Although a lot of vehicles are purchased for the growl of the engine and the cacophony of sound coming from the exhaust pipe, most people prefer to keep their vehicles quiet with a quiet performance muffler.
What is more, in some states in the US, it is actually a requirement to use something like a quiet performance muffler to reduce exhaust noise.
A quiet performance muffler which is included on the exhaust on some cars is designed, not only to reduce noise coming from the exhaust pipe, but also to reduce emissions, control the way the vehicle sounds and to improve the all round engine and vehicle performance.
Quiet performance mufflers have these key functions by controlling the sound from the noisy exhaust system while maintaining the correct airflow for maximum performance.
Whilst regular mufflers may have a negative effect on the performance of a car, quiet performance mufflers do the opposite.
However, knowing which is the best or the quietest performance mufflers out there, can be difficult as these are often bought as add-ons to the vehicles.
This article looks at how quiet performance mufflers work, their design, how they relate to an exhaust system and vehicle performance as well as which are the best performance mufflers on the market that are also the quietest mufflers.
Additionally, a full buyer’s guide has been put together so that you know what characteristics you should look out for when buying a performance muffler that is a quiet and affordable muffler option.
Mufflers: Construction and Design
Mufflers primary function is to silence or decrease the noise that is given off by an exhaust pipe of a car.
A car exhaust system is used to expel the resultant gases coming from the chemical reactions in the combustion chamber in the engine. The gases are expelled to ensure optimal performance of the engine as well.
When a car is turned on, the explosion of gases comes from the combustion chamber of the engine from the mixing of oxygen with the fuel. The gases come out of the exhaust pipes between a pressure of 80-100 psi at speeds of 2800 fps which generates a massive noise in the exhaust
Because these are exothermic reactions, there is often a lot of noise along with it and an exhaust pipe essentially concentrates the air flow of those gases and amplifies the engine sounds.
Depending on the vehicle, the exhaust system may be between 8-16 feet long; the longer the pipes are, the more sound waves are absorbed and dissipated on the gases’ way out of the system.
What a muffler does, is slow down the airflow by adding extra length to the exhaust system, whilst absorbing a lot of the sound waves resulting in a quieter sound coming from the exhaust and, by default, the engine.
This is achieved through the design of the muffler, which is made up of several baffles, channels and packing materials that are put together in such a way as to restrict airflow. The downside of the restricting of airflow is a resultant back pressure on the engine, which decreases engine performance overall.
Therefore, it is essential that while a muffler reduces engine noises, it will also not affect the performance of the vehicle too adversely.
The “What” and “How” of a Performance Muffler
The design of a performance muffler dictates that it will suppress and absorb as much sound as possible while having minimal effects on the amount of airflow that is restricted.
Achieving this balance is difficult a difficult task and there is typically a lot of science behind the design and construction of the performance mufflers that are available on the market.
As mentioned previously, the addition of the muffler will increase the length and diameter for the exhaust pipe system which will dissipate sound energy.
However, the location of the performance muffler is probably the most important thing. It should be situated between the catalytic converter and the tailpipe to ensure the most effective sound or noise reduction as this placement will ensure crucial control of the energy output.
It is essential to note that not all performance muffler types available on the market are created equally, but they do use similar principles to reduce the airflow while decreasing noise.
The principle that a performance muffler is based on is known as the “destructive interference and absorption” principle.
This principle means that the exhaust system will enter the muffler, go through a series of perforated tubes and baffles to absorb and dissipate or reflect sound.
In the case of a reverse flow or turbo style muffler, the direction of airflow will change direction several times before exiting through the tailpipe of the exhaust, thereby absorbing sound and decreasing noise output of the exhaust.
Additionally, many performance mufflers (and stock muffler types, for that matter) comprise a double steel or, alternatively, an aluminum wall. The double wall also decreases some vibrations and depending on the design, the muffler interior will be slightly different.
There are three types of design which are generally used in performance mufflers. These include chambered mufflers, glass pack mufflers and turbo or reverse flow mufflers.
Chambered mufflers, or reactive mufflers, consist of a system of baffles , or chambers, which create destructive interference by pushing the gas from the combustion chamber of the engine, into the chambers which will alter the sound via deflection, while decreasing the sound pressure of the air.
When the waves are deflected, they collide, which cancels out the sound-making for an ultra quiet performance muffler.
Because of this, the airflow is less restricted and even improved, thus ensuring an improved torque and horsepower. The addition of this type of muffler also ensures improved fuel economy, by decreasing the fuel consumption, overall.
In comparison to other mufflers, the back pressure generated is greater, meaning that although the efficiency and performance is improved, it will not be as great as other types.
The resultant sound is a low grumble exiting the exhaust, and it is the preferred muffler to use in sports cars.
Glass Pack Mufflers
Also known as a straight-through muffler, a glass pack muffler offers a simple design that allows for continuous airflow and very little restriction.
It is made up of a straight and perforated tube that is wrapped up in fiberglass (or steel wool) which will dampen exhaust noise.
However, because it is just a straight pipe, the air and the resultant sound can only go through one place and so these mufflers typically have a long perforated tube to decrease noise.
The horsepower and vehicle performance is improved, but without the decrease in the roar given off by the engine and exhaust-which is often desired by muscle car owners.
The design of these mufflers means a bit more noise but a lot less back pressure in the system, which allows the vehicle to preform at a higher rate.
The glass pack muffler is also known as being an absorptive and dissipative muffler, as it uses the insulation of the materials like fiberglass to absorb the sound.
Turbo Or Reverse Flow Mufflers
If you are looking for the quietest performance muffler, then turbo muffler may be for you. It works on dual-core technology because it combines the principles of design of the chambered and the glass pack mufflers.
It has a system of about 3 insulated and perforated, S-shaped tubes through which the gas is directed. This forces the soundwaves of the air to change directions a few times before exiting the exhaust, and it’s through this combination of the reflection and absorption of soundwaves that makes the exhaust system quieter.
This means that there will be less back pressure in the system, allowing for a better performance while producing deeper sounds instead of a drone.
As discussed above, the way the muffler is designed, influences the amount of sound cancelled out and the effect on performance of the vehicle. Quiet mufflers must balance these two factors perfectly.
Ultimately, the quietest performance muffler is the reverse flow or turbo mufflers. However, in terms of reduction on the impact of the vehicle performance, the straight-through muffler design will provide the best airflow and least back pressure.
Best Quiet Muffler Brands
Since 1986, Vibrant Power have been producing high quality performance mufflers. Using their unique designs and methodology to make aftermarket components, they create some world-leading mufflers, resonators and even custom components for all types of vehicles.
Over 20 years ago, MBRP produced its B&B Eliminator for snow mobiles and is still the best-selling muffler for those types of vehicles.
The MBRP muffler is made from aluminized or stainless steel and is used for many brands of muscle and sports cars as well as being widely used in marine crafts, snowmobiles and the like. The sound generated from their mufflers are deep and mellow.
Since before the Second World War, Walker has been creating perforated mufflers and introduced a stainless steel muffler during the war and an aluminized steel muffler in the 50s.
Other than mufflers, they are famed for manufacturing catalytic converts and resonators, which are used worldwide across many automotive brands.
Best Quiet Performance Muffler Reviews
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This straight-though muffler is known to improve the overall horsepower, torque and fuel consumption of vehicles. It offers a high amount of airflow, which keeps the engine and exhaust temperature low.
The muffler offers a host of punch-in perforations which dampen the noise, to deliver optimal performance.
It is an aluminized cylinder that is 31” long, with an 8” diameter and 5” diameter in-out connections centered on the ends. The entire length of the perforated pipe is 35″ and comes in with a weight of 24 lbs.
The muffler installation is made easy as you can quickly identify which end is the inlet end by the presence of the perforations.
This muffler by MBRP decreases idle and acceleration noises to a bearable level, reducing the decibel volume up to 10%, without compromising on performance.
- Super quiet.
- Easy installations
- Quite a bit heavier than comparative models
When testing this product, we loved: low hum produced by the muffler.
This product is also available to buy here.[amazon box=”B00F2NLNNI”]
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Although not a muffler, this ultra quiet resonator works well with an existing muffler by modifying the exhaust noise and does not restrict any air flow and actually decreases fuel consumption.
It is made from stainless steel and is suitable to mount between the catalytic converter and the muffler or after the muffler.
It adds another 6 lbs to the exhaust system, but the perforated core will modulate sound waves resulting in a deep -toned engine noise, removing the raspy or tinny noise that is present from most resonators of a similar size and construction.
- Great to fine-tune sound to achieve a particular sound.
- Does not restrict airflow
- Ultra quiet resonator
When testing this product, we loved: the deep tones created from this addition.
This product is also available to buy here.
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This quiet-flow muffler by Walker is suitable for most vehicles available world-wide. This muffler provides a precision fit, original equipment sound and exhaust flow. it is made from 409 stainless steel material inside and out and will last much longer than aluminized alternatives.
When installing this piece, the inside diameter off-set outlet and centered inlet connections will align and lock into each other, creating an easy fit and preventing backfire rupture.
Where the two connect, they are spot-welded for a more stable fit. The internal tubes are also fastened to these partitions to prevent breakage and allow the muffler to comfortably take any temperature variations.
The cylinder is about 12 lbs in weight and although the noise is drastically reduced, the volume is louder and has a deeper rumble than the original equipment.
- Easy installations
- Not as quiet as other performance mufflers.
When testing this product, we loved: the easy installation and sturdy fit.
This product is also available to buy here.[amazon box=”B000C918CS”]
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This muffler is made out of stainless 309 steel which means that it will tolerate extremely high temperatures and is made up of a 3” diameter perforated core with an inlet and outlet that are centered on the muffler ends which makes connecting and fitting the muffler easy as pie.
As far as quiet mufflers go, this model does the trick as the straight-through design ensures for optimal air flow, and noise reduction from the exhaust without negatively impacting on horsepower or engine efficiencies.
It is super quiet and can decrease any drone of the engine noise as well as decreasing the decibel volume of the engine noise by up to 10%. Additionally, it quiets down idle and light-footed driving noises quite significantly.
- Very quiet
- Decreases unwanted engine noise without compromising on engine efficiency.
When testing this product, we loved: the definitive decrease in volume experienced.
This product is also available to buy here.[amazon box=”B001806YE2″]
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Another great from MBRP, the M1004A, is a straight-through muffler consisting of aluminized steel.
The 4″ core ensures for unrestricted air flow through the exhaust, allowing the system to cool down effectively and efficiently whilst producing a low amount of back pressure, thereby improving torque and horsepower of the engine.
What is great about this model is that it is almost universal and can be used in any car. It is also one of the lighter mufflers, coming in at under 18 lbs.
The core is spiraled and is packed with sound-absorbing materials to decrease or cancel out about 10% of the decibel volume experienced from the vehicle.
The addition of this muffler reduces sound when under pressure or a load and is really quiet when idling, and so it is no wonder that it makes the list of best quiet performance muffler.
- Universal muffler for any vehicle use.
- Quiet, even when the vehicle is under pressure.
When testing this product, we loved: the dual technology of perforation and packing to decrease noise.
This product is also available to buy here.
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This reactive or chambered muffler is made from corrosion-resistant aluminized steel which has a universal fit and can be used in most vehicles, although depending on the vehicle, may need some adapters and extra components to be made to fit.
The Pro-Fit model is easy to install and is really affordable for all the perks that you get with it.
It comprises two perforated tubes or cores which are spot welded at the two partitions for extra support. Furthermore, the interior joints are mechanically joined to make a more robust muffler.
It is relatively light coming in at 10.5 lbs and because of its chambered design, along with perforations, it minimizes noise without the restriction of air flow.
- Universal muffler for any vehicle use.
- Affordable and light
When testing this product, we loved: the use of perforation and its stability to ensure that noise is minimized and performance is optimized.
This product is also available to buy here.[amazon box=”B001AGFI78″]
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Evil Energy made this stainless 304 steel straight-through muffler, which provides a less disruptive interface to the air flow through the exhaust.
It has a chrome, polished-mirror finish and because of the type of steel used, is heavier and so will outlast most other mufflers on the market made from aluminized steel.
Boasting a universal fit for 2.5″ exhaust pipes, it has a positive effect on horsepower, fuel economy and keeps the engine running at a cooler temperature. This muffler is also double-walled, which means that it decreases soundwave vibration to ultimately decrease the engine volume.
What is unique about this type of muffler is that it mounts at the end of the exhaust system, meaning that it offers greater residence time and optimizes sound control.
The 2.5″ muffler from Evil Energy has a perforated core and is packed with fiberglass to absorb any soundwaves or vibrations.
The result is an extremely quiet noise under idling and cruising, with a deep rumbling noise when strained or under acceleration; creating a quieter exhaust system overall.
- Universal muffler for 2.5″ exhausts.
- Mounts at the end, optimizing sound control.
When testing this product, we loved: the use of double walling to decrease the sound output.
This product is also available to buy here.
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This model produced by Walker can be used as a universal fit muffler or as a direct original equipment muffler.
Unfortunately, the muffler is not reversible, so if choosing to purchase this model, be sure to check that it will fit the intended vehicle.
It is constructed out of aluminized steel, which means that it is more resistant to corrosion and will outlast other mufflers made out of other materials. The Walker 18890 SoundFX offers quality performance and features a chamber design with two tubes and two partitions.
This causes disruptive interference, which will improve sound control and the volume of the exhaust system.
To attach this stock fit muffler, you will need two clamps and additionally, the inside connections and joint areas are mechanically done for increased durability. Another downside to this muffler is that it is super heavy with a weight of 32 lbs.
- Chamber design
- Not reversible and heavy.
When testing this product, we loved: that even for a stock muffler, it was very quiet.
This product is also available to buy here.[amazon box=”B0049J52M4″]
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Easily welded onto 4″ exhaust pipes, it is constructed out of fully welded stainless 409 steel for optimal strength and durability. the joints are also welded for a durable seal.
The muffler itself is of a straight-through design which has a perforated core which not only decreases the amount of backpressure on the engine system but it also improves the fuel consumption and overall power exhibited by the vehicles engine.
As with most straight-through mufflers, the soundwaves are disrupted by the perforations and the core is surrounded by stainless steel mesh which protects the system from overheating and decreases the volume. It has a throaty resultant sound and reduces engine drone.
It weighs about 12 lbs and is a great contender on this list of best quiet performance mufflers.
- Durable and strong design.
When testing this product, we loved: the lack of engine drone when this muffler is fitted.
This product is also available to buy here.
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A subsidiary of Walker, DynoMax creates some of the finest quality mufflers out there. This particular model features a turbo or reverse flow design and has three core tubes which make up its construction.
As discussed in the above sections, this means that back pressure is decreased and flow of air through the system is improved.
It features their patented flow directors which get rid of any air turbulence which will assist in the control of this. They are made out of aluminized steel which have arc-welded seams to increase durability and also is resistant to corrosion.
As a bonus, this muffler has a reversible and universal fit which means it can go on just about any vehicle.
It is padded with fiberglass which also absorbs soundwaves which produces a low idle noise and cuts out the drone of the engine. The 10 lb muffler is one of the best quiet performance mufflers out there and is well known for improving torque and power of the vehicles it is fitted to.
- Quiet because of reverse flow technology
- Durable and strong design.
When testing this product, we loved: that it is reversible and universal for most vehicles out there.
This product is also available to buy here.
Before deciding on which is the right quiet performance muffler for your needs, there are several factors to consider before purchasing.
The different designs are an obvious influencing factor, and they need to strike the balance between cancelling out noise without having a disastrous effect on the performance of the vehicle’s engine.
The first thing that most people take into consideration when purchasing something is their price. The price of the mufflers are dependent on their construction material and the type of muffler design.
For instance, in general, aluminized steel mufflers are generally cheaper than stainless steel, but depending on the stainless steel grade, there will be price differences as well. Titanium is the most expensive muffler material to choose from.
Depending on what you want from your muffler, the type of material it is made from may guide your decision. Aluminized steel is better at handling heat than stainless steel. This is because it is usually thicker.
It is also resistant to corrosion and can last up to a decade in a dry climate but if it sustains damage, it could rust more easily. Aluminized steel is also known to be easy to weld and manipulate.
Stainless steel on the other hand is more susceptible to changes to shape from exposure to high temperatures and can discolor over time. It is also corrosion resistant and is suitable for vehicles exposed to the salty air of the coastline.
In general, there are two grades of steel used for manufacturing mufflers- 409, which is most commonly used and contains a lower amount of chromium in its construction and is less expensive, and 304.
304 is marine grade steel and is highly resistant to salt and so can last for more than 20 years.
Although the lightest metal used to manufacture mufflers, titanium is the most expensive. Titanium dissipates heat the best out of the three, it does not corrode, discolor or rust and because it is lightweight, will improve the handling and the performance of the vehicle.
Depending on what you are looking for in your particular vehicle, there are several product types of mufflers available to suit your needs.
There are high performance mufflers which give off a unique “cherry bomb” sound which is used in vintage cars or hot rods or spiral mufflers that are used for everyday type vehicles.
Additionally, you can get split, delay or merge mufflers which allows for an adjustable exhaust sound which can be customized to your liking.
Other mufflers include flowmaster, vector, aero turbine mufflers and corsa performance mufflers- all of which have their own unique additions to exhaust systems.
Mufflers determine the amount of and quality of the sound or noise produced by your vehicle. Depending on the design of the muffler, the sound produced will be different and depending on what type of noise you want coming out of your vehicle, be it a scream, roar, grumble or growl, your decision will have to be made carefully.
The noise levels are also influenced by the number of baffles, chambers, perforation and insulation on a muffler.
If you are after a deep grumble, turbo mufflers are the best bet for you. If you want to have a scream for your sports car, then a straight-through muffler is the best option or if you want that throaty roar in a muscle car, a chamber muffler is probably what you want.
Another key factor to consider when choosing a muffler includes how much horsepower your vehicle can offer, if it has a single exhaust or a dual exhaust and what piping diameter is used for the exhaust system.
Horsepower can affect size of the pipes and mufflers usually come in diameters form 1-3 or 4-5 inches depending on the muffler type.
There are adaptors which can adjust the exhaust pipe size but fitting the incorrect size of muffler to your exhaust can have a disastrous effect on engine performance, resulting in fuel inefficiency of engine overheating, by increasing backpressure.
Be sure to check that the muffler is suited for your model and make of vehicle as not all mufflers are universal to fit all vehicle types.
Warranties on mufflers are generally limited to private vehicles and have caveats which dictate that they must be properly and correctly installed. Any alterations on the muffler or any damage on them will generally void the warranty.
However, some brands do offer lifetime warranties but these are generally only to cover any defects present from manufacturing.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act additionally protects the vehicle owner. It legally prohibits an automobile manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty unless an aftermarket part proves to have contributed to the vehicle’s failure.
When choosing the best quiet performance muffler for your needs, there are a lot of factors to consider. Choosing the correct quiet performance muffler should improve the noise levels and sound coming from the engines without having an impact on the vehicle performance.
Hopefully, after reading this, you will have a better idea on what makes a good quiet performance muffler so that you can make an informed buying decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does A Quiet Exhaust System Affect Car Performance?
The short answer is yes. In everyday use vehicles, a muffler will actually improve the vehicle’s performance.
This is because the design of mufflers dictate that there is less backpressure in the system and an increase in air flow and the exhaust system will be able to handle and dissipate higher temperatures with added ease.
What Is The Difference Between Mufflers And Resonators?
As seen in the sections above, a muffler reduces engine noise and volume, across the full RPM range.. It is a piece of equipment which will be added to the exhaust pipe to do this. Whereas a resonator removes noise only at a specific RPM range and does not reduce volume.
Additionally, resonators need to be added onto a muffler which is already on the exhaust system to work together.