounds. I've found with a few cars your basic NAPA stuff is actually decent.

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Apr 06, 2022

    I was totally geared up to hate this "advertorial", and then its conclusions turned out halfway reasonable. Though it's still ludicrous to advocate a product based on its ad copy. One thing I think was overlooked is that, if you own a non-US vehicle (which I bet 90% of commenters do), there may be other brands you need to look at. Like ATE, Zimmermann, Akebono, etc.

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