The 10 Best Brake Bleeders

We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you’ve got the time and technical know-how, draining your car or motorcycle of old brake fluid yourself can be a good way to save some money. But to do it effectively, you’ve got to have the right gear. Luckily, there’s no shortage of options out there. We’ve selected the best brake bleeders to help you accomplish this task quickly and easily. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Phoenix Systems V-5

The patented reverse method of the Phoenix Systems V-5 uses gravity to force air up and out of a brake line, making this an alternative solution worth considering. It’s extremely lightweight, which means you won’t get fatigued using it during difficult jobs.

  • Effective on abs systems
  • Compatible with most fluids
  • Not as durable as other units

Brand Phoenix Systems
Model 2104-B
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Motion Pro Hydraulic

If you’re worried about pushing air into your brake fluid, the Motion Pro Hydraulic might be the solution you’ve been looking for. This kit boasts that it will not bleed air from a dry system, so you can avoid the adverse side effects sometimes caused by other models.

  • Costs less than twelve dollars
  • Included tubing is a bit short
  • Doesn’t come with a container

Brand Motion Pro
Model 08-0143
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. HFS 2 in 1

For the amateur DIY mechanic who’s planning only the occasional servicing, the HFS 2 in 1 will certainly suffice. This bestselling unit is simple and compact, and comes with a gauge and fluid reservoir. It’s designed to turn this chore into a one-person job.

  • Good for motorcycle brakes
  • Made of metal instead of plastic
  • Adapter has some issues

Brand HFS
Model 11896
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Allstar Performance Bottle

For a compact, low-cost option, consider the Allstar Performance Bottle, which has a thick silicone hose that will stay in place even if it is accidentally turned or tugged on a bit. Because it is translucent, you can keep an eye on the fluid’s color while you work.

  • Can be attached to car via magnet
  • Has a one-way check valve
  • Lanyard version also available

Brand Allstar
Model ALL11017
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Mityvac Silverline Elite

The Mityvac Silverline Elite comes with a heavy-duty, die-cast zinc alloy vacuum pump and a variety of tubes and adapters for all your automotive needs. And don’t worry about cleanup; its storage and transfer lids help prevent messes.

  • Vacuum gauge shows inches and cm
  • Includes convenient carrying case
  • Suffers from occasional air leakage

Brand Mityvac
Model MITMV8500
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. GearWrench Tank

Big vehicles carry lots of fluid, and the GearWrench Tank remains one of the most affordable large options for holding it all. Its selling point is a diaphragm-style basin that keeps the liquid and compressed air separate, which results in fewer complications.

  • Comes with 12-foot hose
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Durable and long-lasting

Brand Apex Tool Group
Model 3795D
Weight 20.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Capri Tools Vacuum

Simple and effective, the Capri Tools Vacuum is so easy to use that even a beginner should have it up and running in no time. And your neighbors will love the fact that it has an integrated silencer that helps it to run quietly.

  • Small easy-to-replace o-ring
  • High-capacity reservoir
  • Fits standard and abs systems

Brand Capri Tools
Model CP21029
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Mityvac Industrial

The Mityvac Industrial is well-suited to both the home tinkerer and the professional shop mechanic. A nifty thumb throttle controls the flow of fluid through the unit which, when used with compressed air, can bleed up to two quarts per minute.

  • Comes with a hanging hook
  • Six feet of hose
  • Two collection reservoirs

Brand Mityvac
Model MV6835
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Motive Products Power

From one of the leading manufacturers of brake tools, the Motive Products Power is a budget-friendly option that is certain to speed up the entire process during your next maintenance. Just be sure you purchase the right version, as the models are vehicle-specific.

  • Includes two-quart pressure tank
  • Handles standard and synthetic fluid
  • Built-in hand pump

Brand Motive Products
Model 108
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Power Probe Master Kit

It might require some extra investment, but the Power Probe Master Kit is hands down one of the best and most comprehensive choices around. With 12 color-coded adapters, each protected with an anodized finish, it’s a must-have if you work in a professional shop.

  • Expanded o-rings prevent seal leaks
  • Fits most makes and models
  • Made of aluminum and cast iron

Brand Power Probe
Model BAKIT01
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Brakes

Inspired by horse-drawn carriages, the first brakes were nothing more than a wooden block pressed against the leather or metal that served as a primitive tire. Once cars exceeded 20 miles per hour and began using pneumatic tires, however, this “spoon” method was no longer effective, and served only to destroy rubber. The drum braking system became popular and would in fact come standard on many models for several decades. As the power of these braking mechanisms increased, so too did the force required of the driver. At a certain level of performance, physically stopping a car became impossible without additional mechanical aid. The early lever systems often fed inconsistent pressure to the different wheels, which even today is an easy way to lose traction and spin out.

Around the turn of the 20th century, hydraulics crept onto the scene along with disc brakes. In 1898 (seemingly a hundred years ahead of his time), Elmer Ambrose Sperry designed an electric car with a metal caliper that pinched the wheel’s rim in order to grind to a halt. It wouldn’t take long for Frederick Lanchester to add the rotor, a smooth piece of metal meant just for stopping, and the first disc brake came into being — complete with a truly horrific screeching sound, due to its copper-on-steel contact point. Asbestos came to the rescue as engineers constructed blocks of interwoven fiber and copper wire, mitigating the horrific, copper-on-steel screeching, and adding a new level of sensitivity to braking. Yet it wasn’t until the 1950s that discs would claim a large share of brake systems in new cars.

The Safest Way To Slow Down

While the concept has been around for over 100 years, today’s brakes are quite different from the first units installed on passenger cars. The vacuum booster affords mere humans the incredible levels of torque needed to slow down a 4,000-pound chariot. The design of drum brakes borrowed power from the wheels themselves to help slow the car, but hydraulically controlled discs have no such added leverage. To rectify this, modern brakes take advantage of the engine’s inherently produced vacuum to multiply the force applied to the pedal. Divided by a diaphragm and valve, this two-chambered device moves the master cylinder’s piston, forcing hydraulic fluid through the lines and ultimately closing the calipers.

There are a handful of fail-safe features built into modern-day brakes. The one-way check valve prevents any air pockets in the vacuum booster in which it’s seated, ensuring that the booster retains enough pressure for a few solid pumps of the brake, should the engine give out. Additionally, most systems utilize two hydraulic circuits, with two wheels on each. If one fails due to a leak, the driver still has enough stopping ability to prevent disaster.

Among the most important advancements, anti-lock brakes actually came courtesy of the aviation industry, developed to keep planes moving safely during taxi and takeoff. In the 1950s, the technology was adapted to the ever-dangerous motorcycle, and over two decades, ABS was refined into a reasonable, functional safety feature worth the top manufacturers’ attention.

Modern ABS consists of a combination of sensors that work together to determine when a wheel starts to skid. A controller instructs the respective valves to open and shut rapidly, briefly cutting torque to the wheel in question and allowing its tire to regain traction. Anti-lock brakes are yet another of humanity’s mechanical systems that perform objectively better than a human being possibly can. Thankfully, this lifesaving system is included in a large number of cars today.

When Friction Takes Its Toll

Nothing is forever, least of all a component that uses friction to corral a multi-ton beast made of metal and plastic. Shoes, which provide friction to low-cost or antiquated drum brakes, wear down and eventually have almost no effect on momentum. When disc brakes go bad, it typically starts with worn or uneven pads. Contrary to popular belief, rotors do not actually warp, as they simply don’t get that hot. Carbon and other deposits stick to the rotor, causing grooves and reducing efficiency. The surface erodes, exposing the pad’s rivets, and when those high-hardness fasteners start to rub on the rotor, you will notice every time you touch the pedal. Aside from decreased stopping ability, uneven or overused pads can quickly damage the rotor and cause lock-up. Extreme vibrations can cause permanent damage to steering, suspension, and transmission components, and can even crack the frame or dislodge important nuts and bolts.

A brake job is one of the most common repairs made to vehicles, and yet it’s not entirely simple. In order for the system to work, it’s imperative to keep the actual brake line free of air pockets, which compress and seriously hurt braking performance. While the check valve keeps the vacuum booster free of such gases, the high-pressure side of the system requires an exacting installation process that involves eking the last, tiniest bits of atmosphere from the lines, an operation known as bleeding.

Traditionally, bleeding brakes is a two-person job. Each caliper contains a bleeding screw at its highest point, because air is lighter than oil, and when that screw is loosened slightly, it allows fluids to escape the caliper until it’s tightened again. Brake bleeding kits employ a pump, reservoir, and lengths of tubing to allow the solo mechanic to circulate the fluid, bubbles and all, while forcing the air out, and refilling the system via the master cylinder. They all operate on basically the same concept, but they do differ slightly in how their valves and pumps operate. Primarily, you should consider larger reservoirs and powered pumps if you’re working on large vehicles, or performing multiple brake jobs. Proud owners of a single mid-size sedan, on the other hand, can likely get by with a smaller, inexpensive model. As long as it’s reliable and leak-free, a brake bleeder can save you considerable headache, while also sparing the skin on your knuckles.