Best Exhaust Systems: Achieve Raw Power and Torque

Upgrade the sound, look, and performance of your vehicle with these exhaust systems

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BY Daniel Rika , Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON July 12, 2021

If you need to replace your exhaust system or want a brand new one to boost your vehicle’s performance, we’ve got you covered. The best exhausts can increase peak power by reducing back pressure in the exhaust system. They can also be used to increase the amount of noise from your car, improving its style as well.

Best Overall
MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust System Kit

A sleek black muffler that stands out on your vehicle and is designed with stainless steel. Works great for Jeep Wrangler JK models.


The black coating provides enhanced protection to the system. It bolts on for easier installation and produces a rich, smooth tone.


The sound feels like it could be deeper and louder, but it also can be too loud in the interior of certain cabs.

Best Overall
MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust System Kit
Best Value
MBRP Cat-Back, Single Side Exit Exhaust System

A modern-looking exhaust system developed from heavy-gauge aluminized steel. Designed for trucks and SUVs.


Installation is simple and quick. It produces a low grumble that isn’t too loud, but it can still be quite throaty when you hit the accelerator.


You may get a droning noise inside the cab, and the pipe may be difficult to notice as it is a bit short.

Best Value
MBRP Cat-Back, Single Side Exit Exhaust System
Honorable Mention
Borla ATAK Stainless Steel Aggressive Cat-Back Exhaust System

Borla understands vehicles, and its stainless steel cat-back exhaust for Chevy Camaros is impressive and loud.


It gives your vehicle a sporty and aggressive look and sound. The straight-through and multi-core technology unleash more horsepower, and increased exhaust velocity adds power and improves fuel economy.


It is quite expensive as it is designed for sports cars, it could be a bit louder, and the manual can be a hassle to understand.

Honorable Mention
Borla ATAK Stainless Steel Aggressive Cat-Back Exhaust System

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Benefits of Exhaust Systems

  • Replace a worn or faulty system. If your stock exhaust system has seen better days, it’s time to replace it with a new one. A leaky system emits dangerous gases that you do not want to breathe. 
  • Boost performance. A new aftermarket exhaust system can reduce backpressure, which automatically puts less pressure on your motor. Less pressure boosts performance and provides better fuel economy.
  • Better sound. A new exhaust system can give you a better sound from your engine. This improves the sportiness of your ride and enhances your style.

Types of Exhaust Systems

Cat Back 

This is the type of exhaust that connects to the system after the last catalytic converter, another key component of the exhaust system. In general, this type of system consists of a muffler, a resonator, and a rear tailpipe. It may also include an X-pipe, a Y-pipe, or an H-pipe and a mid-pipe. Use this system if you do not need or want to replace the catalytic converter. 

Single Side

These are systems that use one exhaust pipe to transfer all of the exhaust gases out from the exhaust manifolds to the rear of the vehicle and into the open air. Basically, the system consists of a single pipe that transfers the gases and attach on one side of the vehicle. These systems are in contrast to a dual exhaust, which has two pipes that transfer the gases. 

Turbo Back

These systems transfer exhaust gases from the outlet of a turbocharger to the rear of the vehicle and into the atmosphere. People use these systems primarily on performance cars—cars that have turbochargers on the engine. Together the exhaust system, turbocharger, and other devices produce more power. 

Top Brands


This company was founded in 1981 in Southern California, where it focuses on exhaust systems for hot rods and muscle cars. It continues to engineer and produce its exhaust components in Oceanside, Calif. today at a 280,000-square foot plant. Check out the Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust System Kit and the Performance Exhaust Kit they make.  


Alex Borla started the company in the 1970s to create exhaust systems that would endure the harsh elements of winter. Borla began working on cars like Rolls Royce, Porsche, and Volkswagen in New York City. Eventually, the company moved to California, where it garnered the attention of the Big Three automakers: Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Today, Borla is located in Johnson City, Tenn. It makes the Cat-Back "S-Type" System Exhaust, the Borla 40359 Muffler, and Rear Section Exhaust System Kit, among others. 


MBRP began making exhaust systems almost 20 years ago. Its first product was The Eliminator, the best-selling performance snowmobile muffler. It now hand-welds each exhaust in its Huntsville, Ontario, Canada manufacturing plant. Discover MBRP’s MBRP 3 1/2" Single Side Exit Cat Back and its custom O.D. Dual Wall Angled Exhaust Tip

Exhaust System Pricing

  • $100-$300. Buyers will find basic exhaust systems here that include pipes and clamps for single exhaust systems. The muffler is not necessarily included. Parts are made of steel or aluminized steel. 
  • $300-$500. You’ll find catback and side systems for this price. Most are single exhaust system, although you may find some dual exhaust systems. They are made of stainless steel and aluminized steel. Kits will include pipes and clamps but may or may not include a muffler.
  • $500-$5,000. Expect to pay this much for top brands like Borla, Corsa and Flowmaster. Many sports cars and European model cars are included this range, which includes specialized and “loudmouth” exhaust systems. 

Key Features


The number one attribute of these exhaust systems is that they are constructed of stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and aluminized steel. This makes the entire system much less prone to rust and corrosion compared to exhaust systems of the past. These materials also look great and polish up well if they are exposed to salt, moisture, dirt, and grime. 

Easy Installation/DIY

If you have some basic tools, like a hacksaw (for removing the old parts) and socket wrenches, you can install your new exhaust system yourself and save money. Most pipes are pre-bent to fit your vehicle so you don’t need for heating or welding any pipes or for mandrel bends. Carefully follow the instructions after removing the old system and you’ll save money.

Improved Performance and Sound

A new exhaust system can mean reduced backpressure. Less pressure gives you power gains and better fuel economy. A new system can also give you the sound that you prefer from your engine. It may reduce unpleasant noise or it may give you a more guttural, throaty sound if you prefer. 

Other Considerations

  • Fit. Make certain the exhaust system you want to order will fit your vehicle. Research the specifications regarding the model and year of the vehicle the system is made for, the engine size, and the type of exhaust, such as dual vs. single, side, or catback.
  • Price. You can spend thousands on an exhaust system and as little as $100. Know what you’re getting for your money. You may find that a $100 system does the job very well or that it’s better to spend a few more dollars to get a system that you’ll be happy with.
  • Type of system. For example, a catback system is an equipment only back from the catalytic converter, not the entire system. On the other hand, some systems cover everything including the pipes that bolt onto the engine, hangers, the muffler, the mid, and tailpipes. 

Best Exhaust System Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust System Kit

Because it features a straight-through design, this MagnaFlow performance exhaust system can provide more power and better sound. The system is made of stainless steel and has mandrel bent tubing. Parts are made with precision CNC robotic manufacturing techniques. 

The parts are jet black, which gives your vehicle style and class. The black coating also provides improved protection against rust, corrosion, and salt. Parts bolt on easily and provide smooth, rich tone. The system fits great on the Jeep Wrangler JK.

The tone is deep and rich for some people but may be too loud for others. On the other hand,  the tone may not be deep and loud enough for you.

Best Value
MBRP Cat Back, Single Side Exit Exhaust System

This contemporary-looking exhaust system will add class to your truck or SUV. It is “bolt-on,” so there’s no welding, cutting, or bending involved to install it. Users report that it’s fast to install, about an hour, and it’s a great fit. The system is made from aluminized steel, which gives it a nice look and durability.

The sound this system produces is a low “grumble,” which isn’t overly loud on idle but lets others know you're driving a truck. On acceleration, the sound is quite throaty.  

While the sound is good overall, some drivers have reported a slight drone inside the cab. Others wish the pipe would be longer off the back end because it is too difficult to notice. 

Honorable Mention
Borla ATAK Stainless Steel Aggressive Cat-Back Exhaust System

From premier manufacturer Borla, this system is made of beautiful stainless steel that is sure to impress. It produces a loud exhaust sound that will definitely get people’s attention. 

The look is aggressive as well as the sound, which will make your Chevy Camaro remain at the top of the group of attractive sportscars. This system has multi-core and straight-through technology which provides more horsepower and punch. The increased exhaust velocity also delivers more power and improves fuel economy as well.

Keep in mind that Borla designs and manufactures this exhaust system for sports cars, so it is more expensive than those designed for passenger cars and trucks. Some drivers would like the system to be louder, while others state that the instructions are not easy to understand.

Honorable Mention
Roush Axle Back Exhaust

This exhaust system fits a 2015-2017 Ford Mustang GT 5L, Fastback, or Convertible. Roush is known for producing high-quality aftermarket parts for the Mustang and other Ford vehicles. So if this exhaust doesn’t fit your Ford car, you can easily find an exhaust system that does from Roush. With this system, you’ll get a pair of high flow mufflers and two 4-inch wall tips. The system uses your factory hangers and mounting points.

You’ll appreciate that this system doesn’t require any welding to install it. Once you have it installed, the sound of your Mustang will improve to be a richer and deeper tone. At idle, there’s a throaty v8 rumble that will then build to a roar as your revs increase.

Unfortunately, if you don’t drive a Ford, then you’re out of luck. Roush has a limited line of performance parts; they don’t even cover all Ford models. If this system is compatible with your car, you may find the installation to be more difficult than the instructions imply. It’s best if you have previous experience. 

Honorable Mention
aFe Power Rebel Series Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System

If you have a Jeep Wrangler that’s the model year 2007-2018, then you should check out this cat-back exhaust system. It’s compatible with certain two and four door Jeeps. aFe Power makes aftermarket performance parts for all types of vehicles, so if this doesn’t fit your vehicle, you’re sure to find components that fit. This exhaust system comes with a 14-inch long round front muffler, an 18-inch long oval rear muffler, and dual 4.5-inch stainless steel black exhaust tips.

This system stands out because it’s designed to seamlessly integrate into your OEM system. It uses the factory mounting locations. There are also bayonet tip hangers to ensure your new system stays in place throughout any driving condition. To construct your exhaust, a certified craftsman expertly hand MIG welds the system to give it durability.

Unfortunately, this system only works with a limited number of vehicles, and if you don’t drive a Jeep, it definitely won’t work. It’s also not very aggressive in its sound and performance, so it may not be enough for some people.

Honorable Mention
DNA Motoring Stainless Steel Cat-Back Exhaust System

Made of high-quality stainless steel, this durable exhaust system has three options for your tips: plain round, 14mm double-walled, and round burnt. The system’s components are TIG-welded with a CNC machine to ensure each system has durable resistance to pressure and corrosion. All of the required gaskets and hardware are included. This system is compatible with a 2000-2005 Dodge Neon SOHC.

You’ll love the smooth yet aggressive tone this exhaust system creates. Hearing that purr is confirmation that your engine is breathing easy thanks to a smooth exhaust gas outflow through this system. As a result, you can enjoy greater engine output efficiency.

Unfortunately, this system only fits a Dodge Neon, but not the SRT-4 model. This means it has very limited compatibility. It also takes a few hours to install. Once installed, you’ll find that it isn’t as loud as other exhaust systems.

Honorable Mention
Dynomax 19361 Exhaust System

This exhaust system from Dynomax fits a Cadillac Escalade from 2002-2006, Chevrolet Tahoe from 2001-2006, and a GMC Yukon from 2001-2006. If this isn’t your exact vehicle, Dynomax makes aftermarket exhaust systems for several vehicle manufacturers. Their systems are made from stainless steel and 100% welded for durability and maximum performance.

This system features a straight through design, which helps with unrestricted exhaust outflow and reduces the amount of backpressure. It’s been proven to flow up to 2,000 SCFM and capable of supporting up to 2,000 horsepower. CRF technology is built into the system to eliminate interior resonance freeing up the deep performance tone to sound through.

Unfortunately, Dynomax doesn’t make exhaust systems for all makes, and even the ones it does make a system for, it’s only for limited models. This means their lineup is quite limited. This system isn’t much louder than the stock system, so don’t expect much improvement in the sound department.

Honorable Mention
Injen Technology SES1869 Stainless Steel Exhaust System

This bolt-on exhaust system doesn’t require any modifications for installation. It comes with the original sensors to communicate with your OEM setup. Each part of this exhaust is manufactured using 304 stainless steel, then they are TIG-welded together. This exhaust system is compatible with the Mitsubishi 2000-05 Eclipse 3.0L V6.

This system is dyno-tuned to ensure your car gets the maximum amount of improvement in both horsepower and torque. This is partially accomplished with the expertly bent pipes for restriction-free exhaust flow.

Unfortunately, this system doesn’t come with the gaskets and hardware required for installation. This means you’ll either have to be really careful when removing your old system or buy new ones. It’s considered best practice to buy new gaskets, so plan for this extra expense. You may also find that you need a professional installation, which will also cost more. This system can also cause your engine warning light to go on and off due to changing manifold temperatures.

Best Overall
Flowmaster 817730 Exhaust Kit

You can be confident in your new exhaust system when it comes to Flowmaster. This system fits the 2015-2017 Ford Mustang GT Fastback with a 5.0L V8 Engine. Flowmaster makes several aftermarket exhaust systems, so you should be able to find a system that’s compatible with your vehicle. The construction is all stainless steel with black ceramic tips.

The moderate to aggressive sound that this system delivers will be a massive improvement over the stock system. It also has patented delta flow and Outlaw technology to improve the outflow of exhaust gases from your engine. This will improve the performance of your engine and increase your horsepower.

Unfortunately, this system has limited compatibility, so it won’t work if you don’t drive the exact vehicle it’s meant for. It also has black ceramic tips, which may not be the look that you’re going for on your car. You’ll also want to check that the aggressive sound produced by this system is legal in your city and state.

Honorable Mention
Corsa Performance 14976 Xtreme Cat-Back Exhaust System

This exhaust system is designed for a 2010-2013 Camaro. Corsa produces exhaust systems for select models from all of the major vehicle manufacturers. This exhaust system is the 3-inch cat-back without any tips.

You’ll enjoy the sound this system produces thanks to the inclusion of Corsa’s patented Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC) technology. The tone is drone-free and perfectly tuned to fit the style and personality of your vehicle. But the aggressive sound isn’t where it stops. It also improves your vehicle’s performance with increased horsepower. 

Unfortunately, this system is very expensive and may be a greater investment than what you’re willing to make. While the company makes exhausts for the major manufacturers, they don’t offer systems for all models, so it can be hit-and-miss when looking for an exhaust that’s compatible with your vehicle. 


  • Make sure the exhaust system you are looking at will fit your specific vehicle. If you aren’t sure, consult with the manufacturer to see if it has a vehicle sizing chart.
  • Upgrade your exhaust system if you are looking to increase your fuel economy, change how your vehicle sounds, or get a bit more horsepower out of the car.
  • If you are swapping out the exhaust system, consider getting a new air intake as well. The combination will increase fuel economy and give you more horsepower.


Q: What does cat-back mean?

A: It is the section of the exhaust system that attaches after the last catalytic converter in the system. A cat-back system is generally designed with a rear pipe, a resonator, and a muffler. But, depending on the make and model, it can also include a mid-pipe, X-pipe, H-pipe or Y-pipe.

Q: What is the difference between stainless steel and an aluminium exhaust system?

A: Aside from their looks, there isn’t much difference between the two, especially when it comes to performance. However, stainless steel is designed to withstand rust and corrosion more than aluminum. Plus, stainless steel often looks better and can be polished to a certain degree to stand out.

Q: Will a new exhaust void my vehicle’s warranty?

A: In most cases, no. However, if the system causes damage to any of the other components of the vehicle, then yes, the warranty may be voided. Unless you make larger and more obtrusive upgrades to your system, the warranty should be fine.

Final Thoughts

For a louder sound and improved engine performance, consider the MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust System Kit. Or you can save a bit of cash and get the MBRP Cat-Back, Single Side Exit Exhaust System for its simple design and throaty rumble.