Difference Between Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes
By Andrew Parker - August 1, 2022

The braking system of an automobile is integral to preventing mishaps and accidents. They do this by creating friction to slow the wheels or bring them to a stop when needed. Since the invention of vehicles, many systems have been created to perfect braking. Disc and drum brakes are modern examples.

Table Summary

It became standard in the 1960s.They are an older design of the braking system.
Production and maintenance are expensiveCheaper to produce, procure and maintain
Functions well in high temperaturesPerformance is negatively affected by heat buildup.
Requires brake fluid to functionIt does not use brake fluid.
Disc brakes. assembly on a modern automobile

Getty Images / Moment / Witthaya Prasongsin


Disc brakes were invented in 1902 but were not popular until the mid-20th century. Disc brakes typically have a pair of calipers that hold a pair of friction pads against rotating disks. For them to work, the pads fill with brake fluid and slow the motion of the rotor.

Drum brakes are a kind of braking system that cause friction by pressing a set of shoes or pads which press on the inner surface of the drum, which in turn slows down the wheels. The drum, in turn, controls the wheels.

Drum Brake VS Disc Brake

Although they similarly work with the same principles, Disc Brakes are the more modern option of braking systems for some reasons. Disc brakes easily dispel most of the heat generated by the braking friction, while Drum brakes don’t. The heat buildup of drum brakes, in turn, affects the brakes’ performance, but this does not apply to disc brakes. The design of the disc brake is simpler and lighter and brakes very quickly, whereas the Drum Brake’s complex and 30% heavier design is slower. Drum brakes are cheaper and easy to maintain and can be found in huge vehicles like trucks and buses. Disc brakes are common in modern personal vehicles like cars and motorbikes and are very expensive to buy and maintain.