What Size Muffler Should I Buy? A Muffler Buying Guide: From Loudest to Quietest

One of the most common, if not the most frequently asked question we get as an exhaust company is, “What type of muffler is the loudest?” With that, the answer to the question is a bit more complicated than “here’s the part number for our loudest muffler.” That being said, some mufflers are louder than others, so we’re here to walk you through our catalog of performance mufflers to better understand which will provide the desired sound for your vehicle without negatively impacting the performance.

Before we dive into the specifics of our mufflers, one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to exhaust is that bigger is better. While we frequently hear this from many inquiring customers, it is simply not true. In fact, too large of an exhaust diameter can be detrimental to the performance of your vehicle. Simply put, when an exhaust is too large, the exhaust gases can expand, cool down and create turbulence as faster moving gases interact with slower moving gases which in turn slows down the process of exhaust evacuation. A properly sized exhaust does not allow the exhaust to cool, minimizes turbulence and in turn maintains the proper velocity to maximize the performance of your vehicle. So next time you’re purchasing an exhaust system or muffler, don’t make the mistake of buying a larger exhaust in hopes of it improving performance based on volume alone.

Now that we cleared up, let’s dive into our catalog of performance mufflers and which one will achieve the perfect exhaust note for your vehicle! Our MagnaFlow straight through mufflers feature a design which allows for comfortable cruising at low throttle positions while providing an aggressive deep tone when you step on the pedal. MagnaFlow’s straight through design is unique in that it incorporates a proprietary perforation core pattern and dual-stage packing material consisting  of an initial Stainless Steel wool to absorb the heat from direct contact with the perforation core while providing the gases an expansion area to make full contact with the second stage of premium acoustic packing material. That’s how we get that distinct MagnaFlow sound. The simplest way to think about the loudness you can expect from a given muffler is directly related to the physical volume of one muffler compared to another with the same core size (diameter) and configuration (straight or offset). As the volume, cross-section or length of the muffler is reduced the loudness of the muffler will be greater and as the volume, cross-section or length of the muffler is increased the loudness of the muffler will be lessened.

Another consideration for sound is the inlet / outlet configuration. While it may seem that this might lend itself to fitment only, the configuration will determine loudness as well. A center/center has a straight path and will be louder than a center/offset muffler of the same core diameter and body size and center / offset will be louder than the offset / offset. Basically, as the offset gets bigger between the inlet/outlets, there is more pipe as the perforation core is now longer as its traveling diagonally through the muffler body. In addition, the bends inside of the muffler will contribute to creating some turbulence as the gases have to change direction which also contributes to creating a quieter muffler. So now with both ways to determine loudness, which is more important? Consider the volume and size of the muffler the greatest determining factor in overall loudness with the configurations being the fine tuning once you have selected the appropriate body size and shape. Armed with that information, you should be able to select a muffler that give you the sound you want with the flow you need.

The MagnaFlow straight through mufflers are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, allowing for you to fine tune your exhaust setup to achieve the exact sound you desire from your vehicle and work within specific fitment requirements. The round mufflers are available in sizes ranging from 4” to 7” in diameter. Our oval mufflers are also available in a variety of sizes, including sizing as small as 3.5”x7” and as large as 5”x11”. Each muffler size is available it a variety of inlet/outlet diameter sizes and combinations to provide you the exact muffler for every application.

If you are putting together a custom exhaust system and have any questions regarding the proper muffler size for your application, please do not hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at 1 (800) 990-0905 and we’ll be happy to provide a recommendation!