The 10 Best Brake Calipers
This wiki has been updated 2 times since it was first published in May of 2019. Driving with worn-out brake calipers is a serious safety hazard, which makes replacement a top priority. But the variety of available parts can make it hard to pick a suitable option. Our selections should help you make your choice, as we've included a trustworthy selection of both original equipment and performance options suited to most budgets, vehicles and driving styles. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best brake caliper on Amazon.
Bendix Bendix was the first company to design a four wheel braking system, back when braking only 2 wheels was the standard on automobiles. Through the use of innovative training programs for independent auto repair shops and technicians they continue to be a step ahead of many aftermarket competitors in ensuring a long-life and good performance from their products. Not the top performing or best value when comparing features or specifications, they are still one of the premier companies in the aftermarket braking industry and a trust-worthy choice for replacement parts. bendix.com
Brembo From trucks, to SUVs, exotic sports-cars, sedans and more, most automotive manufacturers use Brembo brakes on the most powerful models they produce. Built in Italy from aluminum alloys with mono-block construction for unmatched strength, many experts consider Brembo to be the premier manufacturer of brake parts in the industry. If you have a high-performance sports-car or want your daily driver to stop like one by upgrading to the same multi-piston, ultra light-weight brake systems used in cars equipped with 1000 horsepower from the factory, then Brembo may be your best option. brembo.com
June 12, 2019:
When creating this list we made sure to only rank manufacturers that meet original equipment standards. However, not all original equipment parts are the same. The auto parts industry has 2 types of companies, Original Equipment Manufactures, or OEM, and aftermarket manufacturers. ACDelco is an OEM for GM, while Centric is an aftermarket manufacturer. All of the companies presented here build their parts to meet the factory's original equipment specifications, they are not all tested to the same quality control standards though. Aftermarket companies generally test to Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, standards. These are the most used set of testing procedures in the automotive industry. However, car manufactures from different regions do not solely specify SAE testing procedures to their OEMs. American manufacturers have the American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM, procedures also. Additionally, there is the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization, or JASO, for Asian car companies as well as proprietary tests specified by individual companies.
An OEM supplier like Motorcraft will use standard SAE procedures in addition to ASTM and others specified by Ford Motor Company. An aftermarket supplier like Callahan will test to the SAE standards. This does not mean Callahan brakes are any less reliable, it does mean some things like pedal feel or height may not be identical to factory though. Whereas installing Motorcraft calipers on a Ford product will result in your brakes feeling exactly like they did when brand-new if the rest of the system is also new Motorcraft parts, otherwise it will be very close. The top aftermarket manufacturers, such as Raybestos and Wilwood, will use multiple standards as well as have their own tests to ensure function exceeds original equipment in various ways like quietness or stopping power.
Besides deciding on OEM or aftermarket parts, you also have a choice between remanufactured and brand-new. Remanufactured, or rebuilt, parts are made by reusing the original housing and sometimes the piston, screws, bolts, and washers depending on the manufacturer, model, or wear on the original parts. All rebuilds have the rubber parts replaced. Remanufactured parts are widely used, have a reputation for reliability and are normally cheaper than brand-new parts. However, they will often require a core deposit or charge. This core charge is waived if you bring in the used parts when purchasing a replacement. It can also be refunded back if you bring the core in afterwards. Often, if you cannot provide a core, a brand-new part will be cheaper. Otherwise, when pressing down on the brake pedal and coming to a stop, most drivers it will have a hard time telling the difference between brand-new calipers and remanufactured ones. Regardless, brand-new will outlast remanufactured under hard use, like high speed or off-road driving situations.
Other than where indicated, the entries on our list are all semi-loaded. This means they come with everything needed for use other than brake pads. By being semi-loaded they allow you to choose whichever pad you prefer. In most cases, these same calipers are also available loaded, or including pads, if that is better for you.
When deciding on our list we took into account: quality control procedures, length of time in business, price point, amount of re-used parts, quality of rubber, seals, washers, use of OE blueprints or reverse engineering procedures and more to create a comprehensive ranking of the options available currently. However, this is a general list suited to a wide range of vehicles and not all have the same needs or use the same part suppliers. A 25 year-old work truck, 7 year-old sedan, 1 year-old exotic and 100 year-old classic all have very different specifications and not all OEM or aftermarket manufacturers will make parts for everything. Add in that some parts suppliers focus on domestic, while others focus on foreign and you begin to understand why factoring in your specific vehicle and driving style becomes important when making a final decision. If you drive easily and have a newer vehicle it will probably be best to purchase a factory-replacement remanufactured unit. If you "drive it like you stole it" or your car is an older model, then it may be time to consider upgrading or purchasing newly manufactured parts. Once deciding your needs, make sure to verify a part is available to fit the year, make, model and options of your vehicle before ordering. We did our best to make sure that there is at least one manufacturer listed who makes parts to include most cars, trucks, SUVs, coupes, etc. on the road today regardless of age or country of origin.
Many of these choices are designed for simple replacement, regardless there are very specific procedures that must be followed to ensure proper function and safety. Professional installation by a certified technician is always suggested.