LAST UPDATED: September 10, 2019
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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PUBLISHED ON September 10, 2019
You’ve 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 have to replace your stock shift knob. Check out the best gear shift knobs that will make your driving experience more exciting.
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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 2020
On paper, the Mishimoto Weighted shift knob appears to be a simple shift knob. But practically, it is much better. It has a glossy, glass-like finish that gives it a classy look that’s fit for any interior. The company logo completes the sleek look.
Weighing only 0.8 pounds, it is heavy enough to give you faster shifts yet light enough to not feel bulky. It has contours that make it easy to handle, even in high-octane situations. The shift knob allows you to make hard shifts without extra palm strain. To cap it off, it has universal fitment and can fit most gear systems right out of the box. It comes with the Mishimoto lifetime guarantee.
On the downside, the shift knob does not have a lock-in mechanism that makes for a tight fit in any gear system. It also gets very hot when it’s hot outside. Additionally, the adapters don’t go far into the shifter’s threaded part.
If you are looking for a balance of fun, functionality, and great value, you will find it in the Dewhel JDM shift knob, which fits Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, and Acura five- and six-speed cars. The colorful knob is a cool manual shifter knob that gives you great wrist control and easy shifts. It's a low-profile, spherical knob that works for both five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions. It's made from light-weight aluminium alloy and coated with gun-black nickel for a gleaming shine.
The favorite size for most car owners is 1.96 inches in diameter. The shift knob comes with three threading brass adapters of varying sizes that are made to last. And even though it’s not weighted, it delivers a smooth driving experience. It is available in different colors and offers easy screw-on installation.
However, it comes up short in the heat-retention department, and you must be careful when handling it in extreme temperatures. Additionally, that dazzling color finish fades off, especially with rigorous use. The base color is dull and contrasts with the bright finish.
This shift knob delivers three key features: style, durability, and functionality. It looks awesome with its gunmetal and carbon fiber finish and is curved at the top for a firm grip. The stainless steel material gives it extra weight, and at 393 grams it makes for better gear switching.
It can work with some automatic cars and works particularly well if your shifter has round threading and doesn’t need a push button. You will not need any adapters to install it if your car has M12 x 1.25 threading. It also comes with universal adapter hoses in varying sizes for a snug fit.
If you drive an American or Japanese car, this is a great shift knob for your car. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most European brands, such as Mercedes and BMW, because it won’t fit. In addition, the finish is not smooth and lowers its overall appeal.
- 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.