Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads : Which one is Better?


The braking system is more than just pressing down on the brake pedal.

The network hosts a number of interconnected parts that work in harmony to bring your car, truck, or motorcycle to a stop. One of the essential components is the brake pads.

Pads are the parts that come into contact with brake rotors to apply pressure and create friction when the driver stomps on the pedal to slow down the wheel.

Brake pads are literally the backbone of the braking system.

Imagine holding tight on a fast spinning heavy metallic disc until it stops, and doing it countless times without complaints! Well, that’s the role of brake pads.

It’s therefore advisable to pick the right pads that will serve you for the time you speculate.

They also need to be effective and of high quality, depending on your vehicle. Having a braking failure can be life-threatening.

Comparison – Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Here is a quick comparison of ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads

Ceramic PadsSemi-metallic Pads
Can operate both in hot and cold climatesGreat for colder climates. They heat up in warmer climates
Wear out brake rotors fasterHave less abrasive effects. Better in preserving brake rotors
They retail at higher pricesLess expensive compared to ceramic pads
Super-strong compound that's highly durable hence longer lastingThey have a shorter life than ceramic pads
Produce lighter and less dust keeping the wheels cleanerThey generate black dust that easily sticks on wheels
Quieter while brakingLouder compared to ceramic pads
Not recommended for heavyweight towingBest for heavyweight towing as they preserve wheel rotors

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic Brake pads came into the market in the 1980s and have since been preferred by many car owners.

They feature a blend of sturdy ceramics plus copper fibers embedded together into a brake pad.

This material is sufficient to withstand high temperatures and work in extreme conditions without failure.

Compared to semi-metallic pads, these pads recover faster after a stop. They are also known to produce less dust that doesn’t easily stick on the wheels. Below is a breakdown.

Benefits of Ceramic Brake Pads

  • Less noisy than semi-metallic brake pads
  • With these pads, car wheels maintain a cleaner appearance for a more extended period
  • Super-strong ceramic compounds last longer and have little abrasion effects on the rotors.

Drawbacks of Ceramic Brake Pads

  • Compared to semi-metallic pads, ceramic pads wear the brake rotors faster
  • More upfront costly than semi-metallic pads
  • Not practical for heavyweight towing or race cars.

What’s most admirable is the fact that they produce less dust during operation.

The compound making the ceramics produces less noticeable dainty dust that doesn’t easily stick on the car wheels. This keeps the wheels cleaner for longer.

Ceramics also exceed almost all other compounds in durability, stopping distance and are the quietest while braking.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

These brake pads incorporate metallic fibers as a portion of the brake pad compound.

Fine metallic fibers are used to make high quality, more costly brake pads.

Cheaper and lesser quality brake pads have compounds with coarse, bigger portions of metal. Here, what you pay for is what you get.

Advantages of semi-metallic brake pads

  • They are more rotor-friendly than ceramic brake pads
  • Semi-metallic pads are more budget-friendly compared to ceramic pads
  • They are effective for short trips and recommended in colder climates. They have a better grip in lower temperatures.
  • Options for both heavyweight towing operations and track-ready pads are available

Cons of semi-metallic brake pads

  • They produce noticeable noise compared to quiet ceramic pads
  • Produce black dust that sticks on wheels
  • They have a shorter life span compared to ceramic pads.
  • These pads are right for you if you are regularly involved in heavy-duty towing activities, constantly race your car, or live in a colder climate. If your vehicle is for shorter trips that don’t accord the pads enough time to heat up, semi-metallic pads are the best for you.


Ceramic and semi-metallic pads both have their pros and cons, so it’s not outright to recommend the best pads for your car.

What’s advisable is that you consult with your vehicle’s manufacturer or brake specialists for professional recommendations.

It’s also important to consider the activities you undertake with your vehicle to determine the most suitable brake pads.

If yours is a race car, semi-metallic pads are the best. If you have a muscle car for towing and live in hot areas, again, ceramic pads are the best.

Opt for ceramic pads when your budget can fit, and if you are involved in long-distance travels where your brake pads easily heat up.

About Sharon Martin

Sharon is a woman of many talents. She loves to work on power tools and provides handyman services. Sharon has expertise with both woodwork and metalwork, so she's always prepared for any job! When not working, Sharon can be found listening to country music or spending time with her cats.