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The Best Brake Rotors 2021

Brake Rotors

The brake rotor is often referred to as a brake disc and is part of the braking system that works via friction. The brake pads are pushed onto the rotors, which causes the vehicle to slow down due to friction as the rotors are directly attached to the wheel.

The best brake rotors are the Power Stop K137 Z23 Evolution Kit, which are drilled and slotted rotors that come as a package with ceramic brake pads.

Signs that your brake rotors require replacing include noisy brakes, vibration or pulsation sensation when braking and visible grooves in the rotor itself. Rotors usually become worn due to age or allowing brake pads to wear down too far.

Table of Contents

Best Aftermarket Brake Rotors

Brake RotorsTypePads Included
Power Stop K137Slotted/DrilledYes
EBC Brakes 3GD SeriesSlotted/DrilledNo
ACDelco 18A1705SmoothNo
Centric 120.40046SmoothNo
Wagner BD125654ESmoothNo

When it comes to the different options with regards to brake rotors, there are three main types. These include a smooth rotor, which is completely flat, slotted rotors that have angled slots and then drilled rotors, which have holes grilled all the way through.

Smooth brake rotors are the most common as they preserve the longevity of your brake pads and are the cheaper option. Slotted and drilled rotors are designed for performance with a more aggressive bite but will wear down your pads far quicker.

Brake rotors that are used for normal driving on a standard vehicle should last between 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Below is a list of the best brake rotors that will suit a range of different driving from commuting, towing and even racing.

Power Stop K137 Z23 Evolution Brake Kit

Power Stop is a premium braking brand that produce a variety of different brake rotors. This complete kit includes a set of drilled and slotted brake rotors and ceramic brake pads along with the hardware required to complete a brake overhaul.

Features of the Power Stop K137 Z23 Evolution Brake Kit include:

  • Cross-drilled and slotted rotors
  • Ceramic brake pads included
  • High performance design
  • Noise and dust free
  • Direct OEM replacement upgrade
  • Silver zinc dicromate plating

These brake rotors and pads have been designed for performance and heavy loads. The precision drill holes allow for maximum cooling whilst the rounded slots help remove gas and debris.

Overall, they are the best brake rotors and pads complete kit available and although fairly expensive, they are a worthwhile investment for those requiring performance.

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EBC Brakes GD7183 3GD Series

EBC is a premium brakes brand and the 3GD series has been developed for driving where the brakes will heat up. Therefore, these brake rotors are great for truck, SUV, towing and sport sedan usage. Features of the EBC Brakes GD7183 include:

  • Wide slots that run up to 200 degrees cooler
  • Dimple drilling to reduce stress cracks
  • Maintain flat and parallel pad wear
  • Reduced 3 slot venting
  • Massively reduce brake fade

EBC offer these brake rotors with the choice of colored gold and black or an all black finish. If your wheels show off your rotors, these provide an aesthetically pleasing design with the drilled and slotted rotors that are great for showing off.

Overall, they are the best brake rotors for towing, trucks and heavy vehicles that require performance for brake fade.

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ACDelco 18A1705 Brake Rotor

AC Delco is another big brand in the braking as they produce replacement parts for the majority of OEM vehicles. The brand offers replacement parts that deliver performance at an affordable coat. Features of the AC Delco brake rotors include:

  • Inspected for balance for smooth braking
  • Independently tested for noise, vibration and harshness
  • Designed for a long pad and rotor lifespan
  • Meet the SAE standard for structural integrity
  • High quality replacement rotors

AC Delco have througholy tested these rotors via independent tests for your peace of mind. They are so confident of these brake rotors that they provide a 2 year warranty regardless of the miles that you cover. Overall, they are the best replacement brake rotors that are relatively cheap to purchase and offer excellent performance.

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Centric Brake Rotors 120.40046

For those that are on a budget and simply wish to have a straight OEM replacement, the Centric brake rotors are the best option. Although they are cheap, they offer many features that are found on some of the more expensive brake rotors.

In terms of the features of the Centric brake rotors, they include:

  • Machined finish
  • Center split core castings
  • Mill balanced
  • Double disc ground
  • Black E-coating

The electro coating finish enables these brake rotors to withstand far great exposure to salt water than other alternatives. For additional durability, these rotors have also been mill balanced. Overall, these are one of the best brake rotors for the money and can be directly replaced with your OEM rotors.

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Wagner Brake Rotors BD125654E

Wagner is another budget brand that produce a range of brake rotors suited for daily driving. The BD125654E has a smooth surface finish and is a direct OEM replacement for your current brake rotors.

Features of the Wagner brake rotors include:

  • E-shield coating to prevent corrosion
  • Vapor corrosion inhibitor
  • Patented rib design for less noise
  • Reduced vibration
  • Straight swap with OEM rotors

Due to the low cost of these rotors, they are highly popular but its not just because of the price. The Vapor corrosion inhibitor makes them much quicker to install with less preparation required. Overall, they are cheap brake rotors that have premium qualities and will not disappoint.

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Brake Rotors Buying Guide

As you begin to slow down your vehicle, your brake rotors are under extreme stress via the power of friction. The brake pads will push against the rotor in order to slow down the car and overtime, this will cause wear and tear.

It is estimated that you should change your rotors every 50,000 miles but some cars may require them much earlier than that. You may also want to upgrade your rotors to suit a certain driving style.

To help you make an informed decision on which brake rotors to buy, we have produced a detailed buying guide below.

Smooth Brake Rotors

Types of Brake Rotors

As you can imagine, there is a range of brake rotors that are suitable for different vehicles. For example, a Ferrari is going to have different rotors to a low value car because they will be designed for performance based driving. Brake rotors are either smooth, slotted, drilled or a combination of drilled and slotted.


Smooth rotors (often called blank) are ideal for daily driving conditions with more than enough stopping power. There is a large surface area and they are not prone to cracking under abnormal usage. They are found on most standard manufacturer vehicles due to their low cost and longer lifespan. However, without the slots or drilled holes, the rotors and pads will stay hot under performance driving.


Rotors that are slotted have grooves cut where the brake pad makes connection with the rotor. This will allow any built-up gases to escape and therefore allow both the rotors and pads to cool quicker, which prevent glazing of the pads and brake fade. Compared with the drilled alternative below, slotted rotors have more pad contact, which means a stronger bite and consistent stopping.


As with the slotted rotors, the drilled alternative effectively helps remove gas and dust build-up as well as allowing water to escape. However, drilled holes are mostly used for aesthetic compared with slotted rotors above.

Drilled & Slotted

The most expensive brake rotors are a combination of the performance from the slotted type and the aesthetics from the drilled type. They are excellent for heavy vehicles such as trucks or those that regularly tow with their vehicles.

Slotted Brake Rotors

Brake Rotors for Different Types of Driving

Whether you are commuting to work or racing around a track, you will want to buy brake rotors suited towards you specific car. The standard smooth brake rotors are cheap and all that you will need for commuting. If you are noticing that they are getting hot quite regularly due to the nature of your driving, you may want to upgrade to a set of drilled or slotted rotors.

For those that are frequently towing with their vehicles, you may already have a trailer brake controller already setup. However, upgrading your rotors to a slotted or drilled type of rotor can remove excessive heat from the heavy load braking and increase your stopping power.

Racing your car around the track require an upgrade from your standard OEM brake setup. Slotted or drilled brake rotors are essential but some may upgrade to a bigger setup to further improve performance out on the track.

Wear and Tear of Rotors

You have probably heard the terminology named “warping” used when discussing the wear of brake rotors. Brake rotors can become warped due to excessive heat from braking and the end result is usually vibration when braking. These should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure your brakes are fully functioning.

However, the most common reason for premature wearing of rotors are allowing your brake pads to wear down too far. This will cause direct damage to your rotors and should be avoided at all costs unless you are replacing them anyway.

Signs that your brake rotors need replacing include excessive noise, vibrations, pulling to one side or visible grooves or score marks in the rotor. If you notice any of these, be sure to find replacement brake rotors at your nearest opportunity. Below is an example of worn rotors where you can see a raised lip on the outer edge.

Replacement Brake Rotors

Replace Rotors and Pads at Same Time

If you do not replace your pads at the same time as the rotors, you will save money and time but we do not advise it. Pads are relatively cheap anyway and its worth ensuring that you are able to get the most from your new rotors.

Using old brake pads on a new brake rotor may have the result of causing uneven wear on the rotor. This will mean you will be changing the rotors far earlier and you will have reduced stopping power. We highly recommend changing them both for a maximum lifespan and performance.


Replacing your brake rotors is fairly straightforward for the majority of vehicles. If it is your first time replacing them, this tutorial guide is a useful resource to follow. Be sure that you have the correct rotor prior to starting the installation as you will have to remove many components to get to the rotor itself.

All of the recommended brake rotors above are suitable for a range of driving styles from commuting to performance. We highly advise that you change both the pads and the rotors at the same time to reduce uneven wear.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always likes to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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