Difference Between Drum Brakes and Disc Brakes [Notes with PDF]

In our daily life, we see the braking effect everywhere, like bicycle, motorcycle, car, bus, train, and more. The list is quite long. So to get the breaking effect we need to have some component which produces the effect, is not it?

So that particular component which generates the braking effect is called Breaking System. A Branking system can be made of sevaral components, and have different types. You can dive into the details of Braking System by clicking here. For now, we will talk about the Difference Between Drum Brakes and Disc Brakes. So let’s get started.

What is a Brake?

A component that is used for stopping the engine within short possible distances is called Brake. As simple as that.

The article is of Drum Brake VS Disc Brake, so let’s see what is these?

Drum Brake:

A drum brake is a break in which a cylindrical drum is used for stoping the wheels and It is used in heavy vehicles even you can see in your motorcycle too.

Drum Brake
Components of a Drum Brake, Learn mechanical

Disc Brake:

It is one of the important types of brake in which a disc shape rotor is used to stop the vehicle within a short distance. It is used in light vehicle scooter, motorcycle, car, and so on.

Disc Brake
Components of Disc Brake, Learn Mechanical

Now let’s see the differences.

Difference Between Drum Brake and Disc Brake:

Drum BrakeDisc Brake
The drum brake is used in heavy vehicle likes buses, trucks because of expanded to any size. However, you might see it on old motorcycles too.Whereas the disc brake is used in two-wheeler vehicles like motorcycles or scooters even on cars, because of limited expanding.
Cylindrical Drum is used here.Disc shape rotor is used in Disc Brake.
A breaking effect of drum brake is less.It is instant or within short distance can stop.
It is available at cheaper price as it is traditional system.Disc brake is costly comarative to drum brake and it is modern type brake system.
When drum brakes come into action there is slow heat dissipation.It dissipates heat faster and effectively.
The performance is slow at high temperature.Here it is not like that even high temperature it works fine.
The inspection of the drum brake is a little difficult.Disc brake inspection is easy.
It is operated mechanically.Here we use mechanical, ABS and other mechanisms too.
Maintenance cost is less.Here Maintenance cost is more.
It is a self-locking system.Disc brake is not self locking system.
The design of drum brake is complex.Disc Brake design is not complex, it’s designed is simple.
Here, there is the difficulty of change friction pads when it gets damage.But in Disc Brake the change of friction pads is easy compared to Drum brake.
Overall Performance of drum brake is average.Overall Performance of Disc Brake is much better than Drum Brake.
Drum Brake VS Disc Brake

So That’s It for Today:

There you have: Difference Between Drum Brakes and Disc Brakes.

I hope you enjoyed the animation and videos also which add in this article for your further reference, and I also hope that this article helps you to understand the difference between a disc brake and drum brake as well.

More Resources for You:


  • All the images are made by Saubhik Roy, Design team LM.
  • Feature image is designed by Author
  • Disc Brake video by Thomas Schwenke (Youtube)
  • Drum Brake video by Autotechlabs (Youtube)


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Anup Kumar Dey

A Mechanical Engineer with 19 years of working experience in various renowned MNCs.

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