Choosing the best exhaust pipe can be a bit confusing when you consider all of the elements involved. You need to get one that fits your car, your sound preferences, aesthetic, and budget to name a few.
When you see all of the brands that operate in this space, the choices can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of the top five brands that make exhaust systems for all kinds of cars.
We’ve also included a bit more information on the improvements these upgrades will give you, and a buying guide at the bottom of our article. Hopefully, these options will give you a jumping-off point that will allow you to make the right decision for your muffler needs.
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Why Buy an Aftermarket Exhaust Pipe?
There are several reasons you will want to consider an aftermarket exhaust system. Anyone who cares about how their car or truck performs, sounds and looks will benefit from buying one of these.
In this section, we’ll give you the top reasons why you should consider buying from one of the brands we’ve listed below. These and other reasons make aftermarket exhaust pipes a no-brainer if you want to improve your vehicle.
You can likely find some upgrades in any budget you have, so price shouldn't be too much of a concern. Take a look at our buyer’s guide section at the bottom for more information on how to work within your budget and pick the right exhaust system for you.
Improved Fuel Economy
You can partially justify spending a bit more on an exhaust system when you factor in the money you’ll save on gas over time. You can get an additional one 1 to 2% mpg by switching to an aftermarket exhaust system.
Your engine will run more efficiently and perform better on the whole. This improved fuel economy might not be the most attractive reason to buy an aftermarket system, but it’s certainly an added bonus when you consider all of the other benefits.
Getting Rid of the Restrictions
The exhaust systems get rid of the waste that your engine produces, and a larger, more efficient exhaust system will do a much better job of this. The way that car manufacturers bend stock exhaust pipes isn’t optimal, but it saves them some money.
These bends make the diameter of the pipes smaller, though, which means waste won’t evacuate as quickly or efficiently. This effect is very similar to what you get when you bend a hose. The water won’t flow, and neither will the air in an improperly bent exhaust pipe.
Aftermarket pipes that focus on enhancing vehicle performance bend these pipes properly. They insert special devices into the pipes as they bend them, making sure they don’t pinch any air that will flow through once they’re installed.
This process allows the waste and air to flow freely out of your engine, and the net result is far more power and torque than you’re used to. The style and sound of a new exhaust system is one thing, but the performance upgrades might be the best reason to consider a new system.
Improve Your Overall Performance
There are several reasons to go with an aftermarket exhaust pipe, but the best might be the performance improvements you’ll see. Stock exhaust pipes but restrictions on your vehicle, and adding a new one will get rid of many of them.
The engine scavenging you’ll receive might be the first improvement you notice right away. As we’ve covered, the increased diameter leads to greater power gains and the scavenging makes your torque far better. The net result is an overall better-performing vehicle in all measurable areas.
Improve the Sound
One of the primary reasons people choose to buy an aftermarket exhaust system is the sound alone. All you have to do is look at a before and after video on YouTube to see the difference. Anyone who has heard an aftermarket exhaust pipe will know the difference, and you’ll be turning heads by the way the new exhaust purrs.
You won’t even have to do anything to the engine itself. All you have to do is install the new engine system and watch it do its work.
Of course, a loud, booming sound won’t be for everyone. You can create this effect with an exhaust system, but a lot of drivers will feel as though it’s overkill. If this is the case with you, choose an exhaust pipe brand that offers a subtle, understated sound. Some won’t be too noticeable at all, but will still sound a lot better than the stock system.
The differences in sound won’t affect how the system boosts your performance, either. You can have a relatively quiet exhaust system that won’t startle the neighborhood every time you drive through while still benefiting from the performance enhancements.
Top 5 Best Exhaust Pipe Brands
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the best selections for exhaust pipe brands.
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Borla is our number-one pick for exhaust pipe and exhaust system brands this year. They make their products from materials like titanium, stainless steel, and carbon fiber that improves the quality of the pipe, and the company has a top-notch reputation behind them.
This brand makes pipes and systems for all kinds of vehicles, enhancing their power, fuel efficiency, and capabilities.
The biggest selling point of these systems might be the million-mile warranty on them. They boast one of the most comprehensive warranties you’ll find. The idea behind this deal is that the warranty will last for the life of your car or truck, which is far longer than most of the other brands we’ve reviewed.
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Most people know of Flowmaster from their muscle car line of performance upgrades and exhaust systems, but they also make truck and SUV exhaust pipes through their American Thunder line.
Flowmaster might be one of the biggest names in the exhaust system space, and there’s a good reason for that. Their company has an excellent track record of improving performance through their exhaust systems, and offer some of the best systems money can buy.
Some of the exhaust pipes serve a bit more of a niche audience, but you can likely find one that fits your vehicle specifications.
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Magnaflow is another popular exhaust system brand that can truly allow your engine to thrive. They have three product lines: standard, XL, and Pro Series that cover a wide range of vehicles, styles, and sound specifications.
Magnaflow might be most well-known for their diesel truck offerings, but you can find multiple upgrades for gas cars as well. Take a look at their line and see if they make a muffler for your car. They are relatively comprehensive and should have something for you.
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Walker isn’t one of the most well-known exhaust companies on the market, but they make quality products nonetheless. There aren’t as many options as far as vehicle specifications which is why we ranked this one a bit lower than the others, but it still represents a solid choice if you have the right car or truck.
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Gibson is a fantastic choice for the gearheads in the crowd. These exhaust pipes can net you an extreme boost in your power, and probably have something to fit your car’s specifications.
These mufflers completely remove any restrictions you’ll face with a stock muffler and give you an immediate boost in the form of 20 foot-pounds of torque.
Now that we’ve covered some of the better exhaust pipe brands out there, it’s time to take a look at other things you might want to consider.
Buying an exhaust system is more than choosing one off of a list. You have to think about your type of vehicle, your style preferences, your budget, and the sound you want before you can hone in on the best option.
Take a look at the buyer’s guide we included below. This should be able to give you some direction when you’re picking the best exhaust system out of the brands we’ve listed.
What Vehicle Do You Have?
The best exhaust system is hard to recommend, which is why we covered the brands rather than the specific products themselves. These companies design their exhaust pipes for particular uses, and you’ll need to ensure you’re getting the right one for your car or truck.
Those who have a truck won’t want the same exhaust system as those who own a sports car. The same is true if you have a van or an RV. You’ll need to check with your mechanic before buying an exhaust system if you’re not sure what to do.
Still, once you look closer at the specifications, you should be good to go. You can select an exhaust system from one of the brands we listed above and experience the improvements on all fronts.
Exhaust systems are just like almost any car modification and accessory. You need to choose one that fits your budget.
Ideally, we’d all love to have the top-of-the-line exhaust pipe on our car, but that’s usually not possible. These systems improve the performance of your car, but they're still an added perk more than anything. Those who can’t afford the most expensive options shouldn’t overspend in the name of slightly better engine performance.
Find a system from one of the brands we listed above at a price point you can afford. Almost all of them offer some lower-priced options that will still be an upgrade from the stock exhaust system in your car or truck. Shop around and pick the one that best fits all of your needs - including the price.
Adding Some Flare
Exhaust systems aren’t all about performance, of course. An aftermarket exhaust pipe will spruce-up the look or your vehicle as well. You can add some matte or chrome tips to the exhaust and personalize it in other ways.
For some, the optics of an exhaust pipe are even more attractive than the performance upgrades. These companies make all kinds of different styles, and you can even add some double exhaust tips to systems you might not think would take it.
What Sound Do You Want?
The sound your exhaust pipe makes is one of the reasons a lot of people buy aftermarket systems in the first place. This is an area where you’ll likely want to make special considerations before buying, as these exhaust pipes can sound drastically different from one another - even when you’re staying within the same brand.
You can choose from a range of different noise levels and sound. Do you want everyone to hear you coming or do you want more of a subtle growl to the car? You can even buy one that focuses more heavily on the performance upgrades and disregards sound to a degree.
Make sure to check with any local regulations on mufflers before going too crazy with the louder options. You shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding the perfect sound for your car or truck, no matter how loud you want to be.
Choosing the Best Exhaust Pipe Brand
Hopefully, the information we included above was enough to tell you what you need to look for in an exhaust pipe brand, as well as some further considerations. Using this knowledge, you’re sure to be in the right place to make a decision on the best option for your budget, style, sound, and performance needs.