Best Exhaust Resonators: Remove the Drone and Improve Performance
Tune your car’s exhaust with these top exhaust resonators.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON June 12, 2021
When you think about your car’s emissions and exhaust, you likely think about your muffler. A key component in just about any car, a muffler keeps your vehicle’s exhaust quieted and out of mind. While some drivers want their cars to stand out — some with noisier exhaust and less quieting mufflers, others with specialized and cool aftermarket mufflers — others want as little noise as possible. And if that’s how you feel, you need more than a muffler. You need an exhaust resonator too.
An exhaust resonator is designed to reduce the drone, buzz, or even whine of your exhaust by attaching onto your muffler. These extra parts can quiet your engine dramatically, modulating and changing the sound so it’s more muted and less obvious. While these resonators don’t really alter your emissions, they can make a world of difference if you don’t want your car to sound loud on the road. And we’ve got a list of the best exhaust resonators right here to help you find the perfect fit.
The Vibrant resonator is constructed of stainless steel, withstands high exhaust temperatures, and features a "true straight-through" perforated core. It comes with a five-year limited warranty.
- Welds are good, and the unit is very solid
- This resonator facilitates undisrupted exhaust flow and removes nearly all the drone and overall volume that is common with an aftermarket exhaust
- This resonator doesn't fit all vehicles
- While it reduces the drone, it's not "ultra-quiet" like the product promises in the description.
- Your vehicle may still be loud when cold starting.
This resonator is made from polished, stainless steel, and comes with clamps and adaptors for universal fitment on almost all cars, sedans, and trucks.
- Has an appealing, polished design
- Easy to install since all its parts are configured to fit factory mounting locations
- Works as both a muffler and a resonator to make the sound more appealing
- You may have to weld it for a snug fit since the clamps are weak
- Looks huge when seen on the back of a small car
This stainless steel resonator is 12 inches long, features a 2.5-inch inlet/outlet, and has a 4-inch body diameter. It withstands high exhaust temperatures and is designed to produce undisrupted exhaust flow.
- Resonator is a great, high-performance addition to replace OEM equipment
- Produces little to no drone
- Cleans up the exhaust note and takes the rasp out
- It may not reduce overall sound as much as you want or even bring it down to noticeable levels.
- Welds may start to deteriorate after a short period of time
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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.
- Fewer unpleasant sound frequencies. In addition to quieting the noise coming from your engine overall, an exhaust resonator can also be especially helpful in targeting the most annoying or grating kinds of sounds. A resonator will cancel out frustrating sound frequencies like droning, buzzing, or harsh pitches. It’ll compliment your muffler in a way that both lowers the volume and gets rid of the particular sounds that tend to be most problematic.
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, Mich. 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 $30: If you’re looking to add an exhaust resonator to your car without making a huge investment, there are quite a few affordable options available. For less than $30, you can find simple options made out of aluminum or other lighter, less costly materials.
- $30 to $60: Shop within this price range, and you’ll find mid-range options. These exhaust resonators have decent quality, though they can be smaller or less effective depending on the exact product you choose. You’ll discover a wide range of options available to you without spending more than $60.
- $60 and up: The most premium and pricey exhaust resonators total $60 or more — and some can top $100 or even higher. These products are typically high-quality, highly responsive, and nicely effective at minimizing sounds, but they’re also a significant investment.
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.
Like a muffler, an exhaust resonator can stand out on your car — if you’d like it to, that is. With different designs ranging from sleek to simple to extravagant, you can find resonators that blend in or catch other drivers’ attention on the road. While most resonators are pretty straightforward, you can decide just what kind of appearance you’d like while you’re shopping for this part. If you’d like to have a less noticeable resonator, look for one made from a metal that’ll match your current muffler or your car’s exterior metals.
An exhaust resonator, like any other part of your vehicle that’s close to the ground or road, is guaranteed to see a whole lot of wear and tear. As you drive — or even while you’re parked — it’s going to come into contact with dirt, mud, grime, and even flying debris. It’ll see wear from weather and get exposed to all kinds of outdoor elements. You’ll want to make sure you choose an engine resonator that’s tough enough to last. Heavy-duty resonators are the best choice, as they can be more durable and better designed to survive dirt, debris, and more.
- 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 2021
- 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?
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?
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?
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.