Bracketed vs Unbracketed Brake Caliper: Key Differences

Bracketed vs unbracketed brake caliper are the most important parts that play a key role for vehicles, especially in terms of functionality. Brake calipers function like clamps when the brake pedal is applied, and they help to press and hold the brake pads on the spinning metal rotor.

Bracketed vs Unbracketed Brake Caliper: Key Differences

Calipers are of different types, and in this guide we’ll highlight the differences between bracketed and unbracketed brake calipers so you can drive with more confidence.

Features Bracketed Calipers Unbracketed Calipers
Cost They are the cheapest types of calipers They are very expensive and high in demand
Compatibility Bracketed calipers can be used on different types of vehicles They are not highly compatible and can only be used on high-performance vehicles
Protective Specifications Generally, a safer option to use Not as safe as the bracketed counterparts, but it also operates with a high level of efficiency
Working Efficiency Very durable Offers less durability
Operating Mechanism The bracketed calipers are designed to make it easier for the slides to go into the bore The body of the calipers is bolted to the brakes, and they don’t require pins for operation
Installation Methods They are the easiest type of calipers to install Their installation process is a bit complex and complicated


What Are Differences Between Bracketed vs Unbracketed Brake Calipers?

The main difference between bracketed and unbracketed brake calipers include their durability, price, effectiveness, and method of operation. Bracketed brake calipers are used in most conventional passenger vehicles, which makes them the ideal choice for most situations. They also differ in their functionality and performance.

There are other differences that set the two calipers, and we’ll go differ into these differences to give you a better understanding. However, it’s important to note that despite these differences, they also share some similarities. For example, regardless of the type of caliper you get, all calipers are designed to spin a metal rotor on the wheel.

The work of calipers is mainly to firmly press the brake pads to the metal rotor. Basically, they work like a clamp, and they are effective at regulating the movement of the car. Another area they share in common is the fact that they both have moving parts.

However, this has the potential to fail, and the effect of this could be hazardous to the driver and road users. In addition, if brake failure occurs when the car is not in motion, moving the vehicle will become much more difficult for you.

With that being said, let us go deeper into the differences between the two types of calipers. These differences include the following:

– Installation Ease

One of the most obvious differences is in terms of the installation of the two calipers. Unbracketed and bracketed brake calipers have a huge variation in their design and how they are produced, which is why their mode of installation is different. Generally, the unbracketed calipers are harder to install because they lack sliding pistons.


On the other hand, bracketed brake calipers have brackets and slider pins that are attached to the suspension, which is why they are made of two pieces. Installing these calipers only requires that you use a screwdriver and hold the slider pins on both sides and properly fit through the hole so it can pop out. The next step of the process is reverse installation, and you can repeat the process to firmly attach the calipers to the wheel.

A key thing to note is that you can use the pins multiple times, but they can be replaced when their rubber wears or tears. The process of removing the bracketed brake calipers is also easy, and you only need to pull the slider pins. Their setup is generally direct, unlike the unbracketed calipers. In many cases, all you need to do when installing the bracketed caliper is to follow the installation instructions.

The installation process of unbracketed calipers isn’t straightforward due to the fact that they lack slider pins. Therefore, you’ll need to use rear parking installation hardware and pad installation hardware to make the process easier.

– Durability

Another important difference between the two is their durability. As mentioned earlier, the slide pins can be used for many years, which shows that they have a long lifespan. Therefore, when it comes to durability, the bracketed brake calipers take the. This claim is further justified by the findings from a study that shows that 2002 and 2004 Ford models with bracketed calipers don’t experience much brake problems.

On the other hand, the unbracketed calipers require several pistons to function, and they are found in inboard and outboard valves. This setting increases the tendency of the caliper to wear, and with that, you’ll need to get a replacement every three months. The time can vary depending on car usage and maintenance. However, they are generally more expensive to maintain.

– Working Mechanism

The two calipers are designed to stop vehicles movement with a great level of efficiency. However, they do this via different mechanisms. Bracketed calipers work by stopping the brake system surfaces, which is why they are mostly used with automobile steering knuckles and brake support. Also, the pin slides within the bore are guided by the bracketed calipers.

With the unbracketed calipers, the mechanism is completely different. You don’t need to bolt pins to the brake system, and rotation is with the metal rotor, which acts as clamps whenever pressure is applied to the pedals.

– Safety and Protection

Safety and protection are factors to consider when buying brake calipers. You need to be sure that the calipers won’t alter the functioning of other components of your vehicle, which will only cost you more money. With bracketed calipers, you get a rubber boot, which will offer protection to the interior against deterioration from road salt and water.

On the other hand, the unbracketed calipers don’t have any hardware, and as such, it doesn’t provide as much protection and safety as the bracketed alternatives. However, this doesn’t mean that it offers a reduced level of performance.

– Compatibility

Bracketed calipers also take the lead when it comes to compatibility because they fit almost all vehicle models. This is due to their installation ease and durability. You can install the bracketed calipers on different vehicles, including lorries, trucks, and regular cars.

On the other hand, the unbracketed calipers are only used on high-performance vehicles. One of the common models you’ll find this type of caliper on is the 1991 model of Dodge Spirit.

– Price

Nobody will want to spend so much on getting brake calipers. However, while ensuring you don’t spend so much on the calipers you get, it’s also important to ensure they are of good quality. The prices of bracketed and unbracketed calipers are reflected in their performance.

In general, bracketed calipers are the cheaper options, and they cost between $25 to $70. On the other hand, the unbracketed alternatives are more expensive, and they cost between $40 to $90.

We have highlighted the basic things to know about bracketed and unbracketed brake calipers in this comparison guide, and even though they share some similarities, they have more differences. However, the main thing to have in mind is that they are both designed for one purpose, which is to stop a moving vehicle.

What Features Make Bracketed Brake Calipers Effective?

The features that make bracketed brake calipers effective include the fact that they are mounted on the steering knuckle. This allows them to stop brake pad surfaces, as well as the mounting device used. They are generally compatible with steering knuckles and brake abutments.

Functions of Bracketed Calipers

Bracketed calipers perform various functions, and they are perfect for different types of vehicles. The main function of the caliper is to stop surfaces from moving, and this applies to both the mounting device and the braking pads.

An important thing to note is that brake calipers are vital for providing a path for the pin slides to move into the bore. This helps in ensuring that the bracket moves with much ease. This is also for temporary removal, as well as mounting permanently, depending on your preference.

In addition, the rubber pads on the bracketed calipers are designed to ensure that salt and water don’t damage the calipers. They also help in ensuring a smooth flow path to the bore. All of these features work and allow the bracketed calipers to function with a great level of efficiency.

What Features Make Unbracketed Brake Calipers Effective?

The features that make unbracketed brake calipers effective include the fact that they don’t have sliding caliper pistons. This allows the calipers to provide an impressive level of performance. However, they are more expensive than their bracketed counterparts. Unbracketed calipers are only compatible with high-end vehicles.

Unbracketed Calipers Features

The unbracketed caliper is also an important car part, but the unavailability of the sliding piston is a reason why most people prefer to use the bracketed option. They can be used for different functions but are only suitable for high-level performance. Consider getting unbracketed calipers without hesitation if you have a higher-efficiency vehicle.

Unbracketed caliper installation is not as easy, and this is because their mounting is done without pins. However, rest assured that they will effectively spin along wheels and stop the braking system of your vehicle.

What Are the Key Differences Between Bracketed and Unbracketed Brake Calipers?

Bracketed and unbracketed brake calipers differ in their mounting mechanism on the vehicle. Bracketed calipers are secured to the bracket using bolts, providing stability. On the other hand, unbracketed calipers are directly mounted to the suspension without any additional bracketing. These calipers are designed according to specific vehicle models, and their structure determines the entire braking system’s efficiency. When considering ecm vs ecu: major component differences, it’s essential to assess how brake calipers are mounted for optimal functionality.


If you have a high-performance vehicle, the unbracketed caliper is the ideal option for you, but they are generally more expensive. On the other hand, you can get the bracketed caliper if you don’t have a higher-performance vehicle. They are generally compatible with almost all car models, and they are durable.

In addition, they are cheaper, which also makes them perfect for anyone on a budget. Another thing to note is that the bracketed caliper offers different safety features to ensure effective protection of the vehicle and the braking system. Also, they are easier to install, and all you have to do is follow the installation instructions in the user manual.

5/5 - (16 votes)
Ran When Parked