Drum Brakes vs. Disc Brakes: Which is Better?

Keeping your industrial machines in top shape can’t be stressed enough. You want to maintain the best uptime levels, enhancing your operations’ productivity. With in-shape industrial machines, you also reduce accidents that could see you dealing with numerous work-related injury claims. As you look for an industrial supplier, you want to ensure that they are industry leaders, boasting extensive experience and products collections to match your needs. Among the items you need are the brakes. With varying braking systems, picking the best might be a challenge. As you hit the market, establishing the system that best matches your needs is recommendable. If you are at this point, here is a quick breakdown of the drum vs. disc brakes to help you pick the option matching your situation.

The primary difference

The drum braking system features a small round drum with pistons and brake shoes. The drum rotates next to the wheel, and upon depressing the brake pedal, pressurized fluid is sent to the drum, forcing the pistons to push into the brake shoes. This leads to the brake shoes pressing against the sides of the drum. The process creates friction, slowing the spinning of the wheel. Disc brakes consist of a brake caliper, brake pads, and a flat metal rotor. The braking process involves the caliper squeezing the pads onto the rotor, causing friction that slows the wheel’s spinning. Following the different mechanisms applied, the braking systems have their pros and cons. As you choose a braking system, here are the pro and cons you should consider.


While considering efficiency, the top pointers are stopping power, performance under different conditions, especially when wet, heat management, and the brakes’ weight. Overall, disc brakes are better in all such areas. They offer more braking force and faster, resulting in shorter stopping distance. As they are open, they perform well even in wet conditions and more so since the rotors get dried by pads as they drag across. The exposed nature also helps in heat management. As the drum brakes aren’t as open, they take longer to cool down. This exposes them to brake fade that affects the stopping power. Disc brakes are also lighter, making them a lot more efficient as the industrial machines won’t deal with the extra weight. An efficiency edge that the drum braking system has over the disc system is the easier installation of the emergency brake. It is easier to install the emergency brake on the drum system than when dealing with a caliper or navigating the hub of a disc brake rotor.


The braking process involves the generation of heat. As such, regular checks and timely parts replacements are necessary. Nonetheless, while considering the maintenance process, disc brakes still win on more fronts. For instance, the system is self-cleaning as the pads, when engaged, wipes the rotor off, meaning that dust doesn’t collect. This is unlike the drum system that needs regular cleaning to keep the dust accumulation off from the shoes. The drum system is also complex when undertaking the repairs as it features more hardware than the disc brakes. Nonetheless, it is cheaper as the parts, including the brake shoes and wheel cylinders, cost less than pads and calipers.

Braking technology has come a long way, and as you shop, considering more than the initial price tag is recommendable. Disc brakes are more expensive than the drum options, but considering their many advantages, they are better for your industrial machines.