Best Shift Knobs: Personalize Your Car’s Interior
Make your car’s interior look better—and also drive better—with a new shift knob
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BY Alice Musyoka / LAST UPDATED ON September 10, 2019
You’ve probably seen it on the big screen: that captivating moment when a character clutches the shift knob and engages a gear to launch into a flurry of well-orchestrated driving maneuvers. If you want to replicate that kind of adrenaline-pumping action, you may want to replace your stock shift knob. Check out the best gear shift knobs that are sure to make your driving experience more exciting.
This is a visually stunning shift knob that is designed to make shifting gears smoother and your drive more comfortable.
- It's weighted to allow for faster gear shifting
- Due to its universal fit, it works well with most cars
- Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
- When it’s hot outside, it becomes very hot
- Shift knob does not have a lock-in mechanism
This shift knob features a unique design and is made of high-quality aluminum alloy. It has a chrome finish for a sporty look.
- It comes in a range of stunning colors and is ideal for most cars
- Sphere shape is a superb choice as it is wrist-friendly and boasts an ergonomic design
- Doesn’t take long to install
- Color fades after prolonged use
- Its temperature changes according to the weather
A sleek plastic and carbon fiber shift knob that comes with three different adapters for impressive versatility in any vehicle.
- Comfortable and solid when in hand
- Adapters work in many different makes and models so you can use and reuse the knob
- Nicely weighted for quick shifts
- Some knobs can arrive with off-center holes that pose attachment problems for some shifters
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Benefits of a Shift Knob
- Improves aesthetics. Stock shift knobs are okay at best. However, if you want to personalize your car’s interior, cool gear knobs are some of the most affordable mods you can incorporate.
- Smoother gear shifts. Using the typical stick shift can get tiring. Custom shift knobs make it easier to shift gears, and you can have a more comfortable driving experience.
- Better grip. A shift knob that’s tailor made for your car fits your hand nicely. When you shift gears, you can apply the right amount of pressure to engage the gear.
- Increased durability. Shift knobs made of durable materials—such as aluminum alloy—give you more years of service. The longer your shift knob lasts, the more money you save by not having to buy a new one.
- Customizable. One of the most underappreciated things about aftermarket shift knobs is that you can customize the position cues. This can come in handy when you are teaching someone how to use a stick shift.
Types of Shift Knobs
Stock Shift Knobs
Stock shift knobs come with the car and usually match the interior. They are pre-installed and have numerical marks on the top, indicating the various gears. They are also factory-tested for compliance and safe operation.
Vehicle-specific shift knobs may seem interchangeable with stock shift knobs. However, they differ in that the manufacturer modifies the knob to fit the purpose of the car—off-road driving or racing, for example. Vehicle-specific knobs are a manufacturer’s brand statement—whether it’s for aesthetic purposes or improved performance.
Weighted Shift Knobs
These are user-specific. Their standout feature is the extra weight. The weight is meant to improve gear switching and provide a better driving experience. These shift knobs are usually made from materials that are denser than ordinary knobs, which allows them to weigh more without affecting their overall dimensions.
Custom Shift Knobs
Custom shift knobs reflect a driver’s personal style. They might have features that affect both the beauty and performance of the car. Unlike vehicle-specific knobs, custom shift knobs are the work of the driver. They may include additional buttons, custom positional indicators, and even personal branding.
Mishimoto is an American automotive enterprise in the heart of Delaware with headquarters in New Castle. It was founded in 2003 to provide performance upgrade solutions to car enthusiasts. It has heavily focused on research and development to create excellent racing stick shift knobs such as the Mishimoto MMSK-CF Carbon Fiber Shift Knob.
Dewhel is a New York-based company dedicated to manufacturing aftermarket car parts. It makes and distributes parts that enhance the look, performance, and efficiency of cars. One of its top products is the DEWHEL Universal JDM.
Toyota was launched in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Years later, after the company had established itself as one of the world's best car brands, it started manufacturing shift knobs for cars. It manufactures both manual and automatic shift knobs. The Toyota TRD 6-Speed Shift Knob is one of its top-rated knobs.
Shift Knob Pricing
- Under $10: It is not unusual to find cheap shift knobs that deliver both comfort and smooth handling. The designs may not be cutting edge, but you will find functional shift knobs that give your car a different look.
- $20-$30: Good shift knobs don’t have to cost a lot of money. In this range, you’ll get nifty shift knobs that fit different tastes and preferences—from budget custom knobs to the best aftermarket shift knobs. Shift knobs in this category are made of durable materials and can work with both manual and automatic shifts.
- $40-$50: While some people may consider shift knobs in this category pricey, they are geared towards car enthusiasts who don't mind spending a little extra on their cars. These knobs are made using premium materials for aesthetics and smooth gear switching. Some of the best shift knob brands have their products in this category.
- Above $100: There are not many products in this price range. However, you can get custom-made, high-quality shift knobs here. You might even get limited edition knobs in this category.
This is one of the most important features when choosing a shift knob. Shift knobs are made from wood, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, or even carbon fiber. The material dictates how durable the shift knob will be. Before settling on any material, you need to know how extreme temperatures affect it. For instance, aluminum retains heat in hot weather.
Many shift knobs have a universal fit. You can install them in a wide range of cars and shift levers. However, you will need an adapter if the shift knob you get doesn't fit the shaft correctly. It’s important that you research the product to make sure it’s compatible with your vehicle.
Shopping for a shift knob is all about choosing one that works with a manual transmission or automatic transmission. Depending on your car, you can pick cool manual shifter knobs or cool automatic shift knobs. However, some shift knobs work with both technologies.
- Design: The design affects how the shift knob feels in your hand and, as a result, affects the overall driving experience. In the end, it is a matter of preference. You can test out different designs to make an informed choice on which shift knob designs give you the smoothest gear shifts.
- Finish: The right finish depends on the statement you’d like to make with your shift knob. Chrome finish looks good in sporty cars, while gunmetal black or grey finishes make car interiors look simple yet sophisticated. It is worth noting that prolonged use erodes the finish, leaving the base color exposed.
Best Shift Knob Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Never allow the shift knob to bottom out on the shifter. You risk damaging both.
- After installation, drive a short distance to check to make sure it fits correctly. This is to avoid potential accidents on longer drives.
- Some shift knobs change according to the weather conditions. When it’s extremely cold, for example, you may want to wear gloves to keep your hands warm.
Q: Is a weighted shift knob better than a stock shift knob?
A: Both serve different purposes. A stock shift knob is usually built for comfort and convenience. A weighted shift knob, on the other hand, is designed to give you faster shifts.
Q: How do I know when to replace a shift knob?
A: If shifting gears has become a struggle, you may want to change the knob. You can try out different designs and see what works best. It is also advisable to replace your shift knob if you notice increasing instances of discomfort.
Q: Is it safe to replace the shift knob?
A: Replacing a shift knob does not require deep mechanical knowledge. However, if you find the process too technical, you can get one installed at your local body shop.
Q: Do custom shift knobs affect performance?
A: Unless the placement is wrong, a custom-made shift knob should improve your car’s performance.
If you want brand guarantee, faster switches, and a sleek finish, we recommend the Mishimoto MMSK Weighted Shift Knob.
However, if you’re looking for a shift knob that strikes a balance between value and function, look no further than the DEWHEL JDM Gun-Black Nickel Round Shift Knob.