What Are The Difference Between Ceramic And Semi Metallic Brake Pads?

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We all know that automobiles are complicated mechanical systems. They comprise several different systems that work together to make a vehicle run successfully. The braking system is an indispensable part of the automobile.

Let us take a quick look at the different types of brake pads and their functions through the following points:

  • What Are Brake Pads? How Do They Work?
  • What Are Ceramic Brake Pads?
  • What Are Semi Metallic Brake Pads?
  • Ceramic Brake Pads Vs. Semi Metallic Brake Pads

So, let’s look at what brake pads do and the difference between semi metallic and ceramic brake pads.

How Does A Brake Pad Function? Why Are They Important?

All automobiles have a set of different systems. The braking system is one of the most crucial vehicle systems, making the brake pads an indispensable component of that system.

The function of a brake pad is to provide the braking system with the friction necessary for a safe and smooth halt every time the car needs to stop.

There are different types of braking systems: drum brake systems are slightly different from disc braking systems. Nevertheless, all brake systems comprise of the following parts:

  • Rotors, also known as discs
  • Disc brake calipers
  • Hubs, and
  • Brake pads

They work simultaneously to slow down or stop an automobile with as much smoothness as is required. However, the function of brake pads is to come in contact with the discs or rotors and provide the friction according to the pressure input applied on the pedals by the driver.

This applied pressure helps to reduce the disc speed, thereby reducing the overall speed of the car.

What Are Ceramic Brake Pads?

Ceramic pads are, in a nutshell, the costliest option that you can go for, so far as the replacement of your brake pad is concerned. Their sole aim is to ensure that the driver experiences the utmost comfort.

Composition Of Ceramic Pads

They are made with a combination of ceramic materials and copper fibers.

Pros Of Ceramic Pads:

  • They do not make noise.
  • They retain stability in almost all climates.
  • They are clean and hardly produce any brake dust.
  • They are long-lasting.

Cons Of Ceramic Pads:

  • They cannot perform too well in freezing temperatures.
  • In addition, they are costlier if compared to other brake pads.

What Are Semi Metallic Brake Pads?

Semi Metallic Brake Pads are designed for performance. However, they might not be as comfortable to use as Ceramic pads but will exhibit a performance like no other. As a result, they are well suited for trucks carrying heavy loads, trailers, and race cars.

Composition Of Semi Metallic Brake Pads

They are made with iron, copper, and steel. The combination of these metals increases the power of the braking system to stop the vehicle.

Pros Of Semi Metallic Brake Pads:

  • They are durable.
  • They can work in extremes of temperatures.
  • Finally, they exhibit a brilliant performance.

Cons Of Semi Metallic Brake Pads:

  • They produce a lot of brake dust.
  • They are aggressive towards discs or other parts of the braking system.
  • They are comparatively noisier.

Semi Metallic Brake Pads Or Ceramic Brake Pads? The Debate

If we judge the overall difference between the two sorts of brake pads that exist, we will notice that the baseline is, after all, the materials with which they are made and the functions they are meant to perform.

Nevertheless, certain applications bring out a variety of advantages. Hence, these bits of information are crucial for all vehicle owners who wish to purchase a replacement brake pad.


If we consider the cost of brake pads, ceramic is not meant for you if you are planning an economical purchase. Ceramic pads are made of pure copper fibers and are way too expensive for commoners.

On the other hand, semi metallic brake pads will not cost you too much if compared with their ceramic counterpart.


Large vehicles like race cars and towing vehicles and those meant for performance are more likely to choose semi-metallic brakes.

On the other hand, ceramic pads are suited for – in the simplest of words – cars that do not require performance but provide utmost comfort to the vehicle’s driver.


Semi metallic brake pads are more durable. This is mainly because they are made using metals that assist in conducting heat, making them fit for withstanding extremes of temperatures. Compared to ceramic pads, they keep the system cool and prevent overheating upon braking more than usual.

However, Ceramic pads are not lagging far behind so far as durability is concerned. Moreover, they are said to have a quick recovery after facing extremes of temperatures. Hence, they cause minimum disc damage.


Ceramic pads are meant for sophisticated vehicles. Hence, they do not make as much noise as semi metallic brake pads do.


Ceramic pads leave little or no residue from the wear and tear of the tires. The residue they leave behind is finer than the debris left behind by semi metallic brake pads.

How To Choose The Correct Brake Pad For Your Vehicle

Even for automobile enthusiasts who know everything about vehicles, choosing between ceramic and semi metallic brake pads is difficult.

But what must be kept in mind while making a choice is that like all vehicles are made differently with different features, brake pads are meant for different purposes and vehicles. So thorough research is required for making a choice.

It is essential to know how brake pads work and what functions they serve. In addition, it is equally important to know which material of the brake pad will be tailor-made for your automobile/driving purpose.

While researching on this topic, you will soon realize that you cannot award one of them the title of the best brake pad. Instead, you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

For instance, if you look forward to a comfortable driving experience, Ceramic pads will not disappoint you. But if you own a sports car or are used to driving at high speed and expecting a soulful performance from your vehicle, you should opt for a semi metallic brake pad.


Pulling the brakes while driving differs not only from one vehicle to another. They depend on many factors like traffic, condition of roads, the purpose of driving, etc. Hence, brake pads that perform best on gravel roads might not work so well on race tracks. Also, there are pros and cons to all brake pads.

So, the one you find more durable may be the one that makes more noise. So, thorough research and knowledge about your vehicle and you’re driving needs will show you which brake pad suits your automobile the best.