Best Performance Brake Kits for 2021

Baer Brake Systems
Continue reading for iKnowAuto's review of the best performance brake kits for 2021.
JUN 25, 2021

Brakes. Essential but not very sexy. You step on a pedal, the calipers squeeze the pads against the rotor, and the vehicle slows down and ultimately stops. Not too much to it, is there? Actually, if you drive in stop-and-go traffic, drive a Ford F 250 towing a 5,000-pound load of bricks or a nice-sized boat, bounce around crawling rocks off-road, or routinely take your ride to the track, there are many reasons why you should get to know the finer points of your brake system. Your life could depend on it.

As mentioned, brakes are essential and as vehicles have evolved, so has the technology, design, and materials used in brakes. While most sedans still have cast iron rotors as OEM, performance-oriented drivers have options that can save weight, reduce heat damage, minimize wear, and deliver better overall performance. With that in mind, here’s a quick primer on rotors to give you an idea of what performance brakes are about.

While braking systems (and performance brake kits) include more components than just rotors, we will focus on rotors because that’s where the stopping and heat occurs:

Best Performance Brake Kits: Smooth Brake Rotor

Smooth Rotors

Also known as blank rotors, smooth rotors are the most commonly found rotors in sedans and some crossovers. Because they are solid, they offer the most surface for the pads to grab, meaning faster stops. But because they provide so much space, friction is high, creating constant heating and cooling down, which can warp the rotor or otherwise shorten its lifespan.

Best Performance Brake Kits: StopTech Sportstop Drilled Brake Rotors

Drilled Rotors

These rotors have strategically drilled holes throughout the rotor, which help dissipate heat and evacuate dirt and debris. Ideal for bad weather conditions, they are susceptible to warping from excessive heat and should only be used on lighter vehicles.

Best Performance Brake Kits: EBC USR Slotted Brake Rotors

Slotted Rotors

Now we are getting into rotors for performance brakes. Slotted rotors have slots carved from the outer rim of the rotor angled into the center. This design traps air between the pad and rotor significantly reducing heat and improving performance.

Best Performance Brake Kits: StopTech Slotted & Drilled Front Pair Brake Rotors

Slotted and Drilled

The best (and priciest) of both worlds. This combination reduces weight and heat while offering optimal braking power

Who Makes The Best Performance Brake Kits?

There is no shortage of “performance” brake kits to choose from, but if you want the best performance and value, we would recommend:



A high-end brake manufacturer since 1961, they are the brakes of choice for the likes of Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Innovators in the brake industry, their unique manufacturing process enhances friction (stopping power) while controlling heat. If you are looking for the best, Brembo offers several aftermarket performance brake kits to choose from.

EBC Brakes: Apollo Balanced Big Brake Kits

EBC Brakes

If you drive a muscle car or premium import, EBC is your brand for rotors and pads. In business for over 35 years with an international reputation for high-performance brakes, Specializing in high-efficiency pads constructed with Aramid fiber enhanced with Ceramic granules to optimize grip on their slotted and ventilated rotors, EBC is a favorite with international racing teams. You don’t have to buy a Porsche or Lamborghini to get a set. EBC has aftermarket kits for your unique ride.



A favorite of performance enthusiasts and racing teams for their line of brake pads, rotors, and brake calipers, Power Stop has established an excellent name for itself since opening business in 1997. Their innovative use of materials and design include ceramic fiber compound for pads for durability and stopping power and drilled & slotted zinc plated performance rotors that dissipate heat and are rust-resistant. Top that off with some of the most competitive pricing in the industry, and you have a performance brake kit you have to see.

StopTech: Trophy Big Brake Kits


Designed for production-based racing cars and high-performance vehicles on the street and track, StopTech manufactures Big Brake and brake pads. Because their parts are typically larger than the OE parts they replace, Stop Tech has developed science in brake system design that does not throw the stock brake dynamics out of line as most big brake kits do. Check out their products for yourself by browsing our inventory.

Baer Brake Systems: Front Sport Rotor

Baer® Brake Systems

Another respected high-end brake and brake systems manufacturer, Baer®, is a favorite of the Street Performance, Racing, and Off-Road markets. When we say they make systems, we mean they manufacture disc brake rotors, brake pads, bump steer kits, wheel spacers, calipers, master cylinders, parking brake cables, and much more. Baer® is among the best performance brake makers on the market, and you can see all of their lines by browsing our inventory.

Hawk Performance: Talon Rotors

Hawk Performance

When you are ready for high-performance brake pads for your muscle car, heavy-duty pickup, or off-road ride, you are ready for Hawk Performance, the premier manufacturer of performance brake pads. Race-tested street-legal pads that have exceptional grip and durability. You can push your machine to the limit with confidence knowing Hawk pads will bring it to a controlled stop.

Check out our Performance Brake Kit Article!