Your Guide to the Best Brake Bleeding Kits

Trapped air bubbles are a common nuisance in the world of hydraulically operated machinery; especially when it comes to automotive braking systems.

If your brake pedal feels spongy and doesn’t actuate as quickly as it used to, that’s a clear indicator that you need to bleed your brakes.

This can easily be done in your garage or driveway with the right tools. All you need is a brake bleeding kit and a basic socket set.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about bleeding your brakes, and we’ll conclude by reviewing some of our most recommended bleeder kits that you can buy.

Why You Need to Bleed Your Brakes

When you hit the brakes, the mechanical force exerted on the pedal is delivered to the pistons within your caliper through a complex series of components.

The force is amplified by a servo and channeled into a master cylinder which converts mechanical pressure into hydraulic pressure.

Your braking system relies entirely on this hydraulic pressure in order to function how it’s supposed to.

Pneumatic brake bleeder in use

If you want to learn the basics of how this system works, check out our guide on floating vs fixed calipers.

The key thing to remember is that liquids are uncompressible. That’s the main reason why hydraulic systems work at all.

Put uncompressible liquids in a sealed system and what you get is a perfect solution to transmit force from one point to another. The problem occurs when the system is not perfectly sealed or if air gets into it.

In this case, we’re talking about the formation of air bubbles in your brake lines. Now, unlike liquids, air is compressible.

When air gets into your brake lines, some of the force that you exert on the pedal will be wasted on compressing the air instead of pressurizing the calipers. This results in a spongy and unresponsive pedal feel.

Ignoring this issue will over time lead to longer braking distances. Needless to say, you want your brakes to function properly at all times.

How Air Gets Into Your Braking System

One of the reasons why you should bleed your brake system every 2 to 3 years is that brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means that it tends to absorb moisture (water) over time.

Vacuum-operated bleeder attached to brake caliper

Water is as incompressible as brake fluid. But the problem arises because water has a much lower boiling point (212°F) compared to that of brake fluid (400°F+).

Brakes tend to get extremely hot even under regular operating conditions. When that happens, the water in your brake fluid boils and the steam leaves air pockets in your brake lines.

You need to bleed your brakes any time you open up the brake system for routine maintenance. This means it’s not something you need to do if you’re only replacing pads and rotors.

But when it comes to replacing your calipers or brake lines, then you need to bleed the brakes after the job is done.

Flushing and bleeding the brakes yourself will only cost you about $5 to $40, depending on what fluid you choose and how much you need.

Considering that mechanics will charge anywhere north of $100 for this job, it’s a great idea to just do it yourself.

However, depending on the type of brake bleeder kit you choose, you might need someone else to help you.

Types of Brake Bleeding Kits

Bleeding your brakes can very well be a 2-person job depending on what type of brake bleeder kit you have.

OEMTOOLS Bleed-O-Matic attached to brake rotor

If you’re wondering how to bleed your brakes when you don’t have anyone to help you, then pneumatic and vacuum powered manual bleeders are right for you.

These kits eliminate the need for a 2nd person to operate the brake pedal while 1 person operates the bleeder valve.

Manual bleed kits do require a 2nd person to be in the car and operate the brake pedal, but there are ways to work around this.

There’s no right or wrong method as long as you achieve the desired result, which is to rid your brake lines of any air pockets and replace old brake fluid.

However, an advantage we’ve observed with 1-person bleeder kits is that because you’re responsible for the entire job, you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

The last thing you want is to let the reservoir run out of fluid and end up with a bone dry master cylinder. If that happens, you’ll have to bench bleed it.

Pneumatic

Air compressor operated brake bleeder

As the name suggests, pneumatic brake bleeders require the use of an air compressor. This is something that you need to have in your garage by default if you wish to use pneumatic tools.

Brake bleeder kits of this type utilize compressed air to draw fluid out of the bleeder valve. These kits typically come with a secondary reservoir that screws right on to your primary reservoir.

This ensures that your master cylinder is consistently supplied with fresh brake fluid, negating the chances of it going dry.

Which is a welcome addition, considering how quickly the air compressor can flush your brake lines.

Vacuum Pump

Vacuum bleeder attached to red Brembo caliper

Not every vacuum brake bleeding kit requires an air compressor. There are many kits that allow you to build pressure manually with the help of an integrated or external vacuum pump.

Pneumatic bleeders let you build up to a higher pressure for different jobs like clutch bleeding, and they typically operate faster than manual vacuum pumps.

The tradeoff for that is the price. Not only do you need to invest in or have an air compressor already, but the pneumatic vacuum brake bleeders tend to cost a little more themselves.

If you don’t mind building up the pressure by hand, and you’re not in a hurry, you can save yourself a few bucks by going with a manual vacuum brake bleeder.

Pressure Tank

Pressure tank brake bleeder attached to master cylinder reservoir

What sets pressure tanks bleeders apart is that unlike pneumatic and vacuum operated bleeders, these push the brake fluid out of the system in contrast to drawing it out.

Pressure tank bleeders come with differently sized reservoir connectors, which is a nice addition especially if you work on multiple cars.

Many enthusiasts consider these bleeders to be the most efficient and effective option there is. But it definitely comes down to personal preference and whatever works best for your particular car.

Making Your Own Brake Bleeder

Once you understand the basic principle behind brake bleeding, you’ll notice that you don’t really need purpose-built tools.

But, on the other hand, there’s a reason why people still use these tools. They’re more efficient, they don’t make a mess, and most importantly, they’re quite inexpensive.

Compare the cost of making your own bleeder kit to a product like the OEMTOOLS Bleed-O-Matic, and you’ll see that you’re really not saving much.

Not only that, but you’re missing out on a lot of features that these products offer that make your life easier.

Even that lower-cost product offers tapered fittings for a flush and mess-free fitment and a magnet setup that lets you do it by yourself.

Considering how important it is to bleed your brakes properly and how easy it is to mess it up, we highly recommend getting a kit to do the job.

Best Brake Bleeding Kits

Now that you know the basics of brake bleeding and the different types of tools available for the job, let’s explore the list you’re here for.

Below we’ve listed and reviewed some of the best brake bleeding kits that you can buy at the time of writing.

HTOMT Vacuum Pump Tester

HTOMT Vacuum Pump Tester

Manufacturer: HTOMT
Part number: Htomt-brake
Bleeder type: Vacuum Pump
Buy on: Amazon

With the HTOMT vacuum pump tester and brake bleeder kit, you get an extremely versatile tool at an affordable price.

Not only does it include everything you need to bleed your car’s brakes by yourself, but it also has the ability to pressure test any vacuum system in your car.

This kit has multiple adapters that let you connect the hose to just about any brake bleeding valve regardless of the positioning.

And while this is a vacuum brake bleeder, you can easily use it as a manual bleeder if you have someone willing to help you out.

It uses a manual pressure builder that you use by squeezing the top-handle, this means you don’t need to worry about having an air compressor or anything else to use this brake bleeding kit.

HTOMT offers a 3-month warranty on this product, giving you plenty of time to use it and ensure everything is in working order right out of the box.

Allstar Performance Bleeder Bottle

Allstar performance brake bleeder bottle

Manufacturer: Allstar
Part number: ALL11017
Bleeder type: Manual
Buy on: Amazon

The Allstar brake bleeder kit is as simple as it gets. And when it comes to brake bleeding kits, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And while it doesn’t look like much, with a magnet and check valve you can easily use it to bleed your brakes all by yourself.

Of course, if you do want to complete the job with a partner, it’s perfect for that too. It’s super easy to use and features a 16-ounce bottle that is large enough to bleed most brakes without draining the bottle.

Still, the best part of this brake bleeding kit is the price. It does a great job, and it is extremely affordable.

OEMTOOLS Bleed-O-Matic

OEMTOOLS bleeder bottle

Manufacturer: OEM Tools
Part number: 25036
Bleeder type: Manual
Buy on: Amazon

Bleed-O-Matic by OEM Tools isn’t the most advanced brake bleeder, and while it’s good for a 1-person job, it’s much better suited for a 2-person setup.

Not only does it have a few different hoses, but it also has multiple fittings that help you get a snug fit on brake reservoirs of various sizes.

The top selling point for this brake bleeding kit is the price. Even if you want to build your own DIY kit, unless you already have the materials on hand, you can still buy this one for a lower price.

Just know that the brake fluid reservoir is on the smaller side. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it can slow the job down a little bit.

OEMTOOLS One-Person Bleeder

OEMTOOLS one-person bleeder

Manufacturer: OEM Tools
Part number: 25136
Bleeder type: Vacuum pump
Buy on: Amazon

Here’s another brake bleeder kit manufactured by OEM Tools. This one comes with eight different fittings, multiple connectors, and everything else you need for a snug fitment and smooth operation.

It doesn’t require the use of an air compressor since it relies on the vacuum pump that it comes with.

Even with all these features, this OEM Tools one-man brake bleeder and vacuum pump is available for a great price, so you don’t need to worry about spending a ton to get everything you need to bleed your car’s brakes by yourself.

Mityvac Vacuum Bleed Kit

Mityvac vacuum-based brake bleed kit

Manufacturer: Mityvac
Part number: MV8000
Bleeder type: Vacuum pump
Buy on: Amazon

If you drive a manual car and want a vacuum kit that can bleed both the brakes and the clutch when you need it, this Mityvac kit can complete both tasks. Not simultaneously, however.

It uses an external vacuum pump that you activate by repeatedly squeezing the handle, so you won’t need an air compressor with this tool.

It’s an easy-to-use tool that has a one-finger vacuum release, and it’s durable enough to handle larger jobs easily.

It’s slightly more expensive than most standalone brake bleeding kits, but for a vacuum kit that can bleed both your brakes and the clutch, it’s available for an affordable price.

ARES Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder

ARES vacuum brake bleeder

Manufacturer: ARES
Part number: ‎70921
Bleeder type: Pneumatic
Buy on: Amazon

If you’re looking to complete more of a brake flush instead of just a brake bleed, then the ARES Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder is an outstanding choice.

That’s because it comes with a 1-liter tank, which means less time disconnecting and reconnecting everything to finish the job.

It also comes with hooks that let you hang everything up to keep it in sight but out of the way. It does a great job at holding lots of pressure too, earning our nod as the best high pressure brake bleeder kit.

Even with all these great features, the ARES Vacuum Brake Fluid Bleeder is available for an affordable price, giving you a top-notch product without the need to break the bank.

However, keep in mind that it uses an air compressor to unlock the fully hands-free and vacuum potential. That’s not a big deal if you have one, but if you don’t then it’s an additional expense you’ll need to account for.

Four Uncles Air Brake Bleeder Kit

Four Uncles brake bleed kit

Manufacturer: Four Uncles
Part number: AIR-001
Bleeder type: Pneumatic
Buy on: Amazon

If you find yourself working on your brakes quite a bit, then a product like the Four Uncles Air Brake Bleeder Kit is worth considering.

Not only does it have a large 2-liter reservoir for when you’re flushing the system, but it also has a 1-liter automatic master cylinder kit.

This makes full brake fluid changes easier and faster than ever. While this isn’t the lowest-priced option, if you’re running a shop, it’s alright to spend a little more on a product that’s going to speed things up and help you bring in more money.

It also requires you to hook it up to an air compressor. While most shops give you easy access to this, if you’re looking for a product for your garage it can be a problem.

This kit is also very durable, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it any time soon.

Capri Tools 2CFM Bleeder

Capri Tools 2CFM Bleeder

Manufacturer: Capri Tools
Part number: CP21029
Bleeder type: Pneumatic
Buy on: Amazon

If you need a high-powered vacuum brake bleeder that you can use to quickly bleed brakes, then the Capri Tools Vacuum Brake Bleeder is an outstanding choice.

It lets you quickly bleed the brakes on almost any car, and it has a larger reservoir which saves you from needing to disconnect, drain, and reconnect in the middle of a job.

 It uses shop air, so it’s typically better suited for shop work instead of at-home garage work, but if you do have an air compressor in your garage it’ll work just fine.

While it is a more expensive option compared to the more basic brake bleeders, the tradeoff is that you get a vacuum brake bleeder that can get the job done in half the time.

Mityvac Pneumatic Bleed Kit

Mityvac pneumatic bleed kit

Manufacturer: Lincoln
Part number: MV6835
Bleeder type: Pneumatic
Buy on: Amazon

If you’re a professional mechanic and you want the best of the best to help you tackle brake jobs faster than ever, then you need the Mityvac Premium bleeder kit.

It has a 1.9-quart collection reservoir, and if you’re in a hurry to drain the system you can fill it up in just one minute.

You can also install an automatic refill kit on the reservoir, so you don’t have to worry about the master cylinder running dry when you’re bleeding the brakes.

It is a more expensive option, but if you’re a professional mechanic the amount of time you save with this product will pay for itself in no time.

Finally, with how well Mityvac built this kit, it should be the last time you need to purchase a brake bleeding kit for your toolbox.

It’s the best air compressor brake bleeder out there, and with everything that it offers it’s not all that close.

JQuad Master Cylinder Bench Bleeder

JQuad Master Cylinder Bench Bleeder

Manufacturer: JQuad
Part number: 8542040890
Bleeder type: Vacuum pump
Buy on: Amazon

When you’re talking about bleeding the brakes you’re almost always talking about bleeding the brake lines at the caliper, but sometimes you need to bleed the master cylinder too.

If that’s the case for you then the JQuad Master Cylinder Bench Bleeder Kit is an outstanding choice.

It lets you get all the air out of your master cylinder, which is an essential part of the process if you’re replacing or servicing the master cylinder.

This kit is easy to use and it’s available for an affordable price. It’s an outstanding choice for both at home and use and for professional shops.

Our Top Recommendations

With so many great choices out there, it can be a challenge to zero-in on just one. Because what might be right for one person might not be the optimal choice for someone else.

We completely understand, and that’s why we’ve highlighted some of our top recommendations below.

Our favorite manual bleed kit: Allstar Performance Bleeder Bottle

As long as you have a buddy to complete your brake bleeding with, there’s nothing wrong with going with a manual brake bleeder.

The Allstar Performance ALL11017 gives you everything you could want out of an at-home brake bleeder, and you can get it for a price that you’ll absolutely love.

Most recommended one-person brake bleeder: HTOMT Vacuum Pump Tester

If you don’t have another person to help you out in the garage, or if you don’t want another person to help you out in the garage, this is the best vacuum brake bleeder that lets you do it all by yourself.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re not going to find a better kit than the HTOMT Vacuum Pump Tester and Brake Bleeder Kit.

Not only does it do an excellent job for at-home brake bleeding, but it’s also available for a lower price tag, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on routine maintenance.

Best professional bleed kit: Mityvac Pneumatic Bleed Kit

If you’re in a shop setting, then you need something that can get the job done a little quicker. Because as you know, when you’re in the shop, time is money.

Not only does the Mityvac Pneumatic Bleed Kit do a great job, but it does it faster than ever which lets you move on to the next job quicker and make more money.

Do you have a favorite brake bleeding kit that you use, or do you have any questions about bleeding your brakes? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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