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There are two main upgrades to your exhaust to choose between. You can put on a downpipe, or you can straight pipe your car. So, where do you stand in the downpipe vs. straight pipe debate? 

An aftermarket exhaust is often the best upgrade to do for your new car. Exhausts are relatively cheap, easy to install, and they give you great results right off the bat.

In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each option (straight pipe or downpipe) to make your decision a little easier. 

Pros and Cons of a Straight Pipe Exhaust

We're sure you've heard a straight pipe exhaust in your day. Whenever a car thunders past you on the freeway or a seemingly average car is loud enough to wake the dead, you've heard a straight pipe.

Breaking down the pros and cons:

The Pros of a Straight Pipe

Straight pipe exhausts are the lowest cost and easiest starter mods you can do to your car to turn it into an ear-shattering neighbor annoyer. We love them.

  • A straight pipe increases horsepower
  • A straight pipe looks cool
  • Your exhaust will be louder
  • Your car will weigh less without the catalytic converter
  • You'll get better fuel economy

If you're building a car that doesn't need to meet emission standards, a straight pipe is probably the way to go. Now, onto the cons.

The Cons of a Straight Pipe

A straight pipe exhaust is cool, but they're straight illegal in many areas of the world. Why? Everything boils down to the emission standards that cars have to meet.

A straight pipe will delete a performance vehicle's catalytic converter and muffler. So, if you're in a part of the world where that matters, we wouldn't recommend this mod. 

In addition to their legally dicy nature, straight pipes aren't suitable for:

  • Resale value
  • Avoiding noise complaints from your neighbors

Price can also be a con of straight pipes. We know we said that they're dirt cheap, but that's only if you own a welder. If you want to mod your car in a way that will last, you'll be buying some pretty expensive parts

The Pros and Cons of a Downpipe

Downpipes are the single best upgrade you can do on your turbo tuner. If you've recently taken your car through a stage one tune and you're looking for the next best upgrade, look no further. 

The Pros of a Downpipe

Like we mentioned above, if your car has a turbo, your factory downpipe is likely holding your horsepower in check. If you want unbridled power, grab an upgraded downpipe today. 

An upgraded downpipe will:

Even though a downpipe won't make your car prettier, it's a significant upgrade. If you're building a sleeper, you should consider making a downpipe your first upgrade

The Cons of a Downpipe

Like a straight pipe, downpipes come with several noticeable disadvantages. 

If you're thinking about installing a downpipe, know that:

  • Upgraded downpipes don't often have catalytic converters
  • Upgraded downpipes are expensive

Know that a downpipe upgrade could very well be illegal in the area you live in as well. Before proceeding with this mod, check your emissions regulations to make sure you're in the green. 

Downpipe vs. Straight Pipe: Which Will You Choose?

We think that the answer to that question is pretty straightforward. If your emissions regulations allow it, get a straight pipe for a supercharged car and a downpipe for a turbo car.

What do you think? Are these upgrades worth the hassle of checking your local regulations? 

If you think that they are, feel free to browse our stock! We have plenty of options for you to settle your internal downpipe vs. straight pipe debate with. 


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