7 Best Exhaust System Reviews (Flowmaster and MagnaFlow)

Best Exhaust System

An exhaust system is an integral part of any vehicle. A modern exhaust system carries out many functions which are necessary for the environment, as well as for the vehicle's owner or driver. A modern exhaust system dampens the engine's noises, reduces the quantity of harmful gases to be released into the atmosphere, and helps to maintain an optimal combustion process, saving you money thereby.

How Exhaust Systems Works

Exhaust systems originally started out purely as a method to convey exhaust gases away from the internal combustion engines that power automobiles. Over the years, the exhaust system has evolved and become more complex. A modern exhaust system today comprises the cylinder head or exhaust manifold, an oxygen sensor in vehicles using fuel injection, a catalytic converter, a turbocharger in turbo-charged vehicles, a muffler, an a series of pipes that connect them all together.

The exhaust gases flow from the engine into the exhaust manifold, where they are combined into one pipe. If the vehicle is modern and has an injector, an oxygen sensor will now detect oxygen levels and send it to a computer for better fuel usage. The gases then pass through the catalytic converter, which reduces its quantity of harmful gases before flowing into the muffler to reduce noise, especially the higher frequencies. The end result is less harmful gases with less noise.

You can also read other product reviews such as cat-back exhaust system, muffler, catalytic converter


7 Best Exhaust System Reviews

Image

Product Name

Fits

Rating

Current Price

Flowmaster Exhaust Systems

1. Flowmaster Exhaust Systems

Sedans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, diesel trucks, muscle cars and imports

4.5

MagnaFlow Exhaust Systems

2. MagnaFlow Exhaust Systems

Passenger cars and racecars, to SUVs and off-road trucks

4.5

MBRP Exhaust Systems

3. MBRP Exhaust Systems

1994-2002 Configurations

4.4

Gibson Performance Exhaust Systems

4. Gibson Performance Exhaust Systems

Both gas- and diesel-powered powered engines

3.8

Banks Monster Exhaust System

5. Banks Monster Exhaust System

N/A

3.6

Borla Exhaust Systems

6. Borla Exhaust Systems

Championship Racing

4.6

aFe Exhaust Systems

7. aFe Exhaust Systems

Diesel trucks, pick-up trucks, American muscles, SUVs and European cars

2.6

1. Flowmaster Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Flowmaster Exhaust Systems

Flowmaster designs a variety of exhaust systems, for a wide range of vehicles. It is one of the better known exhaust brands. The exhaust systems are basically a cat-back system, made up of exhaust pipes and a muffler. They are usually made of aluminized or stainless steel, and are available in specific kits for different vehicle types like sedans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, diesel trucks, muscle cars and imports. Each of these kits are designed for better installation, but they are all share that distinct sound, characteristic of Flowmaster exhaust systems.

Flowmaster's exhaust components are available for the DIY automobile enthusiast, but there are also 4 different pre-configured Flowmaster systems that take the sound from mild to moderate, to aggressive, and then super aggressive. These systems are the FORCE-II, which offers a mild level of performance tone, but is still acceptable for everyday use. The second is the dBX-Series, which offers American Thunder sound in a smaller package. The third is the American Thunder, with the classic Flowmaster aggressiveness, while the last is the OUTLAW series, designed for racers.

2. MagnaFlow Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

MagnaFlow Exhaust Systems

MagnaFlow's exhaust systems deliver the perfect blend of performance and sound. MagnaFlow is also one of the better known exhaust brands. Made from 409 stainless steel tubing, you can be sure of this system lasting a lifetime. With MagnaFlow's systems, you can get a single or a dual exhaust system, depending on your ride. The muffler features a straight-through design, with a perforated core tube that allows harsh noise to be filtered out by the acoustic-absorbent material that surrounds the core tube. This leaves that low, and smooth MagnaFlow growl behind.

There is also instant horsepower gains because of the low level of restriction on the exhaust gases. MagnaFlow's replacement exhaust pipes feature extra-strong, 0.5-inch overlapped welds, and are also mandrel-bent, making them retain their full diameter at all turns, further reducing back-pressure and boosting the vehicle's performance. MagnaFlow designs and produces a wide range of exhaust systems, specifically for a wide range of vehicles. The installation is usually straight-forward, and they also come with a lifetime warranty.

3. MBRP Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

MBRP Exhaust Systems

MBRP exhaust systems are designed to deliver maximum exhaust flow, an amazing sound, extra engine power and a long service life. Made of either aluminized steel, T-304 or T-409 stainless steel, MBRP exhaust systems are available in up to 7 different series. They are custom designed to fit each specific vehicle and installation requires no welding, but a simple bolt-on. Every piece of hardware required for the installation is also included in the kit.


MBRP's sound is generated by the straight-through muffler, which due to its design, enables the engine to deliver more horsepower and responsiveness as a result of low back-pressure. The systems are also available in single or dual configurations, and are extremely sturdy because they are individually hand-welded. MBRP exhaust systems' tubes are mandrel bent for maximum performance, and some of the stainless kits are mirror-polished to perfection.

4. Gibson Performance Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (3.8 / 5)

Gibson Performance Exhaust Systems

When it comes to trucks, SUVs and other large vehicle, including both gas- and diesel-powered powered engines, then Gibson Performance exhaust systems is a name to watch out for. Whether it is a a towing truck or your favorite SUV, there are up to 5 different Gibson styles for you to choose from. There is the swept-side, the dual-sport, the split-rear, the dual-extreme and the super-truck styles. Whatever type of exhaust system you need for your truck, Gibson has got it.

Gibson exhaust systems are also available in 6 different configurations. There are standard cat-back exhausts, axle-back exhausts, header-back exhausts, turbo-back exhausts, downpipe-back and DPF(Diesel Particulate Filter)-back exhausts. All tubings are mandrel-bent for optimum performance, and they are available in either aluminized or in stainless steel, with well polished T-304 stainless steel tips. Your truck will gain additional torque or towing power by just bolting on a Gibson system, and they are backed of course by a lifetime warranty.

5. Banks Monster Exhaust System

Editor's Rating: (3.6 / 5)

Banks Monster Exhaust System

If you desire a monstrous growl for your truck, and from an exhaust system which also boosts engine performance, by boosting exhaust-gas flow, then look no further than Banks Monster exhaust systems. Made with 100% stainless steel, these systems are designed to last. The mufflers feature an aerodynamic, drone-cutting shape. The tips are huge and polished, while all the 4-inch pipes are mandrel bent for effective exhaust flow.

Banks Monster system are available in either single or dual exits. Its mufflers are straight-through types, which allow an easy exhaust gas flow, while producing that distinctive and throaty Banks Monster growl. Depending on the vehicle, you could get either a cat-back, turbo-back, downpipe-back or DPF-back. They are additionally backed by a 5-year warranty.

6. Borla Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Borla Exhaust Systems

Made of 100% stainless steel, Borla exhaust systems are a favorite for many championship racing teams around the world. Having created and introduced the first cat-back exhaust system in 1978, Borla continues to innovate with premium, mandrel-bent and completely welded exhausts, which generate up to 15% more horsepower than stock systems. It is thus one of the best performance exhaust systems around.

Borla systems are precisely crafted, and mount easily without problems. The mufflers produce a distinctive mellow tone that Borla systems are known for, and the package includes everything necessary for installation. In fact, Borla is so sure about making the best exhaust system, that they are all backed by a million-mile warranty.


7. aFe Exhaust Systems

Editor's Rating: (2.6 / 5)

aFe Exhaust Systems

aFe Power's performance exhaust systems are designed for a wide range of vehicles, including diesel trucks, pick-up trucks, American muscles, SUVs and European cars. There are also specific exhaust systems for specif vehicles, which guarantees a perfect fit. Each of the kits utilize mandrel-bent tubing, increasing the exhaust-gas flow by up to 36% and propping up the engine's total horsepower output as well.

They are made from budget-friendly and durable mild steel, or from a higher grade and corrosion resistant T-409 stainless steel. There are also a variety of exhaust styles that you can choose from. The installation is quick and easy, they are fastened directly unto the factory-exhaust's mounting points. aFe exhaust systems are backed by a 2 year warranty.


Flowmaster vs MagnaFlow

When it comes to after-market exhaust systems, there are two brands you have probably heard of, and will probably continue to hear about: Flowmaster and MagnaFlow. Many vehicle owners often get stuck trying to choose between the two. In order to clear the air, and help you choose the perfect system for your ride, we are going to look at a few features and use them in comparing the two competitors.

#1. Design

Both exhaust systems are made using stainless steel. MagnaFlow's muffler features a straight-through design with a perforated core-pipe, which is then surrounded by sound absorbing material to cut down on the noise. Flowmaster's muffler on the other hand, features chambers, which are filled with diagonal shapes that break up the exhaust flow, forcing the gases thereby to bounce against each other, and cancel their noise.

#2. Sound

Each of the two systems has its specific sound that it is known for. The MagnaFlow's straight-through design for instance, makes it louder than the chambered design of the Flowmaster. What MagnaFlow's perforated pipe achieves is the dampening of high frequencies in the sound, leaving the exiting gases with a low and smooth tone.

Flowmaster exhaust systems chambered design creates a sort of resonance, which defines the Flowmaster-sound, and it can range from mild to aggressive. If you love loud and deep, then go with the MagnaFlow, but if you love that aggressive sound that befits a muscle car, then Flowmaster wins. It delivers the best exhaust system for aggressive sounds.

#3. Power

Exhaust systems also affect a vehicle's overall performance because of a phenomenon termed back-pressure. This is a build-up of pressure of the gases inside the exhaust system, when they are being slowed down for any reason. This pressure inside the exhaust system, also affects the rate with which the engine's pistons push out exhaust gases. This results in a lower horsepower output for the engine.

Magnaflow's muffler is a straight-through device, and so it creates less back-pressure than Flowmaster's chambered design. MagnaFlow's lesser back-pressure means that the engine will generate more horsepower than if it was connected to a Flowmanster. For engine efficiency and power, Magnaflow wins as the best performance exhaust system.

#4. Versatility

Flowmaster exhaust systems are developed in more variety than MagnaFlow's systems, whose exhaust systems are less versatile. Both companies offer customized exhaust systems for SUVs, muscle cars, trucks e.t.c., but when it comes to product versatility, Flowmaster wins.

#5. Warranty

Both brands are winners here, because both offer lifetime warranties for their products. This is understandable, given that both companies make excellent products, that only practically differ in sound.


Exhaust System Parts & Functions

Exhaust Systems

The exhaust system has evolved over the centuries from a simple pipe that leads exhaust gases away, to a more complex system comprising of many components. In some places, some of these components like catalytic converters, are required by law, while others like the turbocharger, are just there for performance purposes. Following are the different parts of a modern exhaust system, and their functions.

#1. Cylinder Head or Exhaust Manifold

The cylinder head, also known as the exhaust manifold, is the entry point of exhaust gases into the exhaust system. It collects gases from all the cylinders and combines them into one exhaust pipe. In V6, V8 or larger engines, there could be two manifolds feeding two exhaust systems. The manifold is commonly made of cast iron, but can also be made of aluminum, steel and even stainless steel.

#2. Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is an important component of modern fuel injected automobiles. It is normally mounted in the exhaust manifold or in its vicinity. What the oxygen sensor does is to simply relay the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases back to an on-board computer. A decision can then be reached by the computer on whether to add more fuel or to reduce fuel to the injector, based on the amount of oxygen that was not used up during the previous combustions. This system improves the vehicle's overall fuel efficiency.

#3. Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter looks just like a muffler, but it has a different job. If you look under a vehicle with a catalytic converter, it will appear to have two mufflers, but in reality, this muffler-type device nearer to the manifold is a catalytic converter. What it does is to reduce the quantity of harmful gases like carbon monoxide in the exhaust.

It achieves this by letting the gases pass through a ceramic honeycomb structure which triggers a redox (oxidation and reduction) reaction. The catalytic converter is required for example by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation, to be present in gasoline powered vehicles starting from model year 1975. Most after-market exhaust systems are installed after the catalytic converter, and are therefore referred to as cat-back systems.

#4. Turbocharger

A turbocharger can sometimes be found in an exhaust system, but only in a vehicle whose engine is equipped to utilize the turbocharger. It is a turbine that runs on the force of exhaust gases, and it uses the power generated to force more air or fuel, or both, into the engine's combustion chambers. This is why turbocharged engines produce more power.


#5. Muffler

The muffler is usually the last component to be found in an exhaust system. Its job is simply to 'muffle' the exhaust noise. As a by-product of this noise reduction attempt, unique muffler sounds have become popular amongst automobile enthusiasts. Automobile brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari have even developed their own muffler sounds, with Ferrari's sound also being patented. Many after-market exhaust manufacturers like MagnaFlow and Flowmaster exhaust systems also have their own unique sounds.

Read More: 6 Best Glass Pack Mufflers

#6. Exhaust Pipes

Exhaust pipes are the tubes that run from the cylinder head, all the way to the back of the car, carrying exhaust gases. It is unto these pipes that all the other components are attached. They can be made from either aluminized or stainless steel.

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