Wagner Break Pads Review: All Types

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Wagner don’t need much introduction, I think. Anyone who’s dealt with a brake systems knows the quality of their products well.

The catch here is which product line will work the best for your vehicle. There are some significant differences between Wagner’s four brake pad types. That’s just what I’m going to elaborate on in my review of their pads.

A personal note: I respect Wagner not only because of their quality control. They’re actually eco-friendly too, by reducing the copper content in their brakes. The QuickStop series, for example, is zero copper.

I’ve came up with a quick comparison table comparing the ThermoQuiet, QuickStop, Severe Duty and the newest OEX brake pads. Of course, I’ll take a closer look at each pad too πŸ™‚

Wagner OEX TAB
  • Wagner OEX
  • Best for:
    GG rated, improved airflow and riveted design. Unrivaled stopping and towing for SUVs, CUVs and pickups.
  • Type:
    Dual, newest generation manufacture.
  • Noise:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
  • Heat dissipation:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
  • Dusting:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Wear and tear on rotors?:
    Low
Wagner ThermoQuietTAB
  • Wagner ThermoQuiet
  • Best for:
    Plate and insulator molded into one-piece for extra durability. Lowest dust and most silent Wagner brakepad.
  • Type:
    Ceramic brake pad.
  • Noise:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Heat dissipation:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Dusting:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Wear and tear on rotors?:
    Low
Wagner QuickStop TAB
  • Wagner QuickStop
  • Best for:
    Closest to OEM performance. Better than OEM due to friction material covering the whole pad. Smooth.
  • Type:
    Ceramic brake pad.
  • Noise:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Heat dissipation:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
  • Dusting:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
  • Wear and tear on rotors?:
    Low
Wagner Severe Duty TAB
  • Wagner Severe Duty
  • Best for:
    Powerful performance for stress braking, heavy loads and offroad use. Formulated for extreme heat.
  • Type:
    Semi-metallic brake pad.
  • Noise:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Heat dissipation:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Dusting:
    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½
  • Wear and tear on rotors?:
    Medium to high

Wagner OEX brake pads review:
GG rated & ready to rock

Wagner OEX Review: Cutting-edge brake pads that outshine ThermoQuiet and others

So, the OEX brake pads are the brand’s newest portfolio addition. I see some people mistakenly think that they’re ceramic.

They’re not. OEX brake pads come with a dual-shim designs. They’re also riveted instead of bonded, which is better. I’ve never trusted bonded pads because you never know how long the bonding agent will hold together.

These pads are thicker, and it makes complete sense. After all, they’re not designed for sedans – we’re talking about a dedicated brake for pickups, SUVs and CUVs.

The OEX pads are GG rated – soft without being softy, ready to bed in quicker even with worn discs. They have a strong bite, both initially and spread out over ride time. Significantly improved stopping over any OEM brakes you’ve had.

This is a fantastic video that sheds more light into the technology behind manufacturing the OEX:

A big difference between OEX and ThermoQuiet brakes is actually the fact that you can coat them with brake lube. This will help them stay a little bit more quiet, which is great considering the fact that the OEX are pretty heavy-duty brake pads.

Any downsides?

Well, they’re pretty new so you won’t get as comprehensive feedback from car owners as you can with previous Wagner pads. That said, the only thing you might worry about is slight squeaking.

Performance-wise, there should be no issue. OEX pads are in no way comparable to the Severe Duty line, obviously. If you’re going to drive offroad very often, better go with the SDs.

If you’re eco-conscious, they still aren’t 100% copper-free, but they do have low copper content.

Wagner ThermoQuiet reviewed:
Low dust, smooth bite

 

Wagner ThermoQuiet vs OEX and Quick Stop: a review

Now this is a Wagner classic.

ThermoQuiet are a one-piece, ceramic type of pads. In other words, both the backing plate and the insulator are molded into one single component. This actually works pretty well for the whole integrity of your brake pad.

The best thing about the TQ is their extremely low dusting and quieter braking than other Wagner pads. In fact, they outperform other brands like PowerStop’s pads.

Now, Wagner claims 40% less fade which is a little bit too marketingish for me. Obviously that’s a bit of an overstatement, in my humble opinion. However, the truth is you’re going to be seeing way less overall fade with the ThermoQuiet.

Bite-wise, there’s less initial bite compared to other Wagner pads and OEM pads too. These are smoother and will be awesome to drive around with if you stick to city cruising. For anything off-road or high speed racing, look elsewhere.

Any bad points?

Well, as I said – don’t rely on these for extreme conditions. Offroad driving, extreme cold or the heat of the race will be a bad match with the TQ pads. They’re aimed at more casual use.

Also, obviously the fact these are ceramic pads will drive their price up a bit. In my opinion, it’s worth it considering the quiet and smooth braking you’ll get in return.

Wagner QuickStop review:
OEM-like performance

Wagner QuickStop vs ThermoQuiet or Severe Duty: the brake pad comparison you needed

Another set of ceramic pads, these also aim at reducing noise, dusting and fade.

However, the main target of the Wagner QuickStop is drivers who want an OEM-like experience. In fact, QS breaks function and feel exactly like the original pads your vehicle had when you bought it.

Well, except one very important improvement here:

The fact that unlike OEM brake pads, QuickStop’s entire pad has been furnished with friction material.

Usually, OEMs go through a scorching process to make sure they get friction control right. With QS, Wagner have instead gone for a 100% post-cured process, putting their ceramic pads under gradual oven cure.

This simply translates to a better, smoother breaking experience. The application-specific shims also cope better with vibrations.

Any bad stuff?

Well, compared to the ThermoQuiet these will squeak a little bit more. Otherwise I feel the two product lines are pretty comparable. Once again, don’t put these under extreme conditions as you’re going to wear them out.

Wagner Severe Duty:
For the extreme ones

Wagner Severe Duty break pads reviewed: Perfect for offroad and towing.

Now we’re talking extreme.

Severe Duty are a semi-metallic piece of pure stop power and heat dissipation. I mean, these bad boys are used by police interceptors. You can bet they are ready to roll with some crazy heated driving.

Wagner’s Severe Duty pads are formulated for extreme heat, heavy loads and frequent stopping. They will cope well with extreme cold too, as well as offroad conditions that will ruin other brakes in no time.

Here’s how the SDs actuallyΒ improvedΒ over police pursuit vehicle benchmarks:

Wagner Severe Duty: Taken from their official site, here's how it targets intercepting vehicles with superior stop power.

(Source: Wagner’s official site)

The clip hardware here is also tougher – stainless clips to hold things tight with zero compromise on long-term durability.

I think you got my idea, right? If you’re going to do anything heavy-duty or stressful for your vehicle’s braking system, these should be your primary choice.

Yeah, but what about the downsides?

Well, you can’t have heavy-duty without some drawbacks, realistically. First, these will dust more compared to Wagner’s more casual pads like the ThermoQuiet or QuickStop.

And, yeah, being semi-metallic they will also eat your rotors faster. Which is something that can’t be changed by current brake pad technology – you get power, but this power does lead to more wear and tear in the end.

Conclusions

The most important thing I wanted to point out in this article is that yes, you can always have a quality brand. However, what’s even more important is to go under the hood of that brand and identify the right parts for your own specific situation.

In that sense, I hope me comparing Wagner’s four main types of brake pads helped out a bit.

There are a lot of brands when it comes to the braking system – I’ve reviewed some of them like EBC or PowerStop. However, I believe Wagner are a staple in their price range and not many other companies can outshine what they manufacture.

In the end, Wagner is about innovation with eco-friendly policies thrown into the mix. A commendable approach which I’d love to see with other manufacturers in the automotive niche.

I’m looking forward to your experiences with Wagner brake pads (or rotors, why not!) Let me – and my readers, know in the comments below!

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!