The 10 Best Exhaust Systems of 2020
The exhaust system is one of the most critical parts of a car. It ensures its smooth functioning by allowing the vehicle to evacuate fumes and noise that the engine generates when in operation.
Exhaust systems will also make the vehicle more environmentally-friendly by filtering out harmful gases.
In addition to all this, with the best exhaust systems, the car also gets a sportier sound that will make it more interesting to drive. And in this piece, we provide reviews and a buying guide to help you pick out a good exhaust system.
How the Exhaust System Works
The primary function of the exhaust system is to evacuate both noise and fumes from the motor block. Fumes are a byproduct of fuel being burnt in the engine block. Without proper evacuation, the engine will choke and under-perform.
Those fumes follow the exhaust manifold where they are combined in one pipe and processed appropriately in the cylinder head. While this might sound like a simple task, there are some complex parts in the exhaust system that allow it to work efficiently.
Indeed, for starters, a modern exhaust system is comprised of parts like the catalytic filter in the cylinder head that helps filter out harmful gases that come out of the motor. In turn, the vehicle outputs a more environmentally-friendly gas.
Moreover, the muffler is another vital part of the exhaust system. It is the endmost portion that is responsible for dampening the noise to tolerable levels.
The muffler also uplifts the sound emitted by the vehicle, providing it with a sportier sound and feel when compared to a factory-fitted exhaust system.
Reasons to Purchase an After-Market Exhaust System
1. Durable and long-lasting: These exhaust systems are often made from stainless steel that can withstand heat and humidity for an extended period. Hence, an aftermarket exhaust system provides a longer service life.
2. Better Sound Quality: You will enjoy a sportier sound with an aftermarket exhaust system. In turn, this will increase the resale value of your vehicle.
The catalytic converters in an aftermarket exhaust system is usually bigger and superior in terms of technology and efficiency to a factory-fitted exhaust system.
Therefore, it also outputs a cleaner fume that is harmless to both the environment and the driver.
4. Easy to Install: You do not need sophisticated tools or advanced skills to install an aftermarket exhaust system. They are easy to install by beginners, and it should take less than an hour to have them in place. And you don’t even need to solder because most top-rated exhaust systems use a fitting system where O-Rings secure the connectors.
10 Best Exhaust Systems – Review
1. MagnaFlow 15160 (Powder Coated & Very Durable)
2. MagnaFlow 15155 (Powerful for Enthusiasts)
3. Invidia HS12SSTGTT N1 (Exhaust Tip Coated with Titanium)
4. Borla 11795 (Add Resale Value to Any Corolla Vehicle)
5. Borla 140595 S-Type (Make Your Subaru WRX More Performing)
6. MBRP S6004PLM (Simple & Yet Very Loud)
7. MBRP S6100PLM Turbo (Loud & High Performance)
8. Gibson 17303-B (Compatible with Almost All Jeeps)
9. Borla 140616 (Premium Quality for Any Truck)
10. Flowmaster 817674 409S (Moderate Sound but Efficient)
1. MagnaFlow 15160
(Powder Coated & Very Durable)
2. MagnaFlow 15155
(Powerful for Enthusiasts)
3. Invidia HS12SSTGTT N1
(Exhaust Tip Coated with Titanium)
4. Borla 11795
(Add Resale Value to Any Corolla Vehicle)
5. Borla 140595 S-Type
(Make Your Subaru WRX More Performing)
6. MBRP S6004PLM
(Simple & Yet Very Loud)
7. MBRP S6100PLM Turbo
(Loud & High Performance)
8. Gibson 17303-B
(Compatible with Almost All Jeeps)
9. Borla 140616
(Premium Quality for Any Truck)
10. Flowmaster 817674 409S
(Moderate Sound but Efficient)
1. MagnaFlow 15160 – Powder Coated & Very Durable
The MagnaFlow 15160 is a dual exhaust system that fits the Jeep Wrangler. Since this exhaust system is all stainless steel, it is highly durable and long-lasting.
But additionally, it is black powder-coated, which will protect it from humidity, salt fog, and high temperatures. You also get excellent resistance against corrosion.
What separates this model from the rest of the competition is its bolt-on installation. Fitment is perfect, and as long as your vehicle matches this exhaust system, you will have absolutely no difficulty installing it.
Moreover, you get a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, so you have nothing to lose. Of course, you get all installation accessories out of the box.
The only real disadvantages of this model are that it isn't the loudest on the market, and you may need to perform a little more DIY work for the installation.
2. MagnaFlow 15155 – Powerful Exhaust System for Enthusiasts
If you need the best aftermarket exhaust system for a Ford Focus ST, few models can beat the MagnaFlow 15155.
Not only is the sound of this exhaust system powerful, but it is also very efficient. It will allow your vehicle’s motor to evacuate fumes quickly and easily.
In addition to this, you will also see a slight improvement in the overall performance of your vehicle. When it comes to building construction, there is nothing to worry about as it is stainless steel. It will not rust or corrode and will provide you with a long lifespan.
Installation is also straightforward as this is a fit-on model, and no welding is required. The only major caveat we find with this model is the price, which could have been more competitive.
3. Invidia HS12SSTGTT N1 – Exhaust Tip Coated with Titanium
Both the Subaru BR-Z and the Scion FR-S are legendary vehicles. They need a heavy-duty and robust exhaust system to match.
And this is where exhaust system models like the Invidia come into play. It is a stainless-steel exhaust system that will not rust or corrode over time. Moreover, the tip of this exhaust system is coated with titanium so that it can withstand the high heat.
Once installed on a compatible vehicle, this exhaust system will immediately improve its sound as well as motor and efficiency. You should also observe a small increase in performance as well.
All in all, this model by Invidia is one of the best cat-back exhaust systems that you will find in this review. Get it if you own a Subaru BR-Z or a Scion FR-S. Just note that the installation is a bit trickier than others.
Notes: This exhaust system comes as one single unit with individual parts welded together. You may require the help of another person for the installation because it is quite heavy and difficult to maneuver single-handedly
4. Borla 11795 – Add Resale Value to Any Corolla Vehicle
One problem with the Corolla S or XRS is that it tends to have poor resale value. One way around that is to install a superior quality exhaust system like this Borla 11795.
It will immediately provide a higher resale value as well as produce a sportier sound than the factory fitted exhaust system. You will also find that you gain a few additional performances with it.
And this is mostly because the motor will now run more efficiently than before. Installation of this exhaust system is straightforward, and all that you would require for its installation is the provided bolts and a wrench.
Some motorists might not like that it is quiet at low RPM's. This might not be to the liking of those who like a constant sports sound in their vehicle, but overall this is still a high-performing exhaust.
5. Borla 140595 S-Type – Make Your Subaru WRX More Performing
The Borla 140595 has been made specifically for the Subaru WRX. Not only does it provide a perfect fitment for this vehicle, but the sound is also phenomenal.
Most users who have installed this exhaust system on their Subaru will not go back to other types of exhaust system because its sound is superior to others.
Additionally, the stainless-steel build construction of this exhaust system makes it very durable and long-lasting. It will not corrode or rust over time.
When it comes to installation, no problem there, as you will have an easy time, all you will need to do is tighten everything with the provided metal O-rings.
If you own a Subaru WRX or any other compatible vehicle, then the Borla 140595 is the best performance exhaust system for your car. We highly recommend it even if the price is higher than competing models!
Notes: This cat-back exhaust system is not compatible with anything other than a Subaru WRX
6. MBRP S6004PLM – Simple & Yet Very Loud Exhaust System
One of the most significant advantages of this exhaust system is that it has an almost universal fit that will allow it to fit any truck with an extended cab or a crew cab.
But what sets this exhaust system apart from the rest of the compassion is that it contains no muffler. Since it has no muffler, you can expect the sound to be loud.
If you are trying to retrofit your truck with an aftermarket exhaust system for sound alone, this model is unbeatable because it is one of the loudest models in this exhaust system review.
Additionally, you will have no problem installing this exhaust system because all you will need are regular tools. No complicated welding will be necessary.
Notes: When installing this exhaust system on your truck, you need to be careful with the provided pinch clamps because they can easily break. If they do, you will have difficulty holding the exhaust in place.
7. MBRP S6100PLM Turbo – Loud & High Performance
The MBRP S6100PLM is a variant of the MBRP exhaust system we have just reviewed above. Indeed, this model is compatible with the Dodge Ram 2500 and not just about any type of extended or crew cab.
Once installed on your Dodge Ram 2500, you will find that it produces a mighty sound as well as helping increase your fuel economy.
Due to the large size of the pipe, your motor can evacuate fumes more quickly, which will add a few horsepower to your vehicle.
If you want a loud exhaust for your Dodge Ram 2500 at a reasonable price, then this model is most certainly one of the loudest exhaust systems that you can buy.
One caveat with this exhaust system, just like the previous another one, is that it does not have a muffler, so it is incredibly loud. This can be a disadvantage if you care about the environment.
8. Gibson 17303-B – Compatible with Almost All Jeeps
The problem with exhaust systems these days is that most of them are for a specific type of vehicle. But, this is not a problem for the Gibson 17303-B because it offers wider compatibility to almost any Jeep on the market.
Also, the build construction of this exhaust system is simply superb as that manufacturer crafts it from steel, and it is black powder-coated for an aesthetic appeal.
The 4 inches exhaust outlet will produce a loud and sporty sound, while the 2.5 inches tube is large enough to evacuate fumes from your motor quickly and easily. Hence, it will make your Jeep run more efficiently, and you will also observe an improvement in mileage.
All in all, if you own a Jeep and want to improve its sound as well as efficiency, the Gibson 17303-B is a good buy.
You may need to improvise to install this exhaust system. Mostly because the tailpipe length is short, and it may not have the necessary fitting for your Jeep.
9. Borla 140616 – Premium Exhaust System for Any Truck
If you own an extended cab or crew cab, then you need a powerful exhaust system to match such a big truck. The Borla 140616 delivers both a loud sound as well as an improved efficiency for your vehicle.
This Cat-Back exhaust system is easy to install even if this model does not come with an instructions manual. It is also made from stainless steel so it will not corrode or rust. If you often drive your truck in wet terrains, then this exhaust system is an excellent choice.
Furthermore, it will also help improve mileage and efficiency to your truck. The only caveat we have is its price. Indeed, it is the most expensive model we have in this review.
However, if the price is not an issue, then the Borla 140616 one of the best performance exhaust system for the money. We highly recommend it!
10. Flowmaster 817674 409S – Moderate Sound but Efficient Exhaust System
The Flowmaster 817674 is not the loudest exhaust system on the market, but it instead focuses more on efficiency and building construction.
It is made from stainless steel, which will not corrode or rust, and offers you a long service life. Additionally, the large pipes will allow your motor to evacuate fumes quickly, which in turn translates to greater efficiency for your vehicle.
But what we like about this exhaust system is that it comes with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer. Hence, you have very little to lose by choosing this exhaust system.
The only caveat is that it is not loud enough for some motorists, and you will need some experience to install it yourself.
How to Buy the Best Exhaust System
1. Types of Exhaust System
There are several types of exhaust systems on the market. Here are the typical ones:
1.1 Header-Back: The header back is usually a single unit that starts from the handle collector and ends at the tailpipes. This all-inclusive system replaces most of the components in a factory fitted exhaust system.
One of the greatest advantages of the header back is its simplicity as well as how easy it is to install on your vehicle.
However, the main disadvantage is that the header back exhaust system is usually more expensive when compared to other types of exhaust systems on the market.
1.2 Cat-Back: This exhaust system tries to replace most components, starting from the catalytic converter. It usually has a special type of muffler and can come as either a long pipe or short pipe, depending on the model that you choose.
The main advantage of the Cat-Back exhaust system is its excellent price to performance ratio. Indeed, this type of exhaust system is regarded by experts and beginners alike as being one of the best aftermarket exhaust systems when it comes to price.
1.3 Axel-Back: This type of exhaust system looks like a traditional factory fitted exhaust system. However, its main difference is found inside and not outside.
It is not as efficient or produces a deep sound when compared to the other types of exhaust systems. Nevertheless, it is significantly cheaper when compared to other types of exhaust systems and is incredibly easy to install.
2. Exhaust Construction
The exhaust build construction of an aftermarket exhaust system is very different from a factory fitted one.
In general cases, an aftermarket exhaust system will have large diameter pipes, which can evacuate more air volume from the motor block. Additionally, the aftermarket exhaust system will produce a deeper sound because of its larger diameter.
But the diameter of the pipes is not everything. You still have to consider the method used to construct the pipe of your aftermarket exhaust system.
There are 2 different types of bends used in the making of your aftermarket exhaust system pipe:
Crush Bends: The crush bends is the cheaper and fastest way to bend and exhaust pipe.
This technique is also what is used to bend the exhaust pipe of a factory-fitted exhaust system.
It is cheap and relatively easy to do. The problem with this type of bend is that it is not as efficient or high-performing when compared to the Mandrel bend. And this is mostly because the Crush bend suffers from vibration and performance restrictions at the bends.
Mandrel Bends: The Mandrel bend is regarded by many as being a superior type of bend used in the aftermarket exhaust system. It uses a flexible rod inside the pipe to absorb vibrations and provide more rigidity to the pipe.
Therefore, the Mandrel bend offers you a superior performance because the bends are more durable and vibrate less. Hence, an exhaust system with a Mandrel bend has a sportier sound as well as superior performance.
3. Exhaust Configuration
You may have noticed that the aftermarket exhaust system comes as either a single or dual exhaust.
The single exhaust is the most popular type. It has equipped with a single exhaust pipe, as well as a single modular, and it can produce a deeper sound.
With the dual exhaust system, you do not get any actual real-life performance gain, as it is mostly for aesthetics.
However, the dual exhaust system is quite popular in hot rodding, and it is the preferred model for many car enthusiasts despite its negligible performance gain.
4. Exhaust Material
The exhaust system is usually exclusively made from 2 types of materials. Mild steel and stainless steel.
Mild Steel: One of the key advantages of an exhaust system made from mild steel is its cost.
Indeed, it is much more affordable since a smaller amount of steel is used in its construction.
Nevertheless, its big disadvantage is that an exhaust system made from mild steel will rust and corrode over time as it is not as durable as a stainless-steel exhaust system.
Stainless-Steel: Stainless steel is a costly metal, but when used in an exhaust system, it offers greater durability as well as resistance to corrosion and rust.
It is also more aesthetically pleasing when compared to an exhaust system made from mild steel. The main disadvantage remains its steep price.
Several reputable brands make aftermarket exhaust systems. It is vital to choose an aftermarket exhaust system made by a top brand over a no-name model, even if you have to pay a little bit more.
You cannot go wrong with top-rated exhaust system brands like MagnaFlow, Flowmaster, or Borla, to name a few.
The aftermarket exhaust system will immediately make any vehicle sound like a sports car. Better yet, this kit will also add some value to your car, so it’s great for those planning to sell their vehicle down the line.
Furthermore, most exhaust systems have been designed in such a way that they are easy to install. You will only need simple tools that you will already have in the garage.
And lastly, if you have read our exhaust system reviews above, you should have a clear idea of what will work best for your vehicle model and type.
- How to Choose an Aftermarket System - On All Cylinders
- How the Exhaust System Works
- Reasons to Purchase an After-Market Exhaust System
- 10 Best Exhaust Systems – Review
- 1. MagnaFlow 15160 – Powder Coated & Very Durable
- 2. MagnaFlow 15155 – Powerful Exhaust System for Enthusiasts
- 3. Invidia HS12SSTGTT N1 – Exhaust Tip Coated with Titanium
- 4. Borla 11795 – Add Resale Value to Any Corolla Vehicle
- 5. Borla 140595 S-Type – Make Your Subaru WRX More Performing
- 6. MBRP S6004PLM – Simple & Yet Very Loud Exhaust System
- 7. MBRP S6100PLM Turbo – Loud & High Performance
- 8. Gibson 17303-B – Compatible with Almost All Jeeps
- 9. Borla 140616 – Premium Exhaust System for Any Truck
- 10. Flowmaster 817674 409S – Moderate Sound but Efficient Exhaust System
- How to Buy the Best Exhaust System