Look at your bicycle and your brake will be most likely to be either one of these.
For road bikes and foldable bicycles where they do not see much mud and dirt, rim brakes are generally used. Rim brakes cost less than disc brakes and easier to replace. Riders can physically see the brake pads and replace it cheaply. In addition, it is also quite easy to adjust the brakes with common tools.
CAMP ROYALE foldable bicycle CAMP linear pull rim brakes
In the rim brakes category, it has the dual pivot, single pivot and linear pull. The key difference is that dual pivot type engages the rim simultaneously from both sides while the single pivot engages on one side, usually the right pad. The problem with single pivot type is it may flex during hard braking. This results in poor braking.
CAMP LITE foldable bicycle TEKTRO RX1 dual pivot rim brakes
Then we also have linear pull type. This type of brakes uses spring tension to engage both brake pads simultaneously. The drawback is you would need some skill and experience to set the tension correctly.
CAMP iLEAP CARBON mountain bike SHIMANO MT200 hydraulic disc brakes
Next will the disc brakes. Such brakes are commonly found on mountain bikes, ebikes and some high-end road and foldable bicycles. Disc brakes, in general, provide better stopping power than rim brakes. But the key selection factor is disc brakes are more suitable where the riding condition encounters mud, grim and dirt.
CAMP HUMMER kids mountain bike CAMP mechanical disc brakes
There are 2 main types: mechanical and hydraulic. The mechanical disc brakes use a brake cable to engage the brake calipers while the hydraulic uses mineral oil. Hydraulic disc brakes are generally considered to have the best performance across all the brakes systems. And the trade-off is costs. A high quality and branded hydraulic brake system (levers, calipers, tubes and rotor) may be 3 to 5 times more than an entry range mechanical disc brake.
In summary, most stock brakes are suitable if used in the condition that the manufacturer designed it to be. So, if you are beginning to ride in more challenging terrains or at higher speeds, then it is time for you to either upgrade your brakes or bike.