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Six Best Muffler Choices for That Juicy Sound and Performance Improvement
When most people think about a muffler they merely think about making your car sound quieter. And if that is your goal there are any number of mufflers that will do a great job.
However, there are some people who look at their muffler as a way to get a particular sound out of their ride. For you, the best muffler isn’t just about making things quieter, it is about producing just the right sound. It is about having a muffler that will make sure that all that work you’ve put into tuning your engine sounds pitch perfect.
There are many types of sounds that can be achieved with a muffler. So be sure to think hard about how you want your ride to sound. Whether it be a growl or something quieter, there is a muffler out there for you.
Luckily, Garage Chief have done the legwork for you and have tracked down 6 of the top muffler brands for your shopping enjoyment.
Since a muffler is very dependent on the particulars of a given make and model we are highlighting brands for this go around instead of particular products. In addition to that, we’ve got a buyer’s guide to help walk you through all the details you might need in picking the best sounding muffler for your needs.
Best Muffler – Our Top Picks Compared
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
|item-title||Flowmaster Super 40 Muffler with Aggressive Sound||Thrush Welded Two Chamber Muffler||MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust Muffler||Borla Pro XS Stainless Steel Muffler||Walker Quiet-Flow Stainless Steel Muffler||Cherry Bomb Glasspack Muffler|
|Best Sounding Muffler||Best Two Chamber Muffler||Best Performance Muffler||Best Stainless Steel Muffler||Best OE-style Muffler||Best Glasspack Muffler|
|item-review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review|
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
Car Muffler Reviews – Which One is The Best?
As we mentioned above, for each option that we have highlighted we are looking at more of the brand. A particular muffler from that brand, or line with a brand, will be mentioned with the accompanying link.
However, once you get to Amazon you will find that they have a Shop by Vehicle option (and Your Garage tool) that will help you match your particular year, make and model with the muffler from that brand. This way you know that you are getting the one that will fit for your needs. Of course, not every muffler works with every vehicle, so it is best to consider your vehicle type first and foremost before researching mufflers.
Luckily, each manufacturer has a wide array of differently sized mufflers, so there is a great choice out there for pretty much everyone.
Flowmaster Super 40 Best Sounding Muffler
The first muffler we will look at is the Flowmaster Super 40 Muffler with Aggressive Sound. This muffler has been designed to work with high horsepower vehicles to give your engine a power boost.
And as a plus, it will do that while producing a deep aggressive sound that you will be sure to love. It sports some patented delta flow technology that has been proven on the race track and is now available for your street legal vehicles.
This one has been crafted from 16-gauge aluminized mild steel and has been MIG welded for a maximum durability and long life. Plus, this one has no packing material inside. This means that there is no way for any of that interior packing material to come out after a time and cause a drop in performance.
This is a very high quality product, and is sure to achieve the effect and sound that you are searching for. The only question is whether this is the type of sound you are after or not.
With all of this packed in, this is a great product and comes in right around $100 (check the exact price by clicking the Amazon link below). There is no doubt that this is the best product of the line up that we looked at and it comes from one of the most well-known companies in the niche.
Thrush Welded Best Two Chamber Car Muffler
If you are looking for a well-made muffler that won’t break the bank you might want to consider the welded two chamber line such as the Thrush Welded Two Chamber Muffler.
This welded muffler will only set you back about ~$35, which makes it an easy pick for the choice for our best value product.
This one sports both the Thrush name and logo on the muffler. The line offers a choice between a high-temperature metallic finish or a 304 polished stainless steel look to let you pick the one that best fits the look and feel of your ride.
This line, as the name would lead you to believe, has a two-chamber layout that will provide a deep and aggressive tone, that you are sure to love.
This muffler, like most of the top quality options, is fully welded to give you extended durability. This particular line gives you three inlet and outlet sizes, 2.25 inches, 2.5 inches and 3 inches. This one gives you an impressive level of performance and gives a sound that is similar to some of the more expensive models while saving you money.
If cost if your primary concern, this is a great option that you can get without sacrificing some of the performance benefits. It is an impressive design in that they are able to give such high quality at such an affordable price.
MagnaFlow Best Performance Muffler
If you are looking for a muffler that not only gives you outstanding performance but looks amazing while doing it, you might want to consider one of the performance options from MagnaFlow, such as the MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust Muffler.
This one is a straight pass-through design that has been engineered to give you wide open performance. And while doing this it has been developed to deliver that deep sound that MagnaFlow models are known for.
This is also a muffler that has been made entirely in the USA, giving you a product that you know hasn’t been just thrown together overseas as cheaply as possible.
One thing to note is that this set up is not considered compliant for use in California based on their current emission laws. However, if you are able to legally use one of these models it will deliver a great sounding groan as you take on the open road.
MagnaFlow Performance Mufflers Overview
Borla Pro XS Best Stainless Steel Muffler
Some people are on the lookout for a great quality stainless steel muffler. If you are one of these people, then you might want to consider one from a company like Borla, such as the Borla Pro XS Stainless Steel Muffler model.
And if you are concerned, you can be put at ease knowing that like many of the Borla mufflers, this one comes with a million mile warranty. With this kind of backing, you know that you don’t need to worry about the muffler not putting up with almost all of the driving and street usage that you will be putting your car through.
In addition to having a great stainless steel muffler with a long-standing warranty, you’ll be pleased to know that this one also has a great sound to it that will make sure most everyone on the street knows that you are there and ready.
There is a range of sizes to make sure that you can fit this into either a domestic or import car, so just about everyone is covered.
Walker Quiet-Flow Stainless Steel Muffler
When you start looking at some of the best mufflers for sale, you’ll want to take a look at some of those that are made from stainless steel. There are many companies that make them. For example, there is a line such as the Walker Quiet-Flow Stainless Steel Muffler line.
Walker states that since they are crafted from stainless steel, they will last nearly three times as long as the aluminized steel style of a muffler.
And as a plus to limit corrosion, this line has a comprehensive draining system. This means that you don’t need to be concerned that any liquid may build up in your new muffler, regardless of how it may have gotten there.
With this muffler in place in your ride, you will get a muffler that sounds similar to a factory muffler, but with a boost in performance and lifespan. This line comes with a 90-day guarantee and a limited lifetime warranty. Not bad, right?
This line has a wide availability of sizes, crafted for both domestic and important vehicles.
Cherry Bomb Best Glasspack Muffler
If you are looking for a muffler with a different look, there are a few out there. However, Cherry Bomb makes a number of really cool looking ones, such as their Cherry Bomb Glasspack Muffler line of products.
While most mufflers come strictly in a plain metal color, this Cherry Bomb muffler is a bright red that is sure to stand out, especially when it is sitting next to others.
This setup is what the company claims is the original glass pack muffler design, dating back all the way to 1968. The straight through design is made to both drop backpressure while boosting horsepower. And it manages to give you these perks while also delivering the legendary deep and mellow sound that Cherry Bomb has been known for.
This set up is meant to be a universal fit, so you can use it on a wide variety of vehicles. So if you like the unique look of a Cherry Bomb muffler, and are interested in its sound, then check this one out.
Best Performance and Sounding Mufflers – Buyer’s Guide
Most people have a general idea that a muffler makes their car sound quieter due to the sound-absorbing material. But when you stop to think about it, just what is it doing? It has no effect on the revving of the engine. If you have ever heard a car that didn’t have a muffler you’d know there is more than just the rev of the engine.
As the internal combustion engine runs, it produces exhaust. This is a pressurized gas that flows out of the car’s pistons and into the exhaust system. Since your engine produces pulses of pressured air and a sound is nothing but a series of high and low-pressure waves moving through the air, that pulse of exhaust will cause a noise.
However, noise has some rather interesting properties. It is easy to see that you can add a number of sounds together and the result is you’ll get a bigger sound. This is known as constructive interference.
There is another form of interference for sound and that is destructive. If certain sounds are lined up together just right they can end up canceling each other out, with the overall result of having less sound.
In a muffler, there will be a series of tubes that can have turns and bends, holes, material packed around them or other layouts. It might just seem like some pipe that was thrown together, but in reality, you need to look at your muffler like you would a musical instrument. It has been tuned to produce the desired effect.
What is that effect? In general, it is to take the exhaust gases coming from your car’s engine and cause them to produce a given sound. In most stock models of a muffler, the goal is to drop the sound to a reasonable level for a reasonable cost. This is why the whole thing is known as a muffler since it is meant to muffle the sound.
However, we have come to think of a big power engine making a certain sound. Some of today’s finely tuned engines can deliver big power but won’t make that classic sound. And companies have done some engineering to use the exhaust system and inject a little bit of sonic magic back into the system to provide that big impressive muscle car sound.
So, we now have performance mufflers, that work to make your car sound louder.
Basically, what you need to know is that a muffler has specifically been designed to produce a certain sound. The science is complicated, and beyond the scope of this article, but it is pretty cool that they have managed to achieve this desired effect.
An effective muffler is a great converter of a certain sound into a desired one. Whether that is to make it quieter like with most mufflers, or to produce a different sound altogether, they are designed in very specific ways to achieve this function.
One of the major factors in differentiating mufflers is looking at the material the muffler is made out of. Because of the location that the muffler sits at it can come into contact with a lot of moisture. This means that if it is made of anything other than aluminum, stainless steel or aluminized steel it can rust out rather quickly, sometimes in 3 to 4 years. Generally speaking, the stainless option is considered the high-end option.
Sometimes, it is worth it to invest in a high end option as it will actually save you money in the long run. This is why it is important to pay close attention to what your muffler is made of and its lifetime. Replacing your muffler is a pain that you will want to minimize.
From the design point of view, there are three main types of mufflers: chambered mufflers, straight-through mufflers and turbo mufflers. The straight-through option is also called glasspack muffler. And of course, there are special racing mufflers out there. The main differences come from the way the air flows outside. Let’s briefly describe them.
Straight Through and Glasspack Mufflers
Then there is always the design of the muffler. The first is known as either a straight through or a glasspack muffler. Mostly these are a straight pipe, though some models will have some bends.
Inside there is a perforated tube that is surrounded by a sound-absorbing material, usually fiberglass or steel wool. This is then all enclosed in another case.
Since there is very little restriction, these can produce some amazing sounds and offer a good bump in performance. One thing to note though is that based on how it is set up, these can sound a bit louder than a stock option or they can be rather loud, be sure to double check on the one you pick before making a purchase. So much of this will come down to personal preference, and you wouldn’t want to get a muffler that doesn’t produce the sound you want it to.
Another common option is a chambered option. This is normally what produces that sound that people associate with muscle cars.
In this design, the flow comes in and is forced around a series of chambers and baffles, which are sound canceling plates. However, since the flow is not restricted, it can mean a bump in horsepower and fuel economy while giving you a great sound.
Then there is the turbo muffler. While a stock muffler can use as many as five perforated tubes in an S pattern, these mufflers will only use 3.
Since the exhaust has to change direction less, it can leave the muffler faster which will give you a boost to horsepower. As an added bonus, they can give your car a great sound as well.
There are turbo options that add fiberglass material to keep your car from being too loud as well.
You should be aware of race mufflers as well. There are a number of companies that are putting out mufflers that are designed strictly for performance and don’t meet standards put forth to be used during normal driving. These are fine if you have an off-highway rig or race car that doesn’t get driven on the road. They will generally be marked as “for racing only” or for “Non-Highway Usage”.
These mufflers are for a very specific purpose, and you should not purchase one unless you meet this purpose. Not only is it illegal in many circumstances, it might not give you the performance you are looking for.
Muffler and its Performance Impact
How does a muffler help your car in terms of performance? Well, remember that there are gases left over in your car’s engine after each firing of the spark plug.
For the best performance you would want to have all of those exhaust gases cleared, so the correct air to fuel mixture can be achieved for the next compression of the piston. This is known as your car breathing.
But that gas mixture needs somewhere to escape. It does this through the exhaust system, which, if all is connected well, means that exit is at your tail pipe just past your muffler.
The more turns and restriction of the flow the slower those gases can leave and the higher the backpressure will be. The less restriction of flow the faster the exhaust leaves, letting your engine breath better and give you a top level of performance. Different types of mufflers quite clearly effect this breathing, and can all deliver different levels of performance.
One thing that you need to consider is what do you want your ride to sound like as you swap out a stock muffler for a new model? For many people, this is the most important consideration in choosing a muffler, and the reason they are upgrading their muffler in the first place.
In most types of mufflers, you can find one that will boost performance while not making much more noise than a stock set up. However, if you are looking for a particular sound or level of noise coming off your muffler it is a wise idea to pull up a few Youtube videos to get an idea of what a certain model sounds like on something similar to your ride.
The last thing you want to do is go through the work of hooking up a new muffler and then hate the way it sounds.
Flowmaster Mufflers Sound Test
Cherry Bomb Mufflers Sound Comparison
Perhaps one of the biggest other considerations is how much backpressure your muffler has. This is a measurement of the built-up pressure in the exhaust system.
In order to drop the noise, there will be some added backpressure. At a certain point, the pressure could become too much for your exhaust system to handle and something along the way could burst, causing some large problems for you and your ride.
These factors are why it is so important to do your research to ensure that the muffler you choose works with your vehicle. These general recommendations are great for learning about mufflers and their performance, but ultimately you need to evaluate your circumstances above all else.
Mufflers and Perfect Balance of Sound and Flow
You can also improve performance and sound of your car using nice sounding BOVs.
Searching for a muffler can very quickly become a balancing act. On one side of the scale is how much sound the muffler will end up making. If you live in a tight neighborhood, have picky neighbors, or are part of an HOA, you might like the idea of more performance from swapping a muffler, but need to keep the sound levels down.
On the other hand, you might live somewhere that you don’t have anyone nearby to concern yourself with the sound and if it is legal to use on the road it is good enough. Perhaps you are looking to boost your performance by letting the exhaust flow at the highest rate possible.
Luckily, with all the muffler manufactures out there today there is a huge range of options for aftermarket mufflers. You can track down your best performance muffler that keeps the sound down or get the best sounding muffler that bumps up your engine’s horsepower.
The key here is that it really comes down to personal preference. While you certainly want to consider other people in your decision about the sound level that you choose, the muffler you pick should still be in line with the sound and performancelevels you are looking to achieve.
Muffler Fitting – Finding the Right Size
The first thing to keep in mind when you are looking at finding the right fit for your new muffler is that most aftermarket mufflers are sold for a given set of years of a certain make of a particular model.
This is done to ensure that things line up properly not only for the exhaust system, but the exhaust flow coming off of the engine. You don’t want to just start attaching pieces to your exhaust system to find that you’ve built up too much backpressure and that something will gives way.
There are, however, universal systems that will fit a range of different cars, that can give you more options as far as muffler and exhaust system.
But with these options, you’ll need to know a little bit more about your car and what you would like out of the system to ensure everything goes smoothly.
When looking at a new muffler, the first question you should look at before you start dreaming or performance boosts and great sounds, is whether you have a single or dual exhaust system.
This is easiest enough to see with a quick peek under the car. There are some options for going from one to the other, but it is generally easiest to stick with the set up your car came with.
Next, you’ll want to look at the diameter of your exhaust pipes. For any new mufflers, you’ll need to match the inlet pipe size of the muffler with that of the exhaust system. In some setups, you’ll also need to make sure that the outlet pipes match up in size as well.
The final thing when you are looking at fit is to consider the area that the muffler will be attached. You’ll need to look at the size of the casing of your stock muffler for starters. After that look where it sits and if there is any additional space and what else a differently sized option could run into.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t be a problem if the new model hangs down a bit lower than the old one. This could easily lead to you misplacing your muffler on the next speed bump that you hit.
Top Brands – Who Makes the Best Car Mufflers?
MagnaFlow is perhaps one of the most well-known aftermarket muffler companies out there today. In fact, they are probably one of the two companies known for mufflers by people that haven’t even looked into swapping out their muffler.
Of course, it is no wonder they are so well known after a solid 30 years of being in the business. They are a company that stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty. And they are pressing innovation, as they have a large R&D facility to let them come up with new ways to push the envelope and make it sound amazing.
Flowmaster is most likely the other most well-known brand in the muffler and exhaust space today. They began 35 years ago, but they weren’t looking at most vehicles at the time. They found that race tracks in California were getting too loud and set out to see if there was a way to make a muffler with great performance that could stay quiet as well.
Their success with their racing solutions led them into other automotive areas, making high performance mufflers for a wide range of automobiles. They continue to push the industry forward, holding a number of patents on the most cutting edge tech in the field.
Borla might not have the name recognition to everyone that some other brands do have, but they have the background and heritage. They have been in the exhaust business for over three decades.
When they started out they were making exhaust systems for companies like Rolls Royce and Ferrari. After a while, they decided why not step out and make outstanding stainless steel exhaust setups for a wider range of cars as well?
And that is what they did, providing mufflers and exhaust solutions for not only street legal vehicles but also a number of the top racing teams out there today.
Thrush is another company that has been around for quite some time. In fact, they have been making products for hot rods for over 50 years. In that time they have not only built up a following based on their sound, but those in the know have become very big fans of the company as well.
Walker is a company with quite a bit of history to it. They started out in the automotive niche all the way back in 1912, making them one of the older companies making any products for cars that is still around today.
Of course, they didn’t really start off with mufflers, but they picked up their first patent for a muffler technology back in 1932 and helped the muffler go from little more than a tin can to something that could actually boost performance and give a great sound.
Cherry Bomb Mufflers
Cherry Bomb may be one of the companies with the biggest claim to the classic muscle car sound. They first came out in 1968 and were first designed for the hot rods and muscle cars of the 1960’s and 1970’s, all the classics that others want to sound like today.
And with that heritage, they now have a wide array of products to not only fit some of the most high-tech cars of today but also those vintage cars from yesteryear as well. Plus, they make them all sound amazing.
Mufflers for Sale – How Much Does it Cost?
Looking at mufflers for sale now? One thing that you’ll want to know is the ballpark of what you are going to be charged for one of these new mufflers.
The truth is since there is a large variety of options you can find a huge variety of prices. The top picks that we have highlighted for range from about $30 to right around $100 but depending on the exact one you get the price might be a touch outside of that range.
Another consideration is that you’ll need to think about where you can pick up your next best sounding muffler. The problem is this is not a product that most of anywhere has in stock. You can’t head down to the big box store and pick up a new muffler.
You’ll need to order it or go to an automotive store and have them order it. If you have someone else order it, they’ll push some buttons on a computer that you could and then have you pay more.
You can order your own muffler from larger sites. Some, like Amazon, will have a set of tools to make sure that the muffler you choose will fit the car in your garage.
When you are looking at mufflers, you want to remember that these tend not to be a one size fits all option. Most mufflers on market will be designed to work with a specific make and model and perhaps only a certain range of years at that.
There are some universal muffles that can be found, but again, you need to make sure that the layout and sizing will work with your ride. If you have any doubts where it will work, you might want to stick with one sold to match with your particular car. That way you know that everything is set up and will fit properly.
Bottom Line on Mufflers
With that, you should have all the information that you need to pick out the best muffler for your particular needs. Of course, you’ll have to determine which of the many mufflers for sale is the right option for you, based on if you want a certain sound or performance or a mix of the two.
In this article, we went over six of the top lines of mufflers. It is very important to remember that a muffler needs to be correctly sized for your car. A good way to accomplish this is with the Amazon shop by vehicle option.
Based on our view we felt that the stand out star was the Flowmaster Super 40 Muffler with Aggressive Sound. This one mixed everything that you might want in a muffler into a great package. And if you are looking to track down one that might be a bit more budget-friendly, you’ll want to consider the Thrush Welded Two Chamber Muffler.
However, a muffler is truly one of the most unique parts of a car. You need to evaluate your type of vehicle, your budget, the performance you want, and (perhaps) most importantly, the sound you want to achieve. These are very specific and based on personal preference. However, we are confident that one of the mufflers or brands that we have touched on will meet your personal requirements.
After looking at the top products, we dove into a muffler’s buyer guide. We went over what a muffler does for you and how it goes about doing it, then looked at some of the different options that are currently on the market. We highlighted some of the top companies before wrapping up on thoughts on where to source a muffler from.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you! Is there something we missed or do you have experience with one of our picks? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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