Best Brake Bleeders – A 2021 Guide

Damaso
| Last Updated: January 21, 2021

Have you come to a stop and noticed weak braking or a soft pedal feel? Chances are you may need to bleed your brakes. But not all brake bleeders are created equal. 

Without a quality piece of equipment, this routine maintenance becomes cumbersome and a major hassle. So before you spend extra cash at the mechanic, discover the benefits of these best brake bleeders and the satisfaction of completing the task on your own.

Our Top Picks for Brake Bleeders

  • Best One Man Brake Bleeder
  • Easy to use
  • Durable, lightweight
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  • Versatile bleeder
  • Great vacuum system
  • Quiet operating
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  • Best for the Money
  • Complete set
  • Versatile bleeder
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Comparison of the Best Brake Bleeder Kits

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best One Man Brake Bleeder
  • Comes with a locking trigger included for hands-free operation
  • Made from high-quality materials to make it durable
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  • Compatible with most standard ABS brake systems
  • Makes use of vacuum to bleed and flush hydraulic systems
  • Comes with an integrated silencer included with the bleeder
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  • Best for the Money
  • Everything you need to bleed the brakes is included in kit
  • Three adapters included to fit most brake systems
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  • Best Vacuum Brake Bleeder
  • Comes with a vacuum pump included for easy bleeding
  • Made from strong and durable materials to last longer
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  • Best Reverse Brake Bleeder
  • Lightweight and portable and is completely manual
  • You get the bottle with a magnet and lanyard attached
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  • Best Mityvac Brake Bleeder
  • Great hands-free option to easily do the job by yourself
  • Will automatically refill the system to make sure it does not run dry
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  • Best Motive Brake Bleeder
  • Helps to clean the system of old fluid and air
  • Large bottle to complete the job without refilling it
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How Does a Brake Bleeder Work?

When the air gets in the brake line, it doesn’t allow proper compression when depressing the brake pedal. This results in a spongy, weakened pedal feel and a reduction in stopping power. To solve this problem, mechanics and DIYers turn to brake bleeders.

Brake bleeders come in five basic styles:

Pressure Tank

The creme de la creme of brake bleeders is a pressure tank. Attached to the brake fluid reservoir, the tank applies continuous pressure to the brake lines, pushing out the old fluid as you drain the fluid at the bleeder screw. With the easy one-person operation, those that value their time most should use a pressure tank brake bleeder.

Vacuum-Pulled

Vacuum-pulled brake bleeders are devices that—as the name implies—create a vacuum that sucks the old fluid out. Simply attach the hose and catching container, start the vacuum, and let the old, dark fluid out.

ARES 1 Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder

Pressure-Operated Venturi

A pressure-operated venturi brake bleeder is similar to a vacuum-pulled system, but with a key difference: it uses compressed air and a venturi—fancy jargon for the piece of tube. The advantage is that this brake bleeder increases the flow velocity of the brake fluid, making the brake bleeding process faster and more efficient.

Pedal and Hold

Perhaps the most traditional method is the pedal and hold. This is a two-man brake bleeding operation with one person opening and closing the bleeder screw and the other in the driver’s seat pumping the brakes. This pressurizes and bleeds the brake line, which eventually removes all of the air bubbles.

Gravity

Using Isaac Newton’s greatest discovery is an effective way to bleed your brake line affordably and without the need for another person. All you need to do is attach the rubber hose and bottle to the bleeder screw, and let it flow out (very slowly).

What to Look for When Buying a Brake Bleeder

Now that you understand the basic facets and options available for brake bleeders, choosing the right kit is essential. Yet with so many brake bleeders available on the market, selecting one isn’t always easy. Therefore, you should look for these aspects when buying your next brake bleeder kit.

Model of Your Car

Certain types of brake bleeders won’t work on every vehicle. As a result, you may want to select one that has a universal adapter. This is especially important if you plan to bleed numerous types of makes and models regularly.

One- or Two-Man Job

The pedal and hold method of brake bleeding requires two people. So if you’re planning on bleeding the brakes by yourself, you may want to select a model that’s easy for one person, such as a pressure tank, venturi, or handheld vacuum option.

New to Brake Bleeding

If you’re new to brake bleeding, you may run into some snags as you perfect the art of the task. For this reason, you may want to choose an option that provides a greater chance to get the job done right the first time. This may include pressure tank and vacuum-powered options

Speed

Pedal and hold and gravity-powered brake bleeding are two of the slower methods of brake bleeding. If you put a premium on the quickness of the job, a vacuum kit or a pressure tank are your most viable options.

Capri Tools Vacuum Brake Bleeder

Quick Take - Best Brake Bleeder Kits

In summary, here are the best brake bleeder kits

  1. ARES 1 Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder
  2. Capri Tools Vacuum Brake Bleeder
  3. Lisle Brake Bleeding Kit

Review of the Best Brake Bleeder Kits

Brake bleeders come in a variety of styles, which provides an array of options for DIYers, depending on budget and ease of use. Here are some of the best brake bleeder kits to suit your needs and tastes.

Best One Man Brake Bleeder:
ARES 1 Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder

ARES 70923-1-Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder - Hanging Hook and Locking Trigger Allows for Hands Free Operation

PROS

  • Allows users to flush entire brake line system
  • Locking trigger and hanging hook for streamlined usage
  • Much quicker than other methods due to using compressed air
  • High quality materials ensure a longer life span than other options
  • Comes with a master cylinder cap that fits most brake fluid reservoirs

CONS

  • May require a secondary adapter for some vehicles
  • Directions not included, making first-time use difficult for novice mechanics

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The ARES 1-Liter Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder is a pressure-operated venturi system that uses compressed air to both remove and put new brake fluid into the brake lines.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

With exceptional durability and the ability to both bleed brakes and flush out entire systems, this model is for car repair enthusiasts, as well as those looking for an easy, quick brake bleed without any hassle.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

The price of this brake bleeding kit is higher than many other available options. Budget-conscious buyers may want to try a more affordable option. In addition, those who bleed brakes with high frequency may find that this brake bleeder isn’t quite strong enough for commercial or frequent use.

Bottom Line

Well-built and with a high success rate even for novices, the ARES 1-Lite Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder is held in high regard by most users. However, a high price tag and the need for adapters that cost almost as much like the brake bleeder itself may deter thriftier buyers.

Capri Tools CP21029 Vacuum Brake Bleeder

PROS

  • Comes with step-by-step directions
  • An integrated silencer lessens noisy operation
  • Intuitive design prevents spills and other messes
  • Attaches to an air compressor for quickness and ease of use
  • Commercial-grade quality for frequent use without deterioration

CONS

  • Improved operation at lower PSI means longer brake bleeding times
  • Some users state this model pulls in air around the bleeder screw, requiring numerous bleeds to complete the job

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The Capri Tools Vacuum Brake Bleeder is a pressure-operated venturi system that hooks directly to an air compressor.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

Many users state that this is perhaps the best brake bleeding kit available for motorcycles, but it also works well for most domestic and Asian vehicles. Plus, the spill-limiting design provides a viable option for DIYers that are new to brake bleeding.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

This brake bleeder kit is one of the most expensive options for DIY applications. As a result, thriftier buyers may want to choose a different option or type of brake bleeder.

Bottom Line

Although the Capri Tools Vacuum Brake Bleeder comes with a high price tag, innovative options such as the built-in silencer, high-quality build grade, and spill-free design make it a solid choice for DIYers with various experience levels. Thrifty buyers or those who infrequently bleed their brakes may find more value in a more affordable model.

Best for the Money:
Lisle Brake Bleeding Kit

Lisle 19200 Brake Bleeding Kit

PROS

  • Easy operation for one-person jobs
  • Numerous adapters to fit a variety of brake bleeder screws
  • One of the most affordable brakes bleeding kits on the market
  • Small bottle/reservoir prevents users from running the reservoir dry
  • Some users report that the materials are cheap and wear out quickly

CONS

  • Users report that greasing is needed around all components/connections of the kit
  • Some users complain the container is too small to adequately flush or bleed brakes

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The Lisle Brake Bleeding Kit is a versatile device that can bleed brakes in a variety of ways. This includes pedal and hold and gravity, as well as a vacuum option with additional tools.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

DIY enthusiasts with a small budget will love this brake bleeding kit. With simple, easy operation at a low price point, this kit provides exceptional value over higher-priced venturi, pressure tank, and vacuum options.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

Although the kit is affordable, it’s not as durable or quick as other options. For those that want a longer-lasting or quicker option, a vacuum, venturi, or pressure tank will alleviate their concerns.

Bottom Line

With one of the lowest prices of any available option, the Lisle Brake Bleeding Kit is the best brake bleeding kit for the money. However, those that bleed brakes frequently or want quicker bleeding should look elsewhere.

HTOMT 2 in 1 Brake Bleeder Kit Hand held Vacuum Pump Test Set for Automotive with Protected Case,Adapters,One-Man Brake and Clutch Bleeding System(Red)

PROS

  • Comes with multiple adapters for all types of vehicles
  • Comes with a durable, plastic-mold case for easy storage
  • Has four-tube lengths to cover various makes and models
  • Has a high-visibility pressure gauge to show how much PSI is in the vacuum
  • Handheld vacuum provides a quick, simple way to bleed brakes, even for novice DIYers

CONS

  • Some users report that the gauge broke after only a few uses
  • Some users report a loose seal in the canister, which eliminates the vacuum after a short period of time

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The HTOMT 2-in-1 Handheld Brake Bleeder Kit is a handheld vacuum brake bleeder that creates a vacuum via a squeezable, handheld trigger.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

With a handheld, a squeezable trigger that produces a strong vacuum, this kit is ideal for those that want quick brake bleeding and ease of use over other manual brake bleeders. A lower price point compared to other vacuums may also be an attractive facet to some DIY enthusiasts.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

As some users report durability issues, more expensive options may provide a longer life span. In addition, the squeezable trigger can cause hand fatigue, meaning that pressure tanks or gravity-fed brake bleeders are more attractive.

Bottom Line

Affordable and with an included carrying case, the HTOMT 2-in-1 Handheld Brake Bleeder Kit is an excellent option for those new to brake bleeding. But those that use a bleeder kit frequently or want more vacuum power should opt for a heavier build or a venturi system.

Best Reverse Brake Bleeder:
Phoenix Systems Reverse Brake Bleeder

Phoenix Systems 2104-BOT V-5 Light Duty Reverse Brake Bleeder with Refill/Capture Bottle

PROS

  • Can use included canister for traditional brake bleeding
  • Works well on ABS systems without the need for a scanning tool
  • Magnet and hook for easier operation and visibility without spills
  • Great for motorcycles or vehicles with smaller brake fluid reservoirs
  • Reverse brake bleeding system prevents any additional air from entering brake lines

CONS

  • Some users report low quality of parts and a lack of durability
  • Small syringe requires numerous refills in just one reverse brake bleed

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The Phoenix Systems Reverse Brake Bleeder is a reverse brake bleeder kit that uses a syringe to force brake fluid from the bleeder screw to the reservoir.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

Because this device uses a reverse brake bleeding method, it’s ideal for those who have to repeat the brake bleeding process due to air leaking into the system. In addition, this product pairs well with vehicles such as motorcycles or those with small brake fluid reservoirs.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

Reverse brake bleeding requires constant monitoring to avoid overflowing the brake fluid reservoir. Plus, many mechanics and experts warn that you should fully flush the brake lines prior to a reverse brake bleed to remove any excess debris and old brake fluid.

Bottom Line

Ideal for vehicles with small brake fluid reservoirs and those that have problems with air entering the brake lines during a bleed, the Phoenix Systems Reverse Brake Bleeder reduces some of the most common problems involved with brake bleeding. However, those that enjoy traditional brake bleeders or have larger brake fluid reservoirs may find other items on this list better suited to their needs.

Mityvac MV6835 Premium Pneumatic Air Operated Brake and Clutch Bleeding Kit, Variable Control Thumb Throttle, Quick Connect Coupler, 1.9 Quart Reservoir

PROS

  • Also bleeds/flushes clutch fluid and power steering fluid
  • Quick-disconnect coupler improves the speed of bleeding
  • Bleeder can remove up to 2 quarts of brake fluid per minute
  • Included automatic refill kit makes sure that the reservoir never runs dry
  • Pneumatic/compressed air operation eliminates the need for a second person

CONS

  • Some users report that the bleeding kit leaks air
  • Must have a stronger air compressor for effective brake bleeding

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The Mityvac Pneumatic Brake and Clutch Bleeding Kit is a pneumatic system or pressure-operated venturi system. It also includes an automatic refill kit that ensures foolproof operation without constantly monitoring the brake fluid reservoir.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

With numerous components designed for ease of use, as well as the operation that quickly removes several quarts of brake fluid, this is the ideal product for brake bleeding veterans. It’s also great for commercial use or DIY enthusiasts that bleed numerous cars in a short timespan.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

Budget-conscious enthusiasts may find that this brake bleeder is far too expensive, especially for infrequent bleeding. Those without an air compressor may also find that a manually operated or handheld device is a better option with less expense.

Bottom Line

Built from high-quality materials and designed to last, the Mityvac Pneumatic Brake and Clutch Bleeding Kit is a great option for frequent users. Plus, it also has numerous applications, providing the utmost in versatility. But with a higher price than almost any other option, it’s not the ideal choice for thrifty DIYers.

Motive Products - 0107 Power Pressure Brake Bleeder for Ford and Asian Cars and Trucks

PROS

  • Most users report no leaks from any part of the system
  • 2-quart pressure tank is large enough for both bleeds and flushes
  • Heavy-duty plastic construction provides both durability and portability
  • High-quality pressure gauge allows the user to quickly select the ideal PSI
  • Built-in hand pump for efficient bleeding without the need for an air compressor

CONS

  • Directions are poor, making operation difficult for novice users
  • Some users report the need for additional manual bleeding to properly complete the process

What Type of Bleeder Kit is This?

The Motive Products Power Brake and Clutch Bleeder is a pressure tank system. It uses a hand pump to provide pressure into the system by attaching it to the brake fluid reservoir rather than the bleeder screw used by other types of brake bleeders.

What Type of DIY Enthusiast Are These Best for?

With universal components that fit nearly every type of brake fluid reservoir and a handheld pump, this model is perfect for those who regularly bleed their brakes. It also offers quick operation compared to other options, making the process faster.

Should I Choose a Different Option on This List?

Compared to other types of brake bleeders, this system has a steep learning curve. Therefore, novice DIYers may want to opt for a brake bleeder that’s easier to use, such as a venturi or gravity-based bleeder.

Bottom Line

Without the need for a compressor, the Motive Products Brake and Clutch Bleeder are affordable and easy to use. But DIY enthusiasts that have never used a pressure tank system may find this brake bleeder difficult to use at first. As a result, vacuum or pressure-operated venturi systems may provide a simpler way to bleed brakes.

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Brake Bleeder

Price and quality are always two of the biggest considerations of DIY car enthusiasts. But not all brake bleeders are created equal. So when selecting a brake bleeder, always invest in quality. Here are a few reasons why an upfront cost is well worth the price.

Only Need to Complete the Process Once

Cheap brake bleeders are a time vacuum. They often allow more air to get into the brake lines, meaning that users of these products will have to complete the process numerous times for the desired result. High-quality brake bleeders eliminate the need for multiple bleeds, saving time and frustration.

Use on All Types of Vehicles

Brake bleeder kits with adapters are worth the price. Not only do these adapters allow you to bleed multiple types of cars, but you also don’t have an extra expenditure on an adapter—typically the price of the brake bleeder kit itself.

No Mess

With attached catch-cans, quality brake bleeders eliminate the mess caused by spilling and overflowing. Although users will still have to clean the container, this provides a far simpler cleanup than spilled brake fluid or using old plastic bottles to catch used brake fluid.

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Brake bleeding is a relatively straightforward process, although it may require a few practice rounds to feel fully comfortable. That said, novice DIYers should keep several considerations in mind when bleeding their brakes. Here are some safety tips that every person should follow when bleeding brakes.

Personal Protective Equipment

Brake fluid is highly carcinogenic, making personal protective equipment essential during a brake bleeding. Wear gloves, protective eyewear, long sleeves, and maybe even a mask when bleeding your brakes to minimize exposure to brake fluid.

Checking Bleeder Screws

Bleeder screws help maintain pressure within your braking system, making them a vital component that shouldn’t be ignored. Therefore, double-checking or even triple-checking your bleeder screws following the procedure is ideal. Without checking these screws, brake fluid can leak onto the brakes themselves, causing catastrophic brake failure. Also, always use a box wrench to loosen and tighten bleeder screws, as pliers can strip the hex head.

Overpressurizing the System

Although a highly pressurized vacuum or pressure tank can remove brake fluid quickly, you should take care not to overpressurize the system. Doing so can severely damage the hydraulic system of your brakes, causing them to fail or requiring a total brake system replacement.

Mind Your Paintjob

Brake fluid is not only toxic to humans, it will also quickly strip the paint off your vehicle and just about anything else. It's nasty stuff. So be extremely careful handling it around your car, and immediately separate/wash any cloths you use to wipe up excess or spills.

How To Bleed Brakes By Yourself

If it’s your first time bleeding your brakes by yourself, you may have some concerns, and rightfully so. Here are some basic ideas to keep in mind.

  1. Start by referring to your vehicle owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the correct brake fluid.

  2. Always check brake reservoir fluid level to ensure it doesn’t dry out.

  3. Wear protective equipment, as brake fluid is highly carcinogenic

  4. Also, cover any areas near the brake bleeding area, as brake fluid can damage the finish

  5. To conduct a brake bleed using a pressure tank, follow these steps:

  6. Clean the reservoir cap. This will ensure that no dirt or debris gets inside the reservoir.

  7. Use an evacuator to pull out as much old brake fluid as possible.

  8. Fill the pressure tank/power bleeder. You may also want to operate the pump to remove any leftover brake fluid from previous uses.

  9. Tighten the pump, making sure the o-ring seals.

  10. Connect the pump to the brake fluid reservoir.

  11. Pump it to between 10 to 15 PSI.

  12. Connect the catch-can to the bleeder screw.

  13. Open the bleeder, watching for fluid free of air bubbles.

  14. Once all air bubbles are gone, retighten the bleeder screws. Don’t overtighten.

  15. Replace the protective rubber cap on the bleeder screw.

  16. Make sure that the pressure tank maintains 10 to 15 PSI to ensure that no air gets into the system.

  17. Repeat on all corners.

  18. Test the brake pedal to ensure it has a hard pedal feel.

  19. Unscrew the top (pump) of the pressure tank to remove all pressure.

  20. Remove the adapter from the top of the reservoir.

  21. Top off the brake fluid reservoir and replace the cap.

Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of what was just described.

Don’t Bleed Your Brakes Dry—Choose a Kit That Works for You

With numerous brake bleeding kits on the market, the most important part is to choose one that works for you. So whether you’re on a budget, need a high-quality brake bleeder, or have several vehicles that require a brake bleeding, select a kit that provides you with everything you need.

People Also Ask

If it’s your first time bleeding brakes, you may have some additional questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common questions that people also ask about brake bleeding.

What Color Is Brake Fluid?

Fresh brake fluid has a yellowish tint that darkens as it deteriorates. However, some manufacturers produce different colored brake fluid that allows a person to see when old brake fluid is coming out and new is going into the brake system. Unfortunately, in the US this is no longer allowed.

How Often Should Brake Fluid Be Changed?

Although manufacturers have different intervals for bleeding brakes, most mechanics recommended a brake bleed every two years. A brake fluid flush is recommended every 20,000 to 45,000 miles depending on the model and age of the vehicle.

What Is The Correct Order To Bleed Brakes?

On most vehicles, the correct order is rear passenger, rear driver, front passenger, and then the front driver. This is hotly debated among enthusiasts who claim this is an old myth from pre-ABS days. But, its generally still accepted as the 'right' way.

How To Bleed Drum Brakes?

Bleeding drum brakes is the same process as disc brakes, including the same order.

How To Dispose Of Brake Fluid?

You can dispose of brake fluid in numerous ways. Recycling is the preferred method. However, brake fluid can also be poured over kitty litter and will be absorbed in a few days.

How Much Brake Fluid Do I Need?

Typically, 16 oz., or 500 mL, of brake fluid is required to bleed an entire set of brakes.

How Long Does Brake Fluid Last?

Brake fluid within the braking system lasts about two years. In addition, an unopened bottle of brake fluid is also good for about two years. Opened bottles of brake fluid should be disposed of if not used within a few weeks.

What Do I Do If I Have No Brake Fluid Coming Out When Bleeding?

If no brake fluid is coming out of the system, this may indicate several problems. This may include a bad bleeder screw, a faulty brake flex hose, incorrect bleeding procedure, or problems with the fit of the caliper.

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Who Chose These Products?

Our Product Expert

Steve has been maintaining and modifying vehicles for over ten years. He grew up like most of us did: progressing from Hot Wheels & Legos to racing games like Gran Turismo, eventually taking everything apart just to see what made it tick. His career path was pretty clear early on!

Steve is currently a Certified Auto Repair Technician who graduated top of his class; he's rebuilt engines, transmissions, suspension, and everything in between. Steve also runs his own Youtube production covering hot automotive topics called Cars Simplified. He currently terrorizes the streets of New England in an iconic American classic: the Pontiac GTO.

Who Wrote This Article?

Damaso Sig

Our Automotive Journalist

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old when his father bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment.

For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.
@damasosanoja

Damaso

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old and his father decided to bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment. For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.