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Ceramic brake pads have been used in production cars since the mid 1980s. Ceramic pads use copper instead of the steel found in semi-metallic pads. The use of copper in ceramic brake pads provides more resistance to brake fade under heavy use because copper transfers heat much better than steel. After hard braking a semi-metallic brake pad will take longer to recover to its maximum stopping power than a ceramic pad would.

Ceramic brake pads usually have a much longer life than semi-metallic pads and will often be quieter and less likely to vibrate. The dust from ceramic brake pads is much lighter in color than the resin used in semi-metallic pads. Ceramic brake dust is also much less sticky than semi-metallic brake dust. Because of this, ceramic brake pads are popular on cars with nice wheels because they substantially reduce the amount of cleaning the car's wheels require. Ceramic pads contain less metal than semi-metallic pads, which is good because the metal in brake dust can damage the finish on wheels when brake dust is allowed to sit on the wheel.

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