Reviews

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.

Best Overall
Vibrant Performance 1794 Bottle Style Resonator
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • 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.
Best Overall
Vibrant Performance 1794 Bottle Style Resonator
Best Value
DC Sports EX-1013 Resonated Muffler
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Summary
Summary

This resonator is made from polished, stainless steel, and comes with clamps and adaptors for universal fitment on almost all cars, sedans, and trucks.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • 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
Best Value
DC Sports EX-1013 Resonated Muffler
Honorable Mention
Vibrant Bottle Style Resonator
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • 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
Honorable Mention
Vibrant Bottle Style Resonator

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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.

Dissipative

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.

Expansion Chamber 

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.

Top Brands 

Vibrant Performance

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 

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. 

Key Features 

Size

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.

Structure

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.

Performance

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.

Appearance

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.

Durability

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.

Other considerations 

  • 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

Best Overall
Vibrant Performance 1794 Bottle Style Resonator

If you are looking for a high-quality exhaust resonator that lasts longer on your vehicle, then this a good option. 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 unit is very solid and is constructed with heavy-duty welds to keep it intact. Also, it is highly responsive and removes the drone from the exhaust system.


However, it is a bit noisy. If you want an ultra-quiet exhaust resonator, then this may not serve you well. With this exhaust resonator installed on your vehicle's exhaust system, you may still hear some loud sounds when cold starting the engine.

Best Value
DC Sports EX-1013 Resonated Muffler

The EX-1013 dampens that annoying cluttering exhaust sound and replaces it with a more appealing and enhanced humming sound. It also dampens the exhaust sound produced by a high-revving engine, which in turn can help reduce back pressure. 


The unit is 9 inches long and has a 2.875-inch inlet and 3.875-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 may stick out on a small passenger car and may not work 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 not the best quality, and you may have to weld it in for a snug fit.

Best Universal Fit
Vibrant 1792 Bottle Style Resonator

With a 4-inch round body diameter and a 2.5-inch inlet/outlet tube, this exhaust resonator is compatible with most mufflers. It's made with stainless steel that withstands high temperatures and is resistant to rust and corrosion. The long, 12-inch tube enables it to evenly distribute sound.


This exhaust resonator removes the drone, cleans up the exhaust notes, and removes all the rasp. It is also a bit less expensive, which is helpful if you are on a budget.


What keeps most vehicle owners from buying this resonator, however, is the level of responsiveness. It does not minimize the engine sound to the lowest level. Also, the welds on the device are a bit off the mark, which makes it less durable.

Honorable Mention
SLP Loud Mouth 2.5

Like most of the exhaust resonators from SLP, this one comes with all the features that your vehicle exhaust system requires to keep calm on the road. It comes with a 2.5-inch inlet/outlet for enhanced performance. The exhaust resonator is made of stainless steel, which lasts longer.


The welds on this exhaust resonator are just perfect. It will stay intact for a long time. The level of responsiveness is also encouraging, and the resonator is not that loud. It also clears all the rasp from the exhaust system.


The price is a bit high, however. Also, unless you want to renovate the entire exhaust system in the vehicle, you may still hear some drone from the resonator.

Best Factory Sound
Walker 21398 Resonator

The Walker 21398 has an elongated, corrosion-resistant, aluminum steel construction. It has a flange 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 included along the length of the tube to create a reverberating effect that somewhat helps to lower the noise level, while at the same time produces 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 it 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.

Honorable Mention
Dynomax Race Bullet 23235 Exhaust Resonator

The Dynomax Race Bullet 23235 Exhaust Resonator is sleek, lightweight, and designed to enhance your car’s current muffler by stepping up the noise-quieting potential. Constructed as a race-quality steel shell resonator, this part is built with a 100 percent welded design and an aluminum finish, which increases its durability and ensures you’re getting a solid product. Made with Dynomax’s unique Continuous Roving Fiberglass (CRF) technology, you’ll get up to 4 decibels of sound reduction on most vehicles. However, if you like the deep tone of a race car, this resonator will keep that in play. The part measures 23.5 inches long and features inlet and outlets of 2.25 inches. It’s an especially great engine resonator for smaller cars or vehicles with limited space, as it’s able to slip right into slim spots. 


For the best results, it’s recommended that you install this resonator along with a Dynomax muffler; you’ll get better all-around performance when it comes to your exhaust if you use these parts together.

Honorable Mention
Yitamotor High-Performance Exhaust Resonator

The Yitamotor High-Performance Exhaust Resonator is one straightforward and simple auto part. It offers exactly what you need for a quieter ride in a streamlined package: a round stainless steel body that features dual walls for the best sound results. This durable resonator is also made with a universal shape and fit that’s able to suit many different makes and models. Featuring a 100 percent mechanical welded design, the engine resonator measures 18 inches long overall, with an 11-inch body length, a 5-inch body diameter, and 4-inch inlet and outlet diameters. The dual walls of this steel part are paired with perforated cores for sound flow, and these components are tough enough to prevent corrosion and stand up in excessive high heat. With this exhaust resonator in place, you’ll get undisrupted exhaust flow with a quieter, milder sound as your car’s running. 


There’s just one drawback, however: you’ll have to have this resonator professionally installed, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Honorable Mention
Autosaver88 Straight Muffler Exhaust Glass Pack Resonator

Need a high-performance exhaust resonator that’ll work in just about any kind of car? The Autosave88 Straight Muffler Exhaust Glass Pack Resonator is the perfect fit for your needs. This versatile part is designed to work as a high-performance sound muffler that suits most makes and models, helping to dampen exhaust noise and keep your car sounding just right — with no unpleasant frequencies to bother you or others on the road. Made out of stainless steel with glass pack construction, this resonator is durable enough to offer a lengthy life and work over many miles. With an overall length of 12 inches, the round body shape of the resonator offers 2.5-inch inlets and outlets, plus a 4-inch body diameter. 


Each one of these steel parts is also able to deliver uninterrupted exhaust flow, giving you a milder tone without negatively affecting your car’s normal performance. 

Honorable Mention
MBRP Universal Resonator

If you’re hoping to still hear the roar of your engine but eliminate the most annoying, unpleasant, or frustrating sounds coming from your engine and exhaust pipe, the MBRP Universal Resonator is just what you need. This exhaust resonator will get rid of droning, buzzing, and not-so-pleasant frequencies and keep your car’s performance in its best shape. Made with a perforated core, this part can get rid of bad tones while it enhances the roar of your engine. Available in different size selections, you can find an MBRP option that’ll fit your passenger car, truck, or SUV easily. Regardless of which size best suits your vehicle, each resonator is made out of steel for enhanced durability without too much weight. When you’re ready to install, this part fits right in place where your factory muffler or resonator currently sits. 


And to make your purchase even more reliable, every MBRP exhaust resonator is backed by a warranty to protect your investment.

Honorable Mention
Flowmaster Universal Resonator

According to the Flowmaster brand, the Flowmaster Universal Resonator is “like an equalizer for your exhaust system” — and any driver who’s hoping to tune out drone and interior resonance will love its results. Designed by automotive experts, this exhaust resonator won’t muffle the rich exterior sounds coming from your exhaust. It’ll only get rid of endless droning. It filters sound to make a more pleasant ride, especially over long road trips and many miles. Available in an array of different sizes and pipe patterns to suit different vehicle types, there’s a perfect fit for your car, truck, or SUV. Every one of these resonators is constructed from full-welded aluminum or stainless steel for long-term durability and reliability. It won’t restrict your exhaust’s flow, but it will filter out the sound you can’t stand. 


Each of these resonators is also backed by a strong warranty, so you can trust that you’re making a smart investment.

Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

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.

Final Thoughts

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.