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


 To have better performance, are discs with holes or slots preferable? What advantages to each type offer? What are the contraindications of the two versions?


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.​



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.​


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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. ​


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.​


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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 circumstances that tip the scales toward one type as opposed to the other. ​



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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 ​



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​