Battle of the brakes: Drum vs. disc


Brakes are one of the most vital components of your vehicle. Yes, they add swag — especially the ones with calipers painted in red — but more importantly, they safely bring your car to a halt.


  • What are the advantages of drum brakes?

    Drum brakes are quite common which makes them easy to source. They're also more affordable.
  • What are the advantages of disc brakes?

    Disc brakes have better reliability and are less susceptible to overheating.
  • Join us as we break down the differences between two of today’s popular braking solutions, drum brakes and disc brakes, to find out which of them better suits your needs.


    Drum brakes


    Drum brakes are considered the more practical option when one talks about stopping solutions. While both braking systems rely on friction and hydraulic pressure, drum brakes employ a more rudimentary setup. Drum brakes have heat-resistant shoes housed in a round “drum.” As the driver puts his foot down the brake pedal, a closed hydraulic system causes the shoes to press against the drum and bring the vehicle to a stop.

    This “drum” setup makes the braking system susceptible to heat. When used in high-stress driving conditions, drum brakes can overheat, in which case they could lose their ability to effectively stop your ride.

    On that note, drum brakes are often used on passenger vehicles as these automobiles are not used for demanding activities and are typically driven with the goal of going from point A to point B.

    Disc brakes


    Disc brakes are known for their ability to perform better in more stressful driving situations. Hence, they offer a more reliable option for those who drive their vehicles in more demanding conditions.

    To stop your vehicle, a disc brake uses a caliper that presses the disc brake rotor. Where drum brakes use abrasive shoes, a disc brake uses rough brake pads to clamp down the rotor. This system has a more exposed setup, therefore allowing the air to help cool down the pads.

    As a result, disc brakes are more resistant to overheating and can work under extreme pressure. You can see these braking solutions on race cars and high-performance vehicles.


    On paper, disc brakes are better than drum brakes. They offer a more reliable means of stopping your vehicle and can outperform the latter.

    That said, if your motoring needs aren’t exactly demanding, you could settle for drum brake-equipped vehicles. However, if you require a brake for more challenging driving conditions, then it’s recommended to choose disc brake-equipped vehicles or models that combine the use of the two.

    Photos from Brembo

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