You most likely currently have semi-metallic brake pads in your vehicle. The most common brake pads on the market have long been semi-metallic brake pads. The fact that these brake pads aren’t necessarily the best money can buy should be noted.
In recent years, ceramic vs. organic brake pads have both made compelling arguments for themselves. The next time your car needs new brake pads, you should think about choosing one of them.
In a car, brakes are just as important, if not more so. If you read through any maintenance manuals, you’ll find that brakes are one of the main areas where they all overwhelmingly recommend investing your money.
One of the most frequently replaced components of the brake system is brake pads. When it comes to purchasing new brake pads, there is a debate between organic and ceramic brake pads that many of us must settle.
How do you decide between ceramic vs. organic brake pads, though? What distinguishes them from one another? Here, we’ll attempt to respond to each of these queries. Understanding the differences between ceramic vs. organic brake pads is a prerequisite.
We’ll discuss their design, functionality, price, and replacement frequency in the sections that follow. With all this knowledge at your disposal, selecting organic brake pads over ceramic brake pads for your subsequent purchase will be a piece of cake for you.
Do not worry if the comparison of ceramic vs. organic brake pads does not yield a favorable result for you. To help you choose the best brake pad for your application, we’ll also take a quick look at some other categories of brake pads.
We will become acquainted with how a brake pad operates before delving into the specifics of each type of brake pad.
Describing Brake Pads In Detail
Before delving into the debate between ceramic vs. organic brake pads, let’s first discuss what brake pads are and how they work. Before delving too deeply into the ceramic vs. organic brake pad debate, it is important to understand what brake pads are. It will make it easier for you to comprehend why they are so crucial to the overall success of your car.
Performance Disk Brake Pads by Treemonster86 / CC BY-SA 3.0. Brake pads are part of a car’s braking system; they are designed to grip brake rotors so that a driver can use their car to slow down and eventually stop it.
A car’s braking system includes brake pads, which are made to grip the brake rotors and enable a driver to slow down and eventually stop their vehicle while operating it. When you press the brake pedal, your car will quickly slow down as long as the brake pads are in good condition.
But if you do nothing, brake pads can degrade over time and eventually stop functioning altogether. You should develop the habit of regularly replacing brake pads because of this.
It’s also the reason you should understand the distinctions between ceramic vs. organic brake pads. To ensure that you have no difficulties slowing down and fully stopping your vehicle, you should ensure that it has the best brake pads possible. You’ll discover that ceramic vs. organic brake pads both provide benefits that semi-metallic brake pads don’t.
How Is a Brake Pad’s Working Techniques?
Everyone is aware that modern braking systems stop a car from using high-friction surfaces. In a system with disc brakes, the brake pads grab the disc or rotor from both sides, slowing the wheel’s rotation.
When the driver depresses the brake pedal, the braking process begins. The force applied to the brake pedal is amplified by a brake booster that is located in front of the firewall. The brake booster raises the pressure using an engine vacuum. Here is a story that will help you understand how a brake booster works as well as the signs of a malfunctioning one.
This increased braking pressure is transmitted to a master cylinder by the brake booster. This brake fluid reservoir, which depends on a variety of variables, distributes brake fluid to the brakes on each wheel. By taking into account data from the wheel speed sensor, the ESP, and other sources, it determines the pressure required at each wheel.
The pressurized brake fluid is used to mobilize the brake pads when it gets to the calipers on individual wheels. The rotor is then subjected to pressure from the brake pads, which slows its rotation. Because the rotor and wheel are directly connected, when the rotor stops, so does the wheel.
A brake pad’s significance in a braking system is far too great to be disregarded. We do not take the purchase of new brake pads lightly for this very reason. This demonstrates the significance of the debate over ceramic vs. organic brake pads. Let’s dive right in and learn how they differ from one another in terms of functionality, price, durability, and other factors.
Ceramic Brake Pads: What are They?
Ceramic brake pads are first in the debate between them and organic brake pads. As their name would imply, they are brake pads made of ceramic, a material renowned for being incredibly robust and long-lasting. Choosing ceramic brake pads for your car has many advantages, but some drawbacks could exist.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceramic Brake Pads?
You’ll probably notice the true durability of ceramic brake pads as one of the first things about them. There is no comparison between ceramic and organic brake pads in terms of durability.
The lifespan of ceramic brake pads should be much greater than the lifespan of organic brake pads. In comparison to organic brake pads, ceramic brake pads are less abrasive on brake rotors, which is a major factor in why they won’t wear out as quickly.
Regarding ceramic brake pads, another feature that people have grown to love is their ability to function well in virtually any environment. No matter how hot or cold it may get, they can handle sudden temperature changes with ease and will still give you the performance you need.
Additionally, ceramic brake pads are known for producing a negligible amount of dust, so you won’t have to worry about it impairing the appearance and feel of your tires. Ceramic brake pads are a great choice because of all of these factors.
When contrasting ceramic brake pads with organic brake pads, there are a few drawbacks to using ceramic brake pads that you should be aware of. You’ll pay more for ceramic brake pads than for natural ones.
When all is said and done, they will be stronger than organic brake pads, but they won’t be quite as long-lasting as semi-metallic brake pads. These are just a few considerations you should have in mind when shopping for ceramic brake pads for your car.
Organic Brake Pads: What are They?
The name of ceramic brake pads makes it fairly obvious what material they are made of. However, it’s not quite as simple to do it with organic brake pads. Additionally, it is made more difficult by the fact that various producers of organic brake pads make their brake pads in various ways and with various materials.
However, organic brake pads typically include some combination of rubber, glass, and occasionally even Kevlar. Additionally, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing them for your vehicle, just like with ceramic brake pads.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Brake Pads?
One of the first things you’ll notice about organic brake pads when they’re installed in your car is how soft they are in comparison to ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads.
As a result, it will be simple for you to apply the brakes and get their attention. They won’t make a fuss and will slow you down in silence. In the debate between ceramic vs. organic brake pads, this is one area where they win.
Additionally, people now appreciate that organic brake pads are frequently less expensive than ceramic ones. Even though organic brake pads are made of a variety of materials, production costs are not very high.
And because of this, it’s simple for people to replace their brake pads on a budget. The next time you need to have your car’s brake pads replaced, keep this in mind.
Having said that, there are some significant drawbacks to using organic brake pads in your car that you should also consider when you’re shopping for new brake pads. You’re going to discover that organic brake pads wear out more quickly than other types of brake pads, first and foremost.
Since you’ll need to replace them more frequently than ceramic brake pads, this may very well cancel out the low price. When you choose to use organic brake pads, you’ll also notice that they produce more dust than ceramic ones and will eventually leave your tires messy.
As if that weren’t bad enough, organic brake pads frequently overheat when you drive for extended periods. Your brake pads may become more hazardous than necessary as a result and, in some cases, they may not function as intended. Because of this, you shouldn’t choose organic brake pads if you frequently make long car trips.
The disc brake assembly by The359 / CC BY-SA 3.0. Brake pads are one of the parts of the brake system that are changed the most frequently. There is a disagreement between organic and ceramic brake pads when it comes to new brake pad purchases.
Ceramic Vs. Organic Brake Pads: Which One Should You Choose for Your Car?
You might be able to choose between ceramic vs. organic brake pads now that you are more informed about them. Based on the benefits and drawbacks of each, most people have a general idea of which one they should choose.
We’ll go over who should consider choosing which choice in case you’re still unsure about which brake pads would be best for your car.
Ceramic brake pads are likely to be the best choice for you if you’re looking for brake pads for an economy-class car that you drive frequently. Every time, they’ll be able to deliver the level of performance you require.
On the other hand, organic brake pads might be the best option for your car if you’re looking for brake pads for a lightweight, compact vehicle.
When you need to replace them, these brake pads won’t cost an arm and a leg. They will withstand anything you can throw at them.
You probably won’t have to worry about trying to decide between ceramic vs. organic brake pads if you have a much larger vehicle. That’s because your car won’t be a good fit for either ceramic or organic brake pads. Consider switching to semi-metallic brake pads instead, which will perform better under stress.
Ceramic Vs. Organic Brake Pads: How Do Their Unique Constructions Differ?
The construction of these brake pads is the first factor to be taken into account when comparing ceramic vs. organic brake pads.
As their names imply, the biggest difference between ceramic vs. organic brake pads is in the materials used to make them. They have entirely different personalities as a result of the differences in the materials.
The way they react to braking, the feedback they provide to the driver, the amount of bite they can generate, the amount of dust they emit, their longevity, and many other factors all demonstrate this difference.
Let’s first examine the production process for organic brake pads and gain a thorough understanding of the most popular brake pad type.
Building of the Organic Brake Pads
Organic brake pads are made of organic materials, as their name suggests. As their main component, they primarily use substances like carbon, rubber, Kevlar, and glass. Additionally, a resin agent will be used to bind the components and create a brake pad.
Asbestos, a material despised for its cancer-causing qualities, was also employed as a friction-producing component. Even using it in small amounts is permitted. Look for a brake pad with the designation “NAO,” or Non-Asbestos Organic, if you want to purchase an organic brake pad without asbestos.
However, the most common way to distinguish between ceramic vs. organic brake pads—or metallic ones, for that matter—is the amount of metal in each. The material of organic brake pads contains less than 30% metal.
Ceramic is a substance known for being incredibly durable and long-lasting, and ceramic brake pads are brake pads made of ceramic.
Semi-metallic brake pads are those with a metallic content greater than 30%. After we resolve the argument between ceramic vs. organic brake pads, we will discuss these brake pads later in this narrative.
Returning to the organic brake pads, it should be noted that the majority of the vehicles you see on the road have them. These brake pads are cheap to produce and offer respectable performance for a commuter car with limited power.
A more thorough discussion of the differences between ceramic vs. organic brake pads will be saved for a later section. However, for a typical car, the performance of organic brake pads is adequate.
However, as the car’s performance rises, the necessary braking efficiency gradually outpaces it. This makes room for the discussion of ceramic vs. organic brake pads.
Building of the Ceramic Brake Pads
The following contender in the debate between ceramic vs. organic brake pads occupies the opposite end of the performance spectrum. Performance-wise, ceramic brake pads perform very differently from organic brake pads because they are made of totally different materials.
Ceramic brake pads use durable ceramic compounds, as their name suggests. To create a brake pad, these components are mixed with resins and bonding agents. Copper fibers may occasionally be incorporated into them to increase thermal conductivity and reduce friction.
It becomes clear that organic brake pads are more popular when compared to ceramic brake pads when the two are discussed. But this might be because ceramic brake pads are still fairly new on the market. They first appeared in the 1980s. The world of these high-performance brake pads has not yet been introduced to many drivers.
However, these ceramic brake pads have a lot to offer when compared to ceramic vs. organic brake pads. Despite having a lower level of popularity, their demand has been rising over time.
You now understand how to compare the materials of ceramic vs. organic brake pads. So, how would you rate their performance against each other? Let’s investigate.
Ceramic Vs. Organic Brake Pads: Differences In Performance
This is the most crucial information that any customer needs to know to choose wisely between ceramic vs. organic brake pads. Here, we’ll examine each of the essential qualities of a brake pad and compare ceramic vs. organic brake pads to determine which is best.
Here are some key characteristics in brake pads that would interest you or me as a customer.
1. Accumulation of Brake Dust
Brake dust is an absolute threat and requires no introduction to anyone who washes their car. It is disgusting to look at, and washing it away is equally frustrating. Keep organic brake pads away if you are a stickler for spotless wheels. Compared to other brake pad types, they produce the most brake dust.
They are made of an organic material that wears out more quickly because it is slightly more compressible. Every time you brake, this generates a lot of brake dust.
What you see adhering to your lovely wheels is this. Additionally, you will have to put up with this much more if you frequently take your car to enjoy track days. Hard braking creates a lot more dust than usual and eats into your organic brake pads more.
In terms of brake dust, ceramic brake pads represent a significant improvement over organic brake pads. These are well known for having a negligibly small amount of dust.
Ceramic brake pads are a significant advancement over organic brake pads in terms of brake dust. These are renowned for having incredibly little dust.
Even better, the minimal amount of dust they do produce can be easily cleaned. This is due to ceramic materials’ increased firmness and decreased compressibility.
So, if you prefer that your brand-new neon wheels continue to shine as they always have, organic brake pads might not be for you. If not, cleaning the dust off your wheels will be a daily task for you, and we doubt anyone would be content with that.
However, brake dust alone cannot provide a definitive answer to the debate over ceramic vs. organic brake pads. So let’s take a closer look at another feature of these brake pads that has people more intrigued.
Everyone needs this item for any part of their car that experiences wear and tear. Every time you brake, brake pads are used up. There is no getting around the fact that the friction that wears down your brake pads is what makes it possible for you to stop the car safely.
The only solution is to purchase brake pads with a longer lifespan. How long-lasting are organic brake pads compared to ceramic brake pads?
The brake dust comparison contains the answer to this query. How easily the brake pad material can be compressed directly relates to how long the brake pad will last.
It can wear out quickly if the brake pad material is highly compressible, like organic material. This is the cause of the increased amount of dust emanating from the brake pads. Organic brake pads have a reputation for wearing out faster.
However, when used regularly, day in and day out, organic brake pads can last a respectable amount of time. Of course, other brake pad types can endure longer in these circumstances.
However, you use up your brake pads more when you push the car. When you brake late and forcefully, organic brake pads deteriorate rapidly. in particular on a track.
Because they are made of less compressible materials, ceramic brake pads offer a solution to this issue.
As a result, the rotor can withstand the same amount of pressure from the ceramic pads without suffering significant material wear. As a result, every time you brake, your brake pads will last longer and produce less brake dust. Certainly a win-win situation.
3. Power In Stopping Your Car
We use brakes because it helps us to stop our cars, isn’t it? Therefore, comparing two brake pads based on how well they brake is the best possible method. On paper, organic brake pads might be superior to ceramic brake pads when it comes to stopping power. In contrast to reality, the story is different on paper.
The most popular type of brake pad in the automotive industry is the organic brake pad. Many merits contribute to this enormous popularity. Although an organic brake pad’s braking performance is inferior to a ceramic brake pad’s, it is still adequate for the majority of drivers and vehicles.
Huge braking performance is not required for a commuter car with low power. Rarely, sometimes not even once in its entire lifetime, does it reach colossal speeds. The majority of drives are restricted to city limits. Given this, the improved braking performance provided by a ceramic brake pad might not be worth the price.
When the pressurized brake fluid reaches the brake calipers on specific wheels, it is used to mobilize the brake pads.
However, this does not imply that ceramic brake pads are overpriced given what they can provide. The braking ability of these brake pads is much better than the braking ability of organic brake pads.
This superiority is obvious even in everyday driving situations. But when the car is pushed to its absolute limits, this is made abundantly clear. For instance, the better bite of ceramic brake pads on a track can result in later braking and quicker lap times.
4. Breaking Fade
It helps in this situation that ceramic vs. organic brake pads perform differently when exposed to heat. After a challenging operation, organic brake pads may experience brake fade. When they are stretched to the limit, the friction can cause them to become too hot and lose their ability to effectively brake the car.
These brake pads may eventually disintegrate if their thermal envelope is overstepped. If you intend to drive your car aggressively on a track, this is not ideal. When braking performance must be constant throughout the drive, organic pads fall short of expectations.
Contrarily, ceramic brake pads perform better thermally than organic ones. They have a wider operating window than organic brake pads and do not degrade as quickly at higher temperatures. In situations where organic brake pads typically do not function, this is advantageous.
Even when you push the brakes to the absolute limit, they still have a lot of bites. When we contrast organic brake pads with ceramic brake pads, this is one of the most obvious differences.
5. Brake Noise
When comparing ceramic vs. organic brake pads, there is almost always a clear winner when most characteristics are taken into account. The braking noise, however, is the one characteristic where they are practically equal in terms of performance.
When comparing the noise levels of ceramic vs. organic brake pads, there is no clear winner. Even when braking hard, neither kind of brake pad makes much noise.
This is not a test to compare the effectiveness of organic brake pads to ceramic brake pads. But it is something to think about because for many people, a squealing brake can be more than just an annoyance.
Ceramic brake pads make less noise than organic brake pads, despite the slight difference. In the beginning, the organic brake pads don’t make a lot of noise. The ceramic brake pads can further enhance it.
6. The Impact on Rotors
Another trait that lacks a clear winner is this one. However, unlike brake noise, when we base our comparison of ceramic vs. organic brake pads on this factor, we are unable to observe any differences in behavior. Brake rotors are less stressed by ceramic vs. organic brake pads, which increases their lifespan.
Brake rotor replacement is an expensive endeavor, so you don’t want brake pads to wear it down. Your brake rotor will appreciate it if you choose one of these types.
There is one type of brake pad you should avoid if you are concerned about brake noise or the lifespan of your brake rotor. They will be covered in the sections that follow.
A car cannot use high-friction surfaces when using modern braking systems. Disc brake systems slow the rotation of the wheel by grabbing the disc or rotor from both sides.
Ceramic Vs. Organic Brake Pads: Cost of Purchase
In the end, money is king. No matter a brake pad type’s capabilities, most customers are more concerned with price. Here is where the organic brake pads start to claw some lead back in the organic vs ceramic brake pad comparison. It is less expensive than other types of brake pads because it is made with affordable materials.
Due to the more expensive materials required to make them, ceramic brake pads are more expensive than organic brake pads. Therefore, organic brake pads are used by the majority of customers who do not require their brakes to perform exceptionally well.
Since the driving conditions they encounter are not particularly demanding, they do not spend extra money on ceramic brake pads. They might not have enough opportunities to benefit from a ceramic brake pad’s capabilities.
Because of this, most owners of small cars favor organic brake pads. Rightfully so. However, if you drive a heavier car or occasionally engage in spirited driving, you can spend money on ceramic brake pads.
There can only be one victor when performance alone is taken into account. The performance of ceramic brake pads is far superior to that of organic ones. But that alone cannot decide the debate between ceramic vs. organic brake pads.
We have a clear response to this question once the cost enters the picture. Spending money on ceramic pads is not necessary if you drive a commuter car within the city. But by all means, go ahead if you don’t mind spending your money on improved braking power.
It’s also not a good idea to use organic pads on a powerful vehicle. The additional braking power of ceramic brake pads can save your life in these circumstances.
Jim Wicks is the founder of MotorVehicleHQ. With over two decades of experience in the automotive industry and a degree in Automotive Technology, Jim is a certified car expert who has worked in various roles ranging from a mechanic, car dealership manager, to a racing car driver. He has owned more than 20 cars over the past 15 years. Ask him about any vehicle you see on the road and he can tell you the make, model and year. He loves the aesthetics of all things cars, and keeps his vehicles in pristine condition.
In his free time, Jim enjoys getting his hands dirty under the hood of a classic car or taking long drives along the country roads. His favorite car? A 1967 Shelby GT500, a true classic that, according to Jim, “represents the pure essence of American muscle.”