Wet or Dry? How to Choose the Right Types of Brakes for Your Equipment

Brake technology has been around for well over a hundred years.

And during that time, there have been significant developments, from drum brakes to hydraulic brakes and disc brakes.

While there are a vast variety of types of brakes, many braking applications fall into two categories: wet brakes and dry brakes.

So read on as we take a closer look at the pros and cons of each type.

Dry Brakes

The earliest incarnations of brakes were all dry brakes.

From the first wooden blocks used to slow horse-drawn vehicles, through to today’s modern disc brakes, dry brakes have always been the most common type of brakes used. As the name suggests, dry brakes are left open to the air and do not operate inside any type of fluid.


The advantages of disc brakes are based on their simplicity.

Since dry brakes need no additional housing or fluid, they are simple to fit and cheaper to install. If you have a problem with dry brakes, you won’t need to take the entire transmission apart to get to the problem. It is also much easier to see when they are wearing out.


The disadvantage of a dry brake system is that since there is less lubrication than a wet brake system, they will wear out much more quickly. This means that dry brakes will need replacing much more regularly.

Dry brakes also do not have the same level of stopping power as wet brakes and will overheat under heavy use.

Wet Brakes

As the name suggests, wet brakes operate in a fluid. They are usually mounted internally and run within the transmission fluid itself.

By running wet brakes inside a fluid, it gives wet brakes properties much different to those of dry brakes. This can offer real benefits for industrial equipment.


Wet brakes are under constant lubrication, which means that they wear much more slowly. Wet brakes will last far longer than dry brakes do. Since they are under less stress, they also require less adjustment than dry brakes.

The fluid also helps to cool the brakes which means they are far more stable under heavy load as they are much slower to overheat.


Since the brakes are mounted internally, if you want to access the brakes you first need to drain the transmission fluid.

Wet brakes are also more expensive up front than dry brakes. Since they last much longer than dry brakes, this initial expense is often mitigated over time.

Looking for the Best Types of Brakes for Your Needs?

If you’re looking for the best types of brakes for your equipment, then we’re here to help.

We offer a wide range of industrial brakes and clutches. We offer a great variety of size, torque, and style so you should be able to find something to suit your every need. We can also design custom brakes and clutches to your specifications.

And it’s not just brakes and clutches; we have all the parts you need to keep your heavy industry machinery operating at peak efficiency. Feel free to take a look around.

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.