On bargain brakes…
I buy “premium” brake pad sets, although they cost more, they could be less expensive.
The “top-shelf” pad sets I buy usually come with hardware that is not included in the cheaper sets. also, I use ceramic pads which are usually more expensive to begin with.
They’re brakes! They’re important! It’s not like buying seat covers or scented tree air-freshener.
Any saving you gain on cheap brakes can be spent on trips to the store for additional hardware or cleaners to get brake dust off your rims and the side of your car. They usually don’t give the hardware away when you purchase it separately, they hose you.
The more expensive pads often have rebates which I take advantage of and the more expensive pads often qualify me for bigger discounts (especially when added to rotors, discounts can be 40%) when ordering online with (very generous and lucrative) discount codes. Last time I did that I also additionally received a $15 gift card. It’s like a game show.
My most recent purchase of 2 brake rotors and premium ceramic pads with hardware ($49/pads) @ 40% off plus tax came to $71.41total. I used a $15 rebate and got back $15 more after that.
Long story, short, I have purchased the best for less than the cheapest!
When I shop pads I have the counterman (non-PC sexist comment) pull different pad sets in order to see what comes in each box (hardware contained or not contained often isn’t known until one looks).
That’s how I roll… and stop!
Edit: I forgot to mention that better pads usually wear longer, stop better, and are less likely to cause noise problems (many have better backing material).