Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (2024)


Are you looking for higher performance brake discs for your car, but you don't know how to choose between drilled discs and slotted discs? The choice between the two types, however, is not that difficult. You simply need to know the advantages and contraindications of each type of brake disc. ​

Have no fear, Brembo will help you solve the dilemma: drilled or slotted? By the end of this article, you will know which type of disc best suits your needs. We will let you know right away that, compared to a standard disc, both ensure better grip, better dispersion of the gases and more effective performance in the wet. However, be aware of the quality. Not all drilled discs are the same and neither are all slotted discs.​

Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (1)

Before we get into the choice between drilled and slotted discs, it is only right that we discuss the quality of the brake discs you are about to purchase. Any comparison only makes sense if all other conditions are equal. Before tackling the dilemma of whether to purchase drilled or slotted discs, it is only appropriate to make sure you choose a brand capable of ensuring quality, safety and reliability.​

From this point of view, Brembo's almost 60 years of experience manufacturing brake discs and braking systems for racing represent an unrivaled guarantee. In fact, Brembo not only manufactures both types of discs, but also provides quality standards that no other manufacturer can match. ​

Research and development, laboratory and road tests, production and distribution: control over the entire production cycle lets Brembo offer a range of brake discs with outstanding performance, reliability, long life and comfort in all conditions of use.​

​​​You might also be interested​:

5 differences between Brembo Xtra drilled and Brembo Max slotted discs


Both have something more to offer than standard discs, but they differ from one another because of various benefits​​


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Brembo controls all phases of the production process: design, development, testing, casting, machining, assembly, distribution and technical support. Production of OEM equipment takes place in the car manufacturers' approved plants. In the same plants and with the same machinery, Brembo also makes the Aftermarket or Upgrade products which therefore benefit from the same high technological value destined for the original components. For the spare parts market, Brembo provides two lines of products, both characterized by the presence of drilled and slotted discs. ​

The Aftermarket line covers more than 98% of the vehicles on the road and it comes alongside the traditional discs with neither slots nor holes, as well as the Brembo Max discs (with slotted braking band) and the Brembo Xtra (with drilled braking band). The High Performance line, on the other hand, is intended for a sportier target and includes both integral (Sport) and two-piece (Gran Turismo) drilled and slotted discs with aluminum housing and braking band in drilled or slotted cast iron. ​


Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (3)


So, nobody can give you better advice than Brembo on which type to choose. Below, we'll review the characteristics and respective advantages of the two types of brake discs, for the sake of simplicity looking at Brembo Xtra (drilled) and Brembo Max (slotted) discs that can be considered the Brembo range entry level. ​

The same considerations are obviously valid in general for all drilled and slotted discs and also for the discs in the High Performance line. The latter are available in both finishes and are intended for all enthusiasts who want reliable brake discs on the road and superior discs on the track.​

Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (4)

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Why do drilled or slotted discs improve braking​

The presence of holes (Brembo Xtra) or slots (Brembo Max) on a brake disc is a guarantee of better grip and certainly a more responsive and effective braking system. This effect is due to the surface of the holes or slots which ensure, especially in the initial braking phases, better performance thanks to a higher friction coefficient than that of standard discs. ​

Another important advantage to using drilled and slotted discs is the constant renewal of the pad friction material. The holes also interrupts the sheet of water that can deposit on the braking surface in the rain. For this reason, even in the case of wet roads, the system responds efficiently from the very first braking operation. In the same way, the slots, which face outward, ensure more effective dispersion of any water that may be on the disc surface: the result is more uniform behavior in any weather conditions.​

In the same way that they disperse water, holes and slots also provide better capacity for dissipation of the gases that form due to the high temperatures between the pad and disc surfaces.​

When they reach high temperatures, these gases created by the combustion of the resins that make up the friction material, can cause the phenomenon of fading, which reduces the friction coefficient between disc and pad, with a consequent loss of braking efficiency. The presence of holes or slots on the braking surface allows for rapid expulsion of these gases, quickly restoring optimum braking conditions.​

Ultimately, both types of discs, Brembo Xtra and Brembo Max, are two outstanding solutions for anyone who wants sporty driving, without compromising comfort and the life of discs and pads. The differences compared to standard discs are both aesthetic and of a practical nature. On the other hand, let's talk about the differences and circ*mstances that tip the scales toward one type as opposed to the other. ​

​​​You might also be interested​:

Brembo Xtra drilled discs: 5 mistakes not to make​​

Not all drilled discs provide the same performance. Which aspects to consider in order to avoid a substandard product​​


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Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (6)

Who is the slotted disc for​


The slotted disc is generally recommended for those use favor a more “extreme” use of the disc. For all types of brake discs, particularly for those with machining on the braking band as in the case of drilled and slotted discs, Brembo conducts numerous bench and road tests in order to meet the performance and thermal-mechanical needs of the braking system in the widest possible range of operating conditions. ​​

This prevents the risk of cracks forming both for the drilled and slotted discs. Nevertheless, limitedly to use in extreme conditions, as racing conditions can be, or even simply for track sessions, the slotted disc boasts greater mechanical resistance compared to the drilled disc, so it should be preferred.​

Therefore, the Brembo Max discs could be more suitable for those who favor substance, since the slots, in addition to providing greater resistance to cracks – although only in extreme conditions like racing – also provide a valid tool for recognizing when it's time to change the disc. ​

​The differences in terms of performance are basically non-existence, especially if we consider sporty use, albeit still on the road. We need to point out, in order to avoid inappropriate use and therefore to avoid a pointless expense, that use on the track requires another type of product, designed specifically for racing.​

Enter the information on your vehicle to find the specific part number that best suits you​​​ ​ ​

Who is the drilled disc for​​​


For those, on the other hand, who do not expect to subject their brake discs to extreme operating conditions, the “drilled disc” option is preferable because one of the benefits of this version is that it provides greater cooling capacity. ​

Both the drilling and the slotting are designed specifically to guarantee superior heat dissipation compared to standard discs. Nevertheless, the presence of holes implies greater heat dissipation capacity during braking than that guaranteed by the slots that characterize the slotted discs.​

The Brembo Xtra discs could also be better suited for those who are more attentive to the aesthetic side since for most enthusiasts, the drilled disc is synonymous with sportiness.​​

Enter make, model and type to find the Brembo Max brake disc for your car ​

Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (7)

Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (8)

Don't forget the right pads​​​​

However, be careful not to nullify the selection of a sporty brake disc (slotted or drilled) with the purchase of an unsuitable set of brake discs. In fact, disc and pads must work in unison, so a sporty disc demands suitable pads: using an unsuitable pad would greatly reduce the performance of the braking system, even with a slotted or drilled disc.​

The Brembo Xtra pads are the ideal solution for enhancing the characteristics of Brembo Max and Brembo Xtra discs. Excellent performance and total control of braking action fully satisfies the pleasure of sporty driving, without compromising comfort and life in use on the street.​

Coupled with Brembo Max and Brembo Xtra discs, this technical solutions passes the most critical tests, both on our static and dynamic test benches and in road tests, even for cars in the medium segment for which the high performance XTRA and MAX discs range is intended.​

​With more than 30 different components, the special BRM X L01 compound is characterized by a high friction coefficient, which translates into more decisive and stable braking, both at high and low temperatures. All of this without sacrificing high driving comfort and better modulability of the pedal and without compromising the mileage of the product.​

For the most demanding​


For those, on the other hand, who alternate a city driving style with a more aggressive one, the ideal solution is represented by discs in the Brembo Sport line. These discs were designed to contain the temperature increase and any risk of disc deformation and they can be both drilled or slotted.​

Coupling Brembo Sport discs with the pads in the same range, the advantages of the best discs for road use can be achieved, namely long life, comfort and consistently top notch performance. Brembo Sport discs are subjected to a gold galvanization process in order to give your car a modern and attractive look.

Brembo Sport Distributors​

Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? (2024)


Which brake disc should you choose? Better drilled or slotted? ›

Given the choice between drill holes and slots, the drill holes will give you better braking power over slots for normal city/highway driving. This is why high end BMW, Porsche, Corvette, and Mercedes rotors are drilled, not slotted. However, for track racing (high speed stops), slotted rotors are the better choice.

Which type of disc brake is best? ›

Thanks to the smart technology, hydraulic disc brakes offer the best braking performance of all brake types. Even in wet weather or mud, the braking performance remains consistent. Because the hydraulic disc brake works with a brake oil, you are able to brake very well.

What are the disadvantages of drilled brake discs? ›

Noise and Vibration: In some cases, drilled and slotted brake discs may produce more noise and vibration during braking compared to solid discs. This can be attributed to the irregular surface of the discs and the interaction between the pads and slots.

What are the best rotors for daily driving? ›

Blank Rotors are the best choice for normal daily driving in standard terrains and consistent weather conditions. On the contrary, blank rotors are also the best choice when doing extremely aggressive driving such as racing.

Do drilled and slotted rotors warp less? ›

Yes, slotted and drilled rotors can help prevent warping by allowing better heat dissipation. The slots and holes in these rotors provide more surface area for air to flow through, which helps cool the rotors more efficiently during intense braking.

Are slotted or drilled brake discs better? ›

The choice between drilled and slotted rotors ultimately depends on your driving habits and the intended use of your vehicle. If you frequently engage in high-performance or racing activities, drilled rotors may be the better choice. For everyday driving and versatility, slotted rotors are often recommended.

Are drilled and slotted rotors good for daily driving? ›

While drilled and slotted rotors may provide improved cooling and extended brake pad life, they may not be necessary for daily driving unless the vehicle is subject to heavy loads or experiences warping rotors.

What rotors are best for rain? ›

If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rain, drilled rotors are a very good choice. They perform well in rainy climates by offering a good “wet bite,” hold up well over the life of the rotors, and deliver more friction and more bite than their slotted counterparts.

What type of rotors last the longest? ›

Generally, blank/smooth rotors tend to have a longer lifespan than drilled or slotted rotors due to their larger surface area and absence of stress points. Drilled rotors, on the other hand, are more prone to cracking under extreme stress, which may shorten their lifespan.

What are the best brake pads for everyday driving? ›

Ceramic brake pads have excellent stopping power and disperse heat well. Ideal for most normal driving applications, they produce very little dust or noise and are long lasting. Many foreign and domestic vehicles are equipped with ceramic brake pad formulations from the factory.

Do slotted and drilled rotors crack? ›

Previously we discussed possible benefits of cross-drilled disc brake rotors, but there's a downside, particularly on street-driven cars subject to repetitive heating and cooling cycles: it creates stress-risers, leading to crack propagation from the drilled holes.

What is the advantage of drilled slotted rotors? ›

Drilled Rotors

Why? Because their surface is peppered with holes, enabling better cooling and water dissipation. They help maintain braking performance even in high-speed or extreme conditions, such as racing or when hauling heavy loads.

How long does it take to break in drilled and slotted rotors? ›

Procedures on How To Break In New Brake Rotors And Pads

Drive safely and normally for the first 400-500 miles to bed-in the brake pads and rotors. Gradually allow the brake pads to transfer a layer of friction material to the rotors.

What brake discs are best? ›

Bi-Metal Discs

Bi-metal discs are particularly suited for performance vehicles and those used in advanced driving conditions. Their ability to handle high temperatures without warping makes them an excellent choice for drivers who demand that bit more from their braking system.

What are the three types of disc brakes? ›

There are three main types of disc brakes commonly used in vehicles: Wave-Type, slotted, and drilled. Wave-type disc brakes are a type of disc brake that features a wavy or undulated design on the friction surface for improved performance and heat dissipation.

Which is better hydraulic disc brake or mechanical disc brake? ›

Hydraulic disc brakes have better modulation and stopping power than mechanical disc brakes, although both disc brake styles vastly outperform rim brakes. Overall, hydraulic disc brakes are superior in terms of performance and efficiency because of the reduced friction by not having a mechanical cable.

What type of disc brake pads are best? ›

CERAMIC. Ceramic brake pads have excellent stopping power and disperse heat well. Ideal for most normal driving applications, they produce very little dust or noise and are long lasting. Many foreign and domestic vehicles are equipped with ceramic brake pad formulations from the factory.

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