OEM & ODM services for automotive braking system since 2002 - Frontech Auto Parts

Differences Between Low Metallic and Semi Metallic Brake Pads


While the vehicles we drive have evolved from standard fossil fuel vehicles to hybrids or even fully electric cars and vans, the braking systems across most automobiles have remained virtually unchanged for the last few decades.

In fact, of the 79.3 million passenger cars produced in 2018, it’s estimated 95% of these used brake pads and only 5% used the older-style drum brakes which were patented and popularised in the 1900s before being replaced in the 1960s by brake pads. This improved the safety of vehicles on the road and also supported the production of larger, heavier passenger vehicles, including hybrids and electrics which are heavier than their fossil fuel counterparts due to their lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. 

However, although braking system technologies have remained consistent over the years, brake pads have evolved from organic fibre brake pads to re-inforced metallic brake pads (and, in the last 20 years, even ceramic brake pads!). 

What are semi metallic brake pads?

Semi metallic brake pads can vary in composition depending on their intended use. They can contain anywhere between 30-70% metal and metal alloys (including steel, copper, and iron), and the remainder of the materials can consist of man-made and organic compounds such as vermiculite, silicates, and graphite lubricants. Semi metallic brake pads are renowned for their durability, which is why they’re often used in heavier or high-performance vehicles. 

What are low metallic brake pads?

As the name may suggest, low metallic brake pads, have a smaller percentage of metal components – usually around 10-30% on average) – and tend to use primarily copper or steel, which are softer materials. This does mean low metallic brake pads wear faster than semi metallic, however, they are considered safer at higher speeds due to their ability to dissipate heat very fast and provide optimal braking conditions. 

Are low metallic or semi metallic brake pads better?

Determining the best brake pads for a vehicle will depend on where it’s driven, how it’s driven, and the type of vehicle (amongst other factors). Low metallic brake pads tend to perform better in colder climates and are considered high-performance brake pads. They’re also cheaper than semi metallic brake pads and may be a good upgrade for cars using organic brake pads as they are quiet and produce little dust. 

Semi metallic brake pads, however, are better suited to larger, heavier vehicles such as SUVs which are very popular across the world. They also have a longer-than-average lifespan as they are heavier and more durable due to their high metal content, making them comparable to ceramic brake pads but without the price tag! (See our mechanic’s guide for more info). Semi metallic brake pads can produce more dust depending on their brake disc pairing and metal components, so it’s worth keeping in mind that although they are very durable, they are not suitable for use with slotted brake discs (rotors) as this will wear them faster.

What type of brake pads are quietest?

Low metallic brake pads are quieter than semi metallic brake pads due to the reduction in the metal components, making their sound performance more comparable to ceramic brake pads, especially at high speed or in low temperatures. 

Looking for a new brake parts supplier? Contact our team today!

We’re a trusted brake pads manufacturer with a 5* rating on Google and Alibaba (as well as having a 100% on-time delivery rate!). Contact us any time via our contact form, via email at sales@frontech.com, or by sending us a message on WhatsApp at +86 1531 832 9151 where a member of our team will be happy to assist. We are open from 8am to 5:30pm Monday – Friday and aim to get back to all enquiries within 24 business hours.

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Contact person: Allen Sun
Tel: +86 18054616875
Email:  salesteam@frontech.com
F4-504, Optics Valley Future City, Dongwu Road, Dongying City, Shandong Province, China

Frontech brake pads supplier was established in 2002. It integrates R&D, design, manufacturing and sales, focusing on automotive braking systems. 
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