LAST UPDATED: October 9, 2019
Best Exhaust Resonators: Remove the Drone and Improve Performance
Tune your car’s exhaust with these top exhaust resonators
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 9, 2019
If you want to tune your vehicle and reduce exhaust drone yet maintain maximum performance, consider purchasing a new resonator. An exhaust resonator reduces the noise produced by the engine yet still emits a deep, throaty sound. You can either replace the stock resonator on your car or truck or use one to build a custom exhaust system. Check out our buying guide for the best exhaust resonators on the market.
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Benefits of Exhaust Resonators
- Enhanced engine performance. A quality exhaust resonator improves your car’s engine performance by minimizing friction within the engine. It also reduces the back pressure within the engine, making your car driving smooth. The resonator enables the vehicle to obtain enhanced performance by working together with the catalytic converters in the exhaust system to reduce the loud noise from the engine.
- Offers support to the muffler. The main benefit of having an exhaust resonator installed on your car is that it will support the muffler and harmonize the sound coming out from your vehicle engine. It works in conjunction with the muffler to reduce the noise coming out of the exhaust pipe.
- Noise reduction. The reason for buying a resonator and having it fixed in your car engine is because you want to modulate the loud sound from the engine. An exhaust resonator reduces the loud and annoying sound from the engine when the car is moving at high speeds. This way, you can listen to music comfortably as you drive. It also reduces the noise your vehicle can cause to passengers and other motorists.
Types of Exhaust Resonators
Chambered or Helmholz
This type of resonator works using multiple size cavities to cancel sound waves from the vehicle engine and produce a cool buzz. The exhaust resonator uses metal plates, also known as baffles, and a single chamber to make the sound coming out of the car engine bearable to your ears. These resonators are designed to cancel sound waves that the standard muffler installed in the engine does not allow to escape. They work differently based on the muffler and engine brands.
This is the most common type of exhaust resonator. These resonators come with fiberglass or metal packing material that absorbs the loud sound from the vehicle engine. The packing material on the resonator is pliable and soft, and thereby absorbs and reduces the sound volume by canceling the sound waves. It comes in two forms: with a louvered core and without a perforated core.
This is the most efficient and simple exhaust resonator available. The resonator comes in a simple tube with varying diameters. A section of the tube has a smaller diameter compared to other parts. When sound waves enter the tube, they bounce and cancel out, thereby reducing the volume, frequency, and pitch. This way, your vehicle exhauster produces sound with a lower tone.
This is one of the most famous exhaust resonator companies in the automobile industry. Vibrant Power Inc. was established in 1985 and is based in Canada. The international company has gained an excellent reputation for delivering the best vibration control components for the transport and automotive industry. Some of the best-selling products from the company include the Vibrant Bottle Style Resonator and Vibrant Performance 1794 Bottle Style Resonator. All products from the company come with a warranty and some quality assurance on parts.
Street Legal Performance (SLP)
SLP is another top brand company for quality and affordable exhaust resonators. The company was established in 1987 and has its headquarters in Plymouth Township, Michigan. The company is famous for its wide variety of performance enhancement machines like loudmouth exhaust, suspension, exhaust resonators, and body kits. The SLP Performance 31064 Loud Mouth Resonator is of its best-selling products. All SLP products are made of high-quality and durable materials, which makes them a significant investment.
Walker is a family-owned company offering quality replacement emission control devices. The company has gained more than a century of experience in the production of high-quality and affordable exhaust resonators. It was established in 1908 by William Walker and his family and is currently based in Monroe, Michigan. Some of the best-selling exhaust resonators from the company include the Walker 21398 Resonator and Walker 24442 Resonator. Walker gives a warranty and some quality assurance to all customers buying its products.
Exhaust Resonator Pricing
- Under $60: These are the most affordable exhaust resonators you can find. They are a bit smaller in size and lighter compared to most expensive resonators. These resonators may not last long because they may come with weak and highly abrasive material.
- Over $60: These are some of the best exhaust resonators you can buy for your vehicle. They are larger and heavier. Also, they are responsive, raspy, and work better in minimizing the loud sound from the vehicle exhaust.
Exhaust resonators come in different diameters and tube lengths. The choice of a suitable size will depend on the type of exhaust system on your vehicle. Always ensure you pick the right size of a resonator that is compatible with the muffler on your car.
An exhaust resonator connects to the exhaust system muffler through a hollow tube. It has the same structure as that of an acoustic resonator. It reduces the frequency of the engine sound by creating an exhaust note to make them sound more bearable. You can easily enhance the sound from the engine by regulating the exhaust note.
An exhaust resonator complements your vehicle’s exhaust system. It is connected to an exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter through a tube to provide better performance. The noise from the vehicle’s engine will normally pass through the resonating chamber. While inside the chamber, the sound wave interference occurs to reduce the volume and pitch of the sound that comes out of the exhaust.
- Material. The material used on the exhaust resonator plays some role in its longevity and overall performance. If the material used in the construction is long-lasting, then the resonator is worth your investment. The material should be an excellent sound absorbent to restrict sound that comes out of the exhaust system. Also, you can opt for stainless steel resonators because they last longer and are less resistant to corrosion and rust.
- Installation Kit. Some exhaust resonators come with a full installation kit, including all the parts that you need to have it fixed. When buying an exhaust resonator, you want to ensure it has the brackets, flanges, and other tools that you need to fix it. Brackets will exempt you from having to look for compatible attachments for the resonator assembly.
- Price. Price is a crucial indicator of the quality of a product. Therefore, when shopping for an exhaust resonator, you want to go for one that is affordable and worth your investment. When choosing an exhaust resonator based on its price, check for a warranty or some other assurance of quality.
Best Exhaust Resonators Reviews & Recommendations 2020
If you are looking for a high-quality exhaust resonator that lasts longer on your vehicle, then this is the best overall pick. The exhaust resonator is made of stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion and rust. The material can also withstand high temperatures, which makes it suitable for heavy-duty engines. It has a straight-through design for enhanced performance.
This quality exhaust resonator comes with a five-year limited warranty on parts, which assures you some peace of mind. This unit is very solid and comes with amazing welds to keep it intact. Also, it is highly responsive and removes all the drones from the exhaust system.
However, the technology on this device is a bit off because it is a bit noisy. If you want an ultra-quiet exhaust resonator, then this may not serve you well. With the exhaust resonator installed on the vehicle exhaust system, you may still hear some loud sounds when cold starting the engine.
The EX-1013 comes with a unique design that combines a muffler and resonator to dampen the annoying cluttering exhaust sound and replace it with a more appealing and enhanced humming sound. It also dampens the exhaust sound produced by a high-revving engine and in turn can help reduce back pressure.
The unit is nine inches long and has a 2.875-inch inlet and 3.75-inch outlet. It features an elegantly polished steel body with the company logo, DC Sports, engraved on its body. It also has a straight-through design for unobstructed exhaust flow. In addition, it comes with clamps, bolts, and adapters for easy installation on almost any car, sedan, or truck.
Naturally, this resonator has its flaws, and one is that it’s larger than it appears in the online image. It will stick out on a small passenger car, and may not work for you if you don’t want to draw attention to your vehicle. The larger size looks fairly subtle on larger trucks. Another issue is that the clamps and bolts provided are of poor quality and you may have to weld it in for a snug fit.
With a 4-inch body diameter and a 2.5-inch inlet/outlet tube, this exhaust resonator is compatible with most mufflers. It comes with stainless steel material that withstands high temperatures and is less resistant to rust and corrosion. The long tube (12 inches) enables it to evenly distribute sound.
This is a multifunctional exhaust resonator that, apart from removing all the drones, also cleans the exhaust note and removes all the rasp. It is also a bit cheaper if you are on a fixed budget.
What keeps most vehicle owners from buying this resonator, though, is the level of responsiveness. It does not minimize the engine sound to the lowest level. The welds on the device are a bit off the mark, which makes it less durable.
The Walker 21398 has an elongated, corrosion-resistant, aluminum steel construction. It has a flanged design and comes with mounting brackets for quicker installation and eliminates the need for welding it on the exhaust pipe. The unit also has a factory OE design, so it shouldn’t pose any fitting issues with most car models.
Louvers are fitted along the length of the tube to create a reverberating effect that somewhat helps to lower the noise level, while at the same time producing a more tolerable sound akin to a low growl.
While the metal alloy is fairly durable, its lifespan can be shortened by contaminants if you fail to clean them promptly. Another downside is that it may be too long for some vehicles and can look awkward sticking out from the back. You should also note that it’s only designed for minimal noise reduction.
The Vibrant 1142 has a stainless steel construction that can withstand high exhaust temperatures without deforming. The steel is also polished and will resist chips and debris buildup. It features a straight-through perforated design that’s 13.75 inches long, and the inlet and outlet are both three inches. Such a design allows for uninterrupted exhaust flow to reduce back pressure and increase the overall efficiency of the engine.
It’s mainly designed to dampen exhaust noise on account of the multiple layers of noise-dampening material aligning the wall, which can minimize the exhaust noise by about four decibels. What’s interesting is that the steel housing also helps to dampen the noise.
While a lot of consideration has been put in place to dampen your exhaust sounds, it can get louder in cold weather when the metal freezes and starts to rattle. Another drawback is that the outlets are vulnerable to corrosion.
We are impressed with the Walker 24442 for its affordable price and universal design that’s suitable for DIY users. The low price doesn’t compromise its quality since it’s made from heavy-duty aluminized steel. The metal alloy is corrosion-resistant, which increases its overall durability.
Just as with most Walker resonators, this is also designed with louvered tube technology, which helps to reduce the sound emitted by the exhaust. It doesn’t necessarily make it ultra-quiet but transforms the noise to a tolerable hum that can go unnoticed with cabin noise such as music playing in the background.
In terms of compatibility, it may be too long for some vehicle models, such as the 2010 Chevy Camaro. However, it comes with expandable bushings, which any mechanically inclined person can customize to fit their vehicle.
The Cummins 1552449 features an aluminized stainless steel construction for added strength and durability. It can maintain its pristine condition despite changes in temperature or exposure to harsh weather. It will help to soften the loud clattering sound from your exhaust and replace it with a low humming sound.
The tube is about 12 inches long and slides over easily on a 1.25-inch exhaust pipe. With a few clamps, slight greasing, or modifications on the diameter of your exhaust pipe, you can get it to work on a larger or smaller exhaust pipe.
However, you shouldn’t expect it to totally silence your exhaust. The noise reduction could be about five decibels, which isn’t enough to totally silence your exhaust but can make the noise more tolerable.
- An exhaust resonator is not the same as a muffler. It is installed before the muffler and is sometimes known as a pre-muffler. The exhaust resonator and muffler work together, but one can’t be substituted for the other.
- A resonator exhaust tip produces more noise than a regular exhaust tip. If you don't want to draw too much attention to yourself, it's better to use a regular tip.
- Some people use a pipe in place of an exhaust resonator; however, this can affect the backpressure, which can decrease efficiency and cause higher fuel consumption.
Q: How long does an exhaust resonator last?
A: That depends on the product. Some are better quality and will last longer. Cheaper ones will break down more quickly and will discolor or rust over time. A good exhaust resonator should last for many years.
Q: What can affect the function of an exhaust resonator?
A: An exhaust resonator is attached to your car's engine, so it's exposed to a lot of vibration. It also endures a lot of heat and encounters dirt, mud, and other road debris on a regular basis.
Q: How do I install an exhaust resonator?
A: Some exhaust resonators have mounting points, making them easy to install. Others need to be welded to the vehicle, which may require professional assistance.
Our pick for the best exhaust resonator is the Vibrant 2.5" Ultra Quiet Resonator. It's well-made, removes nearly all of your exhaust drone, yet facilitates exhaust flow.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the DC Sports EX-1013 Resonated Muffler.