At BuyBrakes.com, we'll help you find the right brake rotors for your vehicle and the way you drive. Our team has studied all the rotors we offer and categorized them by driving style, durability, and type. What you see here is an inventory of only the best brake rotors available.
You won't find a better selection or a better price anywhere else online, and if you don't find what you need right away, be sure to contact us for help.Check out our reviews:
It's hard to say which brand and style of brake rotors are the absolute best. However, there are some things to consider:
In terms of cost vs. performance, OE replacement rotors tend to be great in terms of cost, but mediocre on the performance front. Specifically, OE replacement rotors tend to have issues with high heat and brake fade during hard use. Performance rotors, on the other hand, are often slotted and cross-drilled, both of which reduce heat and improve fade resistance. But while drilled and slotted rotors stay cooler longer - and maximize contact with brake pads - both rotors and pads wear more quickly on this type of setup.
NOTE: If you want performance rotors but want to minimize the cost of replacing worn rotors, check out our 2 piece rotors, which can save you a little money if you're tracking your vehicle or even using it for a lot of towing and/or hauling.
And if you want to split the difference between a standard OE spec replacement rotor and a high performance slotted and cross-drilled rotor, you might check out one of our brake and rotor kits. These kits pair a quality rotor with a specific brake pad, the idea being that the combination is greater than the sum of the parts. Many people find that these pad and rotor kits perform better than OE brakes, yet don't cost as much to replace as a set of separate pads and rotors.
In terms of manufacturer recommendations, you definitely don't want to purchase a rotor that's inferior to the OE spec. If, for example, you put a cheap solid rotor on a pickup truck that came with vented rotors, you may find that the rotors and pads wear out extremely quickly. Instead of saving money, a cheap rotor can often cost you money. The same is true if a rotor isn't quite manufactured to the same dimensions as the OE rotor - if it's a little smaller, that can accelerate caliper wear and tear. Instead of saving a few bucks on a rotor, you're splurging on a set of new calipers.
At BuyBrakes, we address a lot of the issues people have with cheap rotors by refusing to sell/carry inferior products. All the brands we offer meet or exceed OE specs, and there isn't anything we sell we wouldn't install on our own vehicles. Still, even if you buy a quality rotor, if it's the wrong type of rotor for your vehicle it won't last.
Finally, if you're just not sure which brake rotors are best, try contacting the team at BuyBrakes.com. With our free concierge service, you get access to brake experts who know all about brakes for daily driving, off-roading, hauling, and racing. Just email, text, or call to learn more.
Generally speaking, any noise you hear from your brake system is not caused by your rotors. Brake rotors themselves should not contribute to noise, as it is the brake pad that makes the contact with the rotor and is the source of most squeaks, squeals, and vibration.
Having said that, the wrong combination of brake rotor and brake pad can be noisy. Ceramic brake pads - which are what we recommend for most vehicles - are usually very quiet when paired with a quality brake rotor. The exception would be performance rotors - because they're slotted and cross-drilled, they can sometimes contribute to brake noise. However, whatever noise they make is more than balanced by their increased stopping power.
If your vehicle's brake system is making noise, be sure to read our article about fixing squeaky brakes, as there are some good tips in there about quieting down your brake system.
The best way to explain the difference between slotted and drilled rotors is to explain all the possible rotor configurations: "Smooth," "Slotted," "Cross-drilled," and "Drilled and Slotted."
Smooth brake rotors (which may be "solid" or "vented") have a perfectly smooth surface. When a brake pad touches the surface of a smooth rotor, the wear of the pad is minimized compared to a slotted or drilled rotor. While the lack of grooves and/or drill holes has some negatives (smooth rotors can get hotter and are more likely to have contaminated surfaces), they're the ideal choice for a typical daily driven vehicle. They maximize brake pad life, they resist cracking and rust, they tend to last the longest of any rotor design, and yet they're still extremely capable in everyday situations.
If smooth rotors have a problem, it's that many of the cheapest rotors are not manufactured to the correct specifications. If a rotor is too thick or too thin - or even slightly out of round - it can cause all sorts of problems for the braking system (and your wallet). So, for that reason, we always recommend buying the best quality smooth rotor available. Even the nicest smooth rotors are cost comparable to OEM replacement rotors, but usually offer better wear and performance than a cheap OE replacement.
Slotted rotors have long grooves in a spiral pattern that serve two purposes. First, the slots channel any dust or contamination on the rotor or pad surface away from the rotor and into the air. The grooves basically make sure the pad and rotor surface stay as clean as possible.
The slots or "grooves" have another purpose too - cooling. The slots increase the surface area of the rotor, and also have a small impact on the airflow over the rotor surface. Both of these benefits are small, but it's fair to say that a slotted rotor has better heat dissipation than a smooth rotor, all else being equal.
Cross-drilled rotors have holes drilled thru them from the face to the back, the purpose of which is to keep rotors cool. Cross-drilled rotors have a much, much larger surface area than any smooth or slotted rotor, and tend to dissipate heat better than any other rotor design. This leads to better performance, especially in track or towing situations where brake fade is a big concern. Cross-drilled rotors also look cool, and many people say they perform better in wet conditions than a smooth or slotted rotor.
The increased cooling ability of cross-drilled rotors comes at a cost, however: Cross-drilled rotors are more expensive to replace than smooth rotors, tend to wear out more quickly than smooth rotors, and also tend to "chew up" brake pads more quickly than smooth rotors. For this reason, cross-drilled rotors are usually only found on performance vehicles. Still, whatever kind of vehicle you have, cross-drilled rotors (or drilled and slotted rotors) are the way to go if you're looking for maximum performance.
Drilled and Sloted rotors combine the benefits of slotted rotors (good clean contact surface) and cross-drilled rotors (great cooling) for maximum performance benefits. If a smooth rotor is the boring but reliable "Toyota" of the rotor world, then drilled and slotted rotors are the "Ferrari" or "Porsche" of the rotor world - exotic performance at a relatively exotic price. But if your primary concern is performance, go with drilled and slotted.
It's possible your brake rotors are worn if they have been under extreme heat or the brake pads and/or calipers aren't aligned right. If that's the case, you can resurface them. However, due to the cost and limited benefits of resurfacing (if a rotor has been damaged somehow, a resurface is only a temporary fix), replacement is often the best choice. Especially in a vehicle that's being used in a high performance or severe duty environment.
The easiest way to tell if your rotors are worn is to pay attention to the feel of your vehicle's brake pedal - and the motion of the steering wheel - while braking. If your rotors are worn, you'll often feel a pulsation in the brake pedal and/or you'll notice a small wobble in the steering wheel. You can also examine the rotor surface and look for signs of glazing, pitting, or uneven pad material deposits. And if you have a micrometer, you can measure rotor thickness in a few random spots and look for differences. A rotor with even just a little bit of dimensional variance is probably scrap.
Brake rotors are almost always made from cast iron or steel. While there are some other brake rotor materials - layered steel, high carbon steel, or even ceramics - you won't find those rotors on most vehicles.
Unfortunately, because of the use of cast iron and steel, brake rotor rust is somewhat inevitable. Still, there are some things that can be done to prevent rust, including:
One thing you do NOT want to do is use a rust inhibitor on the surface of your rotors. Rust inhibitor is a lubricant, and it can severely reduce brake system performance.