Wagner Brake Pads Review: Best of 2021

Damaso
| Last Updated: January 21, 2021

A fading brake pedal during spirited driving, annoying squeaky noises, and dusty wheels are common complaints among most car enthusiasts when talking about brake pads.

Does your vehicle suffer from any of these problems?

In that case, this article may assist you. Throughout our review of the best Wagner brake pads, we'll discuss the drawbacks, advantages, and peculiarities of different pad types in an effort to help you choose the optimal solution for your particular application.

Our Top Picks for Wagner Brake Pads

  • Reliably quiet stops
  • Reduced brake dust
  • Great all-around performance
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  • Unique friction material design
  • Low or no noise
  • New friction material formula
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  • OEM fit & function
  • Low dust
  • Good pad lifespan
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Comparison of the Best Wagner Brake Pads

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Stopping Power: Above average, while smooth in stop/go traffic
  • Low Noise: Little to no noise on most applications
  • Pad Life: About the same as OEM
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  • Stopping Power: Good to great
  • Low Noise: Commonly moderate to low, sometimes none.
  • Pad Life: Typically OEM or better
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  • Stopping Power: Same or slightly better than OEM
  • Low Noise: Little to no noise
  • Pad Life: About the same as OEM
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  • Stopping Power: Similar to OEM, but better than OEM in tough conditions
  • Low Noise: Close to OEM, sometimes less, sometimes more
  • Pad Life: In severe conditions, about same as OEM in normal conditions
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Who is Wagner?

Even though for some Wagner it's just another supplier of automotive parts, the truth is that Wagner is one of the oldest aftermarket manufacturers in the United States. With over 129 years of history, constant innovation is one of the brand's trademarks. Matter of fact, Wagner has introduced several disruptive advances to the industry. Most notably, the world's first one-piece brake pad featuring Integrally Molded Insulator (IMI) in the 1990s or the widespread adoption of high-temperature-resistant rubber compounds and high-boiling-point brake fluids in the 1950s. 

Nowadays, Wagner is recognized as a world leader in braking systems for all kinds of applications ranging from compact cars to full-size heavy-duty trucks and SUVs.

Quick Take - Best Wagner Brake Pads

In summary, here are the best Wagner brake pads:

  1. Wagner ThermoQuiet (TQ)
  2. Wagner OEx
  3. Wagner QuickStop (QS)

Review of the Best Wagner Brake Pads

Not all brake pads are created equal. Even within the Wagner catalog, there are noticeable differences between product lines since each one serves a particular audience.

Wagner QC1595 Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set

PROS

  • Consistent braking experience
  • Low noise levels, roughly 35% quieter than conventional brake pads
  • Unsurpassed durability thanks to Wagner exclusive OE21 formulation
  • Superb stopping power, nearly 15% greater than comparable non-ceramic brake pads
  • Less dust thanks to its shape designed to adapt perfectly to each vehicle, ensuring optimal ventilation and therefore less wear

CONS

  • Pricier than semi-metallic brake pads
  • Arguably, not the best option for multi-purpose SUVs or trucks

What Type of Brake Pad is This? 

Wagner ThermoQuiet (TQ) is a premium ceramic brake pad. As such, you can expect superior stopping power, unmatched longevity, low noise levels, less brake dust, and reduced brake fade. However, unlike most ceramic pads, Wagner TQ uses an exclusive formulation that enhances its heat absorption properties, mimicking several semi-metallic brake pads benefits.

What Type of Driving Are These Best For? 

The innovative ceramic compound and one-piece design of Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads deliver a predictable pad bite under a wide range of conditions. That makes them a good alternative to OE organic and semi-metallic pads installed in newer passenger cars since they can help to get the most out of modern braking systems under normal driving conditions.

Should I Choose a Different Option in This List? 

An aspect to keep in mind when shopping Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads is the premium price associated with their unique features. Another factor to consider is that their astonishing resilience to heat can become a disadvantage under certain circumstances, like extremely cold climates, or during severe driving conditions.

Bottom Line

Wagner ThermoQuiet ceramic brake pads are an excellent substitute to OE pads as they offer outstanding clamping power, quieter braking, better durability, and minimal dust build-up. Unless your application requires repetitive high-speed stops or you live in an extremely cold climate, these are clearly the best pads you can buy.

Runner-up:
Wagner OEx

Wagner Brake OEX1169A OEX DISC PAD Set

PROS

  • Very easy on rotors, preventing costly replacements
  • More affordable than Wagner TQ ceramic brake pads
  • Nice quiet ride, similar to Wagner ThermoQuiet premium brake pads
  • Specially formulated to address the demanding braking needs of SUVs, pickup trucks, and CUVs
  • Last up to two times longer than conventional pads thanks to their unique asymmetric slot design

CONS

  • Not advised for extreme off-roading or towing/hauling heavy loads

What Type of Brake Pad is This? 

Wagner OEx brake pads have succeeded in what was unthinkable until recently, offering the reduced noise levels and unparalleled reliability of ceramic brake pads in SUVs and pickups. Such an achievement has been possible thanks to the combination of Wagner’s patented low copper ceramic friction material and disrupting shape and slot design, which reduces rotor wear and prolongs the pad’s life.

What Type of Driving Are These Best For? 

The weight, relatively high center of gravity, and stiff suspension system of most pickup trucks, SUVs, and CUVs, put a tremendous strain on the brake pads. Wagner OEx ceramic brake pads are specifically designed to address those challenges, delivering exceedingly good stopping power regardless of the weather or road conditions.

Should I Choose a Different Option in This List?

Although Wagner OEx pads offer an unrivaled braking experience they may not be the best option for budget-minded vehicle owners or applications requiring hauling or towing heavy loads. This has to do with the recommended use of coated brake rotors to prevent pads from squealing, which adds to the already premium cost of these pads.

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that Wagner OEx brake pads provide a stable response, whether hot or cold, along with all the benefits you can expect from its ceramic composition. Their amazing longevity, cleanliness, and reduced rotor wear make them a logical replacement to OE brake pads. Nevertheless, if what you need is a noticeable improvement in your brakes at a reasonable price, Wagner has better alternatives to consider. 

Best for the Money:
 Wagner QuickStop (QS)

Wagner ZD914 Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set

PROS

  • Better braking performance than OEM pads
  • Affordable price when compared to other Wagner brake pads
  • Most applications include premium lubricant and stainless-steel hardware
  • Designed to reduce noise and vibration as well as prolonging brake rotor lifespan
  • Excellent pad bite thanks to its low copper formulation and 100% post-cured process

CONS

  • A bit noisier than Wagner OEx and TQ brake pads

What Type of Brake Pad is This?

Like ThermoQuiet and OEx products, Wagner QuickStop brake pads use a proprietary ceramic friction material. However, they focus more on matching the performance of original equipment brake pads, while also offering a quieter and cleaner experience. Such balance makes them the most affordable line in this list.

What Type of Driving Are These Best For? 

Wagner QuickStop brake pads are ideal for restoring like-new braking performance to passenger cars, and SUVs are mainly used as daily drivers. They offer a smooth, quiet, and consistent braking experience during most common driving situations, regardless of the season of the year or the weather conditions.

Should I Choose a Different Option in this List? 

This is the type of brake pad that emulate OE quality in every aspect. As such, Wagner QS ceramic brake pads lack some features only found on premium pads. In that regard, if what you require is an upscale braking experience, then Wagner TQ or OEx pads are definitely a better choice.

Bottom Line 

Wagner QuickStop brake pads may not offer the same level of performance as TQ or OEx brake pads, however, their value is second to none. These pads are quiet on the road, deliver adequate stopping power, and last longer than OE offerings.  

Best Wagner Brake Pads for Towing. Wagner SevereDuty (SD)

Wagner SX785 SevereDuty Disc Brake Pad Set

PROS

  • Good performance in extremely cold climates
  • Surpass the most stringent durability and heat management standards 
  • Utmost stopping power and heat dissipation under most severe conditions
  • Specifically designed for applications requiring extreme or continuous braking
  • Heavy-duty construction to ensure pad integrity under most demanding situations

CONS

  • Produce more dust than other Wagner brake pads
  • Brake rotors wear considerably faster when using these pads

What Type of Brake Pad is This? 

Wagner SevereDuty brake pads feature one of the most advanced semi-metallic friction materials currently available on the market. As a result, Wagner SD pads can withstand exceptionally high temperatures without fading. However, its incredible heat resilience comes at the price of higher noise levels and increased stress on the rotor and other brake components

What Type of Driving Are These Best For?

As its name implies, Wagner SevereDuty brake pads are intended for applications demanding solid bite under extreme driving conditions. From Police Pursuit Vehicles (PPV) to heavy load-hauling/towing vehicles to extreme off-road applications, no other brake pad equal the performance offered by the Wagner SD line.

Should I Choose a Different Option in This List? 

Offering the best braking performance under extreme conditions doesn't come without a few downsides. Wagner SD pads can literally eat up brake rotors pretty quick. Moreover, if you are concerned about dust or brake squealing then Wagner SevereDuty pads may not be for you.

Bottom Line

Wagner SD line was created with one goal in mind, offering the toughest semi-metallic brake pads on the market. They may not offer the convenience of Wagner TQ, OEx, or SQ pads, yet Wagner SD brake pads are unrivaled when it comes to severe braking applications demanding outstanding reliability and endurance.

What’s the Full Lineup of Wagner Products?

Wagner OEx

A line of ceramic brake pads specifically designed for SUVs, CUVs, and pickup trucks that offer unsurpassed stopping power, up to twice the life of a conventional brake pad, minimal dust production, and minimal rotor wear.

Wagner OEx Car

The astounding success of cutting-edge OEx brake pads inspired Wagner to create this line which brings the premium benefits of OEx ceramic pads to passenger cars of all sizes

Wagner TQ

Innovative ceramic brake pads that integrate the backplate and insulator into a one-piece design to provide the quietest braking experience possible, as well as the longest durability and lowest dust production of the entire Wagner pad line.

Wagner QS

A line of ceramic brake pads aimed at budget-minded vehicle owners looking for an aftermarket pad offering similar or better braking performance and pedal feel than OE counterparts.

Wagner SD

Premium semi-metallic brake pads offering unequaled stopping power and fade resistance for extreme applications such as off-roading, spirited driving, heavy braking, sub-zero climates, or hauling heavy loads.

Wagner Premium Brake Rotors. There is no point in installing premium brake pads on poor quality rotors. They will simply fail due to thermal fatigue and wear and tear, destroying your pads in the process. Wagner premium rotors are designed to get the most out of Wagner brake pads by providing peak performance and unsurpassed rust protection.

Wagner ThermoQuiet (TQ)

What Makes Wagner Brake Pads Stand Out From the Competition? 

What makes Wagner brake pads so special is the combination of three key aspects. The state-of-the-art technology used during its manufacturing process, the innovative and exclusive materials with which they are manufactured, and finally, Wagner's commitment to offering different product lines to meet the specific braking needs of each client.

That combination, along with the incredible attention to detail on each of its products, has earned Wagner brake pads a leading position as one of the highest quality and most dependable pads in the entire automotive industry. If what you need are reliable brake pads able to stop your vehicle quickly and safely, then Wagner pads will not disappoint.

Wagner Quickstop vs. Thermoquiet - Comparison Overview

Both ThermoQuiet and QuickStop brake pads are high-quality products, as you can expect from a reputable manufacturer like Wagner. So it's not surprising many drivers wonder what brake pad is better suited for their particular needs.

When Wagner QS Pads Are a Better Option Than Wagner TQ Brake Pads

Simply put, if the price is a concern, then Wagner QuickStop brake pads are definitely your best option. You won’t find another line offering a better cost-benefit ratio than Wagner QS ceramic pads.

They are aimed at drivers using their vehicles mainly for commuting from work to home, requiring a trustworthy brake pad with adequate stopping power under most common driving conditions.

When Wagner TQ Pads Are a Better Option Than Wagner QS Brake Pads

On the contrary, if braking performance and ride quality is your top priority, no other ceramic brake pad will be able to give you the unique set of features that Wagner ThermoQuiet has. Superb pad bite, minimal dust build-up, and silence braking are among the upscale features that make ThermoQuiet so special.

In other words, Wagner TQ brake pads are better suited for luxury vehicles or even current passenger cars and SUVs using next-gen braking systems, where wheel cleanliness and quiet braking is a must to provide an unsurpassed ride experience.

Wagner OEx vs. Thermoquiet - Comparison Overview 

Given that both Wagner OEx and ThermoQuiet brake pads are considered high-end products, it's reasonable wondering what differentiates them and what special benefits or advantages have one over the other.

When Wagner OEx Pads Are a Better Option Than Wagner TQ Brake Pads

Although Wagner TQ pads deliver excellent all-round performance in most driving conditions, truth is that SUVs, CUVs, and particularly pickup trucks require a braking system capable of handling changing conditions efficiently.

One of these situations has to do with their ability to withstand sudden changes in the vehicle's center of gravity as a result of the entry or exit of passengers or cargo, which in turn has a major impact on the performance of brake pads and rotors.

In that sense, Wagner OEx ceramic pads offer way better heat dissipation and a more consistent pad bite than Wagner TQ pads. So, if you own a multi-purpose SUV or pickup truck then your best bet is installing a set of Wagner OEx pads.

When Wagner TQ Pads Are a Better Option Than Wagner OEx Brake Pads

Conversely, if you are more concerned about the noise level of the brake pads, the dust on your shinny 20" chromed wheels, or the overall ride quality, then your best choice is opting for Wagner ThermoQuiet ceramic brake pads. Admittedly, they are not specifically designed for trucks or SUVs, nevertheless, they do provide unrivaled comfort and pedal feel.

Conclusion

Choosing the best Wagner brake pad has a lot to do with how you intend to use your vehicle. Fortunately, now you have a better understanding of what your options are. 

Needing a brake pad able to handle downhill and uphill braking while hauling your boat? Wagner SD is the pad you want. Looking for an affordable brake pad with similar performance than OE parts? Wagner QS is your best option.

Rest assured that no matter what your braking requirement is, Wagner has a good alternative for you.

People Also Ask

Still worried about the quality of Wagner ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads? You don't have to. Here you will find the reasons.

Where Are Wagner Brake Pads Made?

Wagner's highly reliable and durable aftermarket semi-metallic and ceramic brake pads are 100% made in the United States of America, ensuring that only first-class materials and workmanship are used during their manufacturing process.

What Kind of Warranty Does Wagner Offer?

Wagner brake pads come with a limited lifetime replacement warranty against defect in materials or workmanship as long as they are used under normal conditions and are properly installed on the vehicle. The warranty, enables you to get your money back within 90 days after the purchase. After that period, you can only exchange the brake pads for a new pair at no cost.

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.