Whatever sound you’re going for, we’ve done the research to bring you the best mufflers you can buy for your car, truck or custom project. We’ve looked at airflow efficiency, sound quality, fit and finish and durability. Whether you’re looking for the best flowing muffler for your street/ track car or seeking OEM-like noise control for a classic v8, the mufflers on our list combine performance and quality so you don’t have to compromise.
Our top pick, the Thrush Turbo Oval muffler, has a double wrapped aluminized shell and features a 2.5-inch inlet and outlet, providing plenty of flow and a classic, distinctive sound. Read on for more of the best mufflers on the market.
Top 5 Best Mufflers
#1 Thrush Turbo Muffler
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This best muffler for v8s offers a classic sound and a design optimized for low back pressure, plus expandable bushings, make this low-priced universal muffler a good choice for all kinds of custom projects.
This Thrush universal muffler is one of the most versatile choices for those looking for the best flowing muffler with a classic sound. It’s louder than most stock OEM mufflers, but it produces more of a mellow sound and less of the raspy, rattly tone you sometimes get with a muffler delete. The turbo muffler has a 2.5-inch inlet and outlet and is reversible for flexibility in terms of installation.
The Thrush Turbo muffler’s size is a good middle ground; it fits most V8’s with true dual exhaust and most 4-cyl cars with single exhaust. Just make sure your car’s mid pipe and cat-back, if applicable, are no wider than 2.5 inches. The Turbo muffler has expandable bushings to help with installation. And while we are talking about the muffler, make sure that you also have the best car battery charger to keep your car running.
#2 Totalflow 3” Muffler
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: This offset two chamber muffler adds a deep, mellow, not too loud tone, and fits most cars and trucks easily. Plus, it’s a bargain. Which all makes it the best sounding muffler, especially for V8s
While it’s not among the loudest mufflers out there by any means, the Totalflow 3” muffler provides a deep, mellow sound very comparable to the Flowmaster 40 series muffler. This makes it great for classic cars, traditional muscle cars, Jeep Cherokee XJ models with the 4.0 liter inline 6, and many others.
Installation is generally easy, and its center in/ offset out design is well adapted for classic V8s with dual exhaust. However, keep in mind it’s not a direct-fit for any particular make or model, and on certain models it may require an extension pipe, since it’s shorter than many factory mufflers. If you can install the best car stereo this should not be too hard for you. For another great muffler, check out the Cherry Bomb GlassPack Muffler that has the classic red finish and is designed to maximize horsepower and reduce back pressure.
#3 Thrush Welded Two Chamber Muffler
Award: Best Deep Tone
WHY WE LIKE IT: Consistently high quality and a time-tested, two chamber design make this 2.25-inch universal muffler a dependable choice for those looking for a more aggressive, deeper tone.
This Thrush muffler gives a baritone sound that’s generally either slightly louder than stock or not much louder at all, depending on what your stock muffler sounded like. It does give a more aggressive sound, deeper at high RPM than most stock mufflers and with more rumble on overrun.
The 2.25 inch inlet and outlet are sized for medium horsepower applications and are a good size for most dual exhausts or for single exhausts on smaller 4-cylinder engines. Like the other Thrush universal mufflers, it’s aluminized and offers good corrosion resistance. Mufflers are an important component for your car’s health, so it should be a priority over things like the best car floor mats.
#4 Thrush Welded Dual Outlet Muffler
Award: Best Dual Tip
WHY WE LIKE IT: This dual tip muffler is the best flowing, and has a true two-chamber design and a generous 3-inch inlet, this muffler provides richer sound and can even boost performance and throttle response on some vehicles.
This Thrush dual outlet exhaust comes with a 3” inlet and offers reduced back pressure over most stock mufflers, as well as a much more resonant and aggressive sound. Unlike some factory dual tip mufflers, it lacks a silencer or a flap that keeps one outlet closed at low load/ small throttle openings. Thus it’s louder at idle and when cursing, but it doesn’t produce a “drone” sound on the highway either.
With a sound and performance profile very similar to Flowmaster mufflers. It also features good corrosion protection and is generally easy to install. As with most custom mufflers it can be too loud for some, but at the same time it’s not nearly as loud as a muffler delete. So this new muffler will allow you to enjoy the best car subwoofer since you can hear it better.
#5 DC Sports EX-5015 Muffler
Award: Best Muffler for Sport Compact Cars
WHY WE LIKE IT: This cannon style muffler, which is the best muffler for 4 a cylinder, has a slant cut tip for aesthetics and delivers a resonant, surprisingly deep sound.
This straight through muffler comes with a 2.5-inch inlet and a rather large 4-inch outlet. It’s generally a good flowing muffler in most applications, especially reducing back pressure over stock mufflers in tuned 4-cyl cars. It’s one of the best universal mufflers for turbo 4-cylinder cars. . When used with a stock catalytic converter, mid pipe and resonator it allows for a deeper sound at mid-to-high RPM and is less raspy than some glass pack mufflers.
While the quality and durability is generally good, this muffler is made of thinner steel than some others, so while it is lightweight, it may collect scratches and driveway scrapes more easily, especially when installed on a lowered car. Now that your muffler will be taken care of, protect your car with the best car alarm too.
How We Decided
In order to narrow down the field to the best universal mufflers you can buy, we restricted our search to good flowing mufflers that promise reduced back pressure compared to restrictive stock units. To that end, and to insure versatility, we selected only mufflers with at least a 2” inlet and outlet.
We also limited our choices to mufflers that are fully welded and leak free, and made of either stainless steel or aluminized, corrosion resistant steel, since a rusted-through muffler rarely sounds good.
Finally, we focused on installation. Since this was a list of universal mufflers we only selected designs that fit well on at least a broad sample of popular cars and trucks. A good rule is if it fits both a V8 truck and a 4-cylinder turbocharged car, it can rightly be called “universal.”
Muffler Buying Guide
Features to Consider
- Inlet and Outlet size
In general for the best sound, you want the right size muffler for your car’s engine and exhaust system. The closer the muffler’s inlet is to your mid pipe and exhaust diameter, the less turbulence you’ll create and the better the sound. Too small and you’ll add back pressure; too large and you may create a rattly, “farty” sound.
Depending on fitment, you may want to look into a reversible muffler. However, if you want dual tips or a dual chamber design, you’ll likely have to go with a non reversible model.
The best mufflers are typically fully-welded stainless steel, in at least 16-gauge thickness.
- Rust protection
Many of the best mufflers are aluminized for corrosion resistance, which is especially important if you live in areas with seasonal road salt.
Will these be too loud for a daily driver?
What kind of sound you prefer is up to you, but for the vast majority of applications, all the universal mufflers on our list will be tolerable for daily driver use. Some areas have noise regulations for street driven cars, but these mufflers won’t get anywhere near that loud.
Do these mufflers add any horsepower or performance?
It depends on the application and on how restrictive your stock muffler is. When going from a restrictive, corroded or too-small OEM muffler, you can see gains of up to about 5 horsepower with a proper straight through muffler.
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